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Reaching for the stars

I am impressed with the incredible ways our students serve the community and provide for individuals in need, an integral part of the SOM's mission. Hoping to increase funding in this area, Lindsay Kim (M2) and Arun Mohan (M3) founded REACH (Recognizing and Encouraging Aspirations in Community Health) to encourage first-year students to perform community health outreach during the summer. They raised $10,000 of this year's funding from the generous support of faculty, staff, and students, and the Dr. Sidney Howell Fleming Faculty Service Award provided nearly $25,000 for additional grants. "We seek to provide financial assistance to students who will be making a direct impact on the health of a community, both domestic and abroad," says Ms. Kim.

Four SOM students received REACH grants at the inaugural award ceremony this spring. Nnenna Aguocha (M1) was awarded $2,500 to travel to South Africa to work with HIV/AIDS sex education workers. Larissa Thomas, Omar Javery, and Rupali Shah (all M1s) each received $1,500 to go to Quito, Ecuador. They will work with the Universidad de San Francisco de Quito to assess which health initiatives the community needs most and lay the groundwork for future medical students who will work on those initiatives.

REACH also honored Dr. Keith Wood, Professor of Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences; Dr. Kathleen Toomey, Director of the Division of Public Health in Georgia's Department of Human Resources; and Dr. David Sencer, former CDC Director, for their career contributions to community health. Our own Dr. Wood received the Fleming Faculty Service Award, named in honor of the late Dr. Fleming, Associate Professor of Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences and a 1964 graduate of the SOM. The only female in her graduating class, Dr. Fleming directed resident training and served on the SOM's admissions committee for more than 35 years. She passed away in February 2003.

Changes in Clinic leadership

Please join me in congratulating Dr. Wright Caughman, Chair of the Department of Dermatology, as the new Director of The Emory Clinic and Executive Associate Dean for Clinical Affairs/Emory Clinic, effective September 1. In this dual half-time position, he will be responsible for clinical leadership and medical oversight, as well as management and administration of the Clinic's affairs, subject to the control of the Board of Directors. He will report to me for faculty and clinical department strategic development efforts and to Mr. John Fox, President and CEO of Emory Healthcare, for Clinic operations issues. Dr. Caughman will continue directing his own SOM department and Clinic section.

The board also appointed Dr. Ira Horowitz, Vice Chair of the Department of Gynecology & Obstetrics, as Associate Director of the Clinic, and I appointed him as Assistant Dean for Clinical Affairs in the SOM, effective September 1. Since this joint position is quarter time, he will continue with his current Clinic and SOM responsibilities.

Dr. Caughman is an excellent choice for his new roles in the Clinic and the SOM. His experience and expert handling of key financial and operational committees at the Clinic will contribute to his dynamic leadership. Dr. Horowitz has taken on expanding leadership responsibilities in recent years, and I am glad he will be working alongside Dr. Caughman in their new roles.

Additionally, I am very proud of Dr. Rein Saral's many accomplishments as the Clinic's Director, and I wish him well in his new endeavors. Rein has overseen enormous organizational and operational changes in the Clinic, and we all owe him a great debt of gratitude for all of his hard work on behalf of Emory. Beginning this fall, he will continue to serve as Winship Cancer Institute's Senior Associate Director, a role he took on when the Clinic Director's position was made half time last December, and will expand his responsibilities as Associate Medical Director for Emory Hospitals.

SOM still tops

In a recent issue, U.S. News & World Report ranked the SOM as the 19th best medical school in the country, and our joint program in Biomedical Engineering, which was launched in 1997 in cooperation with Georgia Tech, moved up four spots to rank 2nd in the nation.

We also were recognized for the SOM's medical specialty program in AIDS (15th) and internal medicine (21st). The news magazine ranked our master's degree program in physical therapy 8th in the nation, and our physician's assistant program continues to rank 3rd (this program was not re-evaluated this year).

New developments

Here are a few of the notable grants and gifts received by the SOM in recent months:
  • The NIH has awarded a $19 million, five-year grant for HIV vaccine development to Novavax, Inc., along with partners in the SOM and the SOM's Vaccine Center, Tulane University, and the University of Pittsburgh. The award is part of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease Vaccine Design and Development Teams program. The Emory team of researchers includes Dr. Richard Compans (Chair, Microbiology & Immunology) and colleagues Drs. Sang-Moo Kang and Andrei Vzorov as well as Chinglai Yang (SOM Vaccine Center).
  • The Carlos and Marguerite Mason Trust has awarded $2 million to create the Carlos and Marguerite Mason Chair for Liver Transplantation, which will be jointly shared by Emory and Children's Healthcare. The trust also has awarded $1.8 million to the Emory Transplant Center to create the Mason Transplant Outpatient Clinic at Emory Hospital.
  • The Zeist Foundation has established the Dr. George W. Brumley Jr. Chair in Pediatrics with an initial gift of $100,000 and a pledge of $2 million. The appointee also will serve as Chair of the Department Pediatrics, a position yet to be named. In a separate move to honor the memory of Dr. Brumley, who served as Chair of Pediatrics from 1981 to 1995, Emory is giving a shipment of gently used computers to a medical university in Kenya, a fitting gift to honor a great humanitarian. Dr. Brumley, who died along with 11 family members in a plane crash during a family trip to Kenya last summer, spent much of his retirement giving back to his community and supporting the arts,education, health care, and their church. Dr. Brumley and his wife, Jean ran the Zeist Foundation philanthropic organization at the time of their deaths.

In memoriam

Sadly, Dr. Zbigniew Olkowski, Associate Professor of Radiation Oncology, died March 22. A native of Poland, Dr. Olkowski lived in Atlanta since 1971 and served the SOM since 1972. He was known for his compassionate care of his patients, and he was an accomplished scientist, dedicated to finding a cure for cancer. We certainly will miss him.

Book buzz

Music from Apartment 8: New and Selected Poems (Louisiana State University, 2004) contains 22 new and favorite works by Dr. John Stone (Medicine). The title is a tribute to his mother, who joyfully plays the electric piano at age 95.

Cr�me de la cr�me

A number of faculty received awards and honors in recent months, including:
  • Dr. Michael Compton (Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences) received a 2004 Young Minds in Psychiatry International Award from the American Psychiatric Association and AstraZeneca for his schizophrenia research.
  • Dr. Frans de Waal (Yerkes) was elected as a foreign associate to the National Academy of Sciences, one of the highest honors accorded to US scientists and engineers. Dr. De Waal joins 72 new members and 17 other foreign associates from 13 countries in recognition of their distinguished and continuing achievements in original research.
  • Dr. Douglas Eaton (Physiology) is the new President-Elect of the American Physiological Society, a national organization of scientists with more than 10,500 members.
  • Dr. Erica Frank (Family & Preventive Medicine) was recognized by Congressman John Lewis as a Local Legend from Georgia, which honors women physicians for commitment, innovation, originality, or creativity in the field of medicine.
  • Dr. Ira Horowitz (Gynecology & Obstetrics) received a Master of Science in Healthcare Management from Harvard University School of Public Health.
  • Dr. Xiaoping Hu (Biomedical Engineering) was named a Fellow of the International Society for Magnetic Resonance in Medicine. Dr. Hu is a Georgia Research Alliance Eminent Scholar.
  • Dr. Daniel Martin (Ophthalmology) received the Richard and Hinda Rosenthal Foundation Award in Visual Sciences from the Macula Society. The award is presented yearly to ophthalmologists who have achieved extremely important accomplishments during their career.
  • Dr. Charles Nemeroff (Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences) received the first ever Lifetime Achievement Award in Psychopharmacology from the Neuroscience Education Institute.
  • Dr. Shanti Sitaraman (Internal Medicine) was presented the prestigious Gastroenterology Research Group Young Investigator Award for 2004. Presented by the American Gastroenterology Association, the award honors an outstanding investigator who has excelled in basic research.
  • Dr. Nanette Wenger (Internal Medicine) received the Gold Heart Award from the American Heart Association, the association's top honor for volunteers who advance the AHA's objectives and projects.

Thomas J. Lawley, MD

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