A number of changes are in the works regarding our Institutional Review
Boards (IRBs) with the goal of creating a more effective and efficient human
protections program. Dr. Tanya Sudia-Robinson was recently appointed as
Director of the Administrative Office of the Institutional Review Board and
Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC). Her office supports the
University's five IRB committees and makes sure that Emory research
involving human subjects is in full and complete compliance with governing
internal and external policies, rules, and regulations. Dr. James Keller
continues as Chair of the four medical IRB committees, while Dr. Karen
Hegtvedt continues to chair the Social/Behavioral IRB Committee for Emory
College. Dr. Sam Speck is Chair of the IACUC.
Because IRBs are under increasingly stringent federal review, Dr.
Sudia-Robinson is working to streamline the process, make certain that
research protocols are properly reviewed, and ensure that Emory
investigators and IRB staff have the training and IRB resources they need to
continue conducting cutting-edge research involving human subjects. During
the past few months as Interim Director, she made substantial improvements
in these areas. Ms. Patti Tuohy was appointed Assistant Director to
co-manage the IRB office's six compliance specialists, along with Dr.
Sudia-Robinson. Formerly a compliance specialist herself, Ms. Tuohy will
implement consistency and standardization among compliance specialists as
well as manage training and education programs.
"We conducted an analysis of the IRB and studied our protocols and
process," explains Ms. Kristen West, Associate Vice President for Research
and Director of Research Compliance for the University. "We identified areas
needing improvement, and we have addressed them in accordance with internal
and external regulations. Our goals were to achieve consistency and
standardization among all compliance specialists and to conduct better
training of our compliance specialists and our Emory investigators, all in
the most efficient manner possible." A further goal was to speed up the
process of review.
Additionally, evaluation of a new computerized submission and tracking
process is under way with purchase, initial configuration, and pilot testing
to be initiated within approximately six months. The computerized system
will create a paperless, web-based process that should speed up submission
and processing time and help investigators track their proposals more
March 17 was more than St. Patrick's Day. It was Match Day, when members of
our 2005 graduating class learned where they will train as residents. Of 107
M4 students, 100 participated in the National Residency Match Program
(NRMP), which filled a record-breaking 22,221 positions out of 24,012
positions available nationally. Ten of our students participated in the
Military Match, with four receiving active assignments and six deferring and
becoming part of the NRMP. Three of our M4s deferred residency.
Forty-four students chose primary care specialties, including internal
medicine (24), pediatrics (11), family practice (6), and
gynecology/obstetrics (2). Other popular residencies include general surgery
(7), orthopaedic surgery (7), anesthesiology (6), psychiatry (5), and
radiology/diagnostic (5). Thirty-five of our students will spend all or part
of their residencies in Georgia and will train at Emory for their first
and/or second year. The rest will enter residencies in 23 other
states. Good luck to these graduates as they pursue their new endeavors. I
am very pleased with the high caliber of this year's graduating class.
Our sympathies go to the family of Dr. Tami Fisk, who died of cancer in
Colorado. She moved there late last year to be with her family. Dr. Fisk was
Assistant Professor of Medicine in the Division of Infectious Diseases and
worked at the TravelWell Clinic at Emory Crawford Long Hospital. She was
only 39. "Tami was very engaged in global health issues, especially in
Asia," said Dr. David Stephens, Director, Division of Infectious Diseases.
"One of her most recent projects was in Thailand in association with the
CDC." Donations designated for the Global Health Fund in Dr. Fisk's name may
be sent to the Health Sciences Development and Alumni Relations office.
We also are saddened by the death of Dr. Thomas Fulmer, 79, formerly the
Chief of Psychiatry at the Atlanta Veterans Affairs Medical Center. He died
of complications of Parkinson's disease. A veteran of World War II, Dr.
Fulmer was a pioneer in the diagnosis and treatment of post-traumatic stress
disorder in veterans. Contributions may be made to the Military Family
Network, 1000 Bridge Street, Suite D, 2nd Floor, Hampton, VA 23669.
The SOM has rallied to help tsunami victims, providing a generous outpouring
of sympathy and support to colleagues and others who were affected by the
disaster. Dr. Michael Saenger, Assistant Professor, Department of Medicine,
Division of General Medicine at Grady, provided critical help to the relief
efforts in southeastern Asia. Earlier this year, he traveled to Sri Lanka
with 13 other trained volunteers from the Presbyterian Church in America.
During their two-week journey, these physicians, nurses, and counselors, as
well as an engineer and a camp cook, set up a temporary clinic to provide
medical and mental health care and a caring presence. They lived in the
middle of one refugee camp of fishermen and their families.
"There's always more to the story than just the disaster at hand,"
comments Dr. Saenger. "Many of these gentle people lost family members, and
all lost homes and livelihoods, including their boats and nets. The wear
from years of civil war and lost opportunities is quite evident. We hope for
a better future for these people and that others now will step up to help
them build their new community."
Every year, our medical students have a chance to showcase their research
skills at Medical Student Research Day. This year's event in January was the
50th year the event has been hosted by the SOM. The event's top research
awards went to M2 students. Jackie Marcus received the Helen Miller Award of
$300 for her short-term research project and presentation, "Prevalence of
Wandering in an Alzheimer's Disease Population." Brandon Fornwaldt received
the Judge's Award of $250 for his research presentation, "Resynchronization
and Strain Recovery Following Reimplantation of Anomalous Coronary Artery: A
Tissue Doppler and 3-D Echocardiographic Study." Andrew Murphy received the
Dean's Award for his short-term project and talk, "Photolytic Degradation
and Signal Transduction in DU145 Human Prostate Cancer Cells Using a
GFP-FKHR Model System." Dr. Michael Kuhar, Professor and Georgia Research
Alliance Eminent Scholar at Yerkes, was the event's keynote speaker.
Congratulations to these exemplary students!
Mark your calendar for Commencement, which is Monday, May 16, at 8 am on the
Quadrangle. Journalist and author Tom Brokaw will deliver the keynote
address. You will enjoy hearing our own Dr. Jonas Shulman, Executive
Associate Dean, speak at the SOM Diploma Ceremony, which is at 9:45 am in
Glenn Memorial Auditorium, immediately following the main ceremony.
Pre-Commencement activities include the Senior Banquet for students
graduating with MD, MD/PhD, MD/MPH, and MD/MBA degrees on Thursday, May 12,
at 7 pm at the Fox Theater and the Dean's Reception on Sunday, May 15, from
3 to 5 pm on the WHSCAB Plaza.
Graphic Design, Video, and Presentation Services, the graphic design unit of
the SOM, is now located on the Emory Briarcliff Campus, Building A, Room
204-S. Staffed by Jane Russell and Alex Derienko, Graphic Design is a
full-service operation that can assist you with flyers, posters, photo scans and enhancements,
videos, brochures, booklets, illustrations, and more. To learn more about
what Graphic Design has to offer, call 727-5665. There is plenty of space
for visitor parking in front of Building A, the campus' main building. Or
you can ride Shuttle A, which serves the Briarcliff campus.
In February, Gov. Sonny Perdue signed the tort reform bill into law. This
has been our No. 1 legislative objective for several years. The bill
provides a $350,000 cap for doctors, hospitals, and other medical facilities
for pain and suffering. Emergency department physicians receive some
protection unless they commit gross negligence. The bill does not provide a
cap for economic damages (lost wages). The elements of pain and suffering
and speculative economic damages have contributed to ever-increasing health
care costs. Many thanks to those of you who have helped me educate
legislators about the urgency of this necessary reform.
Dr. Kay Vydareny (Radiology) received the 2005 Gold Medal from the American
College of Radiology at the society's annual meeting in early April. She was
recognized for her outstanding contributions to her field. This is not the first time Dr. Vydareny
has received a gold medal--she has one from the American Roentgen Ray Society
In May, Dr. William Casarella (Radiology) will receive a 2005 Gold Medal
for Distinguished Service from the ARRS. He is one of three recipients who
will receive this award, the society's highest honor.
Georgia Rep. Johnny Issakson recently named Dr. Sharon Weiss (Pathology) as
a Georgia Local Legend. The award goes to women who show commitment,
originality, innovation, and creativity
In addition, Dr. Weiss was one of 28 Local Legends recognized at the
American Medical Women's Association's annual meeting. She joins a host of
distinguished women previously honored, including Dr. Nanette Wenger
(Medicine/Cardiology) and Dr. Flavia Mercado (Pediatrics). All are profiled in a
special National Library of Medicine exhibit titled, "Changing the Face of
Medicine: Celebrating America's Women Physicians." If you can't go to the
Washington, DC, exhibit, you can view their profiles at www.nlm.nih.gov/changingthefaceofmedicine/.
"A good lecturer is a good story teller," says Dr. Joshy Jacob, Assistant
Professor, Microbiology and Immunology, and 2004 Dean's Teaching Award
recipient. "So all you have to do is to keep the story simple and use many
illustrations. A touch of humor does not hurt your life's work."
Thomas J. Lawley, MD
Dean, Emory School of Medicine