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INSIDE: Augusta State University-GHSU consolidation

GHSU pdate



GHSU students work in a new simulation laboratory made possible through the construction of the new $112 million College of Dental Medicine facility, which will enable GHSU to expand class sizes to meet the state’s growing oral health needs.

Transformation is under way in 2012

Ricardo Azziz, M.D., M.P.H., M.B.A. President, Georgia Health Sciences University and CEO, Georgia Health Sciences Health System

n You’ve most likely heard about the consolidation of Georgia Health Sciences University with it sister institution, Augusta State University. This decision, approved by the University System of Georgia Board of Regents on Jan. 10, is the most important development in the history of either institution in the past 60 years, and is a decision that will ultimately lead to the creation of the next great American research university. But have you heard about our initiative to become a National Cancer Institute-designated cancer center, or our eight-year vision, or our roadmap to achieve that vision­–Transformation 2020. Probably not. That’s why I have decided to ring in 2012 with this monthly newsletter, which

I hope provides a high-level window into the developments and direction of your state health sciences institution. We are often so focused on our core mission of advancing biomedical research, providing worldclass clinical care and educating tomorrow’s health care leaders that we often forget to stop once in a while and share our story. So for now, I hope this first installment of GHSUpdate will inspire and encourage you to learn more about our institution and its efforts to lead Georgia and the world to better health. l

Our vision: To be a globally recognized research university and academic health center, while transforming the region into a health care and biomedical research destination.

ASU-GHSU Consolidation

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n The state’s plan to consolidate GHSU with sister institution Augusta State University – one of four proposed pairings statewide – will create an institution that will create the “next great American research university,” GHSU President Ricardo Azziz said. The marriage of Georgia’s public academic health center with one of its oldest liberal arts universities will more effectively and efficiently serve the state’s educational needs into the next generation, University System of Georgia Chancellor Hank Huckaby said. “We will focus on how these consolidations enable us to better serve our students and areas of the state,” Huckaby said. Many months of work with ASU officials will need to occur before there is true consolidation, which Azziz said will create opportunities for future growth and economic development. “This is not about becoming smaller, this is about becoming bigger,” he said. “There is absolutely no value to consolidation if we are not going to continue to grow.” ASU President William A. Bloodworth Jr. echoed those sentiments. “The merger is not going to decrease the amount of work that has to be done. It’s going to increase the amount of work that has to be done. This new institution will be a job-creating machine,” he said. A name change is imminent, and it will not include “health.” “We are not creating an overgrown health sciences university,” Azziz said. “We are creating a true, comprehensive research university.” The consolidation plans are expected to take between 12-18 months to finalize. State officials will ultimately approve the integration, but the actual work will be carried out by a committee consisting of faculty, staff, students and administrators from both institutions. “Will this be difficult? Absolutely,” Azziz said. “Will the future be incredible? Absolutely.” l

GHSU President Ricardo Azziz and ASU President William A. Bloodworth Jr.

n The Medical College of Georgia at Georgia Health Sciences University received a record number of applications during 2011, a threefold increase over the national medical school average. A total of 2,384 potential students applied for the 230 freshman slots available, a 10 percent increase over the 2,167 applications received during the previous year. Nationwide, medical schools experienced an average 3 percent increase in applications, according to the Association of American Medical Colleges. l

n Representatives from Clear Channel Radio, along with patients, families and staff of the Georgia Health Sciences Children’s Medical Center, celebrate $161,287 in donations to the children’s hospital during the 2011 Cares for Kids Radiothon, which helps the nonprofit facility provide specialized care for children and families across the Southeast. l

Recent highlights

Clinical Spotlight

n GHSU scientists believe they have found a way to kill more lung cancer cells with less harmful radiation by targeting vulnerable receptors deep inside the cancer cell. Drs. William S. Dynan, a biochemist, and Shuyi Li, a molecular biologist, have found a certain antibody to bind with folate receptors that head straight for the cell nucleus, where radiation can more effectively destroy DNA. Previous efforts with radiation therapy, which has harmful side effects for patients, have focused on surface receptors. l

n The Georgia Health Sciences Gamma Knife Center recently became one of only 10 U.S. sites to get the new Perfexion system with Extend technology, the most advanced technology available for performing Gamma Knife radiosurgery procedures. The technology enables physicians to noninvasively reach larger areas of the head, including the skull base and upper neck area, as well as treat tumor and vessel abnormalities that were previously too large to treat with traditional Gamma Knife systems. The bladeless procedure named for its scalpellike precision, has been used to treat more than 1,100 patients since the Gamma Knife Center opened in 2000. The center is one of fewer than 75 in the country and the only one in Georgia that shares a campus with a children’s hospital. Learn more at or call 706-721-8945. l

Drs. Shuyi Li (left) and William S. Dynan

n The Georgia Health Sciences community is pleased to welcome a national expert on cancer vaccine trials to direct its cancer clinical care and research operations. Dr. Samir N. Khleif, former Chief of the National Cancer Institute’s Cancer Vaccine Section, will join the faculty full time Jan. 31 as Director of the Georgia Health Sciences University Cancer Research Center and the Georgia Health Sciences Cancer Center. l

Dr. John R. Vender (left), Medical Director of the Georgia Health Sciences Gamma Knife Center, and Medical Physicist Rebecca Cantrell (right) prepare a patient for treatment.

n Representatives from GHSU, the Jiangsu Cancer Hospital and the Jiangsu Institute of Cancer Research in Nanjing, China, last month signed a memorandum of understanding to collaborate on cancer biomarkers and therapies. While at GHSU, the Chinese delegation visited the lab of Dr. Jin-Xiong She, Director of the Center for Biotechnology and Genomic Medicine, whose labs have identified genes implicated in the development of cancer and type 1 diabetes. l GHSU President Ricardo Azziz (left) and Dr. Jinhai Tang, President of Jiangsu Cancer Hospital and the Jiangsu Institute of Cancer Research, shake hands as Dr. Jin-Xiong She looks on.

Upcoming Events Feb. 23

MCG Alumni Association Board Meeting and Regional Reception Idle Hour Country Club, Macon, 2 p.m. meeting; 6 p.m. reception, 800-869-1113

March 3

American Heart Association Heart Walk Help Georgia Health Sciences Health System meet its goal of $50,000 to help fight cardiovascular disease. Learn more or register at

March 7

President’s Lecture Series Dr. Jonathan Braun, Professor of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, David Geffen School of Medicine Georgia Health Sciences University Auditoria Center, Noon

March 23

College of Dental Medicine Hinman Reception Atlanta, Der Biergarten Restaurant, 5-7 p.m.

March 29

MCG Alumni Regional Reception Athens, home of Dr. and Mrs. Mark Ellison, 6 p.m.

April 26-29

GHSU Homecoming 2012: Rich Heritage – Dynamic Future Augusta, Georgia 800-869-1113

Non-Profit Organization U.S. Postage


Augusta, GA Permit No. 210

Office of the President 1120 15th Street, FI-1033 Augusta, Georgia 30912 CHANGE SERVICE REQUESTED

Wrong address? Need to update your information? Tell us by email at: Go online to: Or call us at: 706-721-4001

The consumers’ choice

Georgia Health Sciences Health System receives top honors

n Georgia Health Sciences Health System has been recognized as the No. 1 hospital among consumers in the Augusta metro area for overall quality and image by the National Research Corporation. The company, which conducts the nation’s largest and most comprehensive consumer health care study of its kind, has given the GHS Health System a 2011/2012 Consumer Choice Award based on its survey of 3,200 health care facilities named by consumers in 48 states and the District of Columbia. “Consumers are taking a more proactive role in their health care decisions and demanding higher quality. In a constantly changing healthcare industry, consumer perception is becoming more

and more vital to the success of all hospitals,” said Susan L. Henricks, President and Chief Operating Officer for National Research Corporation. “At NRC, we know it is imperative to learn from the patient’s experience in order to improve the quality of care. The Consumer Choice Award recognizes those facilities that are meeting or exceeding the needs of consumers – their patients.” Georgia Health Sciences Health System is a notfor-profit corporation that manages the clinical operations of Georgia Health Sciences University, including the 478-bed Medical Center,

the Medical Office Building with more than 80 outpatient practice sites in one convenient setting, the Critical Care Center housing a 13-county regional trauma center and the 154-bed Children’s Medical Center. The health system also includes a variety of centers and units such as the Sports Medicine Center and Cancer Center. l

Sculpting in Clay: Reflections on Leadership and Transformation GHSUpdate is a quarterly publication from the office of President Ricardo Azziz. For additional insight and timely updates, please follow his blog at:

GHSUpdate - February 2012  

GHSUpdate: A look into the developments and direction of your state health sciences institution.

GHSUpdate - February 2012  

GHSUpdate: A look into the developments and direction of your state health sciences institution.