Gary Glasser, University Health Center
Physician for the Gynecology Clinic – University Health Center
Harmony – Empathy – Learner – Positivity – Developer
Dr. Glasser was nominated for a Staff Spotlight by a colleague, who shared the following:
Are you from Georgia? If not, where are you from? (i.e., where do you call “home”?)
I am originally from Winter Park, FL, but have been in Georgia (except for medical school at a rival school that I cannot mention in this publication…) since 1980.
How long have you worked at UGA?
I started in 2014.
What does a “day in the life” look like for you at work?
I live in Atlanta, and commute [about] 2.5 hours back and forth each weekday – that tells you I love my job! My day consists mostly of direct patient care, my true passion. I see patients with gynecologic problems (e.g. relating to their menses or pain) as well as sexually-transmitted infection testing and treatment, and contraceptive management. A large percentage of my day is spent educating students about these issues, helping them make the correct choices for their health with as much information as possible. As COVID-19 progressed, we did less in-person visits but still were able to connect and treat patients by telehealth (I have to smile when patients are in a parked car on their phone for a gynecology visit – it almost looks like we have a drive-thru for the Gynecology Clinic!). Part of my day is spent in my new position as Chief Quality Officer for the University Health Center, working with committees to continually improve the student experience at the UHC. The UHC’s Quality Initiative strives to engage, challenge, and empower every employee and health care provider, using evidence-based techniques, to provide the best health care in all departments and clinics.
What are three things you love most about your job?
I only get 3?? Okay:
1) One’s job is only as good as your boss – and the leadership at the University Health Center have as their central mission to provide the best and most up-to-date medical care for our students. They have created an environment that embraces change – striving to make what we do good, great, and to make what we do great, greater. Every employee is a part of a culture at UHC that emphasizes continuous learning and everyday improvement.
2) One’s job is only as good as your co-workers – and it’s not luck that UHC hires employees that are dedicated to hard work and are engaged, innovative, and perform meaningful work.
3) One’s job is only as good (wait – do you see a trend here?) as the patients we see. And the student population here is amazing – interested in learning about their health, receptive to advice, and able to think logically and make good health choices.
Who do you look up to/ admire?
My parents. My dad (of blessed memory) always said something that still resonates with me: It’s always harder to do the right thing. He got the idea from Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr’s quote, “The time is always right to do the right thing.” But dad recognized that knowing what is right may not be easy, and that taking the easy way out of a problem won’t help you in the long run. I think of this almost every day – at home and at work. My mom taught me, through example, to look forward, that bad times will pass, and to think positively.
What are things that you do for fun/hobbies?
I have played tennis for 47 years, and still am trying to get the hang of it (and while I have this platform – anyone reading this want to play? I am USTA 3.5-4.0 and can play any day after work.)
What might be something that you would like other staff to know about your job?
Well, everyone who has been to a gynecologist knows this, but no one looks forward to their first gynecologic visit. And we see many students for their first visit ever to a gynecologist. Besides providing great healthcare, we also strive to make it an empowering, informative, and “well, that wasn’t so bad!” visit. We set the tone for the rest of her life’s interaction with gynecology, and we take that responsibility seriously.
What might be some ways that staff could collaborate or partner with you?
My grandmother used to say, “If you have your health, you have everything.” ((okay – she actually said “aoyb ir hot deyn gezunt, ir hot alts.” but I translated it for you since not many people still speak Yiddish). Students cannot do their best academically if they aren’t healthy, or if they are worried about their health. Students are many times on their own for the first time, and seeking gynecologic healthcare can be intimidating. All UGA staff, when they can, should promote the idea of health as a priority – and let students know we are available and here to help – for gynecologic problems but also proactive information about all reproductive and sexual issues.
What advice would you have for new staff joining UGA Student Affairs?
1) Making the student experience better is the ultimate reason why each of us come to work each day. Knowing that helps guide all that you do.
2) You may work in one part of UGA, and never seem to interact with the rest of the UGA universe. Get involved, volunteer, do something, anything outside your work ‘bubble’ – both you and UGA will benefit.
What is one question you wished we asked and what is the answer?
(okay, time for a shameless plug)… Question: Is it true your son Gus Glasser has a new album out called “Rhythm of the Road”, available wherever you stream music including iTunes and Spotify, and that he is also trending on social media including > 740K views on TikTok? Answer: Yes, indeed (smiling as a proud parent).
What is the coolest thing you have ever done and why?
My name and “cool” have never been used in the same sentence (ask my kids). So maybe not “cool,” but something pretty amazing: Everyone who has had,or been present for, the birth of their child or grandchild knows how thrilling and miraculous that process is. Imagine my joy delivering 4,327 babies (yes I kept count) over 26 years of doing obstetrics in my former life. And imagine my surprise when two UGA students at their visit with me recently told me that I delivered them! I told them I wouldn’t recognize them unless they were swaddled in a blanket and cried…