ATHENS ADVOCATE A QUARTERLY PUBLICATION
GRU/UGA MEDICAL PARTNERSHIP
EARLY SUMMER 2013
Finishing up the year...
GEORGIA REGENTS UNIVERSITY
HAVE PARTNERED TO CREATE A FOUR - YEAR MEDICAL EDUCATION PROGRAM IN
TO HELP ALLEVIATE A STATEWIDE SHORTAGE OF PHYSICIANS THAT
THREATENS THE HEALTH OF
Inside This Issue... Page 3:
Simulated Patient Luncheon Page 4:
Community Health Posters Page 5:
Visiting Professor Page 6 :
Advocacy Day Page 7:
HealthStat Presentation Physician Appreciation Pages 8 & 9:
Thank a Donor Day Page 10:
Faculty Awards Page 11:
Student Outreach Page 12:
LETTER FROM THE DEAN
Isummer t’s hard to believe. Another year completed and the ‘ﬂying by.’ July brings the beginning of the clerkships for the rising third year students and another ﬁrst: the ﬁrst group of fourth year students jumping their last set of hurdles before graduation in less than 12 months. No one achieves success without the help and support of many. This issue of the Athens Advocate highlights the many faculty and volunteers who give their time and expertise to educate the medical students. The Medical Partnership has been fortunate to have so many people who have taken a personal interest in helping the students learn and grow as professionals.
Simulated Patient Volunteers Honored at Luncheon
The students have a professional responsibility to do their best to return the favor. This issue highlights both student outreach activity and their thank you to faculty, volunteers, and the community. Our ﬁrst visiting professor, Dr. Jordan Cohen, spoke to the issues of humanism and professionalism, reminding all medical educators that “bolstering humanism among students, residents, and faculty is a core responsibility.”
By Dr. Stephen Goggans
Education and health care are both about caring for and working with people. Enjoy learning how the Medical Partnership is helping to foster these attributes.
Recognition Ceremony Page 13:
Faculty Research Page 14:
Barbara L. Schuster, M.D. Campus Dean GRU/UGA Medical Partnership
Ambassadors & MedWars Page 15:
New Faculty & Medical Jeopardy
Stay informed. Join our Facebook Group!
olunteers in the Simulated Patient Program were honored at a luncheon put on by the Essentials of Clinical Medicine (ECM) 1 and 2 programs on May ﬁrst. Over 20 volunteers attended the event along with more than 30 students from the ﬁrst and second year classes. The occasion allowed the students and course leaders to express our sincere thanks for the invaluable contributions of our volunteers. A key goal of the ECM 1 and ECM 2 programs is to educate medical students to communicate effectively with patients, a skill which we believe is at the heart of the successful practice of medicine. Our simulated patient volunteers are an essential component of the program. Simulated patients, or SP’s, give medical students a chance to practice their communication skills in a safe environment, where the students can learn from their mistakes without worrying about any effect on a sick patient or their
family. As one student wrote in their course evaluation, “SPs are a great way to get experience without the stress of messing something up.” Our SP’s have been extremely dedicated to the program: they were involved in 16 events for ECM 1 and 2 this year, or more than 600 individual patient visits! We have seen how this practice has paid off through the growth and improvement of our students. Another student wrote that, “by being provided opportunities to work out conﬁdence/butterﬂies associated with patient visits, patient interaction is now second nature.” As our students move another step closer to becoming practicing physicians, it is gratifying to see the huge improvement they have made over the course of a year. We are extremely grateful to the SP volunteers for their help in making this progress possible. Stephen Goggans, MD is the Clinical Component Director for the Essentials of Clinical Medicine course at the GRU/UGA Medical Partnership.
The GRU/UGA Medical Partnership is located at the University of Georgia’s Health Sciences Campus 108 Spear Road, Athens, Georgia 30606
For more information, please visit www.medicalpartnership.usg.edu 2
GRU/UGA Medical Partnership
Find us on Facebook by searching: GHSU UGA Medical Partnership
Editor: Alison Bracewell-McCullick, MPA, :: Director of Outreach & Communications Editorial Assistant: Andrea Horsman :: Adminstrative Assistant II Design and Layout: Jennifer Stowe, MS :: Medical Illustrator Photography: Andrew Tucker and Dot Paul (UGA Photographic Services) Chef-Off photos by Jacquoi Turner The ATHENS ADVOCATE — Early Summer 2013 Issue
FIRST VISITING PROFESSOR TO MEDICAL PARTNERSHIP O n April 2, 2013, Dr. Jordan Cohen, former President and CEO of the Association of American Medical Colleges, honored the GRU/UGA Medical Partnership as its ﬁrst visiting professor. In addition to participating in a small group case-based discussion and meeting with students and faculty, Dr. Cohen presented two formal presentations for students, faculty, UGA honor students, and the UGA and medical communities. Second-year student Grace Yaguchi answers questions and shows project materials to Drs. Farris Johnson, Gregg Nagle, and Laurel Murrow. Presenting their posters and being able to discuss their projects with faculty and community partners accounted for a portion of their grades.
3RD ANNUAL COMMUNITY HEALTH POSTER SESSION By Dr. Laurel B. Murrow
On April 22nd, the Class of 2016 came together with faculty and community partners for the annual Community Health poster session. During their ﬁrst year in medical school, Medical Partnership students participate in a Community Health Education class as part of their Essentials of Clinical Medicine course. Throughout the year, students learn about the fundamentals of population and community health and work closely with a community organization to plan, deliver and evaluate a service provided by the organization. The Community Health poster session is held at the end of the academic year, and the teams of students present the results of their year-long projects in the Athens area. Students working with the Athens-Clarke County Uniﬁed Government Wellness Program learned that employees at a water treatment facility felt isolated and unable to participate fully in the numerous wellness programs offered by
GRU/UGA Medical Partnership
their employer. This spring, the team created a worksite competition that introduces simple ways to eat healthy and exercise. Many of these strategies can even be used on-the-job. Students working with the Athens Nurses Clinic organized a series of diabetes, hypertension and depression screenings in three Northeast Georgia Counties. Through these events, the group not only identiﬁed and referred individuals for needed care, but they also helped establish new connections between surrounding counties and the Athens Nurses Clinic. Another group of students collaborated with the Clarke County School District Early Head Start/Head Start Program to increase participation in well-child checkups. Investigations in the Fall found that home educators needed an engaging way to discuss the importance of regular pediatrician visits and to give parents ideas on how to make the most of these check-ups. The students used puppets to create a video that parents and children can watch together. The Nuçi’s Space team built upon work
in previous years. Through interviews and focus groups, they conﬁrmed that uninsured, low-income, working musicians in the area do not have easy access to healthcare and do not use the resources currently available. These conversations shed light on a number of topics, including where musicians prefer to get their health information. Hopefully, this will eventually help improve access to healthcare for members of this vital industry in Athens.
Dr. Cohen’s noon seminar was entitled, “The Alphabet Soup of American Medicine.” This presentation illuminated the interconnectivity and accreditation of student, postgraduate, and continuing medical education, the licensing and accreditation of individuals and healthcare facilities, and the private and public payment mechanisms. This complicated web formed a visual for a discussion of the American healthcare system. The highlight of Dr. Cohen’s visit was his late afternoon presentation entitled ‘Humanism’s Essential role in Healthcare Reform.” Based on the premise that
healthcare reform is inevitable and that reforms require fundamental, systemwide transformations that will lead to paradigm shifts for doctors, the results could open many opportunities for unprofessional behavior. To maintain the trust of patients, however, physicians must remain professional. Dr. Cohen deﬁned ‘professionalism’ as a way of acting which could be observed, measured, and evaluated, but ‘humanism’ is a way of being, comprising deepseated personal convictions about one’s obligations to others. He told those in the audience that, “humanism provides the passion needed to sustain one’s commitment to professionalism” and urged educators to bolster humanism among students. Dr. Cohen has held many prestigious academic positions after receiving his undergraduate degree from Yale University and his doctor of medicine degree from Harvard Medical School. He is an internist/nephrologist having completed his residency on the Harvard Service at the Boston City Hospital and his fellowship at Tufts-New England Medical Center, after which he remained
on the faculty. He was the associate Chairman of Medicine at Michael Reese Hospital and Medical Center, and the Dean of the medical school at the State University of New York at Stony Brook prior to his appointment at the AAMC. Dr. Cohen remains the chair of the board of the Arnold P. Gold Foundation for Humanism in medicine, a member of the board of trustees of the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education, and is on the editorial board of the Journal of the American Medical Association.
Finally, students working with the UGA University Health Center learned that undergraduate students’ knowledge of human papillomavirus transmission and prevention could be improved. Less than 60% of undergraduates knew that the vaccine is available for both men and women. This team designed both a campus-wide awareness campaign and also aimed to improve patient education in student clinics. Laurel Boykin Murrow, MD, MSc is a Core Clinical Educator teaching Community Health Education as part of the Essentials of Clinical Medicine course at the GRU/ UGA Medical Partnership. The ATHENS ADVOCATE — Early Summer 2013 Issue
HEALTHSTAT PRESENTATION By Andrew Miller
FIRST GRU-MCG MEDICAL STUDENT ADVOCACY DAY SGeorgia tudents from the Medical College of at Georgia Regents University visited the Georgia Capitol on February 5 for the ﬁrst Medical Student Advocacy Day. GRU/UGA Medical Partnership students Chip Carnes and Amy Martin joined approximately 25 other medical students from Augusta, Savannah, and Albany at the Capitol and had the opportunity to meet with legislators, tour the Capitol and learn from a variety of speakers at a lunch program. “This day enables our students to get an up-close perspective on our state’s leaders and legislative process as it gives state leaders the opportunity to meet some
of the best ambassadors for our state, our medical college and our university,” said MCG Dean Peter F. Buckley. “We believe this experience will strengthen our students’ innate skills of leadership as well as their interest in and commitment to their community.”
with legislators. Amy and Chip had the opportunity to meet with Representative Chuck Williams (R-119) who represents parts of Athens-Clarke County and Oconee County.
“I thought advocacy day was a wonderful opportunity to directly speak with someone who has an immediate impact Upon arrival, the students had the on the legislature. I appreciated being opportunity to meet Governor Nathan able to sit down with a representative, Deal and the Augusta legislative delegation. The students then attended the explain the obstacles I face as a student and future physician, and have that person House and Senate sessions, during which a resolution recognizing MCG on its 185th understand me,” said Medical Partnership student Chip Carnes. “I feel like genuine anniversary was read into the record in progress comes from educational meetings both Chambers. After a lunch program like these, and it was great to take with several legislative leaders, the advantage of that opportunity.” students broke into small groups to meet
Below: Chip Carnes and Amy Martin (fourth-year Medical Partnership students), and two students from MCG’s Augusta campus had the opportunity to meet with Representative Chuck Williams, who represents the Athens/Oconee area.
n April 13th, a group of GRU/ UGA Medical Partnership students had the opportunity to present posters and presentations at the 10th annual HealthSTAT Leadership Symposium at Emory University. HealthSTAT, or Health Students Taking Action Together, is a nonproﬁt, student-run organization made up of students from many different ﬁelds in the healthcare industry. HealthSTAT’s aim is to encourage students to identify disparities within their patients’ population and community and then to advocate for worthwhile solutions to those disparities. Students from the Medical Partnership presented posters that looked into health disparities and sought innovative solutions for those disparities in the city of Athens and the State of Georgia.
These posters ranged in scope from improving health outcomes for Athens’ Latino population to methods to increase Zoster vaccine utilization among Georgia’s elderly. Many of the posters presented were direct outgrowths of the Population Health curriculum of Phase 2 Essentials of Clinical Medicine, in which students are asked to generate a topic that interests them and prepare a white paper. In fact, some students have adopted their project in order that they might advocate for them in the future.
OVER 200 PHYSICIANS ASSIST IN THIRD- & FOURTH-YEAR CURRICULUM During the third-and fourth-years of medical school,
All of these clinical experiences would not be possible without the support of each and every physician and
GRU/UGA Medical Partnership
Below: Ari Levine and Brian Brewer stand next to their poster at the symposium.
It was encouraging to see that the Medical Partnership had such a large presence at this symposium and HealthSTAT was so welcoming of students from outside the Atlanta area. Going forward from this conference, it can be expected that Medical Partnership students will have a larger role in HealthSTAT and advocacy in the state.
students apply the knowledge they learn in the basic sciences and clinical skills classes in a clinical setting. Each student completes seven different clerkships, electives and selectives, by working with a physician in their day-to-day tasks. Students at the Medical Partnership have the opportunity to rotate in Hall, Jackson, Gwinnett, Barrow, Dekalb, Clayton, Newton, Oconee, Clarke, Madison, Elbert, Habersham, and Stephen counties, with more sites developing.
Andrew Miller is a third-year medical student. He is from Watkinsville, GA and a graduate of UGA.
clinical ofﬁce that has agreed to be a part of the Medical Partnership educational program. Over 200 physicians have worked closely with Medical Partnership faculty and staff to create successful learning opportunities for students that also allow patients to receive the quality care to which they are accustomed when visiting their local doctor’s ofﬁce. With the ﬁrst class of Medical Partnership students starting their fourth-year in July, we sincerely appreciate all that the physicians of Northeast Georgia have done to assist in educating the next class of compassionate and effective doctors.
The ATHENS ADVOCATE — Early Summer 2013 Issue
GRU/UGA Medical Partnership
students came together on Thursday, April 11 to say thank you to Medical Partnership donors by writing personalized thank you notes expressing gratitude. The purpose of the event was to remind the Medical Partnership community about the importance of ﬁnancial and teaching support. Students were inspired to participate in Thank a Donor Day for a variety of reasons. “I’m the ﬁrst one in my family to pursue medicine, and I owe that privilege to the Medical Partnership. For many of us, supporting the Medical Partnership is, in translation, a support of our dreams and aspiration,” said M2 Michael Lou. “I wish to eventually pursue a career in academic medicine and without ﬁnancial support, I would
not be able to pursue my cancer research project this summer.” While many of the notes were sent to ﬁnancial donors, there is a large community of volunteers who received thank you notes as well. “I’ve learned that medicine is not something that can only be learned in textbooks,” said M3 Nigel George. “It is an art that is formulated through the teachings of patient instructors, simulated patients and experts in the ﬁeld. Without the generous donations and support of the community, we would not truly learn the art of caring for people and treating their illness.” During this second annual event, over 200 thank you notes were written to individuals who donated funds or their time as instructors.
DAY April 11, 2013
This page, clockwise: Matt Meng, Jeffrey Donahue, Joey Krakowiak, Chris Jackson, Maggie Kent, Monica Gavaller, Tina Duong, Michael Schecter, Nigel George, Kristina Falkenstrom, Sylvan Cox, Michael Lou, Phil Yun, and Jonathan Swanson. Opposite page, top photo: Christopher Smith, Charlene Lo, Sara Whyte, Logesh Dharmar, Ari Levine, Zach Rohm, Eric Wang, and Brian Brewer. Bottom row photos: Ruth Lewit, Phil Yun, Grace Yaguchi, Joey Krakowiak, Nigel George, Logesh Dharmar and other students write out thank you cards to donors. 8
GRU/UGA Medical Partnership
The ATHENS ADVOCATE — Early Summer 2013 Issue
FACULTY AWARDS The Class of 2014 would like to congratulate Dr. Jonathan Murrow, recipient of the Educator of the Year Award! Dr. Murrow has been active in our education since the very ﬁrst year of medical school, both in and out of the classroom. An excellent lecturer, he makes a complex subject like cardiology seem as straightforward as “up or down.” He also spoke to us about the art of doctoring, being sure we weren’t just training to be competent doctors, but compassionate ones as well. Even over the summer, Dr. Murrow worked with several students on research projects, several of which produced papers or posters. During our third year, Dr. Murrow has served as the attending on a cardiology rotation for many students. Each day he met his student for morning rounds, regardless of whether they were his patients or not. Throughout the rotation he made time to work with his student both on their technical skills, such as reading EKGs, and their clinical skills, like giving patient presentations. Dr. Murrow has continued to be a proactive, committed, and excellent educator to our class and is a perfect choice for the Educator of the Year Award. Thank you for all you’ve done! (pictured with student Cristina Elstad) The Class of 2015 chose Dr. Howard Cohen. An educator of Dr. Cohen’s caliber is a rarity. He possesses a profound passion for medicine and for medical students’ education that he clearly reveals on a daily basis, whether engaging students in an interactive lecture or speaking with individual students in his ofﬁce. I have had the pleasure of getting to know Dr. Cohen from not only an academic perspective but also a more personal viewpoint. He is a compassionate, caring, and humble individual who seeks above all else to serve his patients and his students, whether at the hospital or the Medical Partnership.
WINE & CHEESE BENEFIT SUPPORTS BOYS & GIRLS CLUB OF ATHENS The ﬁrst GRU/UGA Medical Partnership Wine
foods donated by local Normaltown restaurants, a silent auction, a rafﬂe event, and music performed by members of the classes of 2015 and 2016.
Joey Krakowiak, president of the Class of 2016, reﬂected on the night, saying “I’m glad we were able to generate so much support for the Boys The top rafﬂe item of the night, a week’s stay and Girls Clubs of Athens, and I hope we can at a house on Sea Island, was won by a parent continue to further develop our relationship over whose child was recently under the medical time by doing more service activities with them care of a third-year Medical Partnership student. in the future.” The parent was so impressed with the student’s Kalie Deutsch is a second-year medical student. treatment of her son that she decided to buy a She is from Milton, Georgia and a graduate of The event featured a wine tasting with a variety rafﬂe ticket at the last minute and was shocked Vanderbilt University. of cheeses from The Fresh Market and Earth Fare, to discover that she had won a week at the and Cheese Beneﬁt was held on April 16 at Cine. The night was a huge success, with over $2,000 raised for the Boys and Girls Clubs of Athens (BGCA). The funds will help temporarily cover transportation costs needed for children served by the recently closed Garnett Ridge location to travel to another local BGCA location.
The Class of 2016 chose Dr. Clive Slaughter as our Educator of the Year out of our entire deserving faculty. We would have loved to give many of our professors an award this year, but we could only choose one. At ﬁrst impression, one may think Dr. Slaughter received the most votes purely based on his British accent that he employs every lecture. However, his unique ability to take very complex biochemical topics using the most up to date journal articles and synthesize them into easily understandable and relevant chunks of information has been much appreciated by my classmates and me. Not only is his lecture style beloved, but his impact in other aspects of our curriculum and outside our curriculum cannot be understated. He acts as a facilitator in Community Health and in our small group learning teams. I’ve had the privilege of having Dr. Slaughter as my small group facilitator this semester, and I can see why his group last semester enjoyed him so much. He values our learning at a deeper level than just for what’s on the next exam, and he is always available in his ofﬁce after hours if you have any questions. If that wasn’t enough, he also supports our activities outside of the classroom by participating in and attending our fundraising events. Dr. Slaughter is a wonderful asset to our incredible faculty here at the Medical Partnership. (pictured with student Joey Krakowiak)
10 GRU/UGA Medical Partnership
photo credit: Jacquoi Turner
One of the most remarkable facets of Dr. Cohen is how he regards his patients. As Dr. Cohen sits down with a patient, his ﬁrst priority is to ascertain who the patient is as a human being. If you are to overhear the ﬁrst ﬁve minutes of a patient visit with Dr. Cohen, you are much more likely to hear a discussion about the latest Brave’s game than you are to hear the familiar doctor “script.” For Dr. Cohen, medicine is an intimate and personal profession, and this belief allows him to forge deep, meaningful connections with his patients that create environments in which trust and subsequent healing may occur. (pictured with student Zach Rohm)
2ND ANNUAL CHEF-OFF BENEFITS LORAN SMITH CENTER The Second Annual Medical Partnership
Chef-Off was once again a very successful and fun event. The fundraiser was held at our brand new location at the UGA Health Sciences Campus, and we could not have asked for better weather! Guests and chefs enjoyed a perfect spring evening on Royar Square outside Winnie Davis Hall. This year’s Chef-Off was exciting, with a winner in each category, Chef-Off T-shirts and
Chef-Off Cookbooks at the event. A number of ﬁnancial and in-kind sponsors supported our class fundraiser, and 60% of the proceeds will be donated to the Loran Smith Cancer Center, beneﬁtting the services they provide for local cancer patients and their families. The judges panel was made up of a variety of top food experts from Athens area restaurants. Congratulations goes out to Boris Kovalenko for his Lobster Bisque as our Chef-Off
Champion this year! Michael Schecter is a third-year medical student. He is from Rome, Georgia and graduated from Wofford College. Above, left: A crowd of Chef-Off attendees enjoys the food and sense of community while awaiting the announcment of the winners. Above, right: third-year students Nigel George and Michael Schecter ﬂank Chef-Off champion third-year student Boris Kovalenko.
The ATHENS ADVOCATE — Early Summer 2013 Issue
n Monday, April 22, 2013, eight students from the GRU/UGA Medical Partnership were recognized as some of the newest members of Alpha Omega Alpha and the Gold Humanism Honor Society.
DIFFERING RISKS OF BREAST CANCER: HOW GENES AND THE ENVIRONMENT MIGHT INTERACT
Alpha Omega Alpha (AOA) is the only national honor society for medicine in the United States. Founded in 1902, AOA fosters honesty and higher ideals of scholastic achievement.
By Dr. Melissa B. Davis
Medical Partnership students who were inducted include:
The Davis lab investigates the dis-
parities of human breast cancer among women and prostate cancer among men from various ancestral groups. Speciﬁcally, this work includes investigations of differential gene expression and regulation that is linked to ancestral polymorphisms and/or epigenetic responses to environmental cues. We utilize human tissues and cell cultures to deﬁne speciﬁc genetic links to breast cancer subtype etiology and also to determine if these mechanisms are distinct among ancestral groups.
Paul Baker (Albany, GA); Erik Hanson (Marietta, GA); and Dylan Lovin (Lawrenceville, GA). The Gold Humanism Honor Society (GHHS) recognizes individuals practicing patient-centered medical care with integrity, excellence, compassion, altruism, respect, and empathy. Students are nominated by their peers and by faculty. Medical Partnership students who were inducted include: Paul Baker (Albany, GA); Bree Berry (Marietta, GA); Cristina Elstad (Atlanta, GA); Peter Karempelis (Roswell, GA); Amy Martin (Columbus, GA); and Rachel Taylor (Watkinsville, GA). This is the ﬁrst class of students from the Medical Partnership to be inducted into AOA and GHHS.
Top: Third-year medical student Maggie Kent supported fourth-year student Dylan Lovin at the ceremony. Middle: Athens members of GHHS, including the newest members. Below: Members of AOA from around northeast Georgia came together to recognize Paul Baker, Erik Hansen, and Dylan Lovin.
The ethnic disparities of breast cancer incidence, particularly the occurrence of speciﬁc tumor subtypes as an early onset disease, suggests there is an ancestral genetic mechanism contributing to a distinct susceptibility within these populations. There is a dearth of knowledge on the speciﬁc genetic differences that cause unique expression and/or function of genes that contribute to tumor subtype initiation and progression. There is, however, clear evidence that ancestral polymorphisms in genes have an impact on clinical outcome. However, the interaction of these polymorphic gene products with particular environments has not been studied. We investigate how polymorphic alleles of hormone receptors and their cofactors
12 GRU/UGA Medical Partnership
impact the ‘potential’ of environmental response and cancer risk. We also recognize that epigenetics will likely play a large role in environmental responses. Therefore, another research question we investigate is why even though many individuals are exposed to similar Environmental Agents (EAs), some have greater sensitivity to these agents. We feel these differences in EA sensitivity may translate into a distinct increase in cancer susceptibility for certain individuals. This environmentally driven susceptibility may be linked to the epigenetic status, hence the expression, of cancer genes involved in tumor etiology. We hypothesize that sporadic breast cancer (BrCA) susceptibility is related to individuals’ sensitivity to exposure to certain EAs. This sensitivity may be linked to the epigenetic regulation of cancer genes. Epigenetic mechanisms are the reversible and modiﬁable regulators of the gene expression response. Currently, we have identiﬁed several genes which are speciﬁcally expressed in the most aggressive form of early onset breast cancer. Two of these genes also harbor DNA variations that appear to be speciﬁc to African Ancestral lineages, and we are investigating the impact of these variations on the genes’ regulation and function.
In addition, we are beginning to establish collaborations with Athens Regional Medical Center and the Northeast Georgia Cancer Care Center to initiate a population study of the distributions of these variations and investigate the expression of these genes in tumors from patients in our area. We hope to combine this information with environmental exposure data in order to deﬁne correlations of environmental agents and mis-regulation of cancer genes. Led by Melissa Davis, PhD, the Davis lab is housed in the Davison Life Science Complex, in the Department of Gentics. During a typical semester, Dr. Davis works with approximately 6 students: 5 genetics/ biology undergraduates, and 1 public health graduate student, to conduct molecular and epidemiological research on breast cancer. She became interested in genetics as an undergraduate at Albany State University and focused her research on developmental genetics during her PhD at UGA. She subsequently re-focused her research on the disparities of cancer as a postdoctoral scholar at the University of Chicago while working in the Institute of Genomics and Systems Biology and the Center for Interdisciplinary Health Disparities. Her research team investigates the distinct causes and differences among types of breast cancer and prostate cancer, focusing on genetic ancestry inﬂuences on risk. In addition to her research, Dr. Davis teaches genetics at the GRU/UGA Medical Partnership.
The ATHENS ADVOCATE — Early Summer 2013 Issue
NEW STUDENT AMBASSADORS PROGRAM T wenty-two GRU/UGA Medical Partnership students were selected as the ﬁrst group of Medical Partnership Student Ambassadors. Serving as school representatives, these students will help with admissions open houses and applicant tours, hosting special guests visiting the Medical Partnership, and representing the campus at community and special events. The idea for developing an Ambassador program in Athens came from M4 student Bijal Vashi, who was recently elected president of the program. “To be formally recognized as a group of students that is dedicated to representing our campus and curriculum in the best light to the public is a great honor,” said Bijal. “It still feels incredible that we as a group have come so far, ﬁrst starting as an extension of the Student Ambassadors in Augusta and then ﬁnally to have our own group of ﬁrst, second, and third year students. I can’t wait to see how far we continue to go in representing our campus.” Replacing the unofﬁcial campus “out-
Members of the Wilderness /Emergency
Medicine Interest Group traveled to Augusta this April to compete in the annual Southeast MEDWARS Adventure Race. This event takes place at Fort Gordon and is hosted by students and volunteers from Georgia Regents University. The event consists of four-man teams competing against each other in running, orienteering, canoeing and mountain biking with various medical scenarios interspersed along the way. The GRU/UGA Medical Partnership sent three teams, which included members from all three classes of medical students, and each had a strong showing. Competing against more than 30 teams from various schools, such as Emory and the University of Central Florida, the “Normal-townies” (Parker Smith, Andy Miller, Evan Jones, Will Galvin) took second place, and the “Snowﬂakes” (Travis Smith, Jeff Donahue, Joseph Burch, Brett Magner) rounded out the podium for third place. Other event participants were: Natalie Swavely, James
14 GRU/UGA Medical Partnership
reach committee,” the Student Ambassadors program in many ways mirrors Student Ambassador programs at GRU and UGA. “It was important to have an Ambassador program at the Medical Partnership so that we could increase awareness of the unique curriculum we
Student Ambassadors: M4 Ashley Austin Zachary Balest Cristina Elstad Peter Kaemplis Bijal Vashi, President M3 Teddie Brandon Brian Brewer Nick Callihan, Vice President Logesh Dharmar Natalie Giles Chris Jackson Boris Kovalenko Ari Levine Matt Meng Andrew Miller Zach Rohm
have, as well as information about living in the city of Athens,” said Nick Callihan, Vice President and M3 student. Working closely with campus administration and staff, the Student Ambassadors are planning ahead for campus open houses in the fall of 2013.
M2 Leia Edenﬁeld Samat Kabani Joey Krakowiak Michael Lou Sara Whyte Grace Yaguchi, Secretary/Treasurer
MEDWARS IN AUGUSTA Eames, Reed Otten, Tommaso Tosini, and Malinda Schaefer.
ﬁrst place title.
This is the second year the interest group has participated in the MEDWARS event, and we hope to return next year for the ever-elusive
Brett Magner is a third-year medical student. He is from Grifﬁn, Georgia and is a graduate of Georgia State University.
Medical Jeopardy Facilitated by Drs. Higgins and Nuss (pictured above), several students participated in a rousing game of Medical Jeopardy in April. Participants included Andrew Johnson, Zach Rohm, Russell Ledford, Nigel George, Boris Kovalenko, Logesh Dharmar, Ari Levine, and Evan Jones, Dave Gupta, Alex Whitaker-Lea, Andrew Miller, and Matt Meng.
NEW CLINICAL FACULTY Joe Greco, MD Dr. Greco is a graduate of the University of Georgia and the Medical College of Georgia. He continued his training at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville as a general surgery resident. He also completed a two year research fellowship in plastic surgery, working on using oligonucleotide microarray to analyze genetic expression changes in burn wounds. He assisted in several prospective clinical protocols within the plastic surgery department, including a study aimed at determining the cause of wound complications after body contouring surgery in patients who have undergone gastric bypass. After completing his general surgery training as Co-Administrative Chief Resident at Vanderbilt, Dr. Greco began his formal plastic surgery training at Vanderbilt. Dr. Greco is Board Certiﬁed by the American Board of Surgery and he joins our clinical faculty as an Assistant Professor of Surgery.
David L. Townsend, MD Dr. Townsend is an Internal Medicine physician. He graduated summa cum laude with a double-major in biology and psychology from the University of Georgia, and then attended medical school at the Medical College of Georgia, where he graduated with top honors. He completed his residency in Internal Medicine at Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center in North Carolina and was selected to serve as Assistant Chief of Medicine at that institution. His clinical specialties include preventative medicine, primary care, and general internal medicine. He is board certiﬁed through the American Board of Internal Medicine. Dr. Townsend was the medical consultant on a 2008 book publication titled Answers to the Health Questions People Ask in Libraries. He will be involved with Essentials of Clinical Medicine II and Community Health as an Assistant Professor of Medicine.
The ATHENS ADVOCATE — Early Summer 2013 Issue
Class of 2014 Hammad Aslam Ashley Austin Paul Baker Zachary Balest Breana Berry Justin Brooten Anna Bunker Chip Carnes Chelsea Chandler Porsche Dickens Jospeh Drwiega Cristina Elstad Cheney Fenn Lum Frundi
Aaron Goodwin Sierra Green Erik Hansen Joshua Hendrick Peter Karempelis Kayla Koch Brett Kodish Meredith Maxwell Xiao Li Lisa Lima Dylan Lovin Spencer Maddox Amy Martin Brittany Martin
Lance McLeroy Nitya Nair Travis Palmer Rutvi Patel Julie Pinheiro Andrew Ruege Travis Smith Daniel Spollen Rachel Taylor Bijal Vashi Rachel Weaver Katie Zhang
Class of 2015 Roberto Aguilera Brian Brewer Wes Bryson Nick Callihan Rocco Cannistraro Sylvan Cox Robin Creech Saumya Dave Logesh Dharmar Jeffrey Donahue Joanna Eldredge Kristina Falkenstrom Nick Fitzpatrick
Gregory Foster Monica Gavaller Nigel George Natalie Giles Alex Guile Dave Gupta Clay Hartley Chris Jackson Andrew Johnson Evan Jones Maggie Kent Boris Kovalenko Russell Ledford Ari Levine
Brett Magner Matt Meng Andrew Miller Sagal Mohamed Tom Olinger Courtney Raybon Zach Rohm Alison Ruch Michael Schecter Parker Smith Lindsey Sweat Eric Wang Alex Whitaker-Lea
Class of 2016 Parth Amin Brandon Bringuel Joshua Campbell David Cazares Jane Chung Luke Couch Kalie Deutsch Zac Doegg Tina Duong James Eames Leia Edenﬁeld Will Galvin Clay Hembree
Samat Kabani Kirsten Kepple Brian King Joey Krakowiak Ryan Lam Ruth Lewit Charlene Lo Michael Lou Matt Lustig Arif Mahmood Sallie McSwain Matt Mullin Shannon O’Brien
Greg Olsen Reed Otten Malinda Schaefer Christopher Smith Lara Smith Jonathan Swanson Natalie Swavely Tommaso Tosini Joseph Vinson Sara Whyte Colton Wood Grace Yaguchi Phil Yun
Summer 2013 Quarterly Newsletter