AUGUSTA, Ga. – Georgia Health Sciences University recognized seven distinguished alumni at its annual homecoming activities April 25-29.
The College of Allied Health Sciences honored Dr. Elizabeth Kenimer Leibach, Senior Research Scientist and Project Lead on the Evidence-based Laboratory Medicine Project for the Division of Laboratory Science and Standards at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Leibach, the former Chair of the GHSU Department of Medical Technology, earned her bachelor’s degree in medical technology in 1972 and a master’s degree in cellular and molecular biology in 1976.
Leibach joined the faculty in 1973 as a Clinical Instructor in the Department of Medical Technology. After working at hospitals throughout the country, she started Healthcare Management and Educational Services, Inc., in 1992, to provide consultation related to rural health care delivery and laboratory services. She returned to GHSU as an Assistant Professor in 1993.
She is a lifetime member of the College of Allied Health Sciences Alumni Association and Secretary/Treasurer of the GHSU College of Graduate Studies Alumni Association. She is a member of The Honor Society of Phi Kappa Phi and is a six-time recipient of the Georgia Society for Clinical Laboratory Science’s Contributions to the Profession Award. Leibach also serves on the Boards of Directors for Walton Technologies and Walton Innovations.
The College of Dental Medicine honored Dr. Grant Loo, a general dentist in Augusta and a 1990 graduate. Loo has served on the College of Dental Medicine’s Building Imperative Steering Committee since 2006 and was an initial donor to the college’s Thousand Thanks Campaign to raise money for the new building, which opened last year.
He is past President of the College of Dental Medicine’s Alumni Association and serves as a delegate of the Eastern District of the Georgia Dental Association. He is a member of the American Dental Association, The Academy of General Dentistry and the Thomas P. Hinman Dental Society. Loo is a member of the International College of Dentists and the Pierre Fauchard Academy. For more than 20 years, he has mentored GHSU dental students and hosted visiting foreign dental students.
Honored in the College of Graduate Studies was Dr. John A. Copland, Associate Professor of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology and Senior Associate Consultant for Cancer Basic Science at the Mayo Clinic. He received his master’s degree in endocrinology in 1983 and his doctoral degree in physiology and endocrinology in 1992.
Copland researches urological and thyroid cancer, translating clinical observations into new therapeutic targets. He is the principle investigator on two National Institutes of Health RO1 grants and co-investigator on several NIH and Department of Defense Foundation Grants.
He is a member and grant reviewer for the American Association for Cancer Research, a member of the American Thyroid Association, the American Urological Association, the Society for Basic Urologic Research, the Society of Regenerative Medicine and Stem Cell Biology and the Endocrine Society. He is a member of the Department of Veterans Affairs Merit Review Subcommittee for Oncology and a Senior Editorial Board Member for the American Journal of Cancer Research.
Dr. Cecil F. Whitaker Jr. received the Medical College of Georgia’s Distinguished Alumnus Award for Loyalty. A retired obstetrician and gynecologist from Columbus, Ga., he received his medical degree in 1962 and returned to GHSU in 1965 to complete his residency after serving in the U.S. Navy.
Whitaker retired as President of Obstetric and Gynecologic Associates of Columbus, Ga., P.C. The $1.5 million Cecil F. Whitaker, Jr., MD Chair in Cancer, held by the GHSU Cancer Center Director, is named for him. In 2011, St. Francis Hospital in Columbus honored Whitaker with the Dr. Clarence C. Butler Service and Leadership Award.
He is a member of the Board of Directors of the Medical College of Georgia Foundation and served as its Chair from 1997-99. He was President of the Medical College of Georgia Alumni Association from 1995-96 and the Georgia Obstetrical and Gynecological Society from 1987-88. He also serves on the advisory boards of the South Atlantic Association of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and the South Central Obstetrical and Gynecological Society, LLC.
Dr. Patricia C. Davis received the Medical College of Georgia’s Distinguished Alumnus Award for Professional Achievement. Davis, a 1977 graduate, is a radiologist at Northwest Radiology Consultants in Atlanta.
Davis completed a residency in diagnostic radiology and a fellowship in neurovascular radiology at Emory University. She served as a Professor in Emory’s Department of Radiology and, in 1990, started the pediatric neuroradiology service at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta’s Egleston campus.
She is an examiner for the American Board of Radiology’s Diagnostic Oral Boards and received the board’s Lifetime Service Award in 2009. She is a Fellow of the American College of Radiology and a member of its Expert Panel on Neuro Imaging. She is past President of the American Society of Pediatric Neuroradiology and a member of its Research Committee. Davis is past President of the Southeastern Neuroradiological Society.
Dr. Karen J. Minyard, Director of the Georgia Health Policy Center at Georgia State University’s Andrew Young School of Policy Studies, received the College of Nursing’s E. Louise Grant Award for Excellence in Clinical Practice, Administration and Community Service. She received her master’s degree in nursing administration from GHSU in 1979.
Minyard leads policy, research and technical assistance programs for the GHPC, focusing on end-of-life care, child well-being, health philanthropy, rural health, cancer and access to care for the uninsured. She also teaches doctoral-level seminar and management courses at Georgia State. From 1979-86, she was an Assistant Professor in the GHSU Department of Nursing Administration.
In 2002, Minyard was named Distinguished Researcher of the Year by the Georgia Rural Health Association. In 2005, she served on the board of Gov. Sonny Perdue’s Steering Committee for the Healthcare Prevention Initiative. She is a member of the Board of Directors for the Georgia Rural Health Association, the National Network of Public Health Institutes, the American Project Access Network and Georgia Health Decisions.
Dr. Marion Broome, Dean and Distinguished Professor of Nursing at the Indiana University School of Nursing, received the College of Nursing’s Phoebe Kandel Rohrer Founder’s Award for Excellence in Research and Education. She earned a bachelor’s degree in nursing from GHSU in 1973. She received her master’s degree in family health nursing from the University of South Carolina and her doctoral degree in Child and Family Development from the University of Georgia.
Broome’s research on interventions for children coping with acute and chronic pain has been funded by the NIH, American Cancer Society and other sources for more than 20 years. More recently, she has focused on research ethics related to informed consent and assent for children and research misconduct in clinical trials. Her work has been published in more than 50 refereed nursing, medicine and interdisciplinary journals. She also has published five books.
In 2004, Broome was appointed a charter member of the NIH’s Nursing Science Study Section: Children and Families. She is a past President of the Society for Pediatric Nurses, and has been a member of the Boards of Directors for the Association for the Care of Children’s Health and the Midwest Nursing Research Society. She is a Fellow of the American Academy of Nursing and serves as the Editor-in-Chief of its official journal, Nursing Outlook.