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Moving day at Crawford Long

Later this month, approximately 200 Emory Clinic and community physicians will move into the new Medical Office Tower at Crawford Long Hospital. The 14-story, 365,000-square-foot building consolidates offices for physicians located in seven different buildings at Crawford Long. The tower rises above a six-story diagnostic and treatment center, which will open in July. Constructed of stone and glass, the new hospital and office tower form the centerpiece of the $270 million Crawford Long Redevelopment Project, the largest medical construction project in Georgia.

Last month, leaders from Crawford Long and midtown Atlanta gathered to dedicate eight new olive trees in the J. Mack and Nita Robinson Conservatory, which serves as the main lobby of the new hospital. Each of the 30-foot olive trees is named after one of the core values identified by community members. The values represented are diversity, leadership, spirituality, inclusion, commitment to the arts, community, volunteerism, and healing. The new conservatory will be ready to welcome patients, families, and visitors when the Medical Office Tower opens on January 28. Emory Hospitals CEO John Henry and his team have done a superb job of shepherding this project.

Battling bioterrorism

Dr. David Stephens, Professor of Medicine and Director of the Division of Infectious Diseases, is among those who have stepped up to the plate to battle bioterrorism. Dr. Stephens led the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) clinical team investigating the recent outbreaks of anthrax in Florida, Washington, DC, New Jersey, and New York. With only 25-year-old treatment information to work with, Dr. Stephens tracked the cases and helped direct physicians in the field to diagnosis and treat patients with anthrax and prevent additional cases. The clinical results were much better than anticipated. In years past, about 15% of inhalational anthrax patients survived. During the recent outbreak, 55% survived, largely due to speedy diagnosis and aggressive treatment with multiple antibiotics and supportive care. Dr. Stephens continues to work closely with the CDC to evaluate patients and study reactions and adherence to prophylactic antibiotics among the 20,000 people prescribed them during the crisis. Drs. Phyllis Kozarsky and John Jernigan of the Division of Infectious Diseases were also members of the CDC clinical team. To learn more about their findings, go to

Joint research targets AIDS

Investigators at Yerkes Primate Research Center and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) received some impressive news late last fall. The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases awarded Yerkes a five-year, $11.6 million program grant to continue development of an AIDS vaccine with the CDC. Led by Program Directors Harriet Robinson of Yerkes and Janet McNicholl of the CDC, the grant covers additional research on immunogens for the two subtypes of HIV found in North America and West Africa, preclinical trials in animals of vaccines adapted for humans against these subtypes, and Phase I clinical trials in the United States and C�te d'Ivoire. Phase I clinical trials should begin in March.

Physicians take flight

The Department of Emergency Medicine has assumed medical oversight of the newly formed Emory Flight Program. Emory Healthcare recently signed an agreement with Rocky Mountain Helicopters to oversee three air ambulances based in Cartersville, Griffin, and Jefferson, Georgia. A pilot, nurse, and paramedic staff each helicopter, designed as an airborne critical care unit with a cruising speed of 140 miles per hour. The helicopters are on 24-hour standby to lift critically ill and injured patients within a 150-mile radius of each community to the closest appropriate hospital. Dr. Alex Isakov serves as Medical Director, Dr. Eric Ossmann as Associate Medical Director, and Dr. Eric Stansby, as Assistant Medical Director of Emory Flight. Dr. James Augustine heads the advisory board for the program.

Eye Center still tops

The Ophthalmology Times has again included the Emory Eye Center in its top 10 ranking of national ophthalmic programs. According to results published in the November 1 issue, the Eye Center was 8th in the category for "Best Overall Program," 7th for "Best Clinical Programs (a new ranking for the Eye Center), and 6th for "Best Residency Programs." The survey results are compiled from a poll of ophthalmology department chairs and residency program directors from across the United States. Congratulations to our physicians and staff in the Eye Center!

Congress approves NIH budget increase

Just before the holidays, Congress finalized the FY02 Labor�Health and Human Services–Education appropriations bill (HR 3061), which calls for a net total of $22.89 billion in funding for the National Institutes of Health (NIH). The net amount budgeted for FY02 provides a 13.9% increase of $2.79 billion over FY01. The bill retains the current NIH extramural salary cap. It also includes $110 million for extramural research facilities, $271.6 million for General Clinical Research Centers, and $160 million for the Institutional Development Awards program. Additionally, HR 3061 allocates $285 million for graduate medical education in children's hospitals, a 21% increase over FY01. The bill awaits President Bush's signature. A table of HR 3061 appropriations can be found at

Budding partnership

The Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences and the Winship Cancer Institute have pooled their expertise to form the Program in Molecular and Clinical Psycho-oncology. Dr. Charles Nemeroff, Chair of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, serves as Director of the program. Dr. Andrew Miller is Associate Director. This new program will coordinate research, educational, and clinical service activities in psychiatric oncology.

Carrying a torch

Atlantans felt a familiar ripple of excitement when the Olympic Torch returned to their city early in December. Our own Dr. Douglas Morris was among the participants in the 2002 Olympic Torch Relay that began at Centennial Olympic Park. The torch is being carried through 46 states on its way to the 2002 Winter Olympics, which begin in Salt Lake City on February 8. Dr. Morris was selected as a torch bearer in recognition of his commitment to exercise and fitness as an essential element of cardiovascular health. By the way, Dr. Morris is Director of the Emory Heart Center.

Lessons in giving

The Department of Medicine continued its tradition of adopting a school for the holidays. This year, department members donated time and funds to Clarkston High School, where the students represent 54 countries and speak 47 languages. "This was our first year to partner with a high school," says department Chair Wayne Alexander. "The diversity of Clarkston High's student body and its dynamic reputation really piqued our interest." Department donations funded a holiday reception and party and will help students complete a documentary about their school's diversity. The majority of funds will be used for school enhancement projects, including an outdoor classroom.

Faculty, staff, and students throughout the SOM shared with others during the holiday season. Dr. Clyde Watkins, Assistant Professor of Medicine, spearheaded the Tenth Annual Christmas Canned Food Drive for the General Medical Clinics at Grady Hospital. Emory and Morehouse physicians and clinic staff collected enough cash donations and food to feed 210 families in Fulton and DeKalb counties. Thanks to everyone who participated in these and the many other wonderful efforts throughout our school.

A surgeon's surgeon

The School of Medicine lost a beloved surgeon and teacher when Dr. J. Richard Amerson, 52M, died on December 21 at age 74. Dr. Amerson served on the medical faculty for 40 years before retiring in 1997. As colleagues in the Department of Surgery can attest, Dr. Amerson was a tireless patient advocate, a dedicated teacher, and an outstanding role model for surgical residents and medical students. During his tenure with the department, Dr. Amerson helped unite the residency training programs at Emory Hospital, Grady Hospital, the Atlanta VA Medical Center, Egleston Children's Hospital, and Crawford Long Hospital. He received numerous honors for teaching, including the 1997 Evangeline T. Papageorge Distinguished Teaching Award. His soft-spoken manner and excellent surgical skills earned him the respect and affection of his patients, including fellow physicians. "He was a surgeon's surgeon," recalls Dr. Grant Carlson, a professor of surgery who trained under Dr. Amerson. "Surgeons who needed surgery would go to him, including me."

Thomas J. Lawley, MD

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