A problem is a chance for you to do your best.

“A problem is a chance for you to do your best.”   -Duke Ellington

 

Finding the Best Way is What You Do…

We talk a lot here each week about the differences each of you make each day. Sometimes it’s quietly, as you help an individual patient or student; other times it’s globally – and often more visibly – as you find better ways to treat and to educate. We wanted to share that Dr. Michael Diamond, who already wears so many hats as Chair of OB-GYN and Associate Dean for Research in our medical school, and as the university’s VP for Clinical and Translational Sciences, wrapped up last week super busy on the global front. He chaired a two-day FDA panel looking at the practice of cutting up, or morcellating, uterine fibroids so they can be easily removed through small incisions. Back in April, the FDA discouraged the practice because it might unintentionally spread undiagnosed cancer: 1 in 350 women who have a hysterectomy or surgical removal of just the fibroids, have unsuspected uterine cancer. With his usual calm and clarity, Dr. Diamond led the public, follow-up meeting of the FDA’s Obstetrics and Gynecological Medical Devices Panel. You can read more about what was said here: http://yhoo.it/1u05hcpand here: http://on.wkyc.com/1u05rQQ and at a ton of other places across the world. Like so many of you, he’s doing a great job on so many fronts. Our thanks goes out to him.

Whether It’s Training Residents…

Speaking of making a difference, when we were talking graduate medical education last week, we should have also mentioned that we have started an interventional radiology fellowship as one of our new programs in this fast-moving aspect of growing the next generation of physicians. So, a belated welcome to this terrific new Accreditation Council on Graduate Medical Education-approved fellowship. This year-long program will train more of the specialists who truly helped define “minimally invasive” as pioneers in using cathethers and stents, for example, to help diagnose and treat arterial disease in the legs. They are involved today in finding and intervening in problems with a host of organ systems, pinpointing and treating, for example, internal bleeding as well as narrowed arteries in the kidneys that are causing hypertension. Super cool. Dr. Eran Rotem is the new program’s Director.

Or Teaching Students…

Since we are talking education, we wanted to share that medical education really is heating up all over our state! We’ve got 10 third-year medical students starting this summer at our Northwest Campus based in Rome. Just a reminder that this is our newest regional campus! We have a dozen new students at our oldest regional campus, the Southwest Campus based in awesome Albany, and we have 20 new third-years at our Southeast Campus, based in the seaside cities of Savannah and Brunswick. The new students join seven, seven and 17 fourth years already at the campuses, respectively. We have 40 brand-new, first-year students who will be starting at our four-year Athens campus in just a few weeks and 190 more, of course, at our home base here in Augusta. Have we mentioned lately that this will be the first class in our super, new state-of-the-art academic home, the Harrison building?! Truly terrific news on many fronts. We cannot thank enough the incredible hospital and physician partners, including so many terrific alums, across our fair state who are making this happen. Talk about a commitment to the future!

Or Recognizing the Power of Partnership

Here’s more of that kind of powerful partnering. It was June 2012 when we were announcing a strengthened academic affiliation with our colleagues at University Hospital. We can still feel the enthusiasm and optimism that emanated. We were all so super glad as well to have our residents spend time again in the busy, big, and comprehensive community hospital. The icing on the cake was and is that so many of our alums practice there. We are proud to report that progress has been steady and that each year we have about 36 residents – and growing – spend time learning alongside internists, obstetricians and gynecologists, and general surgeons at University Hospital. We want to thank University Health Care System President/CEO Jim Davis for taking a leadership role in continuing to support this important relationship. Key to its success have been Dr. William Farr, University’s VP of Medical Affairs/Chief Medical Officer; Dr. Barry J. Jenkins, an MUSC graduate who did his residency with us and is Director of Surgical Training at University; Dr. Randy Smith, a 1970 graduate of our medical school and Chair of the University Health Care System Executive Board; and, of course, our very own Dr. Walt Moore. BTW, did you know that University Hospital was our primary teaching hospital from our founding in 1828 until we opened our own hospital back in 1956? Now that’s a history!

Particularly When the Job is Big… and Super Important

Here’s another one. Thirty years ago, health providers, health professions students, educators, state agencies, and Georgia communities got together to take on the challenge of having enough health providers and having them in the right place across our expansive, largely rural state. Denise Kornegay, Executive Director, aptly calls the Georgia Statewide Area Health Education Centers Network a health workforce pipeline program. This powerful partnership logically has primary care as a focus. In fact, one of its many important goals is having 50 primary care physicians per 100,000 Georgians by 2020. We second that emotion! Because right now we are closer to 32 per 100,000 and rank 39th nationally in this important frontline provider of health care. Well, AHEC’s goals and efforts are really resonating nationally and it has taken top honors in the country this year with the 2014 Eugene S. Mayer Program of Excellence Award from the National AHEC Office. Way to go guys. Absolutely worth a footnote here that one of AHEC’s major steps toward expanding the workforce took effect July 1: Physicians who teach 10 rotations annually to medical, nurse practitioner or physician assistant students get a $10,000 state tax credit! This is a well-deserved credit for our hard-working community clinical faculty.

You Learn it Right… Then Do it Well

Please join us in congratulating as well Layne Mitchell as the brand new Administrator for both our academic and hospital-based Department of Radiology. Talk about solid footing! Mr. Mitchell started with us back in 1993 as a CT technologist. He got a truly terrific sense of our patients and our place by working every shift we have to offer and really enjoyed working with the residents in the process. He got his first taste of managing as a Lead CT Technologist and then Chief Radiographer and more recently as Business Manager for Imaging Services. Along the way he got an MBA! This is really the kind of boots on the (many) grounds experience that should make him a fabulous fit for his new job which encompasses making sure we have the best people operating the best imaging equipment and that the next generation of radiologists grow out of their experiences with both. Did we mention that he will also help ensure that our fabulous faculty get the academic and clinical support they need?! This is another one of those wonderful win-wins for our patients, medical education, and our future. Really great news!

Then Share What You Know…

We started out today talking about making a difference and wanted to get back to that as we wrap things up. There’s no question that cigarette smoking is just plain bad for us as well as those around us. Lung cancer is the number one cancer killer and smoking is the number one lung cancer cause, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In fact, the synergy is so great that the U.S. Preventive Services Taskforce recommends annual low-dose CT scanning for folks over age 50 with a significant smoking history. So, our Cancer Center is making FREE screenings available to you, as employees, to your family members, and to our patients. How awesome is that? To find out if you or a loved one qualify and to schedule an appointment, visit http://gru.edu/cancer/lung-screening/. While nobody likes to be lectured, we just have to say here that we also hope you and your loved ones will put those cigarettes down!

And Lead as You Go…

Finally today, as we look out upon a new academic year, we absolutely want to thank the leadership of our Faculty Senate for their work this past year. Much has been accomplished under the leadership of the Executive Committee guided by the strong, steady presence of Dr. Jatinder Bhatia. We’ve made progress tweaking the promotions and tenure process to ensure it remains fair and reflective of the dynamic academic environment. We have made major strides in ensuring that our students, our true reason for being, are always treated optimally. We have started laying groundwork for the important self-study that we now begin in preparation for accreditation. We have continued critical dialogue with hospital leadership to ensure true synergy. We thank Faculty Senate President, Dr. Bhatia, the entire Executive Committee, and each of you for making our medical school the best ever.

Upcoming Events

July 18 – MCG Alumni Association, a mentoring dinner for our students who are from Savannah, 6 pm, 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, The 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 am, 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 pm, location to be determined.

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

May 8 – Graduation, 2 pm, Civic Center.

 

 

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