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Gifts fund stroke center, transplant programs

Thanks to a $7.5 million gift from MBNA America Bank, Emory specialists in neurology, neurosurgery, neurocritical care, neuroradiology, and stroke research have created a consortium of services for stroke patients, the Emory-MBNA Stroke Center. "We want Emory to be the place where all stroke patients come, whatever their needs may be," says the center's director, Dr. Daniel Barrow. The gift will fund start-up operations and development costs of the center, an endowed chair of neurosurgery, and the hiring of a second neurointensivist. (Emory currently has Georgia's only neurointensivist, Dr. Owen Samuels, a specialist in neurocritical care.) The center will also educate patients and future doctors about the many risk factors for stroke and conduct research to advance the diagnosis and treatment of stroke patients.

Two new grants from the Carlos and Marguerite Mason Trust will help ensure access to care for Georgia patients needing transplants. Wachovia Bank, the Mason Trust's trustee, has awarded the Emory Transplant Center a two-year grant of $1 million to support the Access to Transplant Care Project, created in 2000 to reach underserved Georgians and support their evaluation and treatment. The new award will build on the existing project by providing even greater access to care, enhancing services offered throughout the transplant process, and increasing the number of transplants at Emory by recruiting more living organ donors.

A second grant from the Mason Trust, $118,000 in bridge funding, will help support the Emory Eye Center's pediatric cornea transplant program, the only such program in the state. Even though cornea transplantation has a very high success rate, follow-up care is difficult to manage in children, and insurance rarely pays for this care. The funding will help the Eye Center continue to provide follow-up care.

Want to see state of the art?

Check out the airy new design of the Whitehead Biomedical Research Building (WBRB), which will be dedicated on April 2 at 11:30 am. The WBRB embodies the "center without walls" concept, enabling researchers from several disciplines to collaborate in 325,000 square feet of laboratory and office space, 90% with natural lighting. Three basic science departments—Cell Biology, Physiology, and Human Genetics—call the building home. Most of one floor is dedicated to the Center for Neurodegenerative Diseases, bringing together scientists from Neurology, Neurosurgery, Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, and Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences. Department of Medicine researchers in pulmonary medicine and digestive diseases and the Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine occupy other floors. The Center for Medical Genomics has the most advanced equipment available for rapid DNA analysis to examine the link between genes and disease.

One of only 13 "green" facilities in the United States, the WBRB is an environmentally progressive building with special heat-recovery wheels projected to save $100,000 in energy costs per year. Condensation-recovery units will save an estimated 2.5 million gallons of water per year, and storm water from the roof and plaza is being collected and reused for irrigation. The building cost $81.3 million ($1.5 million under budget) and has eight floors (two below ground), including a 50,000-square-foot vivarium, a robotic cage-washing system, and seven labs classified at biosafety level 3.

The nation's best and brightest

Next time you see our latest crop of Alpha Omega Alpha (AOA) Honor Medical Society inductees, give them a pat on the back. The following M4 students will be honored at the 2002 AOA induction banquet on March 20: Jamie Bower, Beau Bruce, Betsey Chambers, Pierre de Delva, Jennifer Filip, Ryan Ford, Eric Handley, Eric Jarandeh, Joe Johnson, Sarah Keene, Jennifer McDougal, Lacey Moore, Rachel Nisbet, Sara Shahid-Saless, Kelly Skelton, Joel Trambley, Corrie Van Exel, and Tom Wallace. M3 students John Abbott, Jr., Meena Agarwal, Whitney Walter Brown, Mariya Fishman, Ben Jessie, Todd Lancaster, Oren Levy, Jaime Noonan, Jason Reingold, and Marla Sammer will be recognized this year. House staff honorees will include Drs. Jason Bailey, Zvonimir Milas, and Antoinina Watkins. Faculty inductees will be Drs. April Barbour and Michael Lubin, and alumni honorees will be Drs. Lorenzo DiFrancesco and James Valentine. Emory alumnus Dr. William Waters III, a leading clinical internist and nephrologist and SOM clinical professor, will give the keynote address. Dr. Jonas Shulman is Acting Faculty Councillor, and Dr. Whit Sewell is the Faculty Adviser for the Emory Chapter of AOA. The AOA marks its centennial this year.

Handheld computer is latest in diabetes control

Emory endocrinologists at Grady Hospital have become the first in the nation to use an FDA-approved computerized decision-support protocol, the Intelligent Dosing System (IDS), to treat and manage diabetes. Data from 190 patients show that the IDS, built on a Palm Pilot platform, provides safer, more effective, and more economical drug treatment by individualizing medications prescribed for diabetic patients. "This technology should help us eliminate much of the guesswork in adjusting diabetes medications," says Dr. Curtiss Cook, Associate Professor of Medicine and one of the first physicians to use the IDS for diabetes treatment.

Atlanta is NBME pilot site

The National Board of Medical Examiners (NBME) will pilot-test a new program to evaluate the clinical skills of graduating medical students in Atlanta. Next fall, the NBME will test M4s from Georgia's four medical schools on their communication skills and other clinical techniques during encounters with 10 standardized patients. The results will be used to develop and standardize a nationwide clinical test. They also will provide evidence to help enhance clinical skills training for future classes and remedy inadequacies that students may show in this project. The Objective Structured Clinical Examination portion of the US Medical Licensing Examination will be introduced to all medical students in 2004 or 2005 and will be required for licensure.

Interviewing tips

In case you missed "Interviewing Skills for Scientists," offered by Science magazine and hosted by the Office of Postdoctoral Education, here are some highlights. Geared to young scientists—grad students to junior faculty—the workshop provided interviewing skills for scientists interested in nonacademic careers and information about the current economy in the biotech industry. Some tips: Don't send your résumé only to human resources; find a scientist who can help. The best times to seek positions are in the first and second quarters of the fiscal year. And it's okay to exclude from your résumé an adviser with whom you have a difficult relationship. Just have a positive response for why that person is not on your list of references. For more information, go to http://nextwave.sciencemag.org/us/.

Read this, please

There's a new website that describes the relationship between Emory and the Georgia Research Alliance (GRA). Since its founding in 1990, the GRA has advanced economic development in biotechnology through partnerships with government, industry, and six Georgia universities, including Emory. Visit the new site at www.emory.edu/WHSC/HSNEWS/GRA. You can also read about "Our GRA Connection" in the latest issue of Momentum magazine at www.emory. edu/WHSC/HSNEWS/PUB/Momentum/Winter02.

Also in this issue is "Lives on the Line," which describes the mammoth efforts at Emory to protect patients enrolled in clinical trials. Never has this responsibility been greater. In recent years, the tragic deaths of patients enrolled in clinical trials at Johns Hopkins and Penn and the temporary suspension of research at Duke have prompted medical research institutions around the country to be even more vigilant. All of us at Emory work very hard to meet and exceed federal standards governing clinical trials. "We've got a process we take considerable pride in," notes Dr. Robert Rich, one of several SOM administrators and faculty members featured in the article. Please take a few moments to read the article in Momentum.

Thomas J. Lawley, MD








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