Just how powerful is Azziz?

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It might be worthwhile to have a formal investigation into all of the decisions involving Georgia Health Sciences University President Ricardo Azziz.

This man was brought to Augusta for the purpose of leading the then-Medical College of Georgia. It’s beginning to look as if he came here with the authority to run GHSU, Augusta State University, Augusta-Richmond County and various other areas and entities.

It has been reported that when the combining of ASU and GHSU is completed, Dr. Azziz will be in charge of that new entity. Why do Georgia’s educational leaders and elected officials seem so ready to acquiesce to Dr. Azziz?

At this point, Dr. Azziz is president of GHSU, but there doesn’t seem to be much emphasis on increasing the quality of patient care. Two great predecessors of Dr. Azziz – Drs. Jesse Steinfeldt and Francis Tedesco – had patient care and physician training on the top of their lists of responsibility, while at the same time carefully preparing MCG for an improved future involving research and other patient-care and physician-training endeavors.

How did Dr. Azziz manage to insert himself into how the Georgia Golf Hall of Fame land was to be used? Again, our elected officials should answer a simple question: Who actually decided to deny Augusta this property with the potential for enormous tax revenues?

Dr. Azziz is considering student housing on this valuable site, ignoring two facts: housing could go up on existing GHSU property; and student housing on the river would require travel time for individual students instead of walking to class and clinic assignments.

Student housing aside, Dr. Azziz met with a group, including Cal Ripken, that seems unable to give up on making millions on the backs of our local taxpayers with an unwanted ballpark on the river. Of course it’s probably safe to assume Ripken’s sidekick, Mayor Deke Copenhaver, was at the meeting as well. Copenhaver seems to be having a hard time accepting the fact that the folks who enjoy baseball are very content with the ballpark as it is, with easy access and parking.

Most importantly, the citizenry must question Dr. Azziz’s bursting onto the local scene, and in such a short time assuming (or being given) the mantle of a self-aggrandized autocrat.

Gene Rickaby

Martinez

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omnomnom
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omnomnom 04/20/12 - 01:29 am
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the board of regents needs a

the board of regents needs a close examination too... turn your head and cough Benjamin “Ben” J. Tarbutton III

Riverman1
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Riverman1 04/20/12 - 04:53 am
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I thought Mr. Rickaby was

I thought Mr. Rickaby was more intelligent than this letter indicates. Linking Mayor Copenhaver and Dr. Azziz is an expanse of logic. They appear to be at opposite ends of the spectrum as far as use of the GGHOF land.

We all know Mr. Copenhaver has fought and manipulated to get Ripken a stadium on the property. Dr. Azziz threw up a brick wall as formidable as the serpentine one currently surrounding the property. Dr. Azziz heads a state institution and wants the state owned land for what appears to be a very worthy use.

What’s this whole idea of Dr. Azziz heading some kind of plot to take over ASU, the GGHOF and Augusta worthy of the Illuminati? He came here and THEN the state decided merging various schools was necessary to save money. He has been active and doing an excellent job to ensure the future of ASU and GHSU which will cause the city of Augusta to thrive like nothing else can. Lesser people would not have accepted this challenge. I can imagine many would have said, “Wait a minute, I didn’t sign on for all THIS.”

He has wisely moved his office to ASU to indicate his focus on the college as well as the medical side. He is a visionary, yet practical. We have the opportunity to create one of the best academic institutions in the country and Dr. Azziz is going to lead the effort.

Medical students ranked the safety and environment of GHSU dead last as far as medical schools in this country. His attempts to close and now limit traffic on Laney Walker does nothing but address this major concern. Creating housing on the river is another implement to improve the spread out campus of the new combined school.

Mr. Rickaby, you’ve had an excellent career in education and I encourage you to take another look at what’s going on with an eye to helping with constructive ideas for these monumental changes to our two gems.

Bizkit
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Bizkit 04/20/12 - 07:30 am
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3

Azziz is a pseudointellectual

Azziz is a pseudointellectual Obamanite-pretty much acts the same as our US Prez. Beware the carpet bagger. Obamacare was suppose to save money too. Azziz, as other presidents, have a field of dreams mentality=spend millions and they will come. The last did it by recruiting a bunch from Yale and elsewhere and building the Institute of Molecular Medicine and Genetics (the majority have moved on-all the better for carte blanche expenses). A good leader takes what he has and makes it worth-rather than lament about the culture, etc.. Sounds just like Obama-doesn't it. The effort to transform MCG now GHS to a research institution has been going on for the last 30 years-often snubbing the productive researchers present and active by spending lots on recruiting new people who they think are research stars (basically speculating). Azziz doesn't understand that people can have differnt beliefs and cultures (like the South)so he has mind-blindness (he would fail the false-task paradigm a developmental marker). I've always been supportive of all the efforts over the years, but now, like Mr. Rickaby, am skeptical and more cautious. Hopefully I'm wrong.

catfish20
162
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catfish20 04/20/12 - 07:33 am
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Ditto Riverman's comment!

Ditto Riverman's comment!

Insider Information
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Insider Information 04/20/12 - 07:43 am
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I can think of many things

I can think of many things Dr. Cool has done, but can anyone name a single academic or medical decision he has made (good, bad or otherwise)?

Think about it. What has he done?

- Called Augusta "uncool"
- Changed the school's name
- Pushed to close Laney-Walker
- Added a Chief Advocacy Officer

Craig Spinks
817
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Craig Spinks 04/20/12 - 08:53 am
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Ditto Catfish20's comment.

Ditto Catfish20's comment.

Austin Rhodes
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Austin Rhodes 04/20/12 - 09:15 am
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The CSRA suffers tremendously

The CSRA suffers tremendously because of "analysis paralysis" on behalf of so many politicians...Azziz is a breath of fresh air in comparison.

...and Insider...Azziz really does not need to make a whole lot of changes to the way the hospital/clinics function...they do pretty well given what they have to work with. In the meantime, when was the last time ANY local institution had such aggressive and interesting leadership?

I was offended at the beginning of his tenure, simply because of his opinions...then it occurred to me...I had never heard anyone in his position expressing themselves so much before. It took me a minute, but I like his style...

floridasun
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floridasun 04/20/12 - 09:16 am
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I agree with Riverman.

I agree with Riverman. Augusta is very fortunate to have Dr. Azziz in the leadership position of the new university.

skeptical
81
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skeptical 04/20/12 - 10:06 am
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OK, insider: 1) Increased

OK, insider:
1) Increased emphasis on and funding of cancer programs
2) Recruitment of David Heffner as clinical senior VP and CEO of everything
3) Skillful implementation of new governance structure.
4) Appropriate emphasis on tertiary/quartenary care and development of clinical referrals from outside of immediate CSRA
5) Increased emphasis on GHUS/University Hospital cooperation/collaboration.

I could go on . . .

The GHSU and its health system is much healthier than during the destructive decade of extreme university/hospital/practice group friction from 2001-2010

A strong vibrant academic medical center will be to the community's great benefit - and a strong leader is critical to its development.

lovingthesouth72
1144
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lovingthesouth72 04/20/12 - 10:42 am
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1

Augusta will never see any

Augusta will never see any change, for the better, if people cling to their "small town mentality" that refuses to see growth and progress. Azziz is doing what others have not dared to do: be innovative and change things around a bit. Yes, he is stretching the comfort zone on many levels, but his plans and ideas seem good and the area will benefit greatly for them. Maybe he has been given "power" , or the ability to get things done is more like it, because he has a positive vision of what can develop around here. He is a big thinker, but unfortunately his vision is too much for some around town.

willie7
824
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willie7 04/20/12 - 11:20 am
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1

Good Post, Austin. The first

Unpublished

Good Post, Austin. The first time I have ever agreed with you.

Bizkit
21868
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Bizkit 04/20/12 - 11:38 am
1
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Tedesco and Rahn were

Tedesco and Rahn were visionaries too. Spent millions trying to do the same thing. The friends I have who still work there say morale is incredibly low with faculty and staff. You all act like this is an original idea of Azziz-just more of the same as the last 25 years. You realize there are long range plans that every president has pursued. As the university grows and the medical school becomes an infinitesimally smaller component then it should be moved to Athens where expansion will be easier. These are the long range plans that may occur. Of course, no matter that MCG had a long glorious history here. But (I know y'all all agree) if it serves Georgia better then all of Augusta is altruistic enough to appreciate the lose of the medical school here will be for the greater good of Georgia and serving the medical needs of all Ga. Moving the school is a good idea to break the cycle of so many graduates staying in the CSRA rather than going to underserved areas. The CSRA has a huge number of physicians. The medical school also needs to drive a change in graduates so it produces more preventive medicine physicians than specialist (the disproportionate number of specialist is a major factor in driving health care cost in the US). Athens is a Kool city too. :)

twolane
191
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twolane 04/20/12 - 12:04 pm
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how powerful is azziz....id

Unpublished

how powerful is azziz....id say he is one of the most powerful men in augusta right now...until they get something on him and he will quiet down

countyman
16791
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countyman 04/20/12 - 12:09 pm
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I remember the supporters of

I remember the supporters of another candidate for mayor told us several times.. A vote for Deke means you support the mix-use development and he won over 60% of the vote..

If it wasn't for Deke the GGHF property would have been sitting empty for several years.. His dicussions lead to GHSU, etc getting involved in the GGHF property.. Why do people keep mentioning ball park?? The mayor wanted a mix-use development including the ball park... Jim Jacoby doesn't build any baseball stadiums across the US...

Cal Ripken and the mayor would like to see a mix-use entertainment spot along the river... GHSU/ASU can play baseball, football, soccer, etc on the same field as the Greenjackets..

Dr. Azziz is meeting with Cal Ripken and Jim Jacoby because they have millions of dollars... I'm positive he would love to have a significant amount come from private donations, because the state is hurting...

If Augusta wants to really grow, creating private-public partnership are one of the best ways....

The GHSU/ASU games, performing arts center, research space, Greenjackets, restaurants, student housing, and residential would bring thousands of people downtown all the time...

howcanweknow
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howcanweknow 04/20/12 - 01:03 pm
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I won't believe Azziz has

I won't believe Azziz has great power until he can stop the trains moving through town during peak traffic times. Now that would improve things immensely.

Fiat_Lux
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Fiat_Lux 04/20/12 - 02:45 pm
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Azziz is a forward thinker

Azziz is a forward thinker and I believe he may accomplish great things with the coalescense of GHSU and ASU. He also will earn the friendship and support of locals if he can manage to do that and still retain the "Augusta-ness" of it all.

I haven't decided yet if he actually "gets" that this is the deep South and how much that reality underpins who we all are, regardless of our heritage or ethnicity. It's still not clear if he has a clue what that is or why it might matter.

I, for one, would love to see GHSU-ASU renamed "Huisman University", in honor of one of MCG's most important and famous faculty members, the late Titus HJ Huisman. He made some of the most important and wide-ranging contributions in history to the diagnosis, understanding and treatment of sickle cell disease. It is because of him that all newborns in the US now are screened for sickle cell disease. Not too shabby.

Bizkit
21868
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Bizkit 04/20/12 - 03:13 pm
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1

All the people from Yale had

All the people from Yale had the same culture shock. I told them in the South you have be social with staff and not bark out orders. Titus Huisman??? why not Virgil Sydenstriker, Raymond Alquist, Jesse Steinfeld the Surgeon General of U.S., or other significant names from a long list. Alquist should have received the Nobel Prize with James Black for his work with Adrenergic receptors. Titus was a nice man but I don't think the school should be named for him.

howcanweknow
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howcanweknow 04/20/12 - 03:25 pm
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I agree with Biz. Ahlquist

I agree with Biz. Ahlquist was the closest thing MCG has had to a Nobel Prize Winner. He laid the groundwork for beta blockers and other treatments of blood pressure, asthma, etc. He did win the Lasker Award, the U.S. version of the Nobel, but politics kept him out of Stockholm. It's a shame that Augusta is known more for golf and soul music than the real important contributions of its biomedical research community.

twolane
191
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twolane 04/20/12 - 03:29 pm
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countyman all these millions

Unpublished

countyman all these millions you speak of with ripken its not his millions..it millions of dollars of taxpayer money get it right

Fiat_Lux
13863
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Fiat_Lux 04/20/12 - 04:10 pm
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I agree about Ahlquist being

I agree about Ahlquist being a bigger star than Huisman (who could be something of a tyrant), but say the names out loud in front of "University" and see what you think. Also, Huisman's contribution has huge significance and impact for the majority population in Richmond County and might be considered reparation for narrowing the Laney-Walker causeway.

I could go for Seidenstriker but never Steinfeld. MCG slept during his tenure. Perhaps Antony or Eve after founders? They don't exactly roll of the tongue either.

David Parker
7919
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David Parker 04/20/12 - 04:21 pm
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The moves and decisions are

The moves and decisions are grandiose and I think a lot of people write us little folks off, thinking we are not capable of thinking big and having vision. WRONG. Azizz is the fella with the opportunity to do it. It's not that he has some magic dust that we all covet. He's living out what alot of us already hoped would happen, what we would have done if we found ourselves in his shoes. Just pointing it out so that the good Dr. can remain at ground level and not rise too high in a bad way. That said, I'm all in el Presidente!

oh yeah, ditto Austin, RIver, Craig, and everybody else.

Bizkit
21868
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Bizkit 04/20/12 - 04:52 pm
1
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Perhaps I'm just jaded from

Perhaps I'm just jaded from the past and I should give Dr. Azziz a break. And I would love to be wrong about my hesitation and see the campus grow. I have a dozen family members (immediate, Dad, Uncles, Grandads) who were graduates of the ole MCG so I know all would want their alma mater to grow and improve. Perhaps a name with a hint of the past too. The Georgia College of Medicine and Health Science University or the University of Georgia College of Medicine and Health Sciences or Georgia Health Science University and College of Medicine. Shhhhsh! Obviously I have a problem wit da droppin the medicine name. Georgia Univeristy . Forgot ASU too. Georgia University of Liberal Arts and Science-GULAS!!! Sort a like Goolash a mix or undergrad liberal arts, allied health, dental and medical school, graduate school, and medical center-definitely Goolash Hee,hee,hee.

Bizkit
21868
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Bizkit 04/20/12 - 05:40 pm
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Wow! GULAS is Hungarian for

Wow! GULAS is Hungarian for Goolash. I maybe onto something. You have to admit that Georgia Health Sciences Univeristy (GHSU) doesn't roll off the tonque and no catchy abbreviation. GULAS and Georgia University of Liberal Arts and Sciences. I should write the good Doctor a letter with the suggestion. With all the diversity in function and diversity on campus it really is an interesting mix.
GULASH and Georgia University of Liberal Arts,Sciences and Health.

howcanweknow
2306
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howcanweknow 04/20/12 - 05:16 pm
0
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At least Huisman had his golf

At least Huisman had his golf cart and a Sickle Cell Center. Greenblatt has a statue and library named after him. To my knowledge, Ahlquist got squat.

I'm just jaded because I had the opportunity to meet Ahlquist. He maybe the most famous Augustan that hardly anyone knows about.

socks99
250
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socks99 04/20/12 - 05:36 pm
0
0

Given the current way the

Given the current way the University system is governed in GA, citizens are very unlikely to influence its decisions. If resources are managed effectively, every citizen ought benefit; if they are mismanaged, then we are all poorer.

With the current Regents, "politicization" of the system has made a fast comeback. And if the basis for a Regents system is to prevent politics, then this basis is no longer relevant.

Bizkit
21868
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Bizkit 04/20/12 - 06:01 pm
0
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I've never met Ahlquist but I

I've never met Ahlquist but I wish I would have. I've met Arthur Guyton, James Watson at CSHarbor, met Geoffrey Burnstock at a marine lab, and a number of lesser names. I missed an opportunity to see and hopefully meet Linus Pauling (one of a few people to ever win two nobel prizes-chemistry and peace)who was a personal hero.

madgerman
236
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madgerman 04/20/12 - 06:21 pm
0
0

Lets face facts. He is a

Unpublished

Lets face facts. He is a "stakeholder". and stakeholders are what this little river city is all about. Always has been and will always will be because we citizens don't understand the power of the ballot. Rather, most folks believe that politicians are their friends. Wake up folks and start realizing that politicians are your employees and nothing more.

Skooter
64
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Skooter 05/17/12 - 10:14 pm
0
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A merger of a college under

A merger of a college under the larger umbrella of a university compliments and strengthens the two and a city need not get involved in the planning relating to that union. Unlike the Walmart plan, ASU property will not be razed and repurposed. Not including the voices of GHSU/MCG leadership in discussions relating to any large property in such close proximity to the campus is too 'good old boys' way of doing business. The campus is indeed lacking an on-site hotel/conference center, which is unlike other schools such as UGA.
As for the name MCG, it still exists - it is retained by medical school proper, which is only a part of the entire campus. The parent to the medical school's name was changed to GHSU. Many campuses have names for individual colleges under the parent university, e.g., Albert Einstein College of Medicine is under the parent of Yeshiva University. Other than the medical school, no other colleges on the GHSU campus have been named independently, e.g., the College of Nursing is not called 'The Florence Nightingale College of Nursing'. Hopefully, each of the 5, now 6, different colleges on the campus can now affirm their own identity/individuality and shine independently.

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