Every day in every way we are leaving our mark.

“Every day in every way we are leaving our mark.”   -Rachel Bermingham


Expecting Great … And Achieving It

We started last week telling you about our medical students and faculty “Igniting the Dream of Medicine.” It’s a terrific program that brings high school and college students along with counselors and advisors from across the state to learn more about what medical school is really like and how to optimally prepare to get here.  Of course the bright, eager young participants make great connections with folks here as well so they can (and do) call with future questions and concerns, etc.  Well we just have to tell you how truly remarkable Feb. 22 was. We had 220 participants come spend the day with us. They were excited to be here and to learn and our 45 student volunteers were absolutely here for them. What a terrific thing to see our busy students spending their Saturday helping these other young people “learn the ropes.” Certainly our students’ enthusiasm equaled that of our guests. And speaking of warm and awesome, our faculty and staff who helped were equally enthralling. You could feel the warmth emanating from them all. It was truly another stellar day at the state’s public medical school. We mentioned last week key contributors, students LaShon Sturgis and Kojo Dadzie. We have to put a super special thank you and job well done out there as well to Dr. Kim Halbur, Linda James, Angela Scott, Linda Kimberly, Jennie Cowart, Phillip McCants, and Alise Vega from our Office of Student and Multicultural Affairs, which cosponsored the day with the MCG Chapter of the Student National Medical Association. We would be willing to bet that every dream was absolutely ignited and that our medical school’s face never looked better.

Going the Distance … And Winning

Speaking of an impressive showing and some serious role modeling, guess who won the female division of the GRU Half Marathon and 10K the very next day! Our very own student Aubrey Armento!! We hear she won by seven minutes. Awesome. Aubrey tells us she started running in high school, where she did cross country and track. She got into long-distance running and joined a running group in college and has run about 10 half marathons and four marathons. Makes us tired just hearing about it! Aubrey says there isn’t much that can’t be made better by a good run. We say: Way to run Aubrey. We wish you many safe and happy miles ahead and thank you for being an inspiration to us all.

Inspiring Road Trips … To Our Rocking Regional Campuses

Talk about running the roads! We’ve been telling you how the medical school leadership has been getting out there visiting our incredible campuses that cover our incredible state and that the feedback we are getting is, well, incredible!! We continue to be super proud of our leadership for taking the time to get a taste of our other campuses and super grateful for the incredible support across Georgia that has built this amazing network. No doubt most of you know Dr. Vadivel Ganapathy, a celebrated and passionate educator in his own right, who was among the crowd that just returned from our very first clinical campus in awesome Albany!! Never a man at a loss for words, Dr. Ganapathy shares that  “outstanding”  is the only one he could think of to adequately describe the facilities and learning opportunities available at the Southwest Campus for our medical students. He was super impressed with the enthusiasm Southwest Georgia physicians have for educating the next generation.  In fact, he found everyone he came in contact with friendly, nice and super eager to help. A special thanks to Drs. Kathryn Martin and Granville Simmons for helping make this visit happen. In fact, Dr. Martin is busy setting up similar visits to all our clinical campuses for our students next year so they can make the very best choices for where to spend their clinical years. If  you have a group who may benefit from  getting out and  seeing some of the magic we have going on in all four quadrants  of our state, reach  out to Dr. Martin – katmartin@gru.edu –  who will try her hardest to make it happen!

Smooth Moves … By More Thoughtful Students

OK, this is super cool, too. Four of our first-year students at the Partnership campus in Athens recently volunteered their time on a beautiful Sunday at a senior citizens’ Valentine’s Dance.  Each month a group of University of Georgia families sponsors a program at Talmadge Terrace Assisted Living Home, and this month they were in need of some additional young men to serve as dance partners for the women living at the facility. Our Medical Partnership students were very happy to raise their hands for this fun and fabulous event. Not only did Aaron Purser, Palmer Feibelman, Don Vickers, and Tim Hutton brush off their dance moves, they also took the time to visit each table and spend a few minutes talking to residents about their lives and their interests. We say: Hearts of gold and feet to match!

Bringing Home the Bacon… By Sending out the Peanuts

Here’s a different kind of smooth move. Our state had experienced its fourth record year in a row for international trade!! Can I get an “awesome”? The total value of goods exported from our fine state totaled $37.6 billion, the most ever in a single year. Since 2009, Georgia exports have grown nearly 60 percent and we now rank 11th in the U.S. in dollar value of our exports. Some of our top export destinations include Asia, good old North America, and Europe. The billions of dollars included an interesting assortment of items ranging from spacecraft to woodpulp. In fact, Georgia was number ONE in exporting a range of products from carpet to insecticides to peanuts. We are some mighty big consumers, too. In fact, the total value of goods imported was essentially double the export number. Wow, that is some serious coming and going. Check out more here: http://www.georgia.org/business-resources/international-trade/2013-import-export-numbers/.

Sharing What Works… Improves What Doesn’t

Speaking of leading the pack, some of us were privileged to attend a recent health sciences leadership team meeting where Dr. Glenn Braunstein, Vice President of Clinical Innovation at Cedars-Sinai Health System, shared insight on how that high-profile hospital has improved efficiency and effectiveness. It’s always great to hear from others just how they do things, particularly when they do them well. Frankly, it’s also good for us to hear why things don’t go well. But in the case of this Los Angeles hospital, it sounds like they have made a lot of the right moves to improve quality of care and have lots of objective data to back that up, like winning the National Research Corporation’s Consumer Choice Award 18 years in a row for providing the highest quality medical care in LA. Seriously terrific. It was great to have our awesome clinical Chairs and CMO Kevin Dellsperger gathered to digest how our Cedars Sinai colleagues got where they are and how that can help us on our quality journey.

Save Some Brain… Get on a Treadmill

OK, so here’s some great news about how to keep us all thinking straight, but in this case it could involve a treadmill. Intrigued? Well, hopefully by now you have heard something about our Dr. Alexis Stranahan’s fascinating study that shows how regular exercise or surgically removing some serious belly fat improves cognition in an animal model of obesity and diabetes. In case you had any doubts about how bad too much fat is for you … when she transplanted the fat she took from an obese mouse to a normal-sized mouse, guess what?? They got, well, not as smart. We think some of the best news is that the cognitive decline caused by obesity and diabetes went away in these adult rodents with some positive moves like resuming their pre-fat activity levels. And, while we think a treadmill is a better solution for most of us, she also found that a drug already out there treating rheumatoid arthritis, appears to yield the same positive result. Seriously, it is good to have options. We applaud Dr. Stranahan’s fine science targeting a major health problem in our country. And, we look forward to: Discovering What’s Next! Read all about it here http://www.sciencenewsline.com/summary/2014022615000008.html and here http://chronicle.augusta.com/news/health/2014-02-25/cutting-fat-improved-memory-mice?v=1393390242. More to come!

Residency Review… Looking Good

As we wrap things up this week, we wanted to share one more bit of great education news. We had mentioned a while back that one of the many goals of our new Department of Radiation Oncology, led by Dr. Spring Kong, is establishing a radiation oncology residency. Well, a team from the Accreditation Council on Graduate Medical Education came calling recently, and like the visitors to our regional campuses, it appears team members liked what they saw. Great news!  While we don’t yet know for certain – we hopefully will know for sure in late March – we are super excited about the potential for this new educational initiative. Dr. Kong and her colleagues are shooting for two residents per year for each year of the four-year program. If all goes as we hope, it will start this July. We say: Super! Can’t wait to hear how it all shakes out.

Three Lives… Well Lived

And finally today, we note the recent honoring of three of our great alums. The very first recipients of the “Curly Awards” were presented this week to Dr. William E. Barfield Jr., a 1970 graduate, and Dr. Michel M. McDonough, a 1991 graduate, by University Health Care Foundation for being great doctors and great human beings.  The Curly Award, of course, honors our 1943 graduate, Dr. W.G. “Curly” Watson. Just in case anyone doesn’t know, Dr. Watson delivered more than 15,000 babies in his day and, on his 100th birthday, was recognized as the oldest working physician known working in the United States. Dr. Watson died Oct. 24, 2012 at the age of 102. Simply amazing. We started today talking about the sweet inspiration provided by our students and we close with more amazing accomplishments by our graduates. How about that for helping make one fabulous Friday!


March 3 – President Ricardo Azziz’s State of Georgia Regents University and Georgia Regents Health System presentation, noon, Maxwell Performing Arts Theatre on the Summerville Campus. A live webcast will be offered in room EC-1218 of the Health Sciences Building. A limited number of boxed lunches will be available at the conclusion of the speech.. Shuttles will pick up at two locations on the Health Sciences Campus: outside the old College of Dental Medicine building on Laney Walker beginning at 10 a.m. and the north entrance of the Annex beginning at 10:15 a.m. Both shuttles will run on a 30-minute rotation 

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: http://heartwalk.kintera.org/faf/home/default.asp?ievent=1072197.

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 17 – Dr. Satish K. Tripathi, the 15th President of the University at Buffalo, kicks off the 2014 Presidential Lecture Series at noon, Lee Auditorium, Health Sciences Campus.

March 21 – Match Day, noon, Lee Auditorium.

March 21 – Nobel Prize winner Dr. Andrew V. Schully is the keynote speaker for GRU’s 30th Annual Graduate Research Day. Dr. Schully, an endocrinologist, will present at 12:30 p.m. in Room 1222 of the Health Sciences Building. For more info, visit http://news.gru.edu/archives/11489.

March 29 – The 14th annual Southeast Medical Wilderness Adventure Race (MedWAR) at Fort Gordon. For more information visit  http://www.medwar.org/southeast/ and https://www.facebook.com/medwar.southeast.

April 3-4 – Composite State Board of Medical Examiners 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 –History of Health Sciences Lecture Series talk by Bill Andrews, Interim Chair and Program Director of the GRU Department of Medical Illustration on “The Gravid Uterus,” noon-1 p.m. in the Greenblatt Library’s Historical Collections and Archives Room. A copy of the rare book donated by MCG Alum Dr. Leslie Wilkes is on display.

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, http://grualumni.com/alumniweekend.

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., Lee Auditorium.

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 www.grhealth.org (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 http://gru.edu/cancer/tobaccofree/.

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

Take the time to have some fun this weekend!