I only regret that I have but one life to lose for my country.

“I only regret that I have but one life to lose for my country.”   -Nathan Hale


Seriously Sweet 16… And Getting Better All the Time

Our beautifully unique Children’s Hospital of Georgia is sweet 16 this year and we celebrated with a makeover for our pediatric emergency department. We so hope you checked out its very grand debut this week. The colors on the floors and walls soothe, yet remind us of the children we are here to serve. Beautiful images of those children resonate throughout. Our nursing station is now loaded up with computers because, well, who doesn’t need one of those to do pretty much anything these days. Like an awesome update of your home, we’ve added a couple of more rooms for our smallest patients and repurposed other space that no longer worked optimally for them. One fixture that no one would renovate is the incredible health care team that is ready 24-7 to help children and their families through some potentially tough and scary moments. Seriously, you could feel the pride and love of work as they showed you around their beautifully updated home. “We are here because we love children,” Dr. Natalie Lane told an enthusiastic crowd gathered to take in the sights and have a bite of cake. No doubt! Congratulations to each of you and so much thanks as well for always being there for children. Check out Dr. Lane’s super guest column in the newspaper last weekend: http://bit.ly/1lEzULS and you can get a flavor for our awesome updated facility (and fabulous folks) here: http://on.fb.me/1jAKk2g.

 By Taking on Health Issues that Matter…

So in addition to children,  you know that we love anything awesome and this is just super awesome. Our medical student, Dr. Abigail Cline (she’s already a PhD in biochemistry) is among 50 students nationally to get a 2014 Alpha Omega Alpha Carolyn L. Kuckein Student Research Fellowship!! Most of you know that AOA is the national honor medical society and this is definitely both an honor and medical. You see, she is teaming up with skin researcher Dr. Wendy Bollag to try to figure out more about how the sun causes non-melanoma skin cancers. Of course, what they really want to do is stop this bad stuff that grows on high-sun exposure places like our faces. This is a hugely common problem with like 2 million new cases expected this year in our nation alone. It’s worth noting that the damage is cumulative and of course we are an aging population so…  In case we are depressing you at this point, please take heart in the fact that the likes of Drs. Bollag and Cline are on it. Lots of interesting twists and turns here but we have to say it’s fascinating that their focus, the enzyme protein kinase D, reflects some serious dichotomy: it enables us to walk in the sun without quite literally shedding our skin but it also enables skin cancer to thrive. Dr. Cline said it well: It protects us to a fault. Truly. You can read more about the research journey the two will take this summer here: http://bit.ly/RXPgSK and here,:http://chronicle.augusta.com/metro. A serious “way to go” to our Dr. Cline!

And Being Superstars…

Most of you probably know we have an AOA chapter right here at Georgia’s public medical school?! Well more of our fabulous students, and a couple of residents, faculty and alums as well, recently got inducted into the Alpha of Georgia Chapter! Too terrific. One of our great alums, Dr. Dan DeLoach of sunny Savannah and our Class of 1974, talked to this group of other super-achievers about the role of the Georgia Composite Medical Board – he’s a Board member – and the incredible value of a medical license. Indeed. Talk about something that has incredible value and incredible responsibility! Dr. DeLoach, also past President of our Alumni Association, is just such a great individual and advocate for his medical school and his profession.  Here’s another stellar group that we can all feel proud about. Our new AOA student members are Puja Chebrolu, Aaron Cunningham, Rachel E. Elam, Matthew C. Jones, Kayce Newbern, Jordan J. Patton, Karishma G. Reddy, Joseph Rimando, and Garrison P. Weir. At the Athens campus, Theodora Brandon, Wesley N. Bryson, and Russell W. Ledford. New resident members are Drs. Burles A. Johnson III in internal medicine, Dr. Daniel McCall in emergency medicine, and Dr. Humberto Sifuentes in gastroenterology. Our fab faculty inducted into this prestigious group include Drs. Jatinder Bhatia and Kathryn McLeod, both from the Department of Pediatrics; and two more awesome alums, Dr. Joseph J. Burch, a radiologist in Rome from the Class of 1985, and Dr. Kathryn Cheek, a pediatrician in Columbus, from the Class of 1982. Superstars all!

And Sharing Knowledge…

A show of hands here for those who, like Dr. Cline, would choose to spend what is probably her last free summer until retirement working. We are thinking because our audience is so awesome that the show of hands here is awesome too. Because that is just who you are: you work and you share and you learn and you discover and you essentially give your medical school your all. Here’s yet another great example: Every Spring, eight rising second-year medical students are competitively selected to serve as paid teaching assistants for the summer human gross anatomy course that physician assistant, physical therapy, and occupational therapy students in our College of Allied Health Sciences take. Well three students who were among that clearly esteemed group last summer also managed to find time for a little educational research, which they just presented at a national meeting. Can I get another: “Awesome.” These students are now rising third years and their names are – we just have to ask for a drumroll- Samuel Gottlieb, Jared Dowdy, and Vincent Chen. At the annual American Association of Anatomists meeting in San Diego, Samuel talked about “Student Peer Teaching in the Anatomy Lab Enhances Anatomy Performance in the Lowest Quartile of Allied Health Students”; Jared about “Peer Feedback Among Interprofessional Allied Health Students in the Anatomy Lab”; and Vincent about “Gender Differences in Opposite Dissection Group Peer Feedback Among Interprofessional Allied Health Students in the Gross Anatomy Lab.” Whew and wow. So, our students are great at being, well, students, educators, and researchers. Like we have said a million times – and more to come – lots of you are doing a ton right at Georgia’s public medical school. This, of course, includes some of our students’ best educators and cheerleaders, Drs. Anna Edmonson, Charys Martin, and Carol Nichols. Our absolute congratulations to one and all.

And Discovering New Knowledge…

Of course we have a lot of amazing individuals and teams doing fascinating, biomedical research at our medical school as well. So, it’s no huge surprise to anyone that our Dr. Jin-Xiong She was recently among the top 20 medical researchers in our spectacular state, in this case, according to The Atlanta Business Chronicle, see http://bit.ly/1okxzs2. Hey we know it’s true in every case! The ABC tells us that Georgia, which is privileged to have many fine research institutions, has $752 million in funded biomedical research and ranks 12th in the nation in research funding. Well, Dr. She has certainly done his part in not just securing funding, which is a tough enough job these days, but in moving knowledge forward. Last year, for example, he got a major grant renewal for his tremendous contributions to a fascinating longitudinal and international study designed to figure out just how genetics and environment conspire to cause type 1 diabetes. The latest renewal alone was $10 million in National Institutes of Health funding! His biotech company, Jinfiniti Biosciences LLC, is rocking and rolling at the university’s Life Sciences Business Development Center, doing cool, complicated stuff like providing high-throughput scientific services such as nucleic acid isolation and genomic analysis never mind developing new drugs and companion biomarkers for personalized medicine. Who wouldn’t put this amazingly prolific scientist and visionary at the top of any list. Congratulations, Dr. She!

And Being Terrific Citizens of our University and Community…

We have all been hearing lots about the political process in the past few weeks with elections just behind us.  Many of us enjoy the hopefully healthy debate and issues that this fundamental function of our government brings to bear. But we want to take just a moment this week to review a few of the university’s guidelines for involvement in the political process. It’s pretty basic stuff.  Certainly, we all are free to express our opinion and participate in political activities just not on behalf of the university or medical school and the position we hold here. Our Office of Government Relations and Community Affairs is here to handle that for the university. We can’t get elected to a state or federal political office while we work here, although you can seek a leave without pay prior to qualifying if you decide you want to pursue an office. We can hold elective office other than at the state or federal level, as long as that office doesn’t conflict with what we do here. That means you could run for local office, although from what we hear we just elected a new mayor! So, if you ever find yourself wondering about a political issue, please always feel free to reach out to the Government Relations Office for help, at 1-4413, and find more info here: http://www.gru.edu/gov/elepro.php. It’s worth noting again that we should also reach out to this office before inviting an elected official to campus, more on that here: http://www.gru.edu/gov/protocol.php//. We appreciate always your incredible professionalism and commitment.

And Honoring Others

And finally today, we take a measured moment to thank our military for enabling us to have the freedom to run or not run for office and frankly to just walk down the street. Monday is Memorial Day, the federal holiday set aside to remember our fallen members of the Armed Forces. In reality, you honor both the living and the deceased every day by being the incredibly good citizens that you are.

Upcoming Events

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.

Oct. 11 – White Coat Ceremony, 2 p.m, Bell 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/.

Enjoy your weekend!