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  April 4, 2012  
bob-bachman . peng-jin . susan-shapiro . match-day

New titles for EHC leaders

Tech Transfer offers researchers crash course on starting a business

Building nursing research

In brief: Match Day, appointments, rankings, events, and more
Radiology implements service training institute
Kimberly Applegate is an SEI facilitator.

This past January, the medical school's Department of Radiology & Imaging Sciences launched an ambitious Service Excellence Institute (SEI), a two-part, two-day training series whose goal is to equip every one of the department's 800-plus faculty and staff members with a level of service expertise comparable to that established by the hospitality industry.

Carolyn Meltzer  
Habib Tannir  

"We know that service expertise is a learned skill and that we all need more of it," says Carolyn Meltzer, department chair. "When we first considered the proposal for SEI in 2010, we knew it would be a large investment of both time and resources, but we are convinced it is well worth the effort."

Session 1 of the SEI, which ran throughout the month of January, focused on the department’s heritage and aspirations and service excellence standards tailored to them. The session addressed ways to understand the patient’s perspective and develop communication skills based on learning styles and other road-tested techniques.

Session 2, which will be offered throughout April, emphasizes engaging others, anticipating needs, components of the Emory Healthcare Pledge, empowerment that comes from effective interaction, and a concept called "service recovery," which offers strategies for fixing a problem when something has gone wrong.

Once everyone has completed both sessions, the department will offer continuing education "booster shots" to help ensure that the service excellence culture maintains a strong foothold and that desired behaviors are sustained as time goes on.

SEI was created from a concept developed by a team of fellows in the department's Radiology Leadership Academy. After the team analyzed fluctuating patient satisfaction scores, they proposed a customer service program for all department faculty and staff, in alignment with the department’s strategic plan and Emory Healthcare's care transformation efforts.

Habib Tannir, department administrator and a member of the SEI development team, explains the impetus behind the program. “We knew through market research that people are coming to Emory because of our specialized care. We wanted to give faculty and staff the tools to provide service that will keep our patients and their families coming back. After all, people always remember how you made them feel.”

SEI may have been born out of a goal to improve patient satisfaction scores, but it is expected to have the added benefit of enhancing esprit de corps internally as well. "Research shows that creating a positive work environment is inexorably intertwined with the customer experience," says Tannir. He explains that SEI is designed to "improve awareness of needs, wants, and emotions of our patients and colleagues alike and to break down professional stereotypes." In addition to improving service to "external" customers such as patients, their families, and referring physicians, he says, SEI will improve service to "internal" customers as well.—Monica Salama

Emory Healthcare leaders receive title changes

Emory Healthcare CEO John Fox recently announced title changes for a number of EHC leaders. He explains that these occur in the context of continual changes in the health care landscape and EHC's own rapid growth, with recent creation of the joint operating company with Saint Joseph's, addition of physician partnerships through Emory Specialty Associates (ESA), and introduction of a clinically integrated network. The changes are as follows:

Bob Bachman  
Don Brunn  
Susan Grant  
Doug Morris  
Dane Peterson  

Robert Bachman, COO of Emory University Hospital and Emory University Orthopaedics & Spine Hospital, to CEO of EUH/EUOSH

• Don Brunn, COO of The Emory Clinic and president of Emory Specialty Associates, to president/COO of TEC and president of ESA

Susan Grant, CNO of EHC, to chief nursing executive of EHC

Doug Morris, director of The Emory Clinic and chairman of ESA, to CEO and director of TEC and CEO and chairman of ESA

Dane Peterson, COO of Emory University Hospital Midtown, to CEO of EUHM

Fox says that the new CEO structure will have the following benefits:

(1) Each operating unit will be able to focus on its target market and target market issues and adapt more quickly to regulatory and local market changes, (2) operating unit CEOs will be empowered to address all issues at their locations, and (3) senior leader teams will be able to customize system-level strategic initiatives to fit the needs and characteristics of their operating units.

"We recently shifted clinical quality accountability to the operating unit level, and the results of this move were phenomenal, as evidenced by this year's University HealthSystem Consortium quality rankings," says Fox. "Our intention is that this structural change will have the same overall effect."

Tech Transfer offers a crash course for researchers on how to start a company

Emory's Office of Technology Transfer (OTT) recently teamed up with the University of Georgia's Small Business Development Center to hold a six-week FastTrac TechVenture course here at Emory on how to start a company. For six Thursdays over the past two months, 22 budding entrepreneurs from Emory, Georgia Tech, Morehouse School of Medicine, and University of Georgia have been learning about the nuts and bolts of running a new business.

Todd Sherer  
Kevin Lei  

"Several Emory faculty members have had success starting their own companies, and one of the goals of the program is to help make that group larger," says Todd Sherer, OTT associate VP and co-organizer of the event with Kevin Lei, director of faculty and start-up services in OTT. "Another is to let aspiring entrepreneurs know more about how start-ups work. We want them to be prepared for the process of working with business leaders and investors."

Much of the course material comes from the Kauffman Foundation, which supports educational programs promoting entrepreneurship across the country. The program included guest speakers, facilitated discussions, coaching sessions, and homework for all participants. Topics included market research and analysis, financial planning, building and compensating a team, protecting business and intellectual property, business management, and identifying and working with investors, among others.

The group heard from five presidents/CEOs, three VPs/COOs, an executive recruiter, a patent attorney, and a venture capitalist. Donovan Moxey, a 3D animation software company co-founder who led weekly class discussions, told the group, "Venture capitalists want to know whether you are coachable. You should be smart enough to know that you don't know everything."

Peng Jin  

Many of the participants have already traveled down the start-up road. For example, in 2007 geneticist Peng Jin founded Effigene Pharmaceuticals, which sells tools for enhancing a gene-silencing technique that is used frequently in the lab. As a start-up, Effigene was able to recruit board members and secure a grant from the federal Small Business Innovation Research program, but Jin says he is looking for insight on how to take the company further.

"I found the discussion of financial issues very useful," he says. "For people trained in the life sciences, this type of thing doesn't come naturally."

Sherer says that because of strong interest in the FastTrac program, it will be offered again in the fall.—Quinn Eastman

Building nursing research to improve patient care

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

Susan Shapiro  

Susan Shapiro says the fact that she has two bosses illustrates the two mandates of her position—to align the worlds of academic and clinical nursing and bridge the gap between nursing research and practice.

Shapiro came to Emory two years ago, recruited jointly by Susan Grant (Emory Healthcare chief nursing executive) and Linda McCauley (dean of the Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing) to a newly created job with a title long enough to double as a job description: associate chief nursing officer for nursing research and evidence-based practice in Emory Healthcare and assistant dean for strategic clinical initiatives in the nursing school.

All practicing nurses need to be "consumers of research so they can base their practice on solid evidence," says Shapiro. Some nurses—and the number at Emory has been growing since she came on board—need to conduct that research to generate and test such evidence so others can use it to improve care.

Typically, nurses—and in some cases physicians who work with them—come to Shapiro with a research idea. To turn a clinical question into a research project, she helps them determine feasibility, consider methodologies, navigate the approval process of the Institutional Review Board, and learn to obtain patient consent, collect data, and analyze results. Sometimes she serves as matchmaker, connecting nurses interested in the best practice to warm newborns with a nursing faculty expert in mother/infant bonding, for example, or introducing a nursing sleep expert to rehab nurses interested in studying the effect of evening back rubs.

The resources available to clinical nurses here are extraordinary, she says. In addition to the research infrastructure in the nursing school, Emory Healthcare has access to research librarians, data analysts, clinical informatics experts, statisticians, and others essential to sophisticated research.

On the academic side, where she works closely with the nursing school curriculum committee and program development, Shapiro is most proud of her role in reviving a master's degree program in nursing leadership, which begins fall 2013, to help nurses realize their potential for improving the value of care in the current rapidly changing health care environment.

Shapiro maintains offices in the nursing school and in Emory University Hospital, with swing spaces at Emory Midtown, Emory University Orthopaedics & Spine Hospital, and other clinical locations and spends much time conferring with current and would-be researchers, from those in exploratory stages to those ready to write their results for publication.

Everywhere I turn at Emory," she says, "there are nurses with fabulous ideas for improving outcomes, reducing costs, and preparing nurse leaders. I have to find the hours in the day to help as many of them as possible move in the right direction."


     From the Executive VP

School of medicine dean search progresses

Wright Caughman  

By now you've no doubt heard that Dr. Tom Lawley will be stepping down as dean of the Emory School of Medicine later this calendar year. We'll certainly all miss his valued leadership for the medical school, but I'm delighted that he will remain on our faculty and will continue his service as a teacher, physician, counselor, and role model for us all.

In the meantime, we are tasked with a critically important decision—how best to move forward in identifying a new leader to take the helm of our medical school. To that end, our University Board of Trustees formed an advisory committee of the Board to work with leadership within Emory and the Woodruff Health Sciences Center as we address medical leadership for the 21st century.

This committee, in consultation with academic medicine and health care leadership from across the country, has explored the optimal positioning, responsibility, and authority for a successor to serve Emory in this key leadership role. The group has met twice in the past few weeks to address opportunities that will result in making this position the best medical deanship job in the nation.

We have decided to engage the services of Korn/Ferry International executive recruiting firm to help us identify the very best candidates for this position.

We now move from advisory committee to search committee formation in this process. We plan to announce the search committee and chairs later this month.

Thanks, as always, for all that you do and for your support through this time of transition.

Please direct questions and comments to evphafeedback@emory.edu.

Past Issues • ForwardContact us

In brief

Medical students match up

Graduating medical students learned March 16 where they will begin their careers as new doctors. Students matched with a variety of institutions, including John Hopkins, Duke, Stanford, and Harvard. Some of the more popular specialties seniors chose were internal medicine, pediatrics, and general surgery. More details.

New CEO for Saint Joseph's Hospital

Scott Schmidly  

Scott Schmidly, a health care executive from Hospital Corporation of America, will join Saint Joseph's Hospital as CEO on April 17. Schmidly comes from Dallas, where he has been CEO of Medical City Dallas Hospital and Medical City Children's Hospital since 2007. He has more than 15 years' experience in adult and pediatric hospitals.

Dining with the experts


Members of the community, including Emory patients, got the chance in February to commune up close over dinner with Emory physicians, researchers, and WHSC leaders at the InterContinental Buckhead. About 100 guests attended the "What's Up, Doc?" event that showcased and facilitated conversations about research and treatment advances at Emory and how these advances stand to benefit people.

Tables were organized by topic, including surviving cancer, with Andrew Miller and Susan Bauer-Wu, glaucoma and macular degeneration with Tim Olsen and Anastasios Costarides, and Parkinson's disease therapies with Stewart Factor and Gary Miller. Other topics included the changing health care landscape with John Fox and Doug Morris and sleep disorders with Lynn Marie Trotti and Ann Rogers.

"This was our first year for this event, and we had some great conversations," says Kat Carrico, senior associate VP for health sciences development. "We had overwhelmingly positive feedback from guests and faculty alike, and we hope to make this a yearly event."

U.S. News rankings

In the U.S. News & World Report's 2013 rankings, the medical school maintained its 21 slot in research and ranked 40 in primary care; the school's physical therapy program moved from 11 to 7, and its joint biomedical engineering department with Georgia Tech held its No. 2 spot. Several schools and programs were not surveyed this year and held their previous ranks: physician assistant 4, public health 6, nursing graduate programs 21, and nurse midwifery 13. See other rankings.

TEDMED conference to be broadcast at Emory


Nick Boulis (neurosurgery), Jonathan Glass (neurology), and Otis Brawley (hem/onc and American Cancer Society) will join a host of eclectic speakers at TEDMED 2012 in Washington, DC, April 10-13.

A self-described "intellectual circus," TEDMED coalesces leading thinkers and practitioners from health and medicine with those in technology, entertainment, and design (TED). This always sold-out event costs $5,000 to attend, but a contribution from the Association of American Medical Colleges has allowed medical schools to simulcast the event.

Emory will broadcast the conference at various locations around campus, and viewers will be able to ask questions of speakers in real time via an app that will be downloadable soon. The time schedule for presentations will be available from TEDMED a few days before the conference begins, and a final list of speakers will be emailed to the WHSC community as soon as it is available.

PBA 30 to air Emory documentary

Atlanta public television station PBA 30 will air The Wise Heart: The Story of Emory University on April 26 at 8 p.m. and 10 p.m. and on April 29 at 8 p.m. The documentary charts Emory's rise from its beginning in 1836 as a small Methodist college to one of today's great research institutions. More info.

Emory hosts health care journalists' conference

Emory, Children's Healthcare of Atlanta, and the University of Georgia are hosting the 2012 national conference of the Association of Health Care Journalists, April 19-22, in Atlanta. Expected to attract 600 journalists, the conference will feature more than 20 Emory experts on panels ranging from health policy and autism to Alzheimer's and global health. Journalists also will visit the Emory campus to experience virtual reality therapy, training for biosafety level 3 and 4 labs, and islet transplant for type 1 diabetes.

Technology and innovation awards for 2011

Emory's Office of Technology Transfer, recently recognized Emory scientists who achieved significant developments in tech transfer in 2011: Start-up of the year: Clearside Biomedical, Henry Edelhauser (ophthalmology). Deal of 2011: License for the spectroscopic intraoperative tumor detection system, Shuming Nie (biomedical engineering). Innovation of 2011: Mitra-cath percutaneous mitral valve repair system, Murali Padala (surgery). Significant Event of 2011: Sale of Pharmasset to Gilead, Raymond Schinazi (pediatrics) and Dennis Liotta (chemistry). Read more.

Competition showcases future leaders in global health

Some 140 students came to Emory from 23 universities across the U.S. and four other countries to compete this past weekend in the 5th Emory Global Health Case Competition. Working in teams of six, the students were charged with developing solutions for health and social disparities in war-torn Sri Lanka. Emory’s team included Britt Gayle (medicine and public health); Jennifer Richards, Aiden Varan, and Bradley Wagenaar (public health); Annie Herold (law); and Sandra Dube (business). The Emory team came in first, followed by the team from Boston University. See related story.


Michelle Boone  

Michelle Boone, communications director for the Office of the EVPHA, is one of 12 recipients of the 2012 Award of Distinction from Emory University. Read more.

Elizabeth Corwin  

Elizabeth Corwin was named associate dean for research of the nursing school. She will lead development of a strategic research plan.

Vince Dollard  

Vince Dollard was named associate vice president of health sciences communications. He serves concurrently as director of communications for Winship Cancer Institute, with a search under way for that position.

William Foege  

William Foege (Rollins School of Public Health) received the 2012 Ivan Allen Jr. Prize for Social Courage. He also has a new book, House on Fire: The Fight to Eradicate Smallpox.

Paul Root Wolpe  

Paul Root Wolpe (bioethics) was appointed to the National Research Council's Committee on Responsible Science, which will revise and update research guidelines. Read more.


April 11: Healthcare Innovation Symposium II: Health Policy and the Future Physician, 12 p.m. WHSCAB auditorium. Details.

April 13-14: International Conference on Human Immunity to Tuberculosis, Emory Conference Center. Details.

April 13-15: Global Humanitarian Conference, Emory campus. Details.

April 18: Emory neurosurgeon and CNN correspondent Sanjay Gupta discusses and signs his first novel, Monday mornings, 6:30 p.m., WHSCAB auditorium.

May 19: National Kidney Foundation's 2012 Kidney Walk. Learn more.

May 30-June 2: Emory Symposium on Coronary Atherosclerosis Prevention and Education. Amelia Island, FL. Details on conference and tuition discount.