Success is a little like wrestling a gorilla

“Success is a little like wrestling a gorilla. You don’t quit when you’re tired. You quit when the gorilla is tired.”
Robert Strauss


And We’re Off … With True Grit


So we started our new year last week talking about the promise of a great year with early indicators of an improving economy and the general awesomeness of each of you. Well, how about starting this week with some national rankings to back that up!! As you probably know, there is an annual ranking of National Institutes of Health funding of medical schools by the Blue Ridge Institute for Medical Research. If you ever wondered for even a heartbeat about the dedication, skill and competitiveness of our faculty, check this out. For 2013, our medical school ranked 66th out of 139 schools with $43.3 million in NIH funding. In 2012, we ranked 71st out of 137 schools. Our significant move up the ranks clearly illustrates how determined and successful our faculty are at getting these gold-standard grants even in the face of an incredibly tight federal budget. That is the kind of grit that makes great and we are mega-proud and appreciative. And, by the way, this is no fluke. Our ranking has pretty consistently climbed over the last dozen years, starting at 82nd in 2001. Truly the way to go! Check out the NIH rankings here,


And the Beat Goes … Up  


Speaking of heartbeats, this will also get yours going. We are now 7th nationally and 1st in Georgia in American Heart Association funding to the tune of $7.2 million. Can I get an ‘awesome.’ Seriously, it’s tough out there getting grants. In fact, just the pursuit has become almost a full-time job, but we do it and we do it well!


Eat Your Veggies … And Watch Your Antibiotics


And since we are already talking science, we wanted to point out more fascinating findings coming out of the state’s medical school this week. In fact, our research is featured on the cover of the journal Immunity. Our Drs. Vadivel Ganapathy and Nagendra Singh have given us more insight into just how fiber is good for us and why we don’t want to overdo those antibiotics. They’ve shown a receptor, called Gpr109a, plays a pivotal role in preventing inflammation and even cancer of the colon. It seems that when the good bacteria in our colon digest fiber, a short-chain fatty acid called butyrate gets made. At higher levels, butyrate activates Gpr109a and helps steer immune cells in that area away from inciting inflammation, and that helps keep the colon healthy. And, their findings point those of us who just won’t or don’t consume enough fiber toward a possible option. Because you see, we already knew that mega doses of the vitamin niacin stimulates this same receptor on fat cells and people have been doing that for years to help protect their cardiovascular system. That means we also know it’s safe. So the scientists think and already have some evidence to support their thinking that the vitamin just may help out our colons as well by stimulating Gpr109a there as well. Another really neat point here, Amanda Behr, from the GRU Department of Medical Illustration, designed the super-cool image of an umbrella of fiber and good bacteria protecting the colon that is featured on the journal cover. Speaking of good bacteria gets us back to antibiotics, because too much usage can also wipe out that fiber-digesting good stuff. Congratulations to all.

First Anniversary … Cupcakes for All


Speaking of congratulations, can you believe that this week we celebrated the first anniversary of our university??!! Wow. Like we talked about after the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges paid a visit in September then gave an official thumbs up last month, so much has been accomplished in such short order and we are proud to be a part of it. We hope you took a moment this week to chew on a cupcake and savor as well what we have accomplished and the incredible adventure ahead.  Certainly the medical school is already loving the synergy with our new colleagues, the joint program and recruitment opportunities, and, back to research for a moment, the joint research opportunities as well. We stand together as a mighty force for moving education, knowledge and patient care forward. Remarkable!


You Can Always Go, Downtown … But Make a Note for Jan. 16


Those of us privileged to be a part of the university and health system are encouraged to ‘Go Downtown,’ this coming Thursday. Of course a visit to our eclectic downtown is always worth the time, but this Jan. 16, from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., it also will get you some discounts at better than 50 downtown businesses. After you eat, buy, and be generally merry, you are welcome at the Augusta Commons at 6 p.m. for some music and fireworks. We’ll see you there!


Credit Where It’s Due … Teaching Time


OK this may not be as sweet as a cupcake, but it’s pretty awesome. We talk a lot about teaching and do a passel of it as well. We also talk a lot about how important teaching is and how much we value it. And we do. Here’s another concrete example, brought to you with the help of our good friends in the Division of Continuing Education.  Our physicians can now get continuing medical education credit for the time they spend preparing to teach medical students or residents how to practice terrific medical care. This is for time spent doing things like developing educational materials, learning better ways to teach, and just generally preparing to be a good mentor and educator for our students and residents. This is so terrific. We know that our faculty members who see patients have a really tough time juggling those duties with teaching and many are super involved in research as well. So we hope this is another way to say thank you for your essential contribution to educating the next generation. Perhaps particularly for our volunteer faculty, this is another way to say thank you and that we can’t do it without you. One more round of thanks to our colleagues Caro Cassels and Dr. Ralph Gillies for making it happen. Call Ms. Cassels at 1-3967 to get credit where credit is due!!  Or, check it out here:


From Bench to Bedside … One Important Journey


We were just talking about our busy physicians who make time to be awesome teachers as well. Well definitely count Dr. Stan Nahman among them. In fact, he’s the director of the nephrology fellowship training program but he loves teaching medical students as well. In fact, count him a doer on all fronts since he’s also a rather prolific researcher in chronic kidney disease and diabetic nephropathy. Well as of now, he is also the Department of Medicine’s Associate Chair for Translational Research. We’ve all heard a lot about translational studies, particularly in the last many years, and the importance of fascinating findings, like the colon studies we described earlier, making it from the lab to patients. Well, Dr. Nahman is going to help make more of that happen for faculty, fellows, residents, and staff in our Department of Medicine. We say: great plan and congratulations.


Taking Care of Business … At Our Practice Group


A shout goes out to another of our super-busy colleagues, Dr. Tony Mulloy, who also just got busier. He is now the Interim Vice President and Chief Operating Officer for our Medical Associates practice group with the important job of overseeing billing and other business operations, helping develop clinical growth strategies, and more. Dr. Mulloy adds this to his “other” duties which include MCG’s Senior Associate Dean for Clinical Services and Section Chief for Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism, as well as being the university’s Senior Associate Vice President for Clinical Research and Medical Director of the Office of Clinical Investigative Services. Whew. Makes us tired just writing it all but we appreciate his efforts on so many fronts!  As we said earlier, that is the kind of grit that keeps us rocking.


Farewell … to a Great Alum and Individual


Finally today, we say farewell to an incredible American and individual, Dr. Mims Aultman. Dr. Aultman, a 1953 graduate of our medical school, served for 25 years in the Army Medical Corps, was commander of the 12th Evacuation Hospital in the Cu Chi district of Vietnam in 1969 and 1970, and commanded military hospitals in Fort Jackson and Panama as well. After retirement from the Army, he directed health care services at the U.S. Soldiers’ and Airmen’s Home in Washington. Dr. Aultman was a stalwart supporter of his medical school as well as the men and women of our military and we so appreciate his commitment and service. He made us proud.




Jan. 13 –EII Health Sciences Education Grand Rounds, Background Knowledge, Deliberate Practice, and Expertise, Dr. Rodway Mackert, Department of Oral Rehabilitation , 7:15-8:15 a.m., BC 130.


Jan. 15 – The Hull College of Business’ Annual Economic Forecast Breakfast from 7:30-8:30 a.m. in the Jaguar Student Activities Center, Summerville Campus. Everyone is welcome but please contact Lenora Harkins at or 706-737-1418.


Jan. 16 – Alumni Association meeting in Columbus, 6 p.m., at the home of Dr. and Mrs. George McCluskey, Class of 1984.


Jan. 17 – The Martin Luther King Day Celebration will be hosted this year by Paine College at noon in the Gilbert-Lambuth Memorial Chapel.


Jan. 20 – MLK Holiday


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.

Feb. 27 –EII Health Sciences Education Grand Rounds, Using Mobile, Video Analysis Technology to Record and Evaluate Student Interviews: A Pilot Study, Dr. Marlene Rosenkoetter, Department of Biobehavioral Nursing,  and Dr. Deborah Smith, Department of Physiological and Technological Nursing, 11:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m., EC 1210.

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

March 7 – EII Health Science Education Grand Rounds, Passing on the Fundamentals of Patient Care to a Tech-Saturated Generation of Learners, Dr. John Richard Pittman Jr., Visiting Professor, Emory University, 8-9 a.m., BT 1810.

March 13 – GRU University Senate Spring Assembly and Faculty Awards, 5-7:30 p.m., Alumni Center, Health Sciences Campus, Ballrooms A, B and C.

April 17 – EII Health Sciences Education Grand Rounds, Teaching Laparoscopic Skills through Validated Measures, Dr. Kelli Braun, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, noon-1 p.m., HB 4010.

April 18 – MCG Alumni Association Raft Debate, 5-7 p.m., location to be determined.

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.

May 8 – Hooding Ceremony, 2 p.m., Bell Auditorium, with Dr. Darrell G. Kirch, President of the Association of American Medical Colleges, as guest speaker.  Reception follows at the Old Medical College Building.

May 9 – GRU Graduation, James Brown Arena.

June 12 – Investiture Ceremony, 5-6:30 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.


Have a great weekend.