A powerful economic engine


Last May, the Science Coalition released a report demonstrating the link between federally funded research and economic growth. To illustrate its point, the report highlighted four health-related Emory start-up companies among its 100 “success stories,” along with superstars like Google, Genentech, and Cisco Systems.

The four companies cited in the report are among 51 launched at Emory over the past decade. Over the past two decades, the Woodruff Health Sciences Center (WHSC) has helped Emory bring more than $788 million into the state in licensing revenues from drugs, diagnostics, devices, and consumer products. More than 50 products currently are in various stages of development or regulatory approval, with 27 having reached the marketplace and 12 more in human clinical trials.

In the past year alone, Emory attracted $535.1 million in research funding, $500.7 million of which was in health sciences.

Clearly, the WHSC is an economic driver for Atlanta, the state, and the region. Following are some other tangible examples of ongoing contributions to the health of the economy.

Construction and other growth: This fall, Emory dedicated the Claudia Nance Rollins Building in the Rollins School of Public Health (RSPH). Joined by a bridge to the RSPH’s first building, the new edifice more than doubles the school’s physical size. The added space already has made possible new faculty recruitments and expanded student enrollment.

With funds donated to Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta by the Joseph P. Whitehead Foundation, Emory and Children’s are making plans to break ground for a new shared research building located on Emory’s campus (see rendering above). The building will help expand the growing research partnership between Emory and Children’s. Some of the pediatric research to be conducted in the new building will focus on heart disease, cancer, vaccines, and new drug discoveries. The building also will serve as a recruiting tool to attract top investigators from around the world. Children’s also announced plans recently to invest $75 million of its own funds in pediatric research in eight areas, with Emory faculty to hold key leadership roles in each of these.

Emory Healthcare recently took several steps with implications for economic and other benefits to the community. The health care system opened a new retail outpatient pharmacy in The Emory Clinic to provide not only routine prescription and over-the-counter drugs but also medications used by cancer and transplant patients that sometimes can be hard to find.

Emory Healthcare expanded telehealth services throughout Georgia, adding heart and vascular care to telehealth services already provided in transplant and psychiatry. Emory Healthcare also implemented a major redesign and enhancement of its own electronic medical record system, first implemented throughout the health care system in 2005.

Finally, Emory Healthcare recently announced plans to purchase HCA’s ownership interest in the 110-bed Emory Johns Creek Hospital (EJCH), which opened in 2007 and is staffed by Emory and community physicians.

Jobs and expenditures: With almost 18,000 employees, the Woodruff Health Sciences Center makes Emory the largest employer in DeKalb County and the third largest private employer in metro Atlanta. With $2.5 billion in expenditures for fiscal year 2009-2010, the WHSC has an estimated economic impact on metro Atlanta of $5.8 billion.


Value to the community

In addition to providing charity care, Emory’s Woodruff Health Sciences Center (WHSC) benefited the community in many other ways in fiscal year 2009–2010:




Costs of charity care provided by Emory Healthcare (EHC)



Financial aid provided to students from tuition income



Emory Healthcare investment in WHSC teaching and research



Other community benefits



Cash loss for unrecovered costs for WHSC research



Unreimbursed care provided at Grady Hospital



Investment of Emory Medical Care Foundation in services at Grady



Total (millions)


  *This includes the following:  

• Costs of emergency preparedness planning and of educational programs
for the public, future health professionals, and patients (millions) $2.0

• Shortfall between EHC’s cost to provide care to Medicaid patients and Medicaid
reimbursement, plus Georgia provider tax total paid by EHC (millions) $54.4


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