Join me in congratulating our students, house staff, and faculty who were
elected recently into Emory’s Beta Chapter of the Alpha Omega Alpha
(AOA) Honor Society. New senior members of the Class of 2007 are Dorothy
Deguzman, Jay Desai, Julia Economos, Alyson Goodman, Spencer Kozinn, Cathy
Liu, Barbara Overend, Shveta Raju, Hilary Robbins, and Randell Thomas.
Junior honorees from the Class of 2008 are Melissa Adams, Laura Frick,
Brian Houston, Shelene Hurst, John Peterson, Sarah Petricca, and Samuel
Volo. House staff honorees include Drs. John Louis-Ugbo, Kara Pepper,
and Patrick Sullivan. Faculty electedto the AOA are Drs. Michael Benatar
(Neurology) and Atef Salam (Surgery).
“Election to the AOA is a great honor,”
says Dr. Arthur Kellermann, Chair, Emergency Medicine,
the keynote speaker at the award dinner in March. “It was certainly
one of the proudest moments of my life.” Each year the AOA honors
students at the top of their class who are leaders among their peers,
have a high degree of ethics and professionalism, are committed to patient
and community service, and are the future leaders of medicine with membership.
House staff and faculty also are eligible to be elected into the chapter.
Dr. Thomas Pearson, Livingston Professor of Surgery and
Director, Kidney Transplantation and Transplant Immunology, is Faculty
Councillor for Emory’s chapter.
Progress in medical education
Our new medical curriculum is finally becoming reality for the incoming
medical class arriving this summer. One of the more unique aspects of
the new curriculum is that it takes full advantage of the latest developments
in technology in the new Medical Education Building. Dr. Douglas
Ander, Associate Professor, Emergency Medicine, will lead this
technological charge as Director of the new Emory Center for Experiential
Learning (ExCEL). “This simulation center will animate experiences
from the classroom and allow more advanced students and faculty to learn
clinical skills in a safe and rewarding environment,” he says.
Dr. Ander’s experience working with
the School of Nursing on teamwork skills and interdisciplinary learning
will be vital to the innovative learning environment of the center. It
will include spaces for low-tech task trainers and sophisticated human
patient simulators. Early-phase medical students will use the center to
learn basic clinical skills and communication skills. As they gain increased
medical knowledge, students will have the opportunity to learn and practice
advanced clinical skills using the high-tech simulators. The simulators
will create real-life teaching environments that range from outpatient
examination rooms to inpatient rooms in areas such as the emergency department,
intensive care unit, labor and delivery suite, and operating theater.
Each of the four simulation rooms and two work rooms will be flexible
spaces that can be manipulated to incorporate a multitude of scenarios
from the standard hospital setting to a disaster scene. All these settings
will provide the student with a realistic environment to learn new skills,
practice, and be assessed for competency.
ExCEL will have sophisticated audiovisual
technology that allows faculty and students to visualize their performance
during debriefing sessions, an integral part of the educational experience.
According to Dr. Ander, “ExCEL will animate the new curriculum and
give students clinical medicine experiences in a safe, realistic and enjoyable
environment. Experienced residents and faculty can enjoy the same benefits.
It also provides an important means to assess competency.”
Radiology has new chair
Dr. Carolyn Meltzer, William Timmie Professor of Radiology
and part-time Associate Dean for Research in the SOM, has been appointed
Chair of the Department of Radiology. She also holds secondary appointments
in the Departments of Neurology and Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences.
“This is an exciting time for imaging
and Emory. Building on the strength of our faculty and staff, cutting-edge
imaging techniques, and extensive primary and collaborative research aligned
with Emory’s strategic plan, we have all the right ingredients to
become a destination Department of Radiology,” says Dr. Meltzer.
Before coming to Emory, Dr. Meltzer served
as Vice Chair for Radiology Research and Chief of Neuroradiology at the
University of Pittsburgh where she led a clinical evaluation of the world’s
first combined PET/CT scanner and was founding director of the Clinical
PET Center. Dr. Meltzer came to Emory in 2005 and has served as Interim
Chair of Radiology since 2006.
Dr. Meltzer is leading the development of
a new multidisciplinary research imaging center, the Emory Center for
Systems Imaging, that will house a combined MRI/PET scanner. The focus
of her NIH-funded research includes evaluation of the brain’s structure-function
relationships in normal aging, late-life depression, and Alzheimer’s
disease. Her many contributions to academic medicine have arisen in part
from her role serving as a bridge between basic investigators and clinical
practitioners. Dedicated to graduateeducation, including residency and
postdoctoral fellowship training and mentoring, Dr. Meltzer has advised
more than 30 trainees in preceptor-directed research. A leader nationally,
she also serves as Chair of the Education Committee for the American Society
Outstanding match results
The M4 class had much to celebrate as the results of Match Day 2007 were
announced in March. Out of 107 members of the graduating class, 101 students
participated in the National Residency Matching Program. Thirty-one students
will spend all or part of their residencies in Georgia and will remain
at Emory for their first and/or second years. Those students leaving Emory
matched at outstanding institutions, including Johns Hopkins Hospital,
Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, Children’s Hospital Boston,
Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Yale-New Haven Hospital, University
of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas, Washington University
Medical Center, University of California, San Francisco Medical Center,
and others. I am extremely impressed with the many skills and talents
of this gifted class and wish them well in their new endeavors.
NIH grant establishes new national flu center
The NIH has awarded the SOM a $32.8 million contract over seven years
to establish a Center of Excellence for Influenza Research and Surveillance,
one of six national centers. Dr. Richard Compans, Chair,
Microbiology and Immunology, will serve as the center’s Principal
Investigator and Executive Director, and Dr. Walter Orenstein,
Professor of Medicine and Associate Director, Emory Vaccine Center, will
serve as Associate Director for Operations Management and Initiatives.
It will conduct studies to determine how influenza viruses adapt to new
hosts and are transmitted between different hosts, and will analyze human
immune responses to influenza vaccination and infection.
Emergency Medicine Update
EM faculty have been proactive in educating those locally and overseas
about emergency care. Dr. Kate Heilpern has been elected
incoming president of the Society for Academic Emergency Medicine, a 5,700
member organization that seeks to improve patient care by advancing research
and education in emergency medicine. She also recently spoke at the state
Capitol on pandemic influenza planning and surge capacity in Georgia’s
overcrowded emergency departments. Dr. Leon Haley testified
before the state’s trauma commission, providing its members with
crucial “on the front lines” information to enhance its assessment
of trauma care in Georgia. Drs. Scott Sasser, Hany Atallah,
and Daniel Wu (the latter recently named
Assistant Medical Director of the Grady Emergency Care Center) traveled
to Tbilisi, Republic of Georgia, to deliver emergency medicine and trauma
education to ER doctors at a new hospital.
Dr. Alexander Isakov was
named director of the new Emory University Office of Critical Event Preparedness
and Response, which will further improve the university’s ability
to deliver a coordinated and effective response to catastrophic events.
Dr. Donald Stein received
the Award for Distinguished Scientific Contributions to Behavioral Neuroscience
from the International Behavioral Neuroscience Society. This, in part,
honors his extraordinary work on the protective role of neurosteroids
on the injured brain.
Interim Chair of Dermatology named
Interim Chair of Dermatology named Dr. Robert Swerlick
has been appointed Interim Chair, Department of Dermatology. He assumed
this post in early April as Dr. Wright Caughman stepped down as Chair
to become Vice President for Clinical and Academic Integration in the
Woodruff Health Sciences Center.
Dr. Swerlick came to Emory in 1988 from the NIH
where he worked as a medical staff fellow in the Dermatology Branch of
the NCI. He currently serves as Chief of Dermatology at the VA Medical
Center and Vice Chair of the department. His leadership skills are well
known; he served on the SOM’s Professional Services Committee, as
Core Director of the Emory Skin Diseases Research Center, as past-President
of the Southern Society for Investigative Dermatology, and as President
of the Georgia Society of Dermatologists.
Kshamica Nimalasuriya received the 2007 Best Resident Award from
the American College of Preventive Medicine. This award honors residents
who demonstrate outstanding achievement in community service, scholarship,
research, teaching, and overall leadership. In addition, Dr. Nimalasuriya
was awarded the Ambrose Award for Leadership Among Resident Physicians
by the American Medical Association in 2006.
Willis Hurst: His Life and Teachings, a new biography by Drs. Mark
Silverman and Bruce Fye, has been published by the Foundation for Advances
in Medicine and Science. In addition to the life story of the famed cardiologist
and Emory emeritus professor, the book includes selected essays by Dr.
Hurst, along with a one-hour interview on DVD. The book is available from
Thomas J. Lawley, MD
Dean, Emory School of Medicine