Lead your life and practice your art with uprightness and honor.

“I will lead my life and practice my Art in uprightness and honor.”   – Hippocratic Oath


A Happening Hooding… An Amazing Day… A Day of Firsts

“Wow” pretty much sums up the Hooding Ceremony yesterday of the 178th graduating class of our medical school. Despite our significant history, amazingly there were so many firsts. The first cohort of students to attend our Medical Partnership campus in Athens graduated and, as we have mentioned a few times, it was our largest graduating class ever!  It was the first time the UGA Provost, Dr. Pam Whitten, participated as a great representative of our UGA partners. It was the first time students who finished their last two years at the Southwest or Southeast campuses graduated.  It was the first time the incredibly beautiful MCG mace, generously donated by our MCG Foundation in honor of its 60th anniversary and dedicated to our awesome alum, Dr. J. Harold Harrison, made its way down the aisle with our students.  Our mace was proudly carried by Dr. Jatinder Bhatia, President of the Faculty Senate.  It was the first time during Hooding that one of our students, Kelsey White Lane, was commissioned as a military officer and took the oath of office, proudly led by Col. Bryan Sleigh, Deputy Commander for Clinical Services and CMO at Eisenhower.  Our Dr. Betty Wray, the brand-new President of our Alumni Association, inducting our graduates into this esteemed association with no dues expected for five years, was yet another super first.

That Will Last… In the Hearts and Minds of Our Students

It was also the first time the President of our national group, the Association of American Medical Colleges, spoke at Hooding and he gets his own “wow.” Dr. Darrell G. Kirch reminded our students of their many “Precious Gifts,” of the support they have received, that their white coats fit better with experience, and of the incredible bond they have with each other. He reminded them as well that while our nation offers terrific health care, our health care system is broken and that it’s a professional – not a political – problem that physicians need to help fix. He reminded us all why we are so proud to say Dr. Kirch is a former Dean of our medical school. Equally compelling were the remarks of Class Presidents Josh Bell and Cristina Elstad.  To our students, we again say congratulations and that we simply could not be more proud to be your medical school.

And Includes This Remarkable Honor… For Compassionate Care  

Here’s yet another reason to be so proud.  The 2014 winner of our university’s John F. Beard Award for Compassionate Care is one of our new graduates, Dr. Edgar Shartilov. His nominators share stories of visiting dying patients, of great empathy for all patients, of genuine humility and altruism, and of commitment to finishing the tough task of medical school when his own health began to fail. In fact, he could not share the glories of Hooding or this announcement because he is recovering at the moment. Still, one of his many goals is to start his internal medicine residency with us as soon as possible. Some of you may not know that the $25,000 annual Beard Award is endowed by William Porter “Billy” Payne and his wife, Martha, and goes to a graduating GRU student who exemplifies caring and compassion in health care. Payne, Chairman of the Augusta National Golf Club, established the award in 1998 in memory of his father-in-law, who died of cancer in 1997. The award honors GRU President Emeritus Francis J. Tedesco and Mr. Beard’s physician, Dr. Mark F. Williams, a 1988 graduate of our medical school who treated Mr. Beard during his stay at our hospital. We thank Dr. Shartilov for his commitment and compassion and congratulate him on his amazing achievements. We hope to see you again very soon.

And So Much More…

If you were not with us for this historic day of firsts, we hope we’ve at least given you a flavor of our 2014 Hooding. It was simply a great event and a great show of support for our new doctors and alums. Many thanks to our faculty, including, of course, our community clinical faculty, here and throughout our fine state, who were there yet again for our students, providing support and congratulations. Our thanks to Dr. Lois Ellison, our medical historian and a 1950 graduate of our fine school, who, as always, enthralled us by recounting the Hooding Tradition. Many thanks and congratulations to so many others as well for making this day possible, including Drs. Paul Wallach, Kathy McKie, Andy Albritton, and Scott Richardson, as well as our Regional Deans, Drs. Barbara Schuster, Kathryn Martin, Granville Simmons, Leonard Reeves, and Turner Rentz.  To the entire office of Academic Affairs and to our Chief of Staff Jeanette Balotin and her team we say mega thanks and that we simply could not – and would not want to – do this without you. Truly remarkable. You can check out even more here: http://bit.ly/1npaK8A and here: http://bit.ly/1suTMoY.

Because Finding a Better Way… Is What We Do

Speaking of award winners and the importance of empathy, a huge high-five out to another one of our awesome new graduates, Thomas Kim. Our brand-new Dr. Kim received TWO poster awards at the American Psychiatric Association Annual Meeting that wrapped up this week in bustling New York City. His work with Dr. Adriana Foster concludes that interactions with virtual patients can help medical students become more empathetic with patients before they ever actually see patients. Terrific. In fact, the study here provides good evidence that this would be a solid tool for medical student education as we all move forward. Apparently the editors of Academic Psychiatry, who were the judges for this competition, agree. Dr. Kim not only won the Outstanding Resident Poster in the Curriculum Development and Educational Projects Category (the competition actually is for students and residents) but also the top medical student poster award from the APA’s Area 5 Council, which represents this part of the country. Seriously great job Drs. Kim and Foster. We wanted to share that Dr. Kim will be pursuing a psychiatry residency at Tufts Medical Center. Terrific again Dr. Kim and congratulations on all fronts.

And Telling Our Story… Doesn’t Hurt Either

Switching gears now but still focusing on our incredible students, we ask: Where can you have a Great Gatsby déjà vu, find out how our Class of 2017 raised $2,000 for the American Heart Association, and get an awesome banana bread recipe? Time is up! You can find it in Panacea – Check it out here. It’s the brand-new MCG student-run magazine featuring student life, news, and career tips. Stephen Jackson, President of our Class of 2016, tells us the goal is to have a new issue every semester. The staff includes Jennifer Simpliciano, Vice President of Curriculum for the Class of 2016, Alexandra Dodd and Khalea Wrensford, Class of 2017; along with Timothy Nowack, Katie Kerr, Joanne Boggs, and Prianka Kandhal, all classmates of Jennifer and Stephen.  We know from our own experience with magazines (we do two a year, you can check MCG Medicine out here: http://bit.ly/Qn6fgj),that it is a ton of work and we absolutely thank our already super-busy students for taking the time to pull together such a great product. Super cool as we say. If you have ideas for future issue, send them this way: panacea.mcg@gmail.com. Way to go (again) guys!

Because When You’ve Earned a Bow… You Should Take One

We thank so many of you for joining in the State of the College address last week. Again, it really was all about you since you ARE the Medical College of Georgia. Have we mentioned this week how glad we are of that??!  So part of this annual gathering, in addition to noting some of the fab awards you have already won, is us singling out a couple of additional folks. This year’s winners, we are proud to say, were Dr. Billy Mayher, a 1964 graduate of our school who hails from Albany, and whose loyalty and service to his alma mater and to our MCG Foundation rightly earned him the Professionalism Award. Awesome Dr. Paul Ferguson, a graduate of Emory University School of Medicine, who has played a pivotal role in keeping our medical school on course through his incredible support of our newest campus, the Northwest Campus based in his lovely home base of Rome, received our Community Advocate Award. How cool is it that both of these fine individuals happen to be brain surgeons! We just can’t do anything but continue to win with the likes of each of you along with fine individuals like Drs. Mayher and Ferguson. You can check more out about their amazing accomplishments here: http://bit.ly/1l8nA7Q. Thank you all!

And When You Have Great Colleagues… Be Nice to Them

OK here’s more of what we are talking about! Our Department of Medicine faculty and fellows covered for our 67 medicine residents at both our fine hospitals and the VA, from noon this past Saturday to 7 am Sunday so they could enjoy the second annual resident appreciation day at Adventure Crossing then head out for some serious eating at Wild Wings. Seriously awesome for everyone. Our faculty and fellows got a trip down resident-memory lane – not much of a stretch for our fellows! – while our residents got to remember what it was like to just relax and enjoy. This is the kind of camaraderie that makes for a tight ship and a great department, never mind terrific physician training and patient care. We hear that some of the most fun resulted from our residents giving tips to faculty and fellows about taking call! Too cool. We, of course, appreciate each of you every day but are super glad to see this level of spirit of fun and fellowship. Way to go.

Thinking of our Neighbors… And Colleagues

And finally today we send our best thoughts to our colleagues and neighbors at Paine College. There is no doubt that we all were shaken by the news of the recent shootings on their campus and, to be blatantly honest, the close proximity to ours. Yet, from what we understand, so many individuals once again did right and well in the face of real danger. We thank and laud again the brave souls among us who do and don’t wear an official law enforcement badge. We can only hope that, if called upon, we would be brave as well.

Upcoming Events

May 16 – Is the new extended deadline for the confidential Employee Engagement Survey, see http://bit.ly/1m78Uac.

May 22 – Residents as Teachers program, a new required, half-day course for all rising PGY2 residents in MCG core clinical departments with required medical student rotations, including Emergency Medicine, Family Medicine, Internal Medicine, OB/GYN, Neurology, Pediatrics, Psychiatry, and Surgery, from 1:15-4:30 p.m. in GRU Alumni Center. Lunch will be provided from 12:45-1:15 p.m.  A second class will be offered Wednesday June 4, at the same time and location. Contact Amy Legg in the GME office, (alegg@gru.edu), for more information.

June 12 – Investiture Ceremony, 5:30 p.m., Lee Auditorium.

Sept. 6 – Please mark your calendars for the university’s Day of Service to the community.

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/.

Have a great weekend!