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The MCG Decade: a 2020 Vision New facility will pave the way to a dynamic future



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m c g. e d u / s o m / g e o rg i a m e d i c i n e Medical College of Georgia Medicine is produced bi-annually by the MCG Division of Strategic Support with financial support by the School of Medicine. Interim MCG President James N. Thompson, M.D. MCG President-Designee Ricardo Azziz, M.D. School of Medicine Dean D. Douglas Miller, M.D., C.M. Vice President for Strategic Support Deb Barshafsky


A Publication of the Medical College of Georgia School of Medicine

on the COVER

The MCG Decade: a 2020 Vision


New facility will pave the way to a dynamic future

Director of University Communications Jack Evans Editor Damon Cline Assistant Editor Sharron Walls Art Direction/Layout P.J. Hayes Design


Photographer Phil Jones

Writers Damon Cline Christine Hurley Deriso Denise Parrish


Š2010 The Medical College of Georgia is the heath sciences university for the University System of Georgia.

Medical College of Georgia Medicine welcomes submissions to the Viewpoints column. Typed essays (approximately 750 words) on health care issues should be submitted to: Damon Cline, Editor Medical College of Georgia, FI-1044 Augusta, GA 30912 706-721-4706 phone 800-328-6057 fax


Dr. James J. Wynn

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News at a Glance Looking Back Student Spotlight Faculty Focus

Viewpoints David Hefner and Dr. Mark Lyles

“If you don’t know where you are going, any road will get you there.” —LEWIS CARROLL

From the Dean D. Douglas Miller, M.D., C.M.

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Close to His Roots Dr. Roy Witherington

Wanted: Clinician Scientists More research-minded physicians needed

A Clear Vision Physician/researcher fights glaucoma

Making History Video series highlights MCG’s achievements




Pillars Dr. Elwyn Saunders

Generations of Giving Class Notes

Going For It–

The MCG Decade


o here we all sit, at the beginning of a new decade… poised on the edge of an economic abyss… still grappling with health care reform … humbled by the seismic power of nature to decimate an island nation. All of these events remind us of the frailty of mankind, and leave us with an abiding sense of uncertainty about our individual and collective futures. This is perfectly normal. But it cannot paralyze us. How do we at MCG respond to uncertainty? Beyond taking our statemandated furlough days, supporting our organizations and colleagues inside The Beltway and volunteering our medical services for Haiti relief, we take refuge in the mission of MCG: “… to discover, disseminate, and apply knowledge to improve health and reduce the burden of illness on society.” We remember our shared vision to “…be one of the nation’s premier health sciences universities.” We do our level best. We do our part. And we focus on what we do best. I am heartened to discover just what our school’s people accomplish daily to keep us moving forward, despite all the noise in the system: n Accepting and educating the largest class in MCG’s history at three campuses

n Hitting new heights in research

grant and contract awards that will soon exceed $100 million annually n Working to improve health care quality, integration and efficiency This progress is no accident. There is a plan behind these and many other advances, some of which are highlighted in this edition of Georgia Medicine. Our school’s fiveyear strategic plan is being updated with the input of faculty and students, the local community and our growing list of key partners across the region. This plan is our school’s roadmap —our GPS—for organizational competitiveness in the coming decade. We may be one of the nation’s oldest medical schools, but we aren’t showing our age. In fact, the MCG School of Medicine is maturing into one of the best medical schools with less than 500 full-time faculty in the country. We’re “going for it” by putting the team in place to be No. 1! Your belief in MCG is what sustains us on this purposeful drive to be the best-in-class medical school in the nation. Help us get to where we’re going. Join the team. Get on board for the exciting ride into ‘The MCG Decade’. n

News at a Glance Azziz takes over as MCG president July 1 Dr. Ricardo Azziz, who holds the Helping Hand of Los Angeles Chair in Obstetrics and Gynecology and directs the Center for Androgen Related Disorders at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, has been named the eighth president of the Medical College of Georgia by the University System of Georgia Board of Regents. “Dr. Azziz stood out from the rest of what was an impressive pool of candidates in this search,” said Executive Vice Chancellor and Chief Academic Officer Susan Herbst. “His credentials are outstanding. We feel he is the best person for the job.” The appointment, announced in March, will be effective July 1. Azziz, who also serves as vice chair of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at the University of California-Los Angeles, visited the campus with his wife Cindy in February, shortly after he was named the sole finalist for the post. “I am humbled. I am honored. And I am eagerly anticipating joining all of you in Augusta to begin the next chapter in the history of the state’s health sciences university,” he said after the appointment was announced. “When my wife and I visited MCG last month, I was impressed

with the energy and enthusiasm of the administration, faculty, staff, and students – and was greatly encouraged by your ability to maintain focus on the institution’s important mission despite significant change and unprecedented economic challenges.” During his tenure at the two Los Angeles-based institutions, Azziz has led institution-wide initiatives to measure and improve faculty productivity, new faculty development and retention, and academic excellence. The physician scientist is already somewhat familiar with MCG, having spent 15 years at the University of Alabama-Birmingham, where he earned master’s degrees in public health and business administration. The Uruguay native earned his medical degree from the Pennsylvania State University College of Medicine. Following an internship and residency in obstetrics and gynecology at Georgetown University Hospital in Washington, D.C., he completed a fellowship in reproductive endocrinology and infertility at the Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, Md. l

MCG President Ricardo Azziz (clockwise from center) meets with Drs. Douglas Miller and James N. Thompson.


Spring 10

Nationally recognized neuroscientist, pharmacologist receives posthumous award Dr. Jerry Buccafusco, Regents Professor of Pharmacology and Toxicology, professor of graduate studies and director of the Alzheimer’s Research Center, received the Lifetime Achievement Award Dr. Jerry Buccafusco posthumously. An MCG faculty member for more than 30 years, Buccafusco died March 6 at his home after recently being diagnosed with advanced-stage liver and lung cancer. Buccafusco’s research interests included development of novel Alzheimer’s therapies as well as biological markers for its early detection; the role of nicotinic receptors in attention, learning, memory and neuroprotection; and memory impairment related to chemical warfare agent and insecticide exposure. He received the 2008 PharmaciaAmerican Society for Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics Award for Experimental Therapeutics and the 2008 Research Career Scientist Award from the Department of Veterans Affairs. An avid teacher, he was the medical pharmacology course block director for neuropharmacology for second-year medical students and a longtime member of the Committee on Medical Education for the Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology. l

MCG sponsored research nears $100M mark

Researcher launches start-up company

Dr. Jin-Xiong She

School of Medicine researcher Dr. JinXiong She has launched a start-up biomedical research and drug development company to commercialize the technologies under development in his academic laboratory at MCG. She, director of the MCG Center for Biotechnology and Genomic Medicine, started Jinfiniti Biosciences LLC in January and moved into the MCG Life Science Business Development Center, the institution’s on-campus business incubator, in May. He said Jinfiniti will develop in-house biomarkers for human disease prediction, diagnosis, drug development and personalized medicine. The company has already secured two multimillion dollar, multi-year contracts to make RNA/DNA samples for large-scale population studies related to diabetes; the National Institutes of Health-funded TrialNet type 1 diabetes screening and clinical study program and The Environmental Determinants of Diabetes in the Young, or TEDDY, a study involving type 1 screenings for newborns screenings for which he is the principal investigator. “We hope to increase the number of contracts and awards to increase the number of services we can provide,” She said. He said the company plans to collaborate with scientists at MCG, other U.S. academic institutions and his extensive network in China to develop biomarkers and new drugs. l

The MCG School of Medicine is forecasting the university will end the 2010 fiscal year with $98.3 million in research funding, which primarily consists of grants and awards for health science research. School officials are hopeful the university could exceed $100 million in fiscal year 2011. “Hitting the $100 million mark would be an outstanding achievement for the MCG, especially given our relatively small number of research faculty compared to other health sciences institutions,” said Dr. Frank Treiber, vice president for research development. “Our scientists are conducting innovative research and guiding the development of effective prevention and treatment programs directed at the leading causes of premature death in our state. Their efforts will help lead to the improved health and well being for all Georgians.” Last year, MCG generated a record $83.75 million in total research awards, a 13.5 percent increase from 2008. The bulk of those awards went to School of Medicine-affiliated researchers. MCG School of Medicine scientists consistently outperform their peers in research productivity as measured by the ratio of sponsored research dollars per assigned research space. A 2006 Association of American Medical Schools survey ranked MCG scientists second in the amount of research dollars among like-sized institutions and 20th overall among 125 U.S. medical schools. From 2001 to 2009, sponsored funds from all sources more than doubled: from $34.10 million to $83.75 million. One tenth of 1 percent of MCG’s research funding comes from state dollars. The vast majority comes from the National Institutes of Health, considered the gold standard for research funding. The November 2009 issue of The Scientist ranked the Medical College of Georgia among the top 15 best places to work in academia in the United States. More than 2,300 scientists who work in academic, hospital, government and research organizations across the country were asked to assess their work environments based criteria such as infrastructure, research resources, teaching and mentoring programs. l TOTAL RESEARCH FUNDING FY05-FY10 (projected) $120M $100M $80M $60M $40M $20M $0M TOTAL $






FY05 FY06 FY07 FY08 FY09 $61.44M $63.83M $65.30M $73.78M $83.75M


GEORGIA Medicine


Seven inducted into Academy of Medical Educators Seven School of Medicine faculty were inducted into the second class of MCG Academy of Medical Educators, an organization recognizing educational excellence, innovation and scholarship. Members are chosen through a rigorous peer-review process based on their outstanding accomplishments in areas such as curriculum development, learner evaluation, advising and mentoring students, residents and faculty, or educational administration or leadership. This year’s inductees include: Dr. Teresa A. Coleman, associate professor of hematology/oncology; Dr. Ruth-Marie E. Fincher, vice dean for academic affairs; Dr. Donna L. Londino, associate professor of psychiatry and health behavior; Dr. Renuka Mehta, associate professor of pediatric critical care; Dr. Robert R. Nesbit Jr., clinical professor; Dr. Diane C. Turnbull, associate professor of pathology and Dr. Christopher B. White, associate dean and professor of pediatrics. They join last year’s inductees: Dr. Ralph A. Gillies, associate professor of family medicine and assistant professor of psychiatry and health behavior; Dr. Hartmut Gross, professor of emergency medicine; Dr. Valera L. Hudson, associate professor of pediatrics; Dr. Lisa E. Leggio, associate professor of pediatrics; Dr. D. Scott Lind, professor and section chief of surgical oncology; Dr. John D. Mellinger, professor and section chief of gastrointestinal surgery; Dr. Walter J. Moore, professor of medicine and senior associate dean for graduate medical education; Dr. Carol A. Nichols, assistant professor of cellular biology and anatomy; Dr. Andria M. Thomas, associate professor of medicine and associate dean for evaluation; and Dr. Peggy J. Wagner, professor and research director of family medicine and director of the School of Medicine Clinical Skills Program. l

Bohlke named Alumni Association president Dr. W. Scott Bohlke (’92), a family practice physician in Bulloch County, has been named president of the School of Medicine Alumni Association, replacing Dr. Benjamin Cheek (’82). Bohlke owns and manages Bohler Family Practice in Brooklet, Ga. He completed his medical residency at The Dr. W. Scott Bohlke Medical Center in Columbus, Ga., where he served as chief resident. He also served as chief of family practice at Maxwell-Gunter Air Force Base in Montgomery, Ala. Bohlke has served on the boards of directors for the MCG Alumni Association since 2005 and the Medical Association of Georgia since 2001. He is a past president of the Ogeechee River Medical Society and a delegate of the Georgia Academy of Family Practice. He serves on the Bulloch County School Board and is the team physician for Southeast Bulloch High School. He and wife Jennifer have four children: Alaina, Hunter, Will and Drew. l

New SOM development officer hired

Leigh Hurt, a fund raising executive with more than 30 years of experience in health care and academic medicine, has joined the School of Medicine as a development officer in charge of major gifts. Hurt, who has spent the past six years as a development officer at the Emory University School of Medicine, will be based in Atlanta Leigh Hurt but will maintain relationships with alumni, foundations and other organizations statewide. “I’m excited to engage MCG’s loyal alumni base to help build support for the program,” said Hurt, whose appointment became effective in midMay. “There is so much potential for our friends and stakeholders to help us fulfill the state’s future physician needs.” Hurt’s last position at Emory was executive director of development for the School of Medicine, where she helped work on the school’s seven-year, $500 million campaign. Before joining Emory, Hurt spent more than 20 years in various development, communication and advocacy roles, including work with the American Cancer Society Alabama Division Inc., as well as the society’s national office and affiliated foundation in Atlanta. l Dr. Christopher B. White receives his induction medal from Dean Douglas Miller.


Spring 10

Assistant dean for Southeast Georgia Clinical Campus named

Child Health Discovery Institute launched The MCG Child Health Discovery Institute was launched in January under the guiding principle that “children are not just small adults.” The university’s newest Discovery Institute will be led by Department of Pediatrics Chairman Dr. Bernard Maria and the Georgia Prevention Institute’s Dr. Gregory Harshfield, director, and Dr. Martha Tingen, nurse researcher. Like the five other MCG Discovery Institutes, it is based on the translational science initiative created in 2008 by the School of Medicine to more quickly turn scientific discoveries into clinical therapies. The institute will operate under four thematic areas: child/family centered research, which aims to streamline the infrastructure and funding associated with pediatric research; communitybased pediatric research, which relies on collaboration between the institute and community members; compounds for kids, the development and testing of novel therapeutics for pediatric diseases; and pediatric scholars, which fosters research training and development. Dr. Maria, who has previous experience in translational science as the founding director of the

T. Wayne Rentz Jr., a general surgeon who directs the surgical intensive care unit at Southeast Georgia Health System’s Brunswick Campus, Dr. T. Wayne Rentz Jr. has been named inaugural assistant dean for curriculum for the Southeast Georgia Clinical Campus of the MCG School of Medicine. As campus assistant dean, the 1972 MCG School of Medicine graduate will help develop, implement and assess program objectives at the campus for third- and fourth-year medical students, work closely to cultivate and support clinical faculty in the region and work with the School of Medicine’s main campus in Augusta to coordinate students’ educational experiences in Southeast Georgia. Rentz’s father, Dr. Turner W. Rentz Sr., is a retired general/family practitioner from St. Simons Island and is a 1946 School of Medicine graduate. l

Charles P. Darby Children’s Research Institute at the Medical University of South Carolina, authorized the construction of a two-bed clinical trials unit on the fifth floor, where clinicians and basic scientists can work on perplexing cases and test new therapies. The inpatient unit, coupled with the existing strengths of the Georgia Prevention Institute – one of the nation’s premiere pediatric disease prevention centers – will provide the infrastructural backbone to the institute. l

Drs. Gregory Harshfield (left), Martha Tingen and Bernard Maria

School of Medicine offers online giving through GHSF website Georgia Health Sciences Foundation Inc., the official philanthropic partner of the Medical College of Georgia and MCG Health Inc., has created an online giving portal through its website, The foundation website will enable alumni and other friends of the institution to contribute to the School of Medicine’s first-ever online giving campaign, the White Coat Connection Program, in which a $250 gift provides a

medical student with a white coat, a gift certificate to the MCG Bookstore and a personal note of encouragement in the pocket. The site offers a secure payment system through PayPal, the Internet’s leading e-commerce transaction service, in which donors can make a gift with their credit card. “Many of the people who help support MCG’s mission are web savvy, and we are

excited to give them a convenient way to give,” said Tony Duva, MCG associate vice president for gift planning and senior director of development. The online giving portal can be accessed through the main website or through a direct link to the White Coat Connection Program at l GEORGIA Medicine


Dean’s office displays historical artifacts


he newest piece of furniture in the dean’s office isn’t some ordinary file cabinet, conference table or desk chair. It’s an antique cabinet containing a treasure trove of historical MCG artifacts that was donated years ago to the school by an esteemed alumnus and longtime department chairman. The handsome oak display case is one of the first things a visitor sees upon entering the newly renovated dean’s office in the MCG Administration Building. Prior to renovation, the cabinet was housed at the MCG Alumni Center, where the condition in which it was found was far from handsome. “When they renovated the Alumni Center, they didn’t know where to put it, so they put it in the kitchen,” says Shannon Williams, administrative associate to the dean. “When the dean saw it, the wheels were off and it was leaning to one side. But he knew exactly what he wanted to do with it when he saw it.” After “rescuing” it from the kitchen, the dean’s office made a call to furniture dealer to have it repaired – but not before notifying Dr. Lois T. Ellison of the find. “I came over right away,” says Ellison, MCG professor emeritus, provost emeritus and medical historian in residence. She noted the contents of the cabinet held relics such as a stethoscope and pipe belonging to Dr. Virgil P. Sydenstricker, longtime professor and chairman of


Spring 10


Dr. Lois Ellison, holding an MCG commencement program from 1926, admires the new display cabinet.


the Department of Medicine, as well as documents thought to be previously lost, such as a commencement program from 1926. The items were placed into short-term storage and Augusta Business Interiors, which supplied the dean’s office with furniture during the renovation, sent the cabinet out for repair. “It was in really rough shape,” owner John Mayo said. The source of the display case is Dr. Bleakley Chandler Sr., a 1948 alumnus and professor and chairman emeritus of the Department of Pathology. In the early 1970s, he and his wife, Jane, donated it to the Alumni Affairs office, which at the time was housed in the former MCG President’s Home (the building now houses the MCG Telemedicine Center). “I haven’t seen that cabinet in years,” Chandler said, adding that he does not know where the memorabilia came from or who put it there. “It sounds like it’s a very interesting display.” Indeed, the case includes a picture of Dr. William F. Hamilton, former chairman of the Department of Physiology, and his manometer, the device that revolutionized

cardiac catheterization in the 1940s and 1950s. There’s also a first-edition copy of MCG’s first written history, The History of the Medical Department of the University of Georgia, by Dr. William Henry Goodrich in 1928, a black bag full of menacing-looking obstetrics tools and a set of ampules containing medicinal compounds so archaic that modern physicians would be unable to recognize them, let alone prescribe them. Chandler suspects the display case and its contents were moved to the current MCG Alumni Center when the university acquired the property in the late 1980s. And he’s glad the more than century-old family heirloom has a new life in the dean’s office. “It’s a very old piece,” he said of the cabinet. “We kept it upstairs for many years. We used it as a bookcase.” l

MCG treats 1,000th patient with Gamma Knife


Gamma Knife – At a Glance

Dr. John R. Vender, medical director of the Southeast Gamma Knife Center at MCGHealth Medical Center, and Rebecca Cantrell, medical physicist, talk to Helen Walker about her procedure.


llen Walker had brain surgery at lunchtime. By dinnertime, she was back home. The 78-year-old Johnston, S.C., woman underwent a minimally invasive procedure on her fifth cranial nerve, becoming the 1,000th patient treated by Gamma Knife at MCGHealth’s Southeast Gamma Knife Center. A milestone nearly 10 years in the making, the first patient was treated on May 30, 2000. “Getting to the 1,000th patient is a remarkable feat for us,” said Dr. John R. Vender, center director and associate professor of neurosurgery in the MCG School of Medicine. Contrary to its name, a Gamma Knife is not a knife at all. It’s a state-of-the-art technology that allows surgeons to send highly focused beams of radiation through the skull to precisely targeted areas of the brain. Incisions are not required, and most patients are in and out on the same day. “With Gamma Knife, diseases and disorders can be helped when conventional surgery is too risky,” Vender said. “Radiosurgery reduces the damage

to surrounding healthy tissue, and it has proven safe and effective.” The MCGHealth Gamma Knife is one of 72 in the country and the only one in the eastern half of Georgia, where neurosurgeons use it to treat both adults and children. Walker, one of about 100 patients treated each year at the center, suffers from trigeminal neuralgia, a chronic pain condition that causes sporadic, shock-like face pains lasting a few seconds to two minutes per episode. Fortunately, Gamma Knife radiation can alleviate this pain and restore quality to her life. “I had to have livein help for the past five months. I’ll be glad to get my independence back,” Walker said. “I’m ready to work in my garden, drive my car and cook again.” l

What is it? A radiosurgical treatment in which 201 individual beams of cobalt-based gamma radiation are delivered through a hemispherical helmet that converges the dose to a single focal point in the brain. Who is it for? The surgery has proven effective for patients with brain tumors, vascular malformations, and trigeminal neuralgia. Why use it? The bladeless, bloodless procedure carries fewer risks than open surgery and does not damage surrounding healthy brain tissue. Patients are usually allowed to go home shortly after it is completed, and no pre-surgery hair cutting or shaving is required. Where is it? There are approximately 112 Gamma Knife units in the Western Hemisphere. One of the four in Georgia is located in the MCGHealth Medical Center. Who made it? MCG’s Leskell Gamma Knife is manufactured by Elekta Instruments, the company created by Dr. Lars Leskell, the Swedish neurosurgeon who invented the radiosurgical process in the late 1960s.

GEORGIA Medicine


The MCG Decade:

a 2020 Vision

New facility will pave the way to a dynamic future BY DAMON CLINE

Architectural renderings of the new School of Medicine facility (center), a simulation training room (left) and multiple classrooms (right).


Spring 10

Change is constant in any organization. There are leadership changes, strategy changes, name changes, expansions, contractions and countless alterations subtle enough they go largely unnoticed. Transformation, however, is different. And less common–the convergence of events capable of organizational transformation may occur only once.

The MCG School of Medicine finds itself on the cusp of such a transformation as it enters the second decade of a new millennium and its 182nd year of existence. The most visible, but certainly not only, sign of that transformation will be a 190,000-square-foot facility rising five stories above a 15-acre tract on MCG’s south campus by mid decade. The building, the new home for the School of Medicine, will be among the most technologically-advanced medical education facilities in the nation and, more important, enable the school to expand its class size to meet the state’s future physician needs. In that regard, the building will help MCG transform health care for the state of Georgia, said School of Medicine Dean D. Douglas Miller. “Expanding medical education to meet our state’s critical health care needs simply cannot occur without expanding the physical infrastructure at MCG’s main campus,” Miller said. “This is perhaps the most crucial decade in the school’s history.” continued

GEORGIA Medicine




he $105 million facility is the largest single project ever undertaken by the School of Medicine, and school leaders say such an investment is needed to meet Georgia’s dire shortage of physicians – the state remains in the bottom 10 percent of physicians per capita while its population continues to boom unabated. The 2009 freshman medical school class of 190 students – already one of the largest class sizes in the nation – must grow by 60 percent over the next dozen years to a total class size of 1,200 to meet the state’s workforce needs. The incoming class at the MCG-University of Georgia Medical Partnership campus in Athens will bring total enrollment to 230. The new building will help the school get to 300 students by 2017, a key number to help offset the forecasted shortage of physicians. The MCG School


Spring 10

of Medicine is already ranked first out of 124 schools in the nation in the number of its graduates practicing in rural and underserved areas. The new building – and a commensurate increase in graduate medical education opportunities within the state – would allow more graduates to establish practices in Georgia. “The building is truly for the benefit of all Georgians,” Michael Herbert, the school’s executive associate dean for administration. The building also will give the School of Medicine its first true “home” since it moved from the Dugas Building in 1954. In addition to having all school admissions and administrative functions under one roof – instead of spread across five different locations on campus – the facility will feature classrooms, lecture halls, simulation labs and other educational space, some of which will be available to other MCG schools.

GETTING THERE The multi-use space, known as the education commons, will also house student association offices, a small food court and group study rooms called “learning communities” on the second through fifth floors that will encircle and overlook a glass atrium. The vision for the educational space includes fostering lifelong learning and creating a supportive, “home away from home” for students immersed in demanding educational programs. The education commons portion of the School of Medicine building will be connected via elevated walkway to the new School of Dentistry building currently under construction. The School of Medicine building will feature a rotunda that hearkens back to the Old Medical College on Telfair Street. “As you’re driving down 15th Street, you’ll be able to look straight down the new quad to the entrance of the commons’ rotunda,” Herbert said, adding it will be seen as the “heart of campus.”


tlanta architectural firm HOK was selected in June 2009 to design the building. Schematic diagrams have been approved and the architects are now moving forward with working drawings and interior design, which should be complete by early fall. In February, Atlanta-based Gleeds Worldwide, an international management and construction consultancy, was hired to work with MCG officials and architects as program manager. The Georgia Legislature pledged $6 million in the 2009 budget to plan and design the School of Medicine building and education commons area, and the University System of Georgia Board of Regents has the facility on its 2013-2014 project list. But state funding alone is not enough to make the building a reality. At least $20 million will need to come from other sources. “A project of this magnitude and importance is an investment in the future of Georgia’s health care, and as such, we would hope that our alumni, friends, faculty and other stakeholders in the state

GEORGIA Medicine


“This will be one of those rare opportunities for friends of MCG to take part in something that will not only benefit the institution, but help create an enduring legacy for the citizens of Georgia.”

–Betty Meehan MCG interim vice president for university development


Spring 10

will lend their support,” said Tony Duva, senior director of development for the School of Medicine. The school’s ability to raise funds for the project was bolstered by a recent feasibility study by consulting firm Sinclair, Townes & Co., which found that 81 percent of MCG alumni interviewed in-person said they considered the building a “worthy” project. Georgia Health Sciences Foundation, the MCG-affiliated philanthropic organization, will help solicit and coordinate private contributions for the project. “We are thrilled to assist the School of Medicine with its largest-ever capital campaign,” Foundation Chairman Clayton P. Boardman III said. “With energetic new leadership, better alignment between the university and its clinical operations and an ambitious statewide expansion plan, these are truly exciting times for MCG. We are certain many of our stakeholders will want to be part of that excitement.”

In a way, the first major gift has already come in: The land on which the building will sit, valued at $10 million, was donated by the city of Augusta, which had operated the Gilbert Manor housing development at the site since the 1940s. School development officials are building a capital campaign that will provide donors with numerous opportunities to name parts of the building, ranging from numerous group study rooms to larger sections, such as the amphitheater and atrium. Betty Meehan, MCG interim vice president for university development, said alumni and other stakeholders will learn more about the initiative in the coming months. “This will be one of those rare opportunities for friends of MCG to take part in something that will not only benefit the institution, but help create an enduring legacy for the citizens of Georgia,” she said. n

Look for the new School of Medicine building and these other developments to transform MCG during the next decade. n New leadership

MCG enters a new era under Dr. Ricardo Azziz, who takes over as the university’s eighth president. Azziz, director of the Center for Androgen Related Disorders at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, has more than 20 years of leadership in biomedical research, medical education and health care. n Better integration

New leaders at MCG’s clinical operations, MCGHealth Inc., are working toward better aligning the health system’s goals with those of the school. Look for more cooperation and better strategic planning between administrators of the education and clinical divisions.

n Stronger foundation

The recently created Georgia Health Science Foundation, the MCG fundraising operation recognized by the University System of Georgia Board of Regents, is supportive of MCG initiatives and priorities. Expect the partnership to provide better institutional alignment and shared visioning. n Clinical research

Aligning MCG’s research arm under MCG’s six science-based Discovery Institutes, which pair teams of clinicians and scientists based on the institution’s thematic areas of research strength, should increase the number of extramuralfunded projects and reduce the time it takes for scientific discoveries to become clinical therapies.

n Statewide expansion

MCG will continue expanding its education brand statewide through satellite clinical campuses in Savannah and Albany as well as its MCG-UGA Medical Partnership campus in Athens. The strong partnerships outside the Augusta campus create a better educational experience for students and improve health care in the state’s more rural areas.

GEORGIA Medicine


The Chair

Close to his roots BY DAMON CLINE

Roy Witherington is never far from south Georgia home


A closer look at people behind the endowment


Spring 10


r. Roy Witherington answers the door of his downtown Augusta condominium wearing a pair of blue Dickies coveralls. The previous evening, at the MCG Homecoming Dean’s Reception, he was wearing a coat and tie. “Today,” he says after exchanging greetings with his visitor, “I’m going for comfortable.” The workman’s clothes provide a clue that this 80-year-old retired urologic surgeon from south Georgia still doesn’t mind getting his hands dirty. In fact, the retired professor and chief of the urology section in the Department of Surgery owns a farm in Pineview, Ga. It’s the same farm where he and his five siblings were born. And it was on that farm in 1946 where his roots in medicine took hold. Witherington and his father, a country veterinarian, had just returned from his high school

Drs. Ronald Lewis (left) and Roy Witherington

baccalaureate service and began discussing his future. “He says, ‘I’d like you to go into medicine. If you don’t like it after you get your M.D., you can do something else, but you’ll always have an M.D.’ ” Witherington recalls. “I thought about it a little bit and said, ‘I’ll give it a try.’ ” Fortunately for academic medicine in Georgia, Witherington not only liked medicine, he loved it. In 2008, he showed his gratitude for his decades-long career in medicine by establishing the Roy Witherington, M.D. Distinguished Chair in Urology. “I came from relative obscurity to a position where I was able to have an extremely good livelihood and be considered an influential individual in medicine and in the community,” he said. “And MCG made it possible.” The recipient of the chair, Dr. Ronald W. Lewis, has held Witherington’s former position as section chief since 1994. Lewis, who was recruited from Mayo Clinic, focuses on building the pediatric urology service and enhancing the academic mission through research, particularly in erectile dysfunction. Lewis said Witherington’s contribution allows him to focus on his two passions: research and teaching.


“There is less and less government support for the intellectual things we do at academic medical centers,” Lewis said. “Without Dr. Witherington’s contribution, I would have missed out on a lot of wonderful academic and research activities.”

A LOYAL ALUM Witherington’s Pineview farm is his parttime residence; the rest of the time he spends in Sarasota, Fla., with his second wife Sondra (his first wife, Louise, died in 1992). He stays at the condo only when he comes to Augusta to attend the Masters Tournament and MCG events, such as the annual Rinker-Witherington Urologic Society meeting and Homecoming. continued

GEORGIA Medicine


The campus he visits today is much different from the one he saw as a first- year student in 1949, when MCG was known as the University of Georgia School of Medicine. Most of his 80 classmates were veterans of World War II, which Witherington missed by only a year. “In those days, veterans were given preference (for admission), so I had to hustle to get in,” he said. “You couldn’t be a C student, or even a B student and expect to make it.” He married Louise, a nurse, in 1952. The following year he graduated and enlisted in the Army, as was required of all physicians of the era. He did his internship at Army Navy Hospital in Hot Springs, Ark., and Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, D.C., before reporting for duty to Gorgas Hospital in Panama. Witherington considered becoming an obstetrician-gynecologist, but the high-volume of work he experienced in Panama made him reconsider. “We were delivering 125 babies a month,” he said. “And there were only two of us.” He found the hours to be better in urology when he started his residency at MCG in 1956, studying under Dr. Robert Rinker, chairman of urology. “His patients always did well and were appreciative,” Witherington recalled. “And I was amazed at how quickly he could do things. He could take a prostate out in 30 minutes, a kidney in less than an hour.”

“In those days, veterans were given preference (for admission), so I had to hustle to get in. You couldn’t be a C student, or even a B student and expect to make it.” –DR. ROY WITHERINGTON

Witherington joined the faculty after completing his residency in 1960, and later opened a private practice with partners Dr. Thomas W. Blanchard and Dr. H. Ray Finney near Trinity Hospital, then known as St. Joseph Hospital. When Rinker retired in 1972, Witherington was asked to take his mentor’s place as chairman. He accepted even though it meant seeing fewer private patients at his practice, which by then had become quite successful. “That was a hard decision,” he recalls. “There were a few reasons I came back to MCG, but money was not one of them. The predominant reason was to teach young men and women to be good doctors and good urologists.” Though his return to academic medicine was not lucrative, it was

Dr. Roy Witherington’s MCG yearbook photos as a freshman (left), senior and faculty member.


Spring 10

fulfilling in other ways. Along with Dr. Art Humphries, Witherington was a key player in building MCG’s kidney transplant program in the ’70s, and with the late Dr. Armand M. Karow, he helped establish the first clinical sperm bank in the Southeast. Under Karow’s leadership, the operation eventually grew to Xytex Cryo International. When it was time for him to retire in 1994 (he stayed on part time until 1997), Witherington made sure his post would be in good hands when he helped recruit Lewis, whom Witherington had known through the Southeastern Section of the American Urological Association. “Ron does a really great job,” he said. “He’s a real go-getter.”


Witherington had always wanted to travel, but his busy work schedule and raising four children made it difficult for he and Louise to see the world. That changed in the 1980s when she was diagnosed with lymphoma, a cancer that attacks the lymphatic system. “We made a point to travel as much as we could until she died,” he said. Tragedy struck again in 2000 when Blanchard, his longtime business partner and friend, died in a house fire. Coroners ruled Blanchard, 65, suffered a heart attack trying to put out the blaze that occurred when by embers from the fireplace ignited the chair he was sitting in. “Tom was a really sweet guy,” Witherington said. “He was my best friend.” That same year, however, marked a turning point in his life. Witherington, who had been a widower for eight years, met Sondra while on a trip to China. She was in the same tour group and the pair hit it off. They eventually married and settled at her home in Sarasota. “She’s the one who took me away from Georgia,” he says jokingly. On the contrary, the couple has breathed new life into the Pineview property, extensively renovating the farm house and completely restoring the John Deere tractor that Witherington remembers his father bringing home from the dealership in 1941. He now drives the tractor in local parades. When not between their homes in Florida and Georgia, the pair can be found traversing the globe. Witherington estimates he’s traveled to more than 100 countries, with his favorites being China, Turkey and Australia. “My goal is not to see how many countries I can visit, just all the ones I want to go to,” he said. Whatever trips the couple schedules, however, are planned around MCG events, which Witherington rarely misses. Sondra says she enjoys the events because she invariably meets residents who trained under him. “They all call him Dr. W,” she says. “It’s nice to hear them all say that he was the kind of teacher that they would have liked to have all throughout medical school.” n

Witherington and wife Sondra at The Great Mosque of Djenné in Mali. The structure, which dates back to the 13th Century, is the world’s largest mud building.



Dr. Roy Witherington

at a Glance

Born: Sept. 4, 1929, Pineview, Ga. Residence: Sarasota, Fla. Family: Wife Louise (deceased); four children; wife Sondra Education: l l

B.S., Chemistry, University of Georgia, 1949 M.D., Medical College of Georgia, 1953

Philanthropic: Witherington Distinguished Chair in Urology Witherington Scholarship Endowment l School of Medicine Alumni Association Lifetime Member l President’s Club l Milton Antony Guild l l

Awards: American Urological Association’s 1997 Gold Cane Award American Medical Association’s 1997 Physician’s Recognition Award l MCG School of Medicine 2005 Distinguished Alumnus Award l l

Witherington and his refurbished 1941 John Deere tractor, which his father purchased.

Looking Back



Spring 10

Making H History

Dr. Lois T. Ellison still chuckles when she recalls a class she took shortly after enrolling in the University of Georgia School of Medicine in 1943. The professor was none other than Dr. G. Lombard Kelly–then dean of the school and soon to become MCG’s first president.


Video project captures MCG’s best moments

e was an extraordinarily dedicated physician and educator, but his standards were notoriously high… and students often shuddered at the thought of being called on in his class. “One day, we were studying the sphenoid bone – a very fragile bone – and the person Kelly called on became so nervous, he squeezed it and it just shattered,” Ellison says, laughing lightly. “You could hear it all over the room.” But the students’ fear was mixed with awe – and great respect. Ellison learned just how worthy Kelly was of that respect when he visited her in the hospital shortly after she was diagnosed with tuberculosis midway through medical school. “He sort of choked up a little bit and it was obvious he was having difficulty talking,” she recalls. “It was only later that I learned that his first wife died of tuberculosis. I’m sure he was thinking of her and wondering if I would have the same fate.” Both stories are among the anecdotes Ellison shares in a set of history videos under production in the Division of Strategic Support. The video series, which will include a video per decade starting with the 1950s, “is an homage to our incredible past and a source of inspiration for our future,” says Vice President for Strategic Support Deb Barshafsky. Says Ellison, who graduated in 1950 (the year MCG became an autonomous university) and has served on the faculty ever since, “One simply can’t overstate MCG’s importance in advancing health through the years.” continued

Dr. G. Lombard Kelly

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The MCG campus, circa 1956

The video series, which features the stories of dozens of alumni, faculty and other members of the MCG community, “captures the spirit of MCG in a way that no printed material ever could,” says MCG Editorial Manager Christine Hurley Deriso, co-producer of the videos with award-winning videographer Tim Johnson. For instance, Dr. Bleakley Chandler, a 1948 alumnus and professor and chairman emeritus of the Department of Pathology, brought a visual along for his video interview. “You see that?” he says, holding aloft a yellowed little booklet that almost fits in the palm of his hand. “That was the formulary for University Hospital half a century ago. It was 10 pages long.” Chandler chuckles as he thumbs through the relic. “Potassium bromide is listed as the medication to treat hypertension,” he says. “Nitroglycerin tablets were prescribed for cardiovascular disease.” The fact that a medication inventory for MCG’s then-teaching hospital was approximately as long as a grocery list inspires both bemusement and awe: My, how times have changed. But wow, how remarkable MCG’s accomplishments were in light of the resources at hand in those days. For instance, Dr. Paul McDonough, professor emeritus of obstetrics/ gynecology, endocrinology and pediatrics, recalls how during the middle of the 20th century, the founding chairman of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology advanced the specialty immeasurably in his own back yard – literally. “(Dr. Richard Torpin) invented a lot of valuable gadgets, whether to pack the uterus or take a better X-ray,” McDonough says. “I shouldn’t call them gadgets; they were really extremely clever. And he invented all of them in the barn behind his house.”

“Dr. Richard Torpin (pictured) invented a lot of valuable gadgets… and he invented all of them in the barn behind his house.” –Dr. Paul McDonough

Dr. Alva Faulkner, a 1945 alumna, recalls Torpin’s compassion as well. “When I was in medical school, we (delivered indigent patients’ babies) in their homes. We went to homes without electricity or running water. But by the time I was a resident, the Stork Club had been established.” Torpin established the Stork Club in the basement of MCG’s nowdemolished Newton Building, providing impoverished patients with a suitable – and infinitely safer – setting in which to bring their children into the world. MCG’s commitment to excellent clinical care for all of Georgia’s citizens, including its neediest, was accelerated immeasurably when the university opened its own teaching hospital – Eugene Talmadge Memorial Hospital – in 1956. “The 1950s was a special decade,” says Ellison, who narrates the video series in addition to providing her own reminiscences. “If you could imagine what a thrill it was for MCG to have its own teaching hospital. . . .” Her voice trails off reverently at the memory. That hospital (now MCGHealth Medical Center) became the site of countless medical advances, including Georgia’s first open-heart surgery by Ellison’s late husband, Dr. Robert G. Ellison Sr. “I watched it,” says Dr. Harold “Chubby” Engler, a 1950 graduate, recalling the scores of Fort Gordon soldiers who filed through the hospital doors to donate blood for the occasion.

“There was so much (in those days) that happened at a rapid pace. It was really something.” Other world-renowned breakthroughs unfolded in areas including nutrition, sickle cell disease and endocrinology, among many others. For instance, “Dr. Raymond P. Ahlquist likely would have won him the Nobel Prize (for his discovery of beta-blocking drugs), had he lived,” Ellison says. McDonough concurs. “The research here has always, in a way, been visionary,” says McDonough, whose own research of the Y chromosome shed unprecedented light on gender-related disorders. Yet it wasn’t the pioneering medical advances that made the biggest impression on Chandler’s wife, Jane, when her husband joined the faculty in 1953. It was – and still is – the people. “It was like one great big family here,” she says. Barshafsky hopes the videos will inspire long-lasting appreciation for those family roots. “It’s impossible to view these videos without a profound sense of pride in being a member of the MCG community,” she says. n

Christine Deriso welcomes alumni, faculty, staff and/or students to contact her if they would like to share their stories. Contact her at 706-721-2124 or

The history series will be featured on our Web site upon completion. GEORGIA Medicine


Student Spotlight Carter Owen takes uncommon look at common condition during NIH fellowship

A Year in the



At any given time, the National Institutes of Health’s campus is teeming with thousands of young researchers seeking insight into the rarest, deadliest and most debilitating diseases. But last year, one investigator chose to study a condition that, while rarely fatal, affects the health of nearly one in every four adult women. That researcher was MCG School of Medicine student Carter Owen.


Spring 10

The fourth-year student, one of only 30 medical students nationwide accepted into the NIH’s prestigious Clinical Research Training Program, spent the year studying uterine fibroids, a type of benign tumor that develops in the smooth muscle layer and connective tissue of the uterus. “When I told everyone else in the program that I was working on fibroids, they were like, ‘But it’s so common,’” said Carter, an Augusta

native who plans to specialize in obstetrics and gynecology. “But was glad to be working on something that affects 70 percent of women.” Indeed, a majority of women will have fibroids at some point in adulthood, with about 25 percent developing tumors serious enough to cause hemorrhaging, painful menstruation, urinary problems, pregnancy complications and, in some cases, infertility. Fibroids are more prevalent in AfricanAmerican women and are the No. 1 reason women seek a hysterectomy. “They won’t kill you, but they can make your life unbearable,” said Carter, adding that the direct and indirect cost of fibroids exceeds $5.5 billion. Carter’s path toward medicine began early in life with a fascination for science. It was her uncle, Dr. James Hightower (’58), an Aiken

physician who served as medical director at the Savannah River Site, who stoked her curiosity in medicine. “He recognized early on that whenever someone in the family got sick, I wanted to know more about it,” she said. “He helped foster that interest in me.” She was accepted to MCG after graduating from the University of Georgia with a double major in biology and French. (Her mother’s side of the family is from eastern France, where her great-grandfather was a physician in a small town near Verdun. He was known in the family as “Papa Docteur.”) During her first year at MCG, Carter attended a lecture on year-long research fellowships by Dr. Paul Weinberger, an otolaryngology resident who spent a year at the Yale University School of Medicine through the Doris Duke Clinical Research Fellowship. “I literally walked out of the room and said, ‘I’m going to do this,’” she said. She decided to apply for the NIH’s Clinical Research Training Program fellowship during her third year, around the same time she decided to specialize in obstetrics and gynecology. With a résumé boasting numerous academic awards and extracurricular activities, she was accepted for the 2008-09 program, only the second MCG student to do so (Sarah Matteson-Kranick, ’05, was the first). Of course, it didn’t hurt that Carter had a recommendation from Dr. Paul McDonough, professor emeritus in the Departments of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Physiology, and Pediatrics. The renowned reproductive endocrinologist, whose research in the 1960s helped establish the genetic basis of human sex determination, put in a call to colleague Dr. James H. Segars at the NIH’s Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development. After meeting Carter in the spring, Segars was so impressed with her enthusiasm that he was prepared to offer her a position at the institute even if she didn’t get into the Clinical Research Training Program. “She has the right drive, the right everything,” Segars said. “Her ability to think critically and interact and question let her fall naturally in line with everything we’re trying to do. She is

a self-starter who took the initiative to explore options and pursue opportunities she found most interesting.” Carter was able to hit the ground running when she arrived on the campus in August 2008 because she already chose her mentor, Segars, and her research project, fibroids, based on her prior visits to the campus in Bethesda, Md. She was already in the lab working on cell cultures while most other program participants spent up to a month interviewing researchers and deciding on their projects. Carter said it was important that her project be as translational as possible. “I didn’t want to work with mice,” Carter said. “I wanted to work with human tissue.” There is no optimum animal model by which to study fibroids, and surprisingly little is known about the tumors, which can vary greatly person to person and even in the same individual. Carter sought to find out how fibroid and myometrium (the middle layer of muscle in the uterus) cells react to mechanical strain, a process known as mechanotransduction. Working with a team of mechanical engineers who designed an apparatus to subject the tissue to varying degrees of stress, Carter discovered that fibroid cells – unlike the healthy myometrium – do not align very well when stretched. The cells’ lack of dynamic response could be a key to determining how they behave in the extracellular matrix. “We were looking for clues,” she said. “What makes a fibroid grow? Which cells can become fibroids? Is there a target for a drug?” She said the experience has sold her on a career in academic medicine, where most programs have teaching and research requirements. And she said delaying her graduation by a year (she was originally in the Class of 2009) was well worth it. “It was inspiring to be in that environment at the NIH,” said Carter, who has applied for residency positions exclusively at academic medical centers. “Everyone is so smart, and you get to hear world experts at any lecture you attend. It’s infectious to be around people with such passion.” Her NIH mentor, Segars, said he believes Carter’s future as a clinician-scientist is bright. “She has the makings of a really good academician,” he said. “I hope she sticks with it.” n


AT A GLANCE Year: Fourth Hometown: Augusta Undergraduate: University of Georgia; double-major in biology and French Family: Parents John and Lois Owen; older brothers John Jr. and Cordes Extracurricular: n Past president, American Medical Women’s Association MCG chapter n Historian, vice president of curriculum and self-study committee member, Liaison Committee on Medical Education Educational Programs Committee n Co-coordinator, MCG Raft Debate Hobbies: Golf, reading, travel, cultural arts, photography Future plans: Has been accepted to an OB/GYN residency at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia; interested in teaching and continuing clinical research pursuits. Trivia: n Speaks fluent French; spent a year in Paris as an undergraduate through the Sweet Briar College’s Junior Year in France study program. n

Organized the inaugural V-Day anti-violence against women campaign at MCG and acted in the production of the off-Broadway play, The Vagina Monologues.


While at the NIH, had abstract accepted for presentation at the Society for Gynecologic Investigation’s international meeting in Glasgow, Scotland; had three other abstracts accepted at meetings of the American Society for Reproductive Medicine; a paper she co-authored with the NIH’s Dr. James H. Segars was published in the quarterly journal, Seminars in Reproductive Medicine.

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Faculty Focus

Dr. James J. Wynn “What makes us different from the two programs in Atlanta is that we’re basically a rural program. We have a long track record taking care of rural Georgia.” 24

Spring 10

Home Grown Transplant chief rooted in Georgia


A sizeable number of patients arriving at MCGHealth Medical Center for a kidney or pancreas transplant come from rural Georgia towns that most physicians have never heard of, let alone find on a map. But when they meet transplant surgeon Dr. James J. Wynn, they find someone who knows exactly where they’re coming from.


’m as home grown as anyone around here,” says Wynn, a native of Statesboro, Ga., who has spent nearly his entire career at the Medical College of Georgia, his alma mater. Those Georgia roots help him better relate to the large rural population served by MCG, one of three transplant programs in the state. “What makes us different from the two programs in Atlanta is that we’re basically a rural program,” says Wynn, who holds the Mason Distinguished Chair in Transplant Surgery and Immunology. “We have a long track record taking care of rural Georgia.” He has performed more than 1,000 transplants since joining the MCGHealth Kidney and Pancreas Transplant Program in 1987, nearly two decades after Dr. Arthur Humphries Jr. performed MCG’s

first kidney transplant in 1968. Wynn, who worked with Humphries during his surgical residency, replaced him as medical director of the program in 1995. Wynn, who performed the first pancreas transplant at MCG in 1994, does an average of eight surgeries a week, mostly kidney transplants and creating dialysis access ports (called fistulas) in patients who will eventually need a transplant. He has worked on patients ranging from an 80-year-old to a toddler weighing less than 20 pounds. As busy as he is, he’s been even busier in the past; before Dr. Todd Merchen joined the program in 2007, and at various other times in the program’s history, Wynn was the sole surgeon. “I’m pretty sure God has given each of us a finite number of all-nighters,” he says. “I’m getting very close to using all of mine up.” continued

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Milestones: The first living donor kidney transplant at MCG was done in 1968; the first deceased donor kidney transplant in 1971; the first simultaneous kidney/pancreas in 1994. Volume: Nearly 2,000 transplants have occurred since the program started, the majority of which are deceased donor transplants. ‘Paired’ donations: People who want to donate a kidney to a loved one but can’t because of blood type or antigen incompatibility are being matched with donors in other parts of the country. The strategy of trading compatible organs, referred to as a “paired donation,” happened for the first time at MCGHealth in 2009 when a couple from Pulaski, Ga., traded with a daughter and her stepfather at the University of Colorado.

the transplant program’s nurses, social workers and other support staff that help make up the cohesive team with little turnover. “It’s the non physicians who are really responsible for all of the success,” he says. “They do all the work; I just sew the organs in.” The perennial shortage of donor organs and increasing incidence of kidney failure makes Wynn’s position as president of the United Network of Organ Sharing – the organization that operates the national Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network – a key player on policy issues that impact nearly 106,000 people on the donor waiting list. MCGHealth’s waiting list has more than 700 alone. “Demand keeps going up and up,” he says. “We have been trying to revise

“Talking to the patients, that’s the most gratifying thing. That’s what recharges my batteries.” –DR. JAMES WYNN COURTESY MCGHEALTH, INC.

Transplants at MCG

His clinical expertise is one of the reasons MCGHealth’s transplant program recently received a Kidney Transplant Excellence Award from the independent health care ratings organization HealthGrades. The award, based on data such as three-year survival rates and the time patients spend on a waiting list, was given to only nine other hospitals out of the 266 evaluated, putting MCGHealth’s program in the top 3 percent in the nation. The program was also recently recognized as an OptumHealth Centers of Excellence network member after undergoing an annual evaluation by the Minnesota-based care management firm’s team of 170 employed and empanelled clinical experts. Wynn is quick to heap the praise on

Cost: The Georgia Transplant Foundation helps low-income patients with the surgical costs and expensive immunosuppressant drugs they must take the rest of their lives.

Scarce resources: Living donor arrangements can typically be scheduled in three to five weeks, but patients on the list for a deceased donor kidney typically wait four to five years.


Spring 10

Dr. Arthur Humphries, who started MCG’s kidney transplant program, poses with his first six transplant patients in this photo from the late 1960s. Standing to the right is Larry Timms, Georgia’s longest surviving kidney transplant patient.


Typical patient: The vast majority of transplant patients at MCG are AfricanAmericans with kidney failure due to hypertension and/or diabetes. The typical deceased donor is a person over 50 who died of heart disease, cancer or stroke.


Dr. James J. Wynn

at a Glance

Age: 55 Titles: Chief of Transplant Surgery, Department of Medicine Mason Distinguished Chair in Transplant Surgery and Immunology l Professor of transplant and vascular surgery l l

Education: l

the system to allocate scarce resources in a smarter way. Forging consensus at a national level is difficult.” Rising to the pinnacle of his profession is a world away from his childhood dreams of becoming a physician. When asked when he decided to go into medicine, the son of a Cadillac-Oldsmobile dealer jokingly says it was when he saw the movie M*A*S*H in high school, but later acknowledges it was when he obtained his first aid merit badge as a Boy Scout. “I guess you could say I liked to fix things,” he said. He worked summers as a hospital orderly and an EMT while attending Davidson College in Davidson, N.C. He earned his medical degree from MCG, where he also completed an internship and residency in general surgery. Wynn completed additional training in kidney transplantation in Florida and pancreas techniques in Wisconsin before coming back to MCG. “I’ve been working these wards off and on since 1978,” he says. His mentor, Humphries, quipped during the transplant program’s 40-year anniversary in 2008 that Wynn “came back better trained than me.” “Just six years after coming back he became president of the Southeastern Organ Procurement Foundation,” Humphries said. “And now, he will be president of the entire U.S. organ U.S. organ system. He’s a really smart man.” Wynn says it ’s not the challenge of a difficult surgery difficult surgery or helping shape policy on organ donation that keeps him keeps him going during the long hours; it ’s meeting with patients, patients, folks from Georgia’s small cities and towns. Folks like Folks like him. gratifying “Talking to the patients, that’s the most gratifying batteries.” n batteries.” thing,” he says. “That’s what recharges my batteries.”


M.D., 1980, Medical College of Georgia B.S., 1976, Davidson College

Family: Wife, Dr. Lana Jackson, an otolaryngology surgeon specializing in head and neck cancer; four adult children Hobbies: Road biking, running, reading fiction, grilling Trivia: l




Great uncle Lorin V. Strickland graduated from MCG in 1908 and practiced medicine in Cobbtown, Ga. Was accepted at MCG and at Emory University. “I decided to save my parents some money and come here,” he says. In medical school, Wynn hated immunology, a major component of transplantation therapy. “It’s kind of ironic, isn’t it?” he says. Serves as an associate medical director of LifeLink of Georgia, a non-profit organization dedicated to recovering organs and tissue for transplantation therapy.


Dr. James Wynn talks with patient Michael Ridgeway of Pacolet, S.C.

Dr. James Wynn and wife Dr. Lana Jackson, an otolaryngology surgeon, visit briefly in his office between rounds.

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MCG alum pioneering

Alive and Well


One of MCG’s first transplant patients now state’s longest survivor – for the most part – eats and drinks what he wants. “I can’t say I would have done anything different,” he says. Of course, he and his sister Sherry, who works as a beautician in Sylvania, get together every year on the anniversary of the transplant to celebrate her gift of life. “I’ve had a very good life and my sister is still doing great,” he says. “Everybody is doing great, knock on wood.” n

Larry Timms and his grandchildren Luke and Ava.


Spring 10



hough common today, kidney transplantation was a radical procedure in 1969. But when doctors at MCG told Larry Timms he needed one, the teenager from Sylvania, Ga., had little choice but to say yes. “They said I’d die within nine months,” says Timms, now 59. Fortunately for him, his 22-year-old sister Sherry was a perfect match. So perfect, in fact, he’s gone 40 years without any complications, becoming Georgia’s longest-surviving kidney transplant patient in the process. “Everything else is falling apart, but the kidney is still working great,” Timms says jokingly. “I’ve told my sister she can’t have it back.” Timms was the fourth kidney transplant at MCGHealth Medical Center – then known as Eugene Talmadge Memorial Hospital – performed by a team led by Dr. Arthur Humphries Jr. Timms had renal problems since age 15, when an infection resulting from a sports injury badly damaged his kidneys. By the time he was 18, the nephritis had progressed enough to keep him on dialysis 12 hours a day. As a sign the program was in its infancy, Timms recalls getting extra attentive care from Humphries in the days following the procedure. “I don’t think he ever slept,” Timms says. “He would be in my room when I would go to sleep at night and he’d be there in the morning drawing blood when I woke up.” The transplant not only saved his life, but allowed him to live a normal life. When not working at the Possum Eddy Ace Hardware in Sylvania, he enjoys spending time with his wife, Betty Ann, and his two sons and their families. Timms also hunts, fishes, plays softball and

or many patients with advanced kidney cancer, the treatment amounts to a life sentence of dialysis. That’s because renal cell cancer, which is resistant to treatment with chemotherapy and radiation, has historically forced surgeons to cut out the cancer by removing an entire kidney, lymph nodes and any suspicious cells in the surrounding area. Such surgery often leads to progressive decline in overall kidney function, especially if the patient has diabetes, high blood pressure or if cancer recurs in the remaining kidney. But an MCG School of Medicine alum is helping pioneer a minimally-invasive cancer surgery that spares the patient’s kidney and promises to be just as effective as surgery that removes the entire kidney. Dr. Robert I. Carey, (’00) a urologic surgeon at the Sarasota Memorial Health Care System in Sarasota, Fla., recently demonstrated the laparoscopic radiofrequency ablation of a kidney tumor during a live surgical webcast at the Southeastern Section of the American Urological Association’s annual meeting in Miami. Radiofrequency ablation uses heat energy to destroy the cancerous tissue at the precise location it exists in the body, resulting in less scarring, a lower risk of blood loss and infection and a faster recovery. Like other laparoscopic procedures, the ablation instruments are guided through small incisions in the body using a tiny camera. The procedure he demonstrated involved a high-risk elderly patient on blood thinning medication (Coumadin). He chose Carey specifically because of the minimally invasive surgical technique; he had been offered open removal of his kidney at two other centers. “As a result, the patient will be able to keep his kidney and he will have less risk of suffering progressive kidney disease and requiring dialysis in his lifetime,” Carey said. Carey, an M.D./Ph.D, was invited to present the live surgery (which was attended by Dr. Ronald Lewis, chairman of the MCG Department of Urology) because of superior patient outcomes and a number of award-winning studies he has published on minimally invasive surgical techniques.

minimally invasive kidney surgery

Keeping the kidney

Dr. Robert Carey (left), an MCG alum and urologic surgeon at the Sarasota Memorial Health Care System in Sarasota, Fla., performs a minimally invasive kidney cancer surgery using laparoscopic radiofrequency ablation.


Carey said he rarely intervenes unless the kidney cancer has shown interval growth over time and is at least 3 centimeters in size. The tumor in the patient from the live demonstration had grown from 2.3 to 3.4 centimeters in two years. “For many patients, the risks of chronic chronic kidney disease and dialysis that may result result from kidney loss actually outweigh the risk risk of their renal cancer. For these patients, a kidney-sparing approach is their best chance of not only surviving an operation, operation, but also maintaining a better quality of life,” life,” says Carey, who is also a clinical associate professor at Florida State University College of Medicine. n

Researcher hopes natural compound will predict, prevent transplant rejection

Not everyone who gets a new kidney can keep it. Even with powerful drugs designed to keep the body’s immune system from attacking the grafted organ, at least one in 10 transplant patients experience acute rejection, and 40 percent of transplanted kidneys fail within 10 years. Even patients with good histocompatibility matches face a lifetime of vulnerability to infections, cancer and autoimmune diseases because anti-rejection drugs – such as cyclosporine A – suppress the body’s entire immune system, not just the kidney response. A team of MCG researchers and physicians are hoping to change that by finding a way to use a powerful molecular structure that already exists in the body, known as human leukocyte antigenG, or HLA-G, to turn the organ rejection response off while leaving the rest of the body’s immune system on. Dr. Anatolij Horuzsko, a reproductive immunologist at the MCG Center for Molecular Chaperone/Radiobiology and Cancer Virology, has already shown the powerful dimer form of HLA-G was most effective at blocking rejection of transplanted skin grafts in mice. A dimer is two chemically attracted monomers or molecules. He’s now studying the dimer form’s ability to predict – and possibly prevent – kidney transplant rejections in humans by analyzing tissue samples of 50 transplant patients with help from his clinical collaborator Dr. Laura Mulloy, chief of the MCG Section of Nephrology, Hypertension and Transplantation Medicine. Horuzsko said HLA-G, which is part of the large genomic region known as the major

histocompatibility complex, are good at selectively inhibiting the immune response. In fact, it is expressed during pregnancy to keep the mother’s immune system from rejecting the fetus. “This is a naturally occurring molecule with huge potential to regulate immune response, instead of completely suppressing it like the man-made drugs we use today,” Horuzsko said. The human tissue studies, which have so far supported the hypothesis that individuals expressing high levels of HLA-G dimer are less prone to transplant rejection, are being funded by a grant from the Carlos and Marguerite Mason Trust. Horuzsko and Mulloy said the study sample needs to double in size to gather sufficient data before launching a clinical trail into HLA-G dimer’s potential as an anti-rejection therapy or a predictor of rejection. Mulloy said transplant patients and candidates with high levels of the dimer form, could potentially receive lower doses of immunosuppressant drugs and be less prone to infections and diseases. “If we can show a relationship between these molecules and a patient’s likelihood of inflammation or rejection, we could use less medication,” she said. “That reduces their chance of side effects and medication costs.”

Horuzsko, who has been researching HLA-G for nearly 15 years and has published numerous journal articles on the subject, last year received a patent for his HLA-G dimer, which would enable MCG to license the technology or collect royalties on any therapy derived from it. His research, which is also funded by the National Institutes of Health and the Roche Organ Transplantation Research Foundation, includes studying HLA-G’s role as a potential cancer treatment through mechanisms that block HLA-G or its receptors, as well as whether it can be used in Multiple Sclerosis patients to slow or arrest the immune system’s attack of the nerve’s protective covering. n

Drs. Laura Mulloy and Anatolij Horuzsko

GEORGIA Medicine


Discovery Institute programs aim to create research-minded physicians BY DAMON CLINE


n many respects, David Herren is a typical second-year student

at the MCG School of Medicine.

D E T N WA sts i t n e i c n-S Clinicia

The native of Rome, Ga., spends

his days learning fundamentals, preparing for exams, thinking

about a specialty (he’s considering internal medicine) and looking

forward to his clinical rotations in the coming year.

What makes him an atypical medical student is that he will spend his second summer in a National Institutes of Health-funded lab researching the cardiovascular effects of diabetes in genetically-engineered mice. As far as his lab mentor, Dr. David Stepp, is concerned, being atypical is a good thing. Stepp, co-director of the MCG Diabetes & Obesity Discovery Institute, wants to see more physicians who are as comfortable at a laboratory bench as they are at a patient’s bedside. To that end, he and the directors of MCG’s five other translational science-based Discovery Institutes have launched programs to encourage budding physicians such as David to become more involved in scientific research. Stepp said clinician-scientists – sometimes called physician-scientists – will be increasingly crucial as academic medicine tries to reduce the time needed to turn scientific discoveries into clinical therapies. David Herren (left) and Dr. David Stepp


Spring 10

“The big deficiency is that research-trained “The big deficiency is that researchtrained clinicians are few and far between,” said Stepp, an associate professor in the Vascular Biology Center and Department of Physiology. “We’re looking for more people to push the frontiers of medicine.” The recently created Discovery Institutes student programs complement existing student research opportunities at MCG, such as the Dean’s Student Summer Research Fellowship Program, which give students the chance to work on funded research projects and co-author manuscripts or abstracts for peer-reviewed journals. Medical students typically participate in research to improve their chances of entry into competitive fellowships and residencies, but the Discovery Institutes’ research programs aim to create a pipeline of professionals capable of leading in an era where advances in biomedical science are creating a paradigm shift in health care delivery. “Medicine is becoming more predictive, preventative and personalized,” said Dr. Frank A. Treiber, vice president for research development and Regents’ Professor of Pediatrics. “We need people prepared for the future of health care delivery.” Currently, less than 5 percent of the 189 extramural-funded research projects at MCG are headed by clinician-scientists. However, the shortage of clinicianscientists is not unique to MCG. Physicians everywhere struggle to maintain clinical practices while working on research that is important enough to attract grant funding as well as publication in peer-reviewed journals. “This is not an easy life,” said Dr. Stephen Black, co-director of the Cardiovascular Discovery Institute. “Trying to get grant funding in this environment is extremely difficult.” Medical students’ hesitancy to embrace basic science research typically centers on the lack of incentives to participate, outside of creating a more impressive resume to compete for top residencies and fellowships. The MCG programs address these issues by giving student

participants a stipend and, in the case of students taking Stepp’s Physiology 5011 Specialized Research in Diabetes and Obesity course, class credit. The mystique some NIH-funded labs project may dissuade some medical students, but David Herren said he found working with Stepp and his postdoctoral fellow, vascular biologist Dr. Eric J. Belin de Chamtemèle, to be collegial. “There is a fear that to do research, you have to do it all the time or have all the training that the basic scientists have,” said David, who is working to finalize last summer’s data for publication in the American Journal of Physiology. The studies involved protein tyrosine phosphatase 1B, a gene that shows promise as a novel target for treatment of diabetic vascular disease. Results indicate the gene may play a role in reducing atherosclerosis and vessel disease of the lower limbs, which can cause diabetic ulceration and limb loss in patients with diabetes. “It was a lot of fun for me, especially coming right out of physiology (class),” David said. Aside from the opportunity to work in an NIH-funded lab, David said the summer program’s stipend helped make the research program even more attractive. “It gives you a little more incentive to get your feet wet,” he said. Indeed, the chance to be paid for research no doubt had an impact on the recently created Child Health Discovery Institute’s Summer Scholar Program. Though the institute wasn’t launched until January, medical co-director and chair of the department of pediatrics Dr. Bernard Maria said the department had not attracted more than six students to its summer programs in the past. This year, with the additional funding and program organization that is tailored to students’ needs, that number has jumped to 23. Similar to other institutes’ summer research programs, the CHDI program pairs each student with one or more

clinicians are few and far between. We’re looking for more people to push the frontiers of medicine.” –DR. DAVID STEPP

investigators to work on a research project during a 10-week period. Fourteen of the 23 projects are co-sponsored by seasoned researchers aligned with other Discovery Institutes. “I am proud to have facilitated closer collaboration between our institutes to better serve future pediatrician scientists” said Maria. Maria said the number of MCG graduates who pursue a specialty in pediatrics is 30 to 40 percent higher than the national average, which greatly improves the chances of MCG leading in the creation of physicians who are moving their fields forward. “We’re very excited about this because it’s a great beginning for the Child Health Discovery Institute that is still in neonatal stages of development” Maria said. Discovery Institute directors are working to expand their programs to prematriculates – to get students interested in research even before they get to medical school – and clinician-scientist residency programs at the MCGHealth Medical Center. Time will tell how successful the Discovery Institutes are at creating the next generation of clinician-scientists, but it’s clear the summer research programs are already broadening the horizons of the students who participate. David Herren hasn’t decided whether to pursue a clinician-scientist education track, but he hasn’t ruled it out either. “It is a much more real possibility because I had the opportunity to become familiar with the science,” he said. n

GEORGIA Medicine


Diabetes & Obesity (DODI):

MCG’s six science-based Discovery Institutes, translational medicine initiatives organized along each of the institution’s research strengths, are helping develop the next generation of clinician-scientists.

Brain & Behavior (BBDI):

n DODI Scholarship Program offers 25


n Offers up to four, American Heart Association

first-year students chance to pair with mentors in basic science labs to work toward preparation of an abstract from the experience. The 10-week program is expanding to include pre-matriculate students in 2010. n Successful completion of summer program

gives returning applicants priority to continue in same laboratory environment and invitation to enroll in research elective course Physiology 5011.

Health Science Fellowships in stroke research and regenerative/restorative neuroscience. The 10-week summer program is open to all MCG students, not just the School of Medicine.

n The recently launched three-year Residency

n The institute’s advisory group is considering

Research Program gives participants intensive research lab experience with half-day clinics; publication of work derived from research qualifies participant for master’s degree in Biomedical Research from MCG School of Graduate Studies.

expanding its clinical stroke research summer program for third-year medical students from three fellowship slots to as many as 10. n Makes presentations on student research

opportunities at bi-monthly Student Interest Group in Neurology meetings.

Immunotherapy (IDI): Child Health (CHDI):

n Outreach program attempts to identify M.D.

n Twenty-three students participating in

10-week summer research program are paired with established researchers, some of whom are affiliated with other Discovery Institutes. n Projects range from studying liver fat in children

to the effects of vitamin K supplementation on insulin sensitivity in pre-diabetic adolescents.


n In keeping with the mission of the Children’s

Medical Center, clinical interactions will follow the patient- and family-centered care philosophy.

or M.D.-Ph.D. students interested in immunology research during admission process or early in their residency/fellowship programs. n Seeks to nurture home-grown researchers by

retaining the best and most enthusiastic learners through intensive, long-term relationships with an immunology research laboratory or program. n Encourage residents to seek high-quality

fellowships and return to MCG as junior faculty members to be mentored with National Institutes of Health K-series awards.

Cardiovascular (CVDI): n CVDI Summer Fellowship Program offers


10-week program for 10 first-year medical students, senior undergraduates or those awaiting one-year matriculation. The 40 hourper-week program concludes with one- to two-page synopsis of research project and data to be reviewed by CVDI directors. n Successful completion of summer program

gives returning applicants priority to continue in same laboratory environment. n Elective course Physiology 5011 offers

six-weeks of research experience for grade credit in the laboratories of a CVDI faculty member.

Vision (VDI): n Provides clinical research-based education


programs for medical students, ophthalmology residents M.D.-Ph.D. students and others by hosting Dean’s Summer Research Fellows and DODI Fellows engaged in vision research projects. n Has launched the Vision Discovery Institute

Summer Research Fellowship program to support five to seven students to work with VDI faculty during summer 2010. n Working with interested faculty and the

School of Graduate Studies to develop a graduate course in Vision Science.


Spring 10

A clear vision Research track was always in game plan for young clinician-scientist BY DAMON CLINE


r. Kathryn Bollinger, the physician, fights glaucoma in the clinic, performing surgeries that keep the disease from robbing patients of their sight. Dr. Kathryn Bollinger, the scientist, fights glaucoma in the lab, researching molecular-level clues that could lead to a cure for the second-leading cause of blindness. As a young clinician-scientist, the assistant professor of ophthalmology is exactly the type of physician that the institution’s leaders hope to proliferate through research programs for medical students. Bollinger herself decided to follow an M.D.-Ph.D. track when she was still an undergrad working in a neuroscience lab at the University of Wisconsin. Upon entering the Medical College of Wisconsin’s M.D.Ph.D. program, she found herself in rare company. “There were only four of us out of about 200 students, so it was a fairly small group of people,” she said. “You have to have a serious interest to end up on that route.” Her serious interest in vision was fostered by Drs. Jay and Maureen Neitz, a husband-wife research team at the Medical College of Wisconsin who have recently gained national attention for curing color

blindness in monkeys using gene therapy. Bollinger, who joined the MCG faculty last year, has chosen to focus her attention on glaucoma, a disease in which the optic nerve is damaged by a build up of fluid in the eye. The fluid, called aqueous humour, flows between the lens and cornea. In healthy eyes, the fluid is adequately drained through tissue called the trabecular meshwork, but in people with glaucoma, the process does not work well and results in increased intraocular pressure. There are two main types of glaucoma, and each can cause irreversible vision loss if not diagnosed quickly enough. The disease can be managed by pressure-lowering medications and surgery, but there is no cure. Bollinger’s attempt to find one focuses on the drainage mechanism at a molecular level and on novel strategies for protecting the optic nerve from damage. “The intraocular pressure rises because of increased outflow resistance that probably occurs in the trabecular tissue network,” she said. “We want to know what is occurring in this tissue that causes that to happen.” With mentoring from Vision Discovery Institute

co-director Dr. Sylvia Smith, she is also attempting to develop strategies for protecting the neurons that are damaged under increased intraocular-pressure conditions. As a young investigator, Bollinger is just beginning to seek funding through the National Institutes of Health, but her research has shown enough promise to be partially funded by the American Health Assistance Foundation and to yield her a 2010 Early Career Clinician-Scientist Research Award from the Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology and eye care company Alcon Laboratories. The award allowed her to present her abstract, Quantitative Proteomic Analysis of TGF-β2-Treated Human Trabecular Meshwork Cells, at the 2010 ARVO Annual Meeting in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., in May. Bollinger, 36, is at the early stages of what could become a fruitful career as a researcher, which she sees as merely an extension of the work she does in the clinic. “I think it’s great that the work I do in the laboratory correlates to the work I do with patients,” she said. “Having people who can treat patients and work on translational research projects is really a benefit to society.” n

Dr. Kathryn Bollinger

GEORGIA Medicine



Transformative Changes: School of Medicine effort to align with MCGHealth is part of national trend D a v i d H e f n e r a n d D r. M a r k L y l e s

LIKE THE NATION’S other academic medical centers, the Medical College of Georgia is experiencing increased financial pressure to fulfill its tripartite mission of educating future leaders, maintaining excellent clinical outcomes and performing groundbreaking research. To stay operationally efficient and effective amid declining resources and national health care reform, the MCG School of Medicine is leading an initiative to optimize cooperation between the medical school, its faculty practice group and the university’s clinical facilities operated by MCGHealth, Inc.

David Hefner Senior advisor, Association of American Medical Colleges


Spring 10

The strategic restructuring process, often referred to as “alignment” and “integration,” seeks to unify the autonomous organizations, create mutual goals and consolidate the leadership team. To achieve these goals, MCG is among a select group of academic medical centers testing a self-assessment tool created by the Association of American Medical Colleges. MCG, however, is by no means the only academic medical center grappling with strategic alignment issues. To get a national outlook on the transformative changes occurring in academic medicine, Georgia Medicine Editor Damon Cline sat down with AAMC Senior Advisor David Hefner and Dr. Mark Lyles, the association’s senior director of health care affairs, on March 22, the day after the landmark health reform bill passed the U.S. House of Representatives.

Dr. Mark Lyles Senior director of health care affairs; Association of American Medical Colleges

Georgia Medicine: “Alignment” and “integration” are common terms when academic medical centers discuss strategic planning. What is the distinction between the two? Lyles: Alignment is more of a set of functions – people working together under a common vision – whereas integration may imply more structural, legal and contractual obligations to work together.

GM: What is driving the dialogue on alignment and integration? Lyles: One of the main drivers is the scarce resources we’re all starting to recognize. In academic medicine, we’ve always had ups and downs, cycles of limited funding versus more generous funding. Now we’re approaching a time of more scarce resources. We simply don’t have the dollars to do everything everyone would like to be able to do in academic medicine; we now must prioritize our resources while continuing to meet our missions of patient care, education and research. So a big part of this is having all the disparate parts of an academic medical center realize what dollars are available and collaborate to prioritize their use by making sure everyone has a common goal and a common vision, and that all parts of the center are working together.

GM: What is the current level of alignment and integration among medical schools nationwide? Hefner: If the question is how many of them are there, then the answer is there are more that are not coordinated by a wide margin. Most do not do any kind of integrated planning or strategic resource allocation. Most operate on independent institutional strategies, not enterprise-wide strategies. Some have multi-year plans that tend to walk on top of each other, but are totally unrelated. Either you have alignment and coordination, or you don’t.

GM: Of the academic medical centers with some form of integrated structure, has a “best practice” been identified? Hefner: There is not one structural solution that applies to all academic medical centers. Rather, each individual school needs to take into account its own mission, its own history and its local state politics. Something that would work well in Augusta, Ga., would not necessarily work well at Mt. Sinai in New York City, and vice versa. However, there are many common themes and learnings that do apply in both NYC and Augusta that we can and should take advantage of.

GM: If alignment and integration is such a good thing, why have academic medical centers been such slow adopters? Hefner: History has begat different structures and relationships and autonomy. In academic medicine and health care, we highly value autonomy. Lyles: Even along the specialty lines. At an academic medical center, which is a conglomeration of specialties, that autonomy can be valued more greatly than working toward the common good of the institution. Hefner: Let’s use an example at the granular level: Mark is an internist. So if you asked Mark how his clinical practices compare to the clinical practices of the 50 other internists in his department, he wouldn’t necessarily know, but his core belief is that he is doing it the right way. The 49 others believe that they are doing it the right way, but nobody has the data. Take that granular example to the meta level and you see how everybody values their autonomy and thinks they are doing things the right way. To say you want to restructure into a much more integrated, hierarchical structure offends certain peoples’ sensibilities.

GM: Is there a downside to alignment and integration? Hefner: One of the hallmarks of American medicine is that great variation allows for applied experimentation in research, education and the delivery of health care. We have the great ability to test out many different things. It is entrepreneurialism at its best. So, if you are integrating,

GEORGIA Medicine


some people might consider it a downside that you are creating a form of standardization that suppresses discovery. Lyles: That’s one of the things that people will say, but remember that the only way to determine if something works is to standardize it and test it and improve upon it.

GM: Do you think it will be easier for younger academic medical centers to integrate because there may be less historical baggage to contend with? Lyles: The unaligned, un-integrated centers have the opportunity to move more quickly and learn from the pros and cons and challenges and successes of their peer institutions. They can learn from the best practices and then take what best meshes and meets the needs of their own institution. So we don’t anticipate it will take them the same 50 years that it took Mayo to develop the system they have, nor do we suggest the Mayo system is what you would want or need in, say, Augusta, Ga. Hefner: Your point about not having the historical impediments is true, yet even newer institutions may be creating a system for people who may be used to working in a different kind of environment. That is why it is key to select visionary leaders who are attracting the right people to work with them, not people who believe there is only one way to structure and operate an academic medical center.

GM: So alignment and integration isn’t a panacea for poor leadership? Lyles: People are always going to determine how this goes. I’ve been in integrated places where the people didn’t play well, and I’ve been in structurally un-integrated places where the people played well together. The important thing is: Who is on the team? How do they relate to each other? How do they work with each other? A lot of trust is required, particularly as we go through these times where the magnitude of change is getting bigger than ever before. Hefner: It takes leaders who can spearhead it, lead it and sustain it at all levels for it to exist, because it’s very easy to fall back into the silos and historical realms that have existed in academic medicine for so long. Lyles: Alignments and integration don’t happen by accident. Fortunately at MCG, you have visionary leaders like Doug (Miller) and new leaders coming on board (Dr. Ricardo Azziz) who are committed to having these types of discussion.


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GM: Prompting such discussions among academic medical centers is the goal of the AAMC’s selfassessment tool, is it not? Lyles: That’s right. The tool we are demo-ing helps people determine and discuss ways to work together. It’s not a structural solution; it doesn’t say, “Here’s what you need to do.” Rather, it helps academic medical centers to determine what is in the best particular interest of the enterprise, regardless of what happens with health care reform.

GM: Let’s talk about health care reform. What impact does that have on alignment and integration? Lyles: Actual health care reform – the way we deliver care – has yet to be addressed. What is happening is mostly insurance expansion: requiring insurance companies to cover certain things, banning exclusions for pre-existing conditions, allowing people to remain on their parents’ policy until age 26. What’s happening nationally is very similar to what has already happened in Massachusetts, where the goal was to cover people first and address the cost later. Hefner: Which they still have not yet addressed. Lyles: Exactly, and now they will have to face that in the next few years at the state level. We’re at the same place nationally; those pressures will be here at some point. Hefner: The question is: How are academic medical centers going to reposition themselves for that coming inevitability? It seems to me that in an environment of scarce resources, higher levels of integration and alignment will produce better results for patients, educators and researchers.

GM: And better cost controls as well? Hefner: Yes, we believe higher orders of alignment and integration will have academic medical centers deal more successfully with costs. We believe we are entering the paradigm where efficiencies and costs are going to be the order of the day. Our health care delivery system has been fascinated for years with the revenue side of the equation, but we haven’t been overly aggressive on the cost side.

David Hefner Hefner, a senior advisor for the Association of American Medical Colleges, specializes in health care change management and organizational alignment. He has more than 30 years of industry experience and has consulted with more than 75 academic medical centers, faculty practices, health systems, hospitals and medical groups. Prior to joining the AAMC, he served as president of the University of Chicago Medical Center, a $1.2 billion health system, and as executive director and chief operating officer of Penn State Hershey Medical Center, an $850 million integrated clinical enterprise. He earned a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration and Computer Science from the University of Texas at Austin and a master’s degree in Public Administration, Health Services from Brigham Young University.

GM: How do you see academic medical centers preparing for change? Lyles: There are a number of large integrated delivery systems, such as Intermountain Healthcare and Geisinger, which are very prepared to manage entire populations effectively. There are business principles and clinical practices all academic medical centers can learn from these institutions that will enable academic centers to care for a population and also educate the next generation of physicians and other health care providers. Hefner: In addition to that, I would love to see aspects of real health care reform being led by academic medical centers. I would like to see us actually taking on the mantle of redesigning care delivery for America. We are in the best position to do this. Nobody else can deliver the care we can do for the populations we reach. Nobody else can educate the next generation like we do. Nobody else can do the research to tell us if we’re on the right track or not. We should be leading in a more thoughtful, forceful way.

Dr. Mark A. Lyles Lyles, the senior director of health care affairs for the Association of American Medical Colleges, focuses on improving the clinical delivery system by helping AAMC members to introduce innovative and transformative care delivery models. He also teaches health policy analysis as an adjunct professor at The George Washington University School of Business. Prior to joining the AAMC, he served eight years on the general internal medicine faculty at the Medical University of South Carolina, where he also earned his bachelor’s degree in Biology and his M.D. Lyles, who also earned a master’s degree in business administration, Health Care Management, from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, has consulted for a variety of insurers and was senior medical director for pharmaceutical company Amicus Therapeutics.

Lyles: I completely agree. Hefner: So you can quote both of us on that. n

GEORGIA Medicine




Teacher at Heart

Professor Emeritus continues teaching, giving well into retirement


Dr. Elwyn Saunders and wife Marcie


Spring 10

t doesn’t take much time with Dr. Elwyn A. Saunders to figure out the two passions that have shaped his professional life: the pursuit of education and a dedication to charitable service. Fortunately for him, one has always enabled the other. “I love teaching and I love helping people,” says Saunders, professor emeritus of orthopaedic surgery at the Medical College of Georgia School of Medicine. His 1990 retirement from MCG capped off a lifelong commitment to academic medicine that dates back to his residency at the University of Maryland in the late 1950s. He taught anatomy and orthopaedics at Maryland and Vanderbilt University before joining the MCG faculty in 1967. “I was on salary at a medical school from the first day I began practicing,” says Saunders, a native of Charleston, S.C. “I would see some private patients, but the practice always had teaching patients.” His professional life has always included philanthropy, whether it was supporting medical education through gifts to the university, volunteering for weeks-long medical missionary trips to Africa or giving to any number of charitable programs coordinated by Augusta’s First Baptist Church, where he has taught Sunday school to both children and adults for nearly all of the 43 years he has worshiped there. Even at age 80, Saunders remains “a student, a teacher and a deep thinker,” says the Rev. Dr. Jake Malone, minister of church administration at First Baptist Church. “He spends a lot more time developing his lessons than other people would,” Malone says. “He also stays current. A lot of people his age aren’t involved in computers and PowerPoint presentations, but he is using technology in his teaching.” High achievement has always come naturally to Saunders. As one who came of age during World War II, he fully anticipated being called to duty


Dr. Elwyn A. Saunders – as had happened to his older brother – so he made a point to accelerate his schooling as much as possible before going off to war. Though the war ended by the time he graduated high school at age 16, he didn’t let that slow his pace. “I’ve never wanted to sit around and do nothing,” he said. “I always had the idea that there were things I should be doing.” By age 19, he had earned his undergraduate degree at The Citadel by taking classes every summer. At the Medical University of South Carolina, he earned a master’s in anatomy while simultaneously working on his medical degree, which he completed at age 25. Before leaving for his residency in Maryland, he reconnected with Marcie Herndon, whom he had known through church since age 13. He and Marcie, who by then was a registered nurse, were married after a 10-month courtship. They have raised five daughters and will soon celebrate their 60th wedding anniversary. After spending much of the 1950s and 1960s teaching in Maryland and Tennessee, Saunders and his young family moved to Augusta to help build up MCG’s fledgling orthopaedics program and embark on what would be his longest tenure at a university. “He has been one of the backbones of our program,” says Carolyn Williams, who worked with Saunders while serving as the orthopaedics residency coordinator from 1965-92. “He is one of the people who had a chance to shape the program.” He also stayed busy at MCG’s network of clinics across rural Georgia as well as specialty clinics for disabled children and for amputees at Fort Gordon. He was among the first in the Southeast to perform hip replacement surgeries after studying the procedure in England, where the surgery was pioneered in the 1960s. Saunders, who says he “never once asked for a promotion or a raise,” nevertheless had plenty of opportunities to move into management positions. However, he didn’t want distance between himself and his students and patients. “I never wanted to be chairman,” he says. “I wanted to teach; I didn’t want to be an administrator.” Though large in stature, Saunders was considered a “gentle giant” by those who worked with him, said Dorothy Harmon, the current residency program coordinator who started in the orthopaedics section as a secretary. Twenty years after his retirement, he is still a frequent visitor at the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, which in 1991 named its resident graduation day ceremony in his honor. “He’s still very dedicated to orthopaedics and cares what happens in our program,” she says. Another constant in Saunders’ life has been his faith, which led him to medical missionary trips to some of the poorest countries in the world.

Dr. Monroe Levine (right) presented Dr. Elwyn Saunders with gifts at his retirement reception in 1990. Below, Saunders early in his tenure as a faculty member in the 1971 MCG yearbook, the Aesculapian.

Dr. Elwyn A. Saunders Age: 80 Hometown: Charleston, S.C. Family: Wife, Marcie; daugthers Patricia, Karen, Gail, Sharon and Linda Specialty: Orthopaedic surgery Education:

M.D., Medical University of South Carolina, 1955 n M.S., Medical University of South Carolina, 1952 n B.S., The Citadel-The Military College of South Carolina, 1949


Title: MCG Professor Emeritus of Orthopaedic Surgery (active 1967-1990) Giving:

n n n

Founder’s Club Level (supporting orthopaedics funds) Bliven Orthopaedic Society member Created two Professorship Endowments (1988 and 2009).


GEORGIA Medicine



Dr. Elwyn Saunders “scrubs-in” at a Tanzania clinic during one of his mission trips.


Spring 10

The African figurines and wildlife photos lining the shelves in his family room speak to the time he spent in countries such as Nigeria, Kenya, Zambia and Zimbabwe. He made his first trip to Africa in the early 1970s to visit his older brother, a full-time Baptist missionary, in Kenya. After two weeks of working at a hospital in neighboring Tanzania, he was ready to take the first opportunity to return. He made nine trips back to the continent during the next two decades, staying as long as five weeks at a time. Conditions varied. Sometimes he worked in real hospitals, other times he performed surgeries on plywood tables, using whatever implements were available. He recalled one particular case where he fused the neck vertebrae of a motorcycle accident victim using silver jeweler’s wire instead of stainless steel surgical wire. “You had to make do,” Saunders recalled. “I got to operate in some very peculiar places.” Despite all the good his skills accomplished, the trips did not come without some heartache, such as the loss of a friend in Uganda to AIDS in the early 1980s. The man, whom he was training to be a surgeon, contracted the disease through unprotected sex, as many others did during the African AIDS pandemic. “The guy I was training died from not being careful,” he says. “After a while I was starting to wonder if I was leaving anything behind that was useful.” He made his last trip in the late 1980s, as the effects of age made international travel less palatable. His retirement from medicine a few years later brought MCG alumni from across the country to his going-away party.

“All the residents enjoyed working with him,” Williams says. “The fact that many wanted to come back to see him is a tribute in itself.” In retirement, Saunders’ full-time job has been his philanthropic endeavors, which he oversees from the family room of his cottage in Augusta’s Brandon Wilde community. Proceeds from the sale of his five-bedroom home in the Waverly neighborhood and a vacation home near Brunswick, Ga., allow him to live without worry and funnel half – exactly half – of his annual income to nearly one dozen organizations. “There’s no sense in keeping it just to have it,” he says. “I’m comfortable with what I’ve got here. I want to get the most use of what I’ve got now.” When not monitoring his investments and gifts via his computer, he enjoys taking friends and family out to lunch. When he and Marcie cook at home, they often consult a scrapbook of recipes, most of which are clipped from newspaper food columns. He especially likes seafood, having grown up catching it fresh as a child (“During the war, my family didn’t have to use its (ration) coupons for meat,” he says. “We ate crab for breakfast.”) Lately, a good portion of his time is spent poring through his collection of Bibles, Bible encyclopedias, Bible dictionaries and other theological texts to prepare for what may be his final lesson. “When you’re 80 years old, you don’t expect to live too long,” Saunders says. “So my next lesson is going to be about living and dying. It’s about trying to make the coming of death something that is not to be afraid of.” On a shelf in the family room, near his computer, the recipe clippings, his African figurines and the certificate of appreciation for 37 years of teaching Sunday school, sits a small desktop plaque. Engraved on it is a quote from the Chinese philosopher Confucius: “A gentleman is ashamed to die until he has accomplished something.” When Elwyn Alva Saunders draws his final breath, it’s safe to say he will not be ashamed. n Editor’s Note: Dr. Saunders died May 17, several days before this edition of Georgia Medicine went to press. The MCG community mourns the loss.

Generations of Giving

Tony Duva, Associate Vice President for Gift Planning and Senior Director of Development

Building Our Future Together “I am very grateful for Dr. Wiley Black’s gift. It has made me realize that my responsibility as a physician extends beyond helping patients. As a doctor, I will also have the responsibility of ensuring the success of future generations of medical professionals.” —Mark Snoddy, Class of 2012

“We could not have entered a promising avenue of stem cell research using induced pluripotent stem cells without the help of the FHG Armstrong Foundation. This could have a large impact on future treatment of stroke and brain injury” — Dr. David Hess, Chairman of Neurology

“There is less and less government support for the intellectual things we do at academic medical centers. Without Dr. Witherington’s contribution, I would have missed out on a lot of wonderful academic and research activities.” —Dr. Ron Lewis, Roy Witherington, M.D. Distinguished Chair of Urology

Why should you give to the MCG School of Medicine? Because you can make a difference. While the personal benefits of giving to MCG are numerous, perhaps the greatest among them is knowing that your contribution will help build a strong future for the School of Medicine. Your support makes a direct impact on the lives of students, faculty members, and the community at large. Several options are available to make giving to the MCG School of Medicine easy:

Cash Making a donation of cash is as simple as writing a check to the GHS Foundation, Inc. or authorizing a charge on your credit card. Simply indicate the area of interest or specific GHS Foundation Fund number on the memo line of your check, so your gift can be applied accordingly, and mail the same to: 1120 15th Street Alumni Center – FI-1000 Augusta, GA 30912

Appreciated Securities Stocks that have increased in value are one of the most popular assets used for charitable giving. Making a gift of securities offers you the chance to advance the mission of the MCG School of Medicine while you enjoy possible tax benefits for yourself.

maximize the value of your retirement account assets, consider making a lifetime gift of its aftertax values to a tax-exempt deferred giving plan.

Real Estate Using real estate to fund a philanthropic contribution allows you to preserve your cash assets and receive significant tax advantages. Contact us for more information on how to donate gifts of real estate, such as your house or farm, or commercial property, to support the School of Medicine.

Testamentary Gifts A will is a powerful instrument that allows you to preserve your estate and dictate how property and assets are to be directed. A testamentary bequest may allow you to make a charitable gift that may not have been possible during your lifetime. Simply contact the Associate Vice President for Gift Planning to obtain the appropriate bequest language for your will. n

Retirement Plan Assets The financial future for many of us will likely revolve around your retirement plan. To

You can help make a difference today. Please contact Tony Duva at 706-721-1939 or GEORGIA Medicine


Class Notes

Awards? Professional Honors? Special Activities? We would love to hear what’s new with you. Contact Damon Cline, editor, at 706-721-4706 or e-mail


1940s Dr. W.G. “Curly” Watson


celebrated his 100th birthday Feb. 25, making him one of the oldest living alumni and the oldest practicing physician. The namesake of University Hospital’s W.G. Watson, M.D., Women’s Center, has chaired the hospital’s Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology since 1987. He delivered more than 15,000 babies before he quit practicing obstetrics in 1995. Watson continues to care for gynecology patients through his office practice with Obstetrics and Gynecology Associates of Augusta. He and his wife, Audrey, have five children and numerous grandchildren and great grandchildren.

1950s Dr. Henri (Hal) D. Clarke


a retired obstetrician and gynecologist, was honored in April for contributions to the Julie Rogers Gift of Life Program’s Prostate Cancer Initiative. Clarke, a prostate cancer survivor, practiced in Beaumont, Texas for nearly 30 years. He is a retired member of the American Fertility Society, the Texas Medical Association and the Jefferson County Medical Association. He and his wife, Betty, support many causes and he serves as a Gift of Life board member.

Dr. James E. Oglesby


has been nationally ranked by the USA Masters Track and Field 2009 Outdoor Rankings for men 7579. He holds the American record for his age group in the shot put and is ranked fourth in the discus throw. He is a surgeon at Kissimmee Memorial Hospital in Florida, where he has practiced since 1971 and spent nine years as chief of surgery and six as chief of staff. He and his wife, Jean, sing and act in community theater and have nine children and 12 grandchildren.

Dr. Donald R. Thomas


a family physician and legislator in Dalton, Ga., has been inducted into the Junior Achievement Northwest Georgia Business Hall of Fame. Thomas has been with Whitfield Medical Professional Associates for more than 50 years. His political career began in 1972 with election to the Whitfield County school board, which he chaired from 197484. In 1996, he was elected to the Georgia State Senate. He and his wife have eight children, 17 grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.


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Dr. Patton Smith


has retired after 43 years of practice in Monroe County, Ga. Smith began working at Monroe County Hospital in 1966 following an internship and residency at the former Macon Hospital (now the Medical Center for Central Georgia) and two years in the Army working at a hospital in Mexico. In 2009, he received the Bibb County Medical Society Distinguished Service Award for his community involvement, including serving on the boards of the Monroe County Hospital and Community Health Works.

Dr. Spencer B. King III


is professor of medicine emeritus at the Emory University School of Medicine, executive director of academic affairs for Saint Joseph’s Health System and president of Saint Joseph’s Heart and Vascular Institute in Atlanta. He completed his cardiology training at Emory University and served there as a professor of medicine, director of interventional cardiology and director of the cardiac cath lab. King served as Fuqua Chair of Interventional Cardiology at Piedmont Hospital in Atlanta from 2000-04.

Dr. Ray Groover


a radiologist in Birmingham, Ala., received the Auburn University 2009 Walter Gilbert Award, given annually to former Auburn athletes who have distinguished themselves through achievements after graduation. Groover made the game-winning basket to clinch the Tigers’ first SEC basketball championship in1960. An Air Force veteran who served in Vietnam, Groover operated on both President Jimmy Carter and President Richard Nixon while practicing in Birmingham, Ala. Now semiretired, Groover and his college sweetheart, Betty, have two daughters and three grandchildren.

Dr. Harold Solomon


a primary care physician and associate clinical professor at Harvard Medical School, has had an intensive care unit at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center named in his honor. Solomon has been on the “Best Doctors in America” list since 1994.

1970s Dr. William Heyward


an epidemiologist and specialist in designing and conducting licensure-directed clinical trials, has joined Dynavax Technologies Corp. as vice president for clinical research. He was previously vice president for clinical development at Osel Inc., a bacterial therapeutics company. Heyward was a commissioned officer in the U.S. Public Health Service with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, where he was involved in epidemiologic and vaccine studies on hepatitis B, Haemophilus influenzae type b, pneumococcal disease, botulism and HIV/AIDS.

Dr. Joseph Herren


and his practice, Rome Internal Medicine in Rome, Ga., have formed an affiliation with the Floyd Primary Care Network. Herren has nearly 30 years of experience practicing internal medicine and is a diplomate of the American Board of Internal Medicine.

Dr. David H. Johnson


has been named chairman of the Department of Internal Medicine at University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center. Previously, he was director of the Division of Hematology/Oncology at Vanderbilt University Medical Center and deputy director of its Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center. Johnson is a past president of the American Society of Clinical Oncology and is chairman of the subspecialty board on medical oncology for the American Board of Internal Medicine.

Dr. David W. Retterbush


a private practice general surgeon in Valdosta, Ga., has been named to the Georgia Composite Medical Board by Gov. Sonny Perdue. Retterbush is on staff at South Georgia Medical Center, where he previously served as chief of staff and chair of the Department of Surgery. He and his wife, Denise, have three children.

1980s The Rev. Dr. Talmadge ‘Joe’ Bowden


is chief of general and vascular surgery at the Charlie Norwood Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center and emeritus professor of surgery at MCG. He also serves as an Episcopal priest and an assisting priest at two parishes in Augusta.

Dr. J. Daniel Hanks


has been elected chairman of the Floyd County Republican Party. Hanks, a retired radiologist, serves on the Georgia Board for Physician Workforce Committee. He served as a major in the U.S. Army Medical Corps, as an MCG instructor and as chief of radiology at the Charlie Norwood Veterans Administration Medical Center in Augusta. Hanks and his wife, Adeline, have one child.

Dr. Alan Henry


Dr. Henry M. Patton

Dr. Lee B. Padove


of Covington, Ga., has been appointed to the state’s Advisory Council for Public Health by Gov. Sonny Perdue. Patton is president of Newton Medical Associates, an attending physician at Newton Medical Center, a clinical associate professor of medicine at MCG and an instructor of advanced cardiac life support for the American Heart Association. He and wife Victoria have four children and four grandchildren.


has been appointed to the Georgia State Medical Education Board by Gov. Sonny Perdue. Woodall practices family medicine with Woodall, Wilson & Manley LLP in Barnesville, Ga. He is on the board of Honduras Outreach Inc., and is the chairman of the Lamar County Board of Health. Woodall and his wife, Leesa, have three children and one grandchild.


team physician for the University of Georgia Athletic Association since 1988, was named the 2009 Southeastern Conference Team Physician of the Year. The award is voted on by the sports medicine staffs of the league’s member institutions. Elliott has been a staff member at University Health Center since 1985 and was among the first primary care physicians to receive his National Certification in Sports Medicine.


of Hawkinsville, Ga., has been reappointed to the State Medical Education Board by Gov. Sonny Perdue. She has served on the board since 1989 and is a past chair. Davis practices emergency medicine and is a member of the Baptist MedicalDental Fellowship and the Christian Medical-Dental Association. She and husband Jimmy have three children and two grandchildren.

Dr. Lee T. Woodall

Dr. Ronald E. Elliott

Dr. Glenda H. Davis

has been appointed chief medical officer of MedSolutions’ Premerus(SM) Diagnostic Accuracy program. A founding member and former president of the American Society of Breast Surgeons, Henry has served as president of Breast Care Specialists of Virginia since 1996. Previously, he developed and served as medical director of the Carilion Breast Care Center in Roanoke, Va.

Dr. David Kraebber


a urologist, has joined Minden Medical Center in Minden, La., after practicing for 20 years in North Carolina, where he was president of Western Carolina Urological Associates. Kraebber chairs the membership and finance committees of the Southeastern Section of the American Urology Association and is a member of the Southern Society of Urologic Surgeons. He is a clinical associate professor of urology at Louisiana State University Shreveport School of Medicine. Kraebber, his wife, Alice, and sons, Sam and Angus, foster rescue Labrador retrievers and are active horsemen.

Dr. Daniel E. Rousso


of Birmingham, Ala., has been named president of the American Academy of Facial and Reconstructive Surgery.

Dr. Peter Ulbrich


practices at the Women’s Health & Aesthetic Center in Peachtree City, Ga., and serves as a consultant and lecturer for several women’s health care companies.


has joined Saint Joseph’s Medical Group, which provides primary care and cardiovascular services in Atlanta and Lake Oconee, Ga. He completed residency at Brooke Army Medical Center in Fort Sam Houston, Texas, where he directed the cardiac transplant program. Padove is board certified in internal medicine and cardiovascular diseases. He is a diplomate in the National Board of Medical Examiners and a fellow of the American College of Cardiology.

Dr. Jack M. Chapman Jr.


an ophthalmologist at Gainesville Eye Associates in Gainesville, Ga., received the Medical Association of Georgia’s 2009 Joseph P. Bailey Jr., M.D., Physician’s Distinguished Service Award. Chapman served as MAG’s president in 2007-08. He is president of Health Access Initiative of Gainesville, a community outreach program of the Hall County Medical Society. Chapman and his wife, Leslie, have a son, Jack III.

Dr. Gregory Thesing


a primary care physician at Concord Hospital Family Health Center-Hillsboro-Deering, has been named president-elect of the medical staff at Concord Hospital in central New Hampshire. Thesing completed a residency and internship at David Grant Medical Center at Travis Air Force Base in California.

Dr. Antonio “Tony” Reddick Mott


has been named medical director of the Evelyn and Daniel M. Tabas Cardiac Intensive Care Unit and associate professor of pediatrics at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, an affiliate of The University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine. Previously, he was with the Lillie Frank Abercrombie section of pediatric cardiology and assistant professor of pediatrics at the Baylor College of Medicine.

GEORGIA Medicine


Alumni in focus

A good sport Alum works Olympic Games, pushes competition for cardiac patients BY DAMON CLINE


r. F. Stuart Sanders (’82) has worked as a sports medicine physician at four Olympic Games and two Paralympic Games, but it’s his work with a different kind of competition that really gets his heart pumping. As one of the founding organizers of the World Heart Games, an international two-day competition for cardiac rehabilitation patients, Sanders is on a mission to inspire heart disease survivors to “reclaim the joy of sports.” “As a sports medicine doctor, when I see somebody at the hospital, in the back of my mind I’m thinking, ‘This person is going to be a good volleyball player,’ ” the Demorest, Ga.-based physician said. “I think most of us have

an athlete within us somewhere.” The World Heart Games, now an American College of Sports Medicine-sponsored event, started in 1990 as the Georgia Association of Cardiopulmonary Rehabilitation’s Heart of Gold Games. Sanders didn’t come up with the idea, but he was instrumental in expanding the size and scope of the event. “I thought it was such a great idea,” he said. “I thought we should take it to the national and international level.” And that’s exactly what happened in 2003, when competitors from across the country came to Piedmont College campus in Demorest, where Sanders has been the team physician for the past 18 years. In 2006, the event was

Dr. F. Stuart Sanders, inside the Vancouver Olympic Village at the 2010 Winter Games, has volunteered at Olympic games since 1996 and is serving as chairman of the World Heart Games, a competitive event for cardiac rehabilitation patients.



Dr. F. Stuart Sanders ’82

Spring 10

held in Chicago and attracted more than 140 participants. The 2010 World Heart Games, held at Agnes Scott College in Atlanta in May, drew participants from nine states to take part in what Sanders calls “safe, fun competition.” “Many of these folks were athletes when they were younger,” said Sanders, chairman of the 2010 game. “We want them to understand they can compete again. Many of these people wind up in better shape than they were before their cardiac event.” The games, sponsored by major corporations such as Coca-Cola and AstraZeneca, increases awareness for cardiovascular disease, the nation’s No. 1 health issue. “There are 800,000 new coronary events every year,” he said. Sanders said he hopes the event will promote cardiac rehabilitation – a regimen of exercise, nutrition and education – which he says is under-prescribed despite lowering mortality rates for cardiac patients by 25 percent. For Sanders, sports and medicine have always gone hand in hand. He played football, basketball and baseball in high school, and took up rugby in college. He was recently inducted into the Piedmont College Athletic Hall of Fame, and he also goes on daily three- to five-mile jogs on his lunch break at his sports and internal medicine practice, Mountain Medical Specialists. MCG is something of a family affair as well: Sanders’ recently deceased father and mentor, Floyd Sanders Jr. (’44), is a School of Medicine graduate; his son, Carson, is currently a second-year medical student; and his daughter, Amanda, is starting her first year this fall. Sanders’ sister, Irene, earned a master’s degree in nursing at MCG in 1975. Though he stays busy with his practice and his duties as a clinical professor for the Emory School of Medicine, Sanders says he has no plans to throttle back on his volunteerism. “I tell students to volunteer for everything they can, because some of those experiences will be the best they have in medicine,” he said.

1990s Dr. Samuel Pitts Jr.


has received the 2009 Frist Humanitarian Award from the Coliseum Health System in Macon, Ga. Pitts, who works in the Dietary Department of Coliseum Medical Centers, received the award for “consistently demonstrating a high level of self sacrifice for patients, co-workers and others in the community.”

Dr. Philip M. Arlen


has been appointed chief executive officer of Neogenix Oncology Inc., in Great Neck, N.Y., a cancer therapeutics and diagnostic company. Arlen joined Neogenix as president and chief medical officer in 2008. Previously, he spent 11 years at the National Cancer Institute, most recently as director of the Clinical Research Group for the Laboratory of Tumor Immunology and Oncology, where he focused on development of a programmatic approach to vaccine clinical trials. He received an NIH Award of Merit for major contributions to the field of cancer immunotherapy.

Dr. Mary Sams


Dr. Robert J. Hawes


a board-certified family physician, has joined Tift Regional Medical Center in Tifton, Ga. A native of Smyrna, Ga., Hawes is a fellow of the American Academy of Pediatrics.

Dr. Ajay Kumar


has joined Saint Agnes Hospital in Baltimore as a specialist in plastic, reconstructive and hand surgery. Prior to joining Saint Agnes Hospital, he maintained a private plastic surgery practice in Duluth, Ga. Kumar and his family reside in Ellicott City, Md.

Dr. Martha McGraw


a neurologist, recently relocated from Providence, R.I., to Wheaton, Ill.

Dr. Slavko Kukucka


has opened the Rincon Medical Urgent Care Center in Rincon, Ga. Kukucka has been practicing in the Effingham County area for 13 years.

Dr. Antonia Bunce


has joined Saint Joseph’s Medical Group, which provides primary care and cardiovascular services in Atlanta and Lake Oconee, Ga. She completed a residency at the Bowman Gray School of Medicine at Wake Forest University, where she served as assistant chief of medicine for internal medicine.

an internist who completed her residency training at Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center in Baltimore, Md., has joined Saint Joseph’s Medical Group, which provides primary care and cardiovascular services in Atlanta and Lake Oconee, Ga.

Dr. Wade Gebara

Dr. Andrea Wozniak


medical director of the radiation oncology department at Berkshire Medical Center in Pittsfield, Mass., has received the hospital’s 2010 Most PatientCentered Physician award. Gebara completed his residency in radiation oncology at Duke University Medical Center in Durham, N.C., where he was chief resident from 1996-97.

We’d like to hear from you


has joined West Valley Medical Center and Caldwell Urology in Caldwell, Idaho. Previously, she was with Oregon Urology Institute. She completed an internship at Baylor University Medical Center and residency at the University of Illinois at Chicago.


Changed addresses lately? Have a question or concern? Want to learn more about participating in alumni programs? Contact Scott Henson, executive director of alumni affairs or 706-721-4416

GEORGIA Medicine


2000s Dr. Stephen King

In Memor y 01

Dr. Elizabeth U. Harrelson

has opened Northwest Georgia Orthopedics and Sports Medicine in Calhoun, Ga. The practice, which offers orthopedic surgical and non-surgical care, is in partnership with Gordon Hospital. King completed his residency in orthopedic surgery at the University of Tennessee College of Medicine in Chattanooga, Tenn.

Drs. Alan and David Redding


have opened Redding Allergy and Asthma Center in Atlanta. The twin brothers are both certified by the American Board of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology. Both completed their residencies at the Medical University of South Carolina and practiced internal medicine at the VA Hospital in Charleston for one year. Alan completed his fellowship at the University of Tennessee College of Medicine, during which time he was elected to the board of directors of the Joint Council of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology. David completed his internship at Emory University Hospitals in Atlanta and his fellowship training at the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston, Texas.

Dr. Mark Ghegan


a board certified pediatrician, has joined Maury Regional Medical Center in Columbia, Tenn., as a neonatology specialist. She completed a pediatrics internship and residency at the Medical Center of Central Georgia/Mercer Medical School in Macon and a neonatology fellowship at Vanderbilt Children’s Hospital in Nashville.

Dr. Dixie D. Griffin


a pediatrician, has joined Tift Regional Medical Center in her hometown of Tifton, Ga. She is also a certified lactation consultant.

Dr. Jacquelin Dubose


of North Augusta, S.C., recently partnered with Dr. Stephen Youmans to head the family practice of University Medical Associates of Aiken. She is a member of the American Academy of Family Physicians and emphasizes patient- and familycentered care.

Dr. Allison Turk


has joined the staff at Northeast Georgia Physicians Group in Dahlonega, Ga. The Gainesville native completed her residency in family medicine at Mountain Area Health Education Center in Asheville, N.C. She is a member of the American Academy of Family Medicine and the Christian Medical and Dental Association.


has joined Charleston Ear, Nose and Throat Associates, working in the West Ashley and Mount Pleasant offices. Previously, he was an ENT physician and surgeon in Atlanta. He completed an internship and residency at the Medical University of South Carolina’s Department of Otolaryngology.

Dr. Katherine Virginia McMillan Hendry

Dr. Thomas Edward Bailey Sr.



Spring 10


died Jan. 4 at age 94. A native of Augusta, Bailey was a member of the Phi Rho Sigma medical fraternity. He served in the U.S. Army Medical Corps in World War II, was a clinical associate professor of pediatrics at MCG and chief of pediatrics at University Hospital. Bailey was a member of the Augusta Country Club, the Palmetto Golf Club, the Kiwanis Club, the Ancient Order of Hibernians, the Knights of Columbus 4th Degree and St. Mary-on-the-Hill Catholic Church. Bailey was preceded in death by his wife, Georgia Mulherin Bailey, a son and a daughter. Survivors include two sons, three daughters, eight grandchildren, two great-grandchildren and a sister.

Dr. Floyd R. Sanders Jr.

Dean D. Douglas Miller greets Dr. George Sessions and his wife Martha during the School of Medicine Dean’s Reception during Homecoming festivities at the Marriott Augusta Hotel & Suites.


died Feb. 28 at age 98. Hendry was one of the first women to graduate in Georgia with a medical degree. She interned at Columbia Hospital in Columbia, S.C., and practiced in Blackshear, Ga., until her retirement in 1978. She was the first female president of the Ware County Medical Society, served as Pierce County Hospital’s anesthetist and was a member of the Medical Association of Georgia, the American Medical Association and the American Academy of General Practice. Hendry had been on staff at the Pierce County Hospital, the Ware County Hospital and Baptist Village. She was a member and past president of the Blackshear Women’s Club and the Pierce County Library Board of Trustees, and had been chairman of the Okefenokee Regional Library system. She received the Pierce County Chamber of Commerce’s Citizen of the Year award, the Morris Jacobson Brotherhood Award and the Blackshear Exchange Club’s “Book of Golden Deeds” award. Survivors include a daughter, son, four grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.


died April 24 at age 90. Sanders practiced family medicine for 45 years in Decatur, Ga., retiring in 1995. He was instrumental in the planning and construction of DeKalb Medical Center, was on the board of directors until 1997 and served as chief of staff from 1962-64. He served on the DeKalb Hospital Authority from 1965-96 and was a past president of the DeKalb Medical Society.

Sanders was a member of Decatur First United Methodist Church, an Eagle Scout and a veteran of World War II and the Korean War, serving in the U. S. Navy Medical Corps. He was preceded in death by his wife, Teressa (Tissy). Survivors include a daughter, son and three grandchildren.

Dr. Wilbur Moate Scott Jr.


died Sept. 8 at age 89. He practiced medicine and surgery in Milledgeville, Ga., and surrounding counties for more than 34 years. After serving as an Army captain, Scott completed a residency in general surgery at Atlanta’s Grady Memorial Hospital before joining the practice started by his father, Dr. Wilbur Moate Scott Sr. Survivors include wife Juanita, two sons, three daughters, three grandchildren and his beloved dog, Sandy.

Dr. William Roy Hancock


died Jan. 24 at age 83. An Atlanta native, Hancock practiced for many years in Jacksonville, Fla., and co-founded The Clinic for Digestive Diseases. He served in the U.S. Army during the Korean War and was awarded the Bronze Star, five Battle Stars and the Presidential Unit Citation. After retirement, the family moved to the Milledgeville, Ga., area where Hancock volunteered with the mentally ill. He was past president of the Oconee Alliance for the Mentally Ill, founder of Hancock Court and was a member of Hendricks Avenue Baptist Church in Jacksonville. Survivors include his wife of 61 years, Martha, three sons, a daughter and two grandsons.

Dr. Robert A. Matthew


died Oct. 12 at age 87. After earning a Bronze Star for Meritorious Service in the Korean War, he became the first board-certified anesthesiologist at Phoebe Putney Hospital in Albany, Ga. He was a founding partner of Albany Anesthesia Associates, retiring in 1997 after 43 years of service. He was president of the MCG School of Medicine Alumni Association in 1982 and received the school’s 2002 Distinguished Alumnus Award. He enjoyed farming and hunting in his spare time. Survivors include wife Marie, a son, daughter, four grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.

Dr. Geraldine Glover Pilcher


died Sept. 18 at age 85. Born in Worth County, Ga., she met her husband, Dr. George Stapleton Pilcher, at medical school and they moved to Louisville, Ga., in 1950. Pilcher practiced psychiatry at the VA Medical Center in Augusta and was a member of the First Baptist Church of Louisville. She supported her children through their educational, postgraduate and professional endeavors. She is survived by five children and 14 grandchildren.

Division in Europe. He was a gentleman farmer and collected antique clocks. He is survived by his wife, Sherry, a daughter and three sons, ten grandchildren, a great-grandchild, three stepchildren and two step-grandchildren.

Dr. Winford H. “W.H.” Pool Jr.


died Nov. 16 at age 83 in his native Savannah. In October, he received the St. Joseph’s/ Candler medical staff’s Legends Award for “innovations defining new frontiers and greatly enhancing patient care.” Quattlebaum was a member of Phi Beta Kappa at the University of Georgia and interned in surgery at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore. He returned to Savannah in 1957 to practice in general, thoracic and cardiovascular surgery until his retirement in 2001.

died Feb. 24 at age 83. After an internship in Florida and residency in Louisiana, he returned to his native Georgia to practice in Elberton. He returned to MCG in 1957 and, but for two years, served on the faculty until his retirement as Professor Emeritus in 1990. He chaired the Department of Radiology from 1974-87. He relished his role in training new doctors and thought of himself first as a teacher, second a physician. After returning to Atlanta, he enjoyed art classes and was an active member of a local book club. He served for over 10 years as a volunteer at Crossroads offering services to the homeless. Pool was preceded death by his wife, Martha Anne, and his daughter, Renee’. He is survived by sons Gary, David and Bryan, daughter Winanne, seven grandchildren and a brother. Pool donated his body to MCG.

Dr. Charles Hinton Drake

Dr. Asbury Dukes Wright Jr.

Dr. Julian K. Quattlebaum Jr.



died Dec. 3 at age 91. A native of Tattnall County, Ga., he enlisted in the U.S. Air Force in 1941 and served in the 391st Bomb Group of the 9th Air Force, seeing action in the European theater and rising to the rank of major. He was awarded the Bronze Star and the Croix de Guerre with Silver Star. He began his medical practice in Glennville, Ga., in 1952. In 1968, he became the first medical director of Glenvue Nursing Home, which he eventually purchased and owned for nearly 30 years. He is survived by his wife of 63 years, Estelle, a son, a daughter, a grandchild, a brother and four sisters.

Dr. C. Denton Johnson


died April 20 at age 86. The son, grandson and father of physicians, Dr. Johnson practiced for 48 years. He was a founder of St. Thomas Episcopal Church and of Doctors Hospital in Columbus, Ga., where he served as chairman of the Board of Trustees. He served in many capacities for the Muscogee County Medical Society, including president, and was also chief of staff at The Medical Center of Columbus. A World War II Army veteran, he served with the 99th Infantry


died in January at age 80. At MCG, he was a member of the Alpha Omega Alpha and Alpha Kappa Kappa fraternities. After interning at Grady Memorial Hospital in Atlanta, Wright became a U.S. Air Force flight surgeon and attained the rank of captain. He completed a dermatology residency at the University of Alabama Medical Center and continued his training at Emory University Clinic in Atlanta. In 1960, Wright became the first dermatologist in his hometown of Gainesville, Ga., and was a member of the staff of Northeast Georgia Medical Center, where he served a term as chief of staff. Wright retired in 1999 but continued treating patients as a volunteer at Good News Clinic.

Dr. A.M. “Al” Phillips Jr.


died Aug. 1 at age 77. Phillips was the first chief of staff at Coliseum Hospital in Macon, Ga., He retired from his private practice, Rivoli Orthopedics, in 1998. Survivors include wife Linda, two sons, a stepson and two granddaughters.

GEORGIA Medicine


In Memor y Dr. James Hicks Alexander

continued 57

died March 31 at age 78. The Dublin, Ga. native completed his internship and residency in pediatrics at the Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit. For 12 years, he ran a private pediatric practice in St. Claire Shores, Mich. He served as vice chairman of the pediatrics department at St. John’s Hospital & Medical Center, as well as co-chairman of the pediatric unit at Holy Cross Hospital, two Detroit providers. He and his family returned to Georgia in 1972, settling in metro Atlanta. Alexander served as vice president and president of the medical staff at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta at Scottish Rite; and vice chairman and chairman of the pediatric department and the medical staff at Northside Hospital. He enjoyed breeding Airedale terriers, golf, refurbishing antiques and woodworking. Survivors include his wife of 50 years, Dorothy, two sons, a daughter and nine grandchildren.

Dr. Jack Allen Evans Jr.


died March 5 at age 78. After completing a urology residency at MCG, Evans practiced in Spartanburg, S.C. until his retirement in 2002. He was a member of the South Carolina Medical Society and the Spartanburg County Medical Society, serving as President in 1980. He served one term as chief of staff at Doctors Memorial Hospital. Evans was a founding member of the Piedmont Blood Center, serving as vice president for 20 years and president for 6 years, and served on the board of Total Ministries. After retirement, he served as staff physician of Mountainview Nursing Home and as a board member of the Spartanburg Area Mental Health Center. Evans served in the U.S. Navy from 1950-54 and saw duty as a medical corpsman in the Korean War. He was a deacon and long-time member of Fernwood Baptist Church.

Dr. Philip Bartholomew


died Aug. 17 at age 78. Bartholomew, an Atlanta obstetrician/gynecologist for 30 years, was affectionately known as “Dr. B.” Bartholomew earned his bachelor’s degree from Emory in 1954 and served in the U.S. Navy for four years. Survivors include his wife of 54 years, Margaret, two sons, a daughter and six grandchildren.


Spring 10

Dr. John L. Taylor


died Dec. 13 at age 63. A native of Decatur County, Ga., Taylor completed his residency at Shands Hospital in Gainesville, Fla., before serving three years in the U.S. Navy, after which he established an obstetrics and gynecology practice in Tallahassee, Fla. He moved to Thomasville, Ga., in 1998, and established practices there and in Cairo, Ga. He was a member of First United Methodist Church and led a weekly physicians’ prayer meeting at John D. Archbold Memorial Hospital. His interests included scuba diving, camping, boating and car racing. He is survived by his wife, Rayner, and three children.

Dr. James M. Seeger


died Oct. 21 at age 62. Seeger, an internationally recognized leader in vascular surgery, was Cracchiolo Professor and chief of vascular surgery and endovascular therapy at the University of Florida College of Medicine and Shands at UF, where he served as associate chairman of the Department of Surgery. He also was chief of vascular surgery at the Malcom Randall Veterans Affairs Medical Center from 1982-99. He served as co-editor of the Journal of Vascular Surgery from 2002-08. Seeger is survived by Carolyn, his wife of more than 36 years.

Dr. Maurice A. Crawford


died Oct. 28 at age 40. He completed an internal medicine residency at Baptist Medical Center in Birmingham, Ala., and, before joining Peach Medical Associates in Warner Robins, Ga., was a hospitalist at the Medical Center of Central Georgia in Macon. He volunteered at community health care clinics and participated in several service activities including the March of Dimes. Survivors include his wife, Alpha O. Leveston-Crawford; son Maurice Anthony Crawford II; parents and two brothers.

By the Numbers 762 753 335 427

Students Students who are Georgia residents Female students Male students


Fa 05 2005


Fa 06 2006


Fa 07 2007


Fa 08 2008


Fa 09 2009

'04-05 2005

184 170


'05-06 2006

Under-represented minority students School of Medicine Alumni Association members

'06-07 2007


Alumni residing in Georgia

Fa 05 2005


Fa 06 2006



Fa 07 2007

Fa 08 2008

'07-08 2008


'08-09 2009

421 421 421

Fa 05 Fa 05 Fa 05 2005

423 423 423

434 434 434

431 431 431

Fa 06 Fa 06 Fa 06 2006

Fa 07 Fa 07 Fa 07 2007

10 1008 10 Fa Fa 08 Fa 08 2008


MEDICINE Administration Dean D. Douglas Miller Vice Dean for Academic Affairs Ruth-Marie Fincher


Fa 09 2009


Degrees Conferred 168

Full-time instructional faculty

New Enrollees



484 10.4% 1,432

Spring 2010

406 425 406 406

Fa 09 Fa 09 Fa 09 2009

Senior Associate Deans Peter F. Buckley John D. Catravas Joseph Hobbs William Kanto Walter J. Moore Anthony L. Mulloy Associate Deans Andrew T. Albritton Linda Boyd William A. Guest Kimberly Halbur Kathleen M. McKie Andria Thomas Christopher White Geoffrey H. Young Assistant Deans Iqbal M. Khan Kathryn Martin T. Wayne Rentz Jr. Wilma Sykes-Brown Executive Associate Dean for Administration Michael A. Herbert Director of Operations Joel Covar Chief of Staff Donna Dauphinais MCG-UGA Medical Partnership Campus Dean Barbara Schuster Campus Associate Deans Cheryl Dickson Scott Richardson Sources: MCG Division of Strategic Support and the School of Medicine


SCHOOL OF MEDICINE Non-Profit Organization U.S. Postage


Charlotte, NC Permit No. 3307

Office of the Dean 1120 15th Street Augusta, Georgia 30912 CHANGE SERVICE REQUESTED

www . mcg . edu / som / georgiamedicine

Match Day 2010 The 174 fourth-year medical students at MCG joined more than 30,000 other students across the nation on March 18 to participate in what the National Resident Matching Program in Washington, D.C., called the largest Match Day ever.

Shoba Reddy-Holdcraft (left) is congratulated by classmates Erin Mack and Christina Kozycki Frank Stegall and wife Natalie

Georgia Medicine, Spring 2010  

Learn more about the largest capital campaign in school history, the $105 million Medical College of Georgia building, in the spring issue's...

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