…I can sure pick smart colleagues.

“I’m not the smartest fellow in the world, but I can sure pick smart colleagues.”   -Franklin D. Roosevelt


Great Colleagues…

We recently heard from a good friend of our medical school and of medicine, Dr. John W. Odom, a general surgeon and board member at St. Joseph’s/Candler in super Savannah.  Most of you likely know that St. Joseph’s/Candler, along with the Southeast Georgia Health System in beautiful Brunswick, is an awesome anchor for our Southeast Campus.  As we have said so many times, the folks in these parts – and all over our state – are just the best colleagues in educating the next generation of physicians and so excited about doing it.  Well, Dr. Odom, who has this incredible gift of making our students feel super comfortable from the get-go with his collaborative teaching style and just a real winning way, recently shared his appreciation of our campus in his backyard.  At the moment he was writing to us, he had two of our students working with him, Caroline Lewis and Jaimie Huntly, both Savannah natives, and he wanted us to know how great that was.  No doubt, the students agree.  “Dr. Odom is a phenomenal preceptor and educator,” Jaimie tells us.  “I was fortunate enough to begin my third-year clinical clerkships on his service and learned more about the art and science of medicine in four short weeks than I could have ever expected or hoped for.  Dr. Odom is entirely dedicated to his work, his patients, and the pursuit of knowledge with the kind of passion that is contagious to the students who are lucky enough to experience a rotation with him.  I couldn’t think of a better tone to set for the beginning of my clinical years at MCG.”  We couldn’t either.  Again, we so appreciate the invaluable role of Dr. Odom and all of our some 1,800 community clinical faculty.  There is just no way we could educate the next generation without them – and no way we would want to.  In addition to being so nice about our students, he also praised Dr. Kathryn Martin, our Campus Associate Dean down that way.  Dr. Odom talks about what an inspiration and help she has been for high school and college students aspiring to be physicians, what an asset she is to his community, his hospital, and his profession.  We say: How can we go wrong with such terrific people and such commitment on our team?  We thank you both.

Are Truly Priceless…

Speaking of our incredible community clinical faculty, you may remember that at this past legislative session Senate Bill 391 was approved, making Georgia the first state in the nation to provide a state tax deduction for uncompensated physician preceptors who provide community based training for medical, physician assistant, and nurse practitioner students.  Well, here’s another first!  Last Friday, Denise Kornegay, Executive Director of Georgia Statewide AHEC and our Associate Dean for AHEC, also led the first webinar to help educate folks about eligibility for this wonderful program.  We understand it had the highest turnout ever for a HealthCare Georgia Foundation-sponsored webinar.  Just terrific.  There were about 250 registrants on hand to learn more about this well-earned $10,000 annual deduction.  You can learn more by checking out the PowerPoint here: http://bit.ly/WlPsgt and the archived version of the webinar should be available shortly – maybe today – at the AHEC website.  Ms. Kornegay will be doing a series of these seminars moving forward, with probably two more in the fall.  Once again, we are proud to have such terrific partners in the quest for a healthier state.

And We Are Fortunate… To Have So Many 

Here’s another cause for celebration and just maybe a short road trip.  We hope you will go grab a peak at our massively expanded presence at 1220 West Wheeler Parkway.  It will be open just for you next Thursday, Sept. 11 from 5:30-7 p.m.  Many of you may have paid a visit out that way in the last half dozen years to the orthopedic clinic, but boy have things grown!  It’s now the 40,000-square-foot Georgia Regents West Wheeler site with lots more awesome specialties to choose from that still includes orthopaedics/sports medicine.  But now also has pediatrics, the spine clinic, women’s services/OB-GYN, ophthalmology, internal medicine, rheumatology, endocrinology, and sleep medicine.  How is that for covering your health-care bases?!  Practice Site Manager Jonathan Goolsby calls it a “one stop shop.”  No doubt.  The idea of course is to make our incredible faculty and staff available closer to home for many folks.  That is just what we have done with docs like Drs. Robert Pendergrast and Paige Ward in pediatrics; an awesome combination of orthopods and neurosurgeons, the likes of which include Dr. Haroon F. Choudhri, who just happens to be fellowship trained in orthopaedic surgery and neurosurgery; Dr. Johnathan Tuttle, who did neurosurgery and spine surgery fellowships right here; and Dr. Kelli Braun, another awesome MCG graduate and obstetrician/gynecologist specializing in problems like urinary incontinence, fibroids, and anemia.  A terrific lineup of ophthalmologists, includes Dr. Dilip Thomas who is University of Michigan fellowship-trained in neuro-ophthalmology and oculoplastic/orbital surgery.  This fab new facility incorporates some of our other previous offsite locations as well as the sports medicine facility that was right here on 15th Street.  It’s about 25 docs and 30 staff altogether just in the clinics, never mind related rehabilitation services that will be on site.  Please check it out.

Great Individuals… Great Teams

Speaking of better together, it’s great to share that the multiple practice plans at our university have integrated under our Health System.  We’ve talked in the past about Georgia Regents Medical Associates, which represents our physicians, but there is also Georgia Regents Dental Associates, which represents the dentists who practice at the state’s only dental school; Georgia Regents Nursing Associates, which represents the University System of Georgia’s flagship nursing program; and Georgia Regents Health Professions Associates, which represents faculty from the College of Allied Health Sciences’ 11 different programs.  This is another win-win because, while it will enable each of these important groups to retain their practice leadership, it will strengthen our synergies – which strengthens us individually as well – and enable us to be an even more powerful force in advancing health care in our state and beyond.  Our thanks and congratulations to the leadership of all these fine groups.  We also want to send a special thanks to Susan James, General Counsel of our Health System, and to Kelly Busbee, Executive Administrative Assistant, for their hard work and success on ensuring such terrific, productive meetings.

That Have the Greater Good… 

As we begin our exit this week, a couple of terrific notes from our Athens campus.  Dr. and Mrs. Mark Ellison were wonderful hosts again for the annual MCG Alumni event held at their beautiful home last Thursday.  Many of our other fine Athens alums were with us there as well as fourth-year student Michael Schecter, who hails from Rome, Ga.  Our terrific hospital partners up that way were well represented by Dr. Bruce Middendorf, the CMO of St. Mary’s Health Care System, and Dr. Chuck Peck, the interim President and CEO of Athens Regional Health System.  UGA Provost Pam Whitten and State Senator Bill Cowsert were also among the esteemed guests.  Electrophysiologist Dr. Adam Berman traveled from our home base in Augusta to share some of the innovative work he’s doing, including a stem cell study for heart failure that Athens Cardiologist Dr. Jonathan Murrow and Electrophysiologist Dr. Kent Nilsson, both faculty members at the Medical Partnership, are helping him recruit patients for.  Like the synergy we referenced with the integration of our practice plans, this gathering was a reminder of the good that results when we all work together.  We thank the Ellisons yet again for their incredible support and graciousness.

Always Top of Mind

We talked last week about the amazing phenomena that the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge has been this year nationally and on the home front, with President Azziz and USG Chancellor Huckaby being two of the latest brave souls to take it on.  Well, members of our Classes of 2017 and 2018 attending the GRU/UGA Medical Partnership campus proudly took it on as well.  Please take a few minutes to check it out here: http://bit.ly/WoCbnQ.  It just may make you smile with pride at the hearts and minds of our students and may make you want to dance as well.  With this kind of support for such as worthy cause, it is our sincere hope that one day, ALS patients also will be able to dance if they wish.

And Heart…

And finally today, we wanted to leave you with just one more source of proud.  Saundra McCorkle, charge nurse in the adult plastic surgery practice site, and her daughter Rebecca Hawkins were flying back home after visiting family in her hometown of Dallas a few weeks back when a fellow passenger’s heart stopped.  Of course Ms. McCorkle and her daughter, who teaches CPR, were quickly at the man’s side, and, along with a doctor also on board, helped resuscitate the passenger and stayed with him until the plane could divert to the nearest city and definitive help.  Ms. McCorkle, a 1986 graduate of our College of Nursing who has worked here ever since, tells us she was raised well by our institution.  No doubt she has been raised well period.  Because she didn’t just do what came natural at that moment, she also wanted to know who and how this man was.  Turns out ABC affiliate WFAA-TV helped hook them back up and she recently returned from a visit with the man and his family.  How can we not be proud.  You can check out this really wonderful story here: http://bit.ly/1tyXVM5 and here: http://bit.ly/1xlBe0l.

Upcoming Events

Sept. 6 – GRU Day of Service is tomorrow!

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

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

Sept. 8 – GRU Health Sciences Student Free Clinic Kick-off and Open House, 5:30-8 p.m. in the Atrium of the Allied Health Sciences Building.

Sept. 9 – President Azziz presents update to the USG Board of Regents on the impact of consolidation in areas including student engagement and success; academic enrichment; faculty development; research opportunities; regional, state, national, and global reach. Live streaming available at 9 a.m. at the Summerville Campus, Science Hall, West 1008; and Health Sciences Campus, Small Auditorium, BC-1400.

Sept. 12 – Fourth Annual Diversity and Inclusion Summit. 9 a.m.-4 p.m., Augusta Marriott at the Convention Center, 2 Tenth St. For registration visit www.gru.edu/diversity/summit/  or call 706-721-3967.

Sept. 15 – Educational Innovation Institute Workshop, “Developing High-Quality MCQs to Assess Application of Knowledge Using Patient Vignettes,” Dr. David B. Swanson, Vice President for Program Development and Special Projects, Assessment Programs Unit, National Board of Medical Examiners, 1-5 p.m., AB-108.

Sept. 22 – Presidential Lecture Series, noon, Lee Auditorium. Dr. Lloyd Jacobs, former University of Toledo President, led a vigorous process of growth and transformation to establish a new vision, a new identity and a new level of educational quality and excellence at the university. For more info visit gru.edu/president/lectureseries.

Sept. 22 – Sixth Annual Medical Scholars Research Day, noon-2 p.m. Wellness Center, Health Sciences Campus.

Sept. 25-26 – Fifth Annual Southern Translational Education and Research Conference, sponsored by UGA and GRU, “Targeting Obesity Research from Bench to Bedside,” Augusta Marriott. For more information and registration visit: https://www.rxugace.com/programs/details/861-STaR-2014.

Sept. 29 – Fourth Annual Student Research Symposium, Athens campus, 4:30-6 p.m., Russell Hall.

Sept.  29 – New Faculty Reception and Fall Assembly, University Senate, 5:30-7:30 p.m., Alumni Center Ballrooms A, B, and C, Health Science Campus.

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

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

Oct. 16 – Opening of the J. Harold Harrison MD Education Commons, 11 a.m.

Nov. 14 – Body Donation Memorial Service, November 14, 2014 1-2 p.m., Lee Auditorium

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

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

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

April 23-26 – Alumni Weekend.

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

May 7 – Hooding Ceremony, 2 p.m., location to be determined.

May 8 – Graduation, 2 p.m., James Brown Arena.

Enjoy the weekend!



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