The president and CEO of the hospital that has long served as the primary educational partner for the Medical College of Georgia’s first regional campus, the Southwest Campus in Albany, and an MCG alum who oversees nearly 600 residents and fellows in 50 residency programs at her alma mater and its primary teaching affiliate Augusta University Health have been honored by MCG Dean David Hess.
Scott Steiner who has led Phoebe Putney Health System since 2019 received the Community Advocacy Award and Natasha Savage, MD, a 2007 graduate who serves as senior associate dean of graduate medical education and designated institutional official, received the Professionalism Award at Hess’ State of the College Address Friday, Feb. 17.
“Scott Steiner has always been keenly aware of the need for Phoebe to be engaged in educating the next generation of physicians for Georgia and has been steadfast in his support of our faculty, staff and students at our Southwest Campus,” Hess says. “Like Mr. Steiner, Dr. Savage is equally dedicated to medical education and has and continues to work tirelessly to ensure that our junior colleagues receive the best possible training in their chosen specialties right here at our home base in Augusta.”
Almost exactly one year after Steiner joined Phoebe, COVID-19 began to overrun Albany, and the small community quickly became one of the country’s first hotspots. The health system was among the first to have to deal with operational challenges like staff exhaustion, shortages of PPE and other critical supplies, as well as the dissemination of timely and accurate public information. Because they experienced it first, the team at Phoebe was also instrumental in helping other health systems prepare their own responses to the pandemic.
Always an advocate for education, Steiner helped develop a new Medical Education Innovation and Simulation Center at Phoebe. Construction continued during the pandemic, and the 22,000 square foot center opened in 2020. Available for all health care disciplines, including students at the Southwest Campus, the center has been instrumental in onboarding new nurses for Phoebe, as well as introducing middle and high school students from the surrounding region to the possibility of health care careers.
While many hospitals in rural and underserved areas are struggling to maintain existing services, under his leadership, Phoebe is also building a new and expanded neonatal intensive care unit, trauma ICU and emergency center.
“Throughout his time here, Scott and the entire Phoebe Family have continued to be unwavering supporters of MCG’s mission and vital partners in our efforts by offering access to these new and innovative environments,” says Doug Patten, MD, campus associate dean. “These provide an anchor, where our students can learn and grow, which we hope will lead to the return of more of our graduates to help meet the needs of the region.”
In addition to being the senior associate dean of graduate medical education and designated institutional official, Savage also is vice chair for academic affairs in the Department of Pathology. She also is chief of staff at AU Health.
As vice chair, she oversees the pathology 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.