The best choice to lead Medical College of Georgia is someone who understands its strengths, weaknesses and potential and who has a vision for the future.
That person is Dr. Daniel Rahn, who currently serves as vice dean of Clinical Affairs in the School of Medicine, senior vice president of Medical Affairs and chief medical officer of MCG Health Inc., the hospital and clinic arm of MCG. Now, he takes over the helm of MCG as its incoming president.
Rahn's commitment to MCG and Augusta is proven. A known quantity, he's served on dozens of committees in the decade he's been associated with MCG; he understands the community and is sworn to the success of the Georgia Cancer Coalition and the Augusta Cancer Center of Excellence.
The Yale University graduate is also devout in his faith and spends holidays providing medical care to the poor in Third World countries. His list of accomplishments includes being at the core of research that led to the discovery of Lyme Disease, its cures and vaccination trial protocols.
He probably has a few detractors. After all, one cannot be active in a college faculty environment without weathering some political storms. And when it comes to storms, MCG has weathered a few in recent years as it reorganized into two entities - an academic center and separate clinical operation.
University System of Georgia Chancellor Stephen Portch told The Chronicle that during his interview, Rahn gave the committee what amounted to a "seminar" on MCG and where it needs to go, impressing the committee with his grasp of the issues.
Call it the home team advantage, but the other candidates couldn't touch him when it came to the depth and breadth of understanding our medical school's history and possible future.
He will focus intelligently on a few strategic areas that the college can build on, including cancer, cardiovascular, infection and immune system, biotechnology and neuroscience research.
Although he won't take over the reins until June, with his knowledge of the college and the community, Rahn is apt to hit the ground running. And that's just what the college needs at this junction.
No transition is seamless, but Rahn has the support of an impressive number of Augustans and at the highest levels of the university system. His appointment demonstrates that the chancellor does indeed consider the state's medical college an important institution, and is committed to its longevity in Augusta.
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