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GHSU pdate


JULY 2012

American Public Health Association Executive Director Georges Benjamin delivers keynote speech at conference unveiling Georgia Health Sciences’ Institute of Public and Preventive Health.

A Banner Day

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

n May 15 was a banner day for our enterprise, our community and the public at large. Some of the brightest and most innovative minds in health care, education, business, public policy and community leadership gathered at the Kroc Center to discuss public and preventive health. Georgia Health Sciences proudly hosted the public forum, choosing the occasion to unveil our new Institute of Public and Preventive Health. The vantage points of the nationally renowned speakers differ, but we all share the common goal of a healthier society. It was positively invigorating to share ideas, explore opportunities and join forces to improve the health of our community, our state, our nation and the world at large. Every citizen has a vested interest in a healthier society, and it is indeed empowering to combine our resources to set this in motion. Of course, our enterprise has a long and vaunted history of doing just that, but our new institute enables a laser-like focus on this issue. The results, you can be sure, will be unprecedented. You can read more

about our Institute of Public and Preventive Health in this edition of President’s Update, and check out the summer edition of GHSU Today for a front-seat view of the ideas, energy and enthusiasm that unfolded during the conference. As Dr. Georges Benjamin, Executive Director of the American Public Health Association, noted in his keynote speech, “We need to focus on the 80 percent of things we agree about and not on the 20 percent of things about which we disagree.” Consensus. Cooperation. Collegialism. That’s what will advance our public health goals, and that’s what our new institute intends to promote. The conference was only the beginning of a boundless future of opportunity in ensuring the collective good health and well-being of those we serve. What an exciting time to be a member of the Georgia Health Sciences community! 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.

Funding supports GHSU strategic initiatives n Nearly $4 million in funding from the University System of Georgia will promote research growth and public health initiatives at Georgia Health Sciences University. This is part of $72.5 million being provided to all 35 USG institutions to strengthen programs that serve students and help increase college completion rates. At GHSU, that translates into $3.1 million for the new Institute of Public and Preventive Health and $750,000 for graduate research assistantships, according to

Dr. Gretchen Caughman, GHSU Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost. The institute will integrate the enterprise’s public health research initiatives, host community programs and cultivate a public health fellowship program. Initially, the institute will focus on community-related service activities and interdisciplinary research on health management and administration, epidemiology, behavioral health and health education, environmental and occupational health, and biostatistics. Nearly 40 faculty scholars from GHSU’s five colleges will staff the institute, and additional research faculty are being recruited.

With the $750,000 in funding for graduate research assistantships, GHSU will add 30 student slots to its Ph.D. program. The funding will support graduate students’ first year of study, when stipends are funded by the university rather than mentors. Augusta State University, which will consolidate with GHSU next year, received $463,000 to improve enrollment management, hire new faculty, expand its Freshman Year Experience program, develop a complementary program for sophomores and establish an online learning component for its Master of Education in Educational Leadership degree program. l

Low-fiber diet increases risk of cardiovascular disease

Drs. Norman Pollock (left) and Samip Parikh

n Low-fiber diets increase teens’ risk of abdominal fat and inflammatory factors in the blood, both major risk factors for cardiovascular disease and diabetes, researchers report. The study of 559 adolescents age 14-18 from Augusta showed they consumed on average about one-third of the daily recommended amount of fiber, said Dr. Norman Pollock, bone biologist at the Medical College of Georgia and the Institute of Public and Preventive Health. “The simple message is adolescents need to eat more fruits, vegetables and whole grains,” Pollock said. “We need to push recommendations to increase fiber intake.” He and Dr. Samip Parikh, an internal medicine resident at GHS Health System, are co-first authors of the study in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism. Only about 1 percent of the study participants consumed the recommended daily intake of 28 grams for females and 38 grams for males. The study appears the first to correlate dietary fiber with inflammatory markers in adolescents. l

Affiliation strengthened between GHSU, University Hospital n A strengthened academic affiliation between Georgia Health Sciences University and University Hospital has 32 medical residents doing a portion of their training at University Hospital this year, a figure that will double by 2014. “We are exceedingly pleased with the progress and passion for this affiliation that significantly expands the training of GHS Health System residents at University Hospital,” said Dr. Ricardo Azziz, GHSU President and CEO of GHS Health System. “The leadership, physicians and staff at University Hospital already are incredible partners; our residents and graduate education leadership are excited; and our alumni are happy

that University Hospital, where many of them received exceptional clinical training, is once again our partner.” University officials said the relationship will enhance the quality of medical resident education, enable more medical students to complete clinical rotations at University and eventually alleviate the physician shortage in state. “This is a timely and important strategy for many reasons,” said Medical College of Georgia Dean Peter F. Buckley. “This is great for the hospitals, it’s great for the residents and it’s great for Georgia.”

GHSU and University Hospital announced in June 2011 their intention to strengthen their academic affiliation and in September signed the five-year agreement that became effective July 1. University Hospital, a 581-bed community notfor-profit hospital in Augusta, served as GHSU’s primary teaching hospital from the university’s founding in 1828 until GHSU opened its own hospital in 1956. The residents who will complete part of their training at University Hospital this year include 12 internal medicine residents, eight obstetrics and gynecology residents and 12 general surgery residents. l

Brond named Senior VP of Communications, Marketing n David L. Brond, Vice President for Communications and Marketing at the University of Delaware and a communications and marketing professional with more than 30 years’ experience, has been named Senior Vice President of Communications and Marketing for the Georgia Health Sciences enterprise. Brond will oversee communications and marketing functions for Georgia Health Sciences University, Georgia Health Sciences Health System and Georgia Health Sciences Medical Associates beginning Aug. 1. As the principal communications advisor, he will work closely with enterprise leadership to promote, enhance and protect the enterprise brand and address the strategic direction and needs of its mission, particularly its evolving mission upon consolidation next year with Augusta State University. “Communication plays a critical role in the success of an academic health center,” said President Ricardo Azziz. “David’s experience in research-intensive, technically advanced institutions will prove an asset as we move toward our goal of becoming the next great American research university. I feel confident that his leadership will serve the enterprise well as we endeavor to tell our story to the world.” Brond previously served as Vice President of Marketing and Planning for the University of Maryland Medical System and has held strategic marketing and management roles in organizations including GBMC Healthcare, General Electric, Ernst & Young, KPMG Peat Marwick and The Levin Group. He is Executive Mentor for the Lerner College of Business and Economics and Immediate Past President of the Forest Hill Recreation Council. He serves on the boards of the Delaware Press Association and Renaissance All Sports Athletic Club. He is a member of the Hartford County Board of Education Ethics Panel and the Baltimore Chapter of the American Marketing Association Past President’s Council. Brond earned master’s degrees in business administration and health administration from Duke University. l

ASU-GHSU Consolidation News Name suggestions still under review n Name suggestions for the New U continue to be reviewed by the Consolidation Working Group. The group will narrow the list to three by late July and submit those to the University System of Georgia Board of Regents. The regents will make their final naming decision at their August meeting. A Branding Work Team, with representatives from both Augusta State University and Georgia Health Sciences University, culled the list from public input, research on top-100 American universities and market research. “The name should be future-focused. We’re thinking about the next 50 years and beyond,” said GHSU President Ricardo Azziz. “It is a central part of our identity and will influence the opinions of all who come in contact with us. If we aspire to be one of the nation’s great universities, we have to look like one, act like one and sound like one.” Following extensive public input and market research, the names the Branding Work Team suggested to the Consolidation Working Group during a June 27 meeting are: n Augusta University n Bartram University n George Walton University n Georgia National University n Georgia Regents University n University of Augusta “This is very much a work in progress,” said Azziz. “And the final decision rests with the Board of Regents. They will choose the name.” The new university, which will be headed by Azziz, will be a more than $1 billion enterprise, with statewide and national reach. It will include nine colleges, nearly 10,000 students, more than 650 acres of campus, nearly 150 buildings, more than 1,000 full-time faculty, an integrated health system and a growing athletics program that includes back-to-back NCAA Division I national championships. For more information on the consolidation, visit l

ASU Welcome Day n Nearly 80 ASU nursing and pre-nursing students were welcomed to the GHSU campus recently in preparation for the upcoming consolidation of the two nursing programs. After an overview from College of Nursing Dean Lucy Marion and faculty members, GHSU students led the visitors on tours of the Greenblatt Library, Interdisciplinary Simulation Center, Cancer Center and Health Sciences Building, where the event concluded with an ice-cream social. l

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GHS opens Low Vision Rehabilitation Center n Nearly 14 million Americans – about one in every 20 people – have visual impairments and 61 million more are at high risk of serious vision loss. To help with this growing problem, Georgia Health Sciences has opened a Low Vision Rehabilitation Center. The center, a collaboration of the Georgia Health Sciences University Medical College of Georgia Department of Ophthalmology; the College of Allied Health Sciences Department of Occupational Therapy and Driving Simulation Laboratory; and the GHS Medical Center Department of Rehabilitation Services, offers care

strategies to patients with low vision. “This is the first step in uniting vision research science with practicing ophthalmologists and occupational therapists in an environment that enriches a visually impaired person’s life,” said Dr. Julian Nussbaum, Chair of the Department of Ophthalmology, who hopes to expand the program throughout the Southeast. He plans to eventually integrate research and teaching components into the program through the university’s Vision Discovery Institute. For more information, call 706-721-3641. l

Dr. Julian Nussbaum

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

GHSUpdate - July 2012  

May 15 was a banner day for our enterprise, our community and the public at large. Some of the brightest and most innovative minds in health...