Best conductor

“The great leaders are like the best conductors – they reach beyond the notes to reach the magic in the players.”
~ Blaine Lee

February 18, 2011

Dear Colleagues and Friends:

We begin this week’s Dean’s Diary with some announcements about our colleagues. As you will see these are exciting times!

Kudos …

The Board of Regents’ at the February meeting approved the appointment of Dr. Betty Pace to the Francis J. Tedesco, MD Chair in Pediatrics. Dr. Pace became a Department of Pediatrics faculty member in December 2010. Dr. Pace is an outstanding clinician scientist, with a focus on hemoglobin research and on sickle cell disease. She is the perfect choice to be the inaugural holder of the first chair in honor of our Emeritus President and leading hematologist, Dr. Tedesco. The Board also approved the appointment of a Regents’ Professorship to Dr. Clinton Webb. Dr. Webb’s appointment is the first Regents’ Professorship awarded under our new name Georgia Health Sciences University (GHSU). These distinguished appointments are a testament to the outstanding academic and professional accomplishments Dr. Pace and Dr. Webb have made. Please join us in our congratulations to both Dr. Pace and Dr. Webb on their recent appointments.

We want to also notify you that Dr. Ronald Lewis is stepping down as Chief of Urology. He was the 3rd Chief of Urology. Dr. Lewis was honored at the Rinker-Witherington Urologic Society meeting for his many years of dedication and outstanding service to the Section of Urology. We would like to thank Dr. Martha Terris and Dr. BobbieLynn Lee for putting together such a wonderful event to honor Dr. Lewis. Please join me in thanking Dr. Lewis for his commitment to the education of the many students and residents that have learned from him, for the wonderful care he offered his patients and for the camaraderie of the faculty and staff over his many years of service. In the same token, we are delighted that Dr. Charlie Howell named Dr. Martha Terris the 4th Chief of Urology. Dr. Terris is a nationally renowned academic surgeon and has been a faculty member since 2002. We are excited about her leading the section of Urology. Congratulations to Dr. Terris.

With the support of Dr. Sam Richwine (a 1977 graduate), Dr. Al Head announced to Alumni in Gainesville, GA about next year’s celebration of the 75th Anniversary of the Department of Anesthesiology. We also appreciated the support of Dr. Billy Mayher, Chairman of the MCG Foundation and also our many friends and colleagues for their continued support of the Alumni Association of the Medical College of Georgia.

We also want to notify you of the continued accreditation status until 2016 of Pediatric Emergency Medicine residency program. Please join me in congratulating Dr. Natalie Lane and her team on the successful ending to the accreditation survey.

Celebrating Black History Month …

February is a month of celebration of our Black History in Augusta… We are fortunate that our Augusta community has many distinguished leaders – of all races – who have made invaluable contributions to our university and our community. Please take a few moments and visit our web page ( as we highlight many of the great contributions to our community. Not only will you recognize their names, but you will gain a sense of pride while reading of their accomplishments, contributions and sacrifices they have given to our community. You will be able to put a face with a name (some you will recognize) and be able to take away an understanding of the pride and honor they felt for our community. Georgia Health Sciences University has direct connections to some of the most honored African American Augustans including Dr. George Stoney whom the Stoney building is named for and our outstanding colleague, Dr. Julius Scott, Jr., who was the first African American to lead Georgia Health Sciences University as Interim President. Many people and organizations celebrate in a number of ways. We would like to highlight a few that our faculty, staff, and students have celebrated and participated in during the month.

The GHSU-UGA Medical Partnership sponsored a lecture as part of the 50th Anniversary of Desegregation celebration at UGA . Dr. Joseph Hobbs, Chair of Family Medicine and Senior Associate Dean for Primary Care and Community Affairs was honored to present “The Desegregation of Medical Education: A Continuum of Necessary Social Change” to students, faculty, and staff at the Medical Partnership. Dr. Hobbs shared his experiences as a native Georgian and an early minority graduate of the medical school at GHSU.

We have also appreciated the opportunity to unite with our community in celebration of our cultural strengths. As an example, many of us attended this year the Lucy Craft Laney Museum Heritage Gala earlier this month. This is the fifth year this wonderful gala has been held. Not only was the evening filled with a silent auction, live entertainment and wonderful food, but also a fantastic speaker. The guest speaker, Dr. Richard K. Dozier, Dean of the Robert Taylor School of Architecture and Building Construction Sciences at Tuskegee University spoke of the importance of historical preservation of our buildings. Our community is full of historical buildings and architect that speak volumes to the richness and diversity of our community’s history and heritage. Proceeds from this event are targeted to benefit preservation of the Lucy Laney Craft Museum, capacity, and ongoing historic and art programming. A fantastic evening to celebrate the contributions of Lucy Craft Laney.

We also had the opportunity to celebrate Paine College’s premier status as a thriving historically black college that excels in preparing students for leadership in the local, national, and international communities. In conjunction with the Paine College Homecoming, we attended the Masked Ball is held to raise proceeds for the College’s scholarship fund. This year marked the 11th year the ball has been held. This was a fun-filled evening with colleagues, family and friends while ‘having a ball’ at the Masked Ball.

We also want to notify you of an upcoming visit and lecture by Dr. David Satcher. It is a great honor to have Dr. Satcher on campus. He is the Director of the Satcher Health Leadership Institute at the Morehouse School of Medicine and is past Director, Center of Excellence on Health Disparities and the 16th Surgeon General of the United States. Dr. Satcher is only the second person to hold simultaneously the positions of Surgeon General and Assistant Secretary for Health. Dr. Satcher will be speaking on “Closing the Healthcare Gap: Eliminating Health Disparities Through Prevention, Intervention and Innovation,” in the Lee Auditorium on February 28 at 12:30 pm. Dr. Satcher is continuing in his mission to make public health work for all groups in this nation. He is a champion of promoting healthy lifestyles. We strongly encourage you to attend this monumental event. Don’t miss it.

Keep in mind … ‘ESP is on our minds’ …

The ESP committee is still hard at work. The committee is continueing to work on President Azziz’s charge of integrating ESP into the enterprise’s long-range strategic plan, monitor the completion and impact of the ESP strategic improvement opportunities and evaluate the ESP process itself. Each Pillar Team has presented their plans to Dr. Azziz and the Executive Cabinet. During the presentations it was determined that we would need 171 separate activity work groups to accomplish the 155 ESP short-term activities. Several activities have already been completed. Examples include the Research Growth Activity: Review structure and establish vision for biotechnology and technology transfer and Educational Excellence Activity: Expand and support robust educational technology and infrastructure to enable state-of-the-art local and distance education across the enterprise. There sure are a lot of short-term activities left to accomplish between now and December 2011. Keep your running shoes on … we’ve only just begun. Please visit stay informed.

For the record …

Our EHR updates and upgrades continue to progress forward. The leadership group will meet this week to ensure everything is in place for the next validation event coming up on March 1. We are beginning to now ‘drill down’ on details of implementation and on how best to maximize our roll out strategies. This intensive review and planning will continue to place us in the right position when it comes to rolling this out in our clinics and for our patient care. We were also joined by Ms. Helen Thompson, the new Interim Chief Information Officer. Ms. Thompson is enthusiastic about the EHR application and we were gratified by how knowledgeable (and what great prior experiences she had) Ms. Thompson is. Her appointment now with us is a major asset toward the success of this vital project. We also wanted to bring to your attention an interesting study released earlier this month from University of Chicago that found that over three quarters of Americans support electronic medical record keeping. While the majority of people surveyed had some concerns about confidentiality overwhelmingly felt their privacy concerns were far outweighed by the benefits electronic medical records provide.

Improving care for our community …

We were delighted to learn this week that University Hospital has plans to develop a hospice. This is a great opportunity for our region and it fills a gap in our local healthcare array of services. We extend our thanks to Mr. Jim Davis, University Hospital CEO, and his team for this important new initiative that will benefit our community.

Mobile meets medicine …

Many of us have been using hand-held devices for a long time in our teaching and patient care. Anesthesiology is in the initial stages of working with our campus IT staff to utilize software available for distance learning, to view lectures, and see how procedures are to be done. We are excited to hear more about this when it becomes available. This is a fast moving area and increasingly we are developing new policies and procedures to bring these devices in to the clinical arena. We note that the FDA has recently approved ‘software for viewing images and making medical diagnoses from MRIs and CT, PET and SPECT scans on several of Apple Inc.’s popular hand-held devices’. The application is not intended to replace full workstation and is indicated for only when access to a workstation is not possible. Similarly, the IPad is being applied more to clinical situations as the medical community moves away from paper charts and printed files and towards EHR and great connectivity. We look forward to continued, exciting developments in the interface between communications technology and academic medicine.

Music Maestro …

Did you attend the Noon concert on Tuesday? If not, you missed a ‘sweet treat’. The Arts Council and College of Allied Health present ‘A Valentine Concert’ this week. What a wonderful group of talented people. We had individual and group performances from the classes of 2012, 2013, and 2014, along with faculty and staff. What an invigorating way to spend your lunch hour. Thanks to those who attended. We hope to see you again next time.

Many thanks for all your continued support.