There is no greatness where there is no simplicity, goodness, and truth.

“There is no greatness where there is no simplicity, goodness, and truth.”  -Leo Tolstoy

 A Great Home…

We started out last week talking about making a national splash, so let’s start this week with some awesome hometown news! So you probably already know that the first day of class is coming up quick: Aug. 6! Well, the 190 freshman students that start at our Augusta campus this year – 40 new students will be at our beautiful Athens campus – may well be moving into our new academic home around Sept. 15. That’s according to our good friend Daniel Merrell, Senior Facilities Project Manager at our university, who has managed this incredible project with great passion and purpose. How exciting is that?! As we have talked about so many times, this is a super cool learning environment for students at our main campus and a terrific place for the whole class of 230 to gather when needed. Have we mentioned lately that the fabulous, two-story large classrooms hold 300 students?! Terrific and, BTW, our current large classrooms hold 200. Of course there are also cozy learning communities, a super simulation center where colleagues from all health disciplines will gather to learn and to teach, and just so much more. We just wanted to share the excitement and the countdown! To learn more about the incredible J. Harold Harrison MD Education Commons, check out the cover story of our last magazine:

A Great Education…

And speaking of students, we talked a while back about some of the terrific new dual-degree programs we could now offer as a consolidated research university, including the MD/MBA with our colleauges in the Hull College of Business. The results are starting to show! Three of our students in Augusta – Sharmin Shariff, Sarah Jansen, and Ali Ahmed – just last week finished up the first semester of their business training, Wennie Squires, Graduate Studies Coordinator at the Hull College tells us. They will finish up the rest between their third and fourth years of medical school. This is one of two ways the students can earn this dual degree, Ms. Squires says. Bhavi Patel, Richard “Hayden” Self, and James “Alan” Webster will be doing it the other way: they will soon start an intensive, three-semester program after wrapping up their third year of medical school and before starting their fourth. Our colleagues at UGA have made this popular dual degree available to our students in Athens as well in partnership with the Terry College of Business. Andrew Johnson is the first to finish up MBA work at the Athens campus and Matt Lustig is just starting on his. Andrew and Matt both started a full year of MBA work after completing their first two years of medical school. This is super cool whichever way it’s done! No doubt we are privileged to help educate a great group of students who will be making a dynamic difference in our world.

A Commitment to Others…

Did I mention we also have great residents?! Our Department of Family Medicine residency program is one of 16 nationally to receive a $10,000 Senior Immunization Grant from the American Academy of Family Physicians Foundation to help provide flu vaccines to some of the folks who need them most. The residents’ winning proposal created a standing order in our Family Medicine Center so nurses can give flu vaccines to elderly patients who qualify. That order also applies to other high-risk groups like children and patients with compromised immune systems. This winning team hopes this will be a sustainable program that others will emulate. We second that! Amazingly, the flu season will be upon us shortly, as soon as October, according to the CDC and that’s when we all need to think about rolling up the sleeves for a dose of prevention! The CDC also shares that each flu season, about 90 percent of related deaths occur in those of us 65 and older so this project really has its eye on the target. The winning team includes Residents Dr. Eunice Gititu, Dr. Edward Agabin, and Dr. Prasand Kesavan; our Family Medicine Research Team members Dayna Seymore, Denise Hodo and Holly Andrews; Dr. Carla Duffie, clinic coordinator; Patrick Hatch who did the IT legwork; and our Dr. Janis Coffin, Medical Director of the Family Medicine Center and Dr. Paul Forney, Vice Chair of the Department. Great job all!

That Helps Them Find Success…

How is this for a sustainability?! We just wrapped up the 44th year for the Student Educational Enrichment Program, which works to further diversify the health professions workforce by bringing high school and college students to campus from all over the state who are thinking that, just maybe, they want to be a physician or some other health professional! What a super program and man does it work. Like 80 percent of the students who come to our campus each summer, spending time learning from our students, our faculty, and each other, end up in health professions, says Linda James, our Director of Diversity Outreach. Talk about educating the next generation! We also are wrapping up the third summer of our SEEP Savannah Program which we offer in partnership with Savannah State University and the Savannah-Chatham County School District. That program, which is modeled after the Augusta program, brings in students from Alfred E. Beach High School and Woodville-Tompkins High School in beautiful Savannah to spend some of their summertime doing cool stuff like studying college-level biology. Back in Augusta, we also have a pre-matriculation program that eases transition into medical school for students who have already been accepted here. This program is for nontraditional students, like those who maybe took some time off between college and medical school, and for students from underrepresented or underserved populations like from rural areas of our vast state. This is truly a super way for all of the above to spend their summers. We thank and congratulate Ms. James, Alexis Rossi, Director of Diversity Training and Evaluation, our entire Office of Student and Multicultural Affairs and, of course, our incredible students, faculty and staff who help out each summer. You can find more here:

Also Helps Us Find Our Own…

And speaking of fabulous faculty, we all know that we have some of the best ever physicians, scientists, and educators right here. Well, a recent, pretty high-profile ranking, the 13th edition of America’s Top Doctors, absolutely agreed. Fourteen of our fab physicians were ranked among the top 1 percent nationally by specialty. In alphabetical order they are Dr. Ricardo Azziz, reproductive endocrinology and surgery; Dr. Sharad Ghamande, gynecology/oncology; Dr. David Hess, neurology; Dr. Sheldon Litwin, cardiovascular disease, Dr. Walt Moore, rheumatology, Dr. Julian Nussbaum, ophthalmology and vitreo-retinal disorders; Dr. Gregory Postma, voice and swallowing disorders; Dr. Satish Rao, gastroenterology; Dr. Kapil Sethi, neurology; Dr. Sandra Sexson, child and adolescent psychiatry; Dr. Robert Sorrentino, cardiac electrophysiology; Dr. David Terris, thyroid and parathyroid surgery; Dr. Martha Terris, urology; and Dr. Jack Yu, pediatric plastic surgery. You talk about a winning line up. What a crowd and what a cause for celebration. Our congratulations to each and all!

Is Really Great… And So Are You…

And finally today, we send a special note of thanks to a couple of other really great faculty members. You may have heard by now that Dr. Mark Hamrick has decided to refocus on his science and put aside the significant administrative duties of Senior Vice President for Research that he’s had since 2010. Most of us who have lived a few years understand how hard it is to do too many things well nevermind great. And Dr. Hamrick, who studies super interesting and relevant issues like regenerating bone lost to injury or age, is a super dedicated scientist who wants to focus. While we hate to lose him from this important leadership role, we know that we have not really lost him. Because he is a natural leader, mentor, and terrific team player to boot. We thank him for his service and for his commitment to better bones, better science, and a better university. Dr. Michael Diamond, our headliner last week, has graciously agreed to step into the interim role. Seriously, when you look at the likes of the folks listed in just today’s issue of our Dean’s Diary, you can’t help but feel pride in the present and confidence in our future.

Upcoming Events

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. 7 – MCG Alumni Association freshman lunch for the Athens campus, UGA Russell Hall, noon.

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. 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.

Enjoy the weekend!



About Staff

Augusta University Staff is a collection of talented writers, photographers, students and professionals; all working together to promote and support the amazing impacts and every day wins of Augusta University and the people that make up JagNation.