Dec. 5, 2008

Fred Sanfilippo
Fred Sanfilippo,

WHSC provides endless ways to help others

We all have causes that inspire us and move us to action. Some invest their energy and resources in supporting the elderly, while others lend a helping hand to kids in need. Some raise money and awareness for specific diseases, such as cancer, AIDS, heart disease, or diabetes. Education, feeding the hungry, animal welfare—the list of opportunities to do good for others is endless.

No matter what cause motivates your charitable action, you're sure to find ways to get involved right here on the Woodruff Health Sciences Center campus. (Please see article below.) For example, you can volunteer to help the senior citizens living at Wesley Woods stay happy, healthy, and engaged. You can volunteer to support My House, an emergency shelter home managed by the Emory-Children's Center for newborn babies with special needs. You can purchase a "virtual can" at any Emory Healthcare cafeteria to support the lifesaving work of the Atlanta Community Food Bank. You can adopt a needy patient's family and help them enjoy a happy holiday in spite of their hardship. Or you can get involved in any of the many other charitable projects undertaken on our campus at any given time. Visit the university's volunteer website to find out about the many volunteer opportunities that are available.

Even if you don't find time to get involved directly with these or other causes this holiday season, just by belonging to the WHSC family, you're making a tremendous difference in our community. Our recently published Community Benefits Book illustrates dozens of examples of the extraordinary difference you're helping us make for individuals, for our city, and for our state—just by doing the outstanding work you do each and every day.

Thanks, as always, for all that you do to help the Woodruff Health Sciences Center achieve its vision of transforming health and healing … together.

Best wishes for happy holidays and a healthy new year!

Please share your thoughts and feedback at

in this issue  

WHSC provides endless ways to help

Share the spirit

New community benefits report online

Growing up in patient accounts

Award to fund new doctoral pathway

A generous gift and timeless legacy


Past issues

Email Forward

Contact us


Share the holiday spirit

The holidays will be especially hard for many in today's worsening economy, and employees across WHSC are stepping forward to offer a helping hand. In addition to initiatives throughout the schools of medicine, nursing, and public health and Yerkes, here are two inter-unit programs sure to have an impact.

Buy a virtual can. You can help with this one, wherever you are. Throughout December, cashiers in all Emory Healthcare cafeterias will be selling paper cutouts of food cans for a minimum donation of $1. Once purchased, the virtual food can, inscribed with the buyer's name, will be displayed on the cafeteria wall. The money goes to the Atlanta Community Food Bank, which can transform each dollar into $8.28 worth of food for the needy. Last year, the food bank distributed an estimated 2 million pounds of food and grocery items each month to 800 nonprofit partner agencies in 38 counties in metro Atlanta and north Georgia. This year, donations have been markedly down—just when people need help the most.

Pick an angel. There are HIPAA-compliant numbers, not names, on the paper angels on the trees that went up in Emory University Hospital and Emory Crawford Long Hospital in late October. Each number represents a family, chosen by the Care Coordination Division (a combination of what used to be called social work and utilization review) as among the neediest patient families seen at the two hospitals this past year. For the past month, departments and units in the hospitals have been adopting families. They select an angel tree number and receive the corresponding family's wish list that ranges from warm clothes to toys. The departments then shop, wrap, and deliver these presents to the families by Friday, Dec. 12. This marks the 10th year of the hospitals' Share the Spirit with Families in Need program. On average, each hospital helps about 15 families per year.







New community benefits report now online

Over the past year, faculty and staff throughout the Woodruff Health Sciences Center provided millions of dollars in compassionate, high-quality care to those who need it most. This includes more than $29 million in charity care, in addition to more than $21 million in unreimbursed care provided at Grady Hospital.

Figures like these, along with individual patient stories, can be found in the WHSC's 2008 Community Benefits Report, which is shared with legislators, government agencies, local and regional business leaders, and health care organizations across the country.

But the benefits of these efforts aren't limited just to patients. They extend throughout the community in a host of ways. For example, the WHSC creates nearly 17,000 jobs in the metro area, making Emory the largest private employer in Atlanta and the second largest in Georgia. The research dollars generated by the WHSC extend far beyond the laboratory as well. Every $1 million of research funding generates an average return of $2 million and 32 jobs in Georgia, meaning that the WHSC's annual $388 million in research funding generates more than $775 million in economic impact and nearly 12,500 jobs for the state. All told, the WHSC's research, education, and health care missions have a $4.9 billion impact on the community—in addition to the immeasurable value of providing help and hope to people in need.



roxann_arnoldRoxann Arnold

Bio stats:
• 1989-present, director, patient financial services, ECLH
• 1983-1989, various roles, including manager, business office, ECLH
1975-1983, teacher, Carroll County

• 1971-1983, business office, ECLH (part-time)
• 2007, Woodruff Leadership Academy

• MS, BS, West Georgia College



Growing up in patient accounts

One in a series of profiles of people in the Woodruff Health Sciences Center

The Saturday after she turned 16, Roxann Arnold began working at Emory Crawford Long Hospital as a file clerk in the business office, spending her summer filing and retrieving patient records. Bills were typed, privacy meant pulling curtains, and insurance companies tended to reimburse clinicians and hospitals the full cost of care.

During the following 13 summers, while she finished high school and college and then worked as a teacher, she continued the 100-mile-per-day round trip commute from Carrollton. Teaching was fun, but she liked health care more, and in 1983 she joined ECLH full-time. Today, as director of patient financial services, Arnold leads a staff of 104.

What do she and her team do? They oversee processes related to patient admission, ensuring that the patient is admitted with the right information needed for care and later billing. Other revenue cycle responsibilities include working with managed care and government payers, qualifying patients for charity and indigent care, collections, cash posting, refunds, charge audits, and bad debts. Arnold and her team also are responsible for grant billing, coordinating with the clinical trials office to make sure the appropriate grant is billed for patients participating in research studies. The newest part of her responsibilities is registration and billing for Emory Winship Cancer Institute activities on both campuses. "It is a challenge to learn about the various drugs associated with infusion and other forms of chemotherapy to ensure that we bill the appropriate way to get reimbursed," says Arnold, "but I have always enjoyed a good challenge."

It is a good thing she feels that way because keeping up with the changes in managed care, government payers, and HIPAA privacy regulations is a moving target, she says.

Arnold routinely meets with her management teams and tries to make rounds every day, touching base with employees in the medical office tower, hospital areas, emergency room, and the business office, where her own office is located. As a former educator, she believes strongly in staff education and looks for teachable moments. She also meets regularly with physicians and ancillary departments across the enterprise and with managed care companies and Medicare/Medicaid payers to discuss reimbursement and other trouble-shooting issues.

"It’s pretty fast-paced, but it’s fascinating and it’s family," says Arnold, a 2007 fellow of the Woodruff Leadership Academy. "My staff and I care about each other and share an immense pride in Emory Healthcare and Emory Crawford Long. When you are passionate about something, you want us to be the best we can be, for our patients, their families, and our staff."



ken_brighamKenneth Brigham

michele_marcusMichele Marcus


Training award to fund new doctoral pathway

Emory has received $2.5 million from the Burroughs-Wellcome Fund to establish a training program that connects various disciplines to study human health. Housed in the graduate school, Emory's program will create a new doctoral pathway, called Human Health: Molecules to Mankind (M2M), to integrate studies in biology, behavior, environment, and populations.

Kenneth Brigham, director of the Emory/Georgia Tech Predictive Health Institute, will direct the M2M program with Michele Marcus, director of graduate studies in the Rollins School of Public Health.

The program initially will include four tracks:

• Predictive health
• Population processes and dynamics of infectious diseases
• Biomarkers and development of acute and chronic disease
• Public health genomics: genetic and environmental determinants of health

Read more.


  robert_woodruffRobert W. Woodruff  

A generous gift and timeless legacy

"No one has ever become poor by giving."—Anne Frank

The holidays are a natural time for giving—a time to give tokens of our esteem to the people we care about and to give of ourselves in service to others. But for the Robert W. Woodruff Health Sciences Center, this week also presents a special opportunity to reflect on a gift from the past—and to express gratitude for the legacy it has made possible.

This Saturday, December 6, would have been the 119th birthday of WHSC benefactor and visionary philanthropist Robert W. Woodruff, former president and chairman of the Coca-Cola Company. For nearly 50 years, Mr. Woodruff's commitment to transforming health and healing was evident in his ongoing generosity in support of building a premier health education, research, and patient care center here at Emory. Throughout his long life, he gave nearly $350 million to charity. Of that impressive total, more than 65% ($230 million) was directed to Emory. As noted below, many more hundreds of millions of dollars would be given to Emory after his death.

An initial gift of $50,000—an almost inconceivable amount of money in Depression-era 1937—to establish a cancer clinic on the Emory campus began Mr. Woodruff's half century of service to the institution. Recognizing the value of an interdisciplinary academic center, he and his brother George gave a gift in 1979 of $105 million—the largest philanthropic gift on record at the time to any institution of higher education in the nation.

More than a decade after Mr. Woodruff's death at Emory University Hospital in 1985, his family foundation donated an additional gift of Coca-Cola shares to establish the Robert W. Woodruff Health Sciences Center Fund, Inc. This gift, now worth nearly $600 million, funds programmatic and facilities efforts that help make the WHSC the 21st century model for an academic health sciences and services center. And most recently, the foundation again upheld Mr. Woodruff's timeless commitment to Emory by donating more than $260 million to update our health care facilities and support other strategic priorities.

"Mr. Woodruff was the kind of man who worked diligently behind the scenes to effect positive change without drawing attention to himself or demanding credit," says EVPHA Fred Sanfilippo. "Every day, I see his legacy of selfless service to the greater good reflected in the extraordinary work of our WHSC faculty and staff—proving that Mr. Woodruff's legacy has shaped not only our development, but our organizational character as well."

The entire Woodruff Health Sciences Center wishes a very happy birthday to Mr. Robert W. Woodruff as we remember this wonderful and kind gentleman.





artworkPart of "5 mandalas based on nothing," by Diane Kempler


• Medicine and college co-host art exhibit

An exhibit by Emory visual arts faculty is on view in the school of medicine building (first- and second-floor lobbies) through Feb. 8, 2009. The first in an ongoing series of art installations in this venue, the exhibit features 45 paintings, drawings, mixed-media works, prints, and photographs that focus on the human experience and human body.

The venue will serve as a teaching gallery for medical students and the site of lunchtime talks. William Eley, executive associate dean for medical education and student affairs and participant in the university's Creativity & Arts Initiative, says that the art on display is a "perfect partner" with the study of medicine "because it invites us to study the body, framework, structure, and composition of the artist's work and ask what was in the mind of the creator."

The next exhibit, to open next spring, will feature the art of medical students, faculty, and staff. Read more.



• Save the date

Please mark your calendars for Feb. 18, 2009, at 4:30 p.m. for a State of the Woodruff Health Sciences Center address by EVPHA Fred Sanfilippo. Please plan to come and hear him share reflections on his first year with Emory and his vision for the future of the WHSC.