I am very happy to announce
that Dr. Tristram Parslow joined the SOM in December
as Chair of the Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine. He
brings a wealth of leadership and research experience to the department
and our school from the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF),
where he was Professor of Pathology, Microbiology, and Immunology, as
well as Vice Chair of the Department of Pathology. He is also an enthusiastic
teacher and for 10 years directed the UCSF Medical Scientist Training
Program, an MD/PhD program sponsored by NIH. His research interests
are in molecular virology and immunology, currently focusing on how
the RNA genomes of HIV and influenza become incorporated into viral
particles as they form. His lab has also made important contributions
in viral and cellular gene regulation, apoptosis, telomere biology,
congenital immune deficiencies, host-pathogen interactions, lymphoproliferative
disorders, and molecular diagnostics. Please join me in welcoming Dr.
Parslow to the faculty and to Emory.
Now that the 2003 Georgia
General Assembly has convened, civil justice reform is Emory Healthcare's
highest priority. "Passage and enactment of meaningful legislation will
allow physicians, hospitals, and other health care providers to continue
to deliver quality medical care to Georgia's 8 million citizens," reports
Linda Womack, Director of State Affairs in the University's
Office of Governmental and Community Affairs.
Medical Association cites Georgia as one of a dozen states experiencing
a medical liability crisis resulting from the skyrocketing costs of
medical malpractice insurance and its limited availability. As a result,
Emory's Governmental and Community Affairs office is working closely
with the Georgia Chamber of Commerce, the Medical Association of Georgia
(MAG), and the Georgia Hospital Association to encourage legislative
reform. Emory strongly supports upcoming legislative proposals, which
include the following:
- Capping noneconomic damages (pain and suffering) at $250,000.
- Limiting expert witness qualifications. A physician who testifies
against another physician would have to practice the same speciality.
- Amending the dismissal rule. This proposal would level the playing
field by allowing a plaintiff to dismiss a case only one time instead
of two and prohibiting all dismissals after jury selection.
- Abolishing joint and several liability. According to this proposal,
damages would be apportioned based on the degree of fault attributed
to each defendant. Currently, each defendant is responsible for 100%
of the verdict at the option of the plaintiff.
- Establishing comparative negligence. A plaintiff's award would
be reduced by the degree of fault attributable to the plaintiff for
an alleged injury, such as failing to follow physician orders.
- Limiting attorney fees. This proposal would place attorney fees
on a sliding scale, with fees decreasing as the award increases.
Among those active in the effort to introduce medical liability reform
is our own Dr. Alan Plummer, who serves as MAG president.
"My ability to provide my patients with quality medical care is being
compromised by an out-of-control medical liability legal system," says
Dr. Plummer, a pulmonologist. To learn more about Georgia's medical
liability crisis, look for the article written by him in the Winter
2002�2003 issue of Momentum, which has just been published.
You can also contact Ms. Womack at 727-5306 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
We are all saddened by the passing
of Dr. Robert Schlant, Professor of Medicine Emeritus,
who died of cancer at his home on December 12. A skilled and internationally
renowned clinician, scholar, and educator, Dr. Schlant joined the faculty
in 1958, serving until his death. He provided leadership for many years
as Chief of the Division of Cardiology in the Department of Medicine
and as Chief of Cardiology at Grady Hospital. Three generations of medical
students, residents, and fellows will remember him as a respected educator
and compassionate physician. A prolific and respected author, Dr. Schlant
was an associate editor of The Heart, the landmark textbook
edited by Dr. Willis Hurst, Professor of Medicine Emeritus.
Dr. Schlant showed us "that a person can be a clinical scientist and
think in a logical manner, but at the same time, be a warm and compassionate
doctor," said Dr. Hurst of his friend and colleague in The Atlanta
is the new Director of Development in the Department of Human Genetics.
She joins us from the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, where she directed
development activities at the chapter and national levels. At Emory
she will help raise awareness and funds to advance research initiatives
and clinical programs in the department, which now includes the Division
of Medical Genetics, formerly led by Dr. Louis Elsas (Pediatrics),
now retired. The merger will foster collaboration between physicians
and basic scientists. Two upcoming objectives include establishing centers
for the study of Downs and Fragile X syndromes. Welcome aboard, Ms.
The SOM and Children's
Healthcare of Atlanta are taking major steps to enhance the institutions'
46-year partnership and shared mission. One includes building a new
$40 million pediatrics building, scheduled to open on Ridgewood Drive
in July 2004. Another is to create a joint leadership structure to strengthen
collaboration among Emory, Children's, and community physicians. One
leader will guide this structure, combining the Chair of Pediatrics
with Egleston's Medical Director. This individual also will serve as
President and CEO of the Emory Children's Center, the state's largest
multispecialty pediatric group practice, and will report to me and to
Dr. Jay Berkelhamer, Children's Senior Vice President,
Devn Cornish now serves as department Chair, President, and
CEO of the Emory Children's Center and President of the Emory�Egleston
Children's Research Center. Dr. Cornish has declined to be a candidate
for the new joint position and will begin a one-year sabbatical July
1 to complete an MPH degree at the Rollins School of Public Health.
He then will return as Professor of Pediatrics (Neonatology) and pursue
his interest in international child health. Dr. Cornish is one of the
nation's leading experts on ECMO (early extracorporeal membrane oxygenation),
helping newborns with life-threatening breathing problems. I thank Dr.
Cornish for his outstanding efforts and accomplishments as Chair of
Hospital (EUH) is one of three national test sites to implement surgical
quality performance measures first used by hospitals in the Veterans
Affairs (VA) Health System and then adopted for use by non-VA hospitals.
The National Surgical Quality Improvement Program (NSQIP), which recently
received kudos from the Institute of Medicine, was developed within
the VA to assess the quality of surgical care throughout the system.
The program monitors adverse events and provides feedback to care providers
and managers. From 1991 to 2000, 30-day postoperative deaths decreased
27% within the VA system.
Dr. Aaron Fink, Chief of Surgery at the Atlanta VA Medical
Center, led the non-VA hospital initiative and published a paper in
the Annals of Surgery demonstrating that non-VA hospitals can
effectively implement the NSQIP models and methodology to identify areas
of improvement and take steps to better surgical outcomes. "We firmly
believe this system will allow us to use available, robust, clinically
based data to identify areas in which we can continue to improve the
delivery of surgical care within EUH," says Dr. Fink. The non-VA initiative
has been expanded from the three test sites to 15 non-VA hospitals,
aided by funding from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality
and collaboration with the American College of Surgeons.
Nothing pleases me more than
to see our faculty earn recognition for their many contributions to
the field of medicine. Here are some highlights.
- Drs. Allen Beck and Hans Grossniklaus
(Ophthalmology) received achievement awards from the American Academy
of Ophthalmology for academic activities in the academy. The Georgia
Society of Ophthalmology honored Dr. Paul Sternberg
with the L.E. Brown Humanitarian Award for distinguished service to
- Dr. Alfred Brann (Pediatrics) received the 2002
Lifetime Achievement Award from the Georgia Chapter of the American
Academy of Pediatrics for his outstanding work and achievements in
neonatal and perinatal medicine in the state and throughout the world.
- Dr. Thomas Heffron (Surgery) received top billing
at the Georgia Chapter of the American Liver Foundation's inaugural
Salute to Excellence Tribute Dinner. Dr. Heffron was honored for his
pioneering efforts in transplantation and treatment of liver disease.
- Dr. David Lloyd (Pediatrics) received the 2002
Golden Apple Health Education Award from Children's Healthcare of
- Dr. Richard Rothenberg (Family and Preventive
Medicine) received the Thomas Parran Award from the American Sexually
Transmitted Disease Association for lifetime achievement in research
regarding the epidemiology of STDs and the dynamics of disease transmission.
- Ms. Barbara Schroeder (Dean's Office) received
the Presidential Award from the Georgia Society of Family Physicians
for her efforts to protect patients and promote family medicine.
- Dr. Dale Strasser (Rehabilitation Medicine) received
the 2002 Edward W. Lowman, MD, Award from the American Congress of
Rehabilitation Medicine. The award recognizes an individual whose
career promotes the spirit of interdisciplinary rehabilitation.
- Last fall, I was honored by Canisius College in New York with the
2002 Distinguished Alumni Award for outstanding career achievement
and by the State University of New York at Buffalo School of Medicine
and Biomedical Sciences with the 2002 Distinguished Medical Alumnus
Thomas J. Lawley, MD