We only have what we give.

“We only have what we give.”   -Isabel Allende


It All Starts… With the Best Students

Listen close and you just may hear it. It’s a constant hum of activity that many of us may not really think about even though it is at the heart of what we do. It’s the incredibly important, complex, detailed, excruciating, yet exhilarating process of medical school admissions. And, it’s a process that never really ends, not like even for a week of the year! Here’s what we are talking about: it’s mid-May and, like other medical schools in our great land, we are working hard to seat a fabulous freshman class for 2014. Meanwhile, May 1 was the national date to start applying for 2015! Meanwhile, yesterday was the date the Association of American Medical Colleges recommends that students who were fortunate enough to get multiple acceptances for this coming fall, choose one school. That’s some serious pressure for the individual and for incredible Admissions Offices like ours. And we are super glad to tell you today that the process is in terrific hands. Dr. Gina Duncan is our new Associate Dean for Admissions. Dr. Duncan has served in this incredibly important role on an interim basis since 2012. She is just what the doctor ordered for this position: smart, calm, insightful, experienced, terrific with people, just a generally grand ambassador and advocate for our medical school. You can check out more about her here: http://bit.ly/1gMMMgi, but we hope you will meet her soon if you haven’t already. As Dr. Paul Wallach so aptly put it: Dr. Duncan represents the future of medicine. We are super proud she represents it here! Congratulations Dr. Duncan.

And Individuals Willing to Help… Select the Next Generation

Like most great things, there are lots of terrific people that make it happen and we have to say that for Admissions at our medical school, the Admissions Committee members seriously top any list. This 24-member team representing our community, our alums, our students, and our faculty, volunteers who knows how many hours to pour over pages of information from our prolific applicants. It makes recommendations on who to interview, does the interviews, and then makes critically important and frankly difficult decisions about who is admitted. This is such important work that is simply invaluable. We list their names here although they would be more appropriate in lights: Dr. Duncan, Dr. Greer Falls, Dr. Scott Barman, Dr. Vernon Barnes,Dr. Richard Cameron, Dr. Paul Dainer, Dr. David Fallaw, Dr. Charles Green, Dr. Kent Guion, Dr. Howard Hudson, Dr. Iqbal Khan, Dr. Bruce LeClair, Dr. Leslie Petch-Lee, Dr. Kathryn Martin, Dr. Walter Moore, Dr. Betty Pace,Dr. Leila Stallworth, Dr. Jennifer Sullivan, Dr. John Thornton,  Dr. Roscoe Williams, Ms. Linda James; and our students Joseph Rimando, Jimmy Ma, and Jaharris Collier. We so hope that you take a moment now to think about their commitment to our medical school and to medicine and that when you see them you thank them as well.

In Fact Some… Give Their Blood

Fast forward four years, and you’ll find our students at a happening Hooding such as the one we talked about last week. Certainly the next day, Graduation Day, proved truly terrific as well and was another great reminder of the scope of work of our university. Our colleagues in K-12 will be celebrating graduation as well next week, so summer is clearly around the corner – it officially starts June 21! – and, of course, we’ve already noticed that it’s getting kinda warm in our fair city. Which brings us back to our main point. Those of us fortunate enough to work here are acutely aware that the demand for blood never, ever stops even as summertime shakes out and heats up. We also know that it’s traditionally a slow donation time. So Porscha Mack, who started her job in February in blood donor services at our hospital, figured well maybe a little healthy competition would help with donation doldrums. So she is putting it out there for us to take the employee blood drive challenge!! In fact, Radiology and Respiratory Services are wrapping up their friendly rivalry today! We would weigh in on the likely winner but we all know that everyone who donates blood is a winner and our patients and families are definitely winners as well. So many of you already give so much to our patients and families and we ask that you consider this priceless gift as well. If you rather just show up quietly, on your own, that’s super, too. Our blood bank (first floor of the adult hospital just inside the door under the VA crosswalk) is open weekdays 8 a.m.-4 p.m., or you can call Ms. Mack at 1-3695 to schedule an appointment or to issue a challenge to another department!! Either way, per always, you are the best, and we can’t thank you enough for what you do for patients today as well as the next generation of health care.

And We Are Always Taking A Pulse…

A lot of what we do, of course, is take the pulse of our state and nation to see what we need to be doing. We told you a few weeks back about the new radiation oncology residency program that starts this summer and how radiation oncology was among the most competitive specialties at the recent annual Match Day. We just can’t help but note here that the Match is so similar to medical school admission in terms of importance and just plain nervous anticipation. Well, this July we’ll also be re-starting a fellowship program in forensic psychiatry. These specialists primarily work where psychiatry and the law intersect, to treat criminals with mental illness, and are often expert witnesses in the legal system for that very reason. They can have huge – and tough – civil responsibilities as well, such as helping determine guardianship, providing violence risk assessment, and assessing fitness for duty. Just as there is a shortage of psychiatrists in our nation, there is a shortage of these subspecialists as well, with nearly 1,500 board-certified forensic psychiatrists out there. Dr. Elizabeth Hogan, who did her psychiatry training at Duke and Harvard Longwood and forensic psychiatry training at St. Vincent’s Hospital in New York and joined our faculty last year, is the program’s training Director. Our training sites include East Central Regional Hospital, which we have a strong relationship with, as well as Central State Hospital in Milledgeville. This is truly a fascinating subspecialty and we are super glad to again offer it here. In fact, Dr. M.J. Albright, a general psychiatrist already on our faculty, will be our new fellow this July 1.

To Ensure We Are Doing What’s Needed …

In keeping with that, we’ll also be starting a neat new program with a bit of an odd name: Post-Pediatric Portal Program. For pediatricians who want additional training in child and adolescent psychiatry, it enables that in three years rather than the usual five. So it’s 18 months of general psychiatry training and 18 months focusing on children. Ours is the fifth program approved in this country by the Accreditation Council on Graduate Medical Education, Edith Towns tells us. Just terrific. Ms. Towns has graciously agreed to be the temporary residency coordinator for this new training program as well as forensic psychiatry. Dr. Danielle Shaw, who has practiced pediatrics in California for 17 years, is our first resident, and Dr. Sandra Sexson, our Chief of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, is the training Director. This is the kind of strategic growth that we want and need to see happen. Great job all.

 And We Have… Some Great Company

OK, here’s another great way for all of us to learn: take a look at ourselves. That is just what the Liaison Committee on Medical Education has done over the last couple of years – with lots of input from medical educators like us – with the admirable goal of reducing redundancy and improving clarity in its standards. This important effort whittled the total number of standards from 132 to a dozen with each of those concisely defined with a clear explanation of what you have to do to be compliant with them. Awesome. These are in place for all site visits coming up after July 2015.  We’ll actually be starting our LCME self study in 2015 with the big site visit coming up in 2016. Our Drs. Paul Wallach, Gerald Crites, from our Athens campus, and Andria Thomas already are all over these new standards and, per usual, will help keep us steering in the right direction. You can check out more about the LCME’s reformatting here: http://bit.ly/TaGm5N.

And Amazing Times… To Boot

One more super cool event to share with you as we exit this week: It’s the Greenblatt Library’s recent Health Sciences Lecture Series on Gravid Uterus, which means the uterus in pregnancy, by the incredible Bill Andrews, Interim Chair and Program Director of Medical Illustration. Mr. Andrews talked about the 1774 William Hunter book published as an elephant folio – a really big book with life-size drawings – which is considered one of the masterworks in obstetrics and one of the most beautiful medical books ever printed.  In fact, Mr. Andrews shared with us that this impressive book helped earn Dr. Hunter the distinguished name, Father of British Obstetrics. Seriously awesome. Mr. Andrews told us a lot about life, culture and public health in 18th century London, and the remarkable advances in midwifery and obstetrics that occurred in the 1700s. He even told us a little about printing and engraving processes used back then. While this was all clearly interesting on its own, we wanted to share that among those attending was our alum, Dr. Leslie Wilkes, ’65, and his wife Ge-Juan, who presented a copy of this amazing publication to the library last year. They’ve also donated four, multi-volume sets of John Hunter books – he’s William’s brother – published in the early 1800s.We’ve talked a lot in recent weeks about our awesome alums. Dr. Wilkes, you are absolutely one of them. We thank you so much for your support of your medical school. You can call Renée Sharrock in Historical Collections and Archives at 1-3444 to see this book yourself!

Upcoming Events

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

May 20 – Children’s Hospital of Georgia Emergency Department open house, 3-5 p.m. reception, 3:30 p.m. ribbon cutting. Come check out the awesome renovations.

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, reception follows.

Aug. 6 – First day of class for our freshmen!

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 terrific weekend.