Dr. Johns

December 2006

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Image of FlyerEmory Research Appreciation Day is almost here. Please make plans to come to the Plaza of the Woodruff Health Sciences Center Administration Building on Wednesday, December 6, to grab a bite to eat, get a T-shirt and other giveaways, and view displays from the Winship Cancer Institute, the Emory Clinical Trials Office, the Emory Office of Technology Transfer, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Georgia Cancer Coalition, the Emory School of Medicine, the Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing, the Rollins School of Public Health, Yerkes National Primate Research Center and others.

Laboratory tours in the morning and afternoon will feature a brain bank for studying Alzheimer’s, high-throughput robotics equipment that can screen hundreds of thousands of molecules for their potential use in new drug compounds, space where insulin-producing islet cells are harvested from donor pancreases, Yerkes National Primate Research Center, and the General Clinical Research Center in Emory University Hospital.

National leaders in health care will be on hand throughout the day, including Dr. Darrell Kirch, President of the Association of American Medical Colleges, and Dr. Steven Wartman, President of the Association of Academic Health Centers.

Future Makers lecturer Dr. William Brody, President of Johns Hopkins University, will speak at 4:00 p.m. in the WHSCAB auditorium on “Uncommon Sense and Innovation,” or how to differentiate landmark research discoveries from those that will turn out to be also-rans. Dr. Brody is himself an innovator in imaging sciences, having founded three medical device companies and made contributions in medical acoustics, computed tomography, digital radiography, and MRI. The Future Makers lecture will be followed by a reception at 5:00 on the WHSCAB Plaza.

For more information about the day, visit


Photo of Dr. BrighamPulmonologist Kenneth Brigham has been appointed as Director of Emory’s Predictive Health Initiative and as an Associate Vice President at Emory. Dr. Brigham has led this initiative since it was established last year as a new model of health care that focuses on maintaining health rather than treating disease. This initiative is a cross-cutting theme within the entire university’s strategic plan and within the WHSC’s own Vision 2012 plan to transform health and healing.

Dr. Brigham joined the medical faculty in 2002 as Vice Chair for Research in the Department of Medicine. He is known for his pioneering work in pathogenesis of lung injury and application of gene therapy to a spectrum of inherited and acquired lung disorders. He is founder of geneRx+, a biotech company.

The Predictive Health Initiative combines a research core with a clinical testing ground for new predictive biomarkers of health, disease risk, and prognosis aimed at keeping people healthy. It combines research expertise at Emory University and Georgia Tech, particularly in systems biology, bioinformatics, and computational and life sciences. More than 20 research projects are currently under way in predictive health, including identification of biomarkers to predict risk of cardiovascular and neurodegenerative disease and cancer, prediction of drug treatment toxicity, and predictive health modeling in early infancy.


Photo of Dr. ZerhouniAlthough this is a busy time of the year, mark your calendars for the Emory/Georgia Tech Symposium on Predictive Health on December 18-19 at the Emory Conference Center. Keynote speakers include Dr. Elias Zerhouni (left), Director of the NIH, and Dr. David Schwartz, Director of the NIH’s National Institute of Environmental Health Services and the National Toxicology Program. In addition to presenters from Emory and Georgia Tech, other speakers include scientists from Genentech, MIT, Johns Hopkins, University of Arizona, the CDC, and the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. For more information, please contact Jennifer Vasquez at 404-712-2660 or  To register for this event, go to and select course information for online registration.


Photo of Dr. Grant I commend Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing Dean, Marla Salmon, for naming Susan Grant (left), Chief Nursing Officer for Emory Healthcare, as Assistant Dean for Clinical Leadership in the nursing school, a newly created position in which Grant will lead and develop the school’s clinical programs and build a collaborative partnership between the school and Emory Healthcare. This strategic appointment aligns with the goals of Vision 2012 to integrate the WHSC’s teaching, clinical, and research missions. It also strengthens our position in recruiting seasoned nursing professionals as well as nursing students who will become leaders in solving problems and improving health care for the future.


Photo of Dr. CurranI want to turn the spotlight on the Rollins School of Public Health (RSPH) for a minute – the school has really committed itself to India as a part of its global health initiatives. The formation of the Public Health Foundation of India (PHFI), a joint collaboration between the government of India, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and other public and private partners, has given the school’s India health initiatives even more momentum. PHFI has RSPH Dean Jim Curran on board and the foundation plans to start five new schools of public health and train 10,000 professionals in public health. Dean Curran, as chairman of the Association of Schools of Public Health, has been able to get that group to partner with PHFI to look at the curricula for these schools, to help train some of the faculty, and to identify people who might be interested in short and long term assignments in India. In its first year, the PHFI has designated two of its prospective faculty members to train at the RSPH.

India, a country of a billion people struggling to deal with challenges in healthcare, sanitation and disease control, offers immense opportunities for the global community to learn from one another through mutual collaboration. I applaud Dean Curran for his leadership and I thank everyone involved at the RSPH for driving this much needed work forward.


Image of WLA SignI am excited to announce that twenty-two Woodruff Leadership Academy fellows have been selected for the 2007 class, representing every major academic unit of the Woodruff Health Sciences Center and Emory Healthcare.  This is the fifth year of this incredibly successful program. The kick-off luncheon, scheduled for early January, is always a fun time that gets the ball rolling for the upcoming year of five monthly sessions that encompass a range of topics presented by an array of leaders from within and outside of Emory.

The 2007 WLA fellows are:

  • Anne Adams, Chief Compliance and Privacy Officer, Emory Healthcare
  • Roxann Arnold, Director Patient Accounts, Emory Crawford Long Hospital
  • Dubois Bowman, Assistant Professor, Department of Biostatistics, Rollins School of Public Health
  • June Connor, Assistant Administrator, Cardiac Services/Director of Nursing, Emory Hospitals
  • Anita Corbett, Associate Professor of Biochemistry, Biochemistry
  • Margaret Douglas, Associate Director for Clinical Trials, School of Medicine Administration
  • Andrew Furman, Director of Clinical Services and Assistant Chief of Psychiatry, Grady Health System
  • David Guidot, Associate Director of Research, Director of Emory Alcohol and Lung Biology Center, Internal Medicine
  • Kenneth Hepburn, Associate Director of Research, Office of Research, Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing
  • Jennifer Hilaire, Assistant Director Business and Finance, Clinical Operations, Department of Neurology
  • Evelyn Jirasakhiran, Department Director, Transplant Surgery and Rollins Pavilion, Emory University Hospital
  • Michael Johns, III, Assistant Professor, Otolaryngology, Director of Emory Voice Center, Chief of Otolaryngology, Emory Crawford Long Hospital, Department of Otolaryngology
  • Christopher Kellner, Associate General Counsel, Office of the General Counsel
  • Makeba Morgan-Hill, Manager, Strategic Planning Office, Manager, Emory Healthcare Administrative Fellow Program, WHSC Strategic Planning Office
  • Larry Ray, Assistant Professor of Medicine, Staff Physician-The Emory Clinic, Division of General Internal Medicine
  • David Roberts, Charles F. Evans Professor of Medicine, Medical Director for Executive Health at The Emory Clinic, Department of Medicine
  • David Rye, Director of Emory Healthcare Program in Sleep Medicine, Neurology
  • Hal Simon, Associate Professor of Pediatrics and Emergency Medicine, Associate Division Director, Division of Pediatric Emergency Medicine, Pediatrics and Emergency Medicine
  • Darryl Stanley, Director of Yerkes Physical Plant, Yerkes National Primate Research Center
  • Robert Taylor, Professor of Medicine, Cardiology, Biomedical Engineering
  • Ned Waller, Associate Professor of Medicine, Assistant Professor of Pathology, Director of Bone Marrow and Stem Cell Transplant Program, School of Medicine, Department of Pathology
  • Jennifer Zreloff, Assistant Professor, General Internal Medicine, Staff Physician-The Emory Clinic, Internal Medicine


Photo of Dr. RobertsDr. David Roberts, medical director of Emory Healthcare’s Executive Health Program, Charles F. Evans Professor, and a fellow in the Woodruff Leadership Academy’s class of 2007, is one of 10 Georgia doctors appointed by Governor Sonny Perdue to the Georgia Physicians Partnership. This group serves in an advisory capacity to the Georgia Department of Community Health, providing a physician’s perspective on development and implementation of state health care programs such as Georgia Medicaid, PeachCare for kids, the state’s health benefit plan, and the Certificate of Need Program. Roberts is known throughout Emory for his skills in both patient care and teaching. He has been listed twice in Best Doctors in America and is a past recipient of the Paul W. Seavey Clinician Educator Award. The governor announced establishment of this advisory group during remarks to the Medical Association of Georgia House of Delegates meeting in September.


Emory Healthcare is working closely with the University in the “Save a Life” partnership with the American Red Cross, in a concerted effort to centralize blood drive activities and increase blood donations at Emory, with a target goal of 1,500 pints during FY07.If you are already a habitual donor, please continue this generous activity.  If you are not, please consider donating. You could literally save a life. I'll be sharing more on this initiative as it develops.


ING logoGet out your running shoes for the inaugural ING Georgia Marathon and Half Marathon on March 25, 2007. For those of you with Windows Media Player, take a minute to watch the attached short video clip on the race – you’ll see what a great course it offers, showcasing Atlanta landmarks. Emory Healthcare is a sponsor and provider of medical care for the event and in early January will announce a schedule of Emory Healthcare sponsored training seminars. More than 80 Emory employees have already committed to run in this event, which will wind through the Emory campus and both the marathon and half marathon will run by Emory Crawford Long Hospital.  To register, go to

If you aren’t up to the challenge of running but want to participate, contact Paige Dunham at 404-778-5394 or to volunteer at one of the medical tents, the water stops in front of Emory and Emory Crawford Long Hospitals or the hospitality tent at the end of the race. I know Emory will be well represented that day, from physicians and nurses providing medical care, to volunteers providing water, and to the excellent team of Emory employees running in the event.


Photo of Dr. Heron Emergency medicine physician Sheryl Heron won the Gender Justice Award from the Georgia Commission on Family Violence for her advocacy work in this area. Along with other medical faculty, Heron helps run a clerkship for third-year medical students on this topic.

Photo of Dr. Martinez Ricardo Martinez, also in emergency medicine and a former faculty member in public health, received a rare Flame of Life Award from the National Safety Council for his role in the national Air Bag and Seat Belt Safety Campaign (Click it or Ticket), where he served as honorary chair from 1996 to 1999 when he was part of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. This is the first time in 35 years that the council has presented this award.

Photo of Dr. O'Regan Breast cancer specialist and nanotechnology researcher Ruth O’Regan was featured as the medical honoree at the 2006 Komen Atlanta Pink Tie Ball in October for her work in research, treatment, and support.

Photo of Ken Weber Ken Weber, CEO of Wesley Woods Senior Living retirement community, was named 2007 Administrator of the Year by the United Methodist Association (UMA). The UMA has retirement facilities all across the country and carries accreditation authority for these facilities. Weber has served Wesley Woods Center for more than 35 years in a variety of administrative roles. He was cited for both his strong management skills and commitment to ethics.


As this year comes to an end and 2007 gets underway, we have, as always, a number of interesting events. Here are just a few:

  • Malaria Business Leadership Conference, Tuesday, December 5, 2:00-6:00 p.m., Tull Auditorium, Emory University Law School. Inspiring the World is the theme and this conference, hosted by Malaria Foundation International, promises to engage new leaders in the fight against malaria. More information can be found at
  • Susan Grant, Chief Nursing Officer for Emory Healthcare and Assistant Dean for clinical leadership in the School of Nursing, will give the David Jowers Lecture, “Partnering with Patients and Families to Improve Patient Safety,” on December 7 at 4:00 p.m. in Room 101, in the School of Nursing building at 1520 Clifton Road.
  • The winter 2007 session of Emory Mini Medical School, moderated by cardiologist and Channel 2 correspondent Randy Martin, begins January 30 and runs for six consecutive Tuesdays through March 5. For the first time ever, this series of lectures for a lay audience about topics ranging from heart health to infectious disease will be held on the Emory Crawford Long campus in the Glenn Auditorium and will feature several faculty members based in Midtown.


As we approach the end of 2006, it is very rewarding to reflect upon the many accomplishments of the year, whether in facilities development and planning, faculty recruitments, program developments, or the numerous awards and accomplishments bestowed upon so many of you.  It has been a great year in many ways.  I am most proud of the work that has been committed to moving forward Vision 2012: Transforming Health and Healing.

I think of the incredible generosity of the Woodruff Foundation and I am encouraged, or better yet, compelled to push forward and do all that we can to improve health through education, research, patient care, and community service.  I have been fortunate this past year to see many of you as you work throughout the Woodruff Health Sciences Center.  Your dedication and commitment inspires me as a leader. You have gone beyond what we accomplished in 2005 and added significant efforts in the areas of quality and safety.  Those efforts will reap benefits for many years to come.

As the year draws to a close and many of you will celebrate the season in a variety of ways, I hope that you will be careful in your travel, and that you find time to reflect upon the many successes and joys of 2006.


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