Getting the word out

Getting the Word Out There – Celebrating Our Successes
October 15, 2010


Dear Colleagues and Friends:

In a meeting earlier this week, Dr. Azziz expressed his enthusiasm for the many great activities that are happening here at MCG and he remarked to us ‘We need to be telling people more about all of our successes here’. I wholeheartedly agree. Each week I have the great pleasure of learning – either directly or indirectly – about your outstanding individual and programmatic achievements. This week was no exception … and I am pleased and privileged to share news that came our way this week.

We had the pleasure of receiving a letter from a police trainee who recently completed an Emergency Medicine course co-sponsored by the National Tactical Officers Association. The contents (and multiple praises) in the letter are too long to share here but the gratified police trainee who was glowing in his praises – remarked …. ‘you have a staff of superior, quality professionals.’ Congratulations to Emergency Medicine.

We are also proud that our Department of Family Medicine was notified of a receipt of a 5 year award from Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) totaling almost $1 million for development of enhanced primary care training capability in our undergraduate and graduate training venues. Our colleagues were also awarded a supplemental award to support the technological renovation to achieve the goals of the original proposal. Congratulations to our colleagues in Family Medicine.

Congratulations are also in order to the Department of Psychiatry, Dr. Adriana Foster, Ms. Edna Stirewalt, and several medical students, (Luke Smith, James Gable, and Diana Murro), who received the Helping Hands Award from the American Psychiatric Association. Their project is focused on the homeless community in Augusta and helps people get (re) connected with addiction and mental health services. We are proud of their commitment to our community.

We are making real efforts to be partners with our community in several areas. One important area is that of enhancing our diversity. This week the AAMC released its data on Medical School enrollment with regard to racial and ethnic diversity. We were very pleased to learn that the report showed that more minorities were enrolled nationally this year than ever before. These data also show an increase in first-time applicants which demonstrates that medicine is booming as a career choice – thereupon also supporting the need for medical school expansion across the nation. Here at MCG, we not only have the largest class ever, but it is also one of the most diverse classes at MCG – 11% of our 230 students this year are minority students and 9 percent of the 190 students last year: these figures reflect the upward trend also seen nationally. While we are not where we want to be, we are moving in the direction toward our goals of diversity. This is a great accomplishment and reflects the efforts of many, many people throughout our institution. Let’s keep up this great effort … it’s really important.

A key element of student recruitment is reaching out to students across the state. Dr. Geoffrey Young and members of our Admissions Committee traveled to Athens for the annual Alpha Epsilon Delta (AED) recruitment. This meeting with the Prehealth students was very successful. One comment received from a student was “….. you reassured me that MCG is definitely my top choice for medical school”. We must continue to promote our institution as a ‘ first choice’ for students, staff, and faculty.

We are delighted that Dr. Leonard Reeves has made us his ‘ first choice’. Dr. Reeves will be joining our team shortly as the Assistant Dean for the NW Georgia Clinical Campus in Rome. We are very excited to expand our school to the Northwest corner of Georgia. Rome is a unique medical community and we are excited about building a first class educational experience there for our students <!– #BeginDate format:Am1 –> October 26, 2010 <!– #EndDate –> track record of being an excellent teacher and great passion for building an excellent campus. Please join me in welcoming him to the SOM. Our thanks also to Linda Boyd for her leadership of this successful search.

We also heard news of several individual accomplishments. Dr. Walter Moore, senior associate dean for graduate medical education, has received the 2010 Laureate Award from the Georgia Chapter of the American College of Physicians. The award honors fellows and masters of the college who epitomize excellence in medical care, education or research, in service to their community and to the college. Walt received the award at the Georgia chapter’s recent annual meeting. Congratulations to Walt. We also heard that Dr. Gregory Postma, Director of the Voice and Swallowing Disorders Center in the Department of Otolaryngology, received the American Academy of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery’s Distinguished Service Award. Congratulations to Dr. Postma. We are very pleased to recognize Dr. Jennifer Pollock, biochemist and Weiss Professor at the Vascular Biology Center, who was appointed director of MCG’s M.D./Ph.D Program. The program requires seven to eight years of study and it continues to produce outstanding physician-scientists. Congratulations to Dr. Pollock for heading up this exceptional program and we look forward to her leadership.

If you read the ‘Healthcare Heroes’ and ‘Our State’ sections in the October issue of Georgia Trend magazine you will learn lots of interesting tidbits about our eminent faculty. Did you know that Dr. Rhee Fincher has been at MCG for 26 years? Dr. Fincher is one of three physicians featured in the ‘Healthcare Heroes’ section. In last week’s ‘Dean’s Diary’, we told you a little about the 375,000 square feet of space that in time will become the new home to the MCG/UGA Medical Partnership. Dr. Barbara Schuster tells us more as she talks in Georgia Trend about medical school and research expansion in Athens. If you would like a copy of Georgia Trend magazine, please come by the Dean’s office and pick one up.

One measure of our success is whether others seek out our excellence. For sure we are known nationally for our commitment and pioneering work in Patient and Family Centered Care. Last week our Patient Family Center Care Learning Lab hosted 16 individuals representing Christiana Health Care System (located in Delaware) who came to learn from us. We received an overwhelming positive response from our visitors who had the opportunity to kick the tires and see what PFCC in an entire health system looks like. Thanks to everyone for participating, sharing knowledge, having such a great, positive spirit, and the commitment shown to our patients and families.

Yesterday we were also honored to have gubernatorial candidate Mr. Deal visit with us. He was impressed with all of our accomplishments. During his visit he toured the CMC and heard about the accomplishments and impressive activities of our Children’s Medical Center, especially our plans for the forthcoming celebration of the CMC’s 100 year birthday.

Speaking of celebrating our success … Please make sure your calendars are marked for the November 12th Enterprise Wide Family Celebration at Fort Discovery. This will not only celebrate Dr. Azziz’s first 100 days, but also the completion of the Enterprise Wide Strategic Planning Process. More details will follow in the coming weeks.

Amidst all our successes, we must also be considerate and avail of the opportunity to ‘give back’ and to support our community. Accordingly I sincerely thank you for your recent support of the MCG-First Campaign. Please consider supporting the State Charitable Contributions Program Campaign (SCCP). The SCCP is underway as of Monday, October 4 and will run through Friday, October 29. The SCCP is an annual statewide campaign that allows employees to contribute to a variety of charities stateside and overseas. The SCCP strengthens communities by supporting health, welfare, educational and environmental programs. Contributions made through the program impact a wide range of problems, and will also help to improve the lives of countless individuals in need. Your gift will go toward helping others to help themselves. You should have received your SCCP packet (delivered via Campus Mail Services)by now. Your donation to the charity or charities of your choice can be returned by using the enclosed preprinted envelope. Thank you for your support of this campaign!

It is a privilege to communicate to you again this week about all the recent news of the good work of you – our colleagues and friends. I welcome your feedback on this and any ‘Dean’s Diary’! I will also be pleased to highlight other aspects of your activities in any forthcoming ‘Dean’s Diary’, as you wish.

Finally … this week, we were truly inspired by great human resilience of the Chilean miners. It was a remarkable and awesome moment to watch on TV as the ninth survivor (Mario Gomez the oldest at 63) was pulled from the mine. After emerging from underground for over two months, he grasped his national flag, and his wife embraced him. He then dropped to his knees, bowing his head in prayer. This was the greatest success of our week.

As always many thanks for all you do for the institution and the Medical College of Georgia. Have a great weekend