MAG Foundation applauds GPLA grads & new class

A diverse mix of physicians from across the state graduated from the 11th class of the Medical Association of Georgia (MAG) Foundation’s Georgia Physicians Leadership Academy (GPLA) in a ceremony that took place in Atlanta on May 4.

“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 Travis Bailey, D.O., an anesthesiologist in Valdosta; 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; Wambui Machua, M.D., a rheumatologist in Atlanta; Colleen McLemore, M.D., a psychiatrist in Athens; Stephen Shiver, 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.

Dr. Sy also introduced the members of the incoming GPLA class, which includes Michelle Au, M.D., an anesthesiologist in Atlanta; Julianne Birt, M.D., an obstetrician in Covington; Tameka Byrd, D.O., a family medicine physician in Warner Robins; Anthony Chappell, M.D., a cardiologist in Statesboro; Waldon Garriss, M.D., an internist in Marietta; Jennifer Holton, M.D., a psychiatrist in Atlanta; Umamaheswari Jonnalagadda, M.D., a family medicine physician in Douglas; Walter McClelland, M.D., an orthopaedic surgeon in Atlanta; Jayne Morgan, M.D., a cardiologist in Kennesaw; William Moretz, M.D., an otolaryngologist in Savannah; Pickens “Trey” Patterson, M.D., an interventional pain physician in McDonough; Vandana Reddy, M.D., an ophthalmologist in Atlanta; Colin Segovis, M.D., a radiologist in Dunwoody; John Wood, M.D., an emergency medicine physician in Haddock; and Joanne Zhu, M.D., a hospitalist in Mableton.

Nearly 150 physicians – including MAG President Rutledge Forney, M.D., 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.

Contact Lori Cassity Murphy at with questions.

GPLA Class 11: Back Row, L-R – Stephen Shiver, M.D., Jacob Varghese, M.D., Rod Duraski, M.D., Donald Fordham, M.D. Front Row, L-R – Colleen McClemore, M.D., Christopher Walsh, M.D., GPLA Chair John Sy, D.O., GPLA Vice Chair Stephen Jarrard, M.D., Amin Yehya, M.D., Wambui Machua, M.D., Shamie Das, M.D. Not pictured: Travis Bailey, D.O., Salman Fidahussein and Tracey Henry, M.D. 

GPLA Class 12: Back Row, L-R – Colin Segovis, M.D., Jennifer Holton, M.D., Trey Patterson, M.D., John Wood, M.D., Waldon Garriss, M.D., Walter McClelland, M.D., Anthony Chappell, M.D., Joanne Zhu, M.D., Umamaheswari Jonnalagadda, M.D. Front Row, L-R – Vandana Reddy, M.D., Tameka Byrd, D.O., Past Chair John Sy, D.O., Chair Stephen Jarrard, M.D. Michelle Au, M.D., Julianne Birt, Jayne Morgan, M.D. Not pictured: William Moretz, M.D.