Dr. Johns

April 2006

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We speak often of the Mission and Vision of the Woodruff Health Sciences Center. These terms are used so frequently in today's business world that they have become almost interchangeable, yet they differ in significant ways.

A Mission Statement is a brief description of an organization's fundamental purpose for both those inside the organization and for the public. It answers the question "why do we exist?"

A Vision Statement is sometimes thought of as a picture of your organization in the future. It inspires the future and provides the framework for strategic planning. It answers the question "where do we want to go, and what do we want to be?" Quite simply, a mission statement focuses on our present state while a vision statement focuses on our future. As President Wagner has remarked many times, the vision statement also admits "what we are not - but what we aspire to be."

Strategic Planning answers the question "how do we get to where we want to go?" Strategic planning is a process and tool used for the purpose of helping an organization do a better job - to focus its energy, to ensure that members of the organization are working towards the same goals, to assess and adjust the organization's direction in response to a changing environment.

A tremendous amount of effort has been expended in the support of our mission statement, the development and refinement of our vision statement, and the strategic planning to achieve our vision. I appreciate all that each of you do to support our mission and to help achieve the vision.

Over the next months, you will hear more about the WHSC Vision 2012 and what we will achieve through this vision.


Please mark your calendars and plan to attend the Woodruff Health Sciences Center State of the Center Address on Thursday, June 8, at 4:30 p.m. in the WHSCAB Auditorium. We will reflect on the past decade of successes and accomplishments, then share the components of Vision 2012 and where we plan to be on the near-horizon. More information will be forthcoming on this event. I hope each of you will be able to attend.


The Woodruff Health Sciences Center Vision 2012 calls for the creation of "patient centered" healthcare facilities designed for health and healing in the 21st century. In the vision we identify our "unique opportunity to become an unparalleled center of learning and discovery, community and care: the destination of choice for those seeking, and for those practicing, learning and pioneering health care at its best."

A key element in this vision will be to create the physical space needed to meet ever-rising expectations of patient care, and to support new translational models of research and clinical care. Accordingly, the University's Campus Master Plan adopted late last year calls for the construction of new buildings on the east side of Clifton Road to replace Emory University Hospital and the Clinic A and B buildings.

In September 2005, the WHSC engaged Payette Associates, a health care planning and architectural firm, to assist in developing a program that will meet these needs. For six months now, Payette has been engaged in helping define the space needs for both hospital and clinic buildings. In addition, the company is addressing issues related to utility infrastructure and utility distribution, sub-soil, topography, access and circulation (both internal and external), parking demand and underground parking garage design, stacking and blocking, zoning needs and detailed total project cost estimates.

You should expect to hear much more about these dramatic and transformational plans in the next several months and, obviously, for years thereafter. Stay tuned.

In the meantime, Emory University has made a major commitment to expansion of its free shuttle service in and around the Clifton Corridor. The University's leadership recognizes that improving access to and from the Emory campus, including the healthcare complex, will be crucial to Emory's achievement of its promise as a destination university. For more information on these exciting developments, see


Financial transparency within the Woodruff Health Sciences Center is vital to achieving the Vision 2012 strategic plan. In order to achieve this transparency, WHSC Leadership developed "Numbers Day," a monthly meeting of the WHSC Leadership Council, the clinical department chairs, hospital and clinic chief operating officers, and the chief financial officers of the WHSC components. During this monthly meeting, the financial and operational results of WHSC components are shared and discussed in an open forum. A book of several hundreds of pages of financial, narrative, and graphical reports is sent to each participant approximately one week in advance of each meeting so the participants can review and be better engaged in the meeting.

This openness has provided participants not only an appreciation for the complexity of the WHSC, but an increased understanding of the limitations as well as the opportunities facing the various WHSC components. Numbers Day has also improved collaboration among the units, as issues spanning multiple units are raised, discussed and addressed with the participation of all of the affected parties. Participants have a greater appreciation of how one decision can impact multiple units.

This enhanced transparency and collaboration will enable us to take our performance to a higher level as we lead changes in health care through our education, research and patient care programs.


On September 1, 2005, Emory formally entered the beginning phase of a comprehensive fund raising campaign that will last through the fall of 2012. This is truly a seminal event for Emory University and for the Woodruff Health Sciences Center a time to consolidate and expand existing support and to educate new potential donors about our mission in the health sciences, a mission that is increasingly global in scope. The funds we raise will be focused on continuing our commitment to using resources to improve the lives of the people we serve.

The campaign will most certainly be the largest fundraising effort in our history. Our most important focus will be to raise funds to support the WHSC's strategic priorities as outlined in Vision 2012. Gifts will focus on support within those priorities for people (faculty/staff/students), programs (including research, education, and clinical care), and facilities across all schools and units. The strategic planning that has taken place in all of our areas will also impact the campaign goals.

During the first two years, or Prelude, of this seven-year endeavor, our efforts will focus on setting campaign goals and recruiting important volunteer leadership, as well as soliciting gifts from our closest friends and supporters. Thus far we are moving ahead with great speed, but we have a long way to go and will need all of you to be part of this major effort in various ways. Being an enthusiastic ambassador in your role is one of the greatest enablers to the efforts of the capital campaign. This campaign will benefit everything we do here in the WHSC and everyone we serve.


Emory Healthcare is once again a proud sponsor of the 2006 Ford Tour de Georgia and for the second year in a row will provide medical support to the athletes. Emory Healthcare is uniquely equipped to provide the level of expertise in emergency and sports medicine required for the caliber of competitive athletes who participate in this event each year. Our Emory Healthcare team will provide staffing and supplies for all medical needs, including the coordination of local EMS agencies and medical facilities at all 12 host cities along the route.

The Tour kicks off in Augusta on April 18 and will culminate the 650+ miles of racing with its grand finale in Alpharetta on April 23. The Tour de Georgia is an active supporter of the Georgia Cancer Coalition (GCC) in its Race to Defeat Cancer. The GCC, whose mission is to reduce the number of cancer deaths in the state, is the official beneficiary of the race. For recreational cyclists up to the challenge, the inaugural BriarRose Grand Peloton ride promises "the ride of a lifetime" with the opportunity to travel the final 25-mile section of the Tour de Georgia's final stage from Cumming to Alpharetta. Three-time World Champion and Tour de France winner Greg LeMond has accepted the role as honorary ride director for this event. Participants are required to raise a minimum of $500, with all proceeds going directly to the GCC. Visit the official Web site: for more information.


It was my privilege to award the Woodruff Medal to Professor Qi-de Han, Dean of Peking University Health Sciences Center in Beijing, China, when he visited the Woodruff Health Sciences Center in late March. Our relationship with Professor Han dates back to 1985, when he came here as a Peking University faculty member to serve as a postdoctoral fellow in pharmacology and subsequently returned to conduct joint research in the lab of Emory pharmacologist Kenneth Minneman.

The awarding of the Woodruff Medal follows the formal signing last October of a memo of understanding between Emory and Peking University for scientific collaboration. This agreement was the culmination of the efforts of a number of Emory leaders, including Vice President for Academic Health Affairs Jeffrey Koplan, who joined me as part of the signing delegation, along with President James Wagner, Provost Earl Lewis, and several Emory scientists.

Plans are underway for joint research projects between the two universities related to genetics and cancer and could eventually include joint clinical trials for drug development. For example, Peking University Professor Zhu Li, who has collaborated with investigators at Emory and the CDC for many years, will work with Emory faculty Joseph Cubells and Michael Zwick in human genetics to collect large numbers of DNA samples in China for studies of genetic differences in susceptibility to infectious diseases, birth defects, and mental illness. Another Emory faculty member, Haian Fu, in pharmacology and oncology, is working with his Chinese colleagues to develop research collaborations in cancer and drug discovery and to identify potential exchange scholars.

Awarding this medal to Dr. Han underscores our excitement about this collaboration between our two universities and its potential for benefit far beyond the boundaries of either school. Akin to the University's Emory Medal, the Woodruff Medal has been awarded seven times over the past three decades, with past recipients including Mr. Robert W. Woodruff, Dr. Charles R. Hatcher, and Mr. Ted Turner.


Thursday, March 30, marked the official dedication of the Hubert Department of Global Health in the Rollins School of Public Health, the first named department in this field in the country. Mr. Ben Johnson, chairman of Emory's Board of Trustees, joined President Wagner, Dean James Curran, department chair Rey Martorell, Presidential Distinguished Scholar William Foege, and me to thank Richard Hubert and his family and the O.C. Hubert Foundation for their $10 million investment in talent and resources to help address health problems in developing countries. Keith Klugman, the first recipient of the department's Foege Chair in Global Health and the world's foremost expert on antibiotic resistance in pneumonia, gave the dedication's inaugural lecture. The Hubert Department has students from more than 50 countries. Up to 70 of these students each year can pursue global field research, thanks to contributions from the Hubert Foundation.


I'm sure our own postdocs already knew it instinctively, but a 2006 survey conducted by The Scientist magazine has made it official. Emory was ranked first among academic institutions as the best place for postdocs to work, based on responses from the postdocs surveyed. The list included the top 35 private, government, and acaademic institutions in North America for postdoctoral researchers. Emory and Vanderbilt were the only two academic institutions ranked among the top 15 such institutions in the country. Our faculty and staff who mentor these young researchers deserve our thanks and regard for helping make Emory their destination of choice.


Emory Healthcare's helicopter service, Emory Flight, has been operating somewhat south of its more common flight patterns in recent months, supporting FEMA in missions to transport seriously ill or injured patients in an area where two bridges connecting New Orleans and Biloxi remain inaccessible. Emory Flight began its mission immediately after Katrina hit, and since then has responded to follow-up missions added by FEMA. I extend special thanks to these personnel and to the Emory Flight staff who pick up the slack closer to home on their regular duties when their colleagues head to the Gulf to help out.

Although I previously commended everyone in the Woodruff Health Sciences Center for the remarkable job performed during the Hurricane Katrina, then Rita, crisis, my genuine gratitude to each of you cannot be overstated.


Over the last several months, the federal government has rolled out its new Medicare prescription drug program, Medicare Part D. As a reminder to those with parents, grandparents, or others in Medicare who are interested in enrolling in the program, the initial enrollment period deadline for the Medicare Part D Prescription Drug Program for eligible participants is approaching. May 15, 2006 is the last day eligible persons can enroll without penalty unless you qualify for an exception. The following links contain information on the Medicare Part D Prescription Drug Program that may be useful: and


As evidenced by the few items I have mentioned in this edition of Momentum Update, this is an incredibly exciting time to be part of the Woodruff Health Sciences Center. No matter where you work among the 15,000+ employees in the WHSC, you are vital to the pursuit of our core purpose of Making People Healthy.

I appreciate all that you do each and every day, and I consider it a great honor to serve in my role.


Michael M.E. Johns, MD
CEO, Woodruff Health Sciences Center