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Top honors

Dr. Charles Nemeroff, Chairman, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, and Dr. Reynaldo Martorell, Chairman, Department of International Health, Rollins School of Public Health, are among two of 65 leading health sciences experts elected this year to the prestigious Institute of Medicine. One of the National Academies and based in Washington, DC, the IOM seeks to inform and advise government, corporations, and the public on health and science policy.

Drs. Nemeroff and Martorell will devote volunteer time to IOM committees studying current issues, including protection of human subjects in research, microbial threats to health, and societal and individual problems of the uninsured. Dr. Nemeroff's research has concentrated on the biological basis of major neuropsychiatric disorders, including schizophrenia and anxiety disorders. "This is a great honor," says Dr. Nemeroff. "I am grateful to my peers around the country for electing me to this elite group of scientists and physicians."

Emory has 11 of 1,358 IOM members nationwide. In addition to Drs. Nemeroff and Martorell, they include Drs. James Curran (Dean, Rollins School of Public Health), William Foege (RSPH), Michael Johns (Executive Vice President, Woodruff Health Sciences Center), Arthur Kellermann (Emergency Medicine), Luella Klein (Ob/Gyn), Jeffrey Koplan (Vice President, WHSC), Mark Rosenberg (RSPH), Marla Salmon (Dean, School of Nursing), and Asa Yancey (Surgery).

As further recognition of our faculty's reputation nationally, the IOM recently asked Dr. Ruth Parker, an internist at Grady Hospital and Associate Professor of Medicine, to serve as an expert on its Committee on Health Literacy. She will help examine the root problems that underlie health illiteracy, which prevents many people from identifying and receiving appropriate health care when they need it. "The world of medicine and health care is increasingly complex," she says. "Health literacy really is about all the gaps that exist between what we as providers assume patients can do and what they really can do."


Dr. Louis Elsas, founding Director of the Division of Medical Genetics, retired from Emory on November 1. Never one to be idle, he will take on the challenge of directing the new Center for Medical Genetics at the University of Miami.

A fourth-generation Atlantan (born at Emory Hospital), Dr. Elsas came to Emory from Yale in 1970 with an NIH grant to establish the Division of Medical Genetics in the Department of Pediatrics. He is known for developing new treatments for infants born with genetic metabolic disorders such as maple syrup urine disease and Ehlers-Danlos syndrome and for his role in starting Georgia's Newborn Screening Program, which has tested more than 2 million newborns within their first two weeks of life for a number of treatable genetic disorders. Dr. Elsas founded the course "Human and Molecular Genetics," which became a national model, and helped define medical genetics as a specialty recognized by the American Medical Association. All of us in the SOM wish Dr. Elsas a happy, productive "retirement."

Donning the white coat

The White Coat Ceremony for the Class of 2006 was a memorable day for the more than 600 students and guests who participated in the October event. After the ceremony began with a musical prelude by the Teresa Texeria Trio, I welcomed everyone and introduced our students. Dr. Jonas Shulman, Executive Associate Dean, offered a light-hearted look at the medical school experience with assurances that faculty and staff are here to support students. Keynote speaker Dr. John Stone, Professor of Medicine, Emeritus, read several passages from his book, On Doctoring, reminding students what the white coat symbolizes to the medical community, specifically physicians. Associate Dean William Eley, Associate Dean Robert Lee, and Assistant Dean Ira Schwartz helped the students into their white coats, and Dr. Jefferson Pendergrast Jr., M72, representing the Medical Alumni Association, handed out copies of Dr. Stone's book. Afterward, the Medical Alumni Association and the Office of Medical Education and Student Affairs sponsored a reception on the plaza.

Students express thoughts on aging

The Center for Health in Aging recently honored students in medicine, nursing, and public health for their winning essays about their experiences with older adults, many of whom were at Wesley Woods Center. M2 students Arun Mohan ("Conversations and Generations") and Carmen Traywick ("Introduction to the Geriatrics Program") were recognized during the first annual award ceremony at Wesley Woods. The student essay competition helps call attention to the health needs and well-being of elderly adults. Each student received $500 to support activities related to geriatrics and aging. Congratulations, Arun and Carmen!

View from atop the crane

Here's the latest construction scoop from Charlie Andrews, Associate Vice President for WHSC Space Planning:
  • The Emory Autism Resource Center, a new 16,000-square-foot, $3.4 million building, has opened on the Emory-Clairmont Campus. It continues to be the only resource in Georgia that provides comprehensive services for children, adults, and their families.
  • The new parking deck at Yerkes should be completed in early 2003, when construction on the as-yet unnamed neuroscience building will commence. Design planning for the 92,000-square-foot building, which will cost roughly $27 million, is in its final stage. The building will contain laboratory space, a rodent vivarium, housing for nonhuman primates, and an imaging area.
  • Construction of the Winship Cancer Institute (WCI) Building continues and is scheduled to be completed in July 2003. Crews also are renovating the WCI vivarium on the third floor of Clinic B. This project should be completed when the new building opens.
  • Crews prepared the site for the Emory Faculty and Education Building at Grady this summer. They began construction late in September and are scheduled to complete the building in a year. The Emory Medical Care Foundation and the SOM are funding this $15 million building.
  • The Department of Orthopaedics will move all of its outpatient services from The Emory Clinic and the Emory Sports and Spine Center into Executive Park on North Druid Hills Road. Renovations on a 95,000-square-foot leased building should be completed in early 2004. The building will help the department consolidate its space, now spread over two buildings, and add about 15,000 square feet of clinic space, 18,000 square feet of outpatient surgery space, and new physical therapy space. The estimated project cost is $12 million.

New aging initiative

Dr. Jonathan Flacker, Chief of Geriatrics at Grady Hospital, has helped launch the Aging Atlanta partnership. The Atlanta Regional Commission leads this partnership of 26 organizations, including representatives from the Rollins School of Public Health, the Grady Geriatrics Center, the Fulton County Department of Family and Children Services, United Way of Metropolitan Atlanta, and Reaching Out to Senior Adults. The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation provided a Community Partnerships for Older Adults start-up project grant, one of 13 such grants awarded nationwide, and a chance to apply for future funding.

According to Dr. Flacker, "The idea behind the partnership is to work with the community to improve quality of life for seniors." Its goal is to improve Atlanta's long-term care delivery systems and increase the region's understanding of the impact of an aging society. The partnership's pilot project in south Fulton County will help address barriers to services, such as prescription drugs and mental health services. It will track clients to better serve seniors living in the community and create a resource database accessible at libraries, pharmacies, senior centers, and other public locations.

Rising stars

Dr. Leon Haley, Assistant Professor and Deputy Chief of Staff and Chief of Service of Emergency Medicine with the Grady Health System, and Dr. Sheryl Heron, Assistant Professor and Assistant Residency Director, Emergency Medicine, have been selected by the editors of Georgia Trend as two up-and-coming young Georgians. The magazine annually recognizes young leaders under age 40 from business, government, education, academia, medicine, the arts, the nonprofit sector, and law. Drs. Haley and Heron are featured in the October issue.

Emory photographer dies

Joe Jackson, who was a medical photographer at Emory for 42 years, died on October 2 at age 85. His ties to Emory began in World War II, after he was wounded in Sicily and was sent to Ashford General Hospital at the Greenbrier in West Virginia. After his recovery, Dr. Daniel Elkin, an Emory surgeon who served as Ashford Chief of Staff during the war, learned that photography was Joe's hobby. Consequently, Dr. Elkin asked Joe to set up a medical photography department at Ashford, and offered him the same position at Emory after the war ended. Many of us have fond memories of Joe's years here. We certainly will miss him.

Party with other writers and editors

Are you a physician who also is a book author or editor? This party is for you. Join other writer/editors on December 5, 7 to 10 pm, in the WHSCAB Auditorium. Host Neil Shulman, Associate Professor of Medicine, who recently co-authored Your Body, Your Health, is sure to provide an entertaining evening, complete with a reception, food, drink, and book signings. He'll also honor leading campus authors, including Dr. Willis Hurst, Candler Professor Emeritus, Department of Medicine (Cardiology), and editor-in-chief of the internationally renowned The Heart. For more information, contact Erin D'Aoust at

Thomas J. Lawley, MD

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