February 1997

Media Contacts: Sarah Goodwin, 404/727-3366 -
Kathi Ovnic, 404/727-9371 -

On Tuesday, Jan. 20, members of The Emory Clinic voted overwhelmingly to legally and financially move the Clinic under the umbrella of Emory Healthcare, making it an Emory Healthcare "operating company" along with Emory University Hospital, Crawford Long Hospital, and the Emory Children's Center, the largest pediatric multi-specialty group practice in Georgia. If the proposed merger of the Clifton Road components of Wesley Woods is completed as expected this spring, the newly formed Wesley Woods Center of Emory University, Inc. also will be a part of Emory Healthcare.

The consolidation of The Emory Clinic into Emory Healthcare, and the changes in The Emory Clinic governance described below, were called for in a healthcare strategic planning process set in motion last year by Dr. Michael M. E. Johns, executive vice president for Health Affairs, director of The Robert W. Woodruff Health Sciences Center, and chief executive officer of Emory Healthcare. The process involved hundreds of the clinical faculty and administrative staff. The final plan was approved by Dr. Johns and the Emory Board of Trustees in December, but as an independent corporation The Emory Clinic needed to approve changes related to its own governance.

The non-profit group practice of nearly 700 physicians who are faculty of the Emory University School of Medicine, The Emory Clinic is the largest and most comprehensive practice plan in Georgia, providing primary and specialty care. In addition to extensive facilities in the heart of Emory's suburban campus, The Emory Clinic includes 18 health care centers throughout metropolitan Atlanta. The 45 year old Emory Clinic has served as the primary port of access to patient care in the umbrella organization since 1995, when the Emory University System of Health Care was created to improve continuity of care. (The Emory University System of Health Care was renamed Emory Healthcare in 1997.)

To some extent, the changes simply give a formal structure to what already has been happening in a closer and closer knit Emory Healthcare. The first change, moving the independent non-profit corporation of The Emory Clinic to a core non-profit corporate unit within Emory Healthcare, fully integrates all planning and budgeting, further enhancing Emory Healthcare's flexibility and its ability to function as one unit. Furthermore, The Emory Clinic gains access to the resources of Emory Healthcare so that it can more easily meet the challenges of building new programs and new operational systems. A second change involves the Board of Directors for The Emory Clinic.

Currently, the Clinic Board of Directors is made up of all the 28 clinic section heads (the majority of whom are also chairs of the related academic departments within the medical school) and 12 elected physician members at large. As director of The Emory Clinic, Rein Saral, M.D. reports jointly to this Board and to Dr. Johns as director of The Robert W. Woodruff Health Sciences Center.

Under the newly approved plan, Dr. Saral undergoes a formal title change from director to chief executive officer of The Emory Clinic. As Clinic CEO, he continues to report to Dr. Johns, but in Dr. Johns' role as CEO and board chairman of Emory Healthcare. This is also true of John D. Henry, Sr., of Emory Hospitals (Emory University Hospital and Crawford Long Hospital) and Devn Cornish, M.D., of the Emory Children's Center, both of whom already report to Dr. Johns.

As CEO of The Emory Clinic, Dr. Saral will be chair of the Board. The Board also will consist of Dr. Johns, as CEO of Emory Healthcare, three trustees appointed by the Emory Healthcare Board, two section heads of The Emory Clinic appointed by Dr. Johns, and two physician members-at-large elected by the physician senior members of the Emory Clinic.

A Leadership Council consisting of the section heads and 12 other physicians elected by the physician senior members of The Emory Clinic will also be formed. The Leadership Council will work with the CEO to enhance service, quality, efficiency and financial integrity.

A CEO Advisory Committee consisting of 12 non-section head physicians with between three to ten years of Clinic tenure will meet with the CEO to identify operational issues and provide suggestions for improvement.


For more general information on The Robert W. Woodruff Health Sciences Center, call Health Sciences Communication's Office at 404-727-5686, or send e-mail to

Copyright ©Emory University, 1998. All Rights Reserved.
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