“The quality of a leader is reflected in the standards they set for themselves.”
~ Ray Kroc



March 4, 2011

Dear Colleagues and Friends:
Can you believe that we are already into March 2011? Springtime is just around the corner and with that comes spring fever. However, as you will see from this week’s Dean’s Diary, spring fever is not slowing us down. We are continuing at a fast pace, accomplishing new and exciting goals at every turn. We begin this week with some ..

Announcements …

We are pleased to announce that The Education Discovery Institute is accepting applications for our Educational Research Grants Program. This excellent program was established to assist faculty in developing educational research initiatives that focus on current educational priorities and educational innovations. All academic and clinical faculty are strongly encouraged to apply. Applications may be submitted to the EDI Co-directors, Dr. Rhee Fincher and Dr. Lara Stepleman.

As you’ve been hearing about for several months now, the Southern Association for Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACS) will be on our campus March 29-31. SACS is GHSU’s accrediting body and they will be assessing many facets of our operation, including our Quality Enhancement Plan (QEP). We all need to have an understanding of our QEP. We have a video that has been posted to the web and we encourage each of you to take the time to view the video or visit our website to ‘brush up’ on your QEP knowledge (www.georgiahealth.edu/sacs/qep). We want to thank all of you who have worked tirelessly to make sure we have all the information we need to pass the survey with flying colors. This is a MAJOR evaluation for us and so you will be receiving more information regularly on the ‘run-in’ to this. Please give this your attention as – like many accreditation surveys – the surveyors can – and will – approach any of you without question when they come for their on-site review. Thank you for your support of this vital accreditation.

Thank you …

We previously announced that several of the physicians had volunteered their time to judge the science fair projects at AR Johnson. This event took place on February 18 and collectively, we provided over 22 hours of judging. We want to thank Drs. Darra Balance, Deborah Smith, Iqbal Khan, Linda Boyd, and Vernon Barnes for their time, service, and assessment to such a worthy cause. We also want to thank Denise Kornegay for her hard work and exceptional service in assuring we have student engagement within our community. Denise is already planning a Science Fair Preparation seminar for science teachers in August. We will keep you updated on that event. These efforts are crucial to our commitment to community support and to providing students with opportunities to interact with GHSU and its faculty and staff.

Quality Tie In …

The American Association of Medical Colleges (AAMC) has been gathering input and feedback from its member schools and hospital colleagues on “Best Practices for Better Care”. We – GHSU – have ‘signed on’ to this initiative! . The goal of the Academic Medicine Quality Campaign is a unified commitment as the nation’s medical schools and teaching hospitals. This is the first part of a multi-year campaign to highlight the quality/safety programs developed in academic medicine and to deploy them over the coming months across our institutions. The AAMC will assist with resources necessary to see successful campaigns in our member schools and institutions. The proposed actions/measures are: (1) Ensure that quality and patient safety are integrated into the education and training of new doctors from day one, both at the medical school (MD) and graduate medical education (GME or “residency and fellowship”) levels. (2) Use a surgical checklist to make sure that critical conversations occur within the teams in the operating room and with the patient to deliver safer surgical outcomes. (3) Reduce infections from central lines by implementing safety measures in all ICUs. (4) Help high-risk patients return to their doctors and reduce hospital readmissions. (5) Conduct research to evaluate the most effective ways to improve quality and patient safety. There will be further information coming in the next several weeks as the AAMC plans to launch this campaign in the immediate future.

It was recently reported that all too often patients are readmitted to the hospital for problems that may have been avoided had there been a better handoff from the hospital to the caregivers in the patient’s next phase of recovery. In a recent study examining this, there was no correlation between who the caregivers were – whether it was the patient or patient’s family, a home health agency, nursing home or hospice. Of course, we know that there are many reasons that may contribute to this including confusion regarding their medication, not understanding diet restrictions, transportation issues to their follow-up appointment or no follow-up appointment at all. At GHSU, we must make every effort to ‘live out’ our commitment to Patient and Family Centered Care, to our Quality Campaign, and to ensuring quality continuity of care for our patients.

Ensuring ‘environmentally friendly’ practices and facilities for care is another facet of quality. Accordingly, we would like to draw your attention to a recent Archives of Surgery report implementing certain environmentally friendly practices in hospitals which shared how these improvements can occur and lead to reduced costs without compromising patient safety. Leading practices to promote environmentally friendly and efficient methods in the surgical healthcare area was the goal of the study. The report describes a review on hospitals’ environmental practices and how a 7 – member panel created a list of eco-friendly practices and strategies that could be used in surgical health care. There were 5 ‘green’ recommendations for surgical practices that were identified: operating room waste reduction and segregation, reprocessing of single-use medical devices, environmentally preferable purchasing, energy consumption management and pharmaceutical waste management. There is a real opportunity for the GHSU community to show leadership on ‘going green’. These practices can provide significant benefits to the healthcare community and to our community overall.

Information Technology …

Despite having the highest unemployment rate since the Great Depression, not one of the health care leaders who participated in the Modern Healthcare/ Modern Physician Survey of Executive Opinions on Key Information Technology Issues said their organizations will be cutting IT staff in the next 12 months. In fact, the results indicated that 60% of healthcare leaders, who responded, indicated they would be adding IT staff in the next year, with several saying they would double their staff. As health care and student education continue to grow, we will become increasingly more dependent upon information technology to assist us in our patient care and our student education. As you know, we are in the midst of implementing our EHR. This is gathering momentum. We are also searching for a new national leader for our clinical IT operations … more later.

Oops …

Sometimes when we begin mentioning names, we inadvertently leave someone out. We did just that last week. We want to pass along our apology to Ms. Mary Stephens for omitting her in our Dean’s Diary of last week. We failed to mention Mary who works tirelessly in the GME office along with other GME staff. We thank the entire GME staff for their continued support and leadership for our residency programs.

Reminders …

We have a few dates that we want to remind you of. We’ve brought them to you in previous Dean’s Diaries, but they are coming up soon.

In last week’s Dean’s Diary, we gave the specifics of the 5th Annual Patient and Family Centered Care conference to be held March 9th and 10th in the Lee Auditoria Center. This year’s theme ‘Building Bridges in Patient Family Centered Care: Transitions’ will focus on our commitment to providing the best patient and family centered care while continuing to meet the needs of our patients and families. The conference begins at 1 pm on March 9th with Mr. James Conway as the keynote speaker that evening. The conference will continue through noon on March 10th. Please contact Kathleen Grant at kgrant@georgiahealth.edu for more information. We’ve included a link to the map of the campus giving directions to both the Lee Auditoria Center and the Alumni Center. (http://www.georgiahealth.edu/map/documents/MCGcampusMap_names.pdf) Please consider joining us for the PFCC conference and the evening event with Mr. Conway.

We also told you last week about a fun filled event on March 12th. The SGA Volunteer Committee is hosting a kickball tournament at the GHSU Wellness Center. All proceeds from the tournament will go to Kid’s Wish Network for a local Augusta girl with sickle cell disease. All faculty, staff and students are encouraged to attend, volunteer, or sign-up to play. Please consider joining this super, fun-filled fund-raising event.

A “Sealed Envelope” . Match Day 2011 …

Did you know that March 17th is National Match Day? Did you know that we have 180 medical college seniors who will participate in Match Day (including 3 who participated in the Military Match? Did you know that each year approximately 16,000 U.S. allopathic medical school seniors and 15,000 graduates of osteopathic, Canadian or foreign medical schools compete for approximately 24,000 residency positions? This is when our seniors will find out where they will be conducting their residency. Festivities will begin early in the day, but please join me with the seniors and their families in the Lee Auditoria Center at noon when they open ‘their sealed envelope’. It is an emotion-filled, happy, fun-filled event and we would love to have you there.

Thank you for all your kind and encouraging remarks …

I’ve had my first full week as your Dean. I thought it might feel different … but it doesn’t. I came to work every day this week with the same enthusiasm and commitment as I’ve come every day since being appointed Interim Dean. However, I have to say that I was really overwhelmed and appreciative of all the well wishes that Leonie and I have received over this week. It is most heartening and invigorating. Leonie, my sons John and Brian, and I thank you for your encouragement and support. It is an absolute pleasure and privilege to serve all of you. My door is always open. My phone is always ready to ring. And … as many of you know … my blackberry is always busy!!! Many thanks for your support, your leadership, and your commitment to our medical college and our university.


Best wishes for a wonderful weekend.