Our dream of a new medical education building to prepare future physicians
for ever-changing, new-century medicine is finally coming true. Major
renovations on the Anatomy and Physiology (A&P) Buildings and preparations
to replace the A&P Connector are well under way, reports Charlie Andrews,
Associate Vice President for Space Planning.
First on the schedule for our new medical education facility is building
a temporary gross anatomy lab in the basement of the Anatomy Building. Also,
beginning June 30, "SOM lectures will be relocated temporarily to other lecture halls and
classrooms on campus for the next two academic years," Mr. Andrews says.
In September, workers will demolish the A&P Connector to make way for a
new Hall of Medicine that will connect to the A&P Buildings. During
construction and renovation, large classes will take place mainly in the
Whitehead Biomedical Research Building and WHSCAB auditoriums. Construction
and renovation should be completed by April 2007, and faculty and students
will move in by July 2007. With the addition of much-needed space, the Class
of 2011 can have up to 130 students, and there will be room to add another
20 or more students in the distant future. The planned student increase will
help fill a gap projected by the Association of American Medical Colleges
(AAMC), which has asked medical schools around the country to increase
enrollment by about 15% to prevent a shortage of physicians by 2015.
The new five-story facility will be eye-catching -- including an airy,
light-filled atrium -- yet practical to support the innovative curriculum
concurrently under development. The $55 million building will provide 162,000 square feet
of state-of-the-art teaching space, with three amphitheaters that hold 160
students each, four seminar rooms designed for 40 students each, 18
classrooms for small-group sessions of up to 20 students each, and 16 exam
rooms with simulators for teaching clinical skills. Faculty will use a new
simulation laboratory suite to create varied teaching scenarios, allowing
medical students to interact with "patients" portrayed by actors.
Another new feature will be a dissection lab with 26 tables for groups
of six students. Each table will have a computer monitor showing magnetic
resonance images and other views of what they are dissecting. New fresh
tissue facilities will provide students with a more realistic experience for
study and clinical faculty with a convenient way to develop and practice new
procedures. The Emory Simulation, Training, and Robotics (ESTAR) Center,
with its space-age simulators, computers, and robotics for teaching keyhole
surgery, also will be housed in the new facility.
Faculty, staff, and students will enjoy the spacious new student
lounges, support and study space, food services, and wireless Internet
capabilities. (The building will be the first wireless facility on campus). "Eighty-one percent of the new space will be dedicated to students," says
Mr. Andrews. "That's an increase of almost 300% over our existing
structures." That is wonderful news for our "nomad" students, who will no
longer have to roam in search of a place to study.
Plans to create a new medical education curriculum are progressing steadily.
The Curriculum Strategic Planning Steering Committee, chaired by Dr. Stephen
Warren, Chair, Department of Human Genetics, and Dr. Carlos del Rio,
Professor of Medicine, has met for the past several months and formed
subcommittees that meet regularly. The subcommittees comprise 32 students
and 100 faculty members who are exploring new educational concepts. We have
received many ideas from national curriculum experts, including Drs. Michael
Whitcomb (AAMC), David Irby (University of California at San Francisco),
Steve Smith (Brown University), and Emil Petrusa (Duke University).
Committee members will present a final report to the Dean's Office on August 1.
"As we progress further with this process, we will continue to be
interested in ideas from faculty and students," says Dr. Jonas Shulman, Senior Adviser to the Dean for Curriculum Development. "We also will be
having some general open meetings to discuss potential curriculum changes as
our thoughts become more definite."
One hundred students, faculty, alumni, and local physicians gathered this
spring at an annual banquet to honor new members of Emory's Beta Chapter of
the Alpha Omega Alpha (AOA) Honor Medical Society. The audience was treated
to a fabulous keynote address by Dr. Jay Keystone, Professor of Travel
Medicine at the University of Toronto. "He reminded all of us about the
heartwarming personal and professional journey we take during our careers in
medicine," says Dr. Katherine Heilpern, Assistant Dean, Student Affairs, and
Beta Chapter Councillor. "The new AOA inductees are wonderful examples of
attention to professionalism and high scholarly achievement. We applaud both
their accomplishments and their promise."
Honorees from the senior class include Andrew Adams, Camille Almond,
James Bartz, Nick Cost, Mark Garrett, John Heflin, Shannon Kahn, Mihir
Kamdar, Adam Lowry, Amy Nash, Bill O'Donnell, Jessica Ohr, Michelle Pennie,
Brie Poindexter, Carrye Rudolph, Kyle Rusthoven, Kelly Schlendorf, Megan
Stuebner, and Cliff Willimon. Honorees from the junior class are Jackie
Garonzik, Michael Hasselle, Jason Hadley, Matt Sherwood, and Dustin Smith.
House staff Drs. John House, Joshua Larned, and Jason Prystowsky, faculty
members Drs. Susie Buchter (Pediatrics) and Suephy Chen (Dermatology), and
alumnus Dr. William Warren IV, 79M, also were inducted. In addition, chapter
Vice President Adam Lowry received the AOA National Medical Student Service
Project Award for establishing the Atlanta Sickle Cell Program, which
provides SOM student mentors for local children who have the disease.
It is not every day an octogenarian receives major NIH funding. In fact, we
think it might be a first. An expert in the study of the mechanisms
underlying behavior-altering organic brain disease, Dr. Abraham Rosenberg
(Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences) has received a three-year NIH
exploratory grant totaling $495,000, the maximum permissible for this
one-time type of grant. The project resulted from his breakthrough discovery
that the transition from HIV infection to fulminating neuro-AIDS, which
causes neuropsychiatric problems, parallels opportunistic infections from
pathogens that produce an enzyme called sialidase. This enzyme removes the
protective barrier on both the surface of the HIV and the immune cells,
which allows the virus to enter the immune cell and compromise its
functionality. As part of the grant, Dr. Rosenberg is developing genetically
accurate sialidase inhibitors that can halt AIDS development in HIV-positive
women infected simultaneously with the sialidase-producing pathogen,
Gardnerella vaginalis, and, in time, in any HIV-positive individual infected
with Streptococcus pneumoniae. "If we can keep these patients stable at the
infection level," he says, "we can prevent the disease from going forward
Dr. Rosenberg joined the department eight years ago after "retiring" from the Neuropsychiatric and Brain Research Institute at UCLA. After Dr.
Rosenberg moved to Decatur to be closer to his family, Department Chair Dr.
Charles Nemeroff talked him into joining our faculty. His international
expertise and nearly 50 years of experience as a department chair, research
division chief, and a member of several NIH scientific review committees are
true assets for Emory. And Dr. Rosenberg is a role model who exemplifies the
unceasing active engagement of a bright mind and spirit in
science and the academy.
A total of 105 members of the Class of 2005 made the transition from student
to alumnus at commencement this year, including 17 dual-degree recipients
(seven MD/PhDs, nine MD/MPHs, and one MD/MBA).
The featured speaker was Dr. Jonas Shulman, Senior Adviser for Curriculum
Development. Dr. Shulman, who has spent the past 38 years at Emory and has
influenced more than 4,000 of our medical graduates, discussed the "profound
experience" of learning medicine that had been "etched in the
students' souls forever" and advised graduates to embrace their "doubts and incompleteness." Armed with these traits,
he said, they would always be ready to learn anew.
Among the students receiving honors were John Heflin (Evangeline Papageorge Award);
Vincent Gills, Adam Lowry, and Padmashree
Chaudhury (Bolton Service Awards); and Grace Prakalapakorn (Gaston Service
Award). James Bartz, Adam Lowry, and Kelly Schlendorf graduated summa cum
laude. Faculty honors went to Dr. Bhagirath Majmudar (Papageorge Teaching
Award) and Dr. John Louis Ugbo (honorary class member).
Dr. Arthur Yancey (Emergency Medicine) received Georgia's Distinguished
Service Award for Emergency Medical Services/Pre-Hospital Care from the
Region III (the metro Atlanta area) EMS Advisory Council. The award honors
an individual or organization for outstanding contributions in the
development and/or enhancement of pre-hospital emergency medical care
Thomas J. Lawley, MD
Dean, Emory School of Medicine