Medical College of Georgia honors distinguished alumni

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Dr. Bill Brooks

A longtime Macon family medicine physician, an Atlanta cardiologist and former president of the Georgia Chapter of the American Heart Association, one of the first physicians to perform arthroscopic knee surgery in Georgia, and a pathologist who leads her alma mater’s graduate medical education programs were recognized by the Medical College of Georgia during Alumni Weekend April 22-24.

Dr. William Brooks, a 1967 graduate who has practiced in Macon for nearly 50 years, is the 2022 Distinguished Alumnus for Loyalty.

Dr. Stephen Clements, a 1966 MCG graduate and the R. Harold Harrison Endowed Chair in Cardiology at Emory University School of Medicine is this year’s Distinguished Alumnus for Professional Achievement.

Dr. Natasha Savage, a 2007 graduate and the medical school’s senior associate dean for graduate medical education is this year’s Outstanding Young Alumna.

The late Dr. Leslie Lamar Wilkes, a 1965 graduate, a Savannah, Georgia, orthopaedic surgeon, was recognized posthumously as a Distinguished Alumnus.

After graduating from MCG, Brooks completed a family medicine residency at The Medical Center of Central Georgia in Macon. After practicing in nearby Eatonton for six years, he moved his practice to south Macon, in one of the city’s most underserved areas, in 1975.

He has since served The Medical Center in a variety of roles, including on its Executive Committee from 1979-89 and as its chief of staff in 1985.

Brooks has been active in the Medical Association of Georgia since he started practicing medicine in 1969. He joined the MAG Board of Directors in 1992 and has served in a variety of leadership roles, including second vice president, first vice president and treasurer. In 2010, the association honored him with its Joseph P. Bailey Jr., M.D., Physician Distinguished Service Award.

He has been a member of the Bibb County Medical Society Board of Directors since 1982 and served as its president in 1993. In 2008, he received that group’s Distinguished Service Award.

Brooks has been an active member of the MCG Alumni Association, including serving as president from 2009-10.

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Dr. Stephen Clements

Clements completed his internal medicine residency and cardiology fellowship at Emory University and Grady Memorial Hospital. He then joined the US Army Medical Corps, eventually earning the Army Commendation Medal for Meritorious Service.

He joined the faculty at Emory in 1973 and has taught medical students there ever since. He also has served as the director of the Andreas Gruentzig Outpatient Cardiac Catheterization Laboratory and of the Echocardiography Laboratory at Emory University Hospital.

In 2011, Emory recognized him with the Lettie Pate Whitehead Evans Award, for his transformational contributions to the hospital. The O. Wayne Rollins Foundation also honored his many contributions to clinical care, prevention and discovery in cardiovascular disease in 2018 by establishing the Stephen D. Clements, Jr. Chair in Cardiovascular Disease Prevention at Emory’s Rollins School of Public Health.

Clements has been an active member of the American Heart Association, including serving as president of its Georgia Chapter from 1992-93. In 2007, the American College of Cardiology named Clements the recipient of its Lifetime Achievement Award.

In addition to being the senior associate dean of graduate medical education and designated institutional official, Savage, a 2007 MCG graduate, also is vice chair for academic affairs in the MCG Department of Pathology. She also is chief of staff-elect at AU Health.

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Dr. Natasha Savage

As vice chair, she oversees the department’s academic endeavors, engaging residents in scholarly pursuits, advising medical students who are pursuing a career in pathology and helping build the pathology and hematology parts of MCG’s curriculum. As chief of staff-elect, she chairs the Credentials Committee, which oversees the credentialing of practitioners and works with the hospital’s Medical Executive Committee to grant specific privileges to practice medicine in AU Health facilities.

She also is the health system’s medical director of hematology and hematopathology, overseeing the hematology, bone marrow, flow cytometry and hemostasis labs at AU Medical Center and the Children’s Hospital of Georgia.

She is a member of the College of American Pathologists, serving as the group’s commissioner for the State of Georgia and as the immediate past vice chair of its Hematology/Clinical Microscopy Committee. An honored educator, she has received multiple MCG Exemplary Teaching Awards for Undergraduate Medical Education and now serves as co-councilor for the medical school’s chapter of Alpha Omega Alpha Honor Medical Society.

Savage completed her anatomic and clinical pathology residency in 2011 at MCG. She completed a fellowship in hematopathology at Stanford University before returning to the faculty of her alma mater in 2012.

After graduating from MCG Wilkes completed a year of surgery residency at Charlotte Memorial Hospital before receiving a commission in the US Navy. He went on to spend a year as ship surgeon aboard the aircraft carrier USS Randolph. After his release from active duty, he completed his orthopaedic residency at Wake Forest University and completed a yearlong fellowship in arthritis surgery at the University of Edinburgh in Scotland.

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Dr. Leslie Lamar Wilkes

He began his orthopaedic practice in Savannah in 1972 and practiced there for more than 40 years. He was the first surgeon in Savannah to perform a modern hip replacement and one of the first in the state to perform arthroscopic knee surgery.

Wilkes was active in the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, the British Orthopaedic Association, the Society of Hip and Knee Surgeons and the Arthroscopic Surgery Society of North America. He served on the board of the Georgia Medical Care Foundation for more than 30 years, including a term as president from 1997-99.

He remained committed to MCG throughout his career, serving has adjunct faculty and in the medical school’s Alumni Association, including as president in 1996. He also was committed to medical education throughout his career and organized a group of former American Edinburgh Fellows into the Edinburgh Orthopedic Club, a group the sponsored a Scottish registrar’s visit to the United States each year to attend the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons Annual Meeting. For many years, he also invited medical students from Scotland’s University of Glasgow to study with him in Savannah.

He was named Savannah’s Best Doctor numerous times and the Georgia Medical Society awarded him with their Health Care Hero Award in 2010 and their Lifetime Achievement Award in 2012.

Wilkes passed away April 4, 2020 in Savannah.

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Written by
Jennifer Hilliard Scott

Jennifer Hilliard Scott is Director of Communications at the Medical College of Georgia at Augusta University. Contact her to schedule an interview on this topic or with one of our experts at 706-721-8604 or

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Woman smiling Written by Jennifer Hilliard Scott

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