Never doubt

”Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.”

– Margaret Mead


Serving Our Students… Our Profession… Our State

As you know, we just welcomed the Class of 2017 to our campus. The events for orientation were fantastic and well planned, largely due to the efforts of our new Office of Student and Multicultural Affairs (OSMA) unveiled earlier this summer.  It looks like we are off to a great start meeting the goal of this new office: to provide even better service to our students! Each class now has its own Associate Dean, which is great particularly since our class size is so large: ninth largest in the nation, in fact. The terrific lineup includes Dr. Lynnette Bauza, first-year class; Dr. Greer Falls, second-year class; Dr. Eric Lewkowiez, third -year class; and Dr. Kathy McKie, who served admirably as Associate Dean for Student Affairs, continuing as our senior class Associate Dean. Many thanks to everyone who is tasked with serving our students to help them achieve a well-balanced experience here at MCG.


Remarkable Class… Noteworthy News

Speaking of the Class of 2017, they are a lot to brag about as well.  Strategic efforts in our admissions’ process have enabled an ever-stronger complement of students this year, a win-win for all. MCAT scores are up from last year, the class is more diverse, more close to the national average in terms of men and women enrolled,  and just generally a well-rounded group coming from 51 Georgia counties. We’ve got four great new M.D./Ph.D. students in this group, so that is another huge plus. Thanks ever so much to the Admissions Committee members for their commitment to MCG, to our students, and to Drs. Paul Wallach and Gina Duncan for leading this exceedingly important charge. We expect continued forward motion as the first round of scholarships resulting from the transformational, $66 million gift of our late, great alum Dr. J. Harold Harrison, will be coming online for the Class of 2018! This is an incredible opportunity to be even more strategic in our admission process by taking finances off the table for at least some of our future students. Again, Dr. Harrison’s gift to his alma mater is a clear sign of the strength and potential of this medical school. You can learn more about our newest class at and more about admissions at http:// .


Team Training… Better Together 

In terms of national trends, the AAMC tells us that the majority of medical students who graduated this year report that they are learning medicine the same way they will be practicing it: in teams.  Nearly three-quarters of the new grads tell us they are training with colleagues in nursing, dentistry, pharmacy and more. We are doing the same thing right here and the new educational home – the J. Harold Harrison, M.D., Education Commons – which will be ready for the Class of 2018 – is literally designed with that in mind as it will have a state-of-the-art simulation center.  The 2013 Medical School Graduation Questionnaire from the AAMC also tells us that graduates reported an average medical education debt of $135,084, although for our students, it’s much less.  It’s interesting information as always from the AAMC.  For more results, see


New Faculty… Warm Welcome… Opportunities for Collaboration

This time of year we also welcome new faculty to our medical school and our campus. The New Faculty Cookout, sponsored by the GRU Office of Academic and Faculty Affairs, was a great way to launch this historic academic year. The consolidation that created GRU also created so many enhanced opportunities for collaboration and excitement. It was great that our newest faculty members hit the ground with such a sweet taste of what we have to offer and the Summerville Campus provided a beautiful setting as well. Our thanks and congratulations to Dr. Carol Rychly for a strong start to the new academic year.


Gene Tests In Spotlight… Implications For Personalized Medicine…

There’s interesting discussion out there about how far to go with gene testing as we move full tilt into the era of genomic medicine.  The American College of Medical Genetics and Genomics (ACMG) had earlier issued a policy statement emphasizing the importance of telling patients that incidental findings are a possibility when they have genomic sequencing studies done for a specific reason. Now ACMG is recommending that, regardless of the specific study requested, testing also be done on 56 genes involved in disease states where morbidity and mortality could be prevented if genetic risk is identified before actual disease symptoms surface.  The group makes it clear that there are a lot of unresolved issues, including fundamentals such as who pays for these extra tests. Meanwhile, an editorial piece in the Journal of the American Medical Association says flatly that this additional testing should not be done – see It’s a truly fascinating and expected debate as we take personalized medicine and health care to the next level. Stay tuned.


Great Image… International Impact

Congratulations to Dr. Ramon Figueroa who was recognized for his SILAN Society -MCG Visiting Scholar Program during the scientific organization’s recent Silver Anniversary Annual Meeting. He received the “Distinguished Member Diploma” the highest SILAN Society recognition. There were 29 SILAN-MCG Program alumni at the meeting to celebrate his recognition and express gratitude to MCG for supporting this program for the past 17 years. We thank Dr. Figueroa as well for his efforts to promote  neuroradiology in Spanish- and Portuguese-speaking countries and, of course, right here at home. Check out this link to learn more about SILAN,


Valiant Warriors… Doing the Best for our Children… For our Community

This week Visionary Warriors, a program put on by the James and Jean Culver Vision Discovery Institute, made its debut at Superior Academy in Evans. The program uses martial arts to help children with vision impairment enhance their sensory awareness skills so they are more aware of their surroundings and, ideally, fitter and better able to protect themselves. Many thanks to those who helped put this fantastic program together, including Drs. Julian Nussbaum and Sylvia Smith, the Office of Advancement,  and a special thanks to Superior Academy owner Jason Herrera for being such a terrific host and teacher. What a great effort for our children and our community! Check out the article, and broadcast


Meaningful Meeting… Sharing Knowledge

Our recent Executive Committee meeting was a particularly insightful one that started with Dr. Gretchen Caughman providing an inspiring overview of where our new university is headed. Meg Fisher and Cedric Johnson along with Michael Shaffer reminded us all of the importance of keeping the community we serve – and ours is a huge one – informed of what we are up to. Drs. Laura and Anthony Mulloy gave an update on the Executive Wellness program which is ready to roll. If you want more info on this by the way, call 706-723-4478.  Lots of other great information, including an update on the MCG strategic planning process we have been telling you about. Co-Chair Dr. Barbara Robinson did a nice job updating folks on progress and, once again, we appreciate her contributions to this important blueprint for our future. Check out the strategic planning website to stay informed,  Drs. Marc Miller and Connie Drisko also talked about launching the Leadership Academy that will pull from the university’s talent in key areas like communication and professionalism to develop courses that will first be offered to a variety of leadership groups on our campus and, later externally, to help share the knowledge and ensure that we are collectively strong and, as they say, “grounded in learning and innovation.”


Fabulous Freshmen… Starting Together

Today got off to a stellar start with the GRU Freshman Convocation.  There was a great turnout to honor and support our new students that even the significant rain could not dampen!  Pulitzer Prize Winning Journalist and Author Rick Bragg reminded students of their enviable position of just getting started with their professional lives. GRU Sophomore Cody Woods showed wisdom well beyond his years by sharing tips on how to make the most of the road ahead.  It was truly a glorious start to the exciting days ahead of us. Our congratulations and thanks to Drs. Gretchen Caughman and Carol Rychly and so many others for making it real.


Upcoming Events…

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 for 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.


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Enjoy the weekend!