Dr. Johns

January 2007

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Emory Leads a New Era in Global Health

photo of Global Health Emory LeadsWednesday, January 10 was a landmark day for global health at Emory, with the announcement of a new University-wide Global Health Institute that will help address the most pressing health challenges around the world, particularly in poorer nations. (Pictured from left to right: Dr. Michael Johns, Dr. Jeffrey Koplan and President James Wagner).

Funding for Emory's Global Health Institute of $110 million will include $55 million from the University's strategic plan and building funds and $55 million from other sources, including Emory schools and departments, foundations, and private and governmental partners.

The University also announced a new five-year, $20 million grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to Emory in partnership with Finland's National Public Health Institute (KTL). The grant will support the International Association of National Public Health Institutes (IANPHI), an alliance that will optimize global public health by improving national public health institutes in countries around the world.

These announcements were covered extensively in the U.S. and international press in stories by the Associated Press, Reuters, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, and the Atlanta Business Chronicle that reached hundreds of news outlets around the world.

Dr. Jeffrey Koplan, Vice President for Academic Health Affairs, will direct the Global Health Institute. Dr. Koplan also serves as IANPHI president and principal investigator for the IANPHI grant. We are extremely fortunate to have Dr. Koplan directing these new initiatives. His extensive global health experience, including 26 years at the CDC culminating in the directorship, covers virtually every major public health issue of the past few decades. He continues to be a highly respected and involved public health leader worldwide.

The Institute will create and enhance partnerships with governments and academic and private institutions in the most needy parts of the world. This work will build on Emory's significant existing strengths in global health, including the important work going on in our Hubert Department of Global Health at the Rollins School of Public Health, the Lillian Carter Center for International Nursing, and our many global partnerships in Emory School of Medicine. The Institute also builds on Emory's global health partnerships with our neighboring institutions the CDC, CARE, the Task Force for Child Survival and The Carter Center.

Several programs have been identified for immediate support through the Global Health Institute, but many more will follow. Dr. Dennis Liotta in Emory's chemistry department will lead the Republic of South Africa Drug Discovery Training Program, dedicated to developing skills in young African scientists in the discovery of new therapeutic drugs. Dr. Rafi Ahmed, Director of the Emory Vaccine Center, will lead a vaccine discovery partnership with the International Center for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology (ICGEB) in New Delhi, India. Dr. Rey Martorell, Chair of the Hubert Department of Global Health in the Rollins School of Public Health, will expand the collaborative relationship between Emory and the Instituto Nacional de Salud Publica (INSP) of Mexico.

You will find more detailed information on the Global Health Institute and IANPHI at the web site These announcements only mark the beginning of an important new era in global health at Emory.

Research Appreciation Day is Major Success

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I think everyone that was able to attend even a small part of the December 6 festivities for Research Appreciation Day is aware that this event was an astounding success. More than 1,300 meals were served, 1,500+ t-shirts given away, and tours of research labs were filled to capacity. With more than 2,000 attendees to the day’s various events, including the constant flow of individuals perusing the excellent and informative poster displays on the Woodruff Health Sciences Center Administration Building Plaza, the day was marked by several featured speakers. The morning featured a talk from Dr. Steven Wartman, President of the Association of Academic Health Centers, entitled “The Changing Face of Academic Health Centers,” which focused on the trends and challenges facing academic health centers today.

Dr. Darrell Kirch, President of the Association of American Medical Colleges, spoke at lunch to a crowd that included Emory University School of Medicine leadership, department chairs, and faculty; representatives from Emory’s Rollins School of Public Health, Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing, and Yerkes National Primate Research Center; representatives from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Morehouse School of Medicine, members of the local media, and other special guests of the university.  Dr. Kirch’s lecture, entitled “Biomedical Research: Celebrating our Advances – Facing Our Challenges,” highlighted challenges facing medical research in this country.

The day culminated with a packed auditorium to hear the Future Makers lecture, “Uncommon Sense and Innovation,” by Dr. William Brody, President of Johns Hopkins University. (If you missed this lecture, click on the following link to view it and other previous Future Makers lectures:  

I personally want to thank everyone involved in making this day such a success, and especially the the planning committee (pictured below ), and its chairman, Gary Teal, for a job well done.

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New Leadership for Research Administration

I am pleased to announce the appointment of David Wynes as the new Vice President for Research Administration, effective February 1. Dr. Wynes is currently Senior Associate Vice President for Research at the University of Iowa, where he has served in a number of research administration and leadership roles, including creating the clinical trials office and developing/implementing policies related to conflict of interest, research ethics, animal research, human subject research accreditation, and research health and safety.

This position is a crucial one, in terms of maintaining our momentum in research as well as vigilant attention to research compliance, ethics, and the health and safety of investigators and study subjects, both animal and human. Dr. Wynes will lead the Office of Research Administration, which encompasses sponsored programs, technology transfer, grants and contracts, research compliance, and the University Research Committee. These offices facilitate multidisciplinary initiatives across the university, help develop new sources of funding, and establish good working relationships with the business community, among other services.

I am also pleased to announce the appointment of Kerry Peluso as Associate Vice President for Research Administration, effective February 12.  Ms. Peluso comes from the University of Pennsylvania’s Office of Research Services where she has served for the past several years as the Director of Post Award Financial Administration. Her demonstrated leadership skills and extensive financial background will complement Dr. Wynes as together they lead the Office of Research Administration. 

Learning from the Past, Preparing for the Future

As I have previously mentioned, I’m so proud of the response by the Emory community to assist those impacted by Hurricane Katrina and Rita. Faculty, staff and students came together and donated their money in the aftermath of the hurricanes and volunteered countless hours at local shelters to assist displaced residents. When my office established a way for people to give to the relief effort through the Emory web site, we had no idea at the time that donations would pour in from outside Emory and the Woodruff Health Sciences Center community, and yet the donations did by countless individuals wanting to help. It was a time of crisis and we came together as a community to help those in need.

Numerous physicians and staff at Grady worked tirelessly to aid those that arrived in Atlanta seeking medical care, regardless of the fact that Grady's budget was stretched so thin it was forced to use resources it just didn’t have. In talks with Grady’s Disaster Preparedness Office to determine the best way for Grady to recoup its exhausted resources, it was decided that to be better prepared in the future for a medical emergency of this magnitude, the purchase of mobile medical carts would be a wise investment. These carts can be used to manage patient care by facilitating care for minimally injured patients redirected from the emergency department to another large area of the hospital, and their portability makes them perfectly designed for the type of outreach medical care that was provided in the shelters during the Hurricane Katrina response.

So in addition to helping victims in 2005, your generosity will assist those in emergency situations for years to come.

Vision 2012 Facilities Planning Continues

The process of selecting architects for the Clifton Road Redevelopment Project is well underway. Interviews have been held with architectural firms who specialize in healthcare design. Based on these interviews and submitted materials, the executive selection committee is now focusing on two firms.  

In mid-January, members of the steering committee and members of our program management firm will be visiting several completed projects of each of these two firms.  The team will be meeting with administrative officials at each location to tour the facility and discuss the successes and failures of each project.  This information will help us make a final decision as to which firm will be awarded the schematic design for the project.  I’ll keep you updated on this project as it continues to move forward.

Upcoming Training Seminars for ING Georgia Marathon

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The inaugural ING Georgia Marathon and Half Marathon now has more than 300 runners signed up for the Emory team and the number keeps growing.  Emory Healthcare, a sponsor and provider of medical care for the March 25 event, has developed a series of training seminars offered to help Emory team members stay injury free while training for this big event.

When: Saturday, January  20, 2007, 8:00 a.m.
Where:  Big Peach Running Company, Buckhead
3881 Peachtree Road, Atlanta, GA 30319
Speaker:  Mike Cosentino, founder of Big Peach
Topic:  Choosing the right shoes and running apparel for your body.
Join the group for a 4-12 mile run after the seminar. 

When:  Saturday, February 3, 2007, 1:00 p.m.
Where:  REI Atlanta, Clairmont Road and I - 85
Speaker: Dr. Ken Maunter, Emory Orthopaedist
Finisher of 2006 New York City Marathon
Topic:  Injury Prevention and Race Day Tips

To register for either of these seminars, call Emory Health Connection at 404-778-7777. 

We are still looking for volunteers to staff the water stops (in front of Emory Crawford Long Hospital and Emory University Hospital), the hospitality tent at the end of the race, and the medical tents. If you are interested, please call Paige Dunham, 404-778-5395, or email All volunteers will receive a special Emory volunteer shirt.

Emory Johns Creek to Open in February

Emory Johns Creek Hospital, a 110-bed, $118 million joint venture with Hospital Corporation of America, will open February 5 to serve the newly incorporated city of Johns Creek and surrounding area. The hospital includes a level III neonatal intensive care unit and offers services in women’s care, cardiology, bariatrics, oncology, orthopaedics, pediatrics, and emergency, acute, and urgent care. The facility has extensive outpatient services, a 64-slice CT scanner, and MRI capabilities.

Medical staff will include both Emory and community physicians, and the hospital will have continuing medical education programs, with support from the School of Medicine.

The 282,000-square-foot hospital connects with a medical office building at each of its four levels. The facility will replace Emory Dunwoody Medical Center, whose President and CEO, Thomas Gilbert, will assume these roles at Emory Johns Creek.

A ceremonial ribbon cutting and open house for the community and Emory employees will take place on January 21 from 1:00 – 5:00 p.m. Students from Northview High School and Chattahoochee High School will serve as tour ambassadors throughout the day. Satellite parking will be available at 12000 Findley Road, at the corner of Findley Road and Medlock Bridge Road.

Donor Invests $3 Million in Predictive Health

An anonymous Atlanta foundation has invested $3 million in the Emory/Georgia Tech Predictive Health Initiative. This donation leverages the university’s own investment in predictive health, as part of the Emory-wide strategic plan. The Predictive Health Initiative sponsors a variety of activities, including last month’s second annual predictive health symposium, where keynote speaker Elias Zerhouni, Director of the NIH, himself made a prediction: that this century would be known for its “life sciences revolution” in which health care would move away from a focus on treating existing disease to maintaining people’s health by predicting future health risks at the genetic and molecular level. A crowd of more than 250 people gathered to hear Dr. Zerhouni’s talk.

The Predictive Health Initiative currently has 18 ongoing collaborative research projects in which faculty are working to develop ways of predicting and preventing diseases ranging from diabetes and Parkinson’s to schizophrenia and atherosclerosis. The initiative is also on schedule to open its Center for Health Discovery and Well-Being in the next few months, with space under construction in the medical office tower at Emory Crawford Long in Midtown. Here, researchers will work with healthy participants to determine not only biomarkers of disease and disease risk but also what constitutes good health.

Journal of Hospital Medicine Selected for Indexing and Inclusion in MEDLINE®

Image of Mark WilliamsThe Journal of Hospital Medicine, the official publication of the Society of Hospital Medicine,has been selected for indexing and inclusion in the National Library of Medicine’s MEDLINE (Medical Literature Analysis and Retrieval System Online). This is an exceptional feat for a journal that debuted in February 2006 and is a direct result of the hard work and dedication of founding editor Mark Williams, MD, the Director of Emory Hospital Medicine, and a 2004 Woodruff Leadership Academy Fellow. The journal has been housed at Emory since its inception and is currently distributed to more than 6,000 members of the Society of Hospital Medicine.

Fuqua Gift Supports Child Psychiatry

J. Rex Fuqua, President and CEO of Atlanta-based Fuqua Capital Corporation and Managing Director of Fuqua Ventures, has contributed $2 million to endow a chair in child psychiatry, which will enable establishment of leadership for a newly created Childhood and Adolescent Mood Disorders Program.  As in numerous U.S. cities, there is a shortage in Atlanta of inpatient and outpatient psychiatric services for this age group, and this new program will provide both. Mr. Fuqua's late father, J.B. Fuqua, helped found the Fuqua Center for Late-Life Depression at Wesley Woods in addition to endowing a chair in this specialty area. Mr. Fuqua chairs the External Advisory Board for the medical school’s Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences.

You Are Invited to Preview New Neuro ICU

Image of Owen SamuelsEmory Hospital is hosting several open house events this month to promote the opening of its new 20-bed, $18 million neurointensive care unit. Neurosurgeon Owen Samuels was a driving force behind the new unit, which was designed by a task force of medical professionals and former patients. The world-class, state-of-the-art unit consolidates neuro ICU services to maximize quality of care for patients suffering from neurologic challenges such as stroke, aneurysm, or traumatic brain injury. Such patients typically spend weeks in the unit, and family members often wish to remain nearby. The new unit will offer many improved amenities for patient families, including sleep and work areas, laundry and shower facilities, meeting rooms, and Wi-Fi Internet access. Emory employees are invited to preview this new unit on Sunday, January 28, 6-8 p.m.; and Tuesday, January 30, 7-10 a.m. and 6-8 p.m. If you are interested in attending, please call Emory Health Connection at 404-778-7777 to reserve your space.

Items of Note

Image of Bernardion Ophthalmologist C. Roberto Bernardino received the Achievement Award from the American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO) in November for his roles in teaching and leadership, including directing AAO courses and lecturing on oculoplastic techniques. His research interests include thyroid-related eye disease and development of an animal model for orbital tumors.

Image of Flowers Hematologist Christopher Flowers is the first recipient of the American Society of Hematology (ASH) Amos Faculty Development Award. A joint initiative between ASH and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s Harold Amos Medical Faculty Development Program, this award is aimed at increasing the number of minority academic investigators in hematology. Dr. Flowers, an adjunct faculty member at Georgia Tech, directs the Lymphoma Program at Emory and is a member of the stem cell and bone marrow transplant team. His research interests include oncology informatics and individualization of cancer care.

Image of Johnstone Radiation oncologist Peter Johnstone was elected president of the Society for Integrative Oncology (SIO) at the organization’s third annual conference in November. The SIO is dedicated to studying complementary therapeutic options, such as acupuncture, nutrition, massage, and mind-body techniques, and provides a forum for discussion and peer review of benefits as well as dangers of various integrative therapies.

Image of Lawley Please watch for the Health Care Quarterly section in the February 9 issue of Atlanta Business Chronicle, where School of Medicine Dean Thomas Lawley will be listed in “Who’s Who in Health Care.” Congratulations to Dr. Lawley for “making the list,” although I must say that his accomplishments are well known to us here at Emory.

Image of Zhao Cardiology researcher Jinying Zhao received the Elizabeth Barrett-Connor Research Award from the American Heart Association’s Council on Epidemiology and Prevention in November, based in part on her presentation on genetic factors behind a widely used surrogate marker for atherosclerosis. An assistant professor, Dr. Zhao is part of a multidisciplinary research group concentrating on clinical and population epidemiology, outcomes research, clinical trials, and translational research in cardiovascular diseases and related disciplines. This award is given to recognize excellent cardiovascular research by investigators in training and to encourage continuation of their work.

Several nurses in the medical-surgical unit at Emory Crawford Long Hospital were honored recently at a banquet presented by the hospital’s Retention and Recruitment Committee. Nominations for the awards were submitted by staff and included a list of behaviors/actions/reasons for recognition. Balloting was based on actions presented, rather than names of persons. This year’s winners were:

  • Bessie Davis (Outstanding PCA/UC Clinical Practice)
  • Paul Smith (Outstanding Preceptor)
  • Kim Harden-Grant (Outstanding Patient Advocate)
  • Mary Tomsy Thekkan (RN Team Spirit)
  • Tim Snabes (Outstanding Clinical Practice)
  • Darla Bardakjy (Excellent Leadership)
  • Shawn Ledford, Mary Tomsy Thekkan, and Debbie Barker (Perfect Attendance)
  • Genevieve Smith (Outstanding New Graduate)

Research Grant Deadline Approaching

Three times a year, the Emory Medical Care Foundation (EMCF) offers Research Grants of up to $25,000 to faculty in the School of Medicine who spend at least 50% of their time in the Grady Health System. Preference is given to faculty members in their first 10 years at Grady. The next deadline is March 1, 2007.  For information on application procedures, please contact Shelle Bryant in the SOM Dean's Office at 404-727-4569 or or visit the School of Medicine web site at for the proposal guidelines and cover sheet.

Keep Up Your Steps with Your Holiday Gift

Hopefully by now you’ve received your Emory Healthcare 2006 holiday gift, a pedometer.  Many of you probably remember that several years ago we gave pedometers as a holiday gift. They were so popular and the feedback on them so positive, we decided to give them again and encourage everyone to keep moving towards the goal of 10,000 steps a day as recommended by the American Heart Association.  I hope the pedometer will not only track your daily progress but challenge you to walk extra steps for your health each day.

If you have not received your Emory Healthcare pedometer, please call 404-778-4881.

Upcoming Noteworthy Events

  • Wesley Woods and the Center for Health in Aging are helping sponsor a caregiving conference on February 3, 8:30 am to 3:30 pm, at Peachtree Road United Methodist Church. The session will include interactive discussions with a panel of professional caregivers as well as information on the National Family Caregiver Support Program.
  • All physicians and medical providers are welcome to attend the Third Annual Medical and Surgical Therapeutic Advances in Epilepsy Symposium, hosted by the Emory Epilepsy Center, on February 5, in the Miller-Ward Alumni House, with registration beginning at 7:45 a.m. Fees are waived for Emory/Emory Healthcare employees. For more information, email or call 404-727-5695.
  • The Douglas R. Murray Melanoma Symposium will be held February 24 from 8:30 a.m. to 12:45 p.m. at the Winship Cancer Institute. To register online, go to
  • On Friday, March 2, Atlanta’s leading nurses, physicians, clinicians and researchers will discuss stroke and how to improve outcomes for stroke patients at the Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing’s annual Virginia Lee Franklin Memorial Conference in Neurology.  The conference is sponsored by the Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing at Emory University and Emory Healthcare, and is co-sponsored by Emory’s Wesley Woods Geriatric Hospital.  The conference will be held from 7:30 a.m. to 2:40 p.m. at the Atlanta History Center.  To register for this event, contact Cathy Jones at 404-712-9633 or email
  • Neonatology 2007 will be held March 22-23 at the Emory Conference Center. The conference is directed by Drs. Ann Critz and Niki Kosmetatos and hosted by the Division of Neonatal-Perinatal Medicine. Featured topics include neonatal respiratory management, preventing and treating infection in the neonatal ICU, and neonatal neurology. The conference is approved for AMA PRA Category 1 credit, and nursing and respiratory credits also will be awarded. For more information, contact Karen Parker at 404-727-3360; Information is also available at

Leadership Thoughts: Living in the Moment

As we begin a new year, I recall being a youngster and thinking in awe how we made the major jumps from one year to the next. Going from 1959 to 1960 seemed so monumental and I worried how I could make such an adjustment in the calendar of my life.  Later in life the change from one year to the next often meant I wrote the old year as the date on checks for at least a few days each January. Now, it seems that the annual calendar flips to a new year about every 3 – 4 months. That is obviously a function of age and the pace of life today.

As I progress in life, I realize that time is an irreversible succession of past to present, and present to future.  I also realize that it is healthy to live in the moment and not get overly concerned and stressed with what has already happened and/or what might happen in the future.  When we spend too much of our time reflecting on the past or worrying about the future we miss special moments and opportunities. 

Our core purpose in the Woodruff Health Sciences Center is “Making People Healthy.”  We place those three words on our letterhead, wear it on our lapels, and mention it often.  Our ability to make others healthy is largely dependent on how well we keep ourselves healthy. I mentioned the pedometer earlier in this letter.  Wear the pedometer daily and utilize it to get healthier. Just as important, please make the effort to live in the moment and treasure the opportunities you have every day.

I hope 2007 will be a great year for all of you.


Michael M.E. Johns, MD
CEO, Woodruff Health Sciences Center