Category Archives: Health Care


Rare moment: Triplets go home same day

A trio of baby girls headed home Thursday after spending 82 days in the neonatal intensive care unit at Children’s Hospital of Georgia.

Elise, Kate, and Lucy, daughters of Jason and Jennifer McGahee of Athens, were born about three months early and spent 82 days in the Children’s Hospital NICU before being discharged Sept. 18. NICU Nurse Christy Cockfield says that it’s very rare for twins to go home at the same time and even more unusual for triplets to be discharged all on the same day.

The McGahees said that their two sons are very excited to get to see their baby sisters for only the second time since they were born on June 28. The girls are said to be doing very well.

The Children’s Hospital of Georgia has a level IV NICU – the highest in the state.


CBS News: Low T drug labels vague, says GRHealth pharmacist and FDA panelist

Federal health experts said this week there is little evidence that testosterone-boosting drugs are effective for treating common signs of aging in men and that their use should be narrowed to exclude millions of Americans currently taking them.

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Georgia Regents Medical Center Pharmacy Manager Marjorie Shaw Phillips serves on the panel of Food and Drug Administration advisers who voted  20 to 1 that prescribing language on blockbuster testosterone treatments should be revised to make clear they have not been shown to reverse common aging issues like low libido, fatigue and muscle loss. The labeling change would drastically limit the drugs’ FDA-approved indication to men who have abnormally low hormone levels due to disease or injury, instead of aging.

“I think the current labeling is vague and has been subject to misinterpretation,” Phillips.

This story was published in more than 100 news outlets in the United States and Canada. Read the full story on

Azziz talks PCOS with radio audience

September is Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome Awareness Month, and to help raise awareness, GRU President and world-renowned reproductive specialist and scientist Dr. Ricardo Azziz sat down with one radio host last month to offer his expertise in the field and take questions from listeners.

Listen to the full radio interview.


ALS Walk donations will stay local

AUGUSTA, Ga. – The ice bucket challenge that swept the nation this summer helped generate more than $113 million in donations to the national ALS Association.

“That’s great news,” said Dr. Michael H. Rivner, Director of the Georgia Regents ALS Clinic, “but what we really need are local donations. By giving locally, you can have a direct impact on the lives of patients treated right here in Augusta.”

One of the ways to support the Georgia Regents ALS Clinic is by participating in the Beat Feet for ALS fundraising walk at 8:30 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 27, at Augusta’s Riverwalk. Proceeds from the walk will help fund additional resources and equipment to enhance the lives of area patients with this terminal disease.

“Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or ALS, is devastating. The muscles start to deteriorate rapidly until you are essentially trapped inside your own body,” said Rivner. “There is no cure, and, sadly, most patients will die within five years of their first symptoms.”

About 6,000 people in the United States are diagnosed with ALS each year. The nationally accredited Georgia Regents ALS Clinic serves about 150 patients across the Southeast.

The clinic, which opened in 2004 through a partnership between the Georgia Regents Neuroscience Center and the ALS Association of Georgia, takes a multidisciplinary and coordinated approach to patient care. Instead of scheduling multiple appointments and trips, patients are able to see neurologists; nurses; physical, occupational, and speech therapists; social workers; dietitians; respiratory therapists; and equipment specialists all on the same day. This is especially helpful for ALS patients because of diminishing mobility.

The Georgia Regents ALS team sees patients on the second Friday of each month in Augusta and the fourth Friday of each month at a satellite clinic in Macon. They assess disease progression, functional status, family concerns, and equipment, transportation, and referral needs. In addition, family and caregiver training and support are incorporated into the time spent with each patient.

“It could cost as much as $250,000 a year to treat just one patient with ALS, and insurance companies don’t necessarily pay for all of that. But studies have shown that being seen in a multidisciplinary clinic improves the longevity of patients – their health and quality of life, and that’s what we want to achieve for our patients and their families,” said Rivner, Charbonnier Professor of Neurology at the Medical College of Georgia at Georgia Regents University. Donations also support clinical trials – such as an upcoming study on magnetic stimulation – and other ALS research efforts being conducted at GRU.

To register for the walk or make a donation, visit or contact Brandy Quarles at or 706-721-2681.

You can also make a donation directly to the Georgia Regents ALS Clinic on the website or send a check payable to the clinic by mail to:

ALS Clinic (Fund 1078)
1120 15th St., BP-4390
Augusta, GA 30912



U.S. sees more than 14 million cancer survivors, experts weigh in

Photo: Edward Maurer via Flickr

According to a Cancer Progress Report published Tuesday by the American Association for Cancer Research, there are now more than 14 million cancer survivors in the U.S. which are said to be the result of half a dozen advanced therapies approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration this past year.

Hear what GRU Cancer Center Director Dr. Samir N. Khlief and other experts have to say in The Augusta Chronicle.

This is an example of a cochlear implant.

Mowry discusses cochlear implant reimbursement with AJC

Atlanta Journal-Constitution: Sunday, Sept. 14, 2014

A Loganville family is working to raise money to pay for their 4-year-old daughter’s cochlear implant, a permanent electronic device that helps pick up sound and speech. Despite being denied insurance coverage, the Fitzmayers went ahead with surgery to install a cochlear implant on the girl’s left ear.

Dr. Sarah Mowry, a neurotologist at Georgia Regents Medical Center and an assistant professor at Georgia Regents University, said she has seen almost all insurers move toward covering cochlear implants and that generally the sooner children receive implants the better.

Read Georgia family raises money for girl’s ear surgeries.


Cheerleaders give young patients spirited show

The cheerleading squads of the University of Georgia and the University of South Carolina performed for patients in the lobby of the Children’s Hospital of Georgia on Friday, Sept. 12 in what has become an annual prelude to the Border Bash and the Georgia v. Carolina football game. Following about a 10-minute cheer-off that included college sports mascots Cocky and Hairy Dog, members of the squads posed for photos with patients and families in the lobby before making room visits to some of the sicker children at CHOG.

This is one of many events that the Child Life Services team schedules to provide a fun distraction for our youngest patient population.

Check out the photos from this mini pep rally.

Azziz white coat

Azziz named Penn State Alumni Fellow

Dr. Ricardo Azziz, President of Georgia Regents University and CEO of Georgia Regents Health System, is the recipient of the Penn State Alumni Fellow Award, the university’s most prestigious alumni award; and the featured speaker for the PSU College of Medicine’s Convocation and Awards ceremony Sept. 19.

In recognition of his outstanding professional contributions as a university alumnus, he will receive a commemorative award, designed and hand cast by acclaimed sculptor and medalist Jeanne Stevens-Sollman, also an award recipient.

“I am honored to be recognized by a university that has done so much for me, my family, and countless others around the world,” Azziz said. “The knowledge I gained at Penn State has made me a better leader, clinician, and scientist, and I am grateful to have benefited from the rich history and tradition, the passion and enthusiasm, and all those who strived to create a better future.”

Azziz is a 1981 graduate of the Penn State College of Medicine in Hershey, Pa.

Alumni are nominated based on their professional accomplishments and are invited to campus to share their expertise with students, faculty, and administrators. Since the award was established in 1973, more than 700 PSU alumni have been honored with the title of Alumni Fellow – designated a permanent and lifelong title by the university’s Board of Trustees.

The Penn State Alumni Association is the largest alumni association (dues-paying) in the world with more than 174,000 members. Established in 1870, the association strives to connect alumni to the university and to each other, provide valuable benefits to members, and support the university’s mission of teaching, research, and service.

GRHealth is a Proud Partner in National Health IT Week

nhitweek_bannerThis September, GRHealth — as a partner in the advancement of health information technology to help improve health care —is a Proud Partner in National Health IT Week. National Health IT Week is the premier event offering all health care stakeholders an opportunity to unite under one banner, expressing the benefits that health information technology (IT) brings to U.S. health care. “One Voice, One Vision.”

Comprehensive health care reform is not possible without system-wide adoption of health information technology, which improves the quality of health care delivery, increases patient safety, decreases medical errors, and strengthens the interaction between patients and health care providers.

With Meaningful Use now providing the way forward, eligible providers across the country increasingly understand the benefits for themselves and their patients and are adopting Meaningful Use compliant electronic health records.

Initiated in 2006 by the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS), National Health IT Week has emerged as a landmark occasion for using health IT as part of the overall solution to improve America’s health care as a bipartisan, federally led, market driven initiative.

The Week consists of events in Washington, D.C., and across the country, including National Health IT Week participants —vendors, provider organizations, payers, pharmaceutical/biotech companies, government agencies, industry/professional associations, research foundations, and consumer protection groups— all working together to elevate national attention to the advantages of advancing health IT.

Visit for a full list of partners and updates on the Week’s activities. Working together with our growing coalition of stakeholders, GRHealth is helping to transform health care for all.

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Ribbon cutting held for GRU Equality Clinic

A ribbon cutting officially opening the GRU Equality Clinic was held Monday, Sept. 8,  in the Interdisciplinary Practice and Research Center in the Health Sciences Building. The clinic, which will be run by health science students at Georgia Regents University and supervised by faculty, is the first clinic in the area created specifically to serve lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender patients.

In addition to the Equality Clinic, Clínica Latina, which serves the area’s Hispanic population, will also move to the space.


Watch coverage of the event: