Gold W


photo Dr. Johns

July 2007

Table of Contents:

  • Choi Named to Lead Neurosciences at Emory
  • 100 Most Influential Atlantans
  • Broadening Governance for Nursing in Emory Healthcare
  • Invented Here: New Genetic Test for Muscular Dystrophy
  • New GRA Eminent Scholars
  • Sharing Medical Supplies with Developing Countries
  • Global Health Institute Awards New Grants, Launches Website
  • Honors and Appointments
  • Leadership Thoughts

    Choi Named to Lead Neurosciences at Emory

    Photo of Dr. ChoiDennis Choi, MD, PhD, a neuroscientist renowned for his groundbreaking research on brain and spinal cord injury, has been recruited to lead two major neuroscience programs at Emory: the Neuroscience, Human Nature and Society Initiative within the university-wide strategic plan, and the Comprehensive Neuroscience Center within the Woodruff Health Sciences Center.

    A former president of the Society for Neuroscience, Dr. Choi served as head of the neurology department at Washington University School of Medicine from 1991 until 2001 and as neurologist-in-chief at Barnes-Jewish Hospital. From 2001 until 2006 he was Executive Vice President for neuroscience at Merck Research Labs, leaving to join Boston University, where he has been a professor of pharmacology and experimental therapeutics. He comes to Emory as a professor in the Department of Neurology on August 1.

    As Executive Director of Emory’s strategic neurosciences initiative, Dr. Choi will oversee the development of four key areas: neuroscience education, behavioral neuroscience and cognition, brain therapeutics, and molecular and translational imaging research. Each program builds on strengths across multiple units of the university and existing neuroscience programs, including Emory’s Center for Neurodegenerative Diseases, an NIH-funded Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center, a neuroimaging research center, neurosciences programs at Yerkes, the Fuqua Center for Late-life Depression, and research programs funded through the collaborative Center for Behavioral Neurosciences.

    As Director of the Comprehensive Neuroscience Center in the Woodruff Health Sciences Center, Dr. Choi will help integrate research, patient care, and education in neuroscience, one of five areas in the Vision 2012 strategic plan charged with developing a new model for patient-centered care as well as distinctive health services based on discovery, innovation, and measurable impact on patients’ health.

    Dr. Choi is a member of the Institute of Medicine and its Forum on Neuroscience and Nervous System Disorders, a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and a member of the executive committee of the Dana Alliance for Brain Research. He is former vice president of the American Neurological Association.

    His research on the mechanisms of neuronal cell death and the underlying mechanisms of brain and spinal cord injury has been recognized by several awards, including the Silvio O. Conte Decade of the Brain Award, the Christopher Reeve Research Medal, and the Ho-Am Prize in Medical Science.

    Dr. Choi has served on numerous scientific and advisory boards, including the National Academy of Science Board on Life Sciences, and as chairman of the U.S./Canada Regional Committee of the International Brain Research Organization. He has held membership in multiple editorial boards, including a founding co-editorship of the journal, Neurobiology of Disease.

    I know that President Wagner, Emory College Dean Bobby Paul, and other leaders across the Woodruff Health Sciences Center and all of Emory join me in welcoming Dr. Choi to help carry our vision forward.


    100 Most Influential Atlantans

    The Atlanta Business Chronicle announced its 100 Most Influential Atlantans in a special section last month. Emory President James Wagner was cited for leading a number of efforts that have continued to solidify Emory’s reputation as a vibrant contributor to the quality of life in metro Atlanta.

    Several other prominent Atlantans with strong ties to the Emory community were recognized: Emory trustee Ben Johnson III, Managing Partner, Alston & Bird LLP; Emory Healthcare board member Tom Bell, Jr., Chairman and CEO of Cousins Properties; and Russell Hardin, President of The Robert W. Woodruff Foundation.

    On behalf of the Woodruff Health Sciences Center, I was honored to also be included in this group of individuals working to make a difference in our city. I certainly could not have achieved this without the hardwork of everyone across the WHSC.


    Broadening Governance for Nursing in Emory Healthcare

    Since her appointment as Emory Healthcare’s first system-wide chief nursing officer (CNO) almost a year ago, Susan Grant, MS, RN, has worked with other nursing leaders and staff to broaden governance in nursing to support the Woodruff Health Science Center’s focus on patient-centered care and creating the ideal patient experience. Steps taken include implementing unit practice councils to encourage clinicians to collaborate to improve care, and restructuring the nursing division, including creation of three new Associate CNO (ACNO) positions:

    • Mary Gullatte, RN, is ACNO at Emory Crawford Long Hospital.
    • Becky Provine, RN, MSN, is ACNO at Emory University Hospital.
    • Kelly Chasteen, RN, is ACNO at Wesley Woods Center.

    Watch for more updates as Emory Healthcare nurses increasingly serve leadership roles in supporting the WHSC’s focus on quality and safety and other patient- and family-centered initiatives.


    Invented Here: New Genetic Test for Muscular Dystrophy

    Photo of Dr. Zwick Geneticists Michael Zwick (pictured at left) and Madhuri Hegde have developed a new genetic test targeting the most common types of muscular dystrophy (those caused by mutations in the dystrophin gene) that is both much faster and more sensitive than existing tests. It can be used to confirm diagnoses, test female family members who may be carriers, and perform prenatal testing. The new test, called EmArray Dystrophin, detects 99% of mutations in the dystrophin gene using a new kind of microarray technology that contains the entire sequence of the gene on a chip the size of a microscope slide.


    New GRA Eminent Scholars

    Three physician scientists recruited in the past year bring Emory’s total number of Georgia Research Alliance (GRA) scholars to nine. The GRA is a national model for attracting world-class scientific talent to the state — recruiting three new GRA scholars in just a few months time is an extraordinary accomplishment for both Emory and the GRA. These newest GRA scholars include:


    Sharing Medical Supplies with Developing Countries

    Sign-up slots filled up so quickly for Emory Healthcare employees to volunteer on Saturdays to sort surplus medical supplies that some volunteers had to take a rain check to participate in this MedShare International program. MedShare, a nonprofit organization headquartered in Atlanta, recovers unused medical supplies mandated for disposal by U.S. regulatory requirements (supplies that otherwise would go to a landfill) and matches them to the needs of hospitals and clinics in developing countries. In addition to helping sort supplies at the MedShare warehouse, Emory Healthcare employees have the opportunity to select a country destination for an Emory Healthcare-sponsored supply shipment.

    This partnership with the health care side of Emory is not new — our operating rooms and the Woodruff Health Sciences Center library have donated more than 20,000 pounds of equipment, supplies, and books over the past 10 years. Faculty in the Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing also regularly call MedShare to help supply their Migrant Farm worker project in rural south Georgia with desperately needed supplies. Emory's enthusiasm for this project, however, continues to grow. Poundage of supplies donated from Emory has increased 300% just since April, with many additional departments and sections sporting blue MedShare supply collection barrels. And the response to Emory Healthcare Volunteer Saturdays has been gratifying. In fact, beginning in August, one "Friends-and-Family Saturday" volunteer session each month will be held especially for Emory Healthcare volunteers.

    For additional information about MedShare, please see Please call 404-778-8191 with questions specifically about Emory Healthcare's participation.


    Global Health Institute Awards New Grants, Launches Website

    Emory’s Global Health Institute, directed by Dr. Jeff Koplan, Vice President for Academic Health Affairs, has awarded nearly $2 million to support four new programs in the Woodruff Health Sciences Center:

    Photo of Dr. NarayanThe Rollins School of Public Heath, along with the Madras Diabetes Research Foundation, will establish the Global Diabetes Research Center in Chennai, India, led by epidemiologist K. M. Venkat Narayan (left). The center will serve as a hub for large intervention trials throughout South Asia and provide educational and research opportunities to Emory faculty, staff, and students.


    Photo of L. SibleyThe Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing, in collaboration with the International Center for Diarrheal Disease Research in Bangladesh, will launch a research and training project aimed at reducing maternal and newborn mortality and morbidity in poor areas where home births often are assisted by unskilled attendants. Headed by Lynn Sibley, RN, PhD, (left), the partnership will use community-based strategies and interventions to reduce the 529,000 maternal deaths and 4 million neonatal deaths that occur annually because of complications during home births. In addition to Rollins School of Public Health, the partnership includes two well-known nongovernmental organizations — the Bangladesh Rural Advancement Committee and the LAMB Integrated Rural Health and Development World Mission Prayer League.

    Photo of H. BlumbergThe School of Medicine and the Rollins School of Public Health, along with the University Teaching Hospital in Lusaka, Zambia, and the University of Zambia School of Medicine, will conduct a research project focusing on improving the global control of tuberculosis, particularly in the HIV-positive population. Led by infectious disease expert Henry Blumberg, MD, (left), the project is expected to include a study of a new generation of diagnostic TB tests as well as research training for Zambian physicians and scientists. The Zambia-Emory Research Initiative in TB and TB/HIV builds on the infrastructure established by the Zambian-Emory HIV Research Program, founded in 1994 by Susan Allen, MD, MPH, in the Rollins School of Public Health, and by the NIH Fogarty International Center-funded Emory AIDS International Research and Training Program grant (which includes Zambia), led by Carlos del Rio, MD.

    Photo of C. YangA consortium that includes the School of Medicine’s new NIH-funded Center of Excellence for Influenza Research and Surveillance and the Harbin Veterinary Research Institute (HVRI) in China will conduct studies aimed at developing a universal vaccine against infection by different H5N1 avian influenza strains. Led by microbiologist Chinglai Yang (left), Emory will provide training in molecular virology to visiting HVRI scientists, while HVRI will provide training to Emory researchers in avian flu field surveillance and viral pathogenesis.

    For more information about these and other Emory global health projects, please visit the institute’s new website:     


    Honors and Appointments

    Cindy Hall, Associate Director of Employee Health for Emory Healthcare, accompanied Emory Healthcare CEO John Fox to accept a national award from the American Nurses Association, recognizing Emory Healthcare as one of the top five health care organizations in the country for best practice in employee flu immunization. Emory Healthcare’s “No Flu Zone” campaign is currently undergoing expansion to raise the percentage of employee participation even higher for the coming flu season.

    Image of K. HeilpernKate Heilpern, MD, (left), acting chair of the School of Medicine's Department of Emergency Medicine, has been named president-elect of the 5,700-member Society for Academic Emergency Medicine. Dr. Heilpern, a 2004 Woodruff Leadership Academy Fellow, recently was selected to serve on the Institute of Medicine Board on Military and Veterans’ Health. Regionally, she serves on the State of Georgia Pandemic Influenza Planning Task Force and the Board of Directors of the Georgia College of Emergency Physicians.

    Robert Nadolski has been named Senior Administrator of the Office of Critical Event Preparedness and Response (CEPAR). Before joining CEPAR, Nadolski was Vice President for Grady Health System’s emergency medical services and level 1 trauma center. He was also responsible for Grady’s Emergency Management Program and helped implement the Regional Coordinating Hospital Program in metro Atlanta in collaboration with the State Department of Public Health and the Georgia Hospital Association. Following Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, he worked in concert with the Atlanta VA and the National Disaster Medical System to distribute medical evacuees to 32 hospitals and long-term care facilities.

    Photo of D. TaylorDouglas Taylor, DVM, (left), clinical veterinarian in the Division of Animal Resources, received the Foster Award for Academic Excellence from the American College of Laboratory Animal Medicine (ACLAM). He received the highest score of all new ACLAM diplomats on the practical portion of the 2006 professional certifying exam.





    Leadership Thoughts

    Having just passed the July 4th holiday, we are well into summer schedules. The month of July usually means vacation time. Many years ago, university campuses became substantially dormant during the summer months. That is obviously not the case here at Emory. I am amazed and impressed each summer to see so much activity going on across the Woodruff Health Sciences Center. This summer is particularly busy, with new buildings opening, others being constructed, and others in the planning stages.  Summer campers of all ages traverse the campus. Some have tennis racquets, some are dressed in cheerleading outfits, and others have computers and books with them. I recently saw some young people involved in a chess camp at Emory — those were serious campers aspiring to be masters of the game.

    A term we hear often beginning about now is the Dog Days of Summer. The term is believed to have originated in countries bordering the Mediterranean Sea and often represented times of extreme heat, disease, and discomfort.  In modern times, many people have come to associate the Dogs Days with inactivity.  Nothing could be further from the truth around here! It is rewarding and exciting that in the Dog Days of 2007 we find so many dedicated students, researchers, nurses, physicians, and many others working diligently in the quest of our core purpose of Making People Healthy.

    I hope that the remainder of the summer months are filled with fun and pleasure for you, your families, and your friends.


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

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