Category Archives: Information

General Information

Employee Health opens earlier for convenience

On Monday, April 20, Employee Health began opening at 7 a.m., and the response has been dramatic.

“Today, we’ve already seen eight people before we would have normally opened,” said Frances Toole, Director of Employee Health.

The additional hour was added to make employee health visits more convenient for night shift workers, who previously had to wait until 8 a.m.

Now, the main Employee Health office on Pope Street is open from 7 a.m. until 5 p.m., Monday through Friday.

The smaller hospital location (BA building, South entrance) will continue to be open Monday, Wednesday, and Fridays from 8 a.m. until 11 a.m.

The office handles everything from annual health screenings to posthire physicals, worker injuries, and much more. Please remember all services require an appointment to be seen in either location. Call today with your questions or needs. 706-721-3418.

 

Allen leads nursing Shared Governance

Carla AllenCarla G. Allen, a Senior Staff Nurse in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at Children’s Hospital of Georgia, has been named Chair of the Shared Governance Coordinating Council (SGCC).  Shared Governance in Nursing is a professional practice model that was founded on the principles of partnership, equity, accountability, and ownership that results in a framework to sustain shared decision-making in order to improve the quality of care, safety, and work life.

“Shared governance is all about bedside nurses being involved in decision-making, policy changes, and process improvements. It gives the bedside nurse a voice,” said Allen, whose main role will be to facilitate discussions during monthly meetings of the Shared Governance council chairs.

There are seven councils that comprise SGCC at GRHealth: (1) Clinical Ladder, (2) Education (3) Informatics, (4) Special Projects, (5) Evidence-Based Practice, (6) Performance Improvement, and (7) Professional Practice. Each council is comprised of bedside nurses who review issues and develop process improvements related to the council on which they serve. Councils’ recommendations are presented to the SGCC for endorsement and then reported up to the Nurse Executive Council for final approval.

“An example of a recent council issue would be the dress code policy,” says Allen. “A recommendation was made to revise the dress code, which went to the Evidence-Based Practice Council for review; and then the issue was sent to the Professional Practice Council for their review and recommendation, and so forth.”

Nursing Shared Governance at GRHealth provides direction for the professional practice of nursing.  The model directs nurses to participate in clinical decision-making, and empowers nurses to have accountability and ownership for the practice.  The ultimate goal is to achieve better patient outcomes.

“We have outstanding nurses at GRHealth who are committed to providing excellent nursing care to every patient, every encounter, every time,” said Allen, who is also chair of the Clinical Ladder Council, which provides for career progression for nurses.

Allen began her career at GRHealth in 2004 as an OB Tech in Labor and Delivery, where she became a Charge Nurse in 2009. She transferred to the NICU last fall. She’s been in Shared Governance since 2008.

This is the first time a senior staff nurse instead of the CNO has chaired Shared Governance at GRHealth, according to Chief Nursing Officer Laura Brower, who is working with the councils to set and achieve more aggressive goals to advance nursing, including pursuing Magnet designation.

2015 Alumni Weekend overview

Join us for Alumni Weekend 2015, a campus-wide celebration of our alumni—past, present and future, April 23-26.

This year’s schedule is filled with many events, including the annual Art Hardy Memorial Golf Tournament, campus tours, Alumni Association banquets and class reunions.

Highlighting the weekend will be the Annual Alumni Signature Event on April 25. This program will feature National Aeronautic and Space Administration (NASA) legends Captain James Lovell and Gene Kranz as the guest speakers.

Health Center Credit Union is the presenting sponsor for Alumni Weekend. For ticket information, contact the GRU Office of Alumni Affairs at 706-737-1759. To register for Alumni Weekend events, visit grualumni.com/alumniweekend. 

Jaguars Post Seven To PBC All-Academic Team

The Jaguar men’s and women’s tennis teams had seven student-athletes named to the Peach Belt Conference All-Academic team, according to a release from the league office in Augusta, Ga.

GRU Augusta juniors Gisela Font, Maria Nadal, and Maria Cecilia Pimentel and sophomore Marie Vin were named to the all-academic team. Men’s tennis juniors Gustav Anderson and Nameer Shamsi and senior Romain Brunie, were all honored for the excellence in the classroom as well.

The team is part of a season-long program recognizing the outstanding accomplishments of PBC student-athletes in the classroom as well as on the field.

To be eligible for the All-Academic team, a student-athlete must 1) participate in at least half of his/her team’s events and be either a starter or significant contributor; 2) achieved a 3.30 cumulative grade point average (on a 4.0 scale) and 3) completed at least one full academic year at his or her current institution and has reached sophomore athletic eligibility.

Check out 2015 Jaguar Tennis Action Photos by clicking here

To view the full men’s PBC All-Academic team click here

To view the full women’s PBC All-Academic team click here

WOMEN’S TENNIS – PBC ALL-ACADEMIC

Gisela Font                              GRU Augusta           Jr.            La Garriga, Spain                    3.76                         Pre-Computer Science

Maria Nadal                            GRU Augusta           Jr.            Barcelona, Spain                     3.63                         Marketing

Maria Pimentel                       GRU Augusta           Jr.            Guayaquil, Ecuador                 3.43                         Political Science

Marie Vin                                GRU Augusta           So.           Belo Horizonte, Brazil             3.42                         Political Science

MEN’S TENNIS – PBC ALL-ACADEMIC

Gustav Anderson    GRU Augusta           Jr.            Stockholm, Sweden                                3.95                         Management

Romain Brunie        GRU Augusta           Sr.            Les Clayes-sous-Bois, France                 3.44                         Computer Science

Nameer Shamsi      GRU Augusta           Jr.            Karachi, Pakistan                                    3.33                         Finance

CEPaR Corner: Health care solution to disaster

Following the tragic events of September 11, the Georgia Hospital Association convened a group to explore gaps in emergency preparedness. The group recognized a disaster event may create a need for patient evacuation or transfer. Such an event could also create a lack of staff, equipment, supplies, or other essential services. As a result, the GHA Board of Directors recommended all hospitals in Georgia enter into a Mutual Aid Compact.

In 2002, the Mutual Aid Task Force determined a regional hospital system was needed to most effectively accomplish the objectives of the MAC and created Regional Coordinating Hospitals. Under this system, all Georgia hospitals are connected by contract in a network of regions that serve the people during times of disaster.

An RCH is a hospital that has contracted to assist other hospitals and coalition partners in its region through coordination of patient transfers and coordination of shared personnel, equipment, and other essential resources or services during a disaster or evacuation.

Georgia Regents Medical Center and its affiliates are in Region G, which consists of hospitals and health care facilities within a 12-county area of the Central Savannah River Area. GRMC was selected as this Region’s Regional Coordinating Hospital. Over the past two years, the RCH has been instrumental in forming a health care coalition. Representatives of all health care facilities of the Region meet on a quarterly basis to discuss, plan, and organize for disasters and how to best serve the people of the region during times of disaster. The coalition and region are led by Joe Webber, staff member of the Critical Event Preparedness and Response department at Georgia Regents University. Under his guidance, several positive steps have been taken for community preparedness.

A Mass Fatalities Plan now exists for this region that outlines how the hospitals and other facilities will respond should a disaster result in a large number of fatalities. This plan includes cooperation and actions by both the county coroners and Public Health. Region G was one of the first in Georgia to create such a plan.

Another result of the Region G network has been the creation of an Evacuation Plan. This plan identifies methodology for the evacuation of a single hospital or hospitals and assures there will be facilities available to receive patients. It also provides plans for the sharing of staff and equipment between these facilities.

These are just examples of the many ways the Region G coalition can create positive plans for the benefit of its population during times of disaster. Webber and the coalition members will be studying needs of the region in the coming months to formulate other plans.

Plans cannot be carried out without the proper equipment, and this has been another positive area of Region G planning. Over the years, the Region has ordered equipment identified by its partner facilities, utilizing federal grant funds awarded yearly, in order to assure the region is well stocked and has needed supplies. Following last year’s ice storms, for example, the need for sleeping cots in hospitals was identified. We now have over 200 such cots in a regional cache, which can be used by any hospital or facility in need. Likewise, the Region has ordered ventilators, ham radios, and other necessary equipment.

Regents announce tuition rates

On Tuesday, April 14, the Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia (USG) approved the tuition rates for the 2015-16 academic year. GRU students will experience a 5.5 percent increase.

“To ensure we can continue to offer quality public higher education, we must continue to invest in our institutions,” said Chancellor Hank Huckaby. “We have carefully assessed the tuition rates for our institutions to make sure we are balancing the increasing costs of providing public higher education while keeping tuition and fees as affordable as possible.”

GRU is among 10 USG institutions to have an increase of more than 2.5 percent, though several of the 10 received a more substantial increase. The University of Georgia, Georgia Tech, Middle Georgia State University, and Atlanta Metropolitan State College each received a 9 percent increase, while tuition at Georgia Gwinnet College will rise 8.3 percent.

The Board of Regents considers the increase necessary to keep the costs of public higher education balanced at a level that’s roughly 50 percent state funding and 50 percent tuition, and while a tuition hike obviously increases the financial impact of a college education on students and their families, the USG continues to offer some of the lowest tuition rates among its peer public higher education systems.

Of the 16 states that make up the Sothern Regional Education Board, the USG is the seventh lowest in tuition and fees for four-year institutions.

Student fees for Health Sciences students will increase by $45, while students at the Summerville Campus will see a $75 increase. Students across both campuses will see a $30 increase in athletic fees, a $5 increase in student health fees, and a $10 increase going toward technology. The activity, wellness, and transportation fees will remain unchanged.

Quality Enhancement Plan is important, and here’s why

If it seems like it’s been awhile since you’ve heard about the Quality Enhancement Plan (QEP), you’re right. But that doesn’t mean nothing’s happening.

“We did a huge marketing campaign with Phase One, and we’ve been a little quieter recently because we’ve been working,” said Mickey Williford, Director of Accreditation and QEP Project Co-Chair. “But we need everyone to know that it isn’t going away and it’s going to be part of our world for five years.”

Five years is a long time, which is why Williford and the various team members are working so hard to make sure they get it right.

But what exactly is a QEP? In short, the Quality Enhancement Plan is one of the two parts the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) requires for accreditation. Not only must a school prove compliance with a set of defined standards, it must also provide a QEP, which is a proposal to enhance student learning in a specific, measurable way.

In Phase One, which ran from February 2014 until January of this year, a team was chosen with representatives from all the colleges across the university. The team’s goal was to determine what data existed specific to GRU that could demonstrate what student learning needs were and how successful the school was at meeting them.

While it might seem an easy chore for an institution of higher learning, quantifying it was complicated by the consolidation of two very different schools with two very different student pools.

“That was a very difficult task because ASU was predominantly a liberal arts undergraduate school with several masters programs, and what was then Georgia Health Sciences University had very few undergraduate students,” said Cathy Tugmon, Associate Professor in the Department of Biological Sciences and the project’s other co-leader. “In the end, we said we have some areas we were maybe consistently weak in, particularly on the undergraduate campus. One of them had to do with community engagement and experiential learning.”

In April, the GRU community was invited to submit themes. The committee received 54, and from those themes, 10 topics were identified, many of which included some form of experiential learning. Therefore, the committee decided the QEP’s theme would be experiential learning, with sub themes of leadership, research and scholarship, and community engagement.

By September, there was a call for proposals, which took those themes and then turned them into potential QEPs. In the end, six were submitted and evaluated by the committee. Of the six, two were forwarded to the leadership panel, which consisted of the Provost, the Deans, the University Senate Chair, the EVP for Administration and Finance, and key officers from academic and student support units. Both targeted leadership, with one focusing on community engagement and the other focusing on community-based research.

In January, the leadership team recommended synthesizing the two plans into one QEP, and that idea was endorsed by Dr. Caughman and President Azziz.

Now, the process has entered Phase Two, and the committee has expanded significantly. Teams include Design, Assessment Planning, Engagement/Awareness, Literature/References, and Resources, all of which report to a Core Team who oversees the project’s progress.  More information about each team, including membership, is provided at gru.edu/QEP.

The main thing both Williford and Tugmon want to stress, however, is that there is a lot of work going on, even if it is somewhat behind the scenes.

According to Tugmon, they’d like to have as many of the plan’s details fleshed out as possible by May, with some tweaking going on over the summer. They would begin to write it up once everyone returns in the fall.

What Tugmon finds exciting about this QEP is its potential to impact students on a variety of different levels as well as the community. The teams are currently pursuing ways to engage students and community members in addition to faculty and staff in the development process.

They will submit the report to SACSCOC around February 2016, and SACSCOC will send an onsite review team in March.

Williford also emphasizes the importance of everyone on campus becoming familiar with the QEP. And by everyone, she means everyone.

“The urban legend in the SACSCOC world is that if a reviewer walks up to a landscaper, that landscaper should be ready to talk about the QEP,” Williford said. “Whether or not that ever actually happens is not important, but that’s the standard you want to try to hit.”

For more information or to keep up-to-date with the latest developments, visit the QEP site here.

GRU partners with Phinizy, others to hold Earth Day event

Georgia Regents University has again partnered several other entities to hold Augusta’s Earth Day celebration, which promotes environmental responsibility and sustainable living initiatives, on Saturday, April 18.

phinizy swamp  1 (1)Held at Phinizy Swamp Nature Park, the event will feature live entertainment, local arts and crafts vendors, green and local business vendors and family activities. This is the second year GRU has served as a partner in the event, this time teaming up with Phinizy Center for Water Sciences, the City of Augusta and the Augusta Utilities Department.

The motto this year is “It’s Your Turn to Take the Lead!” The event starts at 10 a.m. and runs until 4 p.m., rain or shine. There is no charge for admission.

City of Augusta Mayor Hardie Davis Jr., Mrs. Ricardo Azziz and Dr. Oscar Flite, Ph.D. are scheduled to give the welcome address at 11:45 a.m.

“Our mission, as well as the City of Augusta’s, is to develop, promote and implement a responsible sustainability program incorporating all forms of environmental stewardship and practices to meet the needs of Georgia Regents University, the City of Augusta and Mother Earth,” said Mario Enriquez, GRU Facilities Services Manager.

twoExhibits and activities include a reptile exhibit, a birds of prey exhibit, guided hikes of Phinizy Swamp, face painting, yoga and tai-chi mini sessions, hoop dancing and Auggie & Kirby the Kangaroo mascots.

Live entertainers include The Henrys, Eryn Eubanks & The Family Fold and Southeastern Reptile Rescue.

On-site recycling will be available at the event for materials like old batteries, electronics, paper, plastic, metal, tires, glass and Styrofoam. GRU’s own Green Team, an enterprise-wise sustainability committee, will collect used cell phones for recycling.

Phinizy Swamp Nature Park is located at 1858 Lock and Dam Road.

Regenerative Medicine Symposium set for April 24 at GRU

Scientists and physicians from the region interested in regenerative and reparative medicine techniques, such as helping aging stem cells stay focused on making strong bone, will meet in Augusta April 24 to hear updates from leaders in the field and strategize on how to move more research advances to patients.

The daylong Regenerative Medicine and Cellular Therapy Research Symposium, sponsored by the Georgia Regents University Institute for Regenerative and Reparative Medicine, begins at 8 a.m. in Room EC 1210 of the GRU Health Sciences Building.

“We think this is a terrific opportunity for basic scientists and physicians to come together and pursue more opportunities to work together to get better prevention and treatment strategies to patients,” said Dr. William D. Hill, stem cell researcher and symposium organizer.

Dr. Arnold I. Caplan, Director of the Skeletal Research Center at Case Western Reserve University and a pioneer in understanding mesenchymal stem cells, which give rise to bone, cartilage, muscle, and more, will give the keynote address at 8:45 a.m. Mesenchymal stem cell therapy is under study for a variety of conditions including multiple sclerosis, osteoarthritis, diabetes, emphysema, and stroke.

Other keynotes include:

  • 9:40 a.m. Dr. Eben Alsberg, Director of Case Western’s Stem Cell and Engineered Novel Therapeutics Laboratory, who is developing novel biomaterials and microenvironments to regenerate tissue and treat disease.
  • 10:20 a.m. Dr. Lilsa Kuhn, Associate Professor, Reconstructive Sciences Department, University of Connecticut Health Center and a faculty member in the UConn Biomedical Engineering Department, who studies orthopaedic biomaterials and drug delivery systems.
  • 11 a.m. Dr. Johnna S. Temenoff, Associate Professor, Coulter Department of Biomedical Engineering, Georgia Institute of Technology and Emory University, who is Co-Director of the Regenerative Engineering and Medicine research center, a collaboration between Georgia Tech, University of Georgia, and Emory. Her studies include generating biomaterials that encourage stem cells to regenerate tendons/ligaments, cartilage, and bone.
  • 1:30 p.m. Dr. Steve Stice, Georgia Research Alliance Eminent Scholar, Professor and Director of UGA’s Regenerative Bioscience Center, and Director of the Regenerative Engineering and Medicine research center. Stice’s research focus is developing innovative animal cloning and stem cell technologies.
  • 3:20 p.m. Dr. David Hess, stroke specialist and Chairman of the Department of Neurology at the Medical College of Georgia and Clinical Chair of the GRU Brain and Behavior Discovery Institute. His research interests include basic and clinical studies using adult stem cells to aid stroke recovery.

The GRU Institute for Regenerative and Reparative Medicine has a focus on evidence-based approaches to healthy aging with an orthopaedic emphasis. “As you age, the bone is more fragile and likely to fracture,” Hill said. “We want to protect bone integrity before you get a fracture as well as your bone’s ability to constantly repair so, if you do get a fracture, you will repair it better yourself.”

Bone health is a massive and growing problem with the aging population worldwide. “What people don’t need is to fall and wind up in a nursing home,” said Dr. Mark Hamrick, MCG bone biologist and Research Director of the GRU institute. “This is a societal problem, a clinical problem, and a potential money problem that is going to burden the health care system if we don’t find better ways to intervene.”

The researchers are exploring options such as scaffolding to support improved bone repair with age as well as nutrients that impact ongoing mesenchymal stem cell health, since these stem cells, which tend to decrease in number and efficiency with age, are essential to maintaining strong bones as well as full, speedy recovery.

Dr. Carlos Isales, endocrinologist and Clinical Director of the GRU institute, is looking at certain nutrients, particularly amino acids, and how some of their metabolites produce bone damage while others prevent or repair it. Isales is Principal Investigator on a major Program Project grant from the National Institutes of Health exploring a variety of ways to keep aging mesenchymal stem cells healthy and focused on making bone. “I think the drugs we have reduce fractures, but I think there are better ways of doing that,” Isales said. “We are always thinking translationally,” said Hill.

For more information and registration, visit gru.edu/institutes/regenerative/symposium.php.

RN Float Pool Open House

HR will host an RN Float Pool Open House on Thursday, April 23 from 4-6 p.m. at 1515 Pope Ave. Applicants will have the opportunity to meet with the Float Pool management team and onsite interviews will be conducted.

Applicants may apply in advance at gru.edu/jobs. Adult and Pediatric positions available.

For more information please contact Sheila Barnes at sbarnes1@gru.edu.