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School of Medicine




On February 14, 1854, the Georgia State Legislature approved the charter for a brand new venture–the Atlanta Medical College. Right from the beginning, the little college faced big obstacles, but it had big dreams. Persevering through financial hardships, competition from other schools in the state, even a Civil War, Atlanta Medical College managed to attract a prestigious faculty that donated many hours of free medical service. It participated in upgrading the national standards for medical education and trained a superior cadre of physicians. In 1915, Atlanta Medical College–which had split and merged twice during its first six decades–affiliated with Emory University.

In the decades since, we’ve experienced enormous successes, and today is no exception. I believe the current time is a golden era at the Emory School of Medicine. We have reached a watershed by many markers–academic reputation, research funding, and national rankings, to mention a few. In the past eight years alone, we’ve witnessed dramatic changes in research status, spurred on by the implementation of the first phase of an ambitious Research Strategic Plan. Our rate of growth for research funding from the NIH has been the second fastest among the top 25 medical schools in the nation, and NIH funding for 2003 reached $158 million. And our upward spiral should continue as we turn to implementing the second phase of the research plan.

In medical education, too, Emory is gaining ground. Despite decreases in the national pool of medical school applicants, we received more than 5,000 applications for 114 positions in the last academic year. The average GPA of those students was around 3.8, and their average MCAT score was 33–an all-time high for us. We are investing in new classrooms and facilities for teaching, with plans now under way for a new medical education complex that will bring two historic buildings together with a new building to create a state-of-the-art setting for medical education on campus. Simultaneously, Emory School of Medicine has embarked on a new vision for medical education through a re-evaluation of the curriculum. Rather than following the pack, we are working throughout the school to create a new paradigm for educating medical students and house staff, using new techniques and structures. This effort, with planning officially beginning in the fall, could easily catapult us to the forefront of medical education in the nation.

We still have big dreams. Backed by a strong endowment, excellent faculty, and loyal alumni, Emory should dream of nothing less than being a top 10 medical school. We have the potential to be an elite school with an unmatched research program, an innovator in medical education with first-rate facilities, and a strong clinical enterprise with outstanding, well-supported, and diverse faculty. We have accomplished so much, but we’re not there–yet. Part of our future success lies in the ability to leverage the talent and research in other parts of Emory University, to be appropriately interactive with the larger campus. Part of our success, too, hinges on philanthropy. We face financial challenges if we are going to fulfill our dreams. But in 150 years, challenges haven’t stopped us.



Thomas J. Lawley, Dean


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