“Happiness doesn’t result from what we get, but from what we give.”
Ben Carson

Super Scholarships …. Awesome Alum

Talk about another big “Wow.’ Late this week our MCG Foundation leaders approved with great enthusiasm plans for the first six scholarships resulting from the transformative $66 million gift of our late and truly great alum, Dr. J. Harold Harrison. Our foundation announced in April the gift to our medical school by Dr. Harrison and his wife Sue. What a tremendous level of commitment and gratitude this dear man has shown for his alma mater, and oh, the impact it’s already having. This first round of scholarships will start this coming fall with our Class of 2018 and includes three full and three partial scholarships. A complement of six J. Harold Harrison Scholars will be added over the following three years as well. Can you say amazing! We have really terrific students at our medical school and this magnanimous gift will help ensure that we continue to attract the very best of the best. Because, these scholars will not only be true intellectuals, they will also reflect real leadership. Certainly the man who made these scholarships possible was a shining example of both. We also are fortunate at this initial stage to be able to establish the $2 million Harrison Distinguished University Chair that gives us the flexibility to attract a strategic recruit. As was Dr. Harrison’s intent, there will be more scholarships and endowed chairs to come. And, it is our intent before this is done to find just the right words to properly express our forever gratitude. To read more about this great news, visit: http://news.gru.edu/archives/9984.
Able Ambassadors … Future Physicians

On a clearly related note, we had a couple of recent reminders of the caliber of students who look at us when they look toward a future as a physician or physician scientist. As part of fall recruitment, our Admissions staff along with some of our incredible faculty and students, made a trip to the University of Georgia – one of our largest feeder schools and a truly wonderful university for our State of Georgia – as well as a shorter jaunt up the hill to our Summerville Campus to talk with interested students about our medical school and to answer their questions about what being a student is really like. The Georgia Alpha Chapter of Alpha Epsilon Delta at UGA, an organization for students who want to be health professionals, was our incredible host in Athens per usual. Great participation from both faculty and students at our main campus here in Augusta as well as from the Medical Partnership campus in Athens. We cannot thank our medical students, M.D./PH.D students, and faculty enough for once again making this extra effort to share with others what they know best. Certainly you all are outstanding representatives of our medical school! And, of course, we thank the Admissions Office and Admissions Committee, for their hard work and ambassadorship as well.
Northwest Bound … Regional Campus Growth

We started out last week waving the White Coat (ceremony set for this Saturday) and this week we look north to Tuesday’s ribbon cutting at our newest regional campus, the Northwest Campus, based in handsome Rome, Ga.! Talk about exciting as well. As we have discussed before, our medical school has been so very fortunate to find incredible physicians – many of whom also happen to be MCG alums – and hospitals across our fair state who graciously share their time and talent in the important task of educating the next generation of physicians. The enthusiasm of the Rome region definitely merits another ‘wow.’ We obviously could not educate some 900 medical students without a lot of great help and we think it’s a terrific idea to have our students – many of who come from throughout Georgia – to fan back out across our state for at least part of their education. So we give an official ‘welcome’ and ‘thank you’ to Northwest Georgia. Special thanks as well to Dr. Leonard Reeves and Vicki Wiles for pulling together what promises to be a fabulous event. Check out more at http://news.gru.edu/archives/9969/. More on this next week!
Greetings …Gratitude

Here’s more great news: we have had a very successful conclusion to our search for a new Chief Medical Officer. Dr. Kevin C. Dellsperger, who is Senior Associate Dean for Clinical Outcomes at the University of Missouri, joins us Nov. 1 as CMO and Vice President at our hospital as well as Associate Dean for Clinical Affairs in our medical school. He is a leader in health-care quality, an experienced educator and researcher as well as senior administrator. We welcome him to the indefatigable effort to always excel in our care of patients. Indefatigable also describes the dedication of Dr. Bill Kanto who has served admirably in this role and so many others at our medical school and health system. Many of you may not know that Dr. Kanto is a neonatologist who spent many, many years at our institution caring for our tiniest patients. In fact, he served as Section Chief of Neonatology for a decade and then as Chairman of Pediatrics. Jobs well done Dr. Kanto and we thank you for your remarkable commitment and accomplishments.
Resident Leader …. Setting High Standards

Speaking of commitment and accomplishment, Dr. Bill Dolen is another great example of both. Dr. Dolen, our Interim Chief of Allergy-Immunology and Rheumatology, was recently elected Chairman of the Accreditation Council of Graduate Medical Education’s Residency Review Committee for Allergy and Immunology. July 1 he assumes the important duties of leading the committee that establishes standards for training programs in his specialty. In other words, he’ll take the great job he’s done educating our residents and help ensure that all future allergists-immunologists in this country get optimal training. Now that’s a leader. We send our thanks and our congratulations along with a big ‘high five.’

Rocking Research … Potent Posters

Our internal medicine residents did a great job putting their efforts out there as well recently with poster presentations of their research at the fall meeting of the Georgia Chapter of the American College of Physicians in beautiful Savannah. Topics ranged from an atypical case of obscure gastrointestinal bleeding to the increasingly – and very troubling – problem of young people with elevated blood pressure and stiff arteries. Presenters included Drs. Abhishek Mangaonkar, Samip Parikh, Amer Sayed, Obi Ukabam, Sasha Baker, Jigar Bhagatwala, Eddie Fatakhov , Scott Graupner, Josh Mansour, and Malinda West. Dr. Bhagatwala actually received a third-place award and Dr. Parikh was selected for an oral presentation. Congratulations as well to our GRU/UGA Medical Partnership Student Thuy Van (Tina) Duong who was awarded first place in the student poster competition!! Tina’s summer research focused on understanding the high obesity rates among patients and the low program referral and participation rates at Mercy Health Center, as well as how best to structure an obesity prevention initiative. Tina’s poster will now be entered in the national ACP student poster competition. Way to go all and our best wishes for Tina in the national competition.

Public Health … Powerful Prevention

Speaking of public health issues like obesity and hypertension, we are so pleased to welcome another great new addition to the university’s team. Dr. Selina Smith is the new Director of the Institute of Public and Preventive Health. Dr. Smith, who is an expert in key areas such as community-based participatory research and cancer control and prevention, comes to us from Morehouse School of Medicine where she was Deputy Director of the Cancer Research Program. Certainly she has a great group to work with such as the research team at the Georgia Prevention Center, which for decades has been tackling tough issues such as how lifestyle contributes to children growing up to have cardiovascular and related metabolic disorders like diabetes! The center is now part of institute she was brought here to direct. Dr. Smith sounds like a great fit and we look forward to working with her closely over the coming months and years.

High-Fat Findings…. Differential Impact

Speaking of obesity, Student Huy B. Le along with Postdoc Anne-Cecile Huby and Faculty Member Eric J. Belin de Chantemele recently took a bit of a different look at the all-too-real problem of its unfortunate impact on the cardiovascular system. They knew there was supposed to be a link with leptin, a hormone key to regulating hunger, metabolism and behavior. They also knew that females secrete three to four times more leptin than males so suspected that females might fare worse on a high-fat diet. The results were contrary to what was expected. While both males and females gained weight on the high-fat diet, the males stopped eating as much while the females ate more. However, interestingly, Huy’s work also showed that the blood vessels of obese females didn’t contract as much as the males’ in response to stimulation from the sympathetic nervous system – which is the one that is reactive to the environment and controls the infamous ‘fight or flight’ response. This is great news for women as this mechanism might be protective against obesity-induced hypertension .It’s a seriously interesting and surprising finding and more of the great science featured at the recent Medical Scholars Research Day and Medical Partnership Student Research Symposium.

Remarkable Assets … Rocking Recruiting

And finally this week, it’s amazing really to think about all the great new potential faculty members that we are constantly bringing to our campus to augment the incredible faculty already here. A ton of work goes into making sure the right people connect at the right time and in the right way. Much of this essential work lies in the steady hands of our department and center assistants. This large and fabulous frontline for our medical school does an incredible job on so many fronts and, rest assured, no job is more important than recruitment. We thank Nikia Erickson for recently bringing together this core group to share ideas about maximizing the efficiency and effectiveness of this significant responsibility. We send a huge thank you as well to all our assistants for helping us look – and stay – so good.


Oct. 10 – Student Health Clinic Open House, 5:30-7 p.m., Pavillion II, Room 1040, Health Sciences Campus.
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- http://on.fb.me/15N7Tfi.
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: http://binged.it/1cer6er and http://on.fb.me/14o75gA for the event page.
Oct. 15 – The MCG Alumni Association Regional Reception will be held in Rome, Ga. at 6 p.m. at the Coosa Country Club http://binged.it/13RGSEa.
Oct. 15 – Student flu shots, second floor, Student Center, Health Sciences Campus, 11 a.m.-1 p.m.
Oct. 16-Nov. 15 – Art Exhibit, “This is Not a Pear in Cleveland,” by Ricardo Azziz, The Fire House Gallery, 605 Mulberry St., Louisville, Ga., noon-6 p.m. Wednesdays-Fridays.
Oct. 17 – Student flu shots, first-floor lobby, Health Sciences Building, 11 a.m.-1 p.m.
Oct. 18-20 – The American Medical Student Association (AMSA) chapter is co-hosting the Empowering Future Physicians Conference 2013 with the Morehouse School of Medicine. Please check out this event link for more information, http://on.fb.me/15kgqHe.
Oct. 24 – GRU University Senate Fall Assembly and New Faculty Reception, 5-7:30 p.m., Alumni Center, Ballrooms A, B, C, Health Sciences Campus.
Oct. 26 – The MCG Alumni Association Regional Reception will be held in Augusta, Ga. at 6 p.m. at the Augusta Country Club.
Oct. 27 – The MCG Alumni Association Board Meeting will be held at 9:30 a.m. at the Alumni Center Ballroom on the GRU Campus.
Oct. 29 – Student flu shots, Game Room, University Village Housing Complex, 5:30 – 7 p.m.
Nov. 4-8 – Human Research Academy, comprehensive research training for investigators, coordinators and research team members involved in human research. Register here: http://bit.ly/GU9sPC and select here to preview the course agenda.
Nov. 14 – President Ricardo Azziz’s State of the Enterprise Address, noon, Maxwell Performing Arts Theatre, Summerville Campus.
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.

Nov. 21 – ElI Career Development 101 for new faculty will be held noon-5:15 p.m. at the GRU Alumni Center.
Nov. 22 – MCG Faculty Senate, noon, Lee Auditorium
Dec. 13 – MCG Faculty Senate meeting, noon, Lee Auditorium.
Jan. 23 – MCG Faculty Senate meeting, 5 p.m., Lee Auditorium.
Feb. 13 – MCG Faculty Senate meeting, noon, Lee Auditorium.
March 13 – MCG Faculty Senate meeting, 5 p.m., Lee Auditorium
May 1 – Annual State of the College Address, noon, Lee Auditorium.

Check out our MCG Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/grumcg and Twitter page as well #Follow.

Enjoy this beautiful fall weekend and, if you have a chance, check out the always fun (and great food, too!) Greek Festival.