Going the distance

by Matt Huff

For three graduates this year, the walk across the stage on commencement day seemed short compared with the journeys they took to get there.

Take Tatyana Sklyarevskaya, who graduated from medical school this year . . . for the second time. Born in the Ukraine, Sklyarevskaya graduated the first time at age 22 from medical school with a focus in pediatrics. She was an intern in Uzbekistan when civil wars broke out, igniting violence against non-Muslims. After she was attacked and beaten on the way home from the hospital one day, the blonde, fair-skinned Sklyarevskaya fled back to the Ukraine. But anti-Semitism in her own country meant a life of fear and prejudice. Speaking no English and knowing that her medical degree was not recognized by the AMA, Sklyarevskaya and her family moved to America 1993 to start over.

The first three years were tough. She waited tables from 5 am to 3 pm and took English classes at night before enrolling at Georgia State University as an undergraduate. One day in basic chemistry, her professor noticed her unusual aptitude for the subject. Once he realized her situation, he encouraged her to get into the biophysical chemistry graduate program.

From that point on, life took a 360-degree turn for Sklyarevskaya. She excelled in the program and was planning to get her PhD when she returned to her dream of becoming a medical doctor. "I realized I really wanted to work with patients," she says. Sklyarevskaya was accepted to the Emory School of Medicine on a dean's scholarship, graduated this spring with honors, and is currently a resident in preliminary diagnostic radiology at Emory Hospital.

Down the street, at the new Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing Building, Eddie Gammill received his BSN, marking a profound career change for the former professional opera singer. Before enrolling at Emory, he had spent a dozen years performing with companies such as the New York City Opera, the Atlanta Opera, and Theatre Del'Gilio in Lucca, Italy. "I left singing professionally because I wanted more stability, less uncertainty," says Gammill. "I've always enjoyed helping people so nursing seemed like the perfect career."

Leaving an opera career behind did not rob Gammill of his passion, though. He was the nursing class president for two years and recipient of the highest class award. Gammill also helped other nursing students by initiating the Emory International Student Nursing Association. EISNA's first outreach project took 15 undergraduates and graduate students to Haiti, where they set up mobile health clinics in five locations.

"The response was incredible," says Gammill. "We saw hundreds of people, many of whom walked for hours to get care at our clinics. We would work until we ran out of supplies or it got too dark. Unfortunately, there were always people we never had time to see."

To help continue EISNA's efforts, the graduating nursing class's senior gift is funding next year's project, ensuring more international opportunities for future nursing students.

Rollins School of Public Health student Kendolyn Frazier-Smith was the first to graduate with a career MPH from Emory's only distance learning program. Frazier-Smith had been district manager for AstraZeneca Pharmaceuticals for four years when she decided that further education in public health would help her in the daily operations of her job. The career MPH program, designed specifically for working professionals, allowed Frazier-Smith to get the education she wanted and continue working as well.

Over the course of the two-year program, Frazier-Smith visited the Emory campus twice a semester, once at the beginning, once at the end. The rest of the time, she took classes and attended lectures via web-based technology. She even worked on group projects via the Internet with other group members from places like Texas, Kansas, and even Canada.

"Because everyone in the program has already established careers in the health field, I was able to work with people from a wide array of disciplines from all over the country," she says. She continues to work at Astra-Zeneca, but now with a broader understanding of her chosen field and greater ability to communicate with colleagues from different areas of public health.

2001 Graduation at a Glance

School of Medicine

108 students received MDs, including three dual-degree recipients (one MD/PhD and two MD/MPH degrees). Allied Health awarded 76 masters, two bachelors, 13 associates in medical science, and 27 masters of physical therapy.

Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing

The first diploma ceremony on the plaza of its new building saw three dual-degree graduates (MSN/MPH), 52 MSN graduates, and 61 BSN graduates.

Rollins School of Public Health

293 students graduated this year, the school's largest class ever. That included six PhDs (three in epidemiology and three in biostatistics).

To comply with new federal privacy regulations, Emory has created a separate privacy office within the office of compliance programs. At its helm is Anne Adams, former chief compliance officer for Emory Healthcare. The new position was created in response to the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, which is expected to have the biggest impact on health care since Medicare.

The medical school's third annual Dean's Clinical Investigator awards will go to Gregory Berns and Andrew Miller (psychiatry and behavioral sciences); Chris Hillyer, William Lewis, and Aron Lukacher, (pathology and laboratory medicine); Lawrence Phillips and Robert Taylor (medicine); and Robert Swerlick (dermatology).

William Branch, vice chair for primary care, is president-elect of the Senate of Emory University.

Otis Brawley, one of the nation's foremost leaders in cancer prevention and a preeminent scholar of health disparities research, will lead Emory's efforts in the Georgia Cancer Coalition Center of Excellence at Grady Hospital. The former assistant director for special populations research at the National Cancer Institute joins Emory's Winship Cancer Institute as associate director for cancer detection, control, and intervention.

Students of the 2001 medical school graduating class voted surgeon Gene Branum as the 2001 honorary class member. The Medical Alumni Association gave the Evangeline T. Papageorge Alumni Teaching Award to medicine's Joseph Hardison. And Jonas Shulman, executive associate dean of students, received the university's highest teaching honor, the Emory Williams Teaching Award. Arthur Kellermann, chair, emergency medicine, received the university's Scholar/Teacher Award. Neurologist Krish Sathian and pathologist Andrew Neish received the Albert E. Levy Science Faculty Research Award.

 Donald Brunn

Donald Brunn, former executive vice president of health services for Vurtua Health System in New Jersey, is The Emory Clinic's new chief operating officer. It's a big job, one that Brunn has handled with aplomb in other health systems where he set up effective operating protocols, policies, and procedures; brought together employees across diverse institutional and program lines; saved millions of dollars; worked extensively with physician practice management; and improved patient, health care provider, and employee satisfaction. (See Momentum Update, June 22, at

Selected by a multidisciplinary committee of students and faculty, the 15 recipients of the 2000-2001 Dean's Teaching Awards (which include a $5,000 prize) were Gene Branum, James Eckman, Nancy Fajman, John Louis-Ugbo, William McDonald, Phillip Rogers, Whit Sewell, and William Shafer. Outstanding course directors were Lisa Bernstein, Linda Gooding, and Charles Saxe. Joseph Kinkade and Daniel Reines received the 'most improved course' award. Named outstanding mentors and small group teachers were Lorenzo Di Francesco and Michael Lubin.

Patricia Clark and Christi Deaton, assistant professors in adult and elder health at the Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing, attended the fourth annual Hartford Institute for Geriatric Nursing Research Fellows and Scholars Program at New York University's Division of Nursing. Clark also received the 2001 Region 7 Mentor Award for Sigma Theta Tau International.

Patricia Davis is the new president of the Society of Pediatric Neuroradiology.

Robert DeHaan has been named to the committee on scientific principles in educational research, a new joint effort of the National Academy of Sciences and the US Department of Education.

Sarah Dekutowski is the new chief financial officer for The Emory Clinic.

Mahlon DeLong received the American Geriatrics Society's Henderson State-of-the-Art Award for his contributions to a better understanding of the problems of health care for older adults.

Carlos del Rio is now Emory's chief of medicine at Grady Hospital.

The Rollins School of Public Health Student Government named Colleen DiIoria and Rick Crosby, both from behavioral sciences and health education, and epidemiologist Jim Buehler as 2001 professors of the year.

Two of 10 fellowships awarded annually to outstanding African-American postdoctoral scientists went this year to Emory fellows in pathology and laboratory medicine. Carleton Donald and Titus Reaves were awarded 2001 United Negro College Fund/Merck fellowships, which include $55,000 stipends and opportunities to interact with Merck scientists during the postdoctoral training period.

The Georgia Comprehensive Sickle Cell Center, directed by James Eckman at Grady Memorial Hospital, received top honors in the 2000 Innovations in Health Care: American Association of Physician Assistants/Physician Assistants Foundation/Pfizer Recognition Program. As the nation's only 24-hour comprehensive acute care center for sickle cell patients, the center uses a team of PAs and nurse practitioners as the front-line caregivers. For more about the center, visit

Dale Edmondson, biochemistry, chairs the publications committee of the American Society of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology.

As a 2001 Searle Scholar, Elizabeth Finch, cell biology, will receive $240,000 to support her research career development for three years.

David Feliciano is director-elect of the American Board of Surgery.

 Annette Frauman

Annette Frauman, associate professor in the nursing school, is this year's recipient of the Charles R. Hatcher Jr. Award for Excellence in Public Health. Frauman established the graduate program in public health nursing leadership last year and helped win a federal contract to pilot and evaluate an educational program for the state's public health nurses. In addition, the American Nephrology Nurses' Association has established a scholarship in Frauman's name for advanced practice education in nephrology nursing.

Maggie Gilead, associate professor in adult and elder health in the nursing school, has received a Martin Luther King Jr. community service award for her advocacy for improving mental health services at the local and state level. She is also a member of the DeKalb County Community Mental Health Board and on the governor's Mental Health Planning and Advisory Council.

Sheryl Heron, emergency medicine, was named to the Leadership Atlanta Class of 2002.

Cardiologist Willis Hurst, medicine, and Arthur Kellermann, chair of emergency medicine, were finalists in the physician category of Atlanta Business Chronicle's Health Care Heroes Awards.

Tom Insel, director of the Center for Behavioral Neuroscience, is one of nine distinguished investigators named by the National Alliance for Research on Schizophrenia and Depression.

Nancy Kutner, rehabilitation medicine, is on the scientific advisory committee for the new Scientific Registry of Transplant Recipients, established by the Health Resources and Services Administration.

Fray Marshall is the new vice president of the American Board of Urology.

Alfred Merrill is vice president-elect for science policy for the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology.

William Mitch received the National Kidney Foundation's highest award, the David M. Hume Award, for significant scientific advances in the fields of nephrology and urology.

Kathy Miner, associate dean for applied public health, received the 2001 Distinguished Career Award from the public health education and health promotion section of the American Public Health Association.

Emory nurse and Transplant Foundation volunteer Sue Mead was one of 17 "super citizens" honored during this year's Super 17 Awards Celebration sponsored by TBS. Mead was nominated by Project Open Hand, an organization to which she has donated time every Saturday for the past 10 years to get meals to those in need.

Charles O'Neil is president-elect of the American Society of Interventional Nephrology.

Nursing associate professor Kathy Parker received the top research award at the spring annual meeting of the American Nephrology Nurses Association, which recognized her nearly 30 years of clinical study involving dialysis patients.

Roderic Pettigrew is chair of the NIH study section for diagnostic radiology.

Allan Platt, program manager and physician assistant with the Georgia Comprehensive Sickle Cell Center, received Grady Hospital's 2000 President Award for his work in developing DocuCare, a pain system software that helps track and assess sickle cell patients' pain.

Grace Rozycki, director of trauma/surgical critical care and program director for that residency program at Grady, is the new vice chair of surgery for administration.

Jeff Sands, medicine, was elected as a member of the American Association of Physicians.

William Shafer is co-chair of the Gordon Research Conference on Antimicrobial Peptides.

Kevin Sullivan, public health, received the 2001 Sellers Award for his work as a role model and mentor to his colleagues.

 Stuart Zola

Russ Toal, former commissioner of the Georgia Department of Community Health, is the new director of the Georgia Cancer Coalition. The public/private effort seeks to combine the efforts of the state's medical schools and research hospitals with those of private organizations working to combat the disease. The coalition is one of Governor Roy Barnes' top health care initiatives.

Mark Williams, director of hospitalist programs at Grady Hospital and EHCA (a joint venture of Emory and HCA) is president-elect of the National Association of Inpatient Physicians.

Stuart Zola, one of the nation's leading neuroscientists and a strong-spoken supporter of research, is the new director of the Yerkes Primate Research Center. He will have a joint appointment as professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences in the medical school and as a research career scientist at the Atlanta VA Medical Center. Zola's work has provided insight into which brain regions are responsible for problems of memory and learning. He also is a well-known leader in the movement to better communicate science to nonscientists.

In memory

The generosity of Boisfeuillet Jones Sr., president emeritus of the Woodruff Foundation, carried him through both life and death. Jones, who has been called one of Atlanta's "greatest champions of philanthropy," was part of Emory for decades, beginning as a college and law school graduate, then assistant professor of science and dean of administration and director of health services.

Although the Woodruff Health Sciences Center was not formally established until 1966, Jones was the first person to oversee the medical activities and institutions of the university and to advise about their potential and development. In 1952, he wrote a comprehensive plan to expand Emory's clinical services and develop the schools of dentistry, medicine, and nursing. Robert W. Woodruff underwrote this plan, leading to the creation of The Emory Clinic in 1953.

In this Issue

From the Director  /  Letters


How to remake a hospital


Moving Forward  /  Noteworthy

On point: Healer or line worker?

Nation at a crossroad

Jones left Emory to serve as President John Kennedy's special assistant for health and medical affairs and remained with President Lyndon Johnson following Kennedy's death. Among his many accomplishments in health policy was helping shape the legislation that became Medicare. He returned to Atlanta to head the Emily and Ernest Woodruff Foundation and the Robert W. Woodruff Foundation. It was during this time that the foundations gave Emory University $105 million, a gift that catapulted Emory University from its status as a strong regional institution to the path to national greatness.

Jones, 88, died July 18 after a fall. Generous even in death, he donated his body to the Emory University School of Medicine.


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Web version by Jaime Henriquez.