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Holly Korschun, 404/727-3990,
May 23, 2003


Woodruff Health Sciences Center Exhibits Strong Showing In Health Care Heroes Awards Competition

Administrators and faculty from throughout Emory University’s Woodruff Health Sciences Center were recognized in five categories of achievement by the Atlanta Business Chronicle in this year’s Health Care Heroes Awards competition. Emory Hospitals CEO John Henry was the winner of the "Lifetime Achievement Award," presented on May 15 at an awards dinner at the Atlanta History Center. Vaccine researcher Harriet Robinson was the "Hero" in the "Health-Care Innovations" category.

Mr. Henry was recognized for his 40 years as administrator and then CEO of Emory Hospitals, for his leadership in overseeing the merger of Crawford Long and Emory University Hospitals and recently for leading the redevelopment of Emory Crawford Long Hospital. He cited the teamwork within his hospital administrative staff and within his own family as being critical factors in his successful career. More than 40 members of Mr. Henry’s staff and family were on hand at the awards ceremony.

Dr. Robinson, who is chief of the Division of Microbiology and Immunology at Yerkes National Primate Research Center and a faculty member of the Emory Vaccine Center, was recognized for her development of an AIDS vaccine candidate, along with colleagues at Emory and the NIH, and for the successful testing of the vaccine in rhesus macaque monkeys at Yerkes. The vaccine, which entered a Phase I clinical trial this year and which is under development by the biotech company GeoVax, is considered to be a leading candidate for containing HIV infections and preventing progression to AIDS. Dr. Robinson and her team also are developing a version of the vaccine they plan to use in clinical trials in India, targeting the particular form of HIV prevalent in that country.

Emory health sciences faculty members also were honored as finalists in four categories at the awards competition. Neurologist Jerrold Vitek was a finalist in the "Physician" category, with recognition for his role in developing groundbreaking therapies for neurological disorders including Parkinson’s disease and dystonia and for his caring relationship with his patients. Transplant surgeons and immunologists Chris Larsen and Tom Pearson were finalists in the "Health-Care Innovations" category, with recognition for successfully conducting the first islet transplant in Georgia to treat diabetes type I, and for their ongoing innovative research in working to achieve true immune tolerance in organ and tissue transplants. James Eckman and Alan Platt of the Georgia Comprehensive Sickle Cell Center at Grady Health System also were finalists in the "Health-Care Innovations" category for their development of technology that allows healthcare providers to assess and document pain levels and thus direct treatment more effectively.

Linda Spencer, director of the Public Health Nursing Leadership Program at the Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing, was a finalist in the "Allied Health" category. She was recognized for her 22 years of work to improve nursing and health care in underdeveloped countries. Psychologist Nadine Kaslow was a finalist in the "Community Outreach" category for her efforts to build programs at Grady Hospital to help abused women and their children

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