Gifts & Support
face-lift for health care
Health care at Emory is getting a major face-lift. The Robert W. Woodruff Foundation is contributing $261.5 million to support Emory's strategic plan and construct a model patient-centered health care system, including $240 million to modernize and transform The Emory Clinic's outpatient care facilities and its related research. A proposed new Emory Clinic complex will be constructed on land occupied by the current clinic. Plans call for integrating research and clinical care to create an "ideal patient experience," from parking, arrival, and check-in to examination, treatment, and patient discharge.
"These new facilities will support patient care, medical training, and research in a new and more nimble way that sets the standards for health care systems everywhere," says Michael Johns, executive vice president for health affairs and CEO of the Woodruff Health Sciences Center.
The Woodruff Foundation gift also provides $12.5 million to establish The Presidential Fund, which will be invested selectively for initiatives related to the university's strategic plan, and $9 million for other building renovation.
The Woodruff Foundation bears the name of the late legendary leader of The Coca-Cola Company. His first donation to Emory in 1937 gave rise to the Winship Cancer Institute and subsequent gifts made creation of The Emory Clinic possible. In 1979, Robert and his brother George Woodruff gave Emory the then-record sum of $105 million, which galvanized Emory's advance into the front rank of American research universities. The Woodruff Foundation's latest gift to Emory is exceeded only by its $295 million endowment of the Woodruff Fund in 1996. Proceeds from this fund benefit the Woodruff Health Sciences Center, including the Winship Cancer Institute and the School of Medicine. Both gifts rank among the top 10 given to any institution of higher education in the past 40 years.
"Robert Woodruff helped establish The Emory Clinic more than 50 years ago," says P. Russell Hardin, president of the Woodruff Foundation. "The original clinic facilities are now inadequate for modern, first-class care and medical training. The Woodruff Foundation is pleased to invest in Emory's current leadership and its continuing ambition to provide world-class patient care and medical training."
child and adolescent mood disorders
J. Rex Fuqua watched his father suffer with depression. Despite major achievements in business and philanthropy, the late J.B. Fuqua endured a 50-year battle with the disease, though he revealed it publicly only a few years before his death in April 2006.
J.B. endowed Emory's Fuqua Center for Late-Life Depression in 1999. Rex, who believes that mood disorders in children and adolescents need further study as well, donated $2 million to endow a chair to lead the Childhood and Adolescent Mood Disorders Program.
"We now know that mood disorders are disorders of the life span," says Fuqua. "But while we do know a healthy percentage of children have mood disorders, there is a tremendous gap in our knowledge about what causes these disorders and the most effective treatments for children and adolescents."
Edward Craighead has been recruited to the J. Rex Fuqua Chair in Child Psychiatry. Craighead and his wife Linda come to Emory from the University of Colorado, where Edward chaired the psychology department and co-directed a treatment center for bipolar disorder. For the past several years, he co-directed a clinical research program in Iceland to prevent initial episodes of depression among adolescents. Linda, an expert on eating disorders, plans to establish a center for such disorders in Emory's Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences.
"Not only did Rex Fuqua's gift allow us to successfully recruit Ed to direct this exciting new program, but Rex's willingness to chair our department's board of external advisers has helped attract other business and community leaders to support our clinical, training, and research programs," says psychiatry chair Charles Nemeroff.
Like Nemeroff, Fuqua's family believes the Craigheads will enhance Emory's reputation for helping those with mood disorders. The family lives in Atlanta, where Fuqua serves as president and CEO of Fuqua Capital Corporation and managing director of Fuqua Ventures. In addition to chairing the psychiatry department's external advisory board, he serves on the board of the George West Mental Health Foundation.
Paving the way
Emory medical alumni can help students have a worry-free start in medicine by joining the 1915 Society—named after the year the school got its name—with a gift of $1,915. Gifts at this level or higher will be recognized with an engraved paving stone placed around the fountain of the new medical education building.
"Gifts to the 1915 Society provide scholarships to help the School of Medicine continue attracting the brightest and most committed students," says J. Maxwell White, 73C, 77M, president of the Emory Medical Alumni Association.
That includes former students like Stephen Law, 71C, 76M. Reared in Sumatra, Law apprenticed to be a locksmith like his father. When his dad became ill, local doctors said his father was old and couldn't be helped. Then a visiting professor at a nearby medical school prescribed tetracycline, and in two weeks, the elder Law recovered.
"I was so impressed with his skill," remembers Stephen. "I decided I should be a doctor just like him one day. But there was no way I could have financed my education by myself. I just could not afford it."
Law credits the generosity of others with his ability to move to the United States, study medicine at Emory, and deliver more than 5,000 babies before retiring from a distinguished career in obstetrics. In return, Law and his wife Jane have funded scholarships for Emory medical students.
Shenita Spencer, 09M is among them. As a Jane and Stephen Law Scholar, Spencer has put her financial worries aside to become a physician. She set her sights on a medical career at age 12, when her father developed heart disease. "Dad," she told him, "I'm going to medical school and become a great doctor and fix your heart."
To learn more about the 1915 Society, contact Heather Pharris (404-727-5932 or firstname.lastname@example.org) or Rachel Donnelly (404-727-3127 or email@example.com).
David Allen knows the exact date and time he became an oral surgeon: Tuesday morning, July 1, 1975. Before that day, he graduated from Emory College and the School of Dentistry and trained at Grady Memorial Hospital.
"I was fortunate enough to do my residency and internship at Grady, so I need to return to them what they gave me in the opportunity to achieve," says Allen.
In that vein, the Dr. J. David and Beverly Allen Family Foundation donated $500,000 to the oral and maxillofacial surgery division in the medical school's Department of Surgery. With this gift, Allen hopes the department will continue to intertwine the specialties of plastic surgery, oral and maxillofacial surgery, and surgical critical care, just as his residency showed him.
"At Grady we were on trauma call every third night, and we got to do facial trauma," he says. "I got to do things that a lot of people could not do at other institutions."
The exposure to all three areas was invaluable in treating patients from rural areas who did not have easy access to plastic or emergency surgeons when Allen opened his practice east of Atlanta in 1975. He built the practice to include seven other surgeons in multiple offices throughout metro Atlanta and in Athens. He retired from Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery Associates in 2006 and started a health care consulting firm.
Allen also serves on the boards of Emory University, Emory Healthcare, the Woodruff Health Sciences Center, Yerkes National Primate Research Center, and The Emory Clinic.
A new model for predicting health
An anonymous donor has given $3 million to support the Emory/Georgia Tech Predictive Health Initiative, a new model of health care that redirects the focus of medicine on health maintenance and prevention rather than treatment of disease. The funds will be used to help launch new programs that define and measure health and apply this new knowledge to individuals and populations.
As it evolves, the initiative will combine a research core with a clinical testing ground for new discoveries aimed at keeping people healthy. It will launch a major effort to develop and validate predictive biomarkers of health, disease risk, and prognosis that are generic to all diseases or specific to diseases such as cancer, neurodegenerative diseases, and atherosclerosis.
Emory plans to lead the reinvention of biomedicine by combining research discoveries in prediction, prevention, and health maintenance with investigations in anthropology, ethics, behavior, health policy, law, business, and religion.
"Existing and emerging science and technology make it possible for us to understand health and how to maintain it at a level that we could not imagine even a decade ago," says Kenneth Brigham, director of the initiative. "Although we are learning how to live longer and better, translating that knowledge into practice poses challenges that will require major changes in biomedical practice by physicians and scientists and behavioral changes by all individuals. This gift brings us closer to our goal."
To learn more, visit The Predictive Health Initiative and Momentum magazine's Ponce's Dream.
Triple threat for African American women
A diagnosis of breast cancer can be devastating in itself, but for younger women with a particularly aggressive form called triple negative breast cancer, the outlook is even more challenging. The most effective drugs target the three receptors known to fuel most breast cancers—human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2), estrogen, and progesterone. But women with triple negatives lack all three receptors, and most often, they are African American under age 50.
Why triple negatives target this subset of women is the focus of research at the Winship Cancer Institute, made possible by an anonymous $2.25 million endowment by the Jean Sindab Project for Breast Cancer Research. The project is seeking additional funds
for research that one day may lead to drug treatment for this baffling form of breast cancer.
Winship researchers Mary Jo Lund, Ruth O'Regan, and Otis Brawley are examining triple negative breast tumors among African American women who live in Fulton and DeKalb counties. These two Atlanta metropolitan counties have the majority of breast cancers diagnosed among black women in the state. Researchers hope to find common protein markers among triple negative breast tumors.
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