September 24, 2010

Dear Colleagues and Friends:

I hope that the recent, inaugural “Dean’s Diary” circulated on September 10, 2010 was useful to you in providing a brief (…well really, it wasn’t all that brief!) update on a range of recent activities at MCG. If not, please do give me your feedback so that I can serve you better.

Today, I wanted to highlight several other activities that have generated recent enthusiasm. I had the distinct pleasure to see several of our colleagues receive young investigator awards at the inaugural joint MCG/UGA sponsored conference: Southern Translational Education and Research (STAR). The science was great and there seemed like a real spirit of collegiality among this regional community of investigators at â*Š.roll on next year’s STAR conference!

On Monday, the impressive efforts of our students and mentors were displayed at the SOM Summer Research Poster session. It was an invigorating event, with 61 excellent poster presentations that spanned basic sciences through to health services research. The knowledge and professionalism of our students as they described their work, standing proudly beside their posters, was truly inspirational to all of us. The support of this year’s research effort by the Discovery Institutes (DIs) and their research leaders was very evident. We are very pleased to â** despite economic constraints â** provide strong and substantial support to each DI again this year. Each DI received their budget approval last week. We look forward to another productive year from each DI as they develop the clinical-translational interface.

In addition to medical student and young investigator research, several new faculty are getting their new labs/clinical programs up and going. As an example, the Department of Otolaryngology has collaborated with Neurosurgery to develop a skill-based center which is a great opportunity for clinical research. This also adds to the neuroscience research portfolio, with the department of neurosurgery being recorded as #25 nationwide in terms of NIH funding. Other evidence of joint departmental and enhanced basic science/clinical developments include the outreach of each DI and joint recruitments of physician scientists (e.g. between the Immunotherapy Center and the Department of Pediatrics). There are many important searches ongoing at present and these represent a real opportunity to advance our capacity for clinical translational research and for mentorship. With regard to fellowships and mentorship this week applications for two T32 fellowship programmatic grants went to the federal government- one submitted from the Cancer Center and one from the Vascular Biology Center. We are also waiting to hear final news on another program project grant, this one between IMAAG and the Department of Orthopaedics. Also, as I’m sure you know, Mark Hamrick was named our Interim VP for Research. Our thanks to him for his leadership and let’s give him our full support.

I’ve been learning this week about our Health Augusta Initiative, led by the Department of Pediatrics. This is being mirrored on a healthy-lifestyles campaign in Savannah that has been highly successful. These types of community outreach to our colleagues and community partners are important and are real opportunities.

You likely have also noticed that we have ‘stepped it up a notch’ on community outreach with our ESP activities. These activities, the name change, as well as several meetings with community leaders are creating ‘buzz’ about our mission. These are also great catalysts for change. Also, please watch out for presentations by department chairs and unit directors at their meetings of our new institutional vision and implementation principles, and short-term deliverables. These presentations by our leaders will share the vision that Dr. Azziz articulated to us in recent town hall meetings.

Tomorrow, we honor the largest ever medical student class at Family Day and at our White Coat Ceremony. My thanks to the many faculty and staff who have made this landmark achievement possible. See you there if you can, and if not, I’ll hit the high points about the day in my next Dean’s Diary!

Thank you and enjoy this coming weekend!

Best Wishes,