Fall Advocate 2015

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Athens Advocate


A Quarterly Publication of the GRU/UGA Medical Partnership


Volume 4 | Number 3 | Fall 2015

Medical Partnership Visits Africa

Athens Advocate


Letter from the Interim Campus Dean


very year the senior leadership team chooses a book to send to incoming students to read prior to the beginning of the academic year. This year we chose Every Patient Tells a Story: Medical Mysteries and the Art of Diagnosis, by Lisa Sanders, MD. Incoming medical students are often singularly focused on learning the science of medicine. Equally important, yet often overlooked by early physicians in training, however, is the art of doctoring: the skills, attitudes and behaviors of an excellent physician. It is the ability to carefully examine a patient and listen to their story, together with medical knowledge, that plays a critical role in a doctor’s ability to unravel the complexities of illness and arrive at the correct diagnosis. In this issue you will read about the patient stories of five Medical Partnership students who traveled to Ghana last summer accompanied by one of our Partnership faculty, Dr. Howard Cohen. A transformative experience that not only broadened their horizons but also taught them as much, if not more, about themselves, students worked tirelessly, treating hundreds of patients a day, with limited resources and few, if any, tests. By listening to patients, paying attention to the smallest of clues, and using their intuition, students were able to diagnose conditions they had never seen before. As Brandon Bringuel, now a fourth year student at the Partnership, states “the trip taught me much about the science of medicine but even more so about the art of medicine, and the man I am.” Throughout this Athens Advocate you will also learn about how the art of doctoring is experienced within the Medical Partnership community. For example, an exciting development that will greatly impact patient care is the launching of a new Internal Medicine Residency Program along with the Community Internal Medicine of Athens clinic. This joint effort between the Medical Partnership and St. Mary’s Health Care System will significantly improve access to primary care in the region. One of our award-winning faculty members is spotlighted. Dr. Laurel Murrow helped develop the community health curriculum at the Medical Partnership, and through this program, students work closely with local organizations to address high priority health problems that impact individuals in the Athens area. In addition, the newest inductees of Alpha Omega Alpha Honor Medical Society and the Gold Humanism Honor Society are announced. These two important organizations recognize students and faculty who demonstrate the art of doctoring through their hard work, service, and leadership. Throughout a student’s four years at the Medical Partnership, we integrate opportunities for him or her to observe and learn the skills, attitudes and behaviors of an outstanding physician. As Dr. Sanders reminds her readers, “despite all the available technology, the tools doctors often rely on most are the most oldfashioned – a phone, a respected colleague, a mentor or a friend.” I hope this fall edition of the Athens Advocate will help you better visualize the learning opportunities each and every medical student receives on our campus as they learn and grow alongside their mentors, friends, and patients.

Volume 4 | Number 3 | Fall 2015

Augusta University and the University of Georgia have partnered to create a four-year medical education program in Athens to help alleviate a statewide shortage of physicians that threatens the health of Georgians. The Athens Advocate is published quarterly for alumni, friends, and the medical community of Augusta University and the University of Georgia.

Leslie Petch Lee, Ph.D., GRU/UGA Medical Partnership Interim Campus Dean 706-713-2186 lpetch@uga.edu PUBLISHER

GRU/UGA Medical Partnership EDITOR

Summer Research Symposium – 5


COVERSTORY: • Medical Partnership in Ghana – 6

Articles may be reprinted with permission from the editor.

Copyright © 2015 by the GRU/UGA Medical Partnership. No part of this publication may be reproduced in any way without permission from the editor.


Andrew Tucker, Alison Bracewell McCullick, Brett Magner & Baptist Medical Center



Jennifer Adams


Keel Named New University President – 4



Jennifer Stowe, M.S.



Alison Bracewell McCullick, M.P.A.

In This Issue...

The GRU/UGA Medical Partnership is committed to principles of equal opportunity and affirmative action.


• Ghana Blog – 8 • Student Reflection on Ghana Experience – 10 • Student Social Documentary Photography of Ghana – 12 Faculty Spotlight – 14 STMH & Medical Partnership Launch New Clinic – 15 Student Highlights – 16 Honor Society Selections Announced – 17 New Faculty – 18 Alumni Luncheon – 19 Humans of the Medical Partnership – back cover

STAY INFORMED. FOLLOW US ON SOCIAL MEDIA! Leslie Petch Lee, Ph.D. Interim Campus Dean GRU/UGA Medical Partnership

Cover: Dr. Jeff Donahue performs a minor procedure with one of the experienced Surgical Technicians. The Surgical Techs at BMC have a wide range of skills and were an invaluable resource for learning. (Story on page 6) Dr. Donahue is now an orthopedic surgery resident at Atlanta Medical Center. Photo courtesy of the Baptist Medical Centre, www.baptistmedicalcenter.org 2

GRU/UGA Medical Partnership

GHSU UGA Medical Partnership @GRUUGAMedPart MedPartnership GRU/UGA Medical Partnership GRU/UGA Medical Partnership The ATHENS ADVOCATE — Fall 2015 Issue


Current Events

Board of Regents Names Augusta University O

n September 15, 2015, the Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia renamed Georgia Regents University as Augusta University.

Keel Named President of Augusta University T

he Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia (USG) named Dr. Brooks Keel president of Augusta University (AU). Keel assumed his new position on July 20, 2016. “Brooks Keel brings a proven track record as a strong leader within our University System,” said Board of Regents Chair Neil Pruitt. “We are excited about the future of Augusta University and the positive momentum Brooks will bring for the benefit of our students and our partnership with the Augusta community.” “The selection of Brooks Keel reflects the comprehensive representation the AU presidential search committee had from our Augusta University stakeholders and the Augusta community,” said Chancellor Hank Huckaby. “We appreciate Regent Jim Hull, a life-long Augusta resident, leading the search process, and we thank the members of the search committee for their commitment.” “I had the great fortune to earn both my undergraduate and graduate degrees in Augusta, and I’m eternally grateful for the fantastic opportunities in research, scholarship, and leadership they have 4

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brought to my life,” said Dr. Brooks Keel. “I am honored and humbled to return to Augusta and rejoin Augusta University at this exciting time.” Previously, Dr. Keel served as the 12th President of Georgia Southern University (2010-’15) and as the Vice Chancellor for Research and Economic Development at Louisiana State University (2006-’09). As president of GSU, Dr. Keel served as the university’s voice, representing GSU locally, nationally, and internationally as a student-focused leader. A former professor with more than two decades of teaching and research experience, Dr. Keel has remained a steadfast ally of students on both the undergraduate and graduate levels throughout his career. Before becoming president of GSU, Dr. Keel served in the top ranks of academia, research and economic development in successive appointments at Louisiana State University (LSU), where he served as Vice Chancellor for Research and Economic Development, at University of Kansas — Witchita, and Florida State University.

He is a member of the Society for the Study of Reproduction, the American Society for Reproductive Medicine, and the Society for Gynecologic Investigation, among others. Dr. Keel has served on numerous boards, including the American Board of Bioanalysis, the American Association of Bioanalysts Board of Registry, the Oak Ridge Associated Universities, the Southeastern Universities Research Association, and the Executive Committee of the Council on Research Policy and Graduate Education of APLU. Keel received a Bachelor of Science in biology/chemistry from Augusta College (now Augusta University), a doctorate in reproductive endocrinology from the Medical College of Georgia (now Augusta University) and completed post-doctoral work at the University of Texas Health Science Center (Houston) and University of South Dakota School of Medicine (Vermillion). Keel is married to First Lady Tammie Schalue, Ph.D., an accomplished scientist and scholar. Both are certified scuba diving instructors.

Board of Regents Chair Neil Pruitt highlighted the new name saying, “Today’s Board action supports the longterm strategic direction of the institution and builds on our partnership with the Augusta community. This is an exciting time for the new Augusta University, and we see tremendous opportunity for growth and development of

this university as a world-class research institution and a top 50 medical school in the nation.” University System of Georgia Chancellor Hank Huckaby recognized the strength of the institution saying, “The new name Augusta University builds on the momentum we have with President Brooks Keel’s leadership. We are committed to the long-term success of this institution and appreciate the support of the Augusta community.”

Fifth Annual Research Symposium O

n Monday, September 28, the fifth annual GRU/UGA Medical Partnership Research Symposium was held in Russell Hall. The event provides an opportunity to showcase the activities Medical Partnership students participated in during the summer between their first and second year of medical studies. Nineteen posters were displayed, and students were available to discuss the findings of their research efforts.

barriers patients with peripheral arterial disease have when trying to adhere to an exercise regimen. “It was an amazing opportunity to learn directly from a clinical researcher and from the patients in the study,” said Witt. “I had a lot of freedom in how I designed the questionnaires and analyzed data, which allowed me to explore different methods. Dr. Murrow was always available with clear guidance on the best way to proceed.”

Beginning in the fall of their first year, Medical Partnership students are encouraged to engage in a scholarly activity during their summer break. Some participate in laboratory science projects while other choose to take part in clinical research. Students more interested in a participatory clinical experience were encouraged to engage in inquisitive observation and reflection in order to derive a more complete understanding of the health problems within the context of the greater community.

Students are encouraged to look outside of Athens for summer experiences as well. “The summer research project gave me a chance to collaborate with physicians at a difference academic medical center,” said student Matt Broggi. “The doctors and scientists at Emory University were amazing and really fun to work with each day.” Matt’s research involved evaluating the relationship between the Onodera Prognostic Nutritional Index (OPNI) and survival outcomes in clear cell renal cell carcinoma (ccRCC) patients following nephrectomy.

Allen Witt worked with Dr. Jonathan Murrow to analyze the

The ATHENS ADVOCATE — Fall 2015 Issue


Photos courtesy of the Baptist Medical Centre, www.baptistmedicalcenter.org


Medical Partnership in Ghana

Above - Dr. Theodora Brandon consults with a clinic nurse while meeting with a patient. Dr. Brandon is now a pediatrics resident at Jackson

Memorial Hospital in Florida. Top right - Joanna Eldridge examines a patient’s arm. Dr. Eldredge is an internal medicine resident at North Shore/LIJ Health System.

Bottom right - Dr. Brett Magner walking the

open air corridors between wards. Dr. magner is now a family medicine


s with many experiential opportunities at schools and universities, a few energetic students approached a faculty member and said “we have an idea” – and with those four words, a life-changing service learning opportunity began to take shape at the GRU/UGA Medical Partnership.

(Teddie) Brandon met with Dr. Cohen to discuss plans and goals for the Global Health Interest Group for the coming academic year. The students posed the idea of planning a medical mission trip similar to the one he took in 2006 – and asked if he would once again be willing to lead a team of students overseas.

Dr. Howard Cohen, an Associate Professor of Medicine at the Medical Partnership since 2012, worked in the field of infectious diseases in the metropolitan Atlanta area for 28 years. During the summer of 2006, as a Johnson & Johnson Scholar, in conjunction with Yale University School of Medicine, Dr. Cohen served as a mentor for a team of medical students and residents in Eritrea, Africa. Soon after joining the Medical Partnership clinical faculty, he agreed to serve as the advisor for the newly created Global Health Interest Group, hopeful that his background with infectious diseases would enhance conversations at the meetings.

Dr. Cohen began researching possible locations for the team to visit. “At the time I was considering clinics and hospitals for us to partner with. The ebola epidemic was on the nightly news,” said Dr. Cohen. “The students were interested in working in Africa, but finding the best learning environment took some time.” Through friends in Atlanta, he learned about the Baptist Medical Centre (BMC) in Nalerigu, Ghana. Located in the Northern Region of Ghana, BMC was founded in 1958 and is a 123 bed hospital that is utilized by patients as far south as Accra, as far east as Togo and Nigeria, and as far north as Burkina Faso and Mali.

In 2014, Joanna Eldredge and Theodora 6

GRU/UGA Medical Partnership

The hospital is divided into three sections – a male ward, a female ward,

and a pediatrics ward. In addition, there is an isolation ward and a very large clinic for outpatient visits. On clinic days, a line stretches around the building with hundreds of patients waiting to be seen. A typical year includes approximately 60,000 outpatient visits, 10,000 inpatient visits, 1,200 major operations, and 2,750 minor procedures. “Patients come with everything from a tummy ache to more serious ailments,”

resident at Oregon Health & Science University.

said Cohen. “Many patients walk from their villages miles and miles away in the hopes of seeing a doctor and getting some relief from whatever is causing them pain or discomfort.” Five GRU/UGA Medical Partnership students accompanied Dr. Cohen to Ghana, none of whom had visited Africa before. When they arrived in early April, the temperatures were well over 100 degrees, and the only building with a working window air conditioning unit was the schoolhouse. “When it rained, it got muggy and buggy,” said Eldredge, Class of 2015. “Every one of us would have a dozen or more gnats stuck to our skin after returning from the hospital – basically like Georgia in July.” Each morning, the medical students and Dr. Cohen would rise, eat breakfast and drink coffee they made in makeshift kitchens before heading to the hospital for rounds. They would divide up and see approximately 100 patients each morning. After a brief lunch break, they would see more patients, finishing up

around 7:30 pm. Night rounds would take place around 10:00 pm. One of the biggest differences from their experiences working in hospitals in the United States was the lack of tests that the students could run on patients. There were no EKGs. No bloodwork. The students had to do their best to identify what the patient might be battling without being able to run any tests and instead relying almost entirely on what the patient told them and trusting their gut instinct on developing a diagnosis. “It was frustrating to possess the knowledge that there are technologies readily available in the U.S. that could have saved a person’s life,” said Brandon, Class of 2015. “I could spend days wondering what I should have or would have done differently, but the end result is the same.” The experience working at Baptist Medical Center was life-changing for the group from Athens. “I have forever been changed by my experiences in Africa,” said Brett Magner, Class of

2018. “They will stay with me long after the Malarone leaves my system and photos get lost in my hard drive. I am humbled by those who continue the long-term care of patients in places that are often forgotten by society, foregoing conveniences of the modern world to deliver the healthcare that every human being deserves.” The unique perspective students get while working in such a different environment broadens their horizons and impacts the type of healthcare they will offer their patients when they return home. Dr. Cohen was impacted as well. Even with years of helping others under his belt, his eyes light up when he talks about observing the Medical Partnership students at work. “They blossomed into doctors,” he said. “When we first arrived, they were thinking like students, but these third and fourth year students were responsible for their own patients, so by the second week, they were thinking like doctors.”

The ATHENS ADVOCATE — Fall 2015 Issue



Medical Partnership in Ghana Blog T

he Medical Partnership in Ghana blog was started by Dr. Joanna Eldredge (Class of 2015) on Sunday, March 29, 2015 as the group flew from the United States to Africa. Following are excerpts from the blog:

anti-hypertensive agent and was now hypokalemic (low in potassium). There is no way to measure electrolytes here, which makes the diagnosis all the more impressive. The man walked out of the hospital the next day!

Friday, April 3

Thursday, April 9


We have completed our first full day of work at the hospital. We were expecting a full day with inpatient rounds and clinic, but when we got to the hospital we realized clinic was closed due to the observance of Good Friday. It was just as well, as we were rounding slowly due to our unfamiliarity with the charts, the staff, the patients, and formulary. A list of some things I saw today that I’ve never seen before: malaria, typhoid fever, snake bite, adult primary varicella infection, and shigella. We are all very good at treating snake bites by this point, and consequently terrified of coming across a snake on the way home from the hospital.


Holy moly. What a day. We had our first clinic today after morning rounds. Someone estimated the clinic typically sees 300-500 patients on a clinic day, but today was the first clinic day after they had been closed for 1 week, and it was a market day, which also boosts the number of visitors. And on top of this, our attending physician was too sick to work. That’s right, 5 med students, 4 doctors, and hundreds of patients. It wasn’t a clinic. It was an onslaught. Basically picture the Helm’s Deep scene from Lord of the Rings only instead of orcs they were all friendly people with infectious diseases.

Monday, April 6th

I won’t lie, these first few days at the BMC have felt long. There is such a steep learning curve for the diseases here, not to mention the time it takes to get used to the customs, the language, the culture of medicine, the formulary, the climate, etc. It is easy to really appreciate the value of having a long-term commitment from a physician here. I will report one success story, in which an elderly patient came in reporting complete loss of function in his legs after being treated somewhere else for an acute illness. They did not know what he was treated with or his previous diagnosis. We were initially thinking Guillan Barré, or a diabetic neuropathy, but in a typical House-like moment, Dr. Cohen surmised he had been given an 8

GRU/UGA Medical Partnership

Here’s how we did it: we didn’t, exactly. We couldn’t... But we tried. Every time we thought we were making some headway on our stack of charts for patients waiting to be seen, another stack would appear, or we would peek outside to find absolutely no change in the massive hoard of people waiting to be seen. We saw as many patients

as we could until dark, then told the still-gigantic throng to return tomorrow if they hadn’t been seen. I felt bad. We admitted a lot of people, and there were still more who likely needed admission.

Saturday, April 1 1th

I was asked to donate blood for a patient yesterday. There is no blood bank at the BMC, which is why protocol asks that you wait until the hemoglobin level is below 5 or 6 to transfuse (the cutoff in the US is 7). I’ve already seen a handful of people walk into the hospital with a level below 3. What happens when someone reaches that threshold is a family member is asked to donate their blood, which is then immediately delivered to the patient as whole blood (in the US the red blood cells are separated from the rest of the blood to be given in a concentrated dose). The patient I donated for was a young woman who was about 34 weeks pregnant when she was bitten by a snake. There are two poisonous snakes in this area I hope I never meet: one is the spitting cobra, appropriately named for blinding its victims by spitting poison in their face; the other is the carpet viper, whose venom is a potent anticoagulant. This lady was bitten by the latter, and after 3 days without anti-venom, she was bleeding profusely and mostly from her womb. Her hemoglobin level was about 2.7. The trouble was that she had travelled here from a village very far away. The family who travelled with her had already donated 4 units, and her hemoglobin was still 5. So her doctors began scouring the hospital for willing, healthy volunteers with an O blood type, which narrowed the pool down to me. Basically what I want to get across is this: it’s quite selfishly scary to be asked to give your blood in a developing

The Medical Partnership team included (from left to right) Brett Magner, Theodora Brandon, Joanna Eldredge, Dr. Howard Cohen, Brandon Bringuel, and Jeffrey Donahue.

country for the first time, especially when everyone keeps reminding you to make sure the needles and tubing come from new, unopened packaging. But when a hemorrhagic pregnant woman is at the other end of that request, you don’t even have to think twice. It’s the easiest decision I’ve had to make regarding a patient’s care since I got here.

I stopped by the maternity ward on my way out, and saw the patient lying asleep in her bed as my blood dripped into her veins. Her husband said a whole slew of words in another language that someone translated simply as, “he’s thanking you,” and once again I felt so ridiculous for my selfish concerns earlier, and so grateful for this experience. I felt a strong sense of peace walking home to dinner that night, where I promptly found out from her physician the good news that she was now clotting.

Saturday, April 18th

At rounds tonight, I was given the folder of a patient I had seen and discharged two weeks ago. He came in for epistaxis and anemia then and had returned for the same symptoms. We had discussed his need to see a physician in Tamale, the nearest town with a teaching hospital, because we had exhausted the amount of tests for a clotting disorder that we could run, and he needed further work up in order to prevent future bleeding episodes.

Then something on his admission note caught my eye: a chronic iliac wound! How had I missed that during his last admission?! I found a translator and went to speak with him. Turns out he had had the wound less than one month, and when I asked to see it, everything made sense. He has cutaneous anthrax! The first case that I’ve seen in person! He had already been treating it at home with gientian violet. It must’ve looked like an old wound to the MA who admitted him tonight, but on closer exam you could definitely make out the eschar. It was overlying a superficial wound he had received while in a motorbike accident on his way to the hospital during his last admission. Cutaneous anthrax is very treatable, by the way (unlike the inhaled anthrax that was sent to Rockefeller Center in the early 2000’s). I was pretty excited about it. It’s the little things, I guess. Today has been one of those days when I can’t believe I get to come to Ghana and do what I do.

The ATHENS ADVOCATE — Fall 2015 Issue



Student Reflection on Ghana Experience

Left - The OB delivery room was reserved for women who were actively pushing., while most of the laboring was done in the hallways.

by Brandon Bringuel, Class of 2016

patients almost miraculously resolve from a wild bout of meningitis or watching the gradual improvement in a child suffering from supposed typhoid is truly amazing. We must not take for granted the awesome instances where we can truly “cure” a patient of disease these days.


pending the month of April in the small but crucial Baptist Medical Center in Northern Ghana far surpassed anything I could have ever expected. The trip taught me much about the science of medicine but even more so about the art of medicine and the man I am. I am still trying to process the entire trip. It felt like the month flew by in a matter of days, although some of those stacks of patient folders in clinic seemed never ending. During the month, I learned quite a few things about myself. I learned that I am not as selfless as I thought I was. Multiple times I found myself hesitating to get close to a patient for fear of contracting tuberculosis (TB). Is that ridiculous of me? Here I was halfway around the world, supposedly to help people in need, and I was letting my fear of getting sick hinder me from doing my job. Although it is a doctor’s priority to stay healthy so he can continue to treat those in need, I was too hesitant to help those really in need in that TB ward.

The outpatient clinic days were some of the most high volume and mentally draining days from the trip. Knowing “sick or not sick” was important for triaging patients and determining who would need to be admitted.

This situation opened my eyes in a huge way, and I am thankful for the many difficult situations I was put in during this trip. Knowing how selfish I was acting, I did my best to overcome those tendencies and have a servant’s attitude in future patient interactions. Of course, I wasn’t perfect, but I now better understand what it means to truly serve patients and will carry that with me for the rest of my career. At some point, we as physicians must realize that the patient should always come first. That is a key aspect of medicine that unfortunately gets tossed to the side when things get difficult for us. I also learned first-hand how lifechanging medicine can be. Seeing 10

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Being in a place with a completely different language and only one lab test available really tested your medical intuition and knowledge. I was completely lost for the first few days and admittedly stayed lost most of the time. Thankfully my fellow colleagues and Dr. Howard Cohen were there to help out whenever it was needed. It was incredible to see Dr. Cohen work his magic with two questions, a physical exam, and a full blood count. I definitely left this trip with a new appreciation for the physical exam! Deciding on the care of a patient without much history or solid lab findings brought out the fundamentals of the practice of medicine, which can sometimes get lost in the pages and pages of lab results here in the United States.

No electronic medical records here. The paper charts were key to identifying medical history and previous hospitalizations.

Above - In the pediatric ward, a strong sense of community is felt among the mothers who are nursing their children back to health. The night time rounds for pediatrics generally meant stepping over mothers and children who preferred sleeping on the ground rather than in the beds.

As a whole, the elective trip to Ghana was truly impactful. I will never forget the people we met, the places we saw, and the lessons learned. I am still trying to process the month, but I do know that I will forever be a different physician because of this trip. Brandon Bringuel is a third-year medical student at the GRU/UGA Medical Partnership. He is a graduate of the University of Georgia and from Newnan, Georgia. Left - Tuberculosis patient in the isolation ward. Color photos courtesy of the Baptist Medical Centre, www.baptistmedicalcenter.org. Black & white photos courtesy of Dr. Brett Magner

The ATHENS ADVOCATE — Fall 2015 Issue



Student Social Documentary Photography from Ghana Dr. Brett Magner is an amateur photographer who focuses on travel, outdoor adventure, landscapes, and anything related to bicycles. He currently lives in Klamath Falls, Oregon and is a first year resident in Family Medicine at Cascades East Family Medicine Center. While in Africa, Brett captured the day-to-day activities that took place in and around the hospital where he worked, and a selection of some of his photographs are included here with captions written by Brett. The majority of the time the students were in Ghana, they were working with patients in the hospital. There were a few opportunities, however, to experience the community and meet the people who lived and worked in Nalerigu. Brett particularly enjoyed playing soccer with the locals. “I’m amazed at how beautifully they move and work the ball around the field,” he observed. “It is made even more impressive because the pitch which they play on is composed of half sand and half dirt, with creek beds running through the center.”

Motorcycles, or “motos” as they are commonly referred to, are one of the main modes of transportation in Nalerigu.

Patients monitored in the isolation ward for treatment of Tuberculosis.

The joy of afternoon soccer.


GRU/UGA Medical Partnership

The local soccer team, BMC Futbol Stars, plays on a dusty field against the team from Gambaga.

Fans gather to watch a local soccer match between rival teams.

Ranging from patients with snake bites to acute strokes, the two male wards were often very busy.

With temperatures soaring above 100 degrees Fahrenheit many people were still interested in wearing long pants.

The ATHENS ADVOCATE — Fall 2015 Issue


Faculty Spotlight

St. Mary’s, Medical Partnership Launch Medical Clinic

Dr. Laurel Boykin Murrow W

hen it comes to health, context matters—which is why Dr. Laurel Murrow emphasizes community health both as a physician and an instructor. “Effective doctors know that friends, families, neighborhoods and life circumstances can have a strong influence on health,” said Murrow, an assistant professor of medicine at the GRU/UGA Medical Partnership. In 2010, Murrow and her colleagues developed the community health curriculum that all medical students participate in during their first year. Each fall semester, students work with community partner agencies to address high priority health problems for the clients they serve. “Our partners choose the problem the students will focus on, and the students then conduct a literature review, interview patients and collect data about that problem,” Murrow said. By December, each team submits a proposal and budget for how they plan to address their issue. During the spring semester, the teams carry out the strategy that they designed. “In some cases, the student projects have begun as a pilot program in an agency, and then the program grows over time to have a much greater impact on our community,” said Murrow. In addition to leading the Medical Partnership Community Health program, Murrow serves as the medical director for Mercy Health Center, a nonprofit, free clinic just down Oglethorpe Avenue from the UGA Health Sciences Campus. Along with an army of volunteers—over 40 primary care physicians, 20 specialists and more than 700 other health professional and lay volunteers—she provides care to uninsured, low-income patients who otherwise lack access to health care.


GRU/UGA Medical Partnership

By Mark Ralston St. Mary’s Health Care System

“The first class of medical students to arrive in Athens was very interested in giving back to the community and in developing a student-led free clinic,” Murrow said.


here’s a new internal medical practice in town for adults who need a doctor for wellness care and the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of diseases such as high blood pressure and diabetes: Community Internal Medicine of Athens (CIMA).

Since that time in 2010, Medical Partnership students and faculty have been seeing patients at Mercy on most Wednesday nights. They work alongside students and faculty from the UGA College of Pharmacy. Mercy provides learning opportunities for a variety of UGA students. The clinic enjoys strong relationships not only with the Medical Partnership and College of Pharmacy, but also with other colleges and schools, including the College of Public Health, the School of Law, the School of Social Work, the College of Family and Consumer Sciences and the College of Education. “These students learn so much from our patients and get to see the realities of their lives up close,” said Murrow. “We hope their experience inspires them to try and make a difference.” Murrow also mentors Medical Partnership student research projects. This summer, three students who were interested in healthcare quality improvement pursued projects at Mercy. One student focused on the appropriateness of radiology studies ordered for low back pain imaging; another examined treatment and referral practices for patients with skin conditions; and the third studied health literacy levels in diabetic patients and evaluated the Mercy Health Center diabetes education program. “Student research like this helps Mercy see where we are now and helps us set priorities for improving care,” Murrow said. Murrow, who grew up in Watkinsville, is glad to have the chance to return home and be close to family and friends. When she completed her residency

training at Emory University School of Medicine, the Medical Partnership was just beginning to hire faculty members. “I feel so fortunate to be able to combine my work at the Medical Partnership and at Mercy,” Murrow said. “With the new residency programs beginning, this is such an exciting time to practice medicine in Athens. I’m hoping that we can inspire as many medical students as possible to choose primary care.”

FACTS Laurel Boykin Murrow, M.D., M.Sc. Assistant Professor of Medicine GRU/UGA Medical Partnership • Internal Medicine Residency, Emory University School of Medicine, 2009 • M.D., Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, 2006 • M.Sc., Control of Infectious Diseases, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, 1999 • B.A., Religion, Wellesley College, 1997 • At GRU/UGA Medical Partnership: 6 years

CIMA provides care for people with new and chronic medical problems, from simple illnesses such as colds and the flu to complex health issues such as multiple condition management. Examples include arthritis, breathing problems, cancer screenings, coronary artery disease, diabetes, headache, high blood pressure, prostate problems, smoking cessation, osteoporosis, adult vaccinations and routine wellness care. The clinic’s physicians are able to

provide physical exams, conduct EKGs and other diagnostic testing, prescribe medications, order advanced tests, and refer patients to specialists when needed. The clinic is a joint effort by St. Mary’s and the Georgia Regents University/ University of Georgia Medical Partnership to improve access to primary care in Northeast Georgia. Care is provided by GRU/UGA Partnership faculty physicians and Internal Medicine residents. CIMA’s resident physicians are new doctors working in the Internal Medicine Residency Program at St. Mary’s and the Medical Partnership. At the clinic, they will serve as primary care providers for their personal panel of patients. They are supervised by experienced faculty physicians who are boardcertified in Internal Medicine and who

are among the teaching faculty at the Medical Partnership. “This clinic is a vital part of our ongoing initiative to alleviate the shortage of physicians in Georgia,” said Michelle Nuss, M.D., a supervising physician and Partnership faculty member. “It gives people in our community access to the care they need while also giving our residents the opportunity to provide high quality, compassionate care in a community setting.”

Dr. Seth Jelinek joins the Medical Partnership, St. Mary’s S eth Jelinek, M.D., an internal medicine physician from Austin, Texas, has joined the Georgia Regents University/University of Georgia Medical Partnership and St. Mary’s Health Care System as the Internal Medicine Residency Program assistant director for ambulatory and outpatient education.

Dr. Jelinek will help oversee the work and education of the 10 medical residents currently serving in the program, which will grow to 20 residents next year and 30 in 2017. A major portion of his responsibility will be daily oversight of the residents as they provide care at Community Internal Medicine of Athens (CIMA), an ambulatory clinic located at 1500 Oglethorpe Avenue. Dr. Jelinek comes to Athens from the University of Texas Medical Center Brackenridge in Austin, where he recently completed his internal medicine residency. He earned his

medical degree from Ross University School of Medicine and his bachelor’s degree from Miami University in Oxford, Ohio. During his residency, he served as principal investigator in a research program assessing medical residents as community educators about cardiovascular disease and stroke. “Here in Athens, my role is to provide daily oversight in the education of the residents, especially at CIMA,” he said. “I will help them as they work with patients to manage chronic conditions and establish patient-physician relationships. I will also be the program’s liaison to the community for education, projects and outreach.” At CIMA, patient care is provided primarily by residents under the supervision of Dr. Jelinek and other GRU/UGA Medical Partnership physician faculty. Physicians are now accepting appointments from any adult age 18 and over who is seeking primary care services. CIMA accepts most major forms of insurance as well as Medicare and Medicaid. Reduced rates and charity care are available through St. Mary’s Health Care System for qualifying patients. For more information, visit www.cimathens.com or call 706.389.3875. The ATHENS ADVOCATE — Fall 2015 Issue


Student Highlights

2015-2016 Medical Partnership Student Ambassadors Announced S

ince the organization was created in 2013, the Medical Partnership Student Ambassadors have served as one of the first contacts for prospective students and other guests to the Athens campus. While providing tours of the UGA Health Sciences Campus to visitors is the primary responsibility for Ambassadors, these high energy students share the story of the Medical Partnership with elected officials, school groups, community organizations, assemblies, and other similar groups during the week and on weekends. The members include first through fourth year students who are full-time students in good academic standing.

Each fall, ten to 12 students, many of them first years, are selected to join the approximately 30 returning Ambassadors. The newest Student Ambassadors include:

Travis Anderson Matt Broggi Hannah Childs Charlie Gober Blake Hudson Gabe Hurtado Cinthana Kandasamy Osii Mbata John-Michael Perez Jonathan Pham Jessica Principe Ranni Tewfix

2014 Medical Partnership Ambassadors receive their official training.

Left: Students provided a health care screening at the Salvation Army. Many thanks to MCG alum Dr. Emory Patterson who assisted with this outreach activity. Below: A group of first- and second-year students helped sort medications at Camp Journey, a camp for children with Autism. Above: The Medical Partnership Student Government Organization hosted classmates from across the state for a football tailgate in September. Right: Firstyear medical student Jonathan Pham captured the bright side of rainy days when he photographed a rainbow over the student housing on the UGA Health Sciences Campus. 16

GRU/UGA Medical Partnership

Honor Society Selections Announced Alpha Omega Alpha Honor Medical Society The Medical Partnership’s AOA Honor Medical Society Selection Committee recently completed the process for selection of students, faculty and alumni for induction into the Georgia Chapter of the Alpha Omega Alpha Honor Medical Society. The top 25% of the Class of 2016 were eligible for AOA with only 16% being inducted. Three students were selected for Junior AOA in March of 2015, with three additional students selected for Senior AOA in August. The committee, in making their final selection of students, considered scholastic achievement, leadership capabilities, ethical standards, fairness in dealing with colleagues, demonstrated professionalism, potential for achievement in medicine, and the student’s record of service to the school and community at large. Junior AOA Students selected from the Class of 2016 include: Kalie Deutsch | Shannon O’Brien | Phil Yun Senior AOA Students selected from the Class of 2016 include:

Faculty and alumni election into AOA is an honor that signifies a commitment to excellence in scholarship, leadership, professionalism, and service. By the society’s bylaws, the committee, in making their final selection, considered individuals that graduated from MCG greater than ten years ago towards alumni election. Faculty and alumni candidates were judged on the basis of academic and professional achievement, leadership, professionalism, service, teaching, research and promise.

MCG Alumnus selected for AOA induction:

Faculty Member selected for AOA induction:

Bryan Kirby, MD

Michele Monteil, MB.BS., M.Sc., Ph.D., FRCPath

Samat Kabani | Natalie Swavely | Colton Wood

Gold Humanism Honor Society The Medical Partnership’s Gold Humanism Honor Society (GHHS) Selection Committee also completed the process for selection of students from the Class of 2016 for induction into GHHS in March 2015. Students were nominated by their peers, as well as Faculty and Staff from the Medical Partnership. Students selected for GHHS represent exemplars in compassion, empathy and concern for others. The committee, in making their final selection, considered the students’ integrity, compassion, altruism, respect, and empathy. GHHS Students selected from the Class of 2016 include: Will Galvin | Joey Krakowiak | Shannon O’Brien Grace Yaguchi | Phil Yun

The ATHENS ADVOCATE — Fall 2015 Issue


New Faculty Frank Block, Jr., MD | Professor of Medicine Dr. Frank Block, Jr. is a Georgia native, but comes to the Medical Partnership via Arkansas where he has specialized in anesthesiology for almost 40 years. Dr. Block received his bachelor’s degree from Yale University and his medical degree from the University of Virginia School of Medicine. He also completed an internship in internal medicine

and residency training in anesthesiology at the University of Virginia. His subsequent training included completing a fellowship in anesthesiology at Duke University. Dr. Block was a research professor in the Departments of Physics and Astronomy and a faculty fellow of the Vanderbilt Institute for Integrative Biosystems Research and Education at Vanderbilt University, and a research professor of anesthesiology at Vanderbilt University Medical Center.

Jaroslava Halper, MD, PhD, DABP | Professor of Pathology Dr. Jaroslava Halper joins us from the University of Georgia’s College of Veterinary Medicine. She earned her medical degree from the University of Toronto and a doctorate from the University of Minnesota. Dr. Halper is a Diplomate with the American Board of Pathology and brings a wealth of experience to her teaching.

Dr. Halper’s research interests include tendon physiology and repair, role of growth factors in pituitary function and wound healing, and biology of transforming growth factor type e and granulins. Her main areas of teaching experience are in cell biology, carcinogenesis, inflammation, wound healing, and physiology of growth factors.

Aimee Martin, MD | Clinical Assistant Professor Dr. Aimee Martin comes to the Medical Partnership from the UGA University Health Center (UHC), where she serves as a physician. Dr. Martin joined the health center staff in 2008. She served two years active duty as a captain in the United States Army at the General Leonard Wood Army Community Hospital in Fort Leonard

Wood, Missouri, where she was a staff physician in the emergency room. She then practiced as a staff physician in the emergency room at Athens Regional Medical Center for three years. Her interests include acute care, acupuncture, and disease prevention. Dr. Martin received her medical degree from Tulane University School of Medicine and completed her residency training in emergency medicine at Vanderbilt University Medical Center.

Second Annual Alumni Luncheon O

rientation is chock-full of information for incoming students, ranging from financial aid details to curriculum materials to technology requirements, as well as opportunities to interact with classmates and members of the other three classes. For a second year, however, one of the highest rated events was the Alumni Luncheon on the second official day of orientation. With five Medical College of Georgia alums spread out across the room, members of the Class of 2019 had the opportunity to learn about medical school from those who have experienced life as an MCG student.

GRU/UGA Medical Partnership

Following comments by Dean Peter Buckley, Associate Dean Paul Wallach, and Campus Interim Dean Leslie Lee, Dr. Sam Richwine introduced his remarks as providing the “comic relief” of the luncheon. While Dr. Richwine did generate laughter, he also shared a special perspective as both a UGA graduate and MCG graduate. “I would

be remiss if I did not advise you to enjoy Athens when you can,” Dr. Richwine said. He shared that members of the Class of 2018 started a tradition that would be unique to the GRU/UGA Medical Partnership campus – ringing the UGA Chapel bell to celebrate the end of school in May. Dr. Richwine concluded the luncheon by encouraging the students to enjoy their four years in medical school. “Most of all, enjoy your classmates,” he shared. “Most of them will be lifelong friends with whom you will share a common bond.”

First Residents T

he Internal Medicine Residency Program, a joint effort of the GRU/ UGA Medical Partnership and St. Mary’s Health Care System, welcomed its first class of ten Internal Medicine residents on July 1. Each resident will complete three-years of training in Internal Medicine rotations as specified by the American Board of Internal Medicine (ABIM) certification requirements. Residents will focus on the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of disease in adults and will practice alongside attending physicians to gain increasingly sophisticated knowledge, skills, and experience working with patients. The Internal Medicine Residency Program includes five core faculty members, 10 subspecialty education coordinators, and approximately 70 additional faculty for the elective and subspecialty rotations. These faculty members are actively


While some of the alums were recent graduates, Dr. George Miller, Class of 1961, once again stole the show. Dr. Miller wore his original student ID around his neck and spoke with the students about the special years he spent in Augusta.

engaged in providing quality clinical care and medical education on a daily basis. “The start of Northeast Georgia’s first residency program is an historic occasion,” said St. Mary’s President and CEO Don McKenna. “It is the product of years of hard work by many people, and offers the state and our community an unprecedented opportunity to enhance access to quality care by attracting a new generation of primary care physicians to our region.” “We appreciate all that Governor Nathan Deal, the legislature, the Board of Regents, and the leadership of GRU and UGA have done to make this program possible,” said Dr. Leslie Lee, interim campus dean of the GRU/UGA Medical Partnership. “Through their foresight and dedication, they have provided the support needed to bring this dream to fruition.”

Far left: The inaugural group of residents at their White Coat Ceremony. Left: Resident Narayana Gowda. Top right: St. Mary’s CMO Bruce Middendorf, Medical Partnership alum & resident Brian Brewer and MCG Dean Peter Buckley at the White Coat Ceremony. Bottom right: Resident Kyle Walker and Residency Program Director Pete Yunyongying.

The ATHENS ADVOCATE — Fall 2015 Issue


HUMANS OF THE MEDICAL PARTNERSHIP Be sure to check out our “Humans of the Medical Partnership” feature every Monday on Facebook, Instagram & Twitter!

“You know what’s fun? I get to co-facilitate a team of students with a clinical colleague. The two of us meet and discuss ways to help each student gain the skills they will need in future. Then one day, a student comes in and absolutely nails it. And my colleague and I get to share a look that says “That was great! They got it!” Now, that’s fun!” Eve Gallman, Ph.D., Associate Professor, Medical Neuroscience

“I always joke about being a ‘jack of all trades and a master of none,’ but it kind of sums up my job here. One day you’re rush-ordering pig kidneys, the next day you’re learning about ultrasound machines, and the next day you might be picking out floor tile for a lab renovation. I think that weird chaos is what I like best about it.” Chris Gustin, Business Office

“My passion for teaching biochemistry has always been driven by my laboratory research. In the lab, the excitement in discovery and the uncertainty experienced when ambiguous experimental results are obtained is very similar to the experiences students encounter when learning new information.” Dr. Amy Medlock, Assistant Professor, Biochemistry and Molecular Biology

“You need a quote from me too? How about ‘Put in a ticket!’” Kevin Whiten, EITS/CTS IT Professional Associate, UGA

“I had a mentor at Notre Dame who said ‘I’ve got an 8-hour a day job and a 4-hour a day hobby, and they are both the same.’ And my situation is just like that - it was like fate. If I hadn’t worked with the vet in Indiana - if I hadn’t worked with the Humane Society - if I hadn’t worked as an animal rehabilitator - I might not have gone back to school at age 35. That work helping animals inspired me to find a profession where I could help people. The lessons I learned about compassion and empathy from animals are the same lessons I try to pass along to our medical students when they work to care for their patients.” Michael Russell, Associate Professor of Physiology

“One of the best parts of our job is working with our Simulated Patient Volunteers. Many of them have been volunteering since the school opened 6 years ago. We are so blessed to work in a supportive community like Athens, and appreciate all the time and energy our volunteers give to help educate our medical students.” Courtney Simmons-Dorsey and Tina Powers, Essentials of Clinical Medicine Team

“Making time to sleep, exercise and eat well are my top three priorities in medical school. I strongly believe that you need to feel good and live a balanced, healthy lifestyle to succeed in school and keep your stress levels down. Even if daily exercise takes away from studying, I make the time because it clears my head, making the study time more effective.” Angela Holder, Class of 2018