American Dream

“As an educator, I have always striven to see that the fruits of the American Dream are available to all.”

– James D. Watson

August 9, 2013


Dear Colleagues and Friends:


Rocking Rome… More Forward Motion…

We told you back in late June that our first “magnificent seven” students were starting at our Northwest Campus, based in Rome. Now we want to share that the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges has given the campus its approval. This is more great news, of course, for our newest regional campus, which is part of the larger strategy that enables our students to live and learn across our great state. We want our students to truly experience many different practice approaches and settings. This will not only help ensure that they get a well-rounded medical education, but ideally, the incredible talent and hospitality they find across our great state will inspire them to want to remain in Georgia and serve the many communities that need them. We can’t miss this opportunity to say again how truly fortunate we are to have so many doors opened to us as we work to educate the next generation of physicians!


Athens Action… Going for GME

Speaking of statewide education, our Athens campus in partnership with the University of Georgia, has partnered with St. Mary’s Hospital to submit an internal medicine residency application to the Accreditation Council on Graduate Medical Education! Our special thanks to Dr. Shelley Nuss, to St. Mary’s Chief Medical Officer Dr. Bruce F. Middendorf and to hospital CEO Don McKenna, and the entire hospital leadership for attaining this key step. A site visit will be the next phase. As you may know, growing graduate medical education is essential to growing more physicians for our state.


Fabulous Footnote…Public Health

Also in Athens, Theodora Brandon, a student at the GRU/UGA Medical Partnership, is just getting back to medical school after working on a master of public health degree from UGA. She spent a summer in Israel and another in Croatia doing a World Health Organization internship as part of UGA’s Global Health program.  This is a wonderful example of the synergies and opportunities that occur through this partnership.


Significant Summer… Another Super Student

Another one of our students, Vishal Goyal, was honored as the 2013 Best Medical Student Scholar Who Exemplifies the Attributes of Medical Professionalism, Caring and Teamwork by the Division of Neonatology at New York University School of Medicine. This rising second-year student spent the summer participating in the NYU Jack Cary Eichenbaum Neonatology Summer Scholars Program, which gives students a big taste of caring for the smallest newborns. What a terrific learning opportunity and we applaud Vishal for his effort and his honor.


Exceptional Gift… Dr. David B. Birnbaum…

The Culver Vision Discovery Institute just received another exceptional gift! Dr. David B. Birnbaum of Nashville, Tenn., gave $50,000 to create an endowment supporting the academic interests of residents and graduate scientists. This will support travel awards, research, educational endeavors and more. To commemorate this outstanding gift and individual, the ophthalmology resident room in the Eye Care Center was renamed the David B. Birnbaum, M.D. Resident Room. Dr. Birnbaum is a native of Savannah; graduated from MCG in 1986; and finished his ophthalmology residency here in 1990. He practiced in Clarksville, Tenn., for 22 years before moving to Nashville. We send our many thanks to Dr. Birnbaum for his generosity and to all of our alums who so graciously give back to this institution.  We are truly fortunate.


Visionary Scientists… Inspiring Individuals

Speaking of vision, our congratulations to Drs. Ruth and Willie Caldwell, who recently received a $2.2 million grant from the National Eye Institute to try to stop the attack on the retina that often accompanies diabetes and can result in blindness. Of course, securing this grant is a great accomplishment anytime, but particularly in these days of leaner federal research funding. Also of note is that Dr. Ruth is retired and working part-time and, as many of you may know, Dr. Willie will be moving to a similar status in the coming months. He’s served as our Chair of Pharmacology and Toxicology for 26 years!! He’s graciously agreed to stay at the helm until December as we diligently search for an appropriate successor. Thanks to both these great scientists – and individuals – for their incredible and ongoing contributions to MCG and to better health. Read more about their new grant at


Social Media… Common Sense Approach… Professionalism

There’s no doubt physicians need to know a lot – and more every day – but if you have not already, please consider adding knowledge of social media to the list. As our Dr. Dale Peeples recently told the Georgia Psychiatric Physicians Association summer meeting, the majority of all Americans and the vast majority of young Americans use social media. Often young people use it with little or no supervision. For those of us providing care, it’s important to appreciate that most state medical boards have had violations of online professionalism, including inappropriate prescribing, and inappropriate patient contact.  Dr. Peeples advises us to makes sure we protect patient confidentiality in all venues, including these essentially public social media sites; don’t give medical advice online; always be honest about who we are and what we know; and – whether we are faculty, residents or students – ensure that we are cautious with our posts. This is a great reminder – and great advice – for us all.


Great Leader Lost… Community Mourns

Recently, this area lost a strong leader and remarkable individual, state Rep. Quincy Murphy, after a courageous fight with cancer. He was a great Augustan and outstanding supporter of our institution and so many of us here had a great fondness for him. Our most heartfelt thoughts and prayers are with the family he left behind. Please visit to read more about his significant accomplishments.


Upcoming Events…

Aug. 15 – Kick-off the new school year while celebrating and learning more about the full spectrum of services at GRU and GRHealth at the first ever GR Connections Expo, 3-7 p.m., at the Christenberry Fieldhouse on the Forest Hills Campus. Follow this link to see map, To see the website please go to,

Aug. 15 – GRU EII Health Sciences Education Grand Rounds, co-sponsored by Department of Neurology, Bringing Consistent Evaluation to Clerkship Competencies, 8-9 a.m., BI 3079.

Sept. 12 – GRU’s 3rd Annual Diversity and Inclusion Summit will be held at the Salvation Kroc Center. This year’s theme is, Challenge Your Perspective and will be held 9:30 a.m. to 8:15 p.m. To learn more, go to the event page–

Sept. 12 – GRU EII Health Sciences Education Grand Rounds, co-sponsored by  the Department of Psychiatry and Health Behavior, Student and Faculty Perceptions of Class Attendance, 11:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m., EC 1210.

Sept. 13 – Mark your calendars at noon for 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 kmckenzie@rx.uga.eduand visit the website, for more information.

Oct. 2 – GRU EII Health Sciences Education Grand Rounds, co-sponsored by  the College of Allied Health Sciences, Developing Interprofessional Sexual Health Competencies: Why We Should Care, noon-1 p.m., EC 1222.

Oct. 12 – The White Coat ceremony will be held at the Bell Auditorium at 3 p.m. with the reception immediately following at the Old Medical College building. Please check this event page on our MCG Facebook to follow details–

Oct. 15 – Join in the grand opening of the Northwest Campus based in Rome at noon at the James D. Maddox Heritage Hall at Georgia Highlands College, 415 E. Third Avenue at Glenn Milner Blvd. in Rome. Follow this link for a map: and the event page.

Nov. 15 – GRU EII Health Sciences Education Grand Rounds, co-sponsored by the Department of Oral Health and Diagnostic Sciences, Critical Thinking: Teaching and Measuring, noon-1 p.m., GC 5002.

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

Enjoy the weekend!