Our graduation tradition
continued in May as 111 students in cap and gown received diplomas,
took the Hippocratic Oath, and signed "MD" after their names for the
first time ever. (Five of them signed "MD, PhD," and five others, "MD,
MPH.") The ceremony was unique in featuring the first African-American
commencement speaker in the SOM's history. Dr. Haile T. Debas,
distinguished Dean of the School of Medicine and Vice Chancellor of
Medical Affairs at University of California-San Francisco, underscored
a message that had been drilled into these students since their arrival
at Emory�"The patient must be the center of your universe, empathy can
be the most powerful of medicines, and caring is as important as curing."
The diploma ceremony
and Dean's reception provided an opportunity to recognize both students
and faculty for jobs well done. The class voted Dr. Whitaker
Sewell (Pathology) as its honorary member. The winner of the
coveted Papageorge Teaching Award was Dr. John Pooler (Physiology).
Meanwhile, student Jennifer Nash received the Papageorge
Outstanding Student Award and shared the Anne Elizabeth and Harper Gaston
Service Scholarship with Jeremy Hess, one of the class's
eight Woodruff Scholars. Jill Jarrell and Ruth
Shim received the Eldon L. Bolton Service Awards, and Joshua
Lawson, Dr. David Lawson's (Hematology-Oncology) son, received
the Dean's Award for academic excellence and other exemplary qualities.
Other faculty offspring among the graduates included Sarah Aaberg
(Dr. Thomas Aaberg, Ophthalmology), Laura
DeLong (Dr. Mahlon DeLong, Neurology), and
George and Timothy Waring (Dr.
George Waring, Ophthalmology).
At the university's
main commencement ceremony, Dr. Anthony Fauci, director
of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, received
an honorary degree. The SOM also awarded 20 associate's, two bachelor's,
and 79 master's degrees in medical science as well as five doctoral
degrees in physical therapy. A high five to all graduates!
Please join me in welcoming Dr.
Sarah Berga as the new Chair of the Department of Gynecology
and Obstetrics. She comes to us from University of Pittsburgh School
of Medicine, where she is currently Professor of Obstetrics, Gynecology,
and Reproductive Sciences and Director of the Division of Reproductive
Endocrinology and Infertility with a joint appointment in the Department
of Psychiatry. Dr. Berga serves as Editor-in-Chief of Current Problems
in Obstetrics, Gynecology and Fertility and is a board member with
the American Society for Reproductive Medicine.
Dr. Larry McIntire
joins us in July as Chair of the Wallace Coulter Department of Biomedical
Engineering at Emory and Georgia Tech. A prominent biotechnology expert,
Dr. McIntire is Chair of Rice University's Department of Bioengineering
and the Institute for Biosciences and Bioengineering, which promotes
cross-disciplinary research and education at Rice and neighboring institutions.
He also holds appointments at the University of Texas Medical School�Houston,
Baylor College of Medicine, and M.D. Anderson Cancer Center and is a
member of the National Academy of Engineering. His research focuses
on understanding the interplay between fluid mechanics, convective mass
transport, cell biology, and molecular biology in the cardiovascular
Stoll has been appointed Interim Chair of the Department of
Pediatrics beginning on June 14. A member of the SOM faculty since 1986,
she currently serves as Professor and Vice Chair of Clinical Research
for the department. Dr. Stoll has been involved in numerous international
activities related to pediatric diseases and was co-chair of the Institute
of Medicine's study on "Improving Birth Outcomes in Developing Countries."
Her research interests include infectious diseases of the neonate and
the immune mechanisms related to their diagnosis.
Dr. Jeffrey Houpt will resign
by May 2004 as Dean of UNC's School of Medicine and Chief Executive
Officer of the UNC Health Care System. One of the nation's longest-serving
deans, he took over the UNC post in 1997 after leading Emory's medical
school from 1989 to 1996. "I decided I had done the job for 14 years,
and it is time to pass the baton to someone else," says Dr. Houpt, who
will resume teaching at UNC.
Drs. Nadine Kaslow
(Psychiatry) and Angela Caliendo (Medicine) will participate
in the Hedwig van Amerigen Executive Leadership in Academic Medicine
(ELAM) program this fall. The fellowship prepares women faculty in medicine
and dentistry for senior leadership positions at academic health centers
in the United States and Canada. "I'm excited about learning from the
fellowship faculty and my colleagues more about the roles, demands,
and challenges associated with administrative and leadership positions
as well as creative and innovative strategies and solutions for effectively
negotiating these responsibilities and challenges," says Dr. Kaslow.
Dr. Caliendo is enthusiastic about "ELAM's thoughtful approach to leadership
in academic medicine and science" to improve her own skills so she can
better serve Emory Healthcare and the SOM. "This tremendous opportunity
will allow me to further reflect upon and study leadership and its applications,"
The SOM has moved up from
23rd to 21st in the country for overall NIH research awards. Our NIH
funding increased 17.1%, from $122.1 million in FY01 to $143 million
in FY02. Several departments ranked in the top 20 US departments in
their specialties: Rehabilitation Medicine (3), Microbiology and Immunology
(4), Neurology (6), Dermatology (10), Pharmacology (11), Family and
Preventive Medicine (12), Neurosurgery (16), Gynecology and Obstetrics
(16), Pathology (16), Ophthalmology (18), and Psychiatry (18).
"We're proud of Emory's
continuing climb in the NIH funding ranks�a rise of 10 positions since
FY96," reports Dr. Robert Rich, Executive Associate
Dean for Research and Strategic Initiatives. "Emory is seen around the
country as a medical school �on the move,' and the NIH data support
that perception. This year's rise might represent a first reflection
of our recent increase in research space, with the opening of the Whitehead
Building. We're hoping to see still more evidence over the next several
US News & World Report recently ranked the SOM as the 19th best medical school
in the country for research in its "2004 Best Graduate Schools" edition.
We ranked 20th last year. Our Physician Assistant Program was ranked
3rd this year (it was 4th last year), and our Physical Therapy Program
was ranked 3rd in 2000, the last year this program was ranked.
While we listed our many faculty
who are also journal editors in last month's Dean's Letter,
we have many book editors and authors as well. Some recent publications
include one of the largest medical textbooks of its kind in the country,
edited by our own Dr. William Branch (Medicine). The
nationally recognized Office Practice of Medicine (W.B. Saunders
Company) is now in its fourth edition and is more comprehensive than
earlier editions. Many SOM faculty contributed several chapters�Dr.
Branch wrote nine of them�designed to help practitioners address the
challenges of primary care by enhancing their efficiency and clinical
skills. "Many people consider this book to be a standard for outpatient
medicine," he says.
Drs. Jeremy Boss (Microbiology and Immunology) and Susan Eckert
(School of Nursing) recently penned Academic Scientists at Work:
Navigating the Biomedical Research Career (Kluwer Academic/Plenum
Publishers). The book and accompanying CD offer a humorous take on getting
a job in scientific academia, setting up a laboratory and research group,
writing grants and research papers, gaining tenure, and other helpful
Dr. Erica Frank (Family and Preventive Medicine) recently published the third
English-language edition as well as an Italian-language version of Women
in Medicine (Springer). This book offers a practical and academic
review of the status of women in medicine in the United States and includes
information from her Women Physicians' Health Study.
Speaking of journal
editors, we inadvertently failed to mention that Dr. Nanette
Wenger (Medicine/Cardiology) is Editor-in-Chief of the American
Journal of Geriatric Cardiology, the official journal of the Society
of Geriatric Cardiology. With an editorial office at Grady Hospital,
the journal has a circulation of 20,000 among cardiologists, geriatricians,
Our SOM researchers have achieved
some astounding results in recent months.
- Dr. Frederick Nolte (Pathology) has demonstrated
the validity of a rapid laboratory test capable of determining whether
a patient has SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome). His molecular
diagnostic laboratory at Emory University Hospital used a PCR (polymerase
chain reaction) test that took about four hours to confirm the presence
of the SARS virus fragment in a sample provided by a laboratory in
Germany. Many researchers around the world are working to find accurate
diagnostic tests since SARS remains an elusive diagnosis.
- Scientists in Dr. Paul Wade's (Pathology) laboratory
have discovered a link between estrogen receptors�the molecules that
bind the estrogen hormone to cells�and invasive growth of breast cancer.
"Our findings have important consequences for the treatment of patients
with drugs that target the estrogen receptor, and they provide a mechanistic
explanation for a pathway that may lead to cancer progression," reports
Dr. Wade. The journal Cell published the laboratory's findings
in April (postdoctoral fellow Dr. Naoyuki Fujita
is lead author).
- Researchers at Emory Hospital performed the state's first islet
cell transplant on a type 1 (early onset) diabetes patient. Her transplanted
islet cells began functioning normally, and her blood glucose levels
returned to normal for the first time in 33 years. The islet transplant
marks the beginning of a clinical trial at Emory modeled after a successful
procedure in Alberta, Canada, in which islet cells are harvested from
a donor pancreas and injected through a small incision into the liver
of the recipient. Drs. Chris Larsen and Tom
Pearson (Surgery) have been leading the transplant field
in developing strategies that eventually may allow true immune tolerance
and long-term acceptance of transplanted organs and tissues without
the need for harmful immunosuppressive drugs.
Thomas J. Lawley, MD