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Inside medicine

When you think of the Department of Medicine, what comes to mind? The SOM's largest department, with more than 350 faculty? A Division of Cardiology that is one of the 10 best in the country, according to U.S. News & World Report? A training program that has graduated more than 2,000 resident physicians? The department is all this and more. "We are proud of our long tradition of healing, scientific and clinical investigation, and academic excellence," says Dr. Wayne Alexander, appointed department chair in October 1999. Since then, the Department of Medicine has implemented many changes. Here are some highlights.
  • Research funding increased by 93% to $30 million between FY98 and FY01.
  • The internal medicine housestaff training program was reorganized under the leadership of Drs. Joyce Doyle and Carlos del Rio.
  • Clinical space at Crawford Long Hospital was reorganized for the move into the new Medical Office Tower. Clinical space on the Emory campus was renovated to accommodate integrated practice and cross-training of personnel.
  • Four new division directors were appointed. They are Drs. David Harrison in cardiology, Vincent Yang in gastroenterology, Jeff Sands in nephrology, and Jesse Roman in pulmonary diseases, critical care medicine, and allergy.
  • Dr. Kenneth Brigham, formerly Chief of the Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine at Vanderbilt, is the new director of the Center for Pulmonary Transplantation Biology. The center is part of the McKelvey Center for Lung Transplantation and the Division of Pulmonary, Critical Care Medicine, and Allergy.
  • Dr. David Harrison is the first person to hold the Bernard Marcus Chair in Vascular Medicine, created with a generous contribution from the Marcus Foundation of Atlanta. These funds also supported formation of the Marcus Center for Vascular Research.
  • Dr. Curt Hagedorn directs the new Center for Hepatology in the Division of Gastroenterology and Liver Diseases.
  • The department's new organizational structure includes Dr. David Stephens as Executive Vice Chair, Dr. Douglas Morris as Vice Chair for Clinical Affairs, Dr. Kenneth Brigham as Vice Chair for Research, and Mr. Michael Aycock as Executive Administrator.
  • Dr. Tom Ziegler heads the new Center for Nutrition in the Department of Medicine.

Where we stand

The NIH has again ranked the SOM 23rd in the nation for overall research awards. Even though we ranked 23rd last year as well, I think it is a credit to our faculty that we increased our NIH funding by 10.5%, from $110.5 million in FY00 to $122.1 million in FY01. Several departments ranked in the top 10 in their specialty in the United States for FY01: microbiology and immunology (3), rehabilitation medicine (4), neurology (5), and dermatology (6). The SOM now has 32 faculty members with annual federal grant totals of more than $1 million a year, 11 with more than $2 million a year, and one with more than $3.5 million a year.

The SOM moved from 22nd to 20th among research-oriented medical schools in the U.S. News & World Report 2003 edition of "America's Best Graduate Schools" guide. The SOM also jumped from 41st to 25th among primary care-oriented medical schools. The news magazine rated our Physician Assistant Program fourth and Physical Therapy third in the nation in 2000, the last year these programs were surveyed. Emory was the only medical school in Georgia to be ranked in the 2003 guide.

Clinical research center opens at Grady

There's more great news for our patients at Grady Hospital. The NIH has awarded the SOM with a three-year, $4.2 million, renewable grant to establish a General Clinical Research Center (GCRC) at Grady. As a result, Emory and Morehouse physician-scientists there will tackle the intractable health problems found at large urban hospitals, such as fighting kidney disease caused by sickle cell anemia, looking for new ways to treat victims of traumatic injury, and studying new vaccines for HIV/AIDS. Located in Grady's Unit 8A, the Center has six inpatient beds, one outpatient bed, and five infusion bays where patients can receive intravenous medications. New techniques developed in the GCRC will be applied to care throughout the hospital.

The new Center deepens the decades-long partnership between Emory and Grady. "It's very unusual to find a GCRC in a non-university-owned hospital," explains Dr. Juha Kokko, Associate Dean for Clinical Research. "Grady will benefit because the GCRC represents an additional source of revenue for the hospital. Patients will benefit because it will improve their quality of care, both in the Center and throughout the hospital. Emory and Morehouse students will benefit as they learn to conduct clinical research. It's a win-win situation for everyone." Dr. Lawrence Phillips, Professor of Medicine, serves as Program Director for the new GCRC.

Top investigators

I am pleased to announce the recipients of the fourth annual Dean's Clinical Investigators Awards for 2003. These clinical researchers were chosen because they exemplify creative endeavor and scientific excellence. The following are second-time awardees, who will receive a renewal of their initial three-year award. They are Dr. Kenneth Bernstein, Professor of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine; Dr. Mark Feinberg, Professor of Medicine and Microbiology and Immunology; Dr. Peter Jensen, Professor of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine; Dr. Christian Larsen, Professor of Surgery; Dr. Asma Nusrat, Assistant Professor of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine; and Dr. Thomas Pearson, Professor of Surgery. Dr. Andrew Taylor, Professor of Radiology, will receive a first-time award.

The dust hasn't settled yet

Read on for a brief building update from Charlie Andrews, Associate Vice President for WHSC Space Planning. Construction of the Autism Resource Center, a new 16,000-square-foot building on the Emory Clairmont Campus, is scheduled to open in August 2002. The construction crew will top out the 260,000-square-foot Winship Cancer Institute Building this month and complete it in July 2003. Construction begins in June on the new Emory Faculty and Education Building at Grady. The new 75,000-square-foot building will house about 150 offices for faculty and staff and one floor of education space, including classrooms, a 100-seat auditorium, standardized patient education space, and student amenities. Located on the corner of Armstrong Street and Jesse Hill, Jr. Drive (formerly Butler Street), it is scheduled to open in late 2003. Renovation of the original Hornbostel buildings of the Anatomy/Physiology complex should begin in late fall.

Créme de la créme

Our faculty contribute to their respective fields in many ways, and I enjoy sharing your news with colleagues so we can all take pride in what you have accomplished. Here are some of the latest appointments and honors:
  • Dr. Jonathan Flacker, Assistant Professor of Medicine and Medical Director of the Grady Geriatrics Center, has received a Silver Star Award from Senior Connections, which provides a variety of services for elderly residents in DeKalb County.
  • Dr. Sheryl Heron, Assistant Professor of Emergency Medicine at Grady Hospital, was appointed by Governor Roy Barnes to the Georgia Commission of Family Violence.
  • Dr. Rod Hester has rejoined the Department of Surgery as chief of the Division of Plastic Surgery, the position held by the late Dr. John Bostwick. An SOM faculty member from 1980 to 1993, Dr. Hester founded the Paces Plastic Surgery and Recovery Center in Atlanta.
  • Dr. Arthur Kellermann, Professor and Chair of Emergency Medicine, is serving as a special adviser to Lt. Governor Mark Taylor on the development of a statewide trauma network.
  • Dr. Charles Nemeroff, Chair of the Department of Psychiatry, was named 2002 Psychiatrist of the Year by the Georgia Psychiatric Physicians Association. He has received the C. Charles Burlingame Award for 2002 from The Institute of Living, Hartford Hospital's Mental Health Network in Connecticut. He also has been selected as Editor-in-Chief of Neuropsychopharmacology.
  • Dr. Peter Sebel has been appointed Vice Chair of the Department of Anesthesiology.
  • Dr. Carol Webb, Assistant Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, was named by Governor Barnes to the State of Georgia Board of Examiners of Psychologists.
  • Dr. Nanette Wenger, Chief of Cardiology at Grady Hospital, was honored with the Distinguished Fellow Award of the Society of Geriatric Cardiology.
  • Dr. Thomas Ziegler, Associate Professor of Medicine, received the 2002 Distinguished Alumni Award from the Department of Food Service and Human Nutrition at Michigan State.

Thomas J. Lawley, MD

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