Advice is like snow

“Advice is like snow- the softer it falls, the longer it dwells upon, and the deeper it sinks into the mind.”

– Samuel Taylor Coleridge

Thawing Out… Rocketing Forward

We hope everyone safely maneuvered the rare showing of snow in our fair city and even took some time to enjoy its beauty and maybe even some of its sport. We’ve got some great news for you coming out of the thaw. We told you a while back about the Accreditation Council on Graduate Medical Education visiting the Athens campus and our terrific clinical partners there.  We’ve gotten official word back that the Partnership campus has been approved by ACGME as a place that can provide and oversee residency training and, drumroll please, the internal medicine residency program that is a joint effort of the partnership and St. Mary’s Health Care System has received accreditation as one of the final steps toward creating Athens’s first residency program. How terrific is that. Plans call for 10 residents to start at St. Mary’s in July 2015 and, of course, 10 will be added each year for the three-year training program.  This is absolutely part of the overall plan of Gov. Deal and the University System of Georgia to add 400 new residency programs at hospitals like wonderful St. Mary’s, that previously were not involved in resident education. In fact, St. Mary’s received $550,000 in funding to help support the new program as part of the governor’s program. Congratulations and a big thank you to so many individuals and teams that are making this happen,  particularly Dr. Shelley Nuss, who oversees graduate medical education at the Athens campus,  and Don McKenna and Dr. Bruce Middendorf at St. Mary’s for making such an incredible additional commitment to the wellbeing of their community and state. Great job all.

New Dental Dean… On Board

And still more felicitations are in order! Please join us in congratulating Dr. Carol A. Lefebvre, the new Dean of our College of Dental Medicine. Dr. Lefebvre has held many leadership roles in her 25 years at our institution, most recently as Interim Dean since Dr. Connie Drisko stepped down this summer from the post she held for a decade. Tomorrow, Dr. Lefebvre officially takes on the job of dean but today she actually gave her very first state of the college address. Talking about getting off to a resounding start! We wish her every success.

This Extra Mile… Saves Lives

We talked last week about going that extra mile to take care of patients, especially in tough circumstances. We have for you this week more great examples that we hope will further build your sense of pride in the many innovative individuals and teams we are privileged to call our colleagues.  Certainly this is a tough one. In fact, suicide is a super-difficult issue for patients, families and, frankly, caregivers alike. But it’s a critical issue that may need addressing when a child or adult patient comes to our clinics or emergency department or is hospitalized, even when mental health concerns are not the reason he or she came to us. Unfortunately, it’s a concern more often than you might think.  In fact, suicide is the 11th most common cause of death in the U.S., and 3rd most frequent cause of death in young people. These hard-to-hear statistics make it all the more comforting to also know that our Suicide Risk Assessment Policy helps ensure that this issue is managed and managed well whenever it arises. In fact, the Center for Suicide Risk Assessment at Columbia University – an absolute leader in this important arena – recently asked us to share our policy with them so they can share it with other hospitals. We thank Drs. Peter Rosenquist and Vaughn McCall and many others for their leadership and overall super efforts on behalf of patients.

Strong Foundation… For a Surgical Home

Here’s another great example of doing our best. Most of us have likely heard talk about medical homes that help ensure patients get truly comprehensive, awesome care and always know where to turn. If you’d haven’t heard much and want to know more, particularly about what our Department of Family Medicine is doing in this important endeavor, check out page 23 of this issue of our magazine, Well our Department of Anesthesiology also is taking some pretty innovative steps to build a “surgical home” for our patients that improves their care and outcomes as it reduces cost.  We really like the sound of that. One goal is to standardize preoperative evaluations to help ensure patients get what they need and nothing additional. This starts with basics like whether a patient needs a pre-op clinic visit or if a phone call would work just as well. Our Dr. Mary Arthur says the cost of the computer-assisted health screening questionnaire she and her colleagues have developed will be offset by reductions in redundancy, surgery delays and cancellations, and even improved reimbursement. In fact, it’s already working well right here and helping ensure as well that our anesthesiology residents absolutely learn best practices.   Dr. Arthur was among those presenting such efficacious operating room practices at the American Society of Anesthesiology Practice Management 2014 conference last week. We say: Keep up the great work and learn more here:

Quality is Top of Mind… Top of Actions

Clearly our colleagues in psychiatry, anesthesiology and family medicine are not alone in such quality pursuits. In fact, we are super-pleased to note the recent flurry of discussion and action on this very important issue at our Health System and hospital board meetings. Dr. Kevin Dellsperger, who has seriously hit the ground running as Chief Medical Officer, recently reminded us all, with the title and focus of a recent presentation, that quality is everybody’s business. Indeed!  It’s of note that there’s a general review of the Quality Committee’s Charter going on and Dr. Cindy Mercer, from our Partnership campus in Athens, just got endorsed by the health system board as the committee’s new chair. We so appreciate Drs. Dellsperger and Mercer being such advocates for quality. But, like Dr. Dellsperger recently said, the onus is on us all.  And that is a great thing.

Doing the Most Good… With the Smallest Possible Scar

OK, we prepare to exit our snow-abbreviated Dean’s Diary with just one more example of leadership and making a big difference. We told you last week about Dr. David Terris’ innovative work in thyroid surgery getting a terrific mention in The Baltimore Sun. This week we also are proud to share that he and his former fellow, Dr. Michael Singer, who is now at the Henry Ford Health System in Detroit, are co-editors of a new textbook that will give their colleagues across the world a comprehensive overview of the latest and greatest advances in minimally invasive and robotic thyroid and parathyroid surgery. By the way, did you know one of the toughest things about doing parathyroid surgery may be finding the tiny glands?? They are supposed to be right behind the thyroid gland – which is just above the collar bone – but for a variety of reasons it can be much higher in the neck or all the way down near the heart. Truly fascinating.

Improving Our… Curb Appeal

One last note, that if work, school, lunch, parking or life in general brings you to the section of Laney Walker Boulevard that runs through campus, you’ll no doubt notice paver sidewalks going down, lovely lamp posts going up and other improvements being made in the coming weeks, that will further enhance the sense of community as well as pedestrian safety in our neighborhood.

Upcoming Events

Feb. 1 – Move date to an electronic system, TimeNet, for real-time tracking of leave balances  as well as some changes to the Outside Professional Activities policy, see

Feb. 3 – University Faculty Senate Meeting and Assembly, meeting, 5:30-6 p.m. and assembly, 6-7:30 p.m., Jaguar Student Activity Center Ballroom, Summerville Campus.

Feb. 8 – GRU’s annual Military Appreciation Day will take place as the GRU Jaguars take on the Young Harris Mountain Lions in women’s and men’s basketball. Hundreds of soldiers will be in attendance from Fort Gordon as well as the 2014 recruits. Fans are encouraged to get to the arena at 1:00 p.m., prior to the women’s tipoff, to welcome and honor the soldiers as they enter Christenberry Fieldhouse in a “Ring of Honor”. The women’s halftime will feature a performance from local drill teams and the men’s halftime will include an induction ceremony for the new recruits along with the reading of the soldier’s creed. Both games are free to veterans and active duty personnel and family members, who present their military ID, veteran card, or DD-214 form.

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

Feb. 14 – A night of fun and Latin Dancing in support of the MCG student run Clinica Latina, a local clinic providing free primary health care services to uninsured patients in the community. The event begins at 7 p.m. at  Surreal at Surrey in Surrey Center.  Student tickets are $10, regular tickets, $15 per person, $25 per couple. A free salsa lesson is provided. More details coming soon.

Feb. 22 – Igniting the Dream, a one-day conference for high school or college undergraduates interested in a career in medicine., see

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 8 – The American Heart Association’s Heart Walk gets underway at 8 a.m. at the North Augusta Greenway. Get some friends and family together for some a fun, healthy activity and raise money to take on the country’s number one killer. This one really hits close to home since MCG  ranks 7th nationally in AHA funding and 1st in Georgia.  Learn more here:

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.

March 21 – Match Day, noon, Lee Auditorium.

April 3-4 – Composite Sate Board for Medical Educational quarterly board meeting will be held on the Southeast Campus, Savannah.

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. Actor and Writer Ben Stein and Fast Company magazine founding Editor William “Bill” Taylor are the keynote speakers. For more info visit,

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 as well.

Have a great weekend.


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Augusta University Staff is a collection of talented writers, photographers, students and professionals; all working together to promote and support the amazing impacts and every day wins of Augusta University and the people that make up JagNation.