Partnership Pulse, Summer 2020

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Partnership Pulse A Publication of the AU/UGA Medical Partnership

In this issue: New Pandemic Elective for Students Mobile Clinic Testing in Underserved Areas Buddy Calls with Athens' Seniors Feed the Frontlines NIH Research Grant Virtual Graduation for the Class of 2020 Seventh Successful Match Day MCG Exemplary Teaching Awards Honor Societies Induction Ceremony Spring/Summer 2020

Partnership Pulse Augusta University and the University of Georgia 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.



The PARTNERSHIP PULSE — Spring/Summer 2020 Issue MedPartnership AU UGA Medical Partnership


AU/UGA Medical Partnership

From the Campus Dean While 2020 has been a roller-coaster year, I have been amazed at all that has been accomplished in the past three months and so proud of our faculty, staff, and students who have volunteered to help our local communities during this worldwide crisis. Many in our communities have suffered significant hardships as families have faced unprecedented unemployment and food insecurity. PUBLISHER AU/UGA Medical Partnership EXECUTIVE EDITOR Mary Kathryn Rogers, MPA EDITOR Lindsey Derrick DESIGNER Jennifer Stowe, MS CONTRIBUTING PHOTOGRAPHERS Ian McFarlan, Lindsey Derrick PHONE 706-713-2183 EMAIL WEBSITE Articles may be reprinted with permission from the editor.

Copyright © 2020 by the AU/ UGA Medical Partnership. No part of this publication may be reproduced in any way without permission from the editor. The AU/UGA Medical Partnership is committed to principles of equal opportunity and affirmative action.

When the COVID-19 pandemic hit the world this past spring, education for all learners of all ages across the country required a rapid pivot to online learning. It was no different for our medical education program at the Medical Partnership. Within one week in March, all learning transitioned to an online format with most faculty and staff required to telework except for essential employees. All small and large group teaching sessions were held via Zoom— an online audio/ video conferencing platform. Faculty members were forced to hold virtual office hours and rapidly adapt to a new teaching modality all while our third- and fourth- year medical student rotations were suspended due to safety concerns. During this time, we also welcomed numerous new faculty and staff to our campus. And when our thirdand fourth-year students were finally released to return to their rotations in June, our clinical preceptors and hospital partners answered the call! We greatly appreciate our local clinicians and area hospitals and could not educate our future physicians without their expertise and continued support. This fall will begin the first official phase of our class expansion project. The project, planned since 2017, included a $3 million renovation to Russell Hall in 2019 and a faculty and staff hiring initiative. The Medical Partnership will welcome 50 incoming first-year medical students in fall 2020. In fall 2021, we will welcome 60 students per year, eventually growing the enrollment to 240 medical students. We are grateful for our local and state leaders for their support of our campus and class expansion plans. Lastly, I’d like to thank AU President Brooks Keel, UGA President Jere Morehead, MCG Dean David Hess, and UGA Provost Jack Hu for bringing this project forward. Although the uncertainty of the COVID-19 pandemic will linger on, the strength of our campus is the collaborative culture in which we work every day. The faculty and staff have worked tirelessly to develop and deliver the highest quality integrated education for our students. I am honored to work alongside such an amazing group of people at the Medical Partnership. The teamwork I have seen these past few months has been extraordinary. Our students are the best of the best; watching them mature into physicians is a delight for all to see. Their work during this crisis to assist those in need is nothing short of exceptional. I am certain a bright future lies ahead for the Medical Partnership. Be safe and stay well.

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

Medical Partnership Leadership UGA PRESIDENT Jere Morehead, JD UGA PROVOST S. Jack Hu, PhD AU PRESIDENT Brooks Keel, PhD AU-MCG DEAN David Hess, MD AU/UGA MEDICAL PARTNERSHIP CAMPUS DEAN Michelle A. Nuss, MD 706-713-2183

IN THIS ISSUE... Letter from the Dean • 3 Seventh Successful Match Day • 4 Residency Program fills all Positions • 6 Student Research Profile: Megan Chesne • 7 NIH Grant for Morrow, McCully & Nilsson • 8 Students Participate in Pandemic Elective • 9 A Look Back, Part 1 • 10 Feed the Frontlines • 12 Moving to Online Learning • 14 Student Spotlight: Gurshawn Tuteja • 15 Honor Societies Induction Ceremony • 16 MCG Exemplary Teaching Awards • 17

COVER STORY: Mobile Clinic Testing in Underserved Areas • 18 New Medical Partnership Website Unveiled • 20 Standardized Patient Buddy Program • 20 Buddy Calls help Athens' Seniors Cope • 21 Class of 2020 Virtual Graduation & Amarachi Anukam Award • 22 2020 Residency Graduation • 23 Wellbeing Kits for local Residency Programs • 24 Faculty, Staff, and Student Accolades • 26 New Faculty & Staff and MCG Leadership • 27 Upcoming Events • Back Cover


AU/UGA Medical Partnership Announces Seventh Successful Match Day S

tudents at the Augusta University/University of Georgia Medical Partnership participated in a ‘Virtual Match Day’ at noon March 20 to receive their post-graduation assignments for residency programs. In past years, students and faculty gathered in George Hall on the UGA Health Sciences Campus to celebrate with family and friends, but plans were altered this year due to growing concerns over the recent coronavirus infectious disease pandemic and requirements for social distancing. This year, students had their own private celebrations with family and friends. Students shared videos and photos to social media and had the option to share their good news through an online virtual map. An annual event, Match Day takes place after students participate in interviews and visits to residency programs in Georgia and across the country. To determine the post-graduation assignments, the students ranked residency programs where they would like to complete their training, at the same time the residency programs ranked the student applicants. The lists are then submitted to the nonprofit organization National Resident Matching Program (NRMP) in Washington, D.C., which uses an algorithm that aligns the choices of the applicants with those of the residency programs. Most students were matched via the NRMP, but some students participated in smaller match programs, including the ophthalmology and urology matches. The final pairings were announced simultaneously across U.S. “Graduating Medical College of Georgia (MCG) students from the Augusta University/ University of Georgia Medical Partnership experienced their ‘rite of passage’ today when they learned where they will spend the next several years on their journey to becoming licensed physicians,” said Dr. John Francis, Campus Associate Dean for Student and Multicultural Affairs. “The match is representative of all the hard work these students have accomplished over the past four years. We are so proud and fortunate that these students are part of our campus and community.” “This is the seventh successful match in Athens at the Augusta University/University of Georgia Medical Partnership,” said Campus Dean, Dr. Michelle Nuss. “The accomplishments of the 37 MCG


The PARTNERSHIP PULSE — Spring/Summer 2020 Issue

students that spent the majority of their time learning medicine at the Medical Partnership have landed them at top-tier residency programs across the nation. The students will be going to 18 different states in 18 different specialties, with 62 percent staying in the southeastern United States and 54 percent joining primary care programs. Thank you to the faculty, administrators, staff, and physician mentors in our community who have devoted their time and efforts to educating our future physicians.” Some of the most popular specialties this year included Internal Medicine (9), Family Medicine (5) and Pediatrics (5), with 27 percent of all matched students doing an internship or residency program in Georgia. AU/UGA Medical Partnership participants in Match Day 2020 received the following residency appointments. They are listed by name, residency institution and program name (opposite page.)


First Name

Institution Name





University of Chicago Medical Center





University of Illinois COM-Chicago

Internal Medicine




Emory University School of Medicine

Internal Medicine




Wright State Univ Boonshoft SOM





Yale-New Haven Hospital

Plastic Surgery (Integ)




Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center

Interventional Radiology (Integ)




Memorial Health-University Medical Center

General Surgery




Providence Health

Internal Medicine




University of Tennessee COM-Chattanooga

Family Medicine




Medical University of South Carolina





Johns Hopkins All Childrens Hosp





Emory University School of Medicine





University of Rochester/Strong Memorial

Emergency Medicine




Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center

Internal Medicine




Tulane University School of Medicine

Neurosurgery- Preliminary




John Peter Smith Hospital

Family Medicine




Vanderbilt University Medical Center





New Hanover Regional Medical Center





Prisma Health-Midlands/U of SC SOM





Medical College of Georgia

Family Medicine




Floyd Medical Center

Family Medicine




Morehouse School of Medicine

Internal Medicine




Childrens National Medical Center





Stanford Univ Progs





West Virginia University School of Medicine

Orthopaedic Surgery


PGY1- Medical College of Georgia








PGY2- Dean McGee Eye Institute at Oklahoma



University of Southern California





Stanford Univ Progs





PGY1-Redmond Regional Med Ctr-GA








Stanford Univ Progs

Vascular Surgery




PGY1- Northside Hospital Gwinnett



PGY2- Prisma Hlth-Midlands/U of SC SOM





U Alabama Med Ctr-Birmingham

Internal Medicine




Olive View-UCLA Medical Center

Internal Medicine




U North Carolina Hospitals

Internal Medicine




Prisma Hlth-Midlands/U of SC SOM

Family Medicine


Lopez Hanson


East Tennessee St Univ

General Surgery




White River Health System

Internal Medicine



AU/UGA Medical Partnership, St. Mary's fill all positions in Internal Medicine Residency Program amid COVID-19 I

n the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Augusta University/ University of Georgia Medical Partnership Internal Medicine Residency Program at St. Mary's has filled all openings for its new class of medical residents for the sixth time in its six-year history.

complete one year of training with the program: Deirdre McDonnell, MD, from St. George’s University School of Medicine, and Harrison Grace, MD, from the Augusta University/University of Georgia Medical Partnership.

The new residents began practicing at St. Mary's Health Care System on July 1 under the supervision of advanced resident physicians and physician faculty from the Medical College of Georgia at Augusta University, as well as area community-based teaching faculty.

“We are proud to have these physicians join our residency program. They truly impressed us with their maturity, compassion, scholarly achievements, and dedication to improving the community,” said Dr. Morrow.

“This is a unique time to be entering the practice of medicine as a new physician,” said Jason Smith, MD, St. Mary’s Chief Medical Officer. “Residency is the final step before becoming a fully licensed and independent practitioner. Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, these new physicians, and our Class of 2020 graduated in June, will have a unique perspective that will be with them for their entire career.”

As the Class of 2023 arrives, the Class of 2020 graduates. One of the physicians, Amir Shirazi, MD, will be joining Athens Hospitalist Group July 1 and will practice at St. Mary’s Hospital. A second physician, Sarah Nuzzo, MD, will remain with the program a fourth year to serve as the 2020-21 Chief Resident.

The AU/UGA Medical Partnership Internal Medicine Residency Program (IMRP) is Northeast Georgia’s first modern graduate medical education program and received full accreditation from the Accreditation Council of Graduate Medical Education in October 2016. “We are honored once again to have received so many truly exceptional applicants to our program,” said Achilia Morrow, MD, MPH, Program Director for the IMRP. “The supportive medical community, dedicated volunteer faculty, exceptional staff, and commitment of St. Mary’s Health Care System to quality care truly make this an excellent program to learn and train physicians in Northeast Georgia.” The IMRP Class of 2023 and the schools at which they completed their medical education are: ■ Maxlorenzo Agbayani, MD, West Virginia School of Medicine, Martinsburg ■ Taylor Attar, DO, Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine ■ Vance Barksdale, MD, University of Colorado School of Medicine ■ Eliud Pabon Borgos, MD, University of Medicine and Health Sciences ■ Sarah Brown, MD, Ross University School of Medicine ■ Sydney Huggins, DO, Edward Via College of Osteopathic MedicineCarolinas ■ Niyanta Patel, MD, Ross University School of Medicine ■ Nicolas Pham, MD, University of Medicine and Health Sciences ■ Krishna Shah, MD, American University of Antigua College of Medicine ■ Julia Zorko, MD, Ross University School of Medicine In addition, the program matched with two physicians who will


The PARTNERSHIP PULSE — Spring/Summer 2020 Issue

"This is another exciting year in the history of the Internal Medicine Residency Program," said Montez Carter, St Mary's President and CEO. "We are confident this next class will continue the tradition of compassion and excellence demonstrated by their predecessors. St. Mary's is proud to be an integral part of the IMRP and its success in bringing more medical doctors to Georgia and to the Athens region." The IMRP is a joint effort by the AU/UGA Medical Partnership and St. Mary’s, the program's Major Participating Site. The program's goal is to address the physician shortage in Georgia. Residents are medical school graduates who are entering the final stage of their medical education: a three-year, hands-on program with progressive levels of responsibility that ends in certification by the American Board of Internal Medicine. “I could not be more excited to welcome this incoming class of residents” said AU/UGA Medical Partnership Campus Dean Michelle Nuss, MD. "They each bring a new perspective and talent to our program. I know they will bring great things to our community here in Athens and to the whole state of Georgia." In addition to the care they provide at St. Mary's Hospital, the residents work hand-in-hand with physician faculty at Community Internal Medicine of Athens, located in the Resource Medical Center at 1500 Oglethorpe Ave, Athens. This full-fledged outpatient practice provides primary wellness care, sick care, and chronic disease management for adults, and accepts most major forms of insurance, Medicare and Medicaid, and self-pay, with financial assistance available to those who qualify. Third-year medical residents also complete clinical rotations in Greensboro, GA, providing inpatient care at St. Mary's Good Samaritan Hospital and outpatient care at Oconee Valley Healthcare. For more information, visit


Megan Chesne

Novel Realistic Bladder Model Teaches Anatomy & Builds Resident Confidence in Cystotomy Recognition/Repair What question were you seeking to answer?

The goal of the project was to develop and test an inexpensive, reusable, watertight, moderately realistic bladder model that can be used to teach Obstetrics and Gynecology residents cystotomy (bladder injury) repair.

Why did you choose this topic?

I am interested in Ob-Gyn as a potential future specialty, so I was seeking a research project in that field. I was fortunate to meet my mentor Dr. Kelli Braun through a previous student that participated in the Medical Scholars Program. This project in particular was a great fit for me, as I enjoy the creative, hands-on process that goes into designing and testing something new.

How did you study this question?

The first phase of my project involved working with Amanda Behr, a certified medical illustrator and professor in the Augusta University Medical Illustration Department, to design and create a bladder model using molds developed with 3D design software and 3D printing. We created a silicone model that includes all relevant bladder anatomy. For the project’s second phase, we tested the model with Ob-Gyn residents at Augusta University Medical Center as part of their simulation curriculum. The residents were given a pre- and post-test to identify the bladder’s anatomic landmarks, as well as rating their confidence in identifying and performing the cystotomy repair procedure.

What did you learn through your research?

Medical Illustrators play an important role in the medical community. Incorporating art into medicine is a valuable tool that can be used to train healthcare providers when learning new procedures, as well as educating patients about their conditions. I enjoyed working to improve medical education, and I hope to continue doing so in my role as a physician in the future.

Who stands to benefit from this research?

Cystotomy repair is a required surgical procedure for Ob-Gyn residents to perform during their training. Ob-Gyn residents at Augusta University Medical Center have tested this bladder model and will be incorporating it into their simulation curriculum. In the future, we would like to distribute this model to other Ob-Gyn programs around the country so that their residents can also benefit from the simulation training.

What are/what would be the next steps in your research?

February 2020 was an exciting month. Amanda Behr and I gave a presentation on designing custom medical simulators at the Southeastern Medical Illustration Meeting in Athens. I then traveled to Orlando to present the cystotomy repair project at the 2020 Council on Resident Education in Obstetrics and Gynecology and the Association of Professors of Gynecology and Obstetrics (CREOG & APGO) conference. Our team also hosted a panel discussion at that conference to discuss the importance of incorporating art in medical education. March 2020 our team met with the Augusta University Office of Innovation Commercialization to discuss potential next steps regarding distributing our collection of medical simulation models, which is an ongoing process. I was fortunate to develop and test additional Ob-Gyn simulation models during my time with the Medical Scholars Program, so my next goal is to present at the 2021 CREOG & APGO conference. Finally, our team hopes to publish a summary of all of our simulation work in a medical education journal.



NIH Grant for Murrow, McCully & Nilsson


n September of 2019, Infrared Rx, Inc. was informed that the company had received a $1.3 million dollar grant from the National Institutes of Health. Dr. Jonathan Murrow, Campus Associate Dean for Research at the Augusta University/University of Georgia Medical Partnership, serves as the Chief Executive Officer for Infrared Rx, Inc. Murrow co-founded the company with University of Georgia kinesiology professor, Dr. Kevin McCully, and Dr. Kent Nilsson, Associate Professor of Medicine at the Partnership. Infrared Rx, an Athens-based biotech company, develops non-invasive tools to measure oxygen use in muscle to improve wellness across a broad spectrum of disabling conditions, including peripheral artery disease. Their goal is to provide patients with a reliable, non-invasive and inexpensive near infrared spectroscopy (NIRS) measurement for both muscle metabolism and blood flow. The grant from the NIH is a Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) Phase II grant that will support research and development leading up to tools to help detect how diabetes affects muscle and blood vessel function. “Our team is very excited about this technology and the potential it holds to help researchers and perhaps patients,” said Murrow. “This grant not only validated our ideas but provided resources to help us move things forward.” “We were all excited to receive the final notification of funding. The funding represents a sizable public investment into our vision


The PARTNERSHIP PULSE — Spring/Summer 2020 Issue

of the technology we are developing,” added Nilsson. The grant will go towards developing a near-infrared spectroscopy-based test for muscle and blood vessel function. “The technology being developed by Infrared Rx addresses multiple unmet needs for patients with cardiovascular disease ranging from statin intolerance to wound healing in patients with peripheral arterial disease,” said Nilsson. “The grant has enabled us to develop the core software that underlies the technology. With a year of additional funding remaining, we anticipate refining the software, developing a web-based interface, and integrating the software with the hardware.” The grant has so far been used to build software tools to better meet the need of the research as it progresses. “Our company’s first priority is to see through the development of our mitochondrial test, which can help researchers measure muscle metabolic function faster and at lower cost than existing tools. The next step will be putting this technology in the hands of our research clients,” said Murrow. With over 30 million Americans suffering from diabetes, Murrow and Nilsson hope their research from Infrared Rx will improve lives across the country. “My hope is that this can lead to better ways of helping diabetic patients live longer and avoid disabling vascular problems,” said Murrow.

Students take part in new




hen COVID-19 brought clinical rotations to a halt, Augusta University wanted to find a way to further educate their medical students without them setting foot in a hospital or clinic. “The faculty essentially came together in a brainstorming meeting to address our charge given by Dr. Doug Miller,” said Dr. Kathryn Martin, Medical College of Georgia’s Associate Dean for Regional Campuses. After discussing possibilities, the Pandemic Medicine Elective was quickly planned into reality. “We mapped out the four-week curriculum, wrote the justification for the elective, presented it to Phase 3 for approval to submit to the Curriculum Oversight Committee and presented the rationale to the COC before starting the class online,” said Martin. Not only did the elective serve as a way to keep M3s and M4s engaged, it was also the perfect opportunity to address a pandemic and get an in-depth look at how it was impacting local, state, national, and global public health systems. The objectives to the course were not limited to—introducing students to a basic approach to patient care for COVID-19 positive patients, showing students how to provide healthcare in disaster response situations, and showing them how to engage in disaster response training and preparation to ensure that they are prepared to enter a dynamic clinical care arena. The course opened on Monday, March 30 with 186 students online via Microsoft Teams. The majority of the students enrolled in the elective were third- and fourth-year students who had their rotations disturbed due to the pandemic.

“I decided to take part in the elective because I really wanted to take advantage of the opportunity to become more informed about COVID-19,” said Medical Partnership M4 student Kelsey Garcia. “During the elective, we not only learned about the virus—its properties, how it spreads, how it compares to other pandemics— but we also learned about the effect of pandemics on vulnerable populations such as the homeless and minorities, the economic impact, as well as how our government/healthcare system has responded and how these responses compare to those in other countries. The elective also gave us the opportunity to perform a service-learning project related to COVID-19. Some groups worked on PPE and food donations for healthcare workers, some worked on creating a database composed of new publications related to COVID-19, and others created mental health resources for people to use from home. Overall, I thought it was a great experience.” Due to the success from the first elective, two more were opened— one enrolled approximately 100 students and including oral surgery residents, M1 students who could not complete their summer research projects, and additional M3 students. The third version of the elective was to assist M3 students whose preceptors were not ready to accept students back into the clinics/hospitals. “I think that being informed on current medical issues is something that is necessary when you are in the medical field, so I thought that it was imperative that I would do what I could to learn as much as I could about an illness that has made such a profound impact on our population,” said Garcia. All Pandemic Medicine Electives officially ended on Friday, July 17, and at the time of press, there are no future plans to offer the courses in the future.


A Look Back



2 1. On February 5, a group from UGA’s OLLI (Osher Lifelong Learning Institute) made a visit to our campus. The presentation was featured in the organization’s spring catalog and featured Campus Dean Michelle Nuss telling about the campus’s history and curriculum. The group finished their day with a tour of Russell Hall. 2. As part of Gold Humanism Honor Society’s Solidarity Week in February, students, faculty, and staff took part in meditation while dot painting on vases. GHHS members filled the vases with flowers and delivered them with cards and cupcakes to the St. Mary’s Hospice House on Valentine’s Day. 3. Faculty and staff took part in a practice simulation in February to test out a new sim scenario for our M2s. 4. GHHS members organized a toiletry drive for the Salvation Army in the months leading up to Match Day. All of the donations were delivered in March.


The PARTNERSHIP PULSE — Spring/Summer 2020 Issue


A Look Back 5. M4 students show off their face shields that were donated to local healthcare workers by the UGA College of Engineering. 6. M3 orientation was held June 22-26 and looked a bit different than previous years. The event this year featured masks and social distancing and combined both in-person and virtual presentations.



7 7. On February 10, 24 students, faculty, alumni, and residents were recognized at the annual Honor Society Induction & Celebration Ceremony. Pictured above are all the awardees.



nita Qualls and Aditya Sood both have soft spots for healthcare workers.

Both are 2019 graduates of the University of Georgia and have future aspirations of becoming physicians— Qualls is attending the University of California, San Francisco School of Medicine, and Sood is a student at the Emory School of Medicine. During this uncertain time of the COVID-19 pandemic, healthcare workers are facing challenges like never before. They are working long hours, they are putting themselves in harm’s way every day, and they are facing physical and mental exhaustion. Sood and Qualls brainstormed to find a way to show their gratitude, and on April 2, Feed the Frontlines Georgia was formed. The organization was formed on the premise of distributing meals made by local restaurants to healthcare professionals working to fight COVID-19. Not only would local Georgia healthcare workers get a hot meal, local restaurants facing uncertainty and loss of revenue would also get business. “In this crisis, healthcare professionals are having to work terribly long shifts of 16 hours at a time, only to go home and not be able to spend time with families due to their increased exposure risk to COVID-19,” said Sood. “We all wanted a way to give back to our community during the pandemic. At the same time, we had been hearing stories of our family friends’ restaurants having difficulty in being able to support their staff with so few customers. That’s when we realized that we could boost morale in hospitals and help out our local restaurants that were also badly hit during this lockdown - we would buy meals from our neighbors and serve them to our frontline heroes.” Once a donation (100% of the donations go to feed healthcare workers and all donations are tax deductible) is made through the official GoFundMe page, coordinators with the project identify the hospitals that are the hardest hit with COVID-19. Administrators at the hospitals identify units that could benefit from a good meal. Meals are then scheduled with local participating restaurants and are delivered to the hospital by the restaurant’s staff.


The PARTNERSHIP PULSE — Spring/Summer 2020 Issue

“We try to manage funds so that the hospitals that are hardest hit by COVID-19 get support. We pay special attention to those smaller hospitals that don’t have as many donations or media focus and try to give them love as well. This is doubly true for our efforts in rural areas,” said Sood. Feed the Frontlines Georgia delivers meals to 49 hospitals and clinics in 21 cities in the state. At the time of press, $70,000 has been donated and over 4,900 meals have been delivered. Of the 4,900 meals, 423 of those have been delivered in the Athens area. Meals in Athens are currently provided by ten local restuarants including Athens Bagel Company, Donderos, and Chuck’s Fish. To spread the word about the cause and encourage the public to donate, the organization decided to add a little friendly competition to the mix. On Monday, April 13th, Feed the Frontlines Georgia announced they were beginning Med School Mania, a week-long competition between five medical schools in Georgia: Medical College of Georgia, Emory, Mercer, Morehouse, and Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine. Each day had a different theme to encourage donations to the cause: Match Day Monday (all donations were matched by sponsors), Tell a Friend Tuesday (spread the word about the campaign), Workout Wednesday (a challenge to get up and get active), Thankful Thursday (a day to simply thank healthcare workers), and Five Dollar Friday (asking for donations of just five dollars). M4 students Debbie Shim and Andrew Block served as the Augusta University/University of Georgia Medical Partnership liaisons for the Med School Mania. “From the med student perspective, this pandemic has been frustrating because we want to help, but don’t yet have the training under our belt to contribute in a hands-on way, and

therefore it has been important to find other ways to support from afar,” said Shim. “We hope that these small gestures will be regular reminders to our healthcare workers how appreciated they are and encouragement to the rest of us that we can show our support in many ways.” By the time Med School Mania was over on Friday, April 7th, $11,000 was raised. This went to purchasing approximately 1,400 meals for healthcare workers.

Everyone at Feed the Frontlines Georgia hopes that these meals let healthcare workers know we are all behind them. “Showing them support through providing a warm meal is the best way we can help,” said Sood. “We hope that the community continues to rally around frontliners and show that the small actions of many can make a large impact.” To learn more, visit

MCG came out on top with the most donations totaling almost $4,300. “We want to say thank you so much to everyone who donated to Feed the Frontlines,” said Block. “All of your donations went to those who are working incredibly hard making sure that our community (both in Athens and Augusta) feel loved and supported. It says a lot about the MCG family that, in these times of uncertainty, so many people donated what they could to make the fundraiser a success. When it comes to caring for Georgians and our healthcare workers, clearly you can count on MCG faculty, students, and alumni to be there leading the way.” And Sood said Feed the Frontlines Georgia is far from done. “We will continue this effort as long as there are hospitals in Georgia that are being impacted by COVID-19,” said Sood.


Moving to Online Learning D

ue to the COVID-19 pandemic, the usual operations at the Medical Partnership came to a halt in March.

For students at the Medical Partnership campus, all teaching and learning moved completely online as of Monday, March 16th. The sudden move to online learning was a heavy lift for faculty and staff, but it was rolled out quickly and seamlessly with support from our IT and instructional technologist support. First and second year students participated in their small group sessions via a live Zoom meeting. Large group sessions were also handled remotely, including online anatomy sessions. Anatomy classes featured graphics diagrams, and information-heavy work for students to complete on their own time. To support student learning and academic support, faculty members also hosted virtual office hours via Zoom throughout the week. All faculty and staff members worked remotely and remained available during normal operational hours. M2 student Emmy Thornsberry said even though the change was tough, all the hard work paid off in the end. “The faculty were absolute angels when we went online. The facilitators jumped on Zoom and learned how to navigate it beautifully,” said Thornsberry. “The lecturers found their own way of delivering material, whether with detailed PowerPoints and recommended readings, creating podcasts, or presenting live Zoom lectures. They also responded to emails promptly and often sent supplemental materials when we had questions. I really cannot express how grateful I am to the faculty for their efforts this spring!” Following AAMC/LCME recommendations, all clinical rotations for third- and fourth-year students were temporarily suspended,


The PARTNERSHIP PULSE — Spring/Summer 2020 Issue

but resumed on Monday, June 1. During the suspension from sites, site clerkship directors developed new educational pedagogies to continue to deliver clinical curriculum to keep all students on track for graduation. A new Pandemic Medicine Elective was developed by the Medical College of Georgia so students could learn ‘real-time’ how to tackle a crisis such as COVID-19. Andrew Block, the Medical Partnership's M4 class president, said although their days were turned upside down, they still made it work. “Most of our learning came from from clinical vignettes and patient cases. Academic half days were either held on the phone or via video chatting,” said Block. Block said he and his classmates practiced social distancing in different ways. “I know that myself and other classmates found a variety of ways to pass the time: arts and crafts, trying out new/complex recipes, and a fun one was a Netflix watch party—a service to watch movies online with a group of people.” Campus Dean Michelle Nuss said she was proud of her faculty and staff for working hard to get everything ready so quickly for the students. “The last few months have certainly been challenging for each of us, but by uniting together we accomplished so much in so little time,” said Nuss. “Despite circumstances that break the bounds of our experience or expectations, I have seen countless examples of creativity, resiliency, and sheer grit in action over these past few months.”


Gurshawn Tuteja Name: Gurshawn Tuteja Hometown: Norcross, GA Year in Med School: Third year Where did you complete your undergraduate education? Johns Hopkins University Tell us a little bit about yourself: I am a native Georgian who was born and raised in the metro Atlanta area. I enjoy playing basketball, hammocking, and eating Taco Bell. My career aspirations include not only becoming a physician, but also a worldrenowned food critic. You can catch me at your local Starbucks ordering a Peppermint Mocha Latte, even in the middle of July. Why did you choose MCG and the Medical Partnership campus? I chose MCG and the Medical Partnership because it allowed me to return home to be a part of the Georgia community again after being away four years. I also was interested in the small group learning as most of the college classes I had were pretty big groups of students. It also felt like it was easier for me to get to know the faculty and my fellow classmates which has been true throughout my first two years here. What is your advice for someone who is interested in medical school? I think the biggest piece of advice is to surround yourself with truly enjoyable experiences that help you figure out why you want to practice medicine. A lot of students tend to do everything that is pre-health related to check boxes, but developing a passion and enjoyment for medicine is what will keep you motivated in the long run. What is a typical day for you? My average day begins with a hot cup of coffee and attending whatever class I have going on that day. I usually take a break after for lunch and more coffee. I spend most of the afternoon at a local coffee shop (I love coffee if you can’t tell) or in the Medical Partnership’s gorgeous new library working through material that we are learning that week. Towards the evening, I try to cap my studying and

turn off everything school related. Usually I’ll head to the gym, eat a ton of food right after, and squeeze in a few episodes of Netflix until I head to bed. What motivated you to want to be a physician? Growing up seeing how being in a state of poor health prevented people from achieving their own goals and desires has always made me respect the role a physician has in changing that. My motivation, therefore, to become a physician is that I will have the opportunity help patients’ reach a better state of health that will open the door to opportunities for them. Favorite place to eat in Athens: Mama’s Boy, but Taco Bell is a close tie. If you could have dinner with one person, who would it be? Will Smith


Honor Societies Induction & Celebration Ceremony Welcomes New Members On February 10, the Augusta University/University of Georgia Medical Partnership honored 24 students, faculty, alumni, and residents at the annual Honor Society Induction & Celebration Ceremony. Inductees include:




The Alpha Omega Alpha Honor Medical Society, a professional medical organization, recognizes and advocates for excellence in scholarship and the highest ideals in the profession of medicine. Members have a compelling drive to do well and to advance the medical profession and exemplify the highest standards of professionalism. The top twenty-five percent of the Class of 2020 were eligible with only sixteen percent to be inducted between their M3 and M4 years.

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 patient-centered care by modeling the qualities of integrity, excellence, compassion, altruism, respect, and empathy. Students were nominated by their peers, as well as faculty from the Medical Partnership.

The Medical College of Georgia established the Dean’s Clinical Honor Society in 2017 for the purpose of honoring outstanding medical students who consistently achieved high academic excellence throughout the core clinical clerkships of the 3rd year of medical school.

Caleb Botta Jakob Feeney Kenneth Hearn Stephanie Hernandez Kathleen Herring Silki Modi Ronke Olowojesiku Arishna Patel Kyle Royalty

Nicholas Austin John Collar Benjamin Daniel Naser Ibrahim Kyle Royalty Michael Scott

Additional AOA Inductees:

ALPHA UPSILON PHI HONOR SOCIETY Alpha Upsilon Phi (AUPhi) is an honorary campus society that was founded at the Medical College of Georgia in 2008 to promote and recognize exemplary service and leadership efforts.

Nicholas Austin Benjamin Daniel Hannah Harrison Kenneth Hearn Silki Modi Ronke Olowojesiku Jimmy Zhou


Emory Patterson, MD MCG Alumnus Inductee

Julie Martin, MD AU/UGA Medical Partnership Faculty Member Inductee

BLUE KEY NATIONAL HONOR SOCIETY Founded in 1926, the University of Georgia chapter of the Blue Key Honor Society is the third oldest chapter of the national organization and is governed by its constitution. UGA Blue Key recognizes second, third and fourthyear undergraduate students, as well as graduate and professional students of outstanding character and ability who have achieved distinction in three key areas: scholarship, leadership, and service.

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Michael Scott

Nicholas Austin John Collar Benjamin Daniel Kathleen Herring Kyle Royalty Michael Scott Julia Stephens Sabina Sorondo Richard Yi Carl Zainaldin

Sarah Nuzzo, MD AU/UGA Medical Partnership Internal Medicine Resident Inductee

GHHS LEONARD TOW HUMANISM IN MEDICINE AWARD Leonard Tow Humanism in Medicine Awards recognize graduating students and faculty members who demonstrate both clinical excellence and outstanding compassion in the delivery of care and who show respect for patients, their families, and healthcare colleagues.

Julie Martin, MD

AU/UGA Medical Partnership Faculty Member Inductee

AY2018/19 Medical College of Georgia’s

Faculty Exemplary Teaching Awards S

ixty-three Medical Partnership faculty members have been honored with AY2018/19 Medical College of Georgia’s Exemplary Teaching Awards for their work with students and residents.

Undergraduate awards were based on the amount of teaching that was done (the number of students taught, or the number of hours lectured) and student evaluations. Graduate awards were based on innovations or contributions, and nominees were selected by MCG department chairs. All of the Medical Partnership awardees were in the undergraduate category:


Andy Albritton

Howard Cohen

Farris Johnson

Clive Slaughter

Amy Baldwin

Mark Ellison

Amy Martin

Brett Szymik

Matthew Boegehold

Thomas Gaddy

Amy Medlock

David Townsend

Mary Bond

Julie Gaines

Jonathan Murrow

DeLoris Hesse Wenzel

Lia Bruner

Philip Holmes

John Norris

Jean Chin

Ellen House


Waqas Ahmad

Jeffrey English

Angela McSwain

Catherine Schwender

Brenda Barlowe

Christopher Everett

Robert Meyer

Amir Shirazi

Jessie Bender

Meredith Farrow

Eva Katherine Moore

Winifred Soufi

Stephen Berry

Lisa Fowlkes

Alan Morgan

Michael Steadham

Harlan Bruner

Christopher Hall

Patrick Morrison

Gary Walton

Robert Byrne

John Harvey

Mohammed Obeidin

Lela Ward

Tresa Chappell

Carrie Kelly

Thomas Oliver

Whitney Webb

Gloria Chu

Joash Lazarus

David Paulk

Michelle White

Samuel Church

Brian Maloney

Dinesh Raju

Denise Cochran

Julie Martin

Jordan Rush

Stephane Conte

Dan McAvoy

Sherley Samuels


Mobile Clinic Testing


he Medical Partnership Mobile Clinic/Athens Free Clinic has been serving the underinsured and uninsured of AthensClarke county and surrounding areas since 2018. With the COVID-19 pandemic underway and positive cases rising, the clinic made the decision to enter the fight against the virus and provide testing beginning in April. In partnership with Athens-Clarke County, Georgia Emergency Management Agency (GEMA), and the Northeast Health District, the mobile clinic testing targets its usual patient demographic— individuals who may be unable to access testing due to homelessness, lack of transportation, or other barriers to care. Faculty, residents, and students at the Medical Partnership have all volunteered to assist with the COVID-19 testing. “I wanted to start this mobile testing effort so that we could serve our usual Medical Partnership Mobile Clinic/ Athens Free Clinic primary care panel during the pandemic by providing them with free testing at their homes and in their neighborhoods,” said Dr. Suzanne Lester, the Medical Director of the clinic. “We know from our two years from delivering primary care to these communities that they are typically working in critical infrastructure but without health insurance, and often their families have limited access to health care as well due to lack of transportation and insurance. Knowing that our patients would have to continue to work and be at risk was concerning, and so to bring testing to them and make sure that they know we are still here for their needs was my primary motivation.” Medical Partnership students are in charge of a hotline that citizens can call and request testing. Almost 60 students have clocked in hours to volunteer for the cause.


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“My secondary motivation for testing was to keep our highly engaged medical students involved, as it can be very frustrating to not be empowered to help,” said Lester. “Having them run the mobile testing hotline gave them an outlet for that desire to be useful and to stay in touch with the communities in which they had already been working in with our Community and Population Health curriculum.” Zac Adams, an M2 at the Medical Partnership, got the hotline up and running. “Coming from a public health background, I knew about the importance of infectious disease surveillance and monitoring, and what steps were necessary to manage an outbreak,” said Adams. “I knew it was important that we try and get into the underserved communities in Athens where it would be harder for the residents to get testing. COVID-19 has shown to unevenly affect underserved communities, so we wanted to try and find any cases before they could lead to individual outbreaks in these communities.” To operate the hotline, students are able to log in remotely and answer the mobile clinic’s phone number from their own cellphones or computers. The hotline operates Monday through Friday from 8-5, and is offered in English and Spanish. The hotline also has a faculty physician on-call in case the students have any questions. The testing follows a hybrid format— the clinic attends pop-up events in areas that are high risk and underserved (mobile home communities, subsidized housing projects, day homeless resource centers, homeless encampments, recovery centers, senior living communities, community centers), but the clinic will also provide doorstep testing for people who do not have transportation.

in underserved areas

Testing is free of charge and is typically done on Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday. “Most often we pair doorstep testing for part of the day with a pop-up pre-advertised event for the other part of the day, so our hours are flexible,” said Lester. “We try to have some set events that we repeat on a regular basis but leave room to popup quickly for follow up and expanded outreach in areas where there are clusters of positive results.” M2 student Rachel Gerald volunteers with the mobile clinic hotline and is proud that she is doing her part to help her community during the pandemic. “Community service is really important to me because I feel in order to be an active citizen in my community, it is my duty to support the community in any way I can,” said Gerald. “As a student, my number one priority is to continue to learn so I may one day be able to be a physician who directly cares for patients, but through the hotline, I am able to give my time and use the skills I already possess to connect patients to the resources they need to get the help that they need.” The mobile clinic also recently received a generous donation of face coverings from Mask Making for Athens. The local volunteer group donated almost 1,000 masks to the clinic. The masks are given to each tested person who does not have a mask. Dr. Lia Bruner, Assistant Professor of Medicine at the Medical Partnership and volunteer physician for the clinic, said this not only helps the patients, but the clinic as well. “Not only does it provide masks for those who might have difficulty getting them, but we are also able to have the patient put it on while forms are being filled out and keep it over their mouths during the testing so that we can conserve PPE and not

give a surgical mask to each person tested,” said Bruner. Another project with the clinic that just got underway is a partnership with the Food Bank of Northeast Georgia. They have partnered together to deliver two weeks of food and supplies to families who have had a positive test and must quarantine and can’t leave their home. “Serving in this effort has been very satisfying, though challenging as we watch case numbers continue to grow in the state,” said Lester. “I know that my/our role is very small compared to the vast need.” “I love being able to help get people tested through the mobile clinic who otherwise wouldn’t have access to testing,” said Adams. “For all of the people who test negative, it feels great being able to tell them that they don’t have COVID-19. I get to make all of the negative results calls now, and I love hearing patients excited that their tests came back negative. Also, it’s great to find the patients who are positive so that we can help them recover and figure out ways to keep the virus from spreading to more people.” “It’s important for people to know regardless of insurance status whether or not they have COVID-19 so that they can protect the people in their community from contracting the virus,” said Gerald. “I do not personally believe that the ability to know whether you are infected or to be able to protect those around you should be dependent on your insurance status or ability to pay.” At the time of press, the mobile clinic has tested almost 1,450 people in Athens-Clarke, Madison, and Jackson counties since the first trial outing on April 16th.


Medical Partnership Unveils New Website After months of hard work and determination, the new Medical Partnership website was launched in February of this year. The completely revamped site features an all new interface to better serve our community, faculty and staff, students, and prospective students. We hope visitors to our site find it easy to navigate and see that the site clearly conveys our purpose here at the Partnership. You can visit to see more.

Standardized Patient Buddy Program T

he Standardized Patient Program at the AU/UGA Medical Partnership heavily focuses on human interaction. But with the recent COVID-19 pandemic, interacting with others came to a halt. The program has had 12 new hires within the last three months, which means many new faces are completely inexperienced and have been unable to meet with their fellow SPs. To allow the new SPs to acclimate better during these circumstances, Dr. Jo Albritton, Campus Director of Standardized Patient Program, and Tina Powers, Program Coordinator for Standardized Patient Program, decided to implement the SP Buddy Program. “The SP Buddy Program was created to pair a newly hired SP with a seasoned SP, one who has more than a year of volunteer/work experience,” said Powers. “We have initiated a buddy program so that these new SPs can learn from the experiences that the seasoned SPs have such as ways they study the script, student encounter experiences, and things they’ve learned that work and things that don’t work.” Sherry Malone, who has been an SP for four years, and Toni Jones, a new SP, have been paired together, and they are already seeing the benefits. “The SP Buddy Program will give me a specific person to ask all


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my questions and gain feedback once we start working with the students. It helps me be more organized with the questions I have to discuss,” said Jones. “I think it will help me acclimate more quickly. If we were able to meet in person, lots of casual conversation with the participants would have answered some of my questions, but this way I know I have a specific person to address these questions.” “I also think the buddy system will be a good thing,” said Malone. “I’ve already talked to Toni, and we talked for over an hour about what to wear including shoes, bras and pants, examples of giving the students feedback, what to expect from different encounters, and lots of other things.” “This is all information that I can tell them, but it is better coming from someone who has experienced it or has done it,” said Powers. Malone and Jones said they are thankful for the buddy program, and they can’t wait for the SP interactions to get underway “I believe my SP buddy Toni and I will add another level of friendship,” said Malone. “I enjoy being part of these SP experiences as I learn so much myself.” “I can't wait to get started!” said Jones. “I'm excited to play a part in the training of our medical students.”

‘Buddy Calls’ help older adults in Athens cope Medical Partnership students are helping relieve loneliness


ocial distancing has become the new way of life since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. Large gatherings with friends are currently a thing of the past and some individuals may be separated from family and loved ones. For those living alone, this can prove to be a lonely existence. It’s even more of a daunting task for older adults who rely on interaction with friends or family. Georgia was under a shelter-in-place order for the month of April, but it was extended through June 12 for adults 65 and older. “When we transitioned our service model in response to COVID-19, we knew that social connection needed to be a part of our plan,” said Erin Beasley, Director of Operations for Athens Community Council on Aging. “Each of our programs provide that feeling of connection, whether it is through shared meals in the Center for Active Living, group activities at the Adult Day Health Center, or regular visits from a familiar Meals on Wheels volunteer. Moving away from our traditional service models, while necessary, put that connection at risk and our staff immediately began developing opportunities for distance and virtual socialization.” While the ACCA was remodeling its style of connecting with senior adults, Quinn Peragine, a fourth-year medical student at the Augusta University/University of Georgia Medical Partnership, was brainstorming ideas of how to give back to those heavily affected during the pandemic. “My girlfriend and I both talked to our grandparents over the Easter/ Passover holidays and heard how they were changing their daily routines and were missing seeing friends in their residences under the new social distancing measures,” said Peragine. “Just talking to them for a few minutes seemed to really brighten their day, which got us thinking that there may be many seniors in our own community who may not have anyone to talk to or help get them through these tough times.” Peragine reached out to the ACCA and presented his idea of students from the Medical Partnership volunteering to help brighten the day of local seniors. The ACCA’s Buddy Calls program, which runs in conjunction with Meals on Wheels, the Center for Active Living and Adult Day Health, has seen an increase in requests for clients since the pandemic began and was a great fit for extra volunteers. The Buddy Calls with Medical Partnership students began on April 21 and over 20 students decided to take part in the program. The volunteer students are paired with one or two clients from the ACCA, and they perform check-in calls one to two times each week. Each call lasts around 30 minutes with a maximum commitment of two hours per week.

our members have that opportunity to connect with another person and be reassured that they are not forgotten.” Beasley said the Buddy Calls will continue until the ACCA can resume regular, on-site programming. For their homebound members who enjoy the calls, ACCA will continue to offer Buddy Calls. Peragine said he is glad he can give back to the community and hopes the clients feel less alone thanks to the calls. “I think it is an important opportunity for us as medical students to make an impact in our community, even while we are attending class from home and on pause from clinical rotations,” said Peragine. “Hopefully this Buddy Calls program will help put a smile on people’s faces and remind both students and clients that we are all in this together.”

“Social isolation can have a devastating effect on a person’s mental and physical health, and that is only compounded by the stress of uncertainty brought on by the pandemic,” said Beasley. “The Buddy Calls, along with the regular safety check calls our staff conduct, ensure that


Virtual Community Celebration held in honor of the Class of 2020


lthough it looked a little different this year, the Class of 2020 gathered together to celebrate their achievements at the seventh annual Augusta University/University of Georgia Medical Partnership Community Celebration on Saturday, May 9. Thirtyfour students, along with their friends and family, joined virtually on Zoom for this momentous occasion. In past years, students and faculty gathered in person for a ceremony and reception to celebrate with family and friends, but plans were altered this year due to growing concerns over the COVID -19 pandemic and requirements for social distancing. The ceremony began with a slide show featuring pictures from the Class of 2020 throughout their time in medical school. This was followed by welcoming remarks by Campus Dean, Dr. Michelle Nuss. Medical Partnership student, Dr. Matthew Schwartz was selected by his fellow classmates to provide the Moment of Reflection speech on behalf of the Class of 2020. Medical Partnership faculty member, Dr. Howard Cohen, provided the keynote address at the Community Celebration. He was selected by the Class of 2020 for this honor and provided sound advice for the graduates. Two special awards were given at the ceremony. The first was the

Amarachi Anukam Award for Professionalism and Service given in memory of one of the Medical Partnership’s outstanding students. This award was presented to Dr. Matthew Schwartz in recognition of his vast amount of community service he completed while attending the Medical Partnership campus. The second award was the Educator of the Year Award presented to Medical Partnership faculty member, Dr. Carrie Kelly. The ceremony concluded with the presentation of the class gift and closing remarks by Dr. Ben Daniel, the class president. Dr. Daniel has served as class president for all four years of medical school. Following graduation, the Medical College of Georgia students who attended the Medical Partnership campus went to 18 different states in 18 different specialties. Sixty-two percent will stay in the southeastern United States, and 54 percent will attend primary care residencies.

AMARACHI ANUKAM MEMORIAL AWARD: Matthew Schwartz In August of 2019, the Medical Partnership lost one of its own when Dr. Amarachi Anukam passed away. Anukam was a 2019 graduate of the Medical Partnership and had just begun her residency at the University of Iowa.

during the virtual graduation ceremony in May. “It’s such an honor.”

“Amarachi was highly intelligent, poised, and cheerful, and she exhibited a strong character and determination matched with a gentle and kind demeanor. We were blessed to have her be part of our campus,” said Dean Michelle Nuss. To honor Anukam, the Medical Partnership decided to create the Amarachi Anukam Award for Professionalism and Service, an award based on professionalism and service to be given out annually to an outstanding graduate. The first award was given out to the Class of 2020 and named Dr. Matthew Schwartz as the first recipient. “This is not something I anticipated,” said Schwartz when he was named the winner


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“It’s amazing to have watched Matt’s service over the years,” said Nuss. “This is well-deserved.” All winners of the Amarachi Anukam Award will be given a certificate and their names will be added to a plaque housed in Winnie Davis Hall.

2020 Residency Graduation O

n Friday, June 12, the third class of the Augusta University/ University of Georgia Medical Partnership Internal Medicine Residency Program in partnership with St. Mary’s Health Care System celebrated their graduation in the Flower Suites at St. Mary’s. Graduates and select staff members attended the ceremony in person while family, friends, and faculty members joined virtually via Zoom due to social distancing regulations. Dr. Achilia Morrow, Program Director of the Internal Medicine Residency Program, made the opening remarks and was followed by AU/UGA Medical Partnership Campus Dean, Dr. Michelle Nuss, and Montez Carter, President and CEO of St. Mary’s. Nuss congratulated the group on three years of hard work and commended them on ending their residency career in the turmoil of the COVID-19 pandemic. “I want you to feel really good about the work you’ve done over the last three years,” said Nuss. “You’ve been challenged, pushed, and worked to the brink. You’ve been faced with taking care of patients in an unprecedented pandemic like nothing we’ve ever seen before. Remember that you are stronger because of it. Know that you’re ready. You are ready for the next phase of your journey.” Residents are graduates of medical school who are working toward full licensure as independent physicians. The Internal Medicine Residency Program is a three-year program with increasing levels of independence. It's the final stage in their internal medicine education. At the end of the three-year program, they will sit for their Boards and then either go into practice or continue into training for a specialty. The IMRP is accredited to host up to 34 residents. They provide supervised inpatient care at St. Mary's Hospital on Baxter Street and outpatient care at Community Internal Medicine of Athens on Oglethorpe Avenue. In addition, third year residents spend two months in a rural healthcare setting, providing inpatient care at St. Mary's Good Samaritan Hospital and outpatient care at TenderCare Clinic, both in Greensboro. Two of the 13 residents will remain at St. Mary’s in Athens—Amir Shirazi, MD, will be a Hospitalist, and Sarah Nuzzo, MD, will serve as the Chief Resident. Four of the other residents will keep their talents in the South— John Crawley, MD, will serve as a Hospitalist in North Carolina, Jane FonNdikum, MD, a Hospitalist in Texas, Amit Koduri, MD, will peruse a Cardiology Fellowship at the University of Texas – Houston, and Xaimarie

Santiago, MD, will be a Hospitalist in South Carolina. Shirazi said staying at St. Mary’s to continue his career was an easy decision. “I’m beyond excited to continue working in Athens. Georgia is where I call home. Having spent the past three years training in Athens and forming friendships with so many people at St. Mary’s, I’m privileged to continue these friendships into the next phase of my career,” said Shirazi. “There are many reasons why St. Mary’s is a wonderful place to provide care for patients. Some of the many reasons include a truly outstanding nursing and support staff, top tier physician colleagues, and the opportunity to teach future physicians.” The Class of 2020: Waqas Ahmad, MD—Outpatient Medicine, Illinois John Crawley, MD— Hospitalist, North Carolina Joshua Estep, MD— Hospitalist, Oregon Jane Fon-Ndikum, MD—Hospitalist, Texas Sandeep Jalli, DO—Samaritan Health Services Cardiology Fellowship, Oregon Amit Koduri, MD— Cardiology Fellowship, University of Texas – Houston Jacob Kopp, MD—Hospitalist, California Robyn-Ann Lee Hing, MD –Hospitalist, TBD Sarah Nuzzo, MD—Chief Resident, St. Mary’s Xaimarie Santiago, MD— Hospitalist, South Carolina Meet Shah, MD— Cardiology Fellowship, Deborah Heart & Lung InstituteNew Jersey Amir Shirazi, MD— Hospitalist, St. Mary’s Yousef Treki, MD –Hospitalist, TBD Winners from the End of the Year Awards Ceremony: *The following awards were determined by votes from their colleagues and peers. Subspecialty Attending of the Year: Alan Morgan, MD Cardiology Attending of the Year: J. Lauren Dowling, DO Hospitalist of the Year: Andrew Ke, MD & Robert Meyer, MD ICU Attending of the Year: Nick Fox, MD Faculty of the Year: Robert Meyer, MD Rotation of the Year: ICU Intern of the Year: Maureen Onweni, MD Resident of the Year: Caridad Padron, MD Senior Resident of the Year: Meet Shah, MBChB Outstanding Professionalism & Ethics: Meet Shah, MBChB St. Mary’s Nursing Choice Award: Zoheb Sulaiman, DO


Wellbeing Kits for local Residency Programs A

fort made of cardboard boxes sits in the garage of Dr. Cathy Snapp.

The contents of these boxes will soon be assembled to form wellbeing kits and delivered to the residency programs at both St. Mary’s Hospital and Health Care System and Piedmont Athens Regional. The wellbeing kits are the brainchild of Snapp, the Campus Director of Behavioral Health at the Augusta University/University of Georgia Medical Partnership. During the COVID-19 pandemic, Snapp wanted a way to support the local residents who are working tirelessly on the frontlines. “Having spent the past 16 years in academic medicine focusing on the health and well-being of residents, I know how stressful hospital medicine can be,” said Snapp. “With the COVID pandemic, I could only imagine how much more intense the demands are on their time and energy. It feels critical to support our frontlines health learners. They are putting themselves in harm’s way day in and day out to serve our communities while being so brave and selfless.” When her idea developed, Snapp reached out to her contacts in the nutrition and wellness world to see if any companies would be willing to help. Metagenics and Atrium Innovations Professional Brands were the companies that agreed to be sponsors for the project. These


The PARTNERSHIP PULSE — Spring/Summer 2020 Issue

companies have donated products that total to almost $32,000 and that amount will continue to grow as more items arrive. Joy Devins, Chief of Strategy for Atrium Professional Brands, said they wanted to help out any way they could. “We wanted to offer what we could—vitamins and minerals like vitamin C and zinc to support their immune systems on the front line,” said Devins. “We wanted to step up and care for these physicians and residents as much as possible.” “My heart truly melts. These brilliant and caring business and medical leaders all came together and poured their hearts and souls into this initiative,” said Snapp. “I have never seen so many people come together, so quickly, to do so much for people that they have never even met. Adversity can truly bring out the very best in all of us. On behalf of a large cohort of medical residents and faculty, I thank them with all of my heart.” Each kit contains multiple supplements and products to boost immunity and promote wellbeing: guidelines for nutrition and lifestyle tips that can enhance your overall well-being, a two-month supply of a multivitamin/mineral product, an immune-support product, vitamins C and D3, protein powder for quick meal shakes, and information about the products and their potential benefits for immune support.

manifested both mentally and physically. After reaching out to Dr. Snapp, she had sent me a nutritional supplement kit. After one week of using it, the difference was day and night. I have more clarity of mind and certainly feel more energized, which is reflecting on my patient care. I cannot say thank you enough!” As of May 11, fifty wellbeing kits were distributed to both the Augusta University/ University of Georgia Internal Medicine Residency Program at St. Mary’s Hospital and the Piedmont Athens Residency Program. The kits have been so popular that they are even finding their way to hospitals across the country: 12 total residency programs and 600 residents and faculty are now benefiting from the wellbeing kits. Programs such as Dartmouth College, the University of Florida, the University of Central Florida, and the Tallahassee Memorial Family Medicine Residency Program are now recipients of the kits. Both Snapp and Devins hope these kits are a light during the darkness.

Personalized Lifestyle Medicine Center by Metagenics physician and owner, Dr. Joseph Lamb, said they were happy to be onboard with the project. “Our hope is that these convenient nutritional supplements offer support for the self-care process and bolter immune health,” said Lamb. “We are honored to participate in this program supporting residents and faculty on the front lines of coping with COVID-19.”

“It has been so inspiring to see the notes and emails from these residents. They are just so very, very grateful,” she said. “It means so much to them that they are not alone in this and that their efforts are seen and appreciated. They are truly, from their heart, grateful. It is my hope that these kits will help them stay safe and healthy during this time.” “I hope it puts a smile on their face,” said Devins. “A tear that disappears because they feel they are being looked after. Their ability to stay healthy. That’s all we are thinking about right now. It’s really all that matters.”

All of the products from Metagenics and Atrium Innovations Professional Brands are shipped to Athens. The products are then placed into paper bags that are decorated by hand by Snapp’s own mother, Peggy. Snapp then personally delivers the kits to the hospitals. Snapp said the response has been nothing less than humbling. “I have been taking loads over daily to the two residency programs at both of our hospitals, and you just cannot believe the looks of gratitude, tears in the eyes, and huge smiles on their tired, kind faces. They are all so grateful.” “We have heard how full of gratitude they all are, but we have also heard how exhausted, fearful, and desperate they feel,” said Devins. “That’s why this is important. To support them in their hours of need because we can. We have been serving doctors and their patients for many years. It is our responsibility to help keep them and all first responders healthy and sustained now more than ever.” Dr. Bashar Kadhim, a third-year resident at Piedmont Athens Regional, said his kit came at the perfect time while he was working inpatient service. Due the pandemic, Kadhim’s time in inpatient service extended from four weeks to eight weeks. He spent two weeks working in the ICU where he was taking care of 14-16 patients during his 12-hour shifts and only getting one day off on the weekends. “It was such a joy seeing patients heal, but it was a big toll on my health. I didn't have the time to take care of myself and my food was just for energy,” said Kadhim. “The exhaustion was evident mostly through the last two weeks of the inpatient service which was



STUDENTS & ALUMNI Amy Baldwin, PhD, Campus Director of Phase 1 & 2 Curriculum, and Ed Sperr, MLIS Clinical Information Librarian, presented:

Baldwin A, Sperr E. Medical students in the moment: improvisation for building communication skills. Presented at: Eastern Sociological Society; February 29, 2020; Philadelphia, PA. Gerald Crites, MD, Campus Associate Dean for Faculty Affairs, published: Crites GE, Berry A, Hall E, Kay D, Khalil MK, Hurtubise L. Applying multiple frameworks to establish effective virtual collaborative teams in academia: a review and recommendations. Med Educ Online. 2020;25(1):1742968. doi :10.1080/10872981.2020.1742968 Vicki McKinney, PhD, Director of the Phase 3 Curriculum, had accepted: McKinney VR, Sandborn C, Gibson K, Ziemkowski P, Graves L. Messages on Mental Health: Messages from the Wellness Websites of Medical Schools. Virtutal ePoster (due to pandemic) presented at: AMEE 2020: The Virtual Experience; September 7-9, 2020; Glasgow, Scotland. Michelle Nuss, MD, Campus Dean, was asked to serve as Chair of the Medical Education Advisory Committee (MEAC) for the state of Georgia. The committee is comprised of the deans from Georgia’s medical schools. Don Scott, MD, Campus Director of Geriatrics and Palliative Care, has been working with the Institute of Gerontology at UGA to establish the CARE Center (Cognitive Assessment, Research and Education). They are currently applying to grants for the project.


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James Cho published: Cho J, Rahimpour S, Cutler A, Goodwin CR, Lad SP, Codd P. Enhancing Reality: A Systematic Review of Augmented Reality in Neuronavigation and Education [published online ahead of print, 2020 Apr 18]. World Neurosurg. 2020;139:186195. Saumya Dave, MD, published the book Well-Behaved Indian Women this summer. Dave graduated from the Partnership in 2015 and is an adjunct professor at Mount Sinai in New York. Christopher Jackson, MD, was named the University of Tennessee Health Science Center Faculty Teacher of the Year. Jackson graduated from the Partnership in 2015. Donya Jackson founded the Jackson Cowan Foundation, a non-profit organization centered on transforming today's underprivileged youth into tomorrow's doctors. Riley Jay graduated from Columbia University with her MPH in epidemiology. She will return to campus in the fall to compete her fourth year. Rachel Johnson, MD, was named the ACP national winner of the 2020 research poster “Just Because You Narcan, Doesn’t Mean You Should.” Johnson is a 2017 graduate of the Partnership and is a resident at WellStar Kennestone in Marietta. Ronke Olowojesiku, MD, received a National Health Service Corps Student (NHSC) loan repayment/scholarship for medical school costs with the agreement that after residency she will practice for a defined amount of time in an underserved community in the country. She graduated from the Partnership in 2020. Sabina Sorondo, MD, received the William B. Dion Award— an award given annually to the graduating MCG student going into General Surgery who has demonstrated the most outstanding overall performance on his/her surgical clerkship. She graduated from the Partnership in 2020. Sorondo also received the American Medical Women’s Association’s Glasgow Rubin Certificate. This certificate is given to outstanding women medical school students who recently graduated. She will receive free membership to the AMWA for winning this award.

Join us in welcoming our new Faculty & Staff Morgan Bouwsma Phase 3 Curriculum Coordinator Office of Curriculum

Thomas Howdieshell, MD Professor of Surgery Office of Curriculum

Sami McCabe Administrative Associate Office of Basic Sciences

Tresa Chappell, MD Assistant Professor of Pediatrics Office of Curriculum

Carrie Kelly, MD Assistant Professor of Pediatrics Office of Curriculum

Sarah Nuzzo, MD Chief Resident Instructor of Medicine Internal Medicine Residency Program

Matthew Farmer, MD Site Clerkship Director for Internal Medicine & Assistant Professor of Medicine Office of Curriculum

Robert Mackin, PhD Associate Professor of Cellular Biology and Anatomy Office of Curriculum

Rida Younus, MD Assistant Professor of Medicine Office of Curriculum

Nicholas Fox, MD Assistant Professor of Medicine Office of Curriculum

Jonathan Marti, MD Site Clerkship Director for Emergency Medicine & Assistant Professor of Emergency Medicine Office of Curriculum

New Medical College of Georgia Chiefs Dr. Michael Clemenshaw

Dr. Michelle Lee

Clemenshaw, a retired Army colonel, was named to his new position in March. From 1997-2000 he was a US delegate to NATO’s Medical Nuclear, Biological and Chemical Defense Working Group. His awards include the prestigious Army Surgeon General’s “A” Proficiency Designator, the Legion of Merit Medal, Global War on Terrorism Medal and induction into the Order of Military Medical Merit. He earned his medical degree from the Uniformed Services University of Health Sciences and completed a diagnostic radiology residency at the San Antonio Uniformed Services Health Education Consortium and a nuclear medicine fellowship at the University of Texas Health Science Center in San Antonio.

Lee joins MCG after serving as the assistant program director of the radiology residency at the Mallinckrodt Institute of Radiology at Washington University in St. Louis. She is a member of the American Board of Radiology Diagnostic Radiology Breast Certifying Exam Committee, the American College of Radiology/ Society of Breast Imaging Breast Cancer Screening Leaders Group, the Resident and Fellowship Committee and Fellowship Match Working Group of the Society of Breast Imaging and the American Roentgen Ray Society Abstract Review Committee. She earned her medical degree from Northwestern University and completed a diagnostic radiology residency and breast imaging fellowship at the Mallinckrodt Institute. Lee’s new position was announced in March.

Chief of the Section of Nuclear Medicine

Chief of the Section of Breast Imaging


UGA Health Sciences Campus 108 Spear Road Athens, Georgia 30602

Gifts Make a Difference

In 2010, the White Coat Scholarship Initiative was launched with a goal of increasing access to public medical education in Georgia. The fundraising teams at Augusta University and the University of Georgia are working together on this critical program, and we need your help. Among the first academic priorities of the White Coat Scholarship Initiative is to increase scholarships to attract talented students while also removing the burden of student debt, which can discourage students, especially those of limited financial means, from entering the medical profession. For those who do enter and complete medical school, high levels of student debt are a disincentive to serve in medically underserved areas or to choose specialties where the need is greatest, such as primary care. We need your help to ensure that financial obstacles don’t deter students from serving a state with an urgent need for more physicians. Donations can be made online or with the enclosed envelope, and all donations are tax-deductible.

UPCOMING EVENTS Open House Dates: September 19 October 24 November 7 February 6 & 27

Mark your calendar!

Class of 2024 Orientation: Begins the week of July 27 – July 31

First Day of Classes: Monday, August 3, 2020

Thanksgiving Break: Wednesday, November 25 – Novemebr 27, 2020

Keep a look out for more upcoming events on our social media!

Last Day of Fall Semester Classes: Friday, December 11, 2020