Expressing Gratitude

“As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to
utter words, but to live by them.”
John Fitzgerald Kennedy

On the Table …At the Heart

Let’s start by putting something on the table: Next week is Thanksgiving! It’s frankly one of our favorite holidays, a time for tradition and families and friends and typically too much fine food. In our crazy busy lives, it may also be one of those rare opportunities to gather around the table at one time with those we hold most dear; to take a look, to take a moment, to just enjoy.  Inevitably, some years also are nostalgic, as a chair previously filled, now sits empty. We would be horribly remiss if we did not take this remarkable time of year to once again express how thankful we are for each of you. For the work you do to improve health – and keep those dining room chairs happily occupied for as long as possible. For the energy you bring to your work and to your education. For the brilliance, passion, and insight you daily share. For your commitment to your colleagues, your patients, and your community. This is simply an amazing group that gathers here each day and we are grateful for each of you.

Selfless Act … Remarkable Contribution

This past Friday many of us already shared an inspiring gathering. It was our annual memorial service for the incredible individuals who donate their bodies to health education and science. Like Thanksgiving, this day too has its truly bittersweet moments, but the bottom line is a pure sense of giving. Body donors are absolutely the ultimate teachers, because there simply is no substitute for learning the magnificent human anatomy. This simple act of selfless devotion to a healthier future, finds us once again, searching for adequate words to express our gratitude. We believe our students do it best. Like Stephen Jackson, president of our Class of 2016. “The memorial is meant to embody the appreciation and respect we have as students for the donors who gave their bodies to science to better our understanding of human anatomy. Without the body donors, we as students wouldn’t get a firsthand look at anatomy, something that is crucial to our training as physicians. The act of donating one’s body is something that most of us can’t even comprehend, but the Memorial was a chance for us to make our gratitude known and convey to the families and survivors of the donors that their loved ones’ donations were well respected.” Well said, Stephen. Did you know that about 125-150 individuals each year make this incredibly generous decision to be donors for our program? These individuals represent the best of us from every walk of life and many, like the patients we treat, have been touched by serious illness. Still, they look beyond their own situation and think of a better future for us all.  If you want to know more about body donation, you can contact David Adams at 706-721-3731 or or visit

Tireless Commitment … Super Success

Speaking of commitment, we talked earlier this month about one incredible alumnus and individual, Dr. Lois Ellison, as we rightly marked the celebration of her 90th birthday. This week we proudly share news of another of our great alums who also continues to make remarkable contributions to our institution and to his profession. Dr. Joseph Hobbs, who has really spent his adult life with us, came to us as a medical student in the early 1970s and dutifully emerged over the years as leader both here and in his profession.  Now Dr. Hobbs will initiate our new Office of Faculty Affairs, overseeing the important and excruciatingly detailed process of promotion and tenure as well as faculty diversity and inclusion. As Dr. Paul Wallach said, Dr. Hobbs is a true senior statesman that deeply cares about our medical school – his medical school. While we again feel at a bit of loss for just the right words, we say another hearty thank you to him for his absolute commitment and integrity. Please join me in congratulating our very first Senior Associate Dean for Primary Care and Faculty Affairs.

Top of the Heap … Strong Beat

And, speaking of great colleagues, our cardiovascular researchers also are among the best ever. Of course, many of you already knew that but this is from a more objective source: our institution is now number six in American Heart Association funding!  Scientists like Drs. Eric Belin de Chantemele, Weiqin Chen, Il-man Kim and Styliani Goulopoulou are putting AHA dollars to great use, dissecting relevant and difficult issues like the vascular dysfunction that can be experienced by women during pregnancy and how fat contributes to metabollic diseases like diabetes, which is a huge risk factor for heart disease. Great job all! It’s absolutely worth noting that some of our AHA funding recipients are even predoctoral and postdoctoral trainees!  Our colleagues at the top include Brigham & Women’s Hospital, Johns Hopkins, University of California, San Francisco, Massachusetts General Hospital, and the University of Pittsburgh.

National Networking … Clinical Advances

We just made another awesome list. Our medical school and university are among six nationally that are part of the National Institutes of Health’s Cooperative Multicenter Reproductive Medicine Network. Fabulous!  What this means is that some of the best trials investigating the latest treatments for reproductive concerns such as infertility will be taking place right here. Dr. Mike Diamond has been a part of this network for more than a decade at Wayne State University and wanted to bring this opportunity to our faculty, staff, students and patients as well, when he came to us. We are so glad that he has! We’ve all heard of course about safety in numbers, well there is efficiency in numbers too and by putting together a consortium like this one, it really makes it possible to have sufficient numbers of patients to get these studies done and done well. Recent studies, for example, have helped find new – and less expensive – treatments for infertility problems associated with polycystic ovary disease. Dr. Larry Layman is Co-Investigator on this important new affiliation along with Dr. Diamond’s former colleague at Wayne State, Dr. Stephen A. Krawetz. We applaud these kinds of efficient and effective strategies by the NIH and, of course, Dr. Diamond for bringing them here.

Put Them Down … Pick up a Healthier Life

Of course we know that one of the most efficient strategies to staying healthy is stopping smoking!  Just this week the Cancer Center, the Tobacco-Free Campus Community Education and Outreach Workgroup, and GRU Student Health Services brought us A Great American Smoke Out event. With a theme like “Everyone Loves A Quitter,” how could you lose!  Seriously, stopping smoking is one of the best things you can do for yourself and the people that care about you. And we applaud this annual reminder that not smoking is way cool. So, if you are a smoker, please help keep your important seat at the Thanksgiving table and give up smoking!

Creative Juices …Flowing for Children

Okay, just a couple more points this week before you get back to the bustle of getting things wrapped up here and ready for your holiday next week. Here’s a great opportunity to get more than your gastric juices flowing in the coming days! The Health Center Credit Union wants to put your creative flair to use in coming up with a great T-shirt for our Children’s Hospital of Georgia. It’s another wonderful opportunity to help keep our children’s hospital in the hearts and minds of our community and to raise dollars to support it to boot. So give it a go yourself and/or ask your children to let their creativity shine. Your shirt could end up on sale at HCCU branches and children’s hospital events as it raises dollars to provide the best care to sick and injured children.  The deadline is Jan. 31 and you can check out more information here:

A New Beginning … Powerful Partnerships

We had the privilege this week of attending the investiture of Jere W. Morehead as the 22nd president of the University of Georgia. Much like the beautiful colors of fall leaves blended to produce a magnificent landscape for the day, our state leaders reminded us all that together we multiply our impact and grow stronger individually. Gov. Nathan Deal emphasized additional collaboration to expand research and development. Chancellor Hank Huckaby emphasized the importance of partnerships and the community and that President Morehead has the right blend of skills for the important job of running the states’ land grant university. President Morehead echoed, “We are stronger and better working together for the citizens of Georgia.” We say: hear, hear. It was simply a great event, a great turnout, a great day, and a great beginning. We also learned this week that UGA has a new Provost, Pamela S. Whitten, coming from Michigan State University where she is Dean of the College of Communication Arts and Sciences. She’ll join the UGA leadership team Feb. 1. We so look forward to working with her closely as well on our GRU/UGA Medical Partnership. We predict continued great things ahead.

Students and Residents Get Fuzzy … Men’s Health Benefits

And finally this week, we have to tell you about one more fabulous fundraiser our students have got going. It’s tonight in fact. It’s the Beard Auction, started a couple of years ago by the Class of 2015. This year, Nora Zeidan and Jennifer Simpliciano, who head up community service for the Class of 2016, are heading up this event that, once again, promises to be pure fun with the added benefit of being a fundraiser. It’s set for 6-8 p.m. in the Lee Auditorium. It turns out that 37 of our first- and second-year students, along with some of their colleagues studying occupational therapy, have grown beards over this month – apparently a few appear to have been growing them for years – and they’ll put themselves and their faces out there, auctioned off to the highest bidder who will get to give them a shave (not at the event, later) in whatever creative manner they wish. Too funny, but their cause is anything but. Their significant effort will benefit Zero, The End of Prostate Cancer, a non-profit on a mission to eliminate prostate cancer, see  We second that emotion and applaud once again our students’ significant efforts to just make this world even better. But it’s not just students! You see we also have 10 urology residents and most of them also have spent the month of November growing progressively scraggly and raising money from friends and family for Movember, see, another important initiative to address men’s health issues like prostate cancer, testicular cancer and mental health. We understand that third-year resident Zachary Klaassen grew a Fu Manchu moustache just for the cause and that some of our female residents are wearing moustache earrings as a sign of support. We say: awesome again!!  Groups like Movember and Zero, along with our fabulous students and urology residents of course, want to change some pretty depressing stats like a man’s lifetime risk of prostate cancer is 1-in-6 and testicular cancer is most common in young and middle-aged men. So, if you can join in tonight, please do. While there is no admission, please bring your wallet anyway because this is for a great cause.


Nov.  28 –Happy THANKSGIVING!!

Dec. 13 – MCG Faculty Senate meeting, noon, Lee Auditorium.

Jan. 23 – MCG Faculty Senate meeting, 5 p.m., Lee Auditorium.

Jan. 28 – President Ricardo Azziz’s State of the Georgia Regents University & Health System Enterprise Address, Maxwell Performing Arts Theater, noon, Summerville Campus.

Feb. 13 – MCG Faculty Senate meeting, noon, Lee Auditorium.

March 6 – MCG Faculty Senate meeting and Awards Ceremony, 5 p.m., Lee Auditorium.

April 24-27 – The 2014 Alumni Weekend including the MCG Class Reunions & Alumni Banquet.

May 1 – Annual State of the Medical College of Georgia Address, noon, Lee Auditorium.

June 12 – Investiture Ceremony, 5 p.m., location to be determined.

Ongoing – The GRU Cancer Center is offering a two-step tobacco cessation service for all Georgia Regents University & Health System students and employees who need help quitting tobacco use. Step 1: Initial Visit and Health Assessment. Make an appointment by calling 706-721-6744 or on-line at (click on “Request Appointment”). Step 2: Tobacco Cessation Classes, one-hour group sessions for six weeks, provide tools and support to help you quit tobacco. Cessation classes are held on the Summerville and Health Sciences campuses. For more information, visit

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

Have a terrifically fun and safe holiday next week!