Success is dependent on effort.

“Success is dependent on effort.”  -Sophocles


Great Things Happen… When We Start Out on the Right Foot…

We talked a few weeks ago about the endless and essential cycle of admissions at our medical school. Right now, in fact, before the Class 2018 even arrives we are starting to accept applications for the Class of 2019!! And, here’s a great opportunity for all of us to learn more! It’s the first Admissions Summit designed to update us on all the important steps and thoughts that go into the complex process of selecting the next generation of physicians who we are privileged to help educate. The summit idea percolated up from questions streaming in mainly from our regional campuses and the Admissions Office deciding to get everybody together to talk about it. We think that is a terrific idea. The information and discussion promise to be invigorating and enlightening and we so hope you will join in. It’s set for Wednesday, July 16 from 9 am to noon at the Alumni Center on our campus. If you want to attend please let Jacquelyn Dogan,, know by close of business MONDAY!

Find Terrific Partners Along the Way…

Here’s another great example of what can happen when great minds come together! Pediatric Partners of Augusta LLC is already a terrific partner in providing the absolute best care to children. And we just took another awesome step in that partnership! Our electronic medical records can now talk with the electronic medical records of this group of about a dozen physicians. Really cool and great for children. That means we have instant access from both directions on the latest thing happening with the child. So, if a child they have seen is referred to us for some reason or needs to be seen in our fabulous, newly renovated pediatric Emergency Department, getting the latest and best information is seamless. We sure hope this is a sign of things to come because, like pretty much anything in life, it takes a team and super communication to do the best job. This ability to safely share valuable health care information with other providers, as well as the patients themselves, is, no doubt, one of the absolute best things about electronic medical records, an evolving asset for those of us privileged to treat patients. Please know that the Georgia Regional Academic Community Health Information Exchange, widely known as GRAChIE, is enabling the relationship here. Talk about great teams caring for children.

Never Forget That Children Are The Future…

Speaking of great care for children, our pediatric critical care specialist, Dr. Renuka Mehta, is one of a few physicians ever to participate in the Georgia Governor’s Teaching Fellows program. This program was established by Gov. Zell Miller nearly 20 years ago to enable great faculty like Dr. Mehta to become even better teachers. She is one of 14 higher education folks from across our fine state, which also included Dr. Pamela Hayward in the university’s Department of Communications, to participate in the summer program that recently wrapped up. Dr. Mehta, a faculty member for 11 years who actually did her pediatric critical care fellowship with us, is, like so many of you, a huge fan of teaching students and residents as well as interprofessional health care teams, important lessons like how to resuscitate and otherwise care for critically ill children. She’s already a member of our Academy of Educators and is a fellow of the Educational Innovation Institute as well. Her latest cool teaching program is jointly sponsored by the Institute of Higher Education and the Center for Teaching and Learning at the University of Georgia, where Dr. Mehta spent two weeks focusing on how best to teach the new millennial students and foster lifelong learners. Looks like she is already doing plenty right and we thank her for her ongoing effort to stay at the top of her teaching game.

That Patients Always Deserve the Best…

And, speaking of staying on top of your game, here’s another terrific way technology appears to be improving health care. We all hear a fair amount about the importance of breast cancer screening and mammography is a standard in this effort. In fact, the American Cancer Society suggests that, starting at age 40, every woman should have a yearly mammogram. Well, a pretty interesting study just came out in the Journal of the American Medical Association, see, indicating that the latest iteration of this technology, called tomosynthesis, which provides more of a 3-D image of the breast, can increase cancer detection and decrease false positives. Certainly this is great news to hear although it’s, no doubt, an issue that will – and should – continue to be assessed. We wanted to make sure you know that our hospital has been using this technology for our patients for three years now this very July and, while we haven’t done a formal study, our docs are experiencing pretty much the same thing. Mammographer, Dr. Karen Panzitta, tells us that fewer false alarms, of course are great, and so is improved detection when cancer is present. We thank Dr. Panzitta and our Department of Radiology and Imaging for helping ensure that our patients get the best information and treatment.

And that You Are Helping Find that Best…

The ability to move treatment ahead, of course, starts with learning more about how our bodies work and why sometimes they don’t work so well. One of the most fascinating aspects of that, we think, is essentially looking to our bodies for better ways to prevent disease or treat what does go wrong. We’ve talked some recently about immunotherapy, where we tweak our immune system to help it target a tumor or infection. Really cool possibilities there. Dr. Nevin Lambert is doing some fundamental and fascinating work that will help us know how many potential drug targets we have in our bodies. He studies G protein-coupled receptors, which are involved in a lot of basic functions like breathing and blood pressure, so are a natural place for us to shop for drug targets. Trouble is, there is a pretty big debate in science about how many potential drug targets they provide. You see, about 350 are involved in key physiological functions in humans. Can you believe another 600 are involved in our ability to smell?? Anyway, some scientists believe there actually may be thousands of options – as opposed to hundreds – because they think these receptors can pair up in something called a dimer, which has a whole different function than the two receptors that made it. While he might wish it were so, Dr. Lambert has mounting evidence that these receptors, which are constantly moving about on our cells’ surfaces, do get close to each other, they just don’t make dimers. He just secured two grants from the National Institute of General Medical Sciences to help figure out the truth once and for all. Really super sleuthing here and we will be excited to hear what he finds. Way to go Dr. Lambert. Check out more here:

In Fact, You are the Best…

As we make our exit this week, we must say goodbye to a couple of dear friends. Dr. James Wynn came to us as a medical student, stayed for a general surgery residency, went to the University of Florida School of Medicine for a transplant fellowship, then returned. He has been a terrific proponent of patients and this medical school all along the way. He served as our Chief of General Surgery and Transplant Surgery, Vice Chair of the Department of Surgery and held the Mason Distinguished Chair in Transplant Surgery and Immunology. He helped educate the next generation by sharing his extensive clinical knowledge with our students and residents. In fact, he has been Director of the General Surgery Residency since 2010. He understands the real difference a new organ can make in a patient’s life and so has been a tremendous advocate locally and nationally for organ donation. He has helped steer our Practice Group. Now he has retired and we can only wish him the very best and thank him again and again for dedicating himself to our medical school.

And We are Most Grateful…

We also say goodbye to Dr. Connie Drisko, former Dean of the College of Dental Medicine. Like Dr. Wynn, Dr. Drisko was a tireless advocate for her college. In fact, she seemed just plain tireless, which, along with her distinctive white hair and Oklahoma roots, earned her the moniker, “White Tornado.” This past Sunday, this bundle of energy came to rest. Our thoughts are with her family and her friends and our gratitude is with her always.

Upcoming Events

July 16 – MCG Alumni Association New Student Welcome Dinner, 6 pm, Harvest Moon Café, Rome.

July 18 – MCG Alumni Association, a mentoring dinner for our students who are from Savannah, 6 p.m., Savannah Golf Club.

July 25 – MCG Alumni Association, New Student Welcome Dinner, 6 pm, Savannah Golf Club, Savannah.

Aug. 4 – MCG Alumni Association Freshman Brunch, 10:30 am Augusta Marriott.

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

Aug. 28 – MCG Alumni Association, Athens Regional Reception, 6 pm, at the home of Dr. and Mrs. Mark Ellison.

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

Sept. 6 – MCG Foundation 60th Anniversary Celebration in conjunction with the Alumni Association’s Augusta Regional Reception, 6 pm, Augusta Marriott.

Sept. 7 – MCG Alumni Association Board Meeting, 9:30 a.m., GRU Health Sciences Campus.

Oct. 2 – MCG Alumni Association Regional Reception in Valdosta, 6 pm, Valdosta Country Club.

Oct. 7 – MCG Alumni Association Regional Reception in Savannah, 6 pm, Savannah Golf Club.

Oct. 11 – White Coat Ceremony, 2 pm Bell Auditorium.

Oct. 16 – Opening of the J. Harold Harrison MD Education Commons! More details to come.

Feb. 24 – MCG Alumni Association Planning Committee, Nominating Committee, Board Meeting and Regional Event, starting at 2:30 pm, Idle Hour Country Club, Macon.

March 5 – MCG Alumni Association Regional Reception, 6 pm, Northeast History Museum, Gainesville.

April 17 – Raft Debate, sponsored by the MCG Alumni Association, 6 pm, Lee Auditorium.

April 23-26 – Alumni Weekend.

May 4 – MCG Graduation Dinner, 6:30, location to be determined.

May 7 – Hooding Ceremony, 2 pm, Bell Auditorium.

May 8 – Graduation, 2 p.m., Civic Center.

Have a great weekend.


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