Each year, I like to honor SOM faculty who are among the best
teachers in their respective fields. Seven faculty members have been
identified by a special committee as top teachers: Douglas Ander
(Emergency Medicine), Howard Frumkin Occupational Health/Medicine), Randy Hall (Pharmacology), Joshy Jacob (Microbiology and Immunology),
David Lloyd (Pediatrics), Bhagirath Majmudar (Pathology), and Nancy
Newman (Neurology/Ophthalmology). These recipients of the 2004 Dean's
Teaching Awards will be honored at a reception to be announced soon.
Thank you, teachers, for your dedication to quality education and
your enthusiasm as mentors to our students.
Emory's Board of Trustees has granted approval to move forward with
planning a new medical education building. The SOM is working with an
architectural and engineering firm, S/L/A/M Collaborative, to define
the scope and cost of the project. Current plans call for the Anatomy
& Physiology Buildings to be renovated and a new building constructed
to replace the Connector between the A&P Buildings. Come December,
the Woodruff Health Sciences Center Board will review funding and
S/L/A/M's findings for the project. Final plans for design,
construction, and financing must be approved by the WHSC Board and
the University's Board of Trustees.
US News & World Report has named Emory University Hospital 8th in the
nation for heart and heart surgery. This is the 14th time the
magazine has included Emory in its top hospitals issue. Emory's
programs in ophthalmology (17), psychiatry (18), kidney disease (21),
geriatrics (27), urology (40), and gynecology (40) also were included
among the nation's elite.
In the same issue, our outstanding pathology program was highlighted
in a special feature recognizing services that are not included in
its annual rankings. Drs. Tristram Parslow, Sharon Weiss, and James
Ritchie were among those featured in the article.
At a special recognition reception this summer, the Department of
Medicine announced the creation of the Dr. Paul W. Seavey Chair in
Internal Medicine to honor the Professor of Medicine, Emeritus, who
served Emory for more than three decades.
"I have had a lot of honors in my career," says Dr. Seavey,
"but the chair is my greatest honor. Hopefully, it will help attract
scholarly faculty, and the endowment will live on in perpetuity."
Although the chair's recipient has yet to be named, the endowment is
a fitting tribute to this remarkable physician.
Dr. Seavey is a leader, a mentor, a superb clinician, and a
constant example," remarks former colleague Dr. Dave Roberts,
Associate Professor, Department of Medicine. "He is the physician we
would all want for ourselves and for our family members. He has been,
and still is, a fierce champion of top-quality, contemplative, and
thoroughly comprehensive care."
Gifts and pledge commitments of approximately $1.5 million
from the Rollins family (individual, corporate, and foundation
entities), T. Marshall Hahn Jr., John Lupton, J. William Robinson,
Marian Gilligan, the UPS Foundation, the Nelson Family Foundation,
Delos Yancey Jr., the State Mutual Insurance Company, George Wallis,
W. Paul Fambro, and others helped make this chair possible.
It's never too early to begin planning a future in science and
medicine. To give minority youth incentive and opportunity to
consider this path, Dr. Robert Lee, Associate Dean for Multicultural
Medical Student Affairs, directs the Summer Science Discovery Camp
for students in grades 8-12 and the Summer Science Academy for high
school juniors and seniors. The Discovery Camp offered six, weeklong
sessions this summer. More than 500 students have enrolled in the
camp since its inception in 1995. "We are beginning to see the fruits
of our labor," says Dr. Lee. "Penny Goodman, now a sophomore at Mt.
Holyoke College, attended the program in high school and came back as
a counselor/teacher this summer. After she graduates from college,
she tells me she would like to enter the SOM."
The Science Academy offered two summer sessions in June
(three weeks) and in July (two weeks). Up to 15 students may enroll
in each camp or academy session. "Pfizer Inc. provided us with a
$5,000 student support grant for 'scholarships,'" reports Dr. Lee.
"They also sent 15 scientists who taught one day a week in the
programs." In addition to Ms. Goodman, M2 students Humphrey Lam,
Lauren Hall, and Yemi Odunusi served as counselor/teachers.
Students in the Discovery Camp explored anatomy,
neurobiology, genetics, cell biology, and human disease and learned
how to make and present scientific posters and how to apply for
college. Science Academy students received additional instruction in
these areas as well as in physiology, chemistry, and physics. Both
groups also tagged along with house staff at Grady Hospital and
received support and guidance from Dr. Kenneth Walker and Mr. Bernard
Campbell in the Department of Medicine at Grady. "We believe the many
and varied academic and exploratory experiences these students
received have advanced and enhanced their knowledge in science and
given them a head start on their careers," says Dr. Walker. "We also
truly appreciate the students' parents who gave time and resources to
provide these opportunities to their children."
We are all shocked and saddened by the sudden death of Dr. Xiaohong
Wang, Assistant Professor (Psychiatry), in July. Dr. Wang, 47, and
his sixth-grade son Jim were killed in a car accident during a family
visit to China. His wife, Dr. Xiao Lan Ou, and their older son, John,
Dr. Wang's career was definitely on an upswing. After joining
the SOM in 2001, he began a promising research program to examine the
role of inflammation in mood disorders development as well as the
regulation of the neuroendocrine system. An excellent teacher, Dr.
Wang received the psychiatry residents' teaching award in 2003 and
advised three postdoctoral research fellows.
"Xiaohong Wang was a model faculty member who was universally
liked and respected," says Dr. Charles Nemeroff, Chair of Psychiatry.
"This is a tragedy and a shock whose pain will be felt not only by
his family but by all of his friends and colleagues here at Emory."
Memorial gifts for the Xiaohong Wang Foundation may be sent
to Dr. Andrew Miller, Department of Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences,
4th Floor, Woodruff Memorial Building.
Tara Collins, a rising M3 student, is a Continued Fellowship for
Medical Studies recipient from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute
(HHMI). Last year, Tara deferred her third year of medical school to
conduct research at HHMI through a program acquainting medical students with biomedical
research methods and practice.
The Association for Assessment and Accreditation in Laboratory Animal
Care International (AAALAC) has reaccredited the SOM's animal care
and use program for the maximum of three years. "I don't think it
gets better than this," said Dr. Robert Rich, Executive Associate
Dean, Research and Strategic Initiatives, following the site visit
earlier this year. "The site visitors were absolutely laudatory
regarding the quality and professionalism of our animal care staff
from top to bottom. They commented that Emory is the best program
they have ever seen."
According to Dr. Mike Huerkamp, Director, Division of Animal
Resources, "The division shares this remarkable achievement with the
Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee. The extraordinary
support from our scientists and administrative, human resources, and
facilities management teams has made this accreditation possible."
More than 650 universities, companies, and organizations have been
accredited by the AAALAC, which promotes the humane treatment of
animals in science through a voluntary accreditation process.
Here are some of the latest highlights regarding SOM research:
- The Journal of the American Medical Association recently
published results from Emory's Surgical Management of Arterial
Revascularization Trial (SMART), which showed coronary artery bypass
graft (CABG) surgery performed on a beating heart without a
heart-lung machine is medically beneficial. Patients can recover
faster with off-pump coronary artery bypass (OPCAB) than with
conventional CABG. It also can be as useful as CABG in restoring
blood flow and maintaining revascularization to the heart muscle over
"SMART demonstrates that we are accomplishing the same
revascularization as CABG for the patient, while providing a host of
other benefits, including less blood loss and less damage to hearts
during surgery," reports Dr. John Puskas (Surgery), head of the SMART
team. For the study, he used Medtronic's Octopus tissue stabilizer, a
device that holds the beating heart's surface tissue nearly
stationary as the bypass graft is sutured in place.
- Radiation Oncology is first in the nation to deliver new
ultra-precise radiotherapy treatments using a fully robotic on-board
imaging system for tracking tumor locations and positioning patients.
Emory clinicians treated the first seven patients in June with
image-guided radiation therapy using an imager and linear accelerator
from Varian Medical Systems. This technology will help doctors
precisely direct radiation to the tumor. "The new treatment will
enable us to deliver higher doses to the tumor while reducing the
dose to nearby critical structures, which can only translate into
better tumor control and few complications," says Dr. Lawrence Davis
(Radiation Oncology). The treatment takes only three to five minutes.
Dr. Arnall Patz, a 1945 SOM alumnus and one of the world's leading
ophthalmologists, received the Presidential Medal of Freedom at a
White House ceremony in June. Early in his career, Dr. Patz proved
that high levels ofoxygen commonly used to treat premature infants could irreversibly
damage the retina and cause blindness. For his efforts, Dr. Patz
received the Albert Lasker Medical Award (often called the "American
Nobel") in 1956.
Please join me for my 2004 State of the School Address at 5:00 pm on
Tuesday, September 28, in the WHSCAB Auditorium.
Thomas J. Lawley, MD
Dean, Emory School of Medicine