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PRESIDENT’S

JUNE 2012

Thousands of Georgia Health Sciences employees and their families attended a carnival-like celebration June 2 of the enterprise’s strategic plan, Transformation 2020.

An exceedingly sound investment

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

n Imagine that I want to start a new business. “Help capitalize my startup,” I tell potential investors, “and I’ll guarantee you a $72 return for every dollar you invest.” Sound preposterous? Like a pipe dream? Too good to be true? Actually, one of the greatest pleasures of my job is that I oversee a “business” that makes good on this promise. The Georgia Health Sciences enterprise is far from a startup—we hung our shingle 184 years ago—and our chief “investors” have historically been taxpayers. But the return on investment, as remarkable as it sounds, is exactly what I promised in my analogy: approximately $72 for every dollar invested. I don’t want to carry the business analogy too far; my M.B.A. notwithstanding, I am first and foremost a physician, and our enterprise has a much nobler mission than could ever be measured in dollars and cents. But the bottom line, as laid out in two recent and totally objective reports on our economic impact on the community, makes it clear that our enterprise is an investor’s dream come true. As you read about these reports in this edition of President’s Update, I invite you to pat yourself on the back as one of those investors. If you are a Georgia

taxpayer . . . or if you have made a private donation to our enterprise . . . or if you have rolled up your sleeves as a Georgia Health Sciences volunteer . . . or if you have helped advance our mission in any of a myriad of ways—then you have, indeed, made one of the best investments of your life. And the return on your investment will only continue to grow. Our imminent consolidation with Augusta State University will create the next great American university, with all the promise, potential and opportunity that entails. We are already transforming (a fact that thousands of members of our community celebrated en masse during a Transformation 2020 celebration June 2, pictured above), but trust me when I say that we have only just begun. With a 184-year track record as strong as ours, and with a future brighter than any of our predecessors dared ever envision, I invite you to redouble your investment in our enterprise, in whatever form that may take. You’ll never regret it. 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.


Enterprise pumps $1.9 billion into local economy n The Georgia Health Sciences enterprise has a nearly $2 billion economic impact on the local economy, according to the latest reports. A Georgia Hospital Association study released in May reported that Georgia Health Sciences Medical Center pumped $1.04 billion into the local economy in fiscal year 2010, up $26 million from 2009 for the not-for-profit health system. Additionally, GHSU’s academic and research initiatives generated more than $832 million locally, according to a 2010 University System of Georgia report, for a combined impact of $1.9 billion. “An academic health center is a powerful economic engine. As we fulfill our tripartite mission of education, research and health care delivery, the Georgia Health Sciences enterprise makes a tremendous impact on Georgia’s bottom line,” said GHSU President Ricardo Azziz. “As a medical destination, we provide our community and the Southeast with access to quality health care, including some of the nation’s top physicians. What’s more, we train future health care leaders and produce cuttingedge research that will lead to better care tomorrow.” Azziz also pointed out that the two reports

do not include the economic impact of Georgia Health Sciences Medical Associates, the faculty practice group aligned with the enterprise, which he estimates adds another $100 million to $200 million in economic impact annually. The Selig Center study showed a $12.6 billion total impact from the University of Georgia’s 35 institutions on the state’s economy in 2010, and that, on average, for every dollar of initial spending in a community by a university system institution, an additional 38 cents was generated for the local economy. Seventy-eight percent, or $650 million of GHSU’s nearly $832 million total impact, reflects initial spending for salaries and benefits, operating expenses and student spending. Re-spending – the multiplier effect of those dollars as they are spent again in the region – accounted for the remaining $182 million, a very conservative estimate; re-spending typically approximates a doubling of initial spending. The total economic impact of hospitals to Georgia’s bottom line in 2010 was $38 billion, according to the GHA. Augusta-area hospitals generated nearly $2.6 billion, with GHS Medical Center’s contribution accounting for 41 percent of that total. The GHA report revealed direct expenditures of $453 million for GHS Medical Center; however, when combined with an economic multiplier developed by the U.S. Department

of Commerce’s Bureau of Economic Analysis, the total economic impact of the hospital was $1,048,026,428. This value takes into account the trickle-down effect of hospital expenditures on other sectors of the economy, such as medical suppliers, durable medical equipment and pharmaceuticals. Using a household earnings multiplier, the GHA report determined that GHS Medical Center generated more than $417 million in household earnings in the local and state economies. The household earnings formula measures the increased economic contributions from households employed directly or indirectly by the medical center.           Based on data from both reports, the GHS enterprise sustained more than 17,250 jobs in 2010. As a health care provider, GHS Medical Center helps meet the needs of uninsured and lowincome populations. In 2010, GHS provided 42 percent, or approximately $37 million of the $88 million in uncompensated care in the Augusta area, the GHA reported. “These figures are a key indicator of the generous community benefit our health system delivers,” Azziz said. For more information, visit www. georgiahealth.edu and click on Azziz’s latest blog post, Calculating Economic Impact: Not So Simple. l

GHSU honors outstanding researchers, faculty n Nine researchers and faculty members at Georgia Health Sciences University were recognized May 3 for work ranging from landmark studies in fluoride and hypertension to outstanding dedication in educating and mentoring students, fellows, residents and junior faculty. Recipients of GHSU Research Institute Awards were Dr. Gregory Harshfield, Mahesh Distinguished Research Award; Dr. Jay Hegde, Emerging Scientist Award; Dr. Martha Tingen, Distinguished Research Award; and Dr. Gary Whitford,

Lifetime Achievement Award. Recipients of Outstanding Faculty Awards, presented by the University Faculty Senate, were Dr. Judith Stallings, College of Allied Health Sciences; Dr. Kalu Oguburke, College of Dental Medicine; Dr. Krishnan Dhandapani, College of Graduate Studies; and Dr. Christy Berding, College of Nursing. Dr. David Hess was honored both as a recipient of a 2012 Distinguished Research Award and a 2012 Outstanding Faculty Award for the Medical College of Georgia. l

Lights, Camera, Pledges n The local Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals Celebration, which aired from noon to 6:30 p.m. Sunday, June 3, on WRDW-TV News 12, brought in about $787,400 in donations and pledges to benefit the services and programs at Georgia Health Sciences Children’s Medical Center. The Children’s Medical Center is a not-for-profit organization that relies on community support to provide the highest level of pediatric critical care and neonatal intensive care as well as a wide range of general and complex health care. It has been a beneficiary of CMN since 1986. l


Top Docs Fifteen GHSU physicians are the only physicians in the Augusta-Aiken area included in the prestigious list of “America’s Top Doctors,” a national patient reference guide published by Castle Connolly Medical Ltd. The book, now in its 11th edition, identifies the top 1 percent of physicians in the nation, helping patients find recognized specialists in any given medical field. GHSU physicians have made the list for more than a decade. Dr. Ricardo Azziz, President of Georgia Health Sciences University and CEO of Georgia Health Sciences Health System, who treats reproductive endocrinologic disorders Dr. Sharad A. Ghamande*, Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology and Chief of the Section of Gynecologic Oncology, who performs surgery for gynecologic cancers Dr. David C. Hess, Chair and Professor of Neurology and Co-Director of the Brain and Behavior Discovery Institute, who researches treatments for acute ischemic stroke Dr. Anand P. Jillella*, Acting Associate Director for Clinical Affairs at the GHSU Cancer Center and Chief of the Division of Hematology/Oncology and Bone Marrow Transplantation in the Department of Medicine, whose interests include bone marrow transplantation and blood-related cancers Dr. Bruce V. MacFadyen, Professor Emeritus in the Department of Surgery, whose interests include new surgical technologies

Dr. Walter J. Moore, Professor of Medicine, Chief of the Section of Rheumatology and Adult Allergy, who treats inflammatory soft-tissue and connective-tissue disorders

Dr. David J. Terris*, Professor and Chair of the Department of Otolaryngology, who performs robotic, scarless and minimally invasive thyroid and parathyroid surgery

Dr. Julian J. Nussbaum, Professor and Chair of the Department of Ophthalmology and CoDirector of the Vision Discovery Institute, who treats degenerative and vascular disorders of the retina

Dr. Martha K. Terris*, Professor and Chief of the Section of Urology, who performs open, laparoscopic and robotic surgery to treat kidney, bladder and prostate cancer Dr. Jack C. Yu, Milford B. Hatcher Professor of Surgery and Chief of the Section of Plastic Surgery, who treats cleft lip and palate and craniosynostosis

Dr. Dennis R. Ownby, Head of the Section of Allergy, Immunology and Rheumatology, who treats asthma and food allergies in children and adults Dr. Gregory N. Postma, Professor of Otolaryngology and Director of the Center for Voice, Airway and Swallowing Disorders, who treats voice, swallowing and airway disorders Dr. Kapil D. Sethi, Professor of Neurology and Director of the Movement Disorders Program, who treats movement disorders

Dr. Sandra G. B. Sexson, Professor and Chief of the Division of Child, Adolescent and Family Psychiatry in the Department of Psychiatry and Health Behavior, who treats psycho-social aspects of children and adolescents with chronic diseases Dr. Robert A. Sorrentino, Creel Professor of Medicine and Director of the Heart Rhythm Center, who treats heartbeat irregularities

Tech Talk n Dr. Christy Price, Professor of Psychology at Dalton State College, discussed innovative strategies to improve learning outcomes as the keynote speaker of GHSU’s 2012 Techfair May 31. Sponsored by the Provost and Technology Services, Techfair featured the latest developments in clinical technology, research technology, general technology and teaching with technology. l

* These physicians also were included in the 2012 list of “America’s Top Doctors for Cancer,” a national patient reference guide published by Castle Connolly Medical Ltd. The book, now in its seventh edition, identifies the top 1 percent of oncologists in the nation, helping patients find recognized specialists for cancer care.


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Researcher receives international award n Dr. Joe Z. Tsien, Georgia Research Alliance Eminent Scholar in Cognitive and Systems Neurobiology, has received the 2012 International Behavioural and Neural Genetics Society’s Distinguished Scientist Award for his two-plus decades of memory science. The society lauded the Co-Director of GHSU’s Brain & Behavior Discovery Institute as a prominent leader in elucidating the molecular and neural mechanisms of learning and memory. Tsien garnered international acclaim in 1999 by using genetic techniques to make “Doogie,” a smart mouse that over-expresses a subunit of the NMDA receptor called NR2B. A decade later, he

used the same approach to produce the smart rat, Hobbie-J. In some of his latest work, published in 2011 in the journal Neuron, Tsien showed that NMDA receptors in the basal ganglia, a clustering of cells involved in procedural memories such as habits, are critical to habit formation. Now he has early images of what a memory looks like once it becomes a habit and evidence of how a habit might be selectively erased. Tsien has done similar work documenting how declarative memories are made, what they look like and how to selectively erase them. l

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: azziz.georgiahealth.edu


GHSUpdate - June 2012