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A trip to Grady's ER

I recently spent several hours with our outstanding emergency medicine faculty in the Grady ER to gain a firsthand perspective on the growing local and national crisis of hospital overcrowding, ER department overload, and ambulance diversion. Dr. Eric Ossmann took me on a tour of the Emergency Medical Services facility and introduced me to ambulance operations from the view of patients, paramedics, receiving hospitals, and emergency physicians. Drs. Kate Heilpern and Leon Haley took me on a tour of Grady's Emergency Care Center (ECC). The ECC handles a phenomenal 105,000 patient visits annually and is the major entry point for hospital admissions. Many patients are held in the ER waiting for a hospital bed, and, as a result, attending physicians in the ECC are often responsible for the simultaneous care of as many as 120 acutely ill and injured patients. It is my goal to work closely with our faculty, the Grady administration, and local officials to reduce hospital overcrowding so Grady can continue to serve the needs of a deserving community. I commend the dedication of our emergency medicine faculty, and I appreciate their willingness to show me their outstanding accomplishments on a daily basis against incredible odds.

New SOM initiatives

SOM faculty are busy, as usual, with exciting new initiatives. First, the Vaccine Research Center is conducting a series of malaria vaccine trials in partnership with the Program for Appropriate Technology in Health (PATH), a nonprofit organization that conducts health programs around the world. Dr. Mary Galinski heads the trials, sponsored by the Malaria Vaccine Initiative at PATH. Through this partnership, Emory will play a major role in the research and development of candidate vaccines for malaria, a disease that threatens almost half the world's population.

The SOM has established a Center for Balance and Dizziness, headed by Dr. Ronald Tusa. The Center uses a multidisciplinary approach to treat patients suffering from dizziness and imbalance. Instead of medication, treatment often includes a customized program of physical therapy and diet and lifestyle modifications. The Center will also conduct research and provide physician and public education about the causes and treatments for these disorders. The Center is located in the Emory Center for Rehabilitation Medicine.

Members of our Grady-based faculty are working to eliminate language and cultural barriers for the Latino patient population there. Heading the initiative are Drs. Inginia Genao, Clyde Watkins, and Stacy Higgins. Their goal is to make health care at Grady more accessible to all by posting bilingual signage and providing non-Spanish-speaking health care providers with English/Spanish pocket medical manuals. An important component of the initiative is providing cultural competency training to M3s through a course on multiculturalism. The goal is to increase students' cultural sensitivity so they can better address the health concerns of this patient population.

Kudos for students

I am pleased to announce the recipients of the Dr. Erich G. Randolph Scholarship. Since 1998, the scholarship has helped reduce indebtedness for African-American medical students. Selected for academic achievement, community involvement, good citizenship, and need, the following students received $2,000 each: Ruth Shim (M2), Kristy Williams (M1), and Kerlan Wolsey (M1). Congratulations to these students on this outstanding achievement!

Congratulations also go to the December graduates of the Physician's Assistant (PA) program, directed by Virginia Joslin. The class received a 100% pass rate on the PA National Certifying Exam. In addition, the Emory class had an average score above the 97th percentile on the primary care board exam, and the class average score for the surgery specialty exam, taken by six students, was the highest in the nation. This achievement speaks well of our students and our program.

Fledgling teachers honored

The 2001 class of medical students initiated a program to recognize the outstanding teaching accomplishments of residents across SOM disciplines. The students named more than 60 residents who embrace teaching as an integral part of their training to be competent physicians. Each resident received a letter of commendation, copied to the department Chair and Program Director, and a pin that distinguishes them as outstanding resident educators. We, too, value our residents as an integral part of our educational mission. My sincere congratulations on this well-deserved recognition and to our M4s for this wonderful idea.


Dr. Donald Humphrey was the founding Director of the Graduate Division of Biomedical Sciences. The founding director was misnamed in the February Dean's Letter.

One of the top 10

Dr. William Wood was invited to the San Antonio Breast Cancer Meeting as one of the most-cited investigators in the field of breast cancer research, and he was pleased to learn that his article, "Dose and Dose Density of Adjuvant Chemotherapy for Stage II, Node-Positive Breast Carcinoma" (New England Journal of Medicine, 1994) was selected as one of the "10 most significant clinical trials in breast cancer in the last century." He was awarded a crystal prize and a check for $10,000 to support the research project of his choice. Dr. Wood was honored with colleagues from around the nation and the world. Please join me in congratulating our friend and colleague on this outstanding achievement.

Appointments and honors

I am constantly amazed and gratified by the remarkable and wonderful accomplishments of our faculty, who are and always will be Emory's greatest asset. We are pleased to announce the following:
  • Dr. Thomas Aaberg Sr. received the Hermann Wacker Prize, the highest honor bestowed by the Club Jules Gonin, an international retinal foundation.
  • Dr. William Casarella received the Gold Medal of the Society of Cardiovascular and Interventional Radiology for a lifetime of achievement in the field.
  • Dr. Wright Caughman received the Joseph von Plenck award for outstanding research and advances in dermatology from the Austrian Society of Dermatology.
  • Drs. Donald Davis and Jonathan Masor were named outstanding primary care physicians in the United States by Town & Country magazine.
  • Dr. Linda Gooding was appointed a member of the Acupuncture Advisory Committee for the Georgia State Board of Medical Examiners.
  • Dr. Victoria Green was named one of 20 individuals selected for the Association of Professors of Gynecology and Obstetrics/Solvay Pharmaceuticals Educational Scholars Development Program.
  • Dr. Leon Haley was appointed Deputy Chief of Staff and Vice President of Medical Affairs for the Grady Health System.
  • Dr. Randy Hanzlick was named the Chief Medical Examiner for Fulton County.
  • Dr. Harish Joshi was honored by the Graduate Division of Biomedical Sciences for his exemplary commitment to mentoring both pre- and postdoctoral trainees.
  • Dr. Arthur Kellermann was elected to a three-year term on the Board of Directors of the American College of Emergency Physicians.
  • Dr. John Louis-Ugbo received the Didactic Teacher of the Year award from Emory's PA program.
  • Dr. Alfred Merrill was elected a fellow in the American Association for the Advancement of Science.
  • Dr. Charles Nemeroff presented the Emory University Great Teachers Lecture in January. He has also been awarded the Patricia R. Barchas Award from the American Psychosomatic Society.
  • Dr. Robert Rich was appointed by Donna Shalala, Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services under the Clinton Administration, to the inaugural National Human Protections Advisory Committee for a four-year term. He was also elected Vice President of the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology.
  • Dr. Dave Roberts was "Doctor of the Day" at the state capitol on February 26.
  • Dr. John Rock was inducted into the Royal College of Obstetrics and Gynaecologists Society in London.
  • Dr. James Steinberg received the 2000 Hemophilia of Georgia, Inc. Outstanding Medical Service Award.
  • Dr. Paul Sternberg received the Senior Achievement Award from the American Academy of Ophthalmology.
  • Dr. William Wood has been elected an Honorary Fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons of England.
  • Dr. David Wright has been selected as one of three recipients nationwide for the "Young Investigators Award" by the Society for Academic Emergency Medicine.

Thomas J. Lawley, MD

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