Even the smallest act of service…

“Even the smallest act of service, the simplest act of kindness, is a way to honor those we lost; a way to reclaim that spirit of unity that followed 9/11.”
-President Obama

Dear Friends and Colleagues,

Thank You for Helping Find…
You wanted to go to or work at a medical school for so many great reasons. You wanted to help educate that next generation of physicians, as we so often discuss. You wanted to help provide the best patient care because that’s what people deserve. You wanted to move knowledge forward, to take that treatment that works okay and make it better, or to discover how some malady wreaks havoc on our bodies with the goal of taking it down or at least keeping it at bay. We are so fortunate to regularly have wonderful examples of all of the above. Here’s one that we learned about just this week: Neuroscientist, Dr. Anilkumar Pillai, has found powerful evidence of why autism is five times more common in males than females, a clue that also may lead to better treatment. In addition to the clear gender disparity, an international research team had shown not that long ago that children who have autism were exposed to high levels of the male hormone testosterone during development. Dr. Pillai, of course well aware of the brain-protective benefits of estrogen in women before menopause, decided to look at what role the female sex hormone might play. He found that children with autism express much lower levels of estrogen receptor beta, which moderates estrogen’s ability to protect the brain, and lower levels as well of an enzyme that converts testosterone to estrogen. Truly fascinating and the kind of work that, with even more work, could lead to an effective treatment for these individuals. In fact, drugs that increase the activity of estrogen receptor beta are already in clinical trials for schizophrenia. It’s also the kind of work that reflects why you are here and proudly so. We congratulate Dr. Pillai, Graduate Student Amanda Crider- who is the study’s first author, and the entire research team. Learn more here: http://on.fb.me/1uLxGPG and here: http://bit.ly/1witDLM.

Better Ways to Treat Children… And Adults…
This is exactly what we are talking about. Ellison Steed, age 7, loves animals. He and his parents Erica and Antonio visit the zoo often and they have lovingly helped him accumulate better than 100 toy animals. Ellison also loves to collect rocks, tap dance, and play basketball. So far, at least, he is still just watching football. He loves his second grade class at A. Brian Merry. He loves baby sister Elian, age 4, along with mom and dad. He also loves the myriad of therapists who are helping him grow better. Ellison uses a combination of sign language, some spoken words, and modern technology to communicate. When his mom was asked if she would share Ellison’s story with the Augusta paper, where Science and Medicine Reporter Tom Corwin, was writing about Dr. Pillai’s autism research, Ms. Steed, Manager of Patient and Family Engagement at our hospital, said absolutely. As she learned more about Dr. Pillai’s work, she was even more excited and proud to be part of a place that is helping improve our world and hopefully Ellison’s. In fact, she even came up with the pretty awesome idea of a T-shirt that we could all wear to show that pride. We are with you Ms. Steed and thank you for sharing your precious son with the world. And, if you get those t-shirts, we want to place an order! Check out Ellison here: http://bit.ly/1nQK10P.

For Your Boundless Support…
And speaking of amazing pride in our medical school, last Saturday our MCG Foundation officially celebrated its 60th anniversary. From the time Dr. Edgar Pund, who chaired our Department of Pathology and would become our President, said that we needed to start a foundation, to the 1954-day the first gift of $760 was given, until this year, when our foundation’s assets passed the $200 million mark, the faces of our foundation have changed but never, ever the commitment. We cannot thank our foundation enough for that commitment, which is essential to our success. On the heels of such a celebration, we want to particularly thank Dr. Jim Osborne, foundation CEO; Dr. Sandra Freedman, graduate, long-time faculty member, and Chairman of the Board; Dr. Betty Wray, another awesome graduate, longtime faculty member and our Alumni Association President; and Ian Mercier, Foundation COO, for quite a night of celebration and such amazing, ongoing support to celebrate. Like the folks you support, you are simply the best. You can learn more about our foundation here: http://bit.ly/1xTW3QZ.

For Great Colleagues… Here and Beyond…
We wanted to note here that our colleagues at Morehouse School of Medicine had quite a celebration themselves this week. They had a terrific inauguration of Dr. Valerie Montgomery Rice as the sixth President of this free-standing medical school. This extraordinary event included an Investiture Ceremony yesterday, along with a convocation and white coat ceremony, a day of service, and many more celebrations and service events continuing through Saturday, see: http://bit.ly/1wmODnB. We congratulate our colleague on this important day in her life and the life of Morehouse. Dr. Rice, Georgia’s public medical school sends you our very best.

For Your Passion and Compassion…
It has really been a terrific stretch of days. This week, health sciences students and faculty at our university also joined to announce their collaborative effort to provide our areas’ first Equality Clinic for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender individuals as well as anyone who falls below the 200 percent poverty level, the uninsured, and underinsured. Justin Neisler, our senior medical student who really put the idea for the clinic out there and saw it through, tells us that finding great care can be particularly tough when LGBT community members do not have financial resources and sometimes even when they do. A recent Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation report tells us the same, see: http://bit.ly/1AGDfki. Per their usual, our students and our faculty – you – rise to every occasion to help ensure that we all get great care. We thank you for your drive and your commitment to others. We particularly want to thank Justin, as well as our students Kyle Friez, Lauren Titus, and Lauren Albor, for their extraordinary effort. We thank Dr. David Kriegel in Family Medicine, Medical Director of the new Equality Clinic, as well for his incredible support of our students and community. We thank our Office of Student and Multicultural Affairs, particularly Dr. Kim Halbur and Alexis Rossi, for theirs as well. We also thank our colleagues in the Colleges of Allied Health Sciences and Nursing for joining in this important initiative. And we absolutely thank the nearly decade-old Clinica Latina and its Medical Director Dr. William Salazar for their incredible mentorship of the new Equality Clinic. Once again, with a lineup like this, how can we do anything but soar.

For Your Hard Work…
Next week is getting off to a great start as well. Beverly Bella starts Monday as the very first ever Manager of Clinical and Research Operations for our medical school. Her new position reflects the significant growth in clinical and research activity made possible by each of you. She is definitely up for this new opportunity that oversees daily business operations and planning for all research and clinical activities. More specifically, Joel Covar, our Director of Operations, tell us she will help develop and implement the business side of our strategic plan as well as a method to help us better prioritize research and clinical funding opportunities. She will also play a key role in faculty recruitment and negotiation. Ms. Bella , who is a graduate of our university, came to us in 2002 as Reimbursement Manager of our Medical Associates group. Most recently she has served as Family Medicine Department Administrator. We thank Dr. Joe Hobbs and the Department of Family Medicine for their support of Ms. Bella’s career development and her transition to the Dean’s Office. Please join us in welcoming her to this strategic new role.

For Your Amazing Commitment… to the Next Generation…
We’ve talked a fair amount recently about new residents and residencies at our fine institution, which, of course, is just super. We also want to note progress across the state of the University System of Georgia initiative to add about 400 additional residency slots at hospitals that want to join in this important aspect of medical education. Can you believe this is already the third year of this USG initiative, which was funded this year to the tune of $5.27 million?! This so illustrates the commitment of our Regents and Gov. Deal to the true wellbeing of our state. This coming Monday, St. Mary’s Health Care System and the Medical Partnership campus will start resident recruitment for their 10 internal medicine positions that start next July. Gwinnett Medical Center in Lawrenceville, Ga. was actually the first new residency program established through the USG initiative. In fact, five family medicine residents started there this past July and the hospital is adding an internal medicine residency program at the same time St. Mary’s gets rolling. Already terrific and much more to come.

For Your Innovation… In So Many Things…
Any of you privileged to know Dr. Shelley Nuss, Campus Associate Dean for Graduate Medical Education at our Athens campus, already know that she is absolutely going to make sure that resident education is done well and that includes physician educators getting the support they need. In keeping with that, we shared a while back that she and Dr. Jonathan Murrow had received a $2,500 grant from the Association of Program Directors in Internal Medicine for faculty development workshops that coincide with the increasing number of new teaching physicians across our state. Many of these fine docs are already teaching medical students and will soon be involved in resident education as well through the USG initiative. So Dr. Nuss along with Dr. Murrow and other colleagues at the Athens campus and Emory University School of Medicine, all raised their hands to teach at a Faculty Development workshop last Saturday. They had about 40 participants from across the state learning more about things like providing high-quality, cost-efficient care and just how they can incorporate resident teaching into their already busy lives and schedules. Many more of these to come. As we said (again) last week, as Georgia’s public medical school, there is no way we could educate the next generation of physicians for our state on our own and we are so proud to have an ever-increasing number of terrific hospital and physician colleagues.

For Just Being the Best…
Finally today, our thanks yet again for broadly sharing your time and talent to make our community a better place. There were so many familiar, awesome faces among the 1,000 volunteers for the university’s Day of Service last Saturday, serving meals, cleaning, painting, and stocking empty shelves. Of course, that’s not surprising. You are always there for your medical school and your community.

Upcoming Events

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. 19-21 – The 34th Annual Arts in the Heart of Augusta, hosted by the Greater Augusta Arts Council. Check out more here, http://www.artsintheheart.com/.

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. 26 – Reception for New Faculty, 6-8 p.m., The Pinnacle Club, hosted by the Faculty & Spouse/Partner Club and the Faculty Club. RSVP by Sept. 21, jmrawson99@yahoo.com or jsandarg@gru.edu.

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. 1-5 – Westobou Festival in Augusta. Learn more here: http://westoboufestival.com/.

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

Oct. 9 – Hull College of Business presents Russell A. Blanchard Distinguished Lecturer in Ethics Cynthia Cooper, http://cynthiacooper.com/index-1.html, 6 p.m., Jaguar Student Activities Center Ballroom, Summerville Campus.

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

Oct. 16 – Opening celebration of the J. Harold Harrison MD Education Commons, 11 a.m., 1301 R.A. Dent Blvd. Afterward, please join us for an Open House of our new academic home, from 5:30-7 p.m. with the program starting at 6 p.m., a wine and cheese reception, and continuous tours by medical students.

Nov. 14 – Body Donation Memorial Service, 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 1 – State of the Medical College of Georgia address, noon, Lee Auditorium, lunch provided.

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.

Have a great weekend.



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