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Inside orthopaedics

Major changes are under way to take the Department of Orthopaedics to even greater heights. "While no one else locally can compete with our excellence in research, education, and patient care�not to mention our talented cadre of surgeons and physicians�we are working toward taking the department to new levels of national prominence and enhancing customer service and access to clinical care services," says Dr. James Roberson, chair of the department since June 2002.

The department will begin moving its outpatient services next month into a renovated, 95,000-square-foot building at 59 Executive Park South, near North Druid Hills Road and I-85. The move is designed to bring under one roof all comprehensive musculoskeletal and orthopaedic outpatient services, including ambulatory surgery, spine medicine, sports medicine, alternative medicine, radiology, physiatry, and physical therapy, as well as clinical and basic science research space and a prosthetics and orthotics shop. All five floors of the building should be occupied in February.

Here are some of the department's other major accomplishments during the past year:
  • Recruited Dr. Robert Harris as the new Chief of Service at Grady Memorial Hospital and three additional orthopaedic surgeons, Drs. Lisa Cannada and Mark Hammerberg, who specialize in trauma surgery, and Sandra Tomack. The new faculty have helped increase clinical productivity at Grady by 75% and enhance research and teaching.
  • Recruited faculty with subspecialty training to complement musculoskeletal services. They are Drs. Greg Erens (reconstructive surgery), Rick Hatch (sports medicine), Laura Hatch and Ken Mautner (physiatry), and Shervin Oskouie (musculoskeletal oncology).
  • Continued participation in the Spine Patient Outcomes Research Trial (SPORT): Degenerative Spondylolisthesis with Spinal Stenosis. The largest federally funded research study in orthopaedics, SPORT tests the effectiveness of different treatments for the three most commonly diagnosed conditions of the lumbar spine and determines whether surgery or nonsurgical therapy works better for specific types of low back pain. Dr. Scott Boden serves as Emory's principal investigator.
  • Began recruiting patients for 12 new clinical research trials, including a study using a new disc substitute, the Bryan Cervical Disc, and a pilot study on a minimally invasive procedure for herniated discs called electrothermal disc decompression (EDD). Dr. John Ree is leading the study on the disc substitute, which is used for patients undergoing discectomy. The disc helps keep range of motion and helps eliminate the need for a spine fusion. The EDD study, led by Dr. Michael Schaufele, uses a catheter to heat the herniated disc material to reduce pain and size of herniated discs.

White badge of honor

"...For you will be invincible and vulnerable in the same breath/ which is the breath of your patients/ For their breath is our breathing and our reason..." So goes an excerpt from Professor of Medicine Emeritus Dr. John Stone's poem, "Gaudeamus Igitur,"* a fitting reminder of the impact of wearing a "white coat." On October 11, 114 M1 students and nearly 500 family members and guests learned that the first white coat is a vital step in the exciting journey to become a doctor. The annual White Coat Ceremony began with music from the Teresa Texeria Trio and a procession of students, led by Associate Dean Dr. Robert Lee. Dr. Jonas Shulman, Executive Associate Dean, provided an overview of what the students will experience in medical school. Dr. William Wood, Chairman, Department of Surgery, gave an eloquent presentation about professionalism and the need for physicians to remain true to the altruism and high ideals that initially brought them to medical school. Drs. Shulman and Maxwell White, President, Emory Medical Alumni Association, and William Eley and Ira Schwartz, Associate and Assistant Deans, respectively, presented the white coats and copies of Dr. Stone's book, On Doctoring. Following Dr. Schwartz's closing remarks, we all recited the Hippocratic Oath. The Office of Medical Education and Student Affairs then hosted a reception on the WHSCAB Plaza.

In memoriam

Dr. Igor Stojiljkovic, Associate Professor, Department of Microbiology and Immunology, passed away on Friday, October 10, after a long illness. He was only 44. "Dr. Stojiljkovic was recognized internationally as an outstanding young investigator in microbial pathogenesis," remembers his department's Chairman, Dr. Richard Compans. "Because of his enthusiasm for research and his dedication as a mentor, he attracted numerous students and postdoctoral fellows to his laboratory." He also worked collaboratively with faculty in other areas of research at Emory.

Dr. Stojiljkovic received his medical and doctoral degrees from the University of Zagreb, Croatia. He came to Emory in 1995. For more information on the Stojiljkovic Lecture Memorial Fund, please call Charles Sparkman, the department's administrator, at 712-2346.

*From On Doctoring: Stories, Poems, Essays by Drs. John Stone and Richard Reynolds, Simon & Schuster, New York, 2001 (3rd Edition).

Construction update

The long-awaited Emory Faculty Building at Grady Memorial Hospital opened for occupancy this month. "The building is a wonderful addition to Emory's presence at Grady and has been much needed for a long time," says Dr. Joel Felner, Associate Dean for Clinical Education. "It provides faculty with offices and classrooms in close proximity to where their primary work responsibilities are and includes areas for small- and large-group teaching."

Funded by the Emory Medical Care Foundation and the SOM, the $15 million, 68,000-square-foot building is located on the corner of Armstrong Street and Jesse Hill Jr. Drive. It has a total of four floors, with the first floor dedicated to education. This floor has five large classrooms, a resident/medical student gathering area and lounge with 250 lockers, and Dr. Felner's administrative office. It also has dedicated standardized patient exam rooms that soon will be equipped with audiovisual equipment for faculty to observe students conducting physical examinations. The three upper floors house 160 offices for faculty and staff and 81 work stations for administrative personnel. The building will allow our faculty to vacate more than 10,000 square feet of hospital space so that Grady can use it for its own needs.

Gold star teacher

Alpha Omega Alpha (AOA), the Association of American Medical Colleges' medical honor society, has selected Dr. Joel Felner, Associate Dean for Clinical Education, as one of four national recipients of the Robert J. Glaser AOA Award for 2003. The award recognizes him as an outstanding medical educator who provides students with a strong foundation and an outstanding educational experience.z

"I was thrilled to receive this award for it is the culmination of my love for teaching," says Dr. Felner, who has been honored for this vocation on many occasions. "I am blessed with what I believe is the best job in the medical school. I am able to interact with students as early as their sophomore year, write each of their Dean's letters in their senior year as well as work with superb housestaff and cardiology fellows when I wear my clinical hat."

Dr. Felner is well known among students as a cardiologist, a mentor in the second-year Problem-Based Learning course, and director of the basic science course, Pathophysiology. He developed a very popular senior elective course, starring "Harvey," a mannequin that is used for studying advanced cardiac physical diagnosis. His research interests include using transesophageal echocardiography in patients with chest trauma and developing computer-based teaching techniques.

NLM highlights two faculty

It's not every day that you get your name in lights, but Drs. Nanette Wenger, Professor of Medicine, and Flavia Mercado, Assistant Professor of Pediatrics, have come close. They are featured in a National Library of Medicine (NLM) exhibit on "Changing the Face of Medicine" at the NIH in Bethesda, Maryland. The exhibit honors the lives and achievements of outstanding American women physicians. Dr. Wenger was among the first physicians to focus on coronary heart disease and women, and Dr. Mercado teaches the value of cultural competency to all of her students and is deeply concerned with the problems that arise from English-only health care providers delivering acute medical care to non-English-speaking patients. The interactive exhibit opened last month and will continue through April 5, 2005. Look for these faculty on the exhibit's website,

Cr�me de la cr�me

While we have featured several faculty for their outstanding achievements in the profiles above, there are many other SOM high achievers worth mentioning:
  • Dr. Willis Hurst, Professor of Medicine Emeritus, has received a unique honor and a fitting tribute to his esteemed service as an educator and mentor. Internal Medicine has renamed its residency training program as the Willis J. Hurst Internal Medicine Residency Training Program.
  • Dr. Nadine Kaslow (Psychiatry) has been awarded the 2004 Distinguished Contributions to Education and Training Award from the American Psychological Association. She'll receive her award at the association's annual convention next summer.
  • Dr. Larry McIntire (Biomedical Engineering) recently was awarded the Biomedical Engineering Society Distinguished Service Award for 2003.
  • Dr. Joseph Ouslander (Medicine) was named the 2003 Continence Care Champion by the Board of Directors of the National Association for Continence of the American Geriatrics Society.
  • Dr. Lisa Tenover (Medicine) recently received the 2003 American Society of Andrology's Distinguished Service Award from the Society of Andrology.

Thomas J. Lawley, MD

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