MAG Foundation applauds Georgia Physicians Leadership Academy graduates, introduces new class 

A diverse mix of physicians from across the state graduated from the 10th class of the Medical Association of Georgia Foundation’s (MAG Foundation) Georgia Physicians Leadership Academy (GPLA) in a ceremony that took place in Atlanta on April 21. 

“The GPLA was established to develop physician leaders and improve health care delivery for their patients, communities, and the medical profession,” says GPLA Steering Committee Chair John Sy, D.O. “The year-long curriculum includes classes that address leadership development, conflict resolution, media relations, and advocacy – and participants must design and complete a leadership project.”

This year’s GPLA graduates include Bhavin Adhyaru, M.D., an internist in Atlanta; Ahmed Ali, M.D., a radiation oncologist in Atlanta; Keisha Callins, M.D., an OB-GYN in Macon; Brett Cannon, M.D., an emergency medicine physician in Marietta; Chip Cowart, M.D., a family physician in Statesboro; Brandy Cross, M.D., an orthopaedist in Marietta; Syamala Erramilli, M.D., a palliative medicine physician in Tucker; Masoumeh Ghaffari, M.D., a hospitalist in Acworth; Kelly Homlar, M.D., an orthopaedist in Augusta; Nikki Hughes, M.D., a family physician in Cumming; John Johnson, M.D., an internist in Atlanta; Joash Lazarus, M.D., a neurologist in Atlanta; Zachary Lopater, M.D., a radiation oncologist in Macon; Sultan Simms, M.D., a psychiatrist in Atlanta; Anna Skold, M.D., a palliative medicine physician in Atlanta; Sudha Tata, M.D., a nephrologist in Atlanta; and Margaret Wong, M.D., an ophthalmologist in Atlanta.

Dr. Sy also introduced the members of the incoming GPLA class, which includes Travis Bailey, D.O., an anesthesiologist in Valdosta; Royden Daniels, M.D., a neuroradiologist in Atlanta; Shamie Das, M.D., an emergency medicine physician in Decatur; Rod Duraski, M.D., an internist in LaGrange; Salman Fidahussein, M.D., a pulmonary disease specialist in LaGrange; Donald Fordham, M.D., a family medicine physician in Cornelia; Tracey Henry, M.D., an internist in Powder Springs; Ray Kotwicki, M.D., a psychiatrist in Atlanta; Raghu Lolabhattu, M.D., an internist in Dublin; Wambui Machua, M.D., a rheumatologist in Atlanta; Colleen McLemore, M.D., a psychiatrist in Athens; Richard Olson, M.D., a retired general surgeon in Gainesville; Stephen Shivers, M.D., an emergency medicine physician in Augusta; Jacob Varghese, M.D., a family medicine physician in Johns Creek; Christopher Walsh, M.D., an orthopaedic surgeon in Fayetteville; and Amin Yehya, M.D., a cardiologist in Atlanta.  

More than 135 physicians – including Medical Association of Georgia (MAG) President Frank McDonald, M.D., M.B.A, and the rest of MAG’s Executive Committee and others who serve in leadership roles at MAG and other state and local medical societies – have graduated from GPLA. 

The MAG Foundation’s mission is to enable physicians to support medical science and public health projects that enhance the quality of life in the state. Go to and for additional information on MAG and the MAG Foundation. 

Class 10 – Back Row, L-R: Joash Lazarus, M.D., Brett Cannon, M.D., Sultan Sims, M.D., John Johnson, M.D., Bhavin Adhyaru, M.D., Zach Lopater, M.D., Ahmed Ali, M.D., Chip Cowart, M.D. Front Row, L-R: Masoumeh Ghaffari, M.D., Keisha Callins, M.D., Kelly Homlar, M.D., Sudha Tata, M.D., Syamala Erramilli, M.D., Margaret Wong, M.D., Anna Skold, M.D., Brandy Cross, M.D., GPLA Chair John Sy, D.O. Not pictured: Nikki Hughes, M.D.

Class 11 – Back Row, L-R: Salman Fidahussein, M.D., Ray Kotwicki, M.D., Jacob Varghese, M.D., Donald Fordham, M.D., Amin Yehya, M.D., Rod Duraski, M.D., Raghu Lolabhattu, M.D. Front Row, L-R: Travis Bailey, D.O., Colleen McLemore, M.D., Wambui Machua, M.D., GPLA Chair John Sy, D.O., Christopher Walsh, M.D., Richard Olson, M.D., Shamie Das, M.D., Royden Daniels, M.D. Not pictured: Tracey Henry, M.D., and Stephen Shiver, M.D.