For as long as I can remember, I always wanted to become an orthopaedic surgeon and practice with my father, the late Champ Baker Jr., MD. After graduating from the University of Virginia, I was grateful to return to Georgia and the Medical College of Georgia in 1998. At MCG I received a great medical education and was well prepared for my orthopaedic surgery residency. After a sports medicine fellowship I returned home to Columbus, Georgia and was able to practice with my father at the Hughston Clinic until he retired.
My family and I owe a lot to MCG. My wife Karin graduated from the same class — 2002 — and practices physical medicine and rehabilitation here in our community taking care of the disabled population. Not only did we earn an incredible medical education, but we made great friendships during our time there that continue today.
I have always strived to find ways to give back to our medical school, through donations of my time and money, and it is one of the reasons why I am particularly honored to be serving this year as alumni association president.
As a graduate of this great institution, I feel it is our responsibility to pay it forward, supporting not just the place that gave us our careers, but the place that is also working to educate the next generation of great physicians for communities like mine and yours, for this state and for this country. Exciting things are happening at MCG: increasing enrollment, expansion of regional campuses and innovations to the curriculum designed to help keep our students well trained and also to keep them here in Georgia to help meet our state’s ever-expanding needs for high quality medical care.
There are so many ways to get involved – through joining the alumni association for instance. A membership is only $50 annually, or $1,000 for a lifetime. Or perhaps by volunteering to serve as a host and/or mentor for a student who is considering a career like yours or is in your area on an away clinical rotation. Even by simply attending alumni events, like regional receptions in your own communities, or our annual Alumni Weekend festivities in Augusta, you can be involved.
You can also make an enormous impact on our medical school with donations to things like student scholarships to help offset the cost of tuition, or to our successful stethoscope program, which ensures that each freshman medical student receives the gift of a stethoscope at their orientation. It is a small gift – each stethoscope costs just $250 – that has an immense impact and is a tangible way to remind the future generation of their connection to and the support of those of us who have come before them.
I hope you will join me and consider these and other ways we can all support our alma mater.
My best to you,
Champ Baker III, MD, ‘02
Baker is an orthopaedic surgeon and sports medicine specialist at the Hughston Clinic in Columbus, Georgia. He also serves as head team physician for Columbus State University and several Columbus area high schools.