Wednesday, July 23, 2014

MCG Dean honors hospital leader and senior faculty physician

A hospital CEO who has provided exceptional support to medical education in Georgia and a Medical College of Georgia faculty member who provides exemplary care and compassion to his patients were honored Friday by Dr. Peter F. Buckley, Dean of MCG at Georgia Regents University. 

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“Gary Colberg and Dr. Anand Jillella epitomize the best of the best, people who use their significant skill and accomplishments to do the very best they can for others and for the greater good,” Buckley said.

Colberg, President and CEO of Southeast Georgia Health System in Brunswick, Ga., a base for MCG’s Southeast Campus, received the MCG Community Advocate Award, and Jillella, Chief of the Section of Hematology/Oncology in the MCG Department of Medicine, received the Professionalism Award during Buckley’s annual State of the College Address May 3. 

“The Community Advocate Award celebrates a partner who advances the mission and the development of MCG,” Buckley said. “Gary has had a remarkable career in his own right, but he also has given repeatedly and selflessly to the development of the relationship of his hospital with our medical school.”

The Brunswick hospital has had an increasingly active role in medical education since MCG opened its Southeast Campus, based at St. Joseph’s/Candler Health System in Savannah and Southeast Georgia Health System, in 2007. The campus, where medical students can spend the majority of their clinically intensive third and fourth years of school, is part of the public medical school’s distributed model of education that has students living and learning across Georgia.

“We are fortunate to have had incredible support by hospitals and physicians across Georgia that want to help educate the next generation of doctors,” Buckley said. “Gary is among those who took a personal interest and pride in our students, welcoming and engaging students from the very first time they arrived in Brunswick.” He’s committed resources as well including The Center for Educational Development where MCG medical students work alongside Brunswick physicians and other health care providers to sharpen their clinical skills or learn new ones on lifelike mannequins. When a recent, generous gift from Hugh Nunnally, long-time hospital supporter, enabled construction of a residential facility for visiting family members of cancer patients, critically ill patients and others, Colberg made sure to include in the plans residential quarters for students studying in Brunswick. He’d already made valuable hospital space available for offices for MCG faculty and students in Brunswick.

Colberg is the Georgia Alliance of Community Hospital’s 2011 CEO of the Year and the 2009 recipient of the Senior-Level Healthcare Executive Award from the Georgia-Coastal Plains Region of the American College of Healthcare Executives. In 2009 he also received the Silver Bear Award, the Boys Scouts of America’s highest council-level distinguished service award. Colberg serves on the boards of the College of Coastal Georgia Foundation, the Coastal Georgia Regional Healthcare Network, and the Georgia Alliance of Community Hospitals. He is an adjunct faculty member of the MCG Department of Family Medicine and Jiann-Ping Hsu College of Public Health at Georgia Southern University.

Jillella, who directs the Bone Marrow/Stem Cell Transplant Program at Georgia Regents Medical Center, is the consummate professional, Buckley said. “This award is very dear to my heart in the sense that it gives the opportunity to recognize a colleague whose attributes, behaviors and style are ones we should all embrace,” Buckley said. Jillella excels at MCG’s tripartite mission of education, service and research packaged with compassion and excellent communication, the Dean said. In fact, Jillella’s style recently inspired patient Michael Bright to will a portion of proceeds from his West Africa investment to MCG and GRU.

While still an internal medicine resident at MCG, Jillella was recognized for outstanding clinical judgment, knowledge and humanistic attributes when he was received the Residency Achievement Award from the MCG Class of 1993. Numerous awards followed including Outstanding Faculty Member of the Year by Department of Medicine residents, Outstanding Young Clinical Science Faculty of the Year Award from the MCG Faculty Senate, and Distinguished Faculty Award for Clinical Science Research from the GRU Faculty Senate. 

After residency, he completed a postdoctoral fellowship in hematology/oncology at Yale University School of Medicine and bone marrow transplant training at Johns Hopkins Oncology Center.  He returned to MCG and started the bone marrow transplant program at GR Health System. After a short stint at Temple University Hospital in Texas, he returned to MCG as Section Chief in 2005 and was named Associate Director for Clinical Affairs for the GRU Cancer Center in 2012.  He recently received funding from The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society for a multi-site study to reduce early death rates in patients with rare and deadly acute promyelocytic leukemia.

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