In the era of new Medical College of Georgia President Ricardo Azziz, it is a time of rethinking, retooling and perhaps renaming.
At a meeting Wednesday of MCG Health Inc. and the overarching board MCG Health System Inc., Azziz said it is time for the health sciences university to be named as a university. The college name will continue to be associated with the School of Medicine, which is what comes to mind for most people anyway, he said.
"The Medical College of Georgia as a name is very valued and has great historic value," Azziz said. "But most people around the country and in the state recognize it as the name of the medical school. And that is one of the reasons that often when people are asked about the Medical College of Georgia, they forget it is actually a health sciences university because we don't have university in our name."
Except for the Medical College of Wisconsin, which is a private, freestanding school, other health sciences universities have changed from a college name to a university name, Azziz said. It was one of the issues that faculty has raised with him, he said, but Azziz recognizes it will probably be controversial to others.
"We're trying to address the sensitivities of all alumni in the community who value the name Medical College of Georgia while recognizing that we have evolved beyond just a large medical school to a full-fledged health sciences university," he said. The clinical system will retain its MCG name, he added.
That was just part of the re-evaluating the school's leaders are doing. MCG Health System and Physicians Practice Group, which represents the school's doctors, are also re-examining plans for a clinic in Columbia County. The proposed clinic, which has survived a court challenge from other health care providers in the area, is now being re-examined by a consultant, said Michael A. Herbert, the interim president and CEO of PPG.
"Given the economic climate that is going on, we want to kind of review the whole scope of the project," he said. "The business plan was done several years ago. Times change."
In his first public remarks about the resignation of School of Medicine Dean D. Douglas Miller, Azziz said Miller recognized it as a time of change and a good time to step down.
"There is nothing unusual in transition times for individuals to decide that they would rather step down and allow a different strategy to move forward," Azziz said. "There is nothing nefarious about it."
MCG Health System is revamping how it searches for its positions but will likely be conducting national searches for a new provost and dean unless the positions are filled internally, Azziz said. There will be another interim position coming soon -- Vice President for Research Development Frank Treiber is leaving to go to the Medical University of South Carolina.