Dean, Medical College of Georgia
EVP, Medical Affairs and Integration, Augusta University
MCG Presidential Distinguished Chair
David C. Hess MD, a stroke specialist, federally funded investigator, honored educator and biotech entrepreneur, is the 27th Dean of the Medical College of Georgia and Executive Vice President for Medical Affairs and Integration at Augusta University. Dr. Hess also continues to serve as Presidential Distinguished Chair and as a Professor in the MCG Department of Neurology. He is a graduate of the Johns Hopkins University and the University of Maryland School of Medicine. He is triple board certified in Internal Medicine, Neurology, and Vascular Neurology. He completed his Neurology residency and Vascular Neurology/Stroke fellowship at MCG and AU Health System.
As MCG Dean, Dr. Hess has helped oversee the most significant curriculum change in MCG’s history to better address the need for more primary care physicians in Georgia and beyond and to enable all students to better tailor their medical education to optimally meet their future practice plans. He has expanded the scope and depth of scientific discovery regarding the state and nation’s major health issues, including establishing the Center for Healthy Aging and the Immunology Center of Georgia.
A prolific physician-scientist whose focus is improving stroke treatment and recovery, Dr. Hess has nearly 220 peer-reviewed publications and has been involved in basic, pre-clinical and clinical stroke research. He currently is the Principal Investigator on three National Institutes of Health grants and an NIH COVID-19 supplement award. He served as the clinical principal investigator for the MASTERS clinical trial, a study of bone-marrow derived stem cells known as “Multistem” in acute stroke, the largest stem cell trial for stroke to date.
Dr. Hess helped develop the REACH telestroke network in rural Georgia that now numbers more than 20 hospitals. REACH enables timely stroke diagnosis and treatment by using the internet to eliminate distance between patients and stroke specialists. He also co-founded and chaired the Board of Directors of REACH Health Inc., a telestroke company that spun out of MCG and now also provides similar services for a variety of acute medical problems to patients, physicians and hospitals worldwide. REACH Health Inc., based in Atlanta, was sold to InTouch and later Teladocs in 2019.
Dr. Hess has a major interest in the area of remote ischemic limb conditioning (RIC) as a treatment for acute ischemic stroke and vascular cognitive impairment. He has an NIH-funded study to determine if red blood cell markers are involved in how RIC works and if they can predict stroke outcomes. He serves as the Associate Editor of the journals Conditioning Medicine and Translational Stroke Research.
A passionate educator of students, residents and fellows, he has received numerous teaching honors including the MCG Educator of the Year Award and multiple Exemplary Teaching Awards. In 2012, he received MCG’s Outstanding Faculty Member Award and the Distinguished Research Award from the university’s Research Institute. In 2001, he received the Humanism in Medicine Award from The Healthcare Foundation of New Jersey and was inducted into the Gold Humanism Honor Society. In 2020, he was honored with the MCG Faculty Senate Spirit of MCG award. Dr. Hess has been named to America’s Top Doctors and Best Doctors in America every year since 2000.