A donor has made a challenge
grant of $20 million to construct a new $40 million research and clinical
building for the Department of Pediatrics and the Emory Children�s Center
on Ridgeview Drive behind Children�s Healthcare of Atlanta at Egleston
and across from the current pediatric facilities. The building will
house a floor of clinical space to make room for an improvement project
planned for Children�s and will improve care and access to clinical
research programs for patients referred by community physicians. It
also will include four floors of research space and offices for physicians
now in temporary buildings behind Children�s. For the first time in
decades, all Emory pediatric physicians will be under the same roof
when the building is occupied in July 2004.
An anonymous donor has given $1 million
to establish an endowment for the Kirk Kanter Chair in Pediatric Cardiothoracic
Surgery and another $1 million to establish an endowment for the Andrew
Smith Chair in Cardiology. An adult patient of both physicians provided
FACHE, has been appointed Director, Atlanta Veterans Affairs
Medical Center. He succeeds William Mountcastle, CHE,
who was appointed Director of the Ralph A. Johnson Medical Center in
Charleston, South Carolina. Before coming to the VA here, Mr. Cappello
was the Deputy Network Director for the US region designated as VISN-7
(Veterans Integrated Service Network), Atlanta Network. In that role
he was responsible for health care delivery, budgeting, and strategic
planning for VA medical centers and health care facilities in Georgia,
Alabama, and South Carolina. He began his career with the Department
of Veterans Affairs in 1970 and eventually was appointed the first Director
of the integrated Veterans Affairs Pittsburgh Healthcare System in 1996.
"I believe our affiliation with Emory has been an important factor in
allowing us to be an industry leader in advancing patient safety, preventive
care, and research," he says. And it shows. The Atlanta VA received
a total of $25.7 million in research dollars in 2002 and is ranked 12th
out of 145 VA medical centers nationally for research funding.
Our students have
done it again. Five M2 students went home with top honors during the
48th Annual Medical Student Research Day in January. Winners include
Michael Cheng, recipient of the Helen Miller Award for the most outstanding
and meritorious short-term research project; Candice Smith-Teunis,
recipient of the Dean�s Award for exceptional research accomplishment;
and Kyle Rusthoven, recipient of the Judge�s Award
for the best poster presentation. Additionally, Kainne Dokubo
and Jennifer Dewey each received an American Federation
for Medical Research Award for outstanding research potential. Congratulations
to our students and to the faculty and staff who make this special day
possible, including Dr. David Lambeth (Pathology and
Laboratory Medicine), keynote speaker, and Dr. Gerald Shadel
(Biochemistry), Chair of the Faculty Committee for Medical Research.
All play a valuable role in helping students learn to evaluate new ideas
based on evidence-based medicine.
The tragic loss of seven astronauts
aboard the Columbia space shuttle hit especially close to home for one
of our researchers. When the Columbia took flight, it carried 80 scientific
experiments, including one led by Dr. Leland Chung,
whose research centers in Urology and the Winship Cancer Institute.
Dr. Chung and his co-investigators at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research
Center in Seattle and the University of Virginia were using the shuttle
as a zero gravity laboratory to study how prostate cancer metastasizes
to bone. Previous experiments in zero gravity have helped scientists
understand the development of heart, bone, muscle, and endocrine organs,
and the locomotion of inflammatory cells and tumor cells. All of these
experiments show that space flight is an important way to advance science.
Dr. Chung plans to validate the rich
volume of data he received from the shuttle experiment to continue his
work in developing better prevention and treatment strategies for prostate
cancer. "We want to dedicate every paper we publish on this series of
studies to our partner astronauts," wrote Dr. Chung in a letter to NASA.
"Our dreams of discovery and innovation will always include a piece
of our NASA family."
The Division of Campus Life presented
M3 student Nishant Shah with a 2003 Humanitarian Award
at a special ceremony this semester. He was one of six university students
to receive awards for outstanding humanitarian service. Dr.
Jonas Shulman, Executive Associate Dean of Medical Education
and Student Affairs, nominated Mr. Shah for his accomplishments within
the Schools of Medicine and Public Health and his role in health student
leadership in Georgia and volunteerism at hospitals in Washington, DC,
and Cambodia. "I am most impressed by this young man," says Dr. Shulman.
"He is capable of improving the health care of others in both the large-scale
public arena as well as the intimacy of the doctor-patient interaction."
From time to time,
I like to highlight creative initiatives that keep us in the black.
Dr. Theresa Kramer (Ophthalmology) has developed a
denials management program that has decreased her department�s insurance-related
denials by $400,000 in the three months it has been in place. It has
worked so well to increase collections that the Clinic has combined
her idea with those from other departments to create a system-wide program,
the first phase of which will be implemented soon. "It�s staggering
how much money Medicare and other insurance carriers spend on paperwork
and denying claims and how much we lose on coding errors and inconsistent
reasons for denials," she reports.
The program is a three-pronged approach
that determines why carriers deny certain types of claims, identifies
which carriers deny certain claims, and finds where coding problems
occur within the department by producing a quarterly report. This last
step is crucial because departments can find the sources of repeated
mistakes and correct them by providing feedback and training.
"We plan eventually to move all ophthalmology-related
denials that Patient Financial Services now has to handle back into
our department," she says. "Since these denials represent 85% of all
denial types, we anticipate a bigger impact than we�re seeing now."
It�s fairly easy to get on the bandwagon, too. Review the new "I-Convert"
denial reports that your department now should be receiving and identify
any coding error trends.
Recently, my office, in
cooperation with the Committee on the Status of Women, welcomed Ms.
Janet Bickel, Associate Vice President for Medical School Affairs
and Director of the Women in Medicine Program at the American Association
of Medical Colleges (AAMC). A well-known co-creator of a series of professional
development seminars for women physicians and scientists, Ms. Bickel
came to Emory to meet and talk with interested faculty and trainees
about professional development in general and career development and
mentoring needs specifically. She presented the findings from the AAMC�s
Implementation Committee for Increasing Women�s Leadership in Academic
Medicine and led a series of workshops geared to faculty and trainees.
We also invited her to engage in a discussion on faculty development
with the Council of Chairs. By all accounts, the day was a success,
and it was wonderful to see so many of our faculty and trainees engaged
in dialogue about these very relevant topics. I want to thank the Committee
on the Status of Women, led by past Chair Dr. Nadine Kaslow
(Psychiatry) and current chair Dr. Kay Vydareny (Radiology),
for helping us organize this event.
Get your grant proposals
ready. Junior faculty interested in pursuing a career in patient-oriented
research should apply for the Emory Mentored Clinical Research Scholars
Program (EMCRS), which is funded by a $6.6 million grant from the NIH/National
Center for Research Resources. The program consists of didactic training
through the Masters of Science in Clinical Research program and mentored
clinical research training under the direction of an established Emory
investigator. Individuals accepted into the program will devote 75%
to 90% of their time to clinical research activities, and the grant
will provide an equivalent amount of salary support. Additionally, research
support ($30,000 per year) is provided for up to five years. Applications,
which are available at www.medicine.emory.edu/EMCRS,
are due April 1. For more information, contact Cheryl Sroka,
Program Coordinator, at email@example.com
Faculty also may apply for funding
through the Coulter Translational/Clinical Research Seed Grant Program.
Your research must address a problem or issue directly related to the
prevention, diagnosis, or treatment of human disease. Each proposal
must have one co-investigator from the Coulter Department of Biomedical
Engineering (BME) at Georgia Tech and Emory and one from another department
in the SOM. One-year grants range from $75,000 to $100,000, with a possible
extension based on progress. For more information, contact Molly
Croft, Director of Development, BME, at 404-385-0128 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
You can also visit www.bme.gatech.
edu. Applications are due June 2.
The Emory Clinic celebrates
its golden jubilee this year. Did you know that the Clinic was created
in January 1953 in large part to support the SOM? The 17 founding fathers
needed a place where faculty could practice and generate income to help
pay for teachers� salaries. Of course, it provided more than that: Atlantans
didn�t have to travel outside the state to receive world-class health
care. A sum of $1 million, donated by Atlanta business leader Robert
W. Woodruff, was set aside for a new building (now Clinic Building A)
completed in May 1956. What a great success the Clinic has been and
what a bright future it has!
Thomas J. Lawley, MD