Athens Advocate Summer 2015

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Athens Advocate


A Quarterly Publication of the GRU/UGA Medical Partnership


Volume 4 | Number 1 | Summer 2015

Congratulations, Class of 2015!

Leslie Petch Lee named Interim Campus Dean


r. Leslie Petch Lee, assistant dean for curriculum at the Georgia Regents University/University of Georgia Medical Partnership, has been named its interim campus dean. “There is a strong consensus that Dr. Lee, who has served as a leader at the Partnership campus essentially from its beginning, is a terrific choice for interim campus dean,” said Dr. Peter F. Buckley, dean of the Medical College of Georgia at GRU. “Her knowledge of the faculty, staff, and students, who are integral to the partnership’s function and purpose, will ensure continued progress as the national search for a permanent campus dean progresses and as we continue to prepare for our medical school reaccreditation.” Lee, who joined UGA in 2005 and also has an MCG faculty appointment,

became involved in the early planning and development of the GRU/UGA Medical Partnership in 2007 and was appointed coordinator for the firstand second-year curriculum—known as phases 1 and 2—for the Medical Partnership in 2008. She became assistant dean for curriculum in 2010, a position in which she oversees the development and implementation of the phase 1 and 2 curriculum. She also represents the Medical Partnership on the MCG Instructional Technology Advisory Committee, the Phase 1 and 2 Curriculum Committee, the Curriculum Oversight Committee, the Admissions Committee, and the Executive Committee for Reaccreditation. “Dr. Lee has helped guide the growth and progress of the GRU/UGA Medical Partnership since its founding, and I am confident that she will provide

outstanding leadership while the national search for the next permanent campus dean continues,” said Dr. Pamela Whitten, UGA senior vice president for academic affairs and provost. Lee was previously associate director of the Virology Core Facility at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, Center for AIDS Research. She earned her Ph.D. in pharmacology from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. Inaugural Campus Dean Barbara Schuster stepped down from her position on May 12 after nearly seven years of leadership. Houston Davis, University System of Georgia executive vice chancellor and chief academic officer, is chairing a 15-member search committee that is conducting a national search for the next permanent campus dean of the Medical Partnership.

Letter from the Interim Campus Dean


t has been my privilege to serve as the Interim Campus Dean of the GRU/UGA Medical Partnership as we transition from the founding dean to new leadership.

Change is often difficult, but with change come new opportunities. As this summer edition of the Athens Advocate goes to print we are completing the search for a new Campus Dean and are excited about the possibilities ahead. We have had four outstanding candidates visit both Athens and Augusta over the last few weeks. Faculty, staff, students and community members have had the opportunity to meet them, ask questions about their experiences, and learn more about their goals for the GRU/UGA Medical Partnership. Please visit our website for the latest Campus Dean search information. In the meantime we have been busy preparing for the year ahead. The Athens campus Class of 2019 is a diverse and impressive group and we look forward to learning more about them and their many talents. Our second year students are back in the classroom after a busy summer doing research, traveling, or volunteering either at home or abroad, and are no doubt looking forward to their bi-monthly visits to area hospitals and other health care facilities where they will work more closely with patients. The Class of 2017 has been at work since July, beginning their third year rotations with over 500 physicians across northeast Georgia who help them to grow and gain critical experience in patient care. And the Class of 2016 – they are off and running on what will undoubtedly be a whirlwind year for them. Many spent the summer at away rotations, as well as preparing for their upcoming residency applications and interviews. If I can ever be of assistance, please don’t hesitate to contact me. It has been a pleasure serving the Medical Partnership in this role, and I look forward to what will no doubt be a busy and exciting fall in Athens.


GRU/UGA Medical Partnership

Leslie Petch Lee, Ph.D. Interim Campus Dean GRU/UGA Medical Partnership

Athens Advocate


Volume 4 | Number 1 | Summer 2015

Georgia Regents 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 Georgia Regents University and the University of Georgia.

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

GRU/UGA Medical Partnership EDITOR

Alison Bracewell McCullick, M.P.A. EDITORIAL ASSISTANTS

Andrea Horsman & Chris Gustin DESIGN


Andrew Tucker & Alison Bracewell McCullick PHONE

706-713-2183 EMAIL WEBSITE 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.

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

In This Issue... AOA & GHHS – 4 Schuster Farewell Reception & Interprofessional Learning with the College of Nursing – 5 Match Day 2015 – 6 Hooding – 8 Community Celebration & Recognition – 9 Student Highlights – 12 Final Letter from the Founding Campus Dean – 13 New Faculty – 14 Faculty, Staff & Student Kudos – 15 Medical Partnership New Media Presence & New Medical Partnership Scholarship – back cover


UGA PRESIDENT Jere Morehead, J.D. UGA PROVOST Pamela Whitten, Ph.D.

GRU PRESIDENT Brooks Keel, Ph.D. GRU-MCG DEAN Peter Buckley, M.D.


Stay Informed. Like our Facebook page!

Find us on Facebook by searching GHSU UGA Medical Partnership The ATHENS ADVOCATE — Summer 2015 Issue


Back row: Dr. Shelley Nuss, Russell Ledford, Brett Magner, Wesley Bryson, Tom Olinger, Dr. Scott Richardson, and Parker Smith. Front row: Saumya Dave, Andrew Miller, Rocco Cannistraro, Theodora Brandon, and former Dean Barbara Schuster.

Medical Partnership AOA & GHHS Inductees Honored O

n February 19th, the Class of 2015 Medical Partnership inductees in Alpha Omega Alpha and Gold Humanism Honor Society were recognized at a celebration ceremony. Alpha Omega Alpha Honor Medical Society (AOA) is a professional medical organization that recognizes and advocates for excellence in scholarship and the highest ideals in the profession of medicine. Members have a compelling drive to do well, to advance the medical profession and exemplify the highest standards of professionalism. For students, the top 25% of the Class of 2015 are eligible for AOA with only 16% being inducted. The 4

GRU/UGA Medical Partnership

GRU/UGA Medical Partnership’s AOA selection committee, in making its final selections, considered scholastic achievement, leadership capabilities, ethical standards, fairness in dealing with colleagues, demonstrated professionalism, potential for achievement in medicine, and record of service. The Medical Partnership Class of 2015 inductees include: • Theodora Brandon (St. Mary’s, GA) • Wesley Bryson (Rome, GA) • Rocco Cannistraro (Westport, MA) • Russell Ledford (Houston, TX) • Andrew Miller (Watkinsville, GA) • Tom Olinger (Kalamazoo, MI) • W. Scott Richardson, MD (Associate Dean of Curriculum)

In 2002, the Arnold P. Gold Foundation established the Gold Humanism Honor Society as a signature program to recognize medical students, residents, and faculty who practice patientcentered care by modeling the qualities of integrity, excellence, compassion, altruism, respect, and empathy. Students are nominated by their peers and by faculty. Medical Partnership Class of 2015 students who were inducted include: • Rocco Cannistraro (Westport, MA) • Saumya Dave (Marietta, GA) • Jeffrey Donahue (Kennesaw, GA) • Russell Ledford (Houston, TX) • Brett Magner (Griffin, GA) • Parker Smith (Duluth, GA)

Dean Schuster Farewell Reception O

n May 12, Barbara L. Schuster, M.D. stepped down as the founding Campus Dean for the GRU/UGA Medical Partnership after almost seven years of service. Knowing Dean Schuster’s love for afternoon tea, a “Tea with the Dean” reception was held in her honor on Wednesday, May 6. When she arrived in November 2008, Dean Schuster’s first goal was to prepare to welcome 40 students who would be arriving in August 2010. She oversaw hiring faculty and staff, preparing a building undergoing renovation to house the program, developing an innovative medical school curriculum, connecting with UGA faculty and the medical community, and recruiting potential students and interested community volunteers and supporters. Dean Schuster’s vision for the Medical Partnership in those early days have come to fruition almost seven years later. The Medical Partnership is now well integrated into northeast Georgia, with over 450 community physicians teaching over 160 medical students. In July, the first 10 residents will arrive in Athens to begin their training at the GRU/UGA Medical Partnership sponsored program at St. Mary’s Health System. The first clinical translational research facility on the UGA Health Sciences Campus is scheduled to open in early fall 2015.

Interprofessional Learning with the College of Nursing by Dr. Sam Kini


aving been a practicing Emergency Physician for 40 years, I have seen how the practice of medicine and medical education have changed considerably. Interprofessional education (IPE) is new to most professionals. In the years past, most health and social care professionals learned separately from one another. Physicians made independent “Patient Care” decisions. Nurses helped patients and doctors but were hesitant to participate in that decision making process. Patient care is an increasingly complex and demanding activity. Health and social care professionals should work together in an effective manner to improve outcomes. The evidence suggests, however, that these professionals traditionally do not collaborate well together. Interprofessional education (IPE) offers

a possible way to improve collaboration and patient care. There are studies to suggest that IPE produces positive outcomes in the following areas: emergency department culture and patient satisfaction, collaborative team behavior, and reduction of clinical error rates for emergency department teams. Training and educational programs have been developed as a possible way to improve how professionals work together to take care of patients. Interprofessional education (IPE) is any type of educational, training, teaching or learning session in which two or more health and social care professions are learning interactively. The GRU/UGA Medical Partnership has begun to implement IPE on our campus. This program brings together nurse practitioner students from the GRUCollege of Nursing and medical students from the Medical Partnership to meet weekly during the Emergency Medicine Academic half-days. The students

discuss cases that they have managed in the Emergency Departments during the week. The nursing students take an active role in solving cases and share their thoughts in management of these cases. The students are enjoying this collaboration and building knowledge from each other. They agree that the future of medicine lies in a “team approach” to patient care and minimizing medical errors. We are looking into the feasibility of inviting Paramedic and Pharmacy students to join us and take advantage of the learning opportunities in our IPE program. Sam Kini, MD is a Professor of Medicine at the GRU/UGA Medical Partnership. He serves as the Emergency Medicine site clerkship director and is the Interim Essentials of Clinical Medicine Director at the Medical Partnership.

The ATHENS ADVOCATE — Summer 2015 Issue


Class of 2015

Match Day 2015 R

esident applicants at the GRU/UGA Medical Partnership gathered on Friday, March 20 at noon in George Hall at the UGA Health Sciences Campus for Match Day, an event celebrating the next step in their medical careers. Sealed envelopes addressed to individual students were displayed on a table for each of the members of the Class of 2015, and inside each envelope was a personal letter revealing where the student will pursue his or her postgraduate education.

students ranked hospitals where they would like to complete residencies, and hospital residency programs rank the student applicants. The lists are then submitted to the nonprofit organization National Resident Matching Program in Washington, D.C., which uses an algorithm that aligns the choices of the applicants with those of the residency programs. The final pairings are announced simultaneously across the United States at noon on the third Friday in March.

An annual event, Match Day takes place after students participated in interviews and visits to residency programs in Georgia and across the country. To determine the post-graduation assignments, the

GRU/UGA Medical Partnership participants in Match Day 2015 were honored with the following Residency Appointments:





Roberto Aguilera

Vidant Medical Center/East Carolina University

Medicine-Emergency Medicine

Theodora Brandon

Jackson Memorial Hospital (FL)


Brian Brewer

GRU/UGA Medical Partnership

Internal Medicine

Wesley Bryson

PG1 Trident Medical Center (SC) PG2 Barnes-Jewish Hospital (MO)

Transitional-MUSC Radiology-Diagnostic

Rocco Cannistraro

Mayo School of Graduate Medical Education


Nicholas Callihan

University of Texas Medical School – Houston

Emergency Medicine

Sylvan Cox

University of New Mexico School of Medicine

Internal Medicine

Saumya Dave

Icahn School of Medicine Beth Israel


Logesh Dharmar

Maimonides Medical Center

Emergency Medicine

Jeffrey Donahue

Atlanta Medical Center

Orthopaedic Surgery

Joanna Eldredge

North Shore-LIJ Health System

Internal Med/Lenox Hill

Kristina Falkenstrom

Medical College of Georgia

General Surgery

Nicholas Fitzpatrick

Medical University of South Carolina


Gregory Foster

Medical University of South Carolina


Monica Gavaller

Morehouse School of Medicine

Internal Medicine

Nigel George

Denver Health Medical Center

Emergency Medicine

Natalie Giles

Emory University School of Medicine

Internal Medicine

Alexander Guile

Kaiser Permanente-Riverside

Family Medicine

Dave Gupta

Emory University School of Medicine

Internal Medicine

Christopher Jackson

Univ of Tennessee College of Medicine -Memphis

Internal Medicine

Evan Jones

Alaska Family Medicine/Providence Hospital

Family Medicine

Maggie Kent

LSU Health Sciences Campus - Shreveport

Surgery -Prelim/Urology

GRU/UGA Medical Partnership




Boris Kovalenko

University of Washington Affiliate Hospitals

Orthopaedic Surgery

Russell Ledford

Johns Hopkins Hospital

Internal Medicine

Ari Levine

Toledo Hospital

Family Medicine

Brett Magner

Oregon Health & Science University

Family Medicine/Cascades East

Matthew Meng

Medical College of Georgia

Orthopaedic Surgery

Andrew Miller

Walter Reed National Military Medical Center

Internal Medicine

Sagal Mohamed

University of Tennessee - St Thomas Hospitals

Internal Med/Midtown

Thomas Olinger

University of Michigan Hospitals -Ann Arbor

Plastic Surgery (Integrated)

Courtney Raybon

University of California San Francisco

Surgery - Preliminary

Zachary Rohm

PG1 Emory University School of Medicine PG2 Emory University School of Medicine

Med-Prelim/Neurology Neurology

Alison Ruch

Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center

Emergency Medicine

Andrew Ruege

Greenville Health System/University of South Carolina


Michael Schecter

Medical University of South Carolina


Parker Smith

Medical College of Georgia

Emergency Medicine

Lindsey Sweat

Anderson Area Medical Center (SC)

Family Medicine

Eric Wang

PG1 University of Pennsylvania PG2 Johns Hopkins Hospital

Surgery-Preliminary Anesthesiology

Alex Whitaker-Lea

Virginia Commonwealth University Health System

Neurological Surgery

Ashley Austin (Class of 2014)

University of Virginia

Family Medicine

Meredith Maxwell (Class of 2014)

Tallahassee Memorial Healthcare

Family Medicine

Julie Pinheiro (Class of 2014)

Vidant Medical Center/East Carolina University

Family Medicine

The ATHENS ADVOCATE — Summer 2015 Issue


Class of 2015

Class of 2015 Hooding Ceremony by Dr. Michael Schecter Neurology – Medical University of South Carolina Comments shared at Hooding Ceremony in Augusta, Georgia on May 7, 2015.


am honored to speak today on behalf of the Athens campus. In preparation for this speech, my first thought was what exactly is hooding. Hooding is the placing of a hood over the entire head of a prisoner. That is the first sentence in Wikipedia when you search for hooding. It goes on to say that it is considered to be an act of torture and a common prelude to execution. Fortunately for us, our hooding ceremony is quite different. In my next Google search I read that hooding formally acknowledges our achievements and, through the administration of the Hippocratic Oath, reminds us of the high standards of performance and behavior to which we aspire and with which we are challenged as we enter upon professional careers as physicians. We come from a varied background but our paths converged when medical school began. Four years and three names later, our paths are about to scatter again, but as a class we have grown into men and women who are ready to take this next step in our


GRU/UGA Medical Partnership

careers. Together, we are joining the ranks of those before us connected by the skull and crossbones that symbolize our institution. These last four years have allowed us to build relationships that will last a lifetime. We have survived this journey together and throughout the stress and struggle of it all, we have created bonds that can never be broken. Medical school has a tendency to throw a bubble around you if you let it. And I think many of us became aware of it every now and again. It changes your language and can alter your daily interactions with friends and family. While this bubble is an integral part of what has made our class bond so strong, we must never lose sight of the big picture that we are in this profession to serve others. As Hippocrates once said, “wherever the art of medicine is loved, there also is love of humanity.� Medical school is tough. At times it may have even felt like torture. Yet med students are achievers, and we are here today united by a common cause celebrating that which we have most recently achieved. It becomes easy to lose sight of how impressive your classmates are when the bar becomes elevated, and the new average by which you compare everyone has become all the more extraordinary.

I want to brag on some classmates here. As physicians in training, my classmates have been able to attain goals in other realms of life outside of medicine, including art, science, family and athletics. Some of my classmates balanced the responsibilities of medical school with a family life. Some got married, and some have had children throughout this journey. We have accomplished writers, musicians and athletes amongst us. All this is impressive when you take a step back and see it for what it is - these achievements during medical school. But as achievers, it is not easy for us to always acknowledge our accomplishments, whether inside the classroom or out, because the process of improvement requires a certain focus on our weaknesses. Nearly masochistic, we torture ourselves to be better - to improve upon our faults and to search deep within to find them. But today is a day of celebration. Today marks the first day we can begin to look at each other as doctors and marvel at our accomplishments thus far, taking a break from the constant process of improvement we all pursue. Hooding may be better known on the Internet for being a torture method but today we celebrate not the prelude to an execution, but the prelude to our careers.

by Dr. Saumya Dave Psychiatry – Icahn School of Medicine Beth Israel Comments shared at Community Celebration in Athens, Georgia on May 9, 2015.


’m truly honored and excited to be standing up here. Most of you know me as Saumya; some of you may know me as “Swami”. This entire week, I’ve heard my fellow classmates say, “I can’t believe this time is here. It just doesn’t feel real. It’s all such a blur.” And maybe that’s how it’s supposed to be, when something is such a significant part of our fabric, it won’t ever wash away. When we were lined up on Thursday, waiting to be hooded, I took a step back and soaked in our proud Athens cluster. Being in Athens has shown me that medicine is about human connection and community. And speaking of that, what a community we’ve made here! We’ve been with each other through sleep deprivation, struggles in our personal lives, memorizing Pathoma, lining up for quiz reviews every Friday, and following Dr. Lucas’s encouragement to listen to that patient’s heart just one more time, so we can hear that murmur we didn’t pick up at first. As our class president, Michael Schecter, so eloquently said, it’s been inspiring to see how our students balance medical school with other facets of their lives.

Community Celebration & Recognition

In front of me, I see the most sincere and hard-working people I’ve ever known. People who don’t seem to see how wonderful they are. Now, although dreams are lovely, beautiful things, I’m not going to stand up here and wish that everyone follows their dreams and perseveres, because I already know they’ll do that. Instead, I hope that we all keep exceeding the expectations we’ve set for ourselves. There were days over the past years when I thought, “I can’t possibly learn all of this by this time,” or “This is tough. Maybe too tough.” But then the days pass. And everything’s more than okay. And we realize that those tough days show us who we’re capable of becoming. They show us that to be continuously humbled is a blessing and that hardships have a way of eroding uncertainties and replacing them with an unshakeable faith. They teach us to conquer our own battles, so we can help our patients conquer theirs. We are all at the beginning of something great and still have so much to learn. No matter where we end up, I hope we keep taking our own emotional biopsies, and remember the people we became here, in Athens, and how each experience prepared us for a lifetime of service. Congratulations, Class of 2015. We did it! The ATHENS ADVOCATE — Summer 2015 Issue


Class of 2015

Community Celebration & Recognition Dr. Jonathan Murrow | Cardiology Associate Professor of Medicine Excerpts from the Keynote Address


et me begin by celebrating you new doctors. You came from the hills of Rome, from Pine Mountain, Alpharetta, Duluth, Watkinsville, and lands beyond committing almost four years ago to the still noble and worthy task of becoming physicians. You came to this place where medical education was a novel experiment being conducted in an old cotton mill turned schoolhouse down on the Oconee River. There is another attribute besides intelligence that should be celebrated today. Let me suggest that in this moment we should celebrate your courage. I recognize that courage and bravery are virtues that we rightfully praise in our colleagues who risk their lives in law enforcement, in firefighting, in the armed services – like the men and women Capt. Sapera mentored for many years on this same campus. Yet I argue today, above all other of your marvelous qualities, your courage has brought you to this moment. In its essence, courage represents your commitment in thought and deed to pursuing something where the outcome is not only uncertain, but could be harmful to your well-being. Last century, theologian Paul Tillich wrote a lot about how courage underpins our very vitality. To be fully human, we call upon our readiness to take upon ourselves challenges, obstacles, and even dangers for the sake of a greater good. This is the “courage to be”. Where are those act of courage in this class? You need only to harken back four years ago when you committed to learning medicine. The costs of becoming a doctor are high – both in dollars and in time, and you have begun to spend “the currency of your youth” to achieve this goal. And while 10

GRU/UGA Medical Partnership

this is a noble and worthy effort, how it will impact your lives remains uncertain. With courage you overcame the uncertainty of enrolling in a medical school barely tested in its ability to educate. The very way in which you learned medicine here did not afford you a place to hide. Small group learning, simulated patient encounters, and then real patients – to meet these challenges daily was a self-affirming and courageous act. What else but courage helped you, as writer Walker Percy put it,

“listen to people, see how they stick themselves into the world, hand them along a ways in their dark journey and be handed along”? Today we celebrate to

the courage that brought you to this point, and that which will sustain you looking ahead. Already you prepare for the next challenges, and July 1 draws ever nearer. There you will be further tested. But remember what William Osler taught us:

“Courage and cheerfulness will not only carry you over the rough places in life, but will enable you to bring comfort and help to the weak-hearted and will console you in the sad hours.”

And so in closing, colleagues, I’ll leave you with a few pearls. You graduates know that medical school envies your free time, and as such, many of you may feel as though you are emerging from what Dr. Schecter aptly called a “bubble”. Whilst you studied the years passed – have you wondered what you have missed? I’d like to invoke the best wisdom that our modern poets have offered to sustain your days ahead. Remember, as Ms. Swift tells us, “haters gonna hate” and therefore be not discouraged. And as the French techno pop duo Daft Punk inspires us,

We’ve come too far to give up who we are So let’s raise the bar and our cups to the stars.

And finally, as we celebrate this day and the days to come we ask:

Can we go back, this is the moment Tonight is the night, we’ll fight ‘til it’s over So we put our hands up like the ceiling can’t hold us

So go forth, graduates. Celebrate this day. Let all of us here temper our fears and anxiety with the courage to be, excellent in service to each other. As you now are equipped with new degrees and new authority I charge you to:

“Do all the good you can, by all the means you can, in all the ways you can, in all the places you can, at all the times you can, to all the people you can, as long as you ever can.”

The ATHENS ADVOCATE — Summer 2015 Issue


Student Highlights

5th Annual Teddy Bear Clinic I

n late April, students from the Class of 2017 and Class of 2018 participated in a Teddy Bear Clinic just a few miles from the UGA Health Sciences Campus at Alps Road Elementary School. Created to help alleviate fears about visiting the doctor, this annual program is one of the most popular volunteer events that brings together Medical Partnership students with children in the Clarke County School District.

toy’s eyes, ears, and mouth, as well as listening to the toy’s heart. The children would talk about where the teddy bear might be hurting and what symptoms existed, and the medical students would then share a little bit about what a doctor would do to help the patient feel better.

The Medical Partnership students arrived in the kindergarten classrooms decked out in their white coats with a stethoscope around their necks and reflex hammers and Snellen eye charts tucked in their pockets. Each student paired up with two or three kindergartners who had brought in a favorite stuffed animal. Together the children and medical students examined their “patient” by checking the

The “checkup” ended with the medical students sharing the basic steps of a healthy check-up and allowing the children to participate and ask questions. During the conversation, they reminded the kindergarteners about the proper way to wash hands, the best way to sneeze, and the importance of exercising each day for good health. As with all doctor’s visits, the medical students gave the children fun stickers and band aids before heading back for afternoon classes.

Wine & Cheese Benefit by Palmer Feibelman | Class of 2017


his February, students from the M1 and M2 classes came together to host the 3rd annual Wine and Cheese Benefit night at Cine. Each year the students select a local charity to receive a portion of the event’s proceeds. This year, the students elected to support UGA’s Physical Activity and Learning (PAL) program. The PAL program is a hands-on and engaging after-school program for elementary school students in Clarke County. Scientific literature has repeatedly proven that increased physical activity leads to higher academic achievement. Based on this understanding, the PAL program offers a mix of physical activity and homework assistance each afternoon for three hours. With the donations from the Wine 12

GRU/UGA Medical Partnership

and Cheese fundraiser, we hope to help the PAL program continue to positively impact the lives of children in Athens.

Floyd, Blake Rudeseal and Campus Associate Dean for Curriculum Dr. Scott Richardson

This year’s Wine and Cheese Fundraiser was a great success with record breaking attendance and contributions. Attendees enjoyed hors d’oeuvres from multiple Athens establishments and wine tastings from Cellar Wine and Spirits. Additionally, the raffle drawings and silent auction boasted vacation weekends, an iPad, gift certificates from local businesses, and many other exciting items.

The event raised $5,500 dollars in total. Sixty percent, or $3,300, will go to support the PAL program, and forty percent ($2,200) will support the academic endeavors of the student government.

This year’s event also featured the first live performance of Athens’ newest up and coming rock band: The Kidney Stones. The Kidney Stones is a band comprised of first year medical students Justin Belk, Matt Broggi, Emerson

Final Letter from the Founding Campus Dean A

s the Campus Dean, I took the opportunity to enrich education by sending medically related and inspiring books to the incoming medical student class and the rising second year medical students. This year, I chose to include the rising third and fourth year students. Inscribing the books, I included the statement, “Best Wishes for a successful and personally satisfying medical career.” Stepping down from the position of Campus Dean, I have reflected on this statement and smile every time I consider my medical career to date. Early in my education, it became clear that teaching was core to my future career. Graduating from the University of Pennsylvania with a master’s degree in education, I spent a bit of time teaching life science in middle school and biology in high school. After finishing medical school and a residency in Internal Medicine, I accepted a position as an Assistant Residency Program Director, the position from which I launched my academic career. Meanwhile, in my practice at a university health service, I understood that by teaching my patients, I could empower them to better understand health care and help them be a partner in their personal medical decisions. An educated patient is necessary for quality health care. A well-educated physician workforce can influence the future of health care. Specific doctoring skills and knowledge are not enough; physicians must understand people, appreciate individual cultures, and find satisfaction with their daily work since the hours will always be long and frustrations always present. I have been blessed with an extremely satisfying and gratifying career. Developing educational programs for both students and residents, coaching young faculty to help grow their careers, and welcoming back senior physicians to the educational environment, bringing years of experience and wisdom to help the student and resident integrate the theoretical with reality, have continued to stimulate my creativity and curiosity. To the position of Campus Dean, I brought the many lessons learned from my positions of residency program director and academic chair. If asked what has been the most satisfying, I would reply having the opportunity to effect the lives of patients by helping to educate the quality future physician. Many years ago, I discovered the dictum, “To Teach is to touch those who touch the Future.” Thanks to all who teach the students from the Medical Partnership, not only the physicians, but the staff, the technicians, the nurses, and most importantly the Georgians who have been patients. Kudos to all who have helped to develop a remarkable medical campus and a group of wonderful future doctors. Lastly, thanks to all who have given me the opportunity to be the Founding Campus Dean. May the Class of 2015, highlighted in this issue of the Athens Advocate, follow their dreams, remember to teach their patients and colleagues, respect the profession, and be blessed with a “Successful and personally satisfying career”!

Barbara L. Schuster, M.D. Founding Campus Dean GRU/UGA Medical Partnership

The ATHENS ADVOCATE — Summer 2015 Issue


New Faculty John Francis, MD, PhD | Campus Associate Dean for Student & Multicultural Affairs Dr. John Francis comes to us from Yale University School of Medicine where he served as an Assistant Professor in the AIDS Program in the Department of Internal Medicine and a Medical Student Academic Advisor. He also held an appointment as a Hospital Epidemiologist, Head of Infection Control at the Veterans Affairs Connecticut

Healthcare System. Dr. Francis received his B.S. from Andrews University and both a Ph.D. in Microbiology and Molecular Genetics and his M.D. from Loma Linda University. With all of his experience and warmth to add to the mix, the Medical Partnerhip looks forward to all Dr. Francis will bring to the Student & Multicultural Affairs office.

Nancy Hockley, MD, FACS | Chair of Clinical Sciences Nancy Moran Hockley, MD, FACS, has been named Chair of Clinical Sciences at the GRU/UGA Medical Partnership and Associate Professor in the Department of Surgery at GRU’s Medical College of Georgia. Prior to accepting her position at the Medical Partnership, Hockley served as the Regional Director of Clinical Clerkships and a lecturer in Pharmacology at Indiana University School of Medicine for five years. She also served as a Physician Advisor at the

Lutheran Hospital of Indiana for six years. As Chair of Clinical Sciences, Hockley is responsible for the continuing development and maintenance of all the clinical sites for the clinical education of the medical students on the Medical Partnership campus. Hockley studied Pharmacy at Purdue University before receiving her Doctor of Medicine from Indiana University School of Medicine in 1984. She pursued an internship in General Surgery at Indiana University Medical Center and completed her residency in Urology in 1990 at Indiana University Medical Center.

Pete Yunyongying, MD, FACP | Internal Medicine Residency Program Director Dr. Pete Yunyongying, or Dr. Ying as he prefers to be called, has joined the Graduate Medical Education (GME) team and St. Mary’s Hospital as the new Internal Medicine Residency Program Director. Prior to his current position, Dr. Ying was an Associate Professor of Internal Medicine at the University of Texas Southwestern (UTSW) Medical Center in Dallas and

the Assistant Chief of General Internal Medicine for Education at the Dallas Veterans Affairs Medical Center. Dr. Ying received his bachelors degree in biochemistry and molecular biology from Brown University and received his medical degree from the University of Maryland School of Medicine. He completed his residency in Internal Medicine from UTSW School of Medicine and was a Fellow in Medical Education and Teaching as well as Educational Leadership from the USC Keck School of Medicine.

Claudia Kretzschmar, MD | Assistant Professor Bringing more than 30 years of gastroenterology and internal medicine experience, Dr. Claudia Kretzschmar joins the Medical Partnership’s clinical faculty. A graduate of the Pritzker School of Medicine at the University of Chicago, Dr. Kretzschmar completed 14

GRU/UGA Medical Partnership

her residency in Internal Medicine before specializing in Gastroenterology as a Fellow at the University of Wisconsin Hospitals and Clinics. Having resided in Athens for over twenty years, Dr. Kretzschmar has contributed to the community’s health through several extracurricular medical committees and contiues to serve through her work with the Medical Partnership and its students.

Lina Millán, MD | Assistant Professor Dr. Lina Millán joins the Medical Partnership as a part of the clinical faculty. A Georgia native, Dr. Millán is from Atlanta, where she received her undergraduate degree from Emory University and completed medical school at the Medical College of Georgia. She went on to complete her residency in OB/GYN at West Virginia University.

Dr. Millán has an active interest in preventative healthcare for women, minimally invasive gynecologic surgery, and urogynecology. She is skilled in the newest innovative procedures such as da Vinci Hysterectomy - using a state-ofthe-art surgical system to perform the most precise minimally invasive hysterectomy available. Dr. Millán’s current role is facilitating small group learning with our second-year medical students.

Faculty, Staff & Student Kudos Ashley Townsend, Graduate Medical Education Coordinator, recently graduated from the LEAD Athens program. A year-long leadership development program coordinated by the Athens Area Chamber of Commerce, Ashley was one of 29 participants in the 2014-2015 class. Part of the learning experience includes developing a class project that will impact the community. Ashley’s group created a “Buy Athens” marketing campaign geared toward engaging and encouraging residents to support the Athens business economy. To learn more, visit Dr. DeLoris Hesse, Associate Professor of Anatomy and Embryology, was selected by The Center of Teaching and Learning at UGA as a Teacher of the Week. She was recognized for excellence in teaching during the Spring 2015 semester. Dr. Melissa Davis, Assistant Professor of Genetics, spoke on “Breast Cancer Disparities in Context of Patient Diversity” at the ninth annual Global Educational Forum. The conference theme, “Women in Science and Medicine: Challenges, Achievements, and Way Forward,” brought together experts from around the globe to delve into multicultural, multi-discipline topics. The annual forum focuses on women in scientific fields because they are, traditionally, an underrepresented group.

Julie K. Gaines, MLIS, Associate Professor, was recently presented with the Outstanding Faculty award for the Georgia Regents University Libraries. The award is given each year to a librarian and the recipient is nominated by fellow librarians within the Georgia Regents University Library system. Criteria for the award is based on quality of research, impact of research, ability to garner and secure grants, publications, focus, teaching, university relations, as well as community service. Dr. Kent Nilsson, Assistant Professor of Medicine, is the lead investigator on the Genetic Atrial Fibrillation (AF) trial, which is one of only a few trials in cardiology capitalizing on the dream of personalized medicine – using a person’s own genetic makeup to guide therapy. For patients with atrial fibrillation, treatment with beta blockers is a mainstay of therapy. Recent research suggests that beta blocker therapy can be tailored to a person’s genetic make-up. Dr. Nilsson and his team are seeking to establish the safety and efficacy of using bucindolol in genotype guided therapy for patients with heart failure and atrial fibrillation. Dr. Melissa Davis and Dr. Michele Monteil recently received a Faculty Research Grant from the UGA Office of the Vice President of Research. This funding was awarded based on the novel idea of how genetic ancestry may be linked to unique immunological responses that facilitate tumor aggressiveness. Their research results could point the way toward immunotherapies for tumor types that overburden people of African descent; tumor types for which there are currently no good targeted therapies, and which contribute greatly to much higher mortality in these populations.

The ATHENS ADVOCATE — Summer 2015 Issue


Medical Partnership Updates Website & Enhances Social Media Presence The website for the GRU/UGA Medical Partnership has been redesigned to provide a more comprehensive look at the program. The updated site features news and announcements, researcher information, profiles of students, faculty and staff members as well as numerous photographs from the Medical Partnership and around Athens. Easy access links for various stakeholders also are displayed prominently in the redesigned website. The Medical Partnership has also expanded its social media presence. While the Facebook and Twitter accounts have been active for several years, Instagram, LinkedIn and YouTube pages were recently added. Learn more about life at the Medical Partnership campus by following us on one of these new accounts. Website: Facebook: GHSU UGA Medical Partnership Twitter: @GRUUGAMedPart Instagram: MedPartnership LinkedIn: GRU/UGA Medical Partnership YouTube: GRU/UGA Medical Partnership

Barbara L. Schuster Medical Partnership Scholarship The GRU/UGA Medical Partnership has announced the establishment of the Barbara L. Schuster Medical Partnership Scholarship, named in honor of Schuster, who recently stepped down as the founding campus dean after almost seven years of service. To date, more than $40,000 in gifts and pledges have been secured from alumni, students, faculty, staff, physicians, hospitals, and friends of the Medical Partnership. “It is a testament to Dean Schuster and her leadership that so many have responded so quickly and generously to this scholarship,” said interim Campus Dean Leslie Petch Lee. “One of her top priorities during her tenure was supporting students, and this scholarship was an obvious way for the Medical Partnership community to demonstrate their appreciation for all that she accomplished.” Individuals interested in supporting the Barbara L. Schuster Medical Partnership Scholarship can make an online donation at or mail a

check made payable to the University of Georgia Foundation and addressed to Alison Bracewell McCullick, GRU/UGA Medical Partnership, 108 Spear Road, Athens, Georgia 30602.