I am sure none of us had any concept of the effect a small RNA virus could have on our lives. As physicians, we have experienced some of the most life-changing effects of COVID-19 as any group in America. Through these uncertain times, I have been both scared but also emboldened to have been given an opportunity to make a difference in my community and deliver essential health care. It’s what we were all trained to do at the Medical College of Georgia.
During these times I am even more grateful for the education I received from MCG — the ability to diagnose and treat disease, known and unknown. These days remind me of the early ‘80s. I was in my internship year in Atlanta when young previously heathy men were arriving at the hospital with an unknown disease causing their immune systems to shut down. The beginning of the AIDS crisis created similar unknowns and fears. Just as the medical community came together then, we as physicians and researchers are persisting and will overcome and control this disease.
The MCG Alumni Association has certainly been affected. Last year’s Alumni Weekend was canceled and we went from in-person to hosting virtual regional receptions at our campuses across the state. We are tentatively moving forward with plans for Alumni Weekend 2021, but I feel as though I’m the virtual president this year.
But much remains unchanged. The Alumni Association still takes tremendous pride in our fellow graduates and we will proudly highlight many of our members who have represented MCG on the front lines of this pandemic, some of them in this issue of MCG Medicine. Many of us also continue to serve as faculty at the regional campuses across Georgia, which provides great benefit for students and the local medical communities alike. We will continue to help our junior colleagues, MCG students, through scholarship programs, alumni-sponsored events and providing stethoscopes for incoming freshmen (see back cover). It is especially important during times like these that MCG students continue to hear from alumni and that our support continues.
I encourage all of you to remain engaged as alumni, either with gifts of your time, financial resources or both. I am honored to be able to serve the Alumni Association this year and look forward to the special challenges the year continues to present. May we all stay healthy, safe and engaged.
Dr. Joseph J. Burch, ’85
President, MCG Alumni Association
Radiologist, Rome Radiology Group