When I was growing up…

“When I was growing up, the word ‘cancer’ could barely be mentioned.”   -Tipper Gore



We Welcome Our Guests…

Please join us in welcoming our four visitors from the eastern coastal Chinese province of Jiangsu as the second group to come work alongside some of our fabulous faculty and get a general knowledge of the people and work that define our medical school and our community. The larger goal, of course, is to enhance collaboration with our Chinese colleagues, who share a commitment to science. We are so pleased to share that Dr. Xiaoyan Wang, a cardiovascular specialist, Dr. Li Qiao, an emergency medicine physician; Dr. Hongtao Zhang, a general surgeon, and Dr. Banyou Ma, a neurosurgeon, will be with us until late this month.  We are very happy to have them here. Their amazing faculty advisors include Drs. Monte Hunter and Scott Corpe in Orthopaedics; Dr. John McManus in Emergency Medicine; Dr. Deepak Kapoor in Cardiology; and Neurosurgery Chair, Dr. Cargill Alleyne. We appreciate the leadership of our Chief of Staff, Jeanette Balotin, in making this happen and we thank each of you for always sharing your time and knowledge, because both are seriously priceless.  You make it a great place to visit… and to stay!

We Congratulate Our Students…

Speaking of being serious about science, there was a terrific showing this week at the Medical Partnership Student Research Symposium in Athens. This group of 16 students participated in Medical Scholars Research Day on our main campus last week and took this additional opportunity to share the work they did between their first and second year of medical school. There was absolutely a lot of excitement about and interest in the hard work and ingenuity of our students who completed projects like looking at the impact of exercise training on exercise intolerance in folks with peripheral artery disease and exploring the benefit of robotics to mitral valve surgery patients.

As well as a Budding Neuroscientist… in The Graduate School

Please also join in congratulating Graduate Student Jonathan Bean as this year’s recipient of the Darrell W. Brann Scholarship in Neuroscience. Our own Dr. Brann, Vice Chair of Academic Affairs in our newest department, Neuroscience and Regenerative Medicine, established this scholarship a decade ago to help encourage the next generation of neuroscientists. Certainly, folks like Jonathan encourage us all. Under the mentorship of Dr. Lin Mei, he is dissecting the complex genetic mutations that are risk factors for schizophrenia, including taking the lead on developing a mouse model to help determine which brain cells are affected. Jonathan has already co-authored six papers and is first author on a paper that just came out in The Journal of Neuroscience. We thank you Jonathan for your efforts, laud your success, and wish you the absolute best.

We Celebrate our Partnership With UGA…

Since we are on a roll here about terrific efforts to move the health dial in the right direction, we wanted to also note the 2014 Southern Translational Education and Research Conference – just call it “STaR” – we sponsored last week with our UGA colleagues. The primary focus, obesity, is a way too common problem that this talented group is hammering away at! Super. Like with all these type gatherings, absolutely everyone was a winner, but we wanted to share that our Dr. Il-Man Kim won the STaR Young Investigator of the Year honor, our physiology postdoc, Dr. Theodora Szasz was/is the STaR Postdoc; and GRU graduate students Salley Elshaer and Sherif Hafez were, you guessed it, the STaR Graduate Students. Awesome gathering and a wonderful example of the growing research synergy between our medical school and our colleagues at UGA. Special thanks to Dr. Susan Fagan, who we happily share with UGA, and Dr. Bradley Phillips, who leads UGA’s Department of Clinical and Administrative Pharmacy, for their leadership.

And the Amazing Commitment…

OK, just one more great student mention. We shared last month that Brett Heimlich, our MD/PhD student and a Fulbright Fogarty Award recipient, was headed to Malawi in southeast Africa to help with its struggles with sickle cell disease. In his first monthly update, Brett describes the central hospital of the ninth poorest country in the world as “a sprawling labyrinth of open-air wards and dark hallways” that many patients travel 24 hours by foot, minibus or both. Adult patients either share a bed or sleep on the floor and children sleep and recover four to a bed. Families have to provide linens and food for hospitalized family members. In this setting, Brett wants to initiate sickle cell services because none of those exist either. It’s going to be a tough road, but we have confidence that if anyone can get this done, Brett will. Did we mention that he is also finishing up his Ph.D. work?

Each of You Show Each Day…To Better Health and Our Community

Closer to many homes, our thoughts are also turning to breast cancer, the most common cancer in women worldwide according to the Susan G. Komen Foundation. With that unfortunate ranking, it’s hard to find someone whose life has not been directly touched by this malady. Our newspapers were pink Wednesday morning and pink ribbons went up around our hospital that same day. We are hoping all of you will wear pink at least every Friday this month. Our Breast Health Center, which works hard every day, will be open half days Saturdays this month as well for routine mammograms. Our colleagues at University Hospital will be having their 14th Annual Miracle Mile Walk Oct. 18 starting at 8 a.m. at the Augusta Commons. Thank you for your support of this important health issue.

To Doing the Right Thing…

You may want to check out this interesting piece in Modern Healthcare this week about the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Open Payment System (also called the Sunshine Act) that just launched: http://bit.ly/1nTwVWk. It provides information about financial relationships between physicians and teaching hospitals and groups such as drug, device, biological, or medical suppliers in the United States. This includes payment for things like research and speaking, as well as gifts, meals and travel. In the last five months of 2013, that amounted to $3.5 billion being paid to 546,000 physicians and 1,360 teaching hospitals, http://bit.ly/1rTARWN.  This is a terrific reminder to review our own policy, http://www.gru.edu/mcg/coffice/documents/conflict-of-interest-policy.pdf.

And Marking the Milestones… Along the Way

And finally today, we are super excited about our annual and awesome White Coat ceremony coming up next Saturday, Oct. 11 at 2 p.m. at the Bell Auditorium! This is always such an inspiring moment for our newest medical students and frankly for us all. Check out more here: http://bit.ly/1r9YfKg.

Upcoming Events

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. 7 – Innovation Summit, 8 a.m.-6 p.m. at the Salvation Army Kroc Center, 1833 Broad Street. Headliners include Dr. Dirk Brown, founder of  the digital technology company Pandoodle, at 10:30 a.m.; and Dr. Mimi Healy, CEO of LaserGen, a biotechnology company focused on commercializing new technologies for DNA sequencing, during lunch at 12:15. Learn more here, http://www.gru.edu/oic/is14/.

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. 12 – The Lyceum Series presents the comedy, The Second City, 7:30 p.m., Maxwell Theatre, Summerville Campus. For tickets and more info visit, http://augusta.universitytickets.com/user_pages/event.asp?id=469.

Oct. 13 – Health Sciences Education Grand Rounds, cosponsored this month by the Educational Innovation Institute and the Department of Family Medicine, noon-1 p.m., Faculty Office Building, Room 4010. Dr. Leonard Reeves, Northwest Campus Assistant Dean, will discuss, “DNA of a New Clinical Campus: Implementation of a Longitudinal Curriculum.”

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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