The US Department of
Health and Human Services (HHS) has proposed changes in the new federal
rules protecting the privacy of medical records, known collectively
as HIPAA (the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act).
HHS has proposed the changes to remove barriers that delay medical care
and to simplify the consent form process for research. Currently, HIPAA
requires all health care providers to obtain written consent from patients
before using or disclosing medical information to provide treatment
or reimbursement for services. It also requires researchers to use separate
patient consent forms for participation in a clinical trial and authorization
to use or disclose that patient's health information for research.
proposed rule changes, patients still would be asked to sign a consent
form but could receive care without it. Additionally, researchers could
obtain written consent from patients using a single form. These and
other proposed changes were published in the March 27 Federal Register,
and the public has 30 days to comment. HHS will consider the comments
and then issue a final decision. Health care providers must comply with
HIPAA by April 2003.
On March 21, the long wait
ended, the cameras rolled, and cheers of delight resounded on the WHSCAB
plaza as our M4s learned where they will complete residency training.
Out of 103 graduates, 94 participated in the match (six have military
appointments and three are deferring residency) and of those, 95% matched.
Twenty-six graduates will remain in Emory affiliated residency training
programs. Our seniors number among 23,459 applicants who participated
in the National Residency Matching Program, including 14,336 from US
medical schools. The Association of American Medical Colleges reports
that interest in certain medical specialties (i.e., anesthesiology,
physical medicine and rehabilitation, and diagnostic radiology) is on
the rise, with more matches in each specialty than in 2001. While there
is a national decrease in applicants matched to primary care positions,
half of Emory's class chose primary care specialties. The most popular
medical specialties among our M4s include emergency medicine (10 graduates),
obstetrics/gynecology (7), preliminary medicine (7), psychiatry (5),
and surgery (7). We couldn't ask for a more talented corps of students
and committed faculty who helped make many a dream a reality. Nice work,
Armed with a new three-year,
$4.1 million grant from the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, Emory
researchers are expanding investigations on islet transplantation, a
potential cure for Type I diabetes. The new Center for Islet Transplantation
will expand clinical research in this promising new therapy, which involves
transplanting islet cells from donor pancreases to restore normal insulin
production. Drs. Collin Weber, Chris Larsen, Tom Pearson,
and Elliot Chaikof will conduct a series of projects
aimed at reducing the requirements for immunosuppressant medications
and increasing the supply of donor islets. Drs. Larsen and Pearson have
expertise in devising novel strategies to achieve transplantation tolerance,
Dr. Weber has extensive experience in diabetes research, and Dr. Chaikof
has developed a microscopic porous material that encapsulates transplanted
islets from animals to protect the cells from the body's immune response.
has created the statewide Paul Coverdell National Acute Stroke Registry
through a $1 million award from the CDC. The registry is one of four
nationwide named for the Georgia senator who died of a stroke in 2000.
Emory neurologist Michael Frankel, Chief of Neurology
at Grady Hospital, directs the center, which will collect information
about patients showing acute stroke symptoms who are admitted to 60
randomly selected hospitals in Georgia. With this information, doctors
can learn more about the impact of stroke in the state and improve the
quality of care in participating hospitals. The four stroke registries
in Michigan, Ohio, Massachusetts, and Georgia will serve as prototypes
for a nationwide stroke registry.
Mark your calendar for commencement
on May 13. The main ceremony will begin at 8 am on the Quadrangle. (Please
report to the Quad in academic regalia by 7:45 am.) Immediately following
the ceremony, the SOM will host a reception for graduates and their
families and guests on the WHSCAB plaza. The SOM diploma ceremony will
be at 11:30 am in Glenn Auditorium. Dr. Judith Swain, Arthur
L. Bloomfield Professor of Medicine and Chair of the Department of Medicine
at Stanford, will present the commencement address. Dr. Swain currently
holds an NIH MERIT (Method to Extend Research in Time) Award for her
work on the developmental biology of the cardiovascular system.
One of Emory's more exciting research
endeavors is set to open April 24 in a building in downtown Decatur.
The newly created Hope Clinic of the Emory Vaccine Research Center is
a clinical research facility devoted to conducting clinical trials of
promising new vaccines and immunotherapeutic interventions. While the
Vaccine Research Center is a home base for one of the largest basic
and preclinical vaccine research programs in the country, the Hope Clinic
now provides Emory with exceptional facilities and the infrastructure
to conduct advanced clinical research involving human subjects and provides
new opportunities for translating basic research findings into useful
clinical advances for combatting diseases such as AIDS and malaria.
Dr. Mark Feinberg, Professor of Medicine and Microbiology
and Immunology, directs the center, which was created in collaboration
with the SOM, Yerkes, and the Vaccine Center.
two upcoming opportunities to hear Dr. Feinberg and other experts speak.
Stop by "AIDS Vaccine Science in 2002: Enduring Challenges and Promising
New Directions," a scientific symposium that includes presentations
from researchers on the latest findings in vaccine research on Monday,
April 22, 9 am to 1 pm, in the WHSCAB auditorium. The program includes
lectures by Drs. Feinberg, Rafi Ahmed and Harriet
Robinson from Emory, as well as Dr. Gary Nabel
from the NIH, Dr. Emilio Emini from Merck Research
Laboratories, and Dr. Neal Nathanson from Penn. In
addition, Dr. Feinberg will present a public lecture, "Opportunities
and Challenges in the Pursuit of an AIDS Vaccine," on Wednesday, April
24, 7 to 8 pm, in the WHSCAB auditorium. For more information, call
712-8546 or email@example.com.
These students recently
were inducted in Who's Who Among Students in American Colleges and
Universities: Larry Chang, Telly Meadows, Joel Trambley,
and Janet Witte from the MD program and Judah
Gold-Markel, Tamara Ritsema, and Emily Vason
from Allied Health.
Speaking of accolades, we inadvertently left M3 student Lindsey Sharp's
name out of the list of Alpha Omega Alpha inductees in last month's
Dean's Letter. Congratulations, Lindsey!
If you didn't hear Nobel laureate
Eric Kandel speak last month, you missed a great turnout
for a great medical scientist. The WHSCAB auditorium was packed as he
described his groundbreaking work regarding the molecular biology of
memory and which earned him the 2000 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine.
A distinguished professor and scientist at Columbia University, Dr.
Kandel shared the Nobel with Arvid Carlsson of the University of Goteborg
in Sweden and Paul Greengard of The Rockefeller University in New York.
described their discoveries and his new work to identify specific proteins
and their roles in the activation and preservation of memory circuits
during the annual Goodwin and Rose Helen Breinin
Lecture in Basic Sciences. Dr. Breinin, 41M, a beloved friend of the
SOM, pioneered the development of new treatments for glaucoma. He was
chair of ophthalmology at New York University School of Medicine and
director of the Kirby Institute of Ophthalmology. Mrs. Breinin most
recently has worked as a museum researcher and volunteer. It was a wonderful
treat to see Dr. Breinin at the lecture, given by such an outstanding
Please note that
current and past issues of The Dean's Letter are available to you on
the web. Each issue is posted on the web while it is being printed so
you have more immediate access to news about the School of Medicine.
You can find the newsletter at www.emory.edu/WHSC/HSNEWS/PUB/.
For those of
you who could not attend the dedication of the Whitehead Biomedical
Research Building on April 2, you can view a webcast of the event at
As you can imagine, it was a wonderful day for the SOM, the Woodruff
Health Sciences Center, the University, and of course, the Whitehead
family, whose generosity stems from their good fortune in the early
bottling and distribution of Coca-Cola. Their previous gifts include
the Conkey Pate Whitehead Surgical Pavilion and the Whitehead Memorial
Room, both at Emory Hospital, and the Joseph B. Whitehead Chair of Surgery.
Atlanta artist Caroline Roe sculpted four glass etchings of the Whiteheads,
which hang in the lobby of the biomedical research building named in
Thomas J. Lawley, MD