Category Archives: Honors

Webb appointed to editorial board of new international journal

AUGUSTA, Ga. – Dr. R. Clinton Webb, Chair of the Department of Physiology at the Medical College of Georgia at Georgia Regents University, has been appointed to a five-year term on the editorial board of the new Journal of African Association of Physiological Sciences.

The international journal, which will be published for the first time this year, is the official publication of the association, an International Union of Physiological Sciences-affiliated organization.

Webb’s other editorial  board memberships include Hypertension, Journal of the American Society of Hypertension, Journal of Cardiovascular Pharmacology, Vascular Pharmacology, Current Hypertension Reviews, Current Cardiology Reviews, Therapeutic Advances in Cardiovascular Diseases and World Journal of Pharmacology.

Webb received the 2012 International Society of Hypertension AstraZeneca Award and the Carl J. Wiggers Award from the American Physiological Society, for his contributions to hypertension and cardiovascular research, respectively.

Webb is a Past Chair of the American Heart Association’s Council for High Blood Pressure Research and a member of the council’s Leadership, Awards and Scientific Sessions Committees. He is a member of the AHA’s Scientific Sessions Program and Council Operations Committees, Ethnicity and Gender Working Group and International Mentoring Program.  Webb is a Past President of the Association of Chairs of Departments of Physiology and a member of the American Society of Hypertension Program Committee and Society for Women’s Health Research Isis Cardiovascular Network.

Webb, a Regents’ Professor who holds the Herbert S. Kupperman Chair in Cardiovascular Disease, received the 2009 Distinguished Basic Research Award from the GRU Research Institute.

Two GRU College of Nursing students selected for Mayo Clinic externship

Lindsey Waller and Ashlyn Fowler
Lindsey Waller and Ashlyn Fowler

Two students from Georgia Regents University’s College of Nursing have been selected to participate in a summer program that will give them clinical experience at the renowned Mayo Clinic.

Ashlyn Fowler, a senior, and Lindsey Waller, a junior, are among only 111 students nationwide selected for the highly competitive, 10-week Summer III Nursing Externship, which offers students opportunities to participate in direct and indirect patient care and work alongside a registered nurse clinical coach.

Fowler and Waller are two of only four College of Nursing students selected for this honor in recent years and are the first representatives of the new GRU undergraduate nursing program, which resulted from the consolidation of Augusta State University and Georgia Health Sciences University.

“I’m thrilled that once again our students have been selected for inclusion in this prestigious program. It’s highly competitive, and to be chosen is an honor,” said Rebecca Rule, GHSU-BSN Program (Teach-out*) Director and the Interim GRU-BSN Program Director. “Lindsey is a strong student in both the academic and clinical areas.  She also serves her class as the Director of Public Relations for Breakthrough to Nursing.”

“We remain proud of Ashlyn’s accomplishments and are excited that she has been selected for this prestigious program,” said Dr. Jean Pawl, ASU-BSN Program (Teach-out) Director. “In fact, Ashlyn received an award for clinical excellence this month at Honors Convocation. She shared that she will be working in a general and trauma surgical unit at the Mayo Clinic.”

Fowler, originally from Alpharetta, Ga., started college as an art major, but transferred to Augusta to study nursing after visiting an orphanage in Tanzania during a study abroad trip. The children were under the age of 3 and suffered from malaria, tuberculosis and HIV.

The summer program will provide a unique experience, Fowler said. She hopes to one day pursue a nursing career in women’s health and labor and delivery. Her husband is a second-year medical student at Medical College of Georgia.

“I’m just really excited. The experience and opportunity to work in a place like the Mayo Clinic, I don’t know if I’ll ever have that opportunity again. To work in a place that’s not only prestigious, but I think very well run and very collaborative is an honor,” Fowler said.

Waller, originally from Griffin, Ga., said that she wanted to become a nurse because she has cared for others with health ailments throughout her life and loves to help people. She hopes the program will help her become a better nurse and provide better patient care and make her more competitive for jobs.

“I’m so excited. I’ve never been that far away from home. I want to step out of my comfort zone and do something that I’ve never done before,” Waller said. “I feel this externship will give me more experience and let me do things that I won’t get to do in regular clinical rotations.”

*“Teach-out” refers to faculty members’ campus affiliations prior to their sole GRU status once their students complete the program in which they initially matriculated.

Bhatia honored by Southern Society for Pediatric Research

bhatiaweb[1]Dr. Jatinder Bhatia, Chief of the Section of Neonatology in the Department of Pediatrics at the Medical College of Georgia at Georgia Regents University, received the Founder’s Award for his research achievements and contributions to the Southern Society for Pediatric Research.

Bhatia, who also directs the MCG Fellowship Program in Neonatal-Perinatal Medicine, was honored Feb. 22 during the Southern Regional Meetings in New Orleans sponsored by the Southern Society for Pediatric Research and five other professional societies.

Bhatia also has been named an Honorary Fellow by the Philippine Pediatric Society of Newborn Medicine, a subspecialty society of the Philippine Pediatric Society.

His service to the Southern Society for Pediatric Research dates back to a 1995 term on its Council. He subsequently served terms as Secretary-Treasurer, President-Elect and President. Bhatia also has served on the society’s Clinical Young Investigator Awards Committee.

Bhatia has served as an honorary consultant to the Division of Neonatology at The Philippine Children’s Medical Center for more than 15 years, was named an honorary member of the Perinatal Association of the Philippines, Inc. in 2010 and has been honored by The Philippine Pediatric Society.

He is Chair of the American Academy of Pediatrics Committee on Nutrition, serves as the committee’s liaison to the academy’s Section on Breast Feeding and is the academy’s representative to the National Dairy Council Advisory Board. He has served as Chair of the Committee on Fetus and Newborn of the Georgia Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics since 1996.

He is an Editor for and the site’s Chief Editor for Nutrition; an editorial board member, Supplements Editor and Associate Neonatology Editor of the Journal of Perinatology; and on the editorial boards of the Chinese Journal of Contemporary Pediatrics and the Journal of Maternal-Fetal and Neonatal Medicine and Neonatology.

Bhatia’s research interests include protein and lipid requirements of premature infants, liver dysfunction that may result from intravenous nutrition as well as the role of light and photosensitizers in the production of reactive oxygen species and liver damage in babies.


GRU student wins American Medical Association Foundation Award

Brett Heimlich, a student in the MD/PhD Program in the Medical College of Georgia at Georgia Regents University, has received the American Medical Association Foundation’s 2013 Leadership Award.
Brett Heimlich, a student in the MD/PhD Program in the Medical College of Georgia at Georgia Regents University, has received the American Medical Association Foundation’s 2013 Leadership Award.

AUGUSTA, Ga. – Brett Heimlich, a student in the MD/PhD Program in the Medical College of Georgia at Georgia Regents University, has received the American Medical Association Foundation’s 2013 Leadership Award.

The award provides medical students, residents, fellows and early career physicians from around the country with special training to develop their skills and become leaders in organized medicine and community affairs. The AMA Foundation honored Heimlich and 19 others at its annual Excellence in Medicine Awards Feb. 11 in Washington, D.C.

Heimlich lives in Augusta’s historic Harrisburg neighborhood, one of the city’s oldest and most disadvantaged. He has worked tirelessly on the Harrisburg Community Development Project, which immerses him and his fellow medical students in the neighborhood and aims to address health disparities among its residents. His projects have included a Veggie Truck that travels the neighborhood to offer low income families healthier food choices, mentoring youth at a weekly faith-based outreach program and serving as a member of the Harrisburg Family Health Care Board.

“Brett’s altruistic spirit and commitment to his community epitomize the type of physician we strive to produce,” said MCG Dean Peter Buckley. “We couldn’t be more delighted to call him our own.”

Heimlich has been active in the AMA and has served the association as a student delegate.

Pollock elected President-Elect of American Physiological Society

Dr. David M. PollockDr. David M. Pollock, renal physiologist and founding Chief of the Section of Experimental Medicine in the Department of Medicine at the Medical College of Georgia at Georgia Regents University, has been elected President- Elect of the American Physiological Society.

The society fosters education, research and information dissemination about the physiological sciences. The 126-year-old society based in Bethesda, Md., has more than 10,000 members. Pollock will become President after serving a one-year term as President-Elect.

His relationship with the society dates back to the early 1990s and includes leadership roles as Secretary of the society’s Renal Section and a three-year term as a Councillor. He serves on the editorial board of two society journals, the American Journal of Physiology: Renal Physiology and the American Journal of Physiology: Heart and Circulatory Physiology, and is Associate Editor of the American Journal of Physiology: Regulatory, Integrative and Comparative Physiology.  He was a member of a 2012 society task force to enhance opportunities for scientific interaction and exchange.

Pollock also is an editorial board member of the journal Hypertension, received the journal’s Outstanding Reviewer Award in 2005 and 2012 and was cited as its top reviewer in 2006. Additionally, he is on the editorial boards of Current Hypertension Reviews, Nitric Oxide: Biology and Chemistry, Clinical and Experimental Physiology and Pharmacology and Editor-in-Chief of Comprehensive Physiology.

He is on the Organizing Committee for the 13th International Conference on Endothelin set for September in Tokyo and chairs the 2013 Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology Summer Conference on Renal Hemodynamics.

Pollock received Distinguished Faculty Awards for Basic Science Research from MCG as well as the GRU Research Institute in 2010 and the GRU College of Graduate Studies Outstanding Faculty Award for Research in 2011.  He also was named founding Chief of the Section of Experimental Medicine in 2011.

He studies the relationship between kidney function and blood pressure. At MCG, he is Director of an $11.2 million Program Project grant from the National Institutes of Health exploring how the kidneys recognize and deal with excess salt consumption with colleagues at the University of Utah and the University of Texas at San Antonio.

Medical Center earns statewide patient safety award

Using a stuffed bunny as the patient, Georgia Regents University students Colleen Harter (from left), Megan Comer and Leigh Ellison practice skills during an asepsis training course. Georgia Regents Medical Center, where the students complete their clinical course work, earned a statewide award for developing the program to reduce surgical site infections.
Using a stuffed bunny as the patient, Georgia Regents University students Colleen Harter (from left), Megan Comer and Leigh Ellison practice skills during an asepsis training course. Georgia Regents Medical Center, where the students complete their clinical course work, earned a statewide award for developing the program to reduce surgical site infections.

AUGUSTA, Ga. – Georgia Regents Medical Center has earned a prestigious award for its efforts in reducing infections that can result from disease-causing germs in health care environments.

The hospital received the Josh Nahum Special Achievement Award for Infection Prevention and Control from the Partnership for Health and Accountability, a subsidiary of the Georgia Hospital Association, for cutting down surgical site infections through an aggressive asepsis program.

“We achieved this recognition not only for improving patient safety, but for effectively collaborating to raise the bar,” said Dr. William Kanto, Georgia Regents Medical Center’s senior vice president for medical affairs and chief medical officer. “Infection control in a hospital doesn’t belong to any one person, or discipline; it involves everyone. We all want to do what is right for our patients.”

After data showed that the surgical site infection rate, or SSI, was higher than expected, a performance improvement team was formed in 2008. The team discovered an opportunity to improve the way Georgia Regents University students, who spend a significant portion of their education in the hospital, were trained in surgical aseptic/sterile techniques.

Previous training for students had consisted of little more than watching an instructional video. So, the hospital epidemiology department, working in conjunction with the GRU faculty and representatives in key clinical areas, developed and implemented a formal asepsis program. The new curriculum incorporates classroom instruction and hands-on training and requires that students pass a skills competency test in a simulated operating room.

Since the program’s creation, more than 2,500 individuals have completed the training, which has grown to include transient students coming for observerships and rotations, as well as hospital employees whose job places them in a surgical setting outside the operating room, such as the electrophysiology or cardiac catheterization labs. In addition, SSI rates at the medical center are trending downward, and skills and techniques have been standardized based on best practices.

“We’ve been very successful with the program so far,” said Rebecca Walker, the hospital’s epidemiology director. “As we train people and they begin to use the appropriate techniques, they become role models for others.”

“Infection prevention and proper education are key components to better patient safety,” said Georgia Hospital Association President Joseph Parker. “We applaud Georgia Regents Medical Center for its leadership and dedication in these areas and its commitment to providing the best and safest care possible for its patients.”

The Josh Nahum Special Achievement Award for Infection Prevention and Control was established in 2007 by Victoria and Armando Nahum – in partnership with the Georgia Hospital Association – in memory of their son Josh, who died from a healthcare-associated infection.

About PHA
The Partnership for Health and Accountability (PHA), a subsidiary of GHA, was established in January 2000 to improve patient care and patient safety in hospitals and other health care facilities and create healthy communities.

About GHA
Established in 1929, GHA is the state’s largest trade organization of hospitals and health systems providing education, research and risk management services to its more than 170 hospitals and health system members. Additionally, it represents and advocates health policy issues benefiting Georgia’s citizens before the state legislature and U.S. Congress as well as before regulatory bodies.

GRU student newspaper receives 14 awards in statewide competition

GRU student newspaper
The Bell Ringer staff received 14 awards from the Georgia College Press Association. Special Photo

Georgia Regents University’s student newspaper, The Bell Ringer, received 14 awards at the Georgia College Press Association Awards Banquet in Athens, Ga. on Feb. 2. The publication competed against college newspapers across the state and won one more award than last year’s record.

Among the awards were five first-place honors, including Best Editorial or Editorial Series, Best Campus Community Service – Features, Best Campus Community Service – Editorial and Most Improved.  The paper also took second place in the prestigious General Excellence category, said Faculty Adviser Matthew Bosisio.

“We’re competing with a lot of very fine newspapers across the state, so to take second in the category of General Excellence is a real mark of how good our students are,” Bosisio said. “We have a talented group of hard-working, dedicated journalists in the newsroom. They take it seriously. They’re serving students, faculty and staff on a daily basis, and I’m proud of them.”

Individual award winners were Travis Highfield, first place for investigative reporting; John-Michael Garner, second place in best sports story; and Jacquelyn Pabon, two second-place awards for best sports photograph and best review. In addition, The Bell Ringer won second place for its website.

At the conference, 10 students from The Bell Ringer staff had the chance to view student newspapers from across the state and attend educational seminars.

The Bell Ringer is 55 years old and is published biweekly. The staff includes 11 students who receive a stipend for their work and about a dozen additional writers.

Stroke center makes honor roll for fast, quality care

The Primary Stroke Center at Georgia Health Sciences Medical Center has been named to the Target: Stroke Honor Roll by the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association for excellence in emergency stroke care.

“When it comes to stroke, time is brain. Treatment within the first three hours – the golden window for stroke – is critical to saving the millions of neurons vital for human function,” said Dr. David Hess, Medical Director of the Primary Stroke Center and Chair of Neurology at Georgia Regents University. GHS Medical Center is currently one of only about a dozen hospitals in Georgia to make the Target Stroke Honor Roll, making it among the fastest in the nation for life-saving care.

Hospital measures include aggressive use of the clot-busting drug tissue plasminogen activator, commonly known as tPA, and a fast-track protocol to diagnose and treat stroke within a 60-minute window. The multidisciplinary stroke team includes physicians, nurses and staff from emergency, neurology, radiology, pathology and other specialists who work together in a seamless process. Target Stroke Honor Roll recognizes hospitals that treat at least half of eligible patients with tPA within an hour of their arrival to the emergency department.

In addition, GHS earned the AHA/ASA Get With The Guidelines® Stroke Gold Plus Quality Achievement Award for the second consecutive year for achieving 85 percent or higher adherence to all Get With The Guidelines Stroke Quality Achievement Indicators for two or more consecutive 12-month intervals and 75 percent or higher compliance with six of 10 stroke quality measures during the same time period.

These measures include tPA use, anticoagulation therapy, cholesterol-lowering drugs and smoking cessation, all aimed at reducing death and disability and improving the lives of stroke patients. Studies have shown that patients who are taught to manage their risk factors while still in the hospital are less likely to have another stroke.

Stroke is a leading cause of death and serious long-term disability in the United States. On average, someone dies of a stroke every four minutes. GHS Medical Center, located in the heart of the Stroke Belt, is designated as a Primary Care Stroke Center by the Georgia Department of Public Health Office of EMS and Trauma and the Joint Commission on the Accreditation of Health Care Organizations

Patients in rural Georgia hospitals have fast access to quality stroke care at GHS through REACH Health, Inc., a telemedicine program pioneered at GRU’s Medical College of Georgia that allows neurologists to diagnose and treat stroke patients remotely. Hospitals in partnership with GHS Medical Center for remote stroke care include Burke Medical Center, Coliseum Medical Centers, Elbert Memorial Hospital, Emanuel Medical Center, Fairview Park Hospital, Jefferson Hospital, Jenkins County Hospital, McDuffie Regional Medical Center, Morgan Memorial Hospital, Palmyra Medical Center, St. Mary’s Hospital, St. Mary’s Good Samaritan Hospital, Tift Regional Medical Center, Ty Cobb Memorial Hospital, Washington County Regional Medical Center, West Georgia Hospital and Wills Memorial Hospital.