Tag Archives: Phillip Coule

Coule named associate CMO at GRHealth

AUGUSTA, Ga. – Dr. Phillip Coule has been named associate chief medical officer and chief patient safety officer for Georgia Regents Health System. He will work to improve patient quality and safety and clinical effectiveness at the hospitals and practice sites associated with GRHealth.

Dr. Phillip CouleCoule previously served as the vice chairman of clinical and business operations for the Department of Emergency Medicine and Hospitalist Services at GRU’s Medical College of Georgia.

“The Affordable Care Act and shift to more accountable health care delivery models have prompted us to rethink existing resources, processes and systems in order to reduce waste and increase the value that we provide to our patients,” said Dr. Kevin C. Dellsperger, vice president and chief medical officer for GRHealth and MCG associate dean for Clinical Affairs. “Dr. Coule’s efforts in performance improvement have already positively impacted our Emergency Department, and his broad depth of experiences, education and training make him a unique asset to our health system.”

An expert in emergency medicine, disaster preparedness and mass casualty triage, Coule is director of the Emergency Communications Center at Georgia Regents Medical Center and medical director for both the Augusta Fire Department and AirLife Georgia 10 helicopter transport services. In addition, Coule serves on the board of directors for the National Disaster Life Support Foundation and helped develop the NDLS training programs used today in the health care industry.

He earned a bachelor’s degree in biology from Augusta State University and an M.D. degree from MCG, before they became GRU. He obtained EMT and EMT-1 certification from Aiken Technical College and Augusta Technical College, respectively, and earned his master’s degree in business administration from the University of Tennessee.

Coule serves on multiple hospital quality and safety committees and is vice chairman of the board for GRAChIE – the Georgia Regional Academic Community Health Information Exchange – an electronic platform that promotes care coordination and quality through an efficient, meaningful network of health care providers.

Medical Center preps for Ebola

Flickr via European Commission DC ECHO
Flickr via European Commission DC ECHO

Following the publication of a study by Emory University on the Ebola outbreak which urges health care providers across the globe to keep abreast of the latest recommendations for handling infected patients, Dr. Phillip Coule, Vice Chair of the Department of Emergency Medicine, spoke with The Augusta Chronicle about the preparations Georgia Regents Medical Center has made to keep patients and employees safe. 

Read the full story here.

EMS-trained physician joins first-response team for area’s worst accidents, disasters

BurgbacherwebThe region’s first fellowship-trained emergency medical services physician is now part of the first-response team managing the worst accidents and disasters in the Augusta area.

Dr. Todd Burgbacher, who completed his emergency medicine residency at the Medical College of Georgia and Georgia Regents Health System last year, has returned to MCG and Georgia Regents University after completing a one-year Emergency Medical Services fellowship at the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio.

EMS is a new medical subspecialty in the United States that focuses on pre-hospital care and the infrastructure supporting it.

Starting this week, Burgbacher joins Gold Cross EMS and the Augusta Fire Department at scenes such as vehicle extrications, field amputations, and mass casualties as well as more typical 911 calls in Richmond, Columbia and Jefferson counties in a fully-equipped GRU/GR Health emergency response vehicle.

“Dr. Burgbacher will be out on the front line for worst-case scenarios, able to work directly with EMTs and paramedics, to supervise and educate real time; and to improve care in the field,” said Dr. Richard Schwartz, Chairman of the MCG Department of Emergency Medicine and Hospitalist Services.

“This is a great thing for our community and the next step in providing exceptional emergency and trauma care and training to our region. It’s expanding our emergency care from the emergency department to the pre-hospital setting and expanding our EMS education as well,” Schwartz said.

MCG and GR Health System plan to establish an EMS fellowship to train more physicians like Burgbacher starting in July 2014.
Dr. John McManus, who directed the U.S. Army EMS for three years, created the first emergency medicine fellowship in the Armed Services, and closed the last Army field hospital in Iraq, joined the MCG faculty Nov. 1 to help build and direct the fellowship. The Accreditation Council on Graduate Medical Education approved EMS fellowships, such as the one Burgbacher recently completed, in September 2012.

As part of a related educational expansion, the MCG Department of Emergency Medicine also is developing a year-long paramedic course. Faculty and staff already teach a three-month EMT course, which is regularly taken by members of the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s elite hostage rescue teams

Burgbacher, who also will serve as Assistant Medical Director of Gold Cross, will work closely with Gold Cross Medical Director Dr. Jimmy L. Peebles, to expand and refine protocols for area EMTs and paramedics. Burgbacher also is Medical Director for the air ambulance service, AirMed Augusta.

“Our EMS professionals already provide exceptional care to area citizens, but this brings us a step closer to delivering hospital-level care in the field,” Burgbacher said. As an example, physicians can administer a muscle relaxer to reestablish an airway in a patient with a significant head injury and resulting clenched jaw. Georgia’s scope of practice laws for paramedics prohibits ground crews from taking these extreme lifesaving measures, Burgbacher said.

“They can intubate, but they can’t give drugs to sedate people and they can’t give drugs to paralyze people if the patient is combative or has a clenched airway,” he said.

The newly-trained EMS and emergency medicine physician has previously worked as an instructor in the Critical Care Emergency Medical Transport Programs in Augusta and Texas, and has served as Assistant Medical Director of the Augusta and San Antonio Fire Departments. He also worked as an EMT for about five years.

“This is where my passion is,” he said of the new job that has him again working as part of an emergency response team. Burgbacher, a native of Naples, Fla., thought he wanted to be an engineer but could not let go of an early fascination with emergency responders. He started volunteering, and became an EMT before starting medical school in 2005.

Earlier this year, MCG’s Center of Operational Medicine and Minnesota-based Vighter Medical Group signed a five-year contract to provide supplemental medical support to the FBI. It was the second renewal for MCG. The MCG Center work also works with local and state police, as well as other federal agencies to provide medical training and support to their forces and the medics assigned to them.

The center also has helped develop a series of courses used around the world that help a wide array of providers – from police to paramedics to hospital administrators and firefighters – work optimally together in the aftermath of natural and manmade disasters.

Locally, the MCG Department of Emergency Medicine also provides physicians for the emergency departments at Trinity Hospital of Augusta and the Charlie Norwood Veterans Affairs Medical Center. Dr. Phillip Coule, Vice Chairman of Business Affairs for the Department of Emergency Medicine, has served as Medical Director of the Augusta Fire Department for a half dozen years.

GRU provides physician observerships to colleagues in China’s Jiangsu Province

mcgvisitorsday2-26webfrontStarting this week, six Chinese physicians from the Eastern coastal Chinese province of Jiangsu will spend four weeks observing six physicians at the Medical College of Georgia at Georgia Regents University as part the university’s initiative to strengthen international partnerships.

The observership program is a first step in actualizing a memorandum of understanding between GRU and the Jiangsu Province Department of Health that will foster exchange and collaboration in medicine and all the health sciences, said Dr. Walter Moore, MCG’s Senior Associate Dean for Graduate Medical Education and Veterans Affairs, who has helped coordinate the visit.

“This is a terrific opportunity for our faculty, residents and students to experience a face-to-face sharing of practices and cultures with our colleagues from across the globe,” said Dr. Peter F. Buckley, MCG Dean. “We have greatly anticipated the arrival of our distinguished guests and thank Dr. Charles Li for his commitment and leadership. This promises to be a wonderful learning opportunity for us all and will undoubtedly lead to more collaborations in the future.”

“This kind of program is really to promote academic and cultural exchanges across different cultures, different societies, and different countries,” said Li, Assistant Commissioner of Georgia’s Division of Developmental Disabilities. The 1983 graduate of Nanjing Medical University in the Jiangsu Province pursued the relationship with MCG and GRU and hopes the physician observerships are just the beginning of a long-term, mutually beneficial relationship with his homeland.

The visiting physicians will spend their first few days on the GRU campus, learning more about a wide variety of topics from an overview of the health care system in the United States and at GRU to a research overview that includes tours of basic science laboratories to an update university’s increasing role in global affairs.

Observerships begin Oct. 25 and include the following pairing of MCG and Chinese physicians:

  • Dr. Phillip L. Coule, Vice Chairman of Business Development, Department of Emergency Medicine and Hospitalist Services, and Dr. Liqun Sun, Consultant, Department of Critical Care Medicine, The Second Affiliated Hospital of Nanjing Medical University
  • Dr. Adam E. Berman, Director of Cardiac Arrhythmia Ablation Services and Assistant Director of the Electrophysiology Fellowship, and Dr. Hongzhuan Sheng, Chief Physician, Department of Cardiology, The Affiliated Hospital of Nantong University
  • Dr. Norman B. Chutkan, Chairman of the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery and Henry Distinguished Chair of Orthopaedic Surgery, and Dr. Hongwei  Li, Associate Chief Doctor, Department of Orthopaedics, Affiliated Hospital of Xuzhou Medical College.
  •  Dr. W. Bruce Davis, Chief, Section of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine, and Dr. Chuanyong Mu, Associate Chief Physician, Department of Respiratory, The First Affiliated Hospital of Suzhou University
  •  Dr. Colleen H. McDonough, Assistant Professor, Section of Pediatric Hematology/Oncology. Cancer and Blood Disorders. and Dr. Yongjun Fang, Senior Consultant and Chief Doctor, Department of Hematology and Oncology, the Affiliated Nanjing Children Hospital of Nanjing Medical University
  • Dr. Cargill H. Alleyne Jr., Chairman, Department of Neurosurgery, Marshall Allen Distinguished Chair, and  Director, Cerebrovascular Service and Neurosurgery Residency Program, and Dr. Xudong Zhao, Attending Doctor, Department of Neurosurgery, Wuxi Second Hospital Affiliated  Nanjing Medical University

“I am grateful to our faculty for sharing their time and talent with our colleagues from China and to Drs. Li and Moore, MCG Chief of Staff Jeanette Balotin, GRU Global Affairs Coordinator Yilin Lou and Administrative Assistant Leslie Bedenbaugh for putting this program together,” Buckley said.

South Korean health officials visit Augusta Monday to discuss Disaster Preparedness

Officials from the Korean Ministry of Health will visit the Augusta area Monday, Sept. 23 to learn more about disaster preparedness, including the threat of smaller or improvised nuclear attacks that surfaced in the aftermath of the Cold War.

Six leaders, including Soo Yeop Hyun, Director of the ministry’s Division of Emergency Care, will visit the Georgia Regents University Health Sciences Campus, the Augusta Fire Department and the Columbia County Emergency Management Agency.

The South Korean team is making similar fact-finding visits to Atlanta and Washington, D.C., as part of an ongoing initiative to optimize the country’s preparedness for manmade and natural disasters, said Dr. Phillip Coule, Vice Chairman of Business Development in the Medical College of Georgia Department of Emergency Medicine and Hospitalist Services and Chairman of the Board of Directors of the National Disaster Life Support Foundation, Inc., which is based on the GRU campus.

“South Korea is a strong partner in the increasingly global initiative to maximize response to and recovery from natural and manmade disasters,” Coule said.

The NDLS Foundation oversees a series of educational programs that better prepare health care professionals and emergency response personnel for mass casualty events. Courses are comprehensive, all-hazards, and multi-disciplinary and were developed by MCG, the University of Georgia, University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas, and Texas A&M School of Public Health.

MCG and the NDLS Foundation have worked with Seoul National University Hospital for more than five years and currently operate five training centers in South Korea, Coule said. Additionally, Korean emergency medical services personnel regularly complete training in Augusta.

“It’s been as mutually beneficial relationship as our Asian colleagues have provided feedback that has assisted ongoing efforts to improve disaster response programs,” Coule said.

During this Augusta visit, Korean Ministry of Health officials will visit the Emergency Department at GR Health System as well as a decontamination facility on the campus. They’ll discuss issues such as the best approaches to stockpiling supplies in light of the reality that a nation’s largest cities are the likeliest targets for attack, Coule said. They’ll also discuss maximizing human survival in the aftermath of smaller nuclear attacks.

The recent North Korean nuclear threat along with the tragedy at the Boston Marathon were the focus of the NDLS Annual Meeting this summer cosponsored by MCG and the nonprofit NDLS Foundation. The meeting provided an opportunity for responders such as firefighters, physicians, paramedics, social workers and military personnel, to learn more about optimal disaster response.