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The GME @ Dentons Team is proud to bring you an interview with our colleague, Michelle (Shelley) Nuss, MD. Shelley joined the firm's Health Care group as a senior advisor in August 2018. In addition to her work at Dentons, Shelley serves as the Augusta University/University of Georgia Medical Partnership's campus dean and associate dean for GME and DIO. She is also a professor of internal medicine and psychiatry at the Medical College of Georgia at Augusta University and an adjunct clinical faculty member in the Department of Psychology of the Franklin College of Arts and Sciences at the University of Georgia.
To help you get to know her better, we interviewed Shelley about her GME-related history and her other interests and passions.
Q: Tell us a little about your career path and how you came to be interested in GME.
A: During my high school years, my dream was to become a physician, and I felt that going to pharmacy school first would give me the solid foundation I needed to be an excellent doctor. My first step was to pursue a BS in Pharmacy. After medical school, as I progressed through my five-year med/psych residency program, it became clear to me that I wanted to stay in academic medicine and teach students and residents. I served as chief medical resident, and then soon thereafter, I was asked to serve as core faculty member for the internal medicine residency program at West Virginia University (WVU).
A few years later, I was named the program director of our internal medicine and med/psych residency programs and served for nearly 10 years in those roles. I enjoyed teaching residents and developing new innovative curricula. During my tenure, duty hour restrictions were enacted, and the ACGME introduced its core competencies. Both of these policy changes created new challenges for program directors across the US, and I had to assess how these changes would impact our programs at WVU.
While at WVU, I also served as vice president of medical affairs for WVU Hospital, before being recruited to Georgia to serve as the associate dean for GME and DIO of a new regional medical school campus. My main role in Georgia has been to start new GME programs in northeast Georgia to complement the new medical school campus. I have a passion for GME and have experience leading programs at large academic centers as well as smaller community hospital systems.
Q: What's your proudest GME-related accomplishment?
A: Since moving to Georgia, I have been working closely with the Georgia Board of Regents to outline ways to expand GME capacity across the state. I was instrumental in creating a proposal to expand GME capacity by developing new teaching hospitals, with a focus on starting programs that are in high demand in Georgia, such as family medicine, internal medicine, psychiatry and general surgery.
The state appropriated funds for a multi-year program, starting in fiscal year 2013, to support GME start-up costs for new teaching hospitals. To date, eight new teaching hospitals have been accredited, and the program is on track to add more than 600 new residency positions across 25 new programs throughout the state by 2025. The state has already invested a total of approximately $19 million in this initiative.
I have been providing the administrative oversight for the program and am proud to say that GME capacity in Georgia is on track to increase by 47 percent by 2025. Early outcomes show that of the new graduates, approximately 70 percent are staying to practice in Georgia.
Q: What's your best piece of advice to DIOs?
A: Keep an open door policy that allows for residents to stop by, and encourage regular communication from program directors. When issues arise, it’s best to always investigate first in order to get both sides of the story before deciding on next steps. DIOs of large institutions are very busy, but every day brings new challenges and opportunities to shape the next generation of physicians.
Q: What topics do you think will be important to be on the lookout for in the GME world in 2019?
A. Because physicians will need to be equipped to use an increasing amount of technology in the care of patients, the education and training of resident physicians will need to shift over the coming years. For example, tablet computers and bedside ultrasound will become commonplace, so residents will need to be equipped with additional skills to be successful in this rapidly changing healthcare environment. New GME curricula will also need to focus on the business-side of medicine and value based care. In the past, these topics have not been a priority in residency education.
Q: What are your passions outside of the GME world?
A: I love spending time with my family and friends, watching college football, traveling, hiking in national parks and relaxing on beautiful beaches with turquoise waters!
If you are interested in reading interviews with other senior advisors on our GME@Dentons team, the interviews with Dr. Rosemarie Fisher and Dr. Linda Famiglio are available at the following links: