Georgians are killing themselves with the way they eat. Georgia Health Sciences University, the former Medical of College which he leads as president, needs more investment -- by the community and by philanthropists. The facility has lagged behind its South Carolina counterpart as a result. There needs to be more collaboration between GHSU and other entities. And Augusta needs more "cool" to help recruit the world's top researchers.
Unfortunately, some have honed in completely on, and taken umbrage in, his suggestion that Augusta could be cooler. Why? Isn't it true?
We were at Azziz's speech. We actually asked the question that prompted his answer: essentially, how can Augusta help his recruiting efforts?
What he said is absolutely true and not in any way offensive: We need to have a vibrant arts and entertainment community to attract the interest of some of the smartest minds on the planet.
Rather than sniff and pout about it, let's look at how we can do that. You need only spend a few minutes listening to Dr. Azziz before you're struck by how astute, visionary and hard-charging he is. That can only make GHSU better; Azziz's aim is to make it the best in the country.
It'd only be smart for us to do everything we can to make his vision a reality.
Consider: With nearly $90 million in research grants flowing in, as well as another $90 million in "medical tourism" -- people traveling here for health care -- and a statewide economic impact of $8 billion, as well as all the medical professionals it produces and the health care it provides, it's in our best interests to be Azziz's Army and make GHSU the best it can be.
We've rarely seen a leader make more of an impact as quickly -- from helping end a protracted and silly feud over the old MCG Foundation, to helping us recognize that the facility was more than a medical college -- it's actually multiple colleges with a much broader mission than education. Thus, the name change.
Azziz aims for GHSU to be the state's nationally renowned academic health center, to achieve it in collaboration with other institutions, and to do it fast.
Call us crazy, but we think that's pretty cool.