The finest Army in the world is found in the U.S.

“There is no question that the finest Army in the world is found in the United States.”   – Daniel Inouye, Medal of Honor and Posthumous Presidential Medal of Freedom Recipient


Our Mighty Military… Is On Our Minds

We had a very different beginning in mind for this week, that focused on an iconic golf course within our midst and we certainly will get to that. But the unfortunate circumstances of this week brought our minds and hearts first to Fort Hood, Texas and to our soldiers and their families. Such tragedy is really incomprehensible and yet seems far too common these days. Heartbroken was how President Obama described his feelings. We certainly share the pain, yet we know that the strength and amazing resilience of our country’s military and their families will get them through this day and the difficult days and months ahead. We also suggest that this is an exceedingly appropriate time to express our gratitude to the men, women and families that daily devote their lives to the protection of our country so that each of us is free to come and go as we choose and to pursue the lives we want. As the proud home of Fort Gordon, we are privileged to have members of many branches of our military working and living among us. We know that you join us now in thanking them for their immeasurable contributions to our freedom and in assuring them that our thoughts and support are always with them.

And Our Wonderful City… Is As Well

You know, our city really is an amazing place. The home of Fort Gordon, which is the U.S. Army Cyber Center of Excellence; the home of the state’s only public medical school and one of Georgia’s four public research universities; a nearby U.S. Department of Energy facility; and the beautiful Savannah River meandering in the midst of all this and so much more. And, as we said last week, with the spring flowers blooming and the trees wearing that first green of the season, it’s just a great time to be here and a great place to call home. This coming week, the world will be looking our way and our population will swell with visitors from around the world. So we take this opportunity as well to take our hats off to our city, to welcome our guests; and to wish each of you a terrific week at the internationally acclaimed event or at the beach or working here at the state’s public medical school, as we know many of you will do. Because drive and commitment are really what great golfers have in common with great scientists, physicians, students, administrative associates, financial officers, groundskeepers, soldiers, just all great people and professionals. And, as we are fortunate to say so often, we have the best of the best right here every week of the year.

We Welcome… Our Newest Department

Here’s a terrific example.  We don’t think we’ll get many arguments with the statement that our brains are us. Yet much of how they work and why they stop working well remains a mystery. That is why we have so many incredible individuals focusing their brilliance in the neurosciences. We have been privileged to build great strength in this area under the leadership of folks such as Drs. David Hess, Cargill Alleyne and Joe Tsien. Over the past few years, under the stellar leadership of Dr. Robert Yu and then Dr. Lin Mei, the Institute of Molecular Medicine and Genetics has steered in that important direction as well, while also building a solid program in regenerative medicine. So just this week we announced the formation of our new Department of Neuroscience and Regenerative Medicine that pulls the strength of that institute into an academic department. We think it was a good move at a good time as our country takes up another initiative to put more focus on brain research. Please join me in congratulating Dr. Mei, an incredibly prolific and passionate scientist, his new vice chairs, Drs. Darrell Brann and Carlos Isales, as well as our other faculty, postdocs, and staff who are now members of our newest department. We anticipate even more great things are ahead from this awesome group.

And We Say Goodbye… To a Long-Serving Faculty Member

As we welcome a new department, we say farewell to one of our own long-time icons. Dr. John Steele, Chief of our Section of Clinical Pathology and Vice Chair of the Department of Pathology. Dr. Steele came to us in December 1981. Remember what we were just saying about commitment? And, most of us hope people will speak just half as great about us when we retire as those who gathered to celebrate Dr. Steele. They described him as hard-working, wise, caring, compassionate, and trustworthy. They called him an adviser, mentor, and role model. We call him awesome and, unlike the folks gathered last week, we have a tough time again expressing our appreciation, respect and absolute best wishes. Dr. Steele, the war against microbials is stronger because of you and so is our medical school. Thank you so much for your service.

And Congratulations… To an Excellent New One

As we bid adieu to one of our stalwarts, we want to recognize as well this week one of our newer faculty members also in the Department of Pathology. Dr. Ravindra Kolhe just joined us in July 2012 but man did he hit the ground running. We told you just a few months back that he had helped find an early test for liver cancer, see We really need one because early liver cancer cells unfortunately look way too much like normal liver cells for a diagnosis to be made at a time when treatment is most effective. Well now he has helped identify a way to give nearly half of the patients with acute myelogenous leukemia a more definitive prognosis, see  You see the chromosomes look normal in many patients with this most common form of adult leukemia. Kolhe figured that just could not be right and was tired of giving patients and other docs what he considered incomplete information. So, he worked with Affymetrix, which is based in California, to use some of its latest microarray technology that actually lets you probe individual genes instead of looking at chromosome under a microscope. He found a unique pattern of genetic changes emerging in 22 patients.  While there is much more work to do here, these kind of efforts and results leave little doubt that the high standard Dr. Steele set will be carried on. Just awesome.

And to Another Stellar Student… Also Headed for Success

Here’s another example of early and awesome success. Our third-year student Joseph Rimando applied to and got accepted to both the Howard Hughes Medical Institute Medical Research Fellows Program and the National Institute of Health Medical Research Scholars Program. Joseph is from Warner Robbins and tells us he is super interested in oncology and wants to eventually work in an academic setting where he can take care of patients and help find the next generation of therapies. Sound familiar?! His choice of the NIH means he will be one of 43 students in the yearlong program that will have him working with patients and helping with clinical trials. While he hates leaving his classmates behind for a year, he just could not pass up the opportunity. We absolutely agree, Joseph, and are excited to see what you bring back to us.  As Dr. Kathy McKie reminds us, these are highly competitive experiences and to be chosen for both – or either – is quite an honor. Joseph will be heading to the NIH this summer. We wish him well and expect he will continue to do us and his profession proud. Definitely more to come on this.

As the Accomplishments of a Faculty Member… Play Out on a National Screen           

Speaking of accomplished, you may want to check out this recent piece on chronic constipation by the health and wellness Public Television series, Healthy Body, Healthy Mind and featuring our own Dr. Satish Rao. You can take a look here: Not surprisingly, our well-spoken and accomplished physician-scientist stands out in this important piece on a challenging medical condition. Did you know that Dr. Rao discovered a specific type of constipation, called dyssnergic defecation, nearly 20 years ago and that nearly one third of the 40 million Americans with constipation have this problem, which Rao and his colleagues have linked to impaired communication between the brain and gut and vice versa? Of course, even as we speak, Rao and his colleagues are working hard to understand the miscommunication and give patients better solutions. Again, how can we be anything but proud of the people who are our medical school?

Your Opinion Matters… So Please Share It

And finally this week, to help ensure great things are ahead, our university wants to know how you are doing right now, so we ask that you take the employee engagement survey found here,  We understand that it’s hard to find time to take surveys and that we can’t help but worry what happens if we are candid and think why bother to take the survey if we are not. But we want to share that the goals of this survey, administered by Press Ganey, an organization specializing in employee, physician and patient surveys, include really understanding what you think of your workplace and that your confidentiality will be honored. We know that you work super-hard every day to make this medical school and this university awesome. This survey is another way to do just that.

Upcoming Events 

April 4 – The Composite State Board of Medical Examiners quarterly board meeting on the Southeast Campus finishes up today.

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 17 – Office of Innovation Commercialization Lunch and Learn Series with John Greenwald and Larry Villanueva, partners in the Atlanta intellectual property law firm, Gardner Groff Greenwald & Villanueva, PC. To register, or for more information, visit or contact Sandra Jackson at or 706-721-0153.

April 18 – MCG Alumni Association Raft Debate, 6 p.m., Lee Auditorium.

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.

Now through May 4 – Optic Chiasm: The Crossing Over of Art & Science at the Oglethorpe University Museum of Art in Atlanta, see, featuring work by MCG Chief Ophthalmic Photographer Mike Stanley and GRU medical illustrators Bill Andrews, William J. Stenstrom, and David J. Mascaro.

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 safe and fabulous Masters week.