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Dean's Message
Fall 2008  
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During summer, the Atlanta Veterans Affairs Medical Center (VAMC) is barely visible from Emory’s Lullwater Preserve. The center is obscured by the thick tangle of trees along Peachtree Creek, the natural dividing line between our campuses. But the ties between the School of Medicine and the VAMC run deep.
     Our partnership began more than 50 years ago when the U.S. government first encouraged VA hospitals to affiliate with medical schools as a way to raise the level of medical care for veterans. Today, the VAMC annually treats more than 60,000 veterans who are seen primarily by Emory physicians.
     The center also provides a rich training ground for medical students, residents, and fellows. During the past two years, the VAMC increased its support for graduate medical education by 14% and will provide an additional 2% next year.
     In all, more than 400 Emory investigators are engaged in approximately 150 research projects at the VAMC, which ranks consistently near the top 10 of VA centers in research dollars received. Among the researchers who thrive there is David Guidot, director of the Emory Alcohol and Lung Biology Center (see the story about his research on page 8). The VAMC is also home to top research centers in geriatrics, HIV/AIDS, and rehabilitation medicine. Their work is complex but their goal is simple: to serve the nation’s heroes today and improve health care for past, present, and future veterans.
     Several years ago, the bridge that once joined our campuses was removed. This summer, VAMC director James Clark and I were among those who dedicated a new bridge over Peachtree Creek that once again links us. Designed to blend with its natural environs, the suspension bridge makes our campuses more pedestrian friendly. But for those of us in the School of Medicine, the bridge takes on deeper significance as physicians, scientists, residents, students, and others cross back and forth between our co-joined worlds and with every crossing make a difference in patient care and research, now and in the future.


Thomas J. Lawley


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