Augusta lacks 'cool factor' for recruits, Azziz says

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It is hampering recruiting to Georgia Health Sciences University and hurting development in the region as a whole -- "the cool factor" -- and Augusta does not quite measure up, GHSU President Ricardo Azziz said.

GHSU President Ricardo Azziz says Augusta needs to cater more to the "brain industry" that researchers appreciate.
GHSU President Ricardo Azziz says Augusta needs to cater more to the "brain industry" that researchers appreciate.

Speaking Monday to the Rotary Club of Augusta, he once again outlined ambitious plans for growth of the university that he said will benefit Augusta and the region economically. That includes increasing the number of researchers and the amount of grants going into GHSU, which is about $90 million a year now, he said.

"That is pure economic input," Azziz said.

His plan is to, by 2020, increase clinical revenue 3 percent to $159 million more a year, primarily by recruiting patients from outside the region who need specialized care, and by enlarging the research staff by 100 positions and increasing grant funding by $109 million annually.

Those potential research recruits -- many in their 30s to mid-40s -- are looking for a vibrant, creative community, with thriving arts and things to do, he said. In other words, to attract those folks "you need to be cool," Azziz said.

"Health care and biomedical research is a brain industry," he said. "It's an industry that appreciates the arts, the coolness, the quality of life, the mental stimulation. We've got to become cool."

Downtown Augusta, for instance, with some direction and investment could provide that coolness, he said.

Azziz is correct that it is sometimes difficult to get people to come to Augusta, although "we have an extremely high conversion rate once we bring people here," said Barry White, the president and CEO of the Augusta Convention and Visitors Bureau. Coolness is a factor in attracting visitors and conventions, he said.

"They want to go where things are happening," he said. "People want to go where people want to be. We've kind of started that, but I think we've got a little ways to go."

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socks99
250
Points
socks99 06/06/11 - 03:31 pm
0
0
The growth of the medical

The growth of the medical establishment in Augusta can indeed have economic benefits for the city and the region, but Azziz' naked promises of MCG as a 'rainmaker' raises disturbing questions about the Regent's selection.

First, the practice of medicine remains a 'service industry.' As such, plowing capital into this industry may not produce the economic gains that might be had if that money went towards production and manufacturing. Indeed, we generally do not 'export' doctor services.

Second, all of the capital plowed into the establishment will necessarily cause the price of medical education to rise. That could tax the state's funds further and leave doctors with ever-higher debt burdens. (It could also influence the education, itself, so that highly-reimbursed treatments are favored over cheaper alternatives.) Those debt burdens might push them to specialize and to serve only wealthy, 'cool' urban areas leaving the poor in the 'un-cool' rural areas to suffer needlessly from Azziz' half-baked scheme.

A better plan would increase the effectiveness of medical education so that the costs of that education decline. That ought to mean more are educated and graduate with lower debt burdens. It could also help address a chronic shortage of GP's in the uncool areas of the state.

Taylor B
5
Points
Taylor B 06/06/11 - 03:17 pm
0
0
Im not sure I want a doctor

Im not sure I want a doctor that makes a med school decision on the cool factor of its location.

Sweet son
11089
Points
Sweet son 06/06/11 - 03:20 pm
0
0
"Cool" and Azziz do not even

"Cool" and Azziz do not even fit in the same sentence. He is about as cool as a pedestrian bridge over 1400 Laney Walker!

Crime Reports and Rewards TV
33
Points
Crime Reports and Rewards TV 06/06/11 - 03:37 pm
0
0
What he really means is he

What he really means is he needs that Golf Hall of Shame land we are letting go to seed to build something cool on the river. Such a complex would bring in millions.

Emerydan
10
Points
Emerydan 06/06/11 - 03:38 pm
0
0
He's pretty much just saying

He's pretty much just saying what most of us here have known for years.

Emerydan
10
Points
Emerydan 06/06/11 - 03:40 pm
0
0
True though... Augusta is

True though... Augusta is about as cool as an episode of The Lawrence Welk Show

Emerydan
10
Points
Emerydan 06/06/11 - 03:41 pm
0
0
expanding MCG to the GGOF

expanding MCG to the GGOF site downtown would be a much better use of that property than a ballpark

TheArmyWife
0
Points
TheArmyWife 06/06/11 - 04:01 pm
0
0
Thank you, Dr. Azziz, you had

Thank you, Dr. Azziz, you had the courage to tell the emperor that he is naked!

WoodyKaminer
2
Points
WoodyKaminer 06/06/11 - 04:08 pm
0
0
Its extrememly sad that a man

Its extrememly sad that a man such Azziz has only been in Augusta for a very short time and he can already see how sorry it is. Augusta has the most potential of any city I know of, yet we do nothing with it. Use the following as an example:

A baseball team (Augusta) is loaded with power hitters and extremely fast runners. The coach (10 commissioners) continues to make each batter try and get 4 balls to walk to 1st base, instead of letting his power hitter use his hitting ability. Once on 1st, the baserunner is determined to steal 2nd, because he knows how good he is, but his coach ignores him, and continues to shoot down his pleas to let him steal 2nd base. In the mean time, there are scouts (new residents) in the stands observing the talent on the field. They have heard about how great they are, so they came to see for themselves. Once here, they wait and wait and wait. All they eventually see is the team (citizens) arguing with the coach (commissioners). No potential was found and that team misses out on what could-have been. Finally, all the players are frustrated with their current coach, so they move on to a better team (Columbia County).

See folks, that is exactly whats happening in Augusta. Huge potential, terrible leadership. The body can only move where the head takes it!
We all need to stand up and make a difference in Augusta before it becomes a crime ridden town of gang bangers, prostitues, drug dealers, thieves, welfare recipients, and all their friends. Just wait and see.

Emerydan
10
Points
Emerydan 06/06/11 - 04:07 pm
0
0
can't you say every place has

can't you say every place has "huge potential"? None of that matters if you do nothing with it.

JesusIsComing
9
Points
JesusIsComing 06/06/11 - 04:41 pm
0
0
I work in a large medical

I work in a large medical facility where there are "cool" docs and "uncool" docs. The "cool" docs make fun of Augusta and Augustans and make fun of their "uncool" patients behind their backs. They can find nothing they have in common with their "uncool" patients and don't even try to know them. They spend their time dreaming of their next time off so they can get away from this place and go to Atlanta or some other "cool" city. They seem to be gone a lot. The "uncool" docs get to know their patients and Augusta and tend to be satisfied with what they have. They tend to understand their patients and treat them with respect. The "uncool" docs have nothing to prove and so stay focused on the patient and not themselves. If I have a choice in the matter - give me "uncool" docs every time!

JohnScott213
10
Points
JohnScott213 06/06/11 - 04:40 pm
0
0
He hit the nail on the head.

He hit the nail on the head. Good post Woody.

galaxygrl
1321
Points
galaxygrl 06/06/11 - 04:45 pm
0
0
He could go back to where he

He could go back to where he came from. I am sure it is much"cooler" there.

Insider Information
4009
Points
Insider Information 06/06/11 - 04:52 pm
0
0
I hear Athens is "cool". Here

I hear Athens is "cool". Here comes another big push to uproot MCG ( I mean the super cool and stylish GHSU) and move it to Athens.

Considering the size and impact of MCG, perhaps MCG is bringing down the cool factor.

Augusta Jacket
17
Points
Augusta Jacket 06/06/11 - 04:58 pm
0
0
somebody needs to tell him

somebody needs to tell him glasses lack the cool factor to

augusta citizen
9948
Points
augusta citizen 06/06/11 - 05:04 pm
0
0
There's another point of view

There's another point of view too, everywhere doesn't have to be super cool. It's like the people who leave Los Angeles and move to Montana, Idaho and Wyoming, or those who leave New York City for the bucolic countryside of Connecticut, then as soon as they get there they start complaining and trying to turn it into what they were trying to get away from. Augusta has some areas it needs to work on, and I appreciate MGC/GHSU very much, but I'm not too happy for a newcomer to try to take the reins for what "we" need to do.

dougk
3
Points
dougk 06/06/11 - 05:18 pm
0
0
Face it folks, Augusta is not
Unpublished

Face it folks, Augusta is not cool. There are worse places for sure, but Azziz is bold enough to call it how it is with respect to recruiting students. I hope his truthfulness will not cost him in the long run.

Mwilli5009
0
Points
Mwilli5009 06/06/11 - 05:32 pm
0
0
I completely agree with Dr.

I completely agree with Dr. Azziz. I lived in Augusta until I graduated from ASU (I did spend a summer in NYC and a year at a university in Tennessee, but the rest of my life was all Augusta). Now, after moving a year ago, I am scouting graduate medical programs across the south. My number one choice is GHSU due to the in-state tuition. Number one drawback: living in Augusta. It just doesn't offer the quality-of-life that other places feature.

Patty-P
3516
Points
Patty-P 06/06/11 - 05:34 pm
0
0
He's right about Augusta's

He's right about Augusta's potential. I don't know about the 'cool' factor, but if Augusta could get a grip on the criminal element and the unnecessary politics, it would be a great place to live.

wondersnevercease
9218
Points
wondersnevercease 06/06/11 - 05:40 pm
0
0
"We all need to stand up and
Unpublished

"We all need to stand up and make a difference in Augusta before it becomes a crime ridden town of gang bangers, prostitues, drug dealers, thieves, welfare recipients, and all their friends. Just wait and see."

......almost too late......................

Emerydan
10
Points
Emerydan 06/06/11 - 05:41 pm
0
0
Azziz is simply saying that

Azziz is simply saying that it is hard to get young educated professionals to choose to move to Augusta. That is true.. whether you like it or not. Every year Augusta loses scores of bright young people who go off to college in another city and never return. This has a huge impact on the local economy. MCG?GHSU must attract the best and brightest to remain competitive. And it's not necessarily about being a big city.. there are many cities smaller than Augusta that offer more culture and arts and have more vibrant downtowns. And yes this is the main reason why the state opened the medical school in Athens.. if Augusta doesn't watch out, it could see more of MCG being phased out in Augusta.. that would be a huge loss for the local economy. But Azziz's comments also points out why Augusta has such difficulty in attracting high paying professional jobs.. it seems the only thing we get are call centers or retail. If we are content with our economy based on just call-centers and low wage retail and restaurants, then we can do as always and ignore the constructive criticism and not make any improvements and Augusta can continue to slip further behind.

jwsaxon
0
Points
jwsaxon 06/06/11 - 06:00 pm
0
0
This has got to be one of the

This has got to be one of the most ridiculous comments ever made from a president of MCG (sorry, GHSU). He has accomplished at least one milestone.

So Aziz is blaming his institution's inability to recruit talent on the area we live in not being "cool"? If you have top notch clinical and research programs to offer, good people will come to work especially in this economy.

Maybe Aziz would be happier in a "cooler" climate? He probably will be in one anyway within five years.

swimmer
5
Points
swimmer 06/06/11 - 06:05 pm
0
0
my daughter graduated from

my daughter graduated from UGA with a PharmD (doctor of pharmacy) last year. She couldn't wait to get out of the Augusta area, where she was raised from kindergarten through high school (EHS grad). She completed her final year of pharmacy training in Augusta so she could live at home and save some money while doing her final pharmacy work/school rotations. The main reason she moved to Asheville? There is more to do, more outdoor activities to participate in, and the city just seems to be more "fun". I agree...I'm living in the NC mountains for the summer and it's totally awesome from the weather to the friendly people, to the abundance of recreational activities. I'm sure some of you will tell me to stay here. If you do, you make my point for me, especially about the people of Augusta, some of whom who are not friendly at all.

Emerydan
10
Points
Emerydan 06/06/11 - 06:09 pm
0
0
Asheville is smaller than

Asheville is smaller than Augusta but, I agree it offers a better quality of life for younger educated people. Why is that? It's not just the mountain location, but Asheville offers a lot more cultural amenities and has a large thriving arts scene. It has the kinds of things Augusta lacks and what young professionals look for. Here we spend millions on silly things like TEE Centers, Golf halls of Fame, and ballsparks, but we neglect the basic things that most people look for when moving to a new town

Insider Information
4009
Points
Insider Information 06/06/11 - 06:29 pm
0
0
Is it just me or does this

Is it just me or does this guy spend lots of time coming up with excuses?

- First, he blamed the name "Medical College of Georgia."

- Then, he blamed Laney Walker Boulevard.

- Now, he is blaming the "cool factor"

- What will it be next? Little green men.

Emerydan
10
Points
Emerydan 06/06/11 - 06:33 pm
0
0
MCG will be moved to Athens

MCG will be moved to Athens or even maybe Atlanta eventually... just watch.

MD2013
101
Points
MD2013 06/06/11 - 06:38 pm
0
0
Hey Taylor B, Why can't a

Hey Taylor B,

Why can't a physician want to live in a place that is trendy? Augusta isn't ranking in the top cities in America to live in, so why would a lot of people flock here to set up shop? A lot of my classmates are looking at residencies in locations that offer art, music, theatre, and various outdoor activities. That's not a bad thing. I for one have no intent on staying in Augusta for my training, as it doesn't offer many of the activities that I enjoy doing.

Azziz is right. It would be a lot easier to recruit faculty to Asheville, than it is to recruit them to Augusta.

Augusta resident
1368
Points
Augusta resident 06/06/11 - 06:39 pm
0
0
My neighbor ha to pay extra

My neighbor ha to pay extra for her diploma to say MCG, that's not cool.

Emerydan
10
Points
Emerydan 06/06/11 - 06:40 pm
0
0
Maybe they should look at

Maybe they should look at Savannah

Batman
18
Points
Batman 06/06/11 - 06:41 pm
0
0
My wife and I are looking for

My wife and I are looking for a cooler place to live too. Cool as in climate, not culture. We both have been here since birth... ~ 50 yrs., and it's way too hot and humid for us now. So, we're considering Boone, NC or somewhere like that. A place where we can enjoy being outside and not worried about having a heat stroke. A place where we can have a nice lawn and plants without spending a fortune for water. Other than the unbearable heat... we love the Augusta area. This is an ideal place to live especially from a geography standpoint. Less than three hours from the beach, less than three hours from the mountains, and less than three hours from major cities. Young professionals should love Augusta. Happy Monday everyone!

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