Partnership Pulse Summer 2017

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Partnership Pulse A Publication of the AU/UGA Medical Partnership

Vol. 6 | No. 2 | Summer 2017

Congratulations, Class of 2017!

In this issue... International Faculty Exchange Match Day 2017

Student, Resident, & Alumni Features Faculty & Staff Accolades

Spring Break Trip to Peru

Partnership Pulse Vol. 6 | No 2 | Summer 2017

In This Issue... Letter from the Dean – 3 COVER STORY:

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 Partnership Pulse is published bi-annually for alumni, friends, and the medical community of Augusta University and the University of Georgia.

Community Celebration – 4

Michelle A. Nuss, MD AU/UGA Medical Partnership Campus Dean 706-713-2183 |

Match Day List – 8

PUBLISHER AU/UGA Medical Partnership

Keynote Address: Suzanne Lester – 6 Student Accolades – 10 A Look Back at the Spring Semester – 11 Alumni Highlight: Cristina Elstad, MD – 14 Spring Break Trip: Peru – 16

Resident Spotlight: Sonia Suda, MD – 18

EXECUTIVE EDITOR Mary Kathryn Rogers, MPA EDITOR Jennifer Adams DESIGN & LAYOUT Jennifer Stowe, MS

GME Update – 19

CONTRIBUTING PHOTOGRAPHERS Jennifer Adams, Mark Ralston PHONE 706-713-2183 EMAIL WEBSITE Articles may be reprinted with permission from the editor. • Copyright © 2017 by the AU/UGA Medical Partnership. No part of this publication may be reproduced in any way without permission from the editor.

Student Spotlight: Allen Witt – 20 SP Volunteer & Preceptor Features– 22 International Faculty Exchange – 23 Staff Highlight & Promoted AU & UGA Faculty – 24 Erick Avelar, MD Publications – 25 NIH Grant Recepients – 26 Faculty & Staff Accolades – 27 Photos & Upcoming Events – Back Cover


AU PRESIDENT Brooks Keel, PhD AU-MCG DEAN David Hess, MD


STAY INFORMED. FOLLOW US ON SOCIAL MEDIA! AU UGA Medical Partnership MedPartnership AU/UGA Medical Partnership The AU/UGA Medical Partnership is committed to principles of equal opportunity and affirmative action.


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Letter from the Campus Dean This past spring has been an exciting time at the Medical Partnership! In May, we celebrated the fourth graduating class of the Medical Partnership since we first opened our doors seven years ago. This class will be attending residency programs in 18 different states in 18 different specialties. Forty percent will be completing a primary care residency program, and I am proud to say that thirty-two percent will be staying right here in Georgia. Many of our first students (Class of 2014) have now completed their residency programs and will begin specialty training this summer in fellowship programs across the country. Several will be serving as Chief Residents, and many have already reached out to say they are interested in coming back to Athens in order to teach future doctors and practice in our local communities. These are just a few examples of the success stories of the students who spent the majority of their time in Northeast Georgia. We would not have reached these milestones without our supportive partners at Augusta University and the University of Georgia. By strengthening our partnership through teamwork and collaboration, this campus will continue to thrive with a stronger research program and a curriculum that equips the physicians of today with the skills and knowledge necessary for the practice of medicine in the 21st century. Lastly, we would not be successful without the community physicians and local partners who have supported the Medical Partnership in so many ways. I am proud of our students and proud of the great physicians they are becoming. This summer issue of the Partnership Pulse is a celebration of many of these students and all of their accomplishments. Please join me in congratulating each one of them. As always, thank you for your support.

Michelle A. Nuss, MD Campus Dean AU/UGA Medical Partnership

The PARTNERSHIP PULSE — Summer 2017 Issue



Congratulations, The Class of 2017 celebrated their achievements at the fourth annual Community Celebration on the Health Sciences Campus on May 13. Forty-three students, along with their friends and family, gathered for this momentous occasion. Special guests included Former Chancellor Hank Huckaby, Secretary of State Brian Kemp, Representative Chuck Williams (HD-119), Medical College of Georgia Dean David Hess, University of Georgia Provost Pamela Whitten, and University of Georgia Vice Provost for Academic Affairs Russell Mumper. The ceremony began with a processional led by Campus Dean Michelle Nuss along with the Medical Partnership Faculty. Dean Nuss provided the welcoming remarks to the Community Celebration attendees and served as the host of the event. Medical Partnership student Aaron Purser was selected by his fellow classmates to provide the Moment of Reflection speech on behalf of the Class of 2017. Following this, Former Chancellor Hank Huckaby provided remarks on behalf of the Above: The students attended the Hooding Ceremony and Commencement in Augusta, Georgia, in the days prior to this event. The hooding ceremony and graduation is when the medical students officiallybecome medical doctors. We are proud to host a Community Celebration to honor their time and efforts in the Athens community. Below Left: Amelita Woodruff, MD, rejoices with her father for being completely finished with medical school and ready for her next step into residency program. Below Center: Davis Waller, MD, poses with MCG Dean David C. Hess during the reception in Royar Square. Below Right: Following the ceremony, Grace Yaguci, MD, celebrates with her son, Shadow, who was born during her time in medical school.


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Class of 2017! Athens community and congratulated the many accomplishments of this class, as well as the entire Medical Partnership team. Medical Partnership faculty member, Dr. Suzanne Lester, provided the keynote address at the Community Celebration. She was selected by the Class of 2017 for this honor and provided both humorous and sound advice for the graduates. The ceremony concluded with the presentation of the class gift by SGO President, Palmer Feibelman, and Vice President, Kenneth Sack. Following graduation, the Medical College of Georgia students attending the Medical Partnership campus will be going to 18 different states in 18 different specialties. Thirty-two percent will stay in Georgia, and forty percent will attend primary care residencies. Above: At the end of the celebration, medical students take the modern Hippocratic Oath to signify a commitment to their fellow human beings and to benefitting the sick and needy. All doctors in the room are invited to retake the oath at this time alongside the students. Below Left: Carlos Soriano, MD, poses with family and friends that came to support him on this special day. Below Center: Loving family members surround Meghan Murphy, MD, following the ceremony. Below Right: The students process into George Hall on the Health Sciences Campus where the Community Celebration is held. Pictured – Matt Lustig, MD; Brynne McAlpine, MD; Gabe Menendez, MD; and Hunter Meyer, MD.

The PARTNERSHIP PULSE — Summer 2017 Issue



Keynote Address: Suzanne Lester, MD

Suzanne Lester, MD, MS AU/UGA Medical Partnership 05/13/17 Commencement Address

Try to pick the correct bag. Quoting one of my favorite 1980s TV characters describing his knapsack, “The bag’s not for what I take….It’s for what I find along the way.”

I stand before you humbled and honored that you asked me to speak today, so maybe you were listening to me all these years! Seriously though, I am truly pleased to offer a few words and metaphors to take with you on this next adventure in doctoring.

Keep that in mind when you choose your bag…as well as making sure it is weather proof…not too big…not too heavy…but with a sturdy construction. Pockets are a plus. It should be comfortable to carry for a long distance. With some identifying mark so that you can find it easily on the luggage carousel.

As an assistant professor of family medicine on the Medical Partnership Campus, I have served in roles across all four years of our students’ education. In that time, I get to know the students well, and dauntingly for me, in those years I have become old enough to be their mother. They in turn get to know me and understand that it is nearly impossible for me to separate being a mother to my own children from being a physician and educator. So today rather than fight it, I will embrace it and offer some “doctor-mama” advice. First and foremost, pack light. Most of what you need will take up little to no room and carries no mass. To start you need a bag: 6

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Then next go ahead and pack your uniform. Those professional clothes fitting the dress code that is subtly unique to you. You will still feel like yourself but will look like the physician you hope to become. Find some sensible utilitarian shoes As there is always more work to be done. Do not forget to pack a long-sleeved garment To cover up those tattoos you got during that townie phase you had while living in Athens. But it is the clean white coat you bring that matters As it is our reminder that it should never be about us but should always be about the patient.

COMMUNITY CELEBRATION Remember to pack a stethoscope. Know how to use this universal tool of physicians– even if you’re an orthopedic surgeon! Carry it with pride and all will recognize you. You have earned the right to it. (Obviously remember to pack your toiletries, clean socks and underwear, as well as water and snacks for the road) But really, really make sure to bring: A memento of your loved ones To remind you to thank them endlessly for their support A dollar more than you plan to spend So you will never be broke A good book Some tome that brings you happiness, your favorite Harry Potter perhaps? A favorite album/MP3 and some way to listen to it and play it for others Where I’d pick the Beastie Boys or Prince you may pick Beyonce or Green Day, another token of you A lovely photo Of a best moment, to remind yourself of easier times Your kind and open heart For knowing the patient’s struggle as your own Keen intellect For science and medicine and for the magic of healing that we cannot explain Endless hope For the future Genuine Curiosity For every patient’s story Humility For each potential error and loss Personal Renewable Energy source Solar panels for your soul and spirit Boundless enthusiasm For every opportunity to learn no matter how small and no matter from whom Don’t forget your sense of humor You will need it (trust me, you will need it) Your skill for Discernment To tell the difference between fact and fiction And Courage To commit to your Integrity in every situation At last, I strongly recommend that the final item in your bag is a MacGyver mentality.

always assessing the environment, the patient, the context, and what unlikely tools are at hand. Looking for the life hack. Yes, the unnamed TV character in my earlier quote was MacGyver, (paraphrasing Wikipedia here) the secret agent known for his practical application of scientific knowledge and inventive use of common items. His bag typically held an army knife, duct tape and a paper clip. Noun: “MacGyverism”: an item that was created through taking random or useless pieces and putting them together to create something useful. (this is likely how the 1st and 2nd year students view our curriculum!) A MacGyverism is also an ingeniously improvised solution to a perplexing problem (which is how the 3rd and 4th year students see our curriculum!) Verb: “To MacGyver”: is to simply… do the impossible (Congratulations! You have just done an impossible task. You have graduated!) So here are some examples from the series to further elevate MacGyver to a status of mentor in medicine. In one episode I recall that he made a tracheostomy incision with his army knife and then used the tube from a Bic pen to secure an emergency airway In another, he treated an asthma attack with p.o. coffee when there was no albuterol on hand. MacGyver also went so far as to code a friend using a defibrillator that he made from brass candlesticks and an electrical cord. And probably most applicable to your immediate future, Mac used a light bulb filament to pick the lock of the hospital ward where he was trapped and then made his escape in a Camaro (likely parked in the “doctor’s only” lot) that he had hotwired with a paper clip! But for real, MacGyver as role model: He was inclusive, inventive, tenacious, and mindful; a pragmatic idealist ahead of his time... all traits of an extraordinary physician (and of a millennial! Sorry, Dr. Schild!). So. Get started on that packing list. No need for a smart phone or laptop or other fancy gadgets. Just you, your MacGyver mind-set and the other carefully curated contents of your manageably-sized backpack. With these, I believe that you will work and travel well, earning the love and respect of your patients, colleagues, family, and friends. Please know, that despite the grief I may have given you all over the past four years, I have absolutely no doubt that each and every member of the AU/UGA Medical Partnership Class of 2017 has the infinite capacity to MacGyver with the changing times and evolving landscape of medicine. I believe in you. Much joy and success to you on your journey and congratulations!

Innovative, adaptable, persistent and resourceful. Always kind, The PARTNERSHIP PULSE — Summer 2017 Issue



Oh, the places they’ll go... Last Name


First Name

Institution Name

Program Name



U Washington Affiliated Hospitals




Med Ctr of Columbus

Family Medicine


Tae Do



U Tennessee COM-Chattanooga

General Surgery



B I Deaconess Med Center

Internal Medicine



Medical College of Georgia

Internal Medicine



U Florida COM-Jacksonville

Orthopaedic Surgery



Walter Reed Natl Military Med Center




U Alabama Med Ctr-Birmingham




Self Regional Healthcare

Family Medicine



Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital

Family Medicine



U Texas Med Branch-Galveston

Neurological Surgery



Medical College of Georgia

Internal Medicine



St Joseph Hospital SCL Health

Family Medicine



WellStar Kennestone Reg Med Center

Internal Medicine



U Arizona COM-Phoenix




U South Florida Morsani COM-Tampa




Orlando Health

Emergency Medicine



Walter Reed Natl Military Med Center

General Surgery



West Virginia University SOM

Orthopaedic Surgery



Medical College of Georgia

General Surgery



U Alabama Med Ctr-Birmingham

Child Neurology

AU/UGA Medical Partnership

PGY1 Gwinnett Medical Center PGY2 Georgetown Univ Hospital

Transitional Radiology-Diagnostic


Last Name

First Name

Institution Name

Program Name



U Florida COM-Shands Hospital

Emergency Medicine



U Alabama Med Center-Birmingham




Vanderbilt Univ Med Center




Vanderbilt Univ Med Center






AU/UGA Medical Partnership

Internal Medicine



Trident Medical Center

Family Medicine



Tripler Army Medical Center




George Washington University

Neurological Surgery



Medical College of Georgia




Atlanta Med Center-GA

General Surgery





NY Methodist Hospital

General Surgery



Ventura County Med Center

Family Medicine



U Arkansas-Little Rock




Massachusetts Gen Hospital

Vascular Surgery



Greenville Health Sys/Univ of So Carolina




Emory Univ SOM-GA

Family Medicine



WellStar Kennestone Reg Med Center

Internal Medicine



Mayo Clinic School of Grad Med Education

Family Medicine



Henry Ford Hospital

Pre-Clinical Urology Fellowship

PGY1 Gwinnett Medical Center PGY2 Medical University of SC

PGY1 AU/UGA Medical Partnership PGY2 West Virginia University SOM

Transitional Radiology-Diagnostic

Internal Medicine Radiation Oncology

The PARTNERSHIP PULSE — Summer 2017 Issue



Class of 2019 Students Win Southeastern Chapter Medical Pang Association Awards

Medical Partnership classmates-turned-teammates won awards for their ping-pong skills at the Medical Pang Association’s spring banquet, which wrapped up this year’s competitive season. Anudeep Neelam Most Valuable Player

Gabe Pajares William Osler Award

Caleb Botta Goldman Cecil’s Award

Taylor Oakley Mae Jemison Award

Max Green Harvey Cushing Award

Anudeep’s leadership on and off the court has made him invaluable to his teammates and his coaches. The crowning moment of this season, and perhaps his career, was bestowed upon him unexpectedly when he achieved the highest honors in MPA (Medical Pang Association) history, the Embryonic Trophy Award.

Gabe plays with a reckless abandon and enthusiasm that we haven’t seen since Osler’s day and age. His cat-like reflexes serve him well when the game is on the line. His dedication to the game as well as his studies sets him apart.

Caleb’s game has risen to a new level this year. The hard work he put into his slam game and block game this offseason really paid dividends. The sky is the limit for this young prospect, especially if he starts hitting the gym like he keeps promising to do.

This award, named after the first African-American woman to travel in space, recognizes Taylor’s ability to break barriers when it comes to his ping-pong game and medical studies. He shows an uncanny ability to make a play when no one believed it could be made. His teammates believe his determination will serve him well as he pursues his medical career.

We’ve all heard the Cushing’s comparison when discussing Max’s game. His consistency, game after game, is a real strength and will surely translate to a long and successful medical career. Everyone knew he was going to be a special player when he first came into the league, but no one expected such a high level of play so soon in his career.


Amelia Donlan, Class of 2018, was the recipient of the 2016-2017 Medical College of Georgia Dean’s Scholarship.

Ebony Caldwell, Class of 2018, was named a 2017 United Healthcare/ National Medical Foundation Diverse Medical Scholar and received a scholarship.


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Academic Honors & Awards

Luci Cotten, Class of 2018, was inducted into the Blue Key Honor Society. Blue Key Honor Society bases its eligibility for membership on all-around leadership and integrity in student life, high scholastic achievement, and service to others.

Student Interests

Congratulations to the Medical Partnership’s Women in Medicine Interest Group for becoming an official American Medical Women’s Association branch.


AOA & GHHS Induction This February, the Medical Partnership’s Alpha Omega Alpha (AOA) Honor Medical Society Selection Committee honored the induction of students, MCG alumni, and faculty into the Alpha of Georgia Chapter of the AOA Honor Medical Society. The committee, in making their final selection, 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 the community at large.

2016-2017 Alpha Omega Alpha Inductees:

The Medical Partnership’s Gold Humanism Honor Society’s (GHHS) newest members were also honored at a dinner this past February. The students to the right were nominated by their peers, as well as Faculty and Staff from the Medical Partnership. Students selected for GHHS represent exemplars of compassion, empathy and concern for others. The committee, in making their final selection, considered the students’ integrity, compassion, altruism, respect, and empathy.

2016-2017 Gold Humanism Honor Society Inductees:

Andrew Dicks Laura Kent Don Vickers Jason Kinney Kenneth Sack Sarah Whelchel Dr. Mary Bess Jarrard (local MCG Alumnus) Dr. Clive Slaughter (Faculty Member)

Tim Hutton Rachel Johnson Laura Kent Aaron Purser Don Vickers Sara Whelchel

MedWars 2017 The PARTNERSHIP PULSE — Summer 2017 Issue



MCG hosted an Alumni Dinner in Augusta on April 21, 2017, where Medical Partnership students Mark Zapata, Alex Vagasi, and Ben Daniel were able to meet alumni new and old.

MCG Alumni Dinner

Wine & Cheese Benefit 12

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The Medical Partnership’s M1 Student Government Organization hosted the annual Wine & Cheese Benefit on March 24, 2017, with support and guidance by the M2 SGO. This year’s event raised approximately $5,000 for Mercy Health Center. The silent auction included signed sports memorabilia, gift certificates to local restaurants, and prized gift baskets. Proceeds from the event help support the student-run clincic and mission of Mercy Health Center, represented by Dr. Laurel Murrow (seen at right).

A LOOK BACK A reception was held on February 13, 2017, with special guests including AU President Brooks Keel, UGA President Jere Morehead, UGA Provost Pamela Whitten, and AU MCG Dean David Hess. Students were able to listen to remarks from the guests, as well as, meet and mingle with faculty, staff, and senior administration, including the newly named MCG Dean Hess.

Special Reception

Pictured: (top) UGA President Jere Morehead & AU President Brooks Keel; (middle row) AU MCG Dean David Hess; M4 student Palmer Fiebelman speaks with President Morehead, Provost Whitten, and Dr. Cynthia Mercer. (bottom row) Class of 2019 students Courtney Alvis, Adolphia Lauture, AShley Wright, and Ronke Olowojesiku; AU/UGA Medical Partnership Campus Dean Nuss.

The PARTNERSHIP PULSE — Summer 2017 Issue



Reflections from a Class of 2014 Graduate

By Cristina Elstad, MD I’ve lived most of my life in Georgia and wanted to branch out for my undergrad career, so I went to Notre Dame where I double majored in Spanish and Pre-Medicine with a minor in Theology. I then returned home for medical school and was part of the first class at the Medical Partnership, graduating in 2014. I matched at Emory in OBGYN and am in my third year of training now--one more to go! Especially as the first class to graduate, there were times when we, as students, had our doubts about being prepared enough for residency. Once we started residency, however, we realized just how prepared we were. After years of case-based active learning, thinking through a differential for each new patient came naturally. When assigned a last minute topic to present at morning rounds, I appreciated how the weekly learning objectives prepared me for efficient and concise information gathering and presentation. We were also very fortunate to


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have had very hands-on surgical training. Not only were we more than adequately prepared, I also feel that our time at the Medical Partnership remained – appropriately – very patientfocused. This is something else that I have come to appreciate more and more. My current research project is focused on Resident Wellness, comparing wellness and burnout in various years of training and across several types of residency programs (ie. Internal Medicine versus OBGYN versus Emergency Medicine). I became interested in the topic after helping to start a Wellness Committee at my program to ensure that residents are wellsupported during the grueling years of training. It’s a tough balance to strike as residency really should be a challenging time with long days of hard work to adequately prepare a physician for practice, but the mentality of “it was brutal for me so it should be for you” is very unproductive. Yes, in many


Grady Labor Days team at the end of a busy shift. Pictured from left to right: Renita Woolford, Kalie Deutsch (Medical Partnership Class of 2016 graduate), Cristina Elstad, and Jerrine Morris. Opposite page: Cristina and fellow Medical Partnership alum and husband, Parker Smith, MD (Class of 2015). ways residency is much more humane than it once was, but as physicians shouldn’t we all want it to continue that way? During my second year, I helped found a Resident Education Steering Committee in order to allow our didactic sessions to be more resident directed and organized. We’ve worked through the list of ACOG competencies and selected two readings a week, one basic and one advanced, on a given topic. Residents are encouraged to read one or both articles if they’re able, and if they’re not, when we meet for our didactic sessions, the small-group style scenarios allow the residents to teach one another and, in a way, test themselves on the information. The program was well-received by the residents and even helped our program bump up our overall CREOG scores (the national OBGYN in service exam). We are currently working on new topics and readings for the upcoming year and plan to streamline the process. I am very hopeful for this committee.

My husband, Parker Smith, also a Medical Partnership graduate from the Class of 2015, is currently an Emergency Medicine resident at MCG in Augusta. He has been busy working, winning MedWars around the country, and was recently named Chief Resident for his upcoming year. As a matter of fact, I was also named Chief Resident at my program, and we have both begun working on the many duties that come with this honor. We are looking forward to being together again after a few years apart in residency, and we have both begun looking for jobs post-residency. The two of us plan to stay in Georgia, our home. We are even looking at the possibility of returning to Athens where we could hopefully have the opportunity to work with the campus where we were both trained! Cristina Elstad, MD is a member of the inaugural AU/UGA Medical Partnership class who started at the Medical Partnership campus in 2010.

The PARTNERSHIP PULSE — Summer 2017 Issue



Medical Trip to Lima, Peru

By Riley Jay Class of 2020 Over spring break, a group of nine Medical Partnership students ventured to Lima to work at a MEDLIFE mobile clinic. MEDLIFE is an organization that works within low-income communities in Latin America and Africa to achieve greater freedom from poverty and to empower people to live better lives. The goal is to work through motivated individuals in each community


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to improve access to medicine, education, and community development. The MEDLIFE clinic in Lima works with a community of 20,000 people on the outskirts of a city where the population is designated to a single doctor for primary care needs. Having never been to South America, I was unsure of what to expect. What I found is that Lima – like most large cities – is a conglomeration of vastly different social spheres. On the

SPRING BREAK TRIP Opposite page: Medical Partnership M1 students Riley Jay, Matt Schwartz, Zach Dattilo, Yasmine Alkhalid, Chan Lee, Jimmy Zhou, Harini Vakamudi, and Naser Ibrahim traveled to Lima, Peru in March 2017, to work with a MEDLIFE mobile clinic. Left: Ibrahim, Zhou, Jay, and Alkhalid take a moment from working with the clinic to pose above a section of Lima.

one hand, we stayed in Miraflores, which is the more affluent section of town. Quaint townhomes lined the streets with little parks interspersed every few blocks. This was our home base. We spent many evenings in nearby Kennedy Park. Artists would set up shop, and the whole community gathered at an amphitheater to dance salsa and watch their elders sing traditional Peruvian songs. We found that despite our fumbling attempts to salsa, they accepted us with big smiles on their faces, inviting us to join them. Lima proper was much more urban; there were innumerable sections of the city – each with its own surprises. We wandered into huge markets full of food, a completely packed out China town, and public parks with enormous fountains. Finally, the communities outside Lima were perched in the hills surrounding the city. People from the mountain communities all over Peru had sought refuge there because of a domestic terrorist movement that had targeted this population back in the eighties. The government couldn’t keep up with the number of people immigrating, and housing took a hit. Immigrants built homes wherever they could. As a result, infrastructure and community development is poor. In the heart of this community is where we would set up the MEDLIFE mobile clinic. Regardless of the surroundings, the people we worked with were kind and very welcoming. The MEDLIFE program ensured that we were kept busy but still had time to enjoy evenings in Lima. We ate breakfast, which consisted of bananas and rolls with butter and jelly, around 7 a.m. and left by 8. Our destination, the villages outside the city, took about an hour to reach. When we arrived, there was instantly a flurry of activity. We set up tents, organized medications, and ensured our clinic would run smoothly. Each day, we were assigned to different stations, so people would have a chance to see everything. For example, I rotated through dentistry, gynecology, toothbrushing, intake, and medicine throughout each week. Some of the more interesting cases to me were the patients who presented with specific vitamin deficiencies. We don’t see nearly as many patients with these deficiencies in the U.S., so it was interesting to see the telltale presentations. Luckily, the pharmacy was stocked with plenty of vitamins to solve the

problem. Additionally, being a proficient Spanish speaker, I found the patient interactions with the physicians to be highly rewarding. It not only allowed me to understand what was going on without the doctors translating, which they did for other students; it also allowed me to form a connection with some of the patients. One of my best experiences was during my ‘medicine’ rotation, for after I introduced myself, the patient told her story directly to me instead of the doctors. One of our other greatest experiences, by far, was helping construct a staircase, which sounds like such a simple act. One reason we chose to work with MEDLIFE is their commitment to the communities they serve. They seem to offer a more sustainable intervention than other organizations. MEDLIFE’s flagship worksite is Lima, and they are intentional about involving the community so that the local population can take ownership of their work and the improvement of their community. The reason we built a staircase was to reduce the number of falls in the area. One of their patients in Bella Vista had taken a bad fall while pregnant a while back, so MEDLIFE decided to intervene and create more stability through a functional staircase. The townspeople did most of the work in constructing the stairs, and we provided the manpower to fill them in with cement. This work was particularly difficult for me – seeing as I have exactly zero upper body strength. However, it was inspiring to see everyone putting in their best effort and to watch the volunteers and the inhabitants of the village come together. At the celebratory lunch at the end of the week, it was clear that we had all learned something from the other. Returning to the U.S., I felt dissatisfied. All of us were unhappy with the situation our patients were in. However, it is helpful to know that we did not just apply a metaphorical Band-Aid and leave them in Lima. MEDLIFE is still taking care of these communities and providing the best care possible given the available resources. At the end of the day, if my contribution simply allowed them to continue doing their work, I am happy with that. I highly recommend this kind of trip to everyone as a way to see what other healthcare systems are out there and what situations your patients may face. Even though we have more infrastructure and resources than our patients in Bella Vista and the other villages, many Americans face enormous obstacles to care. If anything, this trip served as a reminder as to what we’re all working towards. The PARTNERSHIP PULSE — Summer 2017 Issue



Spotlight on Resident Sonia Suda, MD Surprisingly, I was a biomedical engineering major at Duke for my undergrad. The academics of engineering was fascinating to me. I focused primarily on electrical engineering and became a Pratt Research Fellow in an ultrasound lab. They had developed a 3D ultrasound and were using coordinates from the ultrasound probe to autonomously navigate a robotic arm to perform a nerve block or a breast biopsy. My robot’s name was BART - named before my stint at the lab. Enough hours in a windowless lab with only BART as my company eventually made me consider an alternate career path, e.g. medicine. Therefore, I went straight from undergrad to medical school at Tulane – in my hometown of New Orleans. You never know where you will find inspiration in medicine. You think that as you go through, you are narrowing your horizons: going from undergrad, where you had classes in all subjects, to medical school, where you had exposure to all fields and subspecialties, to finally picking your focus in residency and in fellowships. What I’ve found is that there are a lot of possibilities within the broad field of medicine. Make an effort to go beyond your requirements – to see what other fields inside and outside medicine are doing. See how you can serve your patients beyond the physician-patient relationship. I don’t think that’s something I realized while I was toiling away in pre-med and in medical school. You set a particular goal, and you are so focused on it that when you get there, you get a little disoriented. You suddenly don’t know where to go next! Athens and the Medical Partnership offer amazing opportunities to go beyond standard medicine. We are new, there are few of us, and we are establishing ourselves. With UGA here and the number of physicians in the area, there are tons of opportunities to explore the medical and research fields. Take advantage of it while you are here. Don’t let the challenges of being a “new program” discourage you. I’ve definitely found it to be an advantage. I had never lived in Georgia before. I visited my sister a couple of times while she was living in Atlanta, but that was as far as I knew of Georgia – besides the Charlie Daniels song about a golden fiddle. I had no expectations, other than it was residency and it was going to be difficult. As I’ve spent more time here, I have really come to love the community and


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consider myself a part of it. The patients I’ve cared for are coworkers, friends, and ones that have been my patients since I started. Coming from my own small Louisiana community, I was happy to find it was similar here. I will say one thing I was absolutely not expecting was how much natural beauty is in Georgia! Sonia Suda, MD, is a PGY3 Resident with the AU/UGA Medical Partnership Internal Medicine Residency Program at St. Mary’s Health Care System.


Residency Program to Add Rural Rotations In order to enhance the educational experience our residents receive at St. Mary’s Hospital and clinical practices in the Athens area, the internal medicine residency program will begin offering two new rotation sites in Greensboro, Georgia. Good Samaritan Hospital and TenderCare Clinic will provide rural care experiences for AU/UGA Internal Medicine Residents beginning in July 2017. Residents will work with Drs. Dave Ringer, Anthony Miranda, and Craig Colby at both practice locations. The Good Samaritan Hospital rotation will provide residents with practice as a rural hospitalist providing care for the inpatient service on a daily basis. This inpatient rotation will further the residents’ understanding of the resources available to inpatient physicians in rural communities, as well as the limitations of and access to care available to rural populations. At the TenderCare Clinic, residents will function as a primary

care physician in an outpatient setting with a dedicated panel of patients specifically assigned to the residents’ service. Patients seen by the first resident at TenderCare will remain on the residents’ service and will be scheduled for future follow-up appointments with residents rotating at TenderCare. These two rotations will provide the residents a deeper fund of knowledge as to why certain tests, procedures, medications, etc. are not provided or ordered when receiving a patient transfer from a rural setting. Through this rotation, residents may find a unknown calling for rural medicine and decide to open practice in a rural community resulting in better access to physician care for those populations. Dr. Akhil Rasim Reddy will complete the first rotation at Good Samaritan Hospital, while Dr. Kyle Walker will complete the first TenderCare rotation.

Above: St. Mary’s Good Samaritan Hospital is a 25-bed acute care critical access hospital serving the Greensboro and Greater Greene County areas of East Georgia, offering a range of services from general surgery to a 24hour emergency department. At left: TenderCare Clinic in downtown Greensboro, Georgia, is a 12,000 square foot facility, which offers medical, dental, and pharmacy–all conventiently housed in one location.

The PARTNERSHIP PULSE — Summer 2017 Issue



Student Spotlight:

Allen Witt

My path to medical school has been an atypical one, and while I wouldn’t exactly call it the most direct route, it has been one which I hope will benefit me as a physician. It seems like only yesterday that I was leaving my career as a teacher at Clarke County High School to take prerequisite courses at the University of Georgia. There I was - 32 years old - with a graduate degree in education, established at a local high school, and without any significant college level science or math credit, and I decided to pursue a career in medicine. When I mentioned these thoughts to my wife, Ashley Goodrich - who was and still is a teacher - she encouraged me to pursue my dream without batting an eye. Ashley has been a constant source of advice and understanding since those first steps. I will remain forever grateful to her. I feel extremely fortunate to be a part of the AU/UGA Medical Partnership. While my experience with other medical school campuses is limited, I know that what is happening in Athens is ideal from an educational standpoint. The custom hybrid model in place here interlaces small group student-led case-based learning with more traditional didactic teaching so that we are ensured multiple modes for learning and a close-knit supportive space to practice what we learn. There are also regular low-stakes assessments each week that serve as both motivation to study consistently and as feedback on what to study. As wonderful as the curriculum delivery model is, however, it would be meaningless without a dedicated and supportive faculty who are readily available to students. Looking back over the last three years, I realize I have spent significant time seeing nearly all faculty outside of normal class time to discuss medical concepts, specific quiz questions, and even career goals. All the faculty and administrators have been 20

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available and approachable, patiently taking time to guide me toward a better understanding of medicine by openly sharing their expertise. The Medical Partnership offers many opportunities to contribute to the community and gain clinical skills during the first two years . As an M1, I thought I would struggle with the extra time required to complete a community service project, but my fellow students, the faculty we worked with, and our patient population were just amazing. Seeing how our efforts researching and planning could have an authentic effect in the community was rewarding. The project also taught me skills that continued to be useful through my third year (teamwork, using data, etc.). There are so many ways to serve the community here; only one of which is the community service project. Mercy Clinic is a free community clinic for indigent patients. Volunteering at Mercy allowed me to see and interview actual patients while receiving real-time feedback from physicians during my first two years. I went on to co-manage the student-run clinic, which allowed me to continue contributing to the community while gaining valuable leadership experience. My third year of medical school has been equally enriching. Seeing patients on a regular basis in the hospital or clinic has a dual effect. On one hand, I’m constantly realizing how much I

learned during my first two years. While on the other hand, it’s often not until I’ve failed to recall the knowledge and had to look it up that I realize how much we’ve covered. This is especially true during early rotations when sometimes you wish every patient came with a lettered set of answer choices attached to them. Going from the books to the wards and then back to the books is challenging, but nothing compares to seeing a patient who is suffering, understanding how to determine the cause, and then treating it. For me, this represents the ultimate human experience. Even though, at this point in my medical career, it doesn’t happen as often as I would like, I see it beginning to happen more and more. As I approach my fourth and final year of medical school, I am especially encouraged to know for certain what it is I love to do, and I love to directly interact with and treat patients. Looking forward to residency programs, I hope to go into neurosurgery, for which I know the Medical Partnership has provided me the optimum foundation on which to build. In the meantime, I will take what time I have to eat at local restaurants, walk our dog Clover, and volunteer in the Athens community that continues to welcome medical students with open arms. Allen Witt, MEd, Class of 2018, is a member of AOA and GHHS, and is a Medical Partnership Student Ambassador. The PARTNERSHIP PULSE — Summer 2017 Issue



Simulated Patient Volunteer:

JoAn Salloum

I am a native Athenian – born in Five Points in March of 1939. I graduated from the University Hospital School of Nursing in Augusta in 1964. My professional life has been nursing in many different areas over the years. I retired in 2000 after spending 13 years as a Psychiatric Nurse. Most of my volunteering now is done with the Friends of Oconee Hill Cemetery, Girl Scouts, State Botanical Gardens, and my garden club. Additionally, my husband, Tony, is a retired contractor and a Georgia Tech graduate. I put him through Tech working as a nurse at Piedmont Hospital. We have one daughter, also a Georgia Tech graduate, that lives in Atlanta with her husband. My granddaughter, Lila, is in the 7th grade at Westminster. Back in 2010, I was volunteering with the American Cancer Society, and Ashley Townsend, former Medical Partnership essentials of clinical medicine coordinator (2010 – 2015), was working there. She asked if I would be interested in being a Simulated Patient Volunteer, and I was happy to, so I have been here from the start of the program. My favorite part of the program has been interacting with the students and staff. I

feel I am spending my time in a worthwhile cause, and it also keeps me active and involved. I have had many rewarding experiences with the students over the years. What a bright future we have from this group of young professionals! One student experience that I will not soon forget is the time a student could not find a pulse in my right foot. My primary doctor ran a scan and found I have a blockage behind my right knee. I continue to be treated for this condition – one we may have missed for a while longer had I not been in the Simulated Patient program. I wish more local people would volunteer for this program. It seems we need to get younger Simulated Patient volunteers involved in this program as well. This is certainly an interesting and worthwhile volunteer opportunity for many people in the Athens area. I hope more people will continue to become involved with the Medical Partnership.

Preceptor Highlight: Eva Katherine Moore, MD Dr. “Katie” Moore has practiced General Surgery at Piedmont Athens Regional Hospital since 2015. Shortly after her arrival in Athens, she was appointed as clinical assistant professor in the Department of Surgery at MCG. She has since taught the AU/UGA Medical Partnership students with vigor and enthusiasm during both the clinical and didactic portions of their surgery clerkship. Because of her success, we asked Dr. Moore a few questions about her experience teaching medical students and why she feels it is important to educate the next generation of physicians. What encouraged you to get involved in medical education? I had many wonderful teaching physicians during my training at the University of Mississippi Medical Center. I wanted to be like them “when I grew up” to have the same impact on others that they had on me. What challenges have you experienced working with medical students? One of the hardest parts of teaching to me has been learning how to be effective with


AU/UGA Medical Partnership

different types of learners. Some students are outgoing and talkative like me, which makes it easy for me to teach. I have to stretch myself with students that are quieter and more reserved. What is your favorite thing about teaching and how do you connect with students? The best moments are the “aha” moments when a concept suddenly makes sense to a student. I particularly love the “aha” moments in the operating room when a student sees an anatomic anomaly or feels something new during a case. I tell my students that they should never finish a case with clean gloves, even laparoscopic cases – there’s always something new to see and feel! What is the most valuable piece of information you can pass-on to your students? The most valuable information I heard as a student was that every rotation and every preceptor has something valuable to teach, even if it is how to “not” do something. Choosing to engage in active learning will make every day useful for your chosen

specialty. What have you learned from teaching? My students have taught me how to communicate more effectively. They’ve also been a great help keeping up with changing technology – they’re wizards at utilizing the electronic medical record! Why would you encourage others physicians to teach? Teaching forces you to verbalize your knowledge succinctly and effectively. This helps you learn how to communicate with your patients as well as with your students. It also encourages you to stay up to date within your field. On what special projects/research are you working? Learning how to use my sewing machine… does that count?


International Faculty Exchange

By Mark Ebell, MD, MS

AU/UGA Medical Partnership interim director of community & population and professor of epidemiology at the UGA College of Public Health

Collaboration is central to research, and I’ve been fortunate to collaborate during my career with colleagues in Ireland, England, Germany, Switzerland, and Croatia. Many of these contacts came as a result of attending the North American Primary Care Research Group (NAPCRG) meeting for over 20 years. This annual event attracts several hundred European primary care researchers every year, and as a native German speaker, it is especially rewarding to build contacts with German family physicians. One such German family physician and primary care researcher is Dr. Ildiko Gagyor, a professor at the University of Gottingen in central Germany and one of the leading primary care clinical trialists in Germany. We met at NAPCRG, and we took advantage of Gagyor’s two-week visiting professorship in Toronto to bring her to Athens for several days in February. Gagyor met the residency faculty at St. Mary’s; gave lectures to students, residents, and faculty; and experienced the U.S. health system. Gagyor in turn invited me to visit Gottingen and speak at a symposium on primary care respiratory infections. Gottingen is a lovely town, and is renowned as the home of more Nobel prize winners than any university in the world (45, at last count). Established in 1737, the university is informally known as Georgia Augusta (how about that!) and is home to about 26,000 students. My presentation compared use of near patient (“point of care”) testing in the United States and Europe – i.e., rapid tests for strep and influenza or blood tests for anemia, cholesterol, and kidney function. There are large variations in how we use point of care tests in different countries, and in general, these tests are much more widely used in the U.S. However, the differences in country use are not always rational, and in some cases, this is in large part driven by the differences in financial incentives and reimbursement policies for practitioners. In the U.S. near patient testing is part of the protocol and used much more often than the selective use in Germany.

During my visit, I had the chance to visit a typical small town family practice in a nearby village. It was fascinating to see the similarities and differences between primary care in the U.S. and Germany despite my assumptions prior to the trip. For example, this office had ultrasound and stress testing readily available, but they offered only minimal lab services on site, which is quite the opposite of most practitioners in the United States. Additionally, it was a very common reason for the encounter to request a note excusing a patient from work for illness; whereas in the US, that is relatively uncommon since most employers do not require a doctor’s note to use sick leave. On the other hand, unlike in the US, everyone in Germany has health insurance, so discussions about access to care and uninsured patients were not a part of the conversations. The exchanges with Dr. Gagyor were enlightening and enjoyable. I thoroughly enjoyed the opportunity to see German health care firsthand, and I absolutely recommend visiting fellow specialists outside of the country, if possible, to exchange practices and knowledge. The goal of these exchanges and partnerships is to build opportunities for research, teaching, and medical education. I think we can always learn from exchanges with other countries, and both sides benefit from seeing how we face and overcome some of the same challenges. For example, developing a network of clinicians who are willing to let you recruit their patients for research is a common challenge that Dr. Gagyor and I discussed during our time together. Following this visit, I’d like to create the opportunity for students to do research or a clinical rotation in Gottingen, and of course, I would love to work with Dr. Gagyor directly on research regarding common infections in primary care patients. The PARTNERSHIP PULSE — Summer 2017 Issue



Powers Nominated for Service Excellence Award Tina Powers, essentials of clinical medicine program coordinator, was nominated for Augusta University’s 2017 Service Excellence Award for her exemplary service to the Medical Partnership. Powers has worked for the Medical Partnership for eight years where she has driven the Simulated Patients volunteer program forward in volunteer recruitment. She has been a significant resource to faculty, staff, students, and volunteers. She is always willing to come in early and stay late to make sure the students have what they need to succeed, and it is apparent to everyone around her that Powers loves to help others in whatever way she can. In addition to her standard work duties, Powers joined the inaugural Staff Engagement Committee this year because she wanted to improve employee relations and bring staff together in fun events that would improve technical training, teamwork, leadership skills, and group morale. She is consistently a wonderful, cheerful asset to the Medical Partnership team. According to her supervisor, Cheryl Kennedy, “Tina is a wonderful

addition to the Essentials of Clinical Medicine program and the Augusta University/ University of Georgia Medical Partnership. Her infectious zest for life and commitment to student success is only outweighed by her commitment to the success of the Medical Partnership.” Powers goes above and beyond her duties - writing notes of encouragement to fellow staff members, providing food to ill or injured faculty/staff, and generally being a welcoming presence to all who visit campus. It is no wonder that Powers is a source of warmth and inspiration for her hard work and caring personality. When asked what has been one of her best experiences with the Medical Partnership, Powers responded that she couldn’t isolate just one experience “but just being recognized and thanked by the students in different ways at faculty/staff events is so heartwarming.” Outside of the office, Powers is actively involved in her church, the Salvation Army Women’s Auxiliary, gardening, cooking, and spending time with her grandchildren.

Promoted Faculty at AU & UGA Gerald Crites, MD, MEd – now Campus Associate Dean for Faculty Affairs and Development Dr. Crites will be responsible for developing, implementing, and assessing faculty development programs across all missions, overseeing professional development opportunities for faculty, and assist with faculty affairs issues such as teaching portfolios, faculty productivity reports, and promotion and tenure packets. Crites will continue his responsibilities as Director of Program Evaluation and assist the Campus Dean in preparing an annual report and evaluation.

Sonny Hardman, III, MD now Associate Professor of Pathology 24

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Amy Medlock, PhD now Associate Professor of Biochemistry with tenure

Kent Nilsson, MD now Associate Professor of Medicine

Clive Slaughter, PhD now Professor of Biochemistry


Articles by Local Cardiologist Look at Reducing Heart Disease in Cancer Patients the main course of treatment. Its goal is to reduce the chances of cancer returning.

Two articles primarily researched and written by Oconee Heart and Vascular Services cardiologist and clinical associate professor of medicine at the AU/UGA Medical Partnership, Erick Avelar, MD, have been accepted for publication in peer-reviewed scientific journals. The first article, entitled “Role of Imaging in Cardio-Oncology,” has been published in Current Treatment Options in Cardiovascular Medicine. The article reports on research into how cancer treatment affects the heart. Caitlin Strickland, RN, OHVC’s cardio-oncology nurse educator, is listed as one of Dr. Avelar’s co-authors. A summary of the article can be found at “Recent advances in cancer treatment and research have greatly improved survival rates for patients with cancer,” Dr. Avelar states in the article’s opinion statement. “However, many of these cancer survivors are developing cardiac disease – most commonly heart failure – as a result of this treatment.” In the article, Dr. Avelar describes how various imaging systems and emerging techniques can assist in detecting early signs of cardiotoxicity, which is damage to the heart from cancer medications and/or radiation treatment. The theory is that early detection may reduce the number of cancer survivors who develop cardiac disease by allowing oncologists – cancer doctors – to fine-tune cancer treatment and to do so sooner. The article compares the results of various imaging techniques – including echocardiography, MRI, CT, and nuclear medicine – with the goal of finding a way to detect heart problems earlier. It provides a comprehensive review of all imaging modalities now available to monitor heart function in cancer patients while they are receiving treatment. In addition, Dr. Avelar describes the usefulness of cardiac MRI by also citing the data of his second article, published ahead of print. Cardiac MRI is a highly accurate and reproducible non-invasive imaging technique. Dr. Avelar finds that it has the ability to identify signs of heart trouble earlier than echocardiography or nuclear medicine, which are the standard methods of detection used now. The second article, entitled “Effect of Adjuvant Chemotherapy on Left Ventricular Remodeling in Newly Diagnosed Primary Breast Cancer Women: A Pilot Prospective Longitudinal Cardiac Magnetic Resonance Imaging Study,” was accepted for publication in the Journal of Thoracic Imaging. Adjuvant therapy is additional treatment that is done after

This article reports on prospective and original research using cardiac MRI to detect early signs of heart size changes (called heart remodeling) in women who are undergoing chemical and/or radiation therapy for breast cancer. “One of the things that is lacking in the cardio-oncology field is to know the normal heart size and function response to cancer treatment,” Dr. Avelar said. “There could be benign changes to the heart related to cancer treatment. We don’t want to label benign changes as cardiotoxicity and alter treatment unnecessarily.” Like primary cancer treatment, adjuvant chemotherapy can cause the heart to enlarge and weaken. Dr. Avelar recruited 20 patients with newly diagnosed breast cancer and followed them for a period of six months. They underwent cardiac MRI before cancer treatment, during treatment, two weeks after treatment, and finally, six months after treatment. The goal was to determine the normal heart response (remodeling) to cancer treatment, and if early detection of heart dysfunction (low left ventricle ejection fraction – a measure of the amount of blood actually pushed out by the heart) could be used to make changes in the woman’s treatment that would improve her length and quality of life. The imaging findings indicate that the heart enlargement observed over time as well as the slight reduction in heart function were not associated with symptoms or biomarkers of heart failure. Future studies with a larger number of women and longer follow up are needed to determine the clinical significance of this pilot study, Dr. Avelar said. “This pilot study is a good foundation that we can build on in order to determine with a longer follow up and a larger study population, whether the changes in heart size and function we observed are reversible, and whether they could lead to heart failure years from now,” he explained. In addition to being a clinical cardiologist, Dr. Avelar is a Level 3 cardiac imaging reader who completed his training at Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical School. Dr. Avelar leads the Cardiac MRI/ CT and Cardio-oncology programs at OHVC and St. Mary’s, and serves as an associate professor with the Augusta University/University of Georgia Medical Partnership in Athens. He sees outpatients at OHVC’s main clinic near Watkinsville and at its Walton County clinic in Monroe. For more information about Oconee Heart and Vascular Center, please go to or visit the cardiology pages at Contact: Mark Ralston at 706.389.3897 or

The PARTNERSHIP PULSE — Summer 2017 Issue



Hardman Receives National Cancer Institute Award William (Sonny) Hardman, M.D. associate professor of pathology at AU/UGA Medical Partnership, in collaboration with Mandi Murph, PhD, associate professor, College of Pharmacy and Drug Discovery at the University of Georgia have been awarded a funding grant for $400,000 from the National Cancer Institute of the National Institutes of Health. This grant funding is for their ongoing research on identifying molecular mechanisms attributable to premalignant changes in the etiology of malignant melanoma. The hypothesis of the research is that lysophosphatidic acid signaling initiates underlying advantageous molecular changes and proliferative mechanisms that cause a population of melanocytes to progress to melanoma with higher frequency. Skin cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer and diagnoses are continuing to increase. With this research, harmful molecular changes among signaling events in skin cancer could potentially be defined to aid preventative and predictive measures.

NIH Grant Awarded for Research into Mitochondrial Heme Biosynthesis Amy Medlock, Ph.D., associate professor of biochemistry and molecular biology at the AU/ UGA Medical Partnership was awarded was a research grant from the National Institutes of Health in the amount of $450,000 this past grant cycle. The proposed research will define and characterize the role of the mitochondrial heme biosynthesis complex necessary for red blood cell development. The findings from these studies will result in new pathways and processes to target for the treatment of diseases including anemias and porphyrias. The research seeks to discover fundamental knowledge via creative research strategies that can be applied to protecting and improving health. 26

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Degrees & Certifications

Teacher of the Year Awards

Jessica Arnold, MBA, administrative specialist for the Clerkship Office, received her Master of Business Administration from Piedmont College this past December.

Lynn Doster, MEd, curriculum and assessment coordinator, recently received her Master of Education in Educational Psychology at the University of Georgia. Her degree is in Applied Cognition and Development (theory) with a secondary area of emphasis in Instructional Design and Development/Instructional Technology in Education, particularly for eLearning platforms (practice). In addition to her graduation this May, Doster also completed the ExamSoft Certification Program. Bill Prigge, PhD, director of finance and operations, completed UGA’s Fiscal Administration Certification Training Series (FACTS) program to help promote excellence in financial management throughout campus.


Scott Richardson, MD, campus associate dean for medical education, published an editorial article in the Journal of Clinical Epidemiology April 2017 issue. Richardson WS. Evidence-based Medicine and the care of whole persons [Editorial]. J Clin Epidemiol 2017 Apr; 84: 18 – 21.


Laurel Murrow, MD, MPH, assistant professor at the Medical Partnership, was awarded a $5000 grant in conjunction with the Piedmont Athens Regional Foundation from the Mag Mutual Foundation to help improve the care of disadvantaged patients with diabetes and mental health conditions.

M1: DeLoris Wenzel Hesse

M2: Howard Cohen, MD

M3: Julie Martin, MD

M4: Atul Khurana, MD


Kent Nilsson, MD, associate professor of medicine, presented at the international Europace in Vienna. “Thorascopic Ligation of the Left Atrial Appendage in Patients with Atrial Fibrillation Using The Atriclip Ligation System.” – Kent R. Nilsson, MD, Cullen Morris, MD, Khan Pohlel, MD, Sarah Everrett, Ben Holland, MD, Jonathan Murrow, MD, and Patrick Murrah, MD. This research was completed alongside several other Medical Partnership and UGA College of Public Health faculty members. Julie Gaines, MLIS, associate professor and head of the Medical Partnership Campus Library, presented a paper at the Medical Library Association Annual Meeting in Seattle, WA. “iPad Innovations During Clinical Rotations from Seven Medical Schools in the United States: Lessons Learned.” – Gaines JK, Deutsch K, Hill JR, Nuss MA. Keith Anderson, administrative associate to the Clerkship Office, presented twice at the MCG Statewide Faculty Development Conference: “Efficiency and Communication in a Clerkship” – Keith Anderson, BA “Communicating with Millennials” – Keith Anderson, BA; Shannon Black, BA; Dayna Seymore, BA

The PARTNERSHIP PULSE — Summer 2017 Issue


SP Luncheon The annual Simulated Patient Volunteer Appreciation Luncheon was held on Wednesday, May 3, to honor all community volunteers that assist with the Essentials of Clinical Medicine simulated patient program. These volunteers make a difference in our curriculum and are a valuable source of feedback for our students. If you would like more information on how you can join the program and help train future doctors, please email the program coordinator, Cheryl Kennedy ( No formal acting skills are required – just your willingness to make a difference in clinical education!


Mark your calendar!

M1 Orientation 2017: Monday, July 31 – Friday, August 4th in HSC Russell Hall State of the College Address: by Dean Davis Hess on Friday, August 11th Fall Open Houses: Open House events are all on Saturdays – September 9th, October 21st, November 11th, and December 2nd Annual Alumni Tailgate: Saturday, September 30th – UGA vs Tennessee Summer Research Symposium: Wednesday, September, 20th from 5:00 PM – 7:00 PM Annual MCG White Coat Ceremony: Friday, October 27th, in Augusta, Georgia Keep a look out for more upcoming events on our social media!