As much as we hate
to see any of our faculty leave Emory, we take great pride in where
their careers take them. Dr. Roderic Pettigrew, a professor
in radiology who has held joint appointments in medicine and biomedical
engineering, is the new director of the National Institute of Biomedical
Imaging and Bioengineering (NIBIB). The newest NIH institute, the NIBIB
supports fundamental research in biomedical engineering and bioimaging
science and the transfer of those results to medical applications.
faculty member also is moving to the NIH. Dr. Thomas Insel
is leaving Emory to become director of the National Institute of Mental
Health (NIMH) in November. Dr. Insel should feel right at home, having
previously served at the NIMH, where he conducted research in obsessive-compulsive
disorder and launched a research program in social neuroscience. He
remained with the NIMH for 15 years before joining Emory in 1994 as
professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences and director of Yerkes
Primate Research Center.
"I am honored
and privileged to be joining the NIH at a time when mental health and
mental disorders are so very clearly at the forefront of the nation's
public health agenda," says Dr. Insel, most recently the founding director
of Emory's Center for Behavioral Neuroscience. "Recent years have witnessed
enormous progress in our understanding of the brain. We have important
new insights into the molecular and cellular basis of brain function.
Now our challenge is to translate these discoveries from basic science
into new insights and treatments for mental disorders."
who joined Emory in 1985 as a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Fellow,
is a well-known leader in dynamic three-dimensional imaging of the heart
and was co-developer of the first commercial software package for cardiac
magnetic resonance analysis (the Phillips Cardiac Module). He has been
consistently listed in the Best Doctors in America, placing him
in the top 4% of physicians in the nation. Fortunately, Dr. Pettigrew
will retain a faculty appointment at Emory.
is the perfect person to lead the NIBIB," says Dr. William Casarella,
Chairman of the Department of Radiology. "We're very proud of him to
have accomplished everything he has, and we are very proud that the
NIH has recognized his talents."
will have to pay 70% of the costs of their prescription drugs under
the terms of the Medicare drug plan passed by the House in June, according
to an analysis by Dr. Kenneth Thorpe, a colleague who
chairs Health Policy and Management in the Rollins School of Public
Health. Moreover, 6.8 million of the elderly and disabled Americans
who receive Medicare benefits will have to pay the full catastrophic
limit of $3,700 a year for prescription drugs. Using Congressional Budget
Office projections for the year 2005, Dr. Thorpe found that 11.7 million
Medicare recipients will have to pay an average of $2,200 when the House-approved
plan goes into effect. "For many seniors who believe they may have financial
relief from high, out-of-pocket expenses from the House prescription
drug bill, the reality may come as a shock," he says.
Medicare Modernization and Prescription Drug Act of 2002 proposes deep
cuts in Medicare payments for drugs and medical devices but also creates
a new reimbursement system to hospitals for outpatient care. The legislation
provides $320 billion over the next decade to establish a system of
Medicare prescription drug coverage through the private insurance industry
and increases payments to hospitals, doctors, and nursing facilities.
Medical Association has endorsed the bill. "This bill will strengthen
the Medicare program for seniors by helping them get the prescription
drugs they need; fixing the Medicare payment problem; and providing
regulatory relief so that physicians can spend more time with patients
and less time on paperwork," says Dr. Timothy Flaherty, AMA
is currently in the Senate. According to Courtenay Dusenbury,
Director of Federal Affairs in the University's Office of Governmental
and Community Affairs, legislation that would provide a much more generous
prescription drug benefit has been introduced in the Senate, but it
is not likely to be considered this year due to budget and time constraints.
"Most analysts predict that legislation to increase Medicare payments
to providers, including teaching hospitals, will be separated out from
prescription drug legislation and passed as a stand-alone bill or as
part of the omnibus end-of-year appropriations package," she says. "At
this point, the passage of legislation on prescription drugs seems highly
unlikely. Medicare payments stand a much higher chance of being enacted."
The Association of American Medical
Colleges filed a motion last month to dismiss an antitrust suit involving
the National Residency Matching Program. The legal battle erupted last
spring when four physicians challenged the program over low salaries
and long working hours for residents. Emory is one of numerous defendants
named in the suit that participate in the match program, which is administered
by AAMC. Stay tuned.
The SOM is part of a national
study to determine the best way to detect lung cancer in smokers to
save more lives. The National Cancer Institute and the American College
of Radiology Imaging Network have awarded Emory a $5 million grant to
participate in the National Lung Screening Trial (NLST). The eight-year
study will compare CT with standard chest X-ray to detect lung cancer
in healthy, older persons. "Both CT scans and chest X-rays are now used
to detect lung cancer," says Dr. Kay Vydareny, Professor
of Radiology and the principal investigator of the NLST at Emory. "But
CT scans can pick up smaller nodules than X-rays. Some of these will
be cancer. We hope to find out if detecting these smaller cancers early
will help us decrease lung cancer deaths." Emory will enroll 1,500 current
and former smokers among 50,000 participants nationwide.
Rapid Response Grants program for research related to bioterrorism has
awarded Emory more than $450,000 to study vaccines for viral hemorrhagic
fevers. Dr. Richard Compans, Chairman, and Dr.
Chinglai Yang, Assistant Professor, of the Department of Microbiology
and Immunology will focus on developing vaccines for Lassa virus and
Ebola virus, both of which cause highly fatal diseases. The SOM scientists
will create virus-like particles in the laboratory to safely and efficiently
induce protective systemic and/or mucosal immunity. Currently, no vaccines
are approved for use in humans to prevent hemorrhagic fevers.
As many of you know, Phil
Hills is serving as Interim Senior Associate Vice President
for Health Sciences Development. The former AVP, John Blohm,
left Emory to become Vice Chancellor at the University of Arkansas Medical
Sciences. Phil continues to serve as Associate Dean for Development
in the SOM. He manages a number of development officers throughout the
school and has successfully secured gifts of $1 million or more. I know
everyone will continue to support Phil and his staff as the search moves
forward to fill Mr. Blohm's position.
Schreier has joined the Winship Cancer Institute as Director
of Development. She comes to us from the University of Iowa, where she
served as Assistant Vice President of Health Sciences Development. "I
can't wait to meet WCI researchers and donors," she says. "Spreading
news of WCI's accomplishments and endeavors will help nurture existing
relationships and build new ones."
Franklin, who has worked at Emory since 1983, was appointed
last month as Director of the Health Sciences Center Library. She succeeds
Carol Burns, who retired in 2000. "We started offering an electronic
reserves system this semester," Ms. Franklin reports. "Health sciences
faculty can now request that we post book chapters and journal articles
on our website for students to use (www.emory.edu/WHSCL/)."
She will oversee operation of the library and its branches at Emory
and Grady hospitals.
the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences and the University Research
Committee held a seminar and reception for Drs. Harriet Robinson
(Microbiology/ Immunology, Yerkes) and Krishna Bhat (Cell
Biology), both recipients of the 2002 Albert E. Levy Scientific Research
Award. Dr. Robinson was recognized for her pioneering work on the use
of DNA for vaccine development, especially for AIDS. Dr. Bhat was honored
for his work showing the long-range signaling cues that regulate axon
guidance also can regulate asymmetric divisions of neural precursor
cells. Read on for more great news about our faculty's accomplishments.
- Dr. Ernest Garcia (Radiology) has been elected
President of the American Society of Nuclear Cardiology.
- Dr. Enrique Garcia-Valenzuela (Ophthalmology)
has been named one of the 10 inaugural Jahnigen Career Development
Scholars. The award was established under the aegis of an American
Geriatrics Society/Hartford Foundation-funded project to encourage
young physicians to focus on the geriatric aspect of their disciplines.
Dr. Garcia was selected for his research into stem cell therapy for
age-related retinal disease.
- Dr. Debra Houry (Emergency Medicine) was honored
with the 2002 Jay Drotman Award from the American Public Health Association.
This highly competitive award recognizes an outstanding young public
health researcher under 30 years of age who has demonstrated potential
in the health field by creatively challenging traditional public health
policy or practice.
- Dr. Kay Vydareny (Radiology) received a Gold Medal
from the American Roentgen Ray Society for distinguished service in
her field. She is one of only three radiologists honored this year
by the the society, which is the oldest radiology organization in
- Dr. Viola Vaccarino (Medicine) has received an
American Heart Association's Established Investigator Award. She received
a grant for her research into the mechanism by which depression may
cause or contribute to the development of cardiovascular disease.
Thomas J. Lawley, MD