Some days (or years), its harder than others to see the glass half full, what with the many national concerns that affect all of us in health care, such as burgeoning costs and diminished reimbursements, and issues that are particularly troubling for medical schools, such as spiraling student debt, declining student applications, and the need for more scholarships so the medical profession remains accessible to those who will do it wisely and well.
But day to day, I continue to be
profoundly thankful for tangible signs that give me cause to be decidedly
optimistic. In April, for example, we dedicated the Whitehead Biomedical
Research Building, which greatly increased our research space in the medical
school and expanded exponentially our capacity for research in areas such
as genomics and cancer (see pages 10 and 31).
This summer, we begin construction of a new Emory building on the Grady
campus (see page 9), the first in almost four decades. In addition to
faculty office space, this building will have computer study and lounge
areas for students, conference rooms for clerkships, and special teaching
exam rooms with one-way mirrors for observing student-patient interactions.
There are other recent milestones at Grady that will help patients and
also enhance teaching and learning there for decades to come. We recently
received a $4.2 million grant from the NIH to open the first-ever General
Clinical Research Center at Grady. Students and residents will rotate
through the center, where research will focus on difficult problems such
as kidney disease caused by sickle cell anemia, traumatic injury, and
infectious disease (see page 4). Researchers at Grady are also partners
in two new CDC-sponsored studies, a $4 million award as part of a tuberculosis
epidemiology consortium and $1 million for one of four nationwide stroke
registries named for the late Senator Paul Coverdell. Grady has also been
designated as a Center of Excellence in Governor Roy Barnes Georgia
Cancer Coalition (see page 6). The ninth and tenth floors are under renovation
for a cancer screening, evaluation, and treatment facility, expected to
be fully operational at the end of this year.
Taking measure of milestones like these gives me perspective in meeting
challenges at hand and in focusing on our missions ahead.
Speaking of taking measure, I would like to assess the stature of someone
who gave so much to this school and to the students she helped transform
into doctors: the diminutive Evangeline Papageorge, former dean of students
and emeritus regent on the medical alumni board, who died last fall. Barely
five feet tall, she was a true giant to all of us, and we miss her very
Thomas J. Lawley
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