…it’s about a change.

“Rosh Hashanah isn’t just about being new, it’s about a change.”   -Max Levis

A New Dual Degree

Our university’s College of Allied Health Sciences has had a Master of Public Health degree for about eight years that a lot of practicing physicians are already taking, Program Director Dr. Pavani Rangachari tells us. This two-year degree offers these super-busy professionals/students a lot of flexibility like plenty of online study opportunities. Well, effective this spring, we, in collaboration with CAHS, will be offering a brand new dual degree, an M.D./M.P.H., that will have medical students concentrating their M.P.H. studies in between their clinically intensive third and fourth years of medical school.  Dr. Rangachari and our Dr. Andy Albritton and Vice Dean Paul Wallach have been working hard to offer our students this incredible opportunity and we appreciate their efforts along with our colleagues in The Graduate School.  Please know that students at our Athens campus have a similar opportunity at their back door as well in collaboration with the University of Georgia College of Public Health. Just terrific!

A Fun Time on the Water… Just Happened

Our MCG Alumni Association hosted a terrific dinner cruise last Friday on beautiful Lake Blackshear, which is about a half hour from our very first clinical campus, the Southwest Campus based in Albany. A group of awesome alums were onboard including Drs. Wallace Mays, Bill Fricks, Bill Pannell, and David Johnson as well as Granville Simmons, our 1973 graduate, who happens to be Southeast Campus Associate Dean! Not only are these great graduates, they are community clinical faculty for our medical school who are helping educate future graduates. Ten of our third-year students and two of our fourth-years who are soaking up knowledge down that way were in on the great food, fun, and comradery. Dr. Wallach rounded out this great group and gave all aboard an update on the latest curriculum offerings and, of course, our new home, the J. Harold Harrison M.D. Education Commons. In fact, they all had so much fun that most of them got together the next day to go on a safari at the Parks at Chehaw. We can’t thank our Alumni Association and our alums enough for the super support they provide.

A Celebration of our New Building… Is Just Ahead

And speaking of the Harrison Education Commons, we so hope you have all marked your calendars for the opening celebration at 11 a.m. Oct. 16! Our extra special guests will include our Governor, Chancellor, and the Harrison family. Later that day, we also hope you can join your medical school onsite for a wine and cheese reception with the very best tour guides ever, our students, showing you around. Our reception is 5:30-7 p.m. with the program starting at 6 p.m. and continuous tours.

And Our Students… Will Proudly Show Us Around

We just have to share some comments from second-year Lauren Titus who was roaming the beautiful new halls for the first time with Dr. Wallach last week in preparation for the opening events. “Oh my gosh, it’s really quite amazing,” she said spontaneously. The simulation and clinical skills center is beautiful and spacious and the learning communities will give students unprecedented ease at getting together to study and share, Lauren says. She insightfully adds that the building gives students what they need today but has the flexibility to meet student needs 20 years from now and beyond.  But here’s our favorite part. “It feels like the Medical College of Georgia,” she says. Indeed!  A short housekeeping note on when the students will be making their move to their new building. Our friend, Daniel Merrell in facilities tells us the latest is that it definitely won’t be next week, but more likely after the truly grand Oct. 16 opening and before October’s end.  Just let us know and we will absolutely be there!

Our Richmond County Medical Society Colleagues… Also Just Hosted a Super Event

We had a great evening this week with our colleagues at the Richmond County Medical Society.   Our medical students presented their new research after our sixth annual student summer research event that we talked about last week. See a great story by Tom Corwin and great photos by Michael Holahan here: http://bit.ly/Zgd2O0.  Our six super Harrison Scholars were recognized and honored by Dr. Terrence Cook, a terrific allergist-immunologist in Augusta who is Vice Chairman of the RCMS board. Our Dr. Jim Rawson shared ways to enhance the engagement of residents and more junior doctors with this professional organization. And we were all treated to a stellar presentation on medicolegal mishaps by our dear colleague Dr. Joseph Griffin. We are so fortunate to have this RCMS partnership.

With So Many Great Partners… We Can Tackle Any Obstacle 

Great partnerships are what makes essentially everything work and certainly that is so true in today’s health care arena where it takes a big, cohesive team to take optimal care of even a single patient and family. That important team includes everyone here who interacts with our patients and families, our schedulers, housekeepers, nurses, therapists, physicians, even our billing service. That said, recent patient satisfaction data showed that we lag behind our colleagues nationally in our ability to meet the customer service needs of our patients. While we continually work on what works and what doesn’t so we continuously improve, this survey data is another reminder to all of us that we must be ever mindful of how stressful a health care experience can be and always do everything we can to make it as good an experience as we can in every way. As we all know, the basics of customer service, including providing prompt, compassionate care and follow up, such as sharing test results and promptly returning phone calls, always matters.  When we couple kind and attentive customer service with the great competence and clinical excellence that we provide, our patients’ experiences will be great and exceed expectations. Thank you all for your commitment to clinical excellence.

Take On Any Issue…

There has been a lot of very public discussion in recent weeks about domestic violence, a truly difficult issue to hear about. Dr. Allison Foley and the Department of Sociology, Criminal Justice, and Social Work, The Women’s and Gender Studies Program, and the university’s Counseling Center are taking the lead on Violence Awareness Month this October. They have planned the third annual Purple Light Nights® Tree Lighting Ceremony kickoff event, which is set for this Thursday, Oct. 2, from 6-7 p.m. at the Teardrop in the center of the Summerville Campus. Please put on some purple and join in this opportunity to learn more about available local resources, see: http://on.fb.me/1pgFsNS.  Once again, we so appreciate our colleagues’ leadership.

Take Up An Important Cause …

Finally today, we talked a few weeks back about the brave souls taking the Ice Bucket Challenge to help raise awareness and funds for the fight against ALS and for patients. Our ALS Clinic is having its second annual ALS Beat Feet Walk tomorrow at the Augusta Riverwalk starting at 8:30 a.m. at the Fountain at 9th street. Learn more here: http://bit.ly/1Bh37DF about our amazing clinic and this very personnel effort to raise dollars to support it.

Upcoming Events

Sept. 26 – Reception for New Faculty, 6-8 p.m., The Pinnacle Club, hosted by the Faculty & Spouse/Partner Club and the Faculty Club

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. 10 – GRU Alumni Barbecue. 5:30-8:30 p.m. (food services stops at 8 p.m.), D. Douglas Barnard, Jr. Amphitheatre at the Summerville Campus, catered by Sconyers BBQ, Live entertainment by the Joe Stevenson Band, entertainment for kids, fireworks at dark. Tickets are $15 for adults, $10 for GRU students and children, $10 for IGRU campaign donors (limit 2). Tickets can be purchased at https://grualumni.com/bbq.

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 terrific first weekend of Fall!



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