Never give up

Never, never, never, never give up.”
– Winston Churchill


July 12, 2013

Tackling tragedy … Lessons Learned … Lives Saved

We’ve all heard too much for too long about tragedies. But we believe you will be pleased to know that our faculty members are playing an incredible leadership role in optimally managing the aftermath of these unfortunately inevitable disasters to maximize survival. The most recent endeavor of our Department of Emergency Medicine along with the National Disaster Life Support Foundation Inc., which is also based right here, includes putting together a two-day meeting in Atlanta next week that is attracting first responders from around the world to learn from the Boston Marathon bombings, the Texas fertilizer plant explosion as well as near misses such as the North Korean nuclear threat. You may not know that MCG faculty along with colleagues at the University of Georgia, University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas, and Texas A&M School of Public Health have developed a series of courses that help ensure that these brave souls on the front line of natural and manmade disasters learn how to best manage these horrific situations that often strike from out of the blue. This includes how to pull together the different skill sets of these folks, such as paramedics, firefighters, physicians, and police, to build the strongest team for the battle. The upcoming meeting is a great example of our team’s truly transformative work at an international level and we applaud the leadership of individuals such as Dr. Phillip Coule, Dr. Richard Schwartz and Jack Horner in looking out for us all.  You can learn more at

Strategic Priorities … Workgroup Leaders…

To ensure that our medical school works optimally, our strategic planning is really starting to come together with a group of truly talented people generating lots of great thoughts and plans. Many thanks to those who are taking the extra step to lead us through this process–Education Workgroup: Dr. Paul Wallach; Research Workgroup: Dr. Michael Diamond; Clinical Workgroup: Dr. Julian Nussbaum; Cultural Transformation & Diversity: Dr. Joseph Hobbs; People/Process Excellence Workgroup: Dr. Michael Madaio; External Affairs Workgroup: Jeanette Balotin; and the Consolidation Workgroup: Dr. Laura Mulloy. Thank you all for your time and service to the MCG community as we plan together an even greater future for our medical school.

International Colleagues … Sharing Cultures and Expertise

Speaking of great futures, we reached another important milestone this week with the signing of a memorandum of understanding with China’s Jiangsu Province Department of Health. As part of our new relationship, we will be bringing their physicians to work alongside our physicians in four-week observerships in key areas of medicine such as pediatrics and internal medicine.  Our first six colleagues will arrive in October. This is a phenomenal undertaking and many thanks to all those who have helped put it together. It is a truly remarkable showing of partnership and leadership that will yield growth for us all and is very much in keeping with our university’s globalization efforts. In fact, establishment of the GRU Confucius Institute that was announced earlier this week exemplifies this effort to share cultures and expertise. These are exciting opportunities! Read more about the Confucius Institute here

Licensing Exam … Taking it Up a Couple of Notches

Please be aware that the USMLE recently announced a higher recommended minimum passing score – from 196 to 203 – for the Step 2 Clinical Knowledge exam. This new score requirement is effective for tests taking on or after July 1. Follow this link to learn more —

High Court Decision … Good News for Diversity

We have been keeping up with the Supreme Court’s recent ruling regarding the Fisher v. University of Texas at Austin case about affirmative action admissions policies. Dr. Darrell G. Kirch from the AAMC – and our former Dean – sent out a statement on the positive impact of the high court’s recent ruling on academic medicine and a culturally-competent physician workforce for our nation. The Medical College of Georgia stands beside the AAMC regarding the important commitment to diversity, including a holistic admissions process.  You can read more about the case here

In Sickness and Health … Genomics Curriculum…

We learn more every day about the vital role our genes and environment play in sickness and in health and the incredible potential of personalized medicine in improving the efficacy and reducing the side effects of treatment.  To help put this in perspective for the practicing physician, the National Coalition for Health Professional Education in Genetics, Genetic Alliance and the Genomic Medicine Institute at Silicon Valley’s El Camino Hospital have developed  the hospital-based CME curriculum, “Medicine’s Future: Genomics for Practicing Doctors.” It’s available to other hospitals and health systems and should be another great and extremely timely learning opportunity. You can learn more at —

Significant Science …. Ignoring Estrogen

Speaking of which, our own Dr. Larry Layman has a paper just published in the New England Journal of Medicine that identifies for the first time in a female an estrogen receptor defect that leaves her unable to use this important hormone. She was referred to Dr. Layman with classic symptoms of delayed puberty, which usually means she didn’t have enough estrogen. However studies of her blood found she actually had a lot of it, it just wasn’t working. Dr. Layman, along with M.D./Ph.D. Student Samuel D. Quaynor, and others ultimately found the receptor mutation that was keeping her from using it. Awesome work! Learn more about it at

Great Alliance … Innovative Business…

Fantastic news from our hospital as well!  Georgia Regents Medical Center signed a 15-year alliance with Royal Philips designed to increase patient-centered approaches to care while creating an innovative business model at our medical center. This is a truly transformational alliance that will greatly benefit our patients as well as our educational and research endeavors in the near future. What a terrifically unique opportunity. We thank David Hefner and his team – including Jim Rawson – for their leadership in forging this new alliance. Read more here–

A Decade of Service …. Hundreds Helped

Please join me in celebrating with Dr. James Gossage and other team members at the Hereditary Hemorrhagic Telangiectasia (HHT) Center at GR Health System as they have recently have seen their 700th patient. This rare vascular disease affects about 1 in 5,000 people worldwide and is characterized by malformed blood vessels throughout the body that are prone to rupture, causing nosebleeds, intracranial hemorrhage, stroke, gastrointestinal bleeding, and heart failure. The center opened in 2003 and is one of only 15 HHT Centers in the U.S. Our thanks to all who serve on this team for their commitment. They are truly an invaluable resource to patients. Please know that our Dr. Gossage is also Medical Director of HHT Foundation International, a large organization driven by and dedicated to these patients.


Upcoming Events…

July 16- The Department of Biostatistics & Epidemiology at the Medical College of Georgia is hosting a seminar on “On Applications of Sequential Sampling Methodologies: An Overview,” in the Biostatistics Seminar Room in Pavilion 1 beginning at 9:30 a.m. with refreshments and program lasting until 11 a.m. To learn more, follow this link–

July 31 – The MCG Alumni Association will have a Freshman Brunch at 10:30 a.m. at the Augusta Marriott Hotel and Conference Center.

Aug. 1 – Early decision dates– AMCAS Application deadline and Secondary Application deadline due today.

Aug. 5 – First day of class.

Aug. 15 – Please mark your calendars for a kick-off to start the new school year while celebrating and learning more about the full spectrum of services at GRU and GRHealth. From 3-7 p.m., the Christenberry Fieldhouse on the Forest Hills Campus will be filled with exhibits, information and representatives from throughout the university and health system.

Sept. 13 – Mark your calendars for noon and the first MCG Faculty Senate meeting for the 2014 academic year. The event will be held in the Lee Auditorium.

Sept. 17-18- Please join the GRU Research Community at the Innovation Summit at the Kroc Center. To learn more, follow this link–

Sept. 26-27- The Southern Translational Education and Research (STAR) Conference 2013 will be held at the Augusta Marriott. Investigators in the field of clinical and translational science are invited to submit abstracts to be considered by Aug. 30th. Please contact Kim Mckenzie at and visit the website, for more information.

Oct. 12 – Save the date for the annual White Coat Ceremony. Please stay tuned for details.

Oct. 15 – Grand opening of the Northwest Georgia campus based in Rome.

Check out our MCG Facebook page at and Twitter page as well #Follow.


Enjoy your (likely wet) weekend!