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Medical education update

For the next six months, Dr. Jonas Shulman, Executive Associate Dean for Medical Education and Student Affairs, will devote all of his time to SOM initiatives in curriculum evaluation and enhancement. For Dr. Shulman to focus on this endeavor, Dr. Bill Eley, Associate Dean for Student Affairs and Director of Admissions, will serve as Acting Executive Associate Dean for Medical Education and Student Affairs.

Dr. Shulman has served the medical education field for 40 years. He won many teaching awards, mentored thousands of students, and held numerous leadership roles before becoming Executive Associate Dean for Medical Education and Student Affairs in 1991. Our current curriculum reflects many changes that came about under his leadership, and more educational changes loom on the horizon. Dr. Shulman and I plan to visit several innovative institutions and begin discussions with our own Department Chairs, Course and Clerkship Directors, faculty, students, and alumni to develop new programs that will enrich and enhance the training of Emory medical students.

"We hope to develop a curriculum that will assure a thorough core education in the basic and clinical sciences as well as help develop the critical thinking, curiosity, and interest in innovation that are necessary for future outstanding physician leaders," says Dr. Shulman. "More interplay in the teaching program between the clinical and basic sciences will clearly be important in achieving a dynamic, interesting, and appropriate educational background for our students whose future careers will range from clinical medicine to research, public health, and biomedical engineering."

I am also grateful to Dr. Eley for his willingness to expand his responsibilities. He assumed the role of Associate Dean for Student Affairs and Director of Admissions in 1999. His knowledge and administrative strengths--and the respect and affection in which the students hold him--will assure that these functions of the medical school proceed smoothly. I would also like to recognize Drs. Joel Felner, Kate Heilpern, Robert Lee, Alan Otsuki, and Ira Schwartz, all of whom work diligently to support our students as members of the medical education and student affairs team. I look forward to working with this team as we develop new and better ways to educate and mentor our students.

Match Day blastoff

"Five, four, three, two, one!" No it wasn't a space launch. It was Match Day 2004, when our M4 students counted down the final seconds before opening the envelopes telling them where they would train as residents. They were among more than 25,000 students nationwide who applied to the National Residency Match Program, which matches students with available residency positions at US teaching hospitals.

This year, 99 of 106 Emory graduates participated in Match Day, while four took part in the Military Match and three deferred residency. Of all our students who matched, 39 will remain in Emory's Affiliated Hospital Training Programs. Sixty-five of all matching students chose primary care specialties, including internal medicine (34) and pediatrics (9). The most popular medical specialties were emergency medicine (10), surgery (10), radiology/diagnostic (7), and anesthesiology (5). Radiology and anesthesiology experienced shortages on the national level, so I am especially pleased to see students selecting these areas again. Our M4s will enter residency programs in 23 states, with 43 students remaining in Georgia.

Best and brightest

One evening in March, faculty, friends, and family gathered at 103 West Restaurant in Buckhead to honor the newly elected members of Emory's Beta Chapter of Alpha Omega Alpha (AOA) Honor Medical Society. Election to AOA is based on outstanding scholastic achievement, integrity, capacity for leadership, compassion, and fairness in dealing with colleagues.

"The SOM is extremely proud of the outstanding calibre of students, house officers, faculty, and alumni," says Dr. Kate Heilpern, Assistant Dean, who has succeeded Dr. Jonas Shulman as AOA Chapter Councillor. "They are the embodiment of scholarship, professionalism, and promise for the future of medicine."

This year's M4 student honorees are Liana Abramova, Marc Azran, Clay Chappell, Justin Cole, Robert Cole, Dan Cooke, Alexis Cutchins, Lee Demertzis, Colleen Kelley, Mehran Mehrabi, Christine Ragusa, Lewis Satterwhite, Jesse Schuette, and Kim Singh. Inductees from the M3 class are John Heflin, Adam Lowry, Brie Poindexter, Kelly Schlendorf, and Cliff Willimon. House staff honorees include Drs. Werner Albrich (Medicine), Erick Folch (Medicine), and Nicolas McLean (Otolaryngology). Faculty honorees are Drs. Douglas Mattox (Otolaryngology) and Nancy Newman (Ophthalmology), and the alumnus honoree--and faculty member--is Dr. Thomas Pearson (Surgery).

Congratulations also are in order for M3 student Duoc (Doug) Chung, who received the AOA's Student Research Fellowship for 2004. Dr. Haian Fu, Associate Professor (Pharmacology), will mentor Doug on his project, "Investigating the role of aberrant 14-3-3 cell survival signaling in the oncogenesis of head and neck squamous cell carcinomas."

True dedication

The Faculty Committee on Appointments and Promotions is one of the SOM's most important committees. It reviews the credentials of the many potential candidates that departments wish to hire at senior faculty ranks and helps evaluate faculty recommended by department chairs for promotions to Associate Professor or Professor. "The members of the committee strive to evaluate each faculty member who is proposed for promotion or appointment in a fair and equitable way," says Dr. Margaret Offermann (Hematology/Oncology), committee chair. "It's a privilege to work with such a devoted group of people. We have all developed a deep appreciation for the diverse talents and commitment of the faculty in the SOM."

Four new faculty members are already hard at work on the committee. They are Drs. Anita Corbett (Biochemistry), Grace Rozycki (Surgery), Cyril Spann (Gynecology/Obstetrics), and Viola Vaccarino (Medicine). Other committee members include Drs. T.J. Murphy (Pharmacology), Carlos Del Rio (Medicine), Timothy Greenamyre (Neurology), Stephanie Sherman (Genetics), Richard Nichols (Physiology), Kenneth Bernstein (Pathology/Laboratory Medicine), and Michael Davis (Psychiatry/Behavioral Sciences).

I am deeply committed to faculty development, which includes recruiting and promoting women to senior faculty ranks. The SOM now has more senior female faculty than ever. "Twenty female faculty were promoted to senior ranks during 2002-2003," reports Dr. Claudia Adkison, Executive Associate Dean, Administration and Faculty Affairs. "Nearly half of the pending appointments and promotions to senior ranks for 2003-2004 are for women."

Grady trims workforce

In an effort to help curtail a $30 million deficit, Grady Memorial Hospital laid off 226 non-medical employees last month. This move will not affect patient care, says Grady CEO and President Dr. Andrew Agwunobi. Beginning April 1, the hospital also began charging uninsured patients who live outside DeKalb and Fulton counties for some services. They will be charged at the Medicaid rate. Patients privately insured or on Medicaid, Medicare, or other government-funded plans will not be affected. Emergency Department services will not be cut back.

We care deeply about Grady's future. It not only is a valuable resource for the SOM as a teaching hospital, but it is vital to the quality of health care in Atlanta. It is a "safety net" for patients from Atlanta and surrounding areas, and its Centers of Excellence, such as the trauma center, burn unit, and sickle cell clinic, provide the very best care available in Atlanta and possibly the Southeast. These cutbacks are a tangible reminder that Grady is an endangered resource that needs enhanced support from Fulton and DeKalb counties, state government, and the corporate community.

Gift from the heart

In a characteristic move that epitomizes his selfless devotion to his profession and his patients, Dr. Kamal Mansour (Surgery) and his wife, Cleo, have made a substantial gift to establish the Kamal A. Mansour Professorship of Thoracic Surgery. Dr. Mansour, affectionately known to thousands of residents as "The Professor" for his love of teaching, will retire this year after an illustrious 36-year career with the SOM.

Dr. Mansour has pioneered lifesaving techniques in thoracic surgery and has shared his knowledge and experience not only with Emory residents, but also with physicians and surgeons in his native Egypt. "I am deeply indebted to Emory for my many years of association here, including the freedom to practice surgery, teach residents, and help establish the section of general thoracic surgery, in addition to training residents and assisting physicians in Egypt," Dr. Mansour remarks. "I wanted [this gift] to express my gratitude to Emory, and I am proud to have my name associated with the general thoracic surgery section. I hope this professorship will encourage young surgeons who are interested in working in this field."

Commencement preview

Please join us for Commencement on Monday, May 10, at 8:00 am on the Quadrangle (come dressed in academic regalia by 7:45 am to avoid the crush). The SOM reception for graduates and families immediately follows at 9:45 am on the WHSCAB Plaza, and the diploma ceremony is at 11:45 am in Glenn Memorial Auditorium. Dr. James Gavin III, President of Morehouse School of Medicine, will speak at the diploma ceremony.

Faculty also are invited to two pre-commencement activities-the SOM Senior Banquet (for students graduating with an MD degree) on Friday, May 7, at 6:30 pm at the Biltmore Hotel in Midtown and the Dean's Reception (for all graduating students and their families) on Sunday, May 9, from 3:00 to 5:00 pm on the WHSCAB Plaza. See you there!

Thomas J. Lawley, MD

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