The mind is not a vessel to be filled but a fire to be kindled.

“The mind is not a vessel to be filled but a fire to be kindled.” -Plutarch

Marvelous Matches… Super Students

Happy Spring and what a beautiful start to ours.  As we expected and hoped, our students made some absolutely marvelous matches today, Match Day 2014, when they joined others from across our country in learning where they’ll be doing their residency training. We are always super proud of our students but particularly on days like today when they put what they know and who they are out there for the world to experience and do so incredibly well.  And this year, there were more of them than ever!! Our very first cohort of awesome seniors from the Partnership campus in Athens coupled with the super students here at our home base equals our largest senior class ever! A wow and special congratulations to our educators and students in Athens for so successfully reaching this important milestone.  Let’s hear it for the home team as well. The joy of our students and their loved ones really says it best! Check it out on facebook Truly impressive!

 Fabulous Facts… Fantastic Futures

Here some of our fine Match facts. Our students will be going into 21 specialties in 31 states. Forty-two  percent matched in primary care; 18 percent in Georgia, and 12 percent at our own institution. Our students will literally be fanning out across this great nation as well to institutions such as Rush University Medical Center, University of Alabama- Birmingham, Tulane University, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center at Harvard, Stoney Brook Teaching Hospitals, Mayo School of Graduate Medical Education, Cincinnati Children’s Hospital, and the Cleveland Clinic. You get the idea. Their match rate was 97.5 percent, slightly higher than the national 94.4 percent rate. Again, awesome way to go guys!

The National Scene… Also Turned out Well

The National Resident Matching Program, which manages the Match, tells us this year that the overall match rate into a first-year position was 75 percent, actually the highest rate since 2006, and, as stated earlier, the national match rate for U.S. seniors was 94.4 percent, slightly higher than last year. It’s worth noting that in addition to seniors at allopathic medical schools like ours, Match participants also include prior-year graduates of those schools, students from the nation’s 30 osteopathic medical schools and graduates of international medical schools, so it’s quite an interesting mix in the Match. This year, 16,399 seniors from allopathic schools matched to first-year residency positions and NRMP Executive Director Mona M. Signer tells us that in the past five years, there has been an increase of more than 4,000 first- and second-year residency positions and more than half of those are in internal medicine and family medicine. We say: That is really great news that shows across our nation the same kind of hard work and commitment we see in our state. We seriously hope that the math continues to work in favor of all medical students having great training opportunities. It is so important for them and for the health of our nation.  To learn more about the concerns that percentages will soon be shifting in a bad way, you may want to take a moment to read this article by national correspondent John K. Iglehart in the New England Journal of Medicine,

 Important Conversation… About Violence Against Women

Remember how we were just talking about our awesome students?? Check this out. Have you heard of the Vagina Monologues? It’s a fascinating play written by Eve Ensler that debuted in 1994 after interviewing a lot of women about women’s sexuality and the social stigma surrounding rape and other violence against women. Vagina Monologues has been drawing rave reviews ever since and became even more awesome when global V-Day turned the popularity of the poignant play into a multi-million dollar global movement to raise money for violence against women. We say: Awesome. And we want you to know that next Friday and Saturday, at 8 p.m., at the University Hospital Auditorium, the American Medical Women’s Association at our medical school will present the Vagina Monologues for your pleasure and to benefit the local rape crisis and sexual assault services available to our community at University Hospital. Wow again!  As we talk about so, so often, we are so, so privileged to be associated with many fine individuals like the incredible group of students taking up the essential and pervasive issue of violence against women. You can reach out to Colleen Pollitzer,, or Irene Falk,, for more info or to get your $10 ticket.  Colleen is a freshman and Irene is the MD/PhD student we told you about a few weeks back who got the Gates Cambridge Scholarship! We think another “Awesome” is absolutely in order! Check it out on Facebook,

Research Rocks… And Clinical Research is on a Roll

So last Friday we also had another great group of individuals gathered who also have great passion for their purpose. It was our investigators attending a research town hall. As we all know, science is how we move forward the kind of care and information we and others are privileged to provide patients and it’s a super important movement as well. Drs. Mark Hamrick and Mike Diamond took center stage with some research updates. Dr. Diamond, who also happens to be chair of Ob-Gyn and associate dean for research in our medical school, gave an update on the significant progress in developing clinical research capacity and infrastructure at our university. Not sure how many of you have met him, but, like so many of you, he is super enthused, informed and committed to this important task so that the hard work in our labs makes a real difference in the lives of patients. Let’s have another resounding: Way to go!

Here’s a Great Example… Of Making a Difference in Patients’ Lives

Sickle cell disease is one of many conditions in which our school has played a major role in making patients’ lives better. Reducing stroke risk in children with this condition is one great example. Here’s another. Our Dr. Tohru Ikuta reports in the journal Blood that patients with sickle cell disease who have low oxygen levels coupled with low levels of the blood vessel dilator nitric oxide really are in a tough spot. The bottom line is that when both levels are low, which is pretty common in these patients, it increases the unnatural sticking of red blood cells to blood vessel walls which, as you can imagine, interferes with blood flow and contributes to problems like the classic pain crises these patients can experience. While the studies were in mice, they appear pretty translatable to humans because they may explain why some patients really benefit from breathing in nitric oxide gas and others don’t. In fact, clinical trials of nitric oxide therapy at our medical school have shown promise while trials at some other institutions have not. Some patients even said it made symptoms like pain worse. It turns out, as with most things in life, it’s about balance. So only patients who absolutely have low nitric oxide levels are likely to benefit from this because increasing levels above normal doesn’t help. So more is not always better (and nothing is as simple as we wish). Dr. Ikuta also found another target for future therapies to interfere with this unfortunate synergy and decrease the awful adhesion. We hope you want to read more here: BTW, Dr. Ikuta’s work had support from the National Institutes of Health. Haven’t we mentioned a time or twelve now that our NIH ranking had gone up?!

Because Results-Drive Studies… Are the Ticket

One more research note, The Patient Centered Outcomes Research Institute, which has translatable, results-driven research at its heart, recently celebrated its third anniversary. Check out more here: and here: Our own Dr. James Rawson and others are reviewers for the group authorized by Congress to fund research that provides patients, caregivers and clinicians with the evidence-based information needed to make better-informed health care decisions. We like that mission!

 Going South… For a Good Cause

Now let’s head seriously south for a moment to Panama! We have mentioned the awesome job our Department of Emergency Medicine and Hospitalist Services does improving emergency care and disaster preparedness around the world maybe even more times than we’ve mentioned our improved NIH rankings!  Well emergency ultrasound is an essential tool of emergency care, used to quickly assess quite a laundry list of problems like a potential aneurysm (more coming on some cool research related to these next week) or pelvic pain or even a tropical infectious disease. Well, a top team led by Drs. Ric Solis and Matt Lyon recently taught an ultrasound course to residents and attendings at the Complejo Hospitalario Metropolitano Dr. Arnulfo Arias Madrid Hospital.  Dr. Solis tells us the hospital is one of two governmental tertiary care academic centers in Panama City, and the largest hospital in the Caja de Seguro Social Hospital System, which is the government system for employed and retired persons.  We say: Super cool even if the weather was a little warm for our March usual. Dr. Solis has a long-standing relationship with the hospital and is helping our medical school establish one as well with plans for things like residency and faculty exchanges, more courses, some research, and even a little curriculum consultation in emergency medicine. Really neat and yet another sign of strategic partnerships we are building across our world. Way to come and go guys!  You can check out the action, in Spanish, here or some photos on our Facebook page, BTW, did you know we have an Emergency Ultrasound Fellowship and an Emergency Ultrasound Academy??!!

And Closer to Home… Helping Patients Live with Lupus

As we say ‘adios’ for the week, we circle back to the Garden City. Lupus is one of those conditions those of us who work in health care call an autoimmune disease. Of course that really means that, much like arthritis and multiple sclerosis, it’s one of those conditions where our immune system typically inexplicably turns on our own bodies. Lupus can have multiple, unfortunate targets: joints, skin, heart, lungs, kidneys, blood vessels, our brains. There are also many different kinds of lupus. Essentially anyone can get it, even newborns, but it affects women most. So this definitely can be a tough one. Did you know that we have a multi-specialty clinic that appreciates the needs of these patients and their families?  And did you know that that we are hosting a symposium tomorrow from 1-5 p.m. at the Alumni Center on the Health Sciences Campus to share the insight of both those awesome providers and equally awesome patients!!?? We so appreciate our colleagues and our patients for going this super extra mile to help others. That’s the kind of commitment that keeps us all coming back!  Check out this great story Tom Corwin wrote in The Augusta Chronicle,

Upcoming Events

March 24 – The Office of Diversity & Inclusion, MCG Office of Student & Multicultural Affairs, College of Nursing and Lamba Alliance at GRU present the 3rd Annual LGBTQ Health Awareness Week, which includes a Patient-Provider Panel and Community Resource Fair on Monday, March 24 at noon in CL-1101 (Hamilton Wing) and a presentation titled, “Diversity vs. Inclusion in Academia and in Practice” by Laura Hein, PhD, MSN, RN from the University of South Carolina on Tuesday, March 25 at noon in EC-1222 (Allied Health Building). Additional events are scheduled for Wednesday through Friday. For more information, visit

March 27 – A community forum, GRU Wins Without Tobacco and Alcohol, 7-8 p.m., University Hall, Summerville Campus, co-sponsored by Student Health, the GRU Cancer Center, and the Athletics Department.

March 29 – The 14th annual Southeast Medical Wilderness Adventure Race (MedWAR) at Fort Gordon. For more information visit and

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,

April 29 – President’s Lecture Series, Dr. Eugene P. Trani, President Emeritus, Virginia Commonwealth University, discusses “Making a Merger Work,” at noon, Lee Auditorium. Reception follows.

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 (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 terrific first weekend of Spring!


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