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Inside emergency medicine

The Department of Emergency Medicine may be the new kid on the block, but that doesn't mean it is any less accomplished than our departments of long standing. Formerly a division within the Department of Surgery, Emergency Medicine emerged as a department in its own right in June 1999, with Dr. Arthur Kellermann as Chairman. "We may be a new department, but we support one of the nation's oldest and largest training programs in the specialty," he says. "In addition to training 50 of our own residents in a three-year residency, Emergency Medicine trains more than 200 residents from other departments at Emory and Morehouse schools of medicine, who rotate through Grady and Crawford Long hospitals, as well as paramedics and students from the School of Nursing and Emory's physician assistant program." Read on for more department accomplishments:
  • With more than $3.4 million in NIH grants, Emergency Medicine is one of the best federally funded academic departments of emergency medicine in the country.
  • The department recently recruited Drs. Stuart Hoffman and Theodore Pettus to the Central Nervous System Injury and Repair Laboratory (CIRL) and appointed Dr. Donald Stein as Director. The lab was incorporated into the department in FY01 and is supported by three NIH grants that fund laboratory and clinical research on traumatic brain injury and neuroplasticity. In addition to CIRL, Emergency Medicine has laboratories that focus on clinical science, injury control, and health policy.
  • The department added a fourth-year clerkship that is mandatory for medical students. It also developed a medical toxicology fellowship (see related article on back page). And its residency training program has been fully reaccredited for four years with no citations.
  • Dr. Leon Haley, Chief of Emergency Medicine and Medical Director of the Emergency Care Center at Grady Hospital, has been appointed as Deputy Chief of Staff and Vice President of Medical Affairs in the Grady Health System.

Gold star teachers

We have many great teachers here at the SOM, and every year I like to commend several outstanding faculty for teaching excellence. Drs. April Barbour (medicine), Erica Brownfield (medicine), Gordon Churchward (microbiology), David Feliciano (surgery), Jennifer Goedken (gyn/ob), Jodi Guest (family and preventive medicine), Neil Lamb (human genetics), Douglas Lowery (emergency medicine), Winfield Sale (cell biology), and Cyril Spann (gyn/ob) are some of the finest we have to offer to our students, an example for us all. Each received my Golden Apple Award for Excellence in Teaching and a $5,000 award.

At the recent award dinner, I also recognized Dr. Wood Smethurst, a reading specialist at the Ben Franklin Academy, who for years has worked faithfully to assist our medical students and residents with their reading and study skills, and Judy Wyndham, Director of Medical Education Services, who officially retires on September 1 after 22 years at Emory. Judy began her career at Grady and transferred to Crawford Long Hospital, where she joined Dr. Jonas Shulman as Administrative Coordinator for Medicine and Business Manager for TravelWell. She moved with Dr. Shulman to the Emory campus in 1991. At the teaching award dinner, Dr. Shulman recognized Judy for her support and dedication to medical education by presenting her with a Frabel glass sculpture and an Emory rocking chair. "I was totally overwhelmed," says Judy. "Dr. Shulman is a truly exceptional person, and I am most fortunate in having had the opportunity to work with him for these past 17 years." Her successor is Margo Kuisis, who can be reached at 712-8417. Best wishes, Judy!

New standards for resident hours

The 80-hour resident work week is headed for reality. The Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME), the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC), and the American Medical Association (AMA) all support limiting resident work hours to allay concerns about residents' lack of sleep and patient safety while maintaining the quality of resident education. "The key to implementing these new requirements will be adherence to the strong monitoring and enforcement standards outlined by the ACGME," states AAMC President Jordan Cohen. Interestingly, this marks the first time the AMA has limited resident work hours.

Anthrax vaccine on trial

Emory is one of five national sites chosen by the CDC to conduct a clinical trial for the anthrax vaccine. The study is using the vaccine licensed by the FDA in 1970 to determine if changing the injection method from subcutaneous to muscle or decreasing dosage affects the quality of the immune response or local reactions to the vaccine. Emory will enroll 200 volunteers; a total of 1,560 people will participate in the study nationally. Dr. Harry Keyserling, Professor of Pediatrics (infectious diseases), is the PI at Emory. "The anthrax vaccine has an excellent safety record," he says. "We hope this new study will simplify the existing dosing and shot regimen for the vaccine and provide more data to convince an anxious public that the vaccine is safe."

Women on the move.  Drs. Ana Murphy and Kate Heilpern are the first faculty members to participate in a prestigious program for women leaders in academic medicine. Both are fellows in the Hedwig van Amerigen Executive Leadership in Academic Medicine (ELAM) Program, which prepares women faculty in medicine and dentistry for senior leadership positions at academic health centers in the United States and Canada. Dr. Murphy, Professor of Gynecology and Obstetrics, was the SOM's first ELAM fellow in 2001–2002. Dr. Heilpern, Associate Professor of Emergency Medicine and Assistant Dean in Medical Education and Student Affairs, begins her fellowship this fall. Dr. Heilpern looks forward to broadening her knowledge of organizational assessment, evaluation, and finance with the goal of helping advance the SOM. "I also wish to incorporate into my professional life a national community of women health care leaders from whom I can learn, share, and ultimately teach," she says.

Through her own fellowship, Dr. Murphy learned from industry leaders about medical school budgeting, health science center finance, organizational dynamics, and effective leadership, including how to deal with the reality of change. The experience has helped her function more effectively and dynamically at many levels. She also has a vast network of colleagues upon whom she can rely for advice and support. "Rarely do we ever have a course that is designed for women, especially those in medicine," she says. "It was a congenial, warm, safe, intellectual, and stimulating place to be."

Environmental disaster training

A new medical toxicology fellowship program, created in collaboration with Grady Hospital, the SOM, the Georgia Poison Control Center, and the CDC, is educating physicians about how to prevent and prepare for environmental disasters. Doctors in the fellowship provide medical support for the Poison Center and care for patients affected by poisoning at Grady, Emory, and Crawford Long hospitals. One of 19 such certified fellowships in the United States, Emory's program is unique because it provides an epidemiological and public health approach to medical toxicology. It focuses on research and provides experience in CDC investigations of toxic outbreaks anywhere in the world. Dr. Brent Morgan, Assistant Professor of Emergency Medicine, directs the fellowship program. Drs. Scott Whitlow and Michael Schwartz began their fellowships in July.

Créme de la créme

Here are some of the latest SOM faculty and staff accomplishments to come across my desk:
  • Drs. Scott Boden and John Heller, Professors of Orthopaedic Surgery, received the Volvo Award for Outstanding Low Back Pain Research from the International Society for the Study of the Lumbar Spine. This is the third time Dr. Boden has garnered this award.
  • Donna Carson, Instructor in the Department of Pediatrics, received the 2002 Biography Community Hero award as part of The Biography Community Heroes Exhibit. Ms. Carson received one of 10 Atlanta-area awards on behalf of her work as Founder and Director of My House, an emergency shelter that provides a temporary home for newborns with special needs.
  • Dr. Leland Chung, Professor of Urology and Director of Molecular Urology and Therapeutics, was elected to the Johns Hopkins University Society of Scholars. Dr. Chung developed the first model of human prostate cancer metastasis, leading to a new form of gene therapy for prostate cancer.
  • Dr. Carlos del Rio, Associate Professor of Medicine, was named an Atlanta Business Chronicle Health-Care Hero in the physician category. The business weekly noted that Dr. del Rio, who is Chief of Medicine at Grady Hospital and Director of Emory's AIDS International Training and Research Program, "may be the best example of Atlanta's world-class citizens."
  • Dr. Raymond Dingledine, Professor and Chair of Pharmacology, was recognized by the Institute for Scientific Information as a member of the top 1% of cited researchers in both the neuroscience and pharmacology categories for work published in the last decade.
  • Dr. Michael Frankel, Associate Professor of Neurology and Chief of Neurology at Grady, is Vice President of the Southeastern Affiliate of the American Heart Association. Dr. Frankel holds a three-year term and will serve as president in 2004.
  • Dr. Frederick Nolte, Associate Professor of Pathology, has been elected a fellow of the American Academy of Microbiology for his leadership in clinical microbiology and his work in developing molecular techniques to diagnose hepatitis and tuberculosis.
  • Dr. Alan Plummer, Professor of Medicine, was sworn in as President of the Medical Association of Georgia, the state's largest physician organization.

Thomas J. Lawley, MD

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