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james-curranRollins celebrates 25/40 anniversaries sterk-ofotokunNew grant funding for junior faculty jim-kennedy$25 million toward care model launch exposomeIn brief
October 27, 2015

Emory/Tech to offer new degree programs in health care robotics

Lena Ting (biomedical engineering and physical therapy) is one of the faculty in the initiative.

With support of a five-year, $2.9 million grant from the National Science Foundation National Research Traineeship program, an Emory/Georgia Tech faculty team will create new bachelor's, master's, and doctoral degree programs and concentrations in health care robotics—the first degree programs in this area in the United States.

"We will train engineers not only to develop robotics technologies but also learn how to work with and listen to the needs of technology end users—patients, caregivers, and health care professionals," says Ayanna Howard, professor in electrical and computer engineering at Georgia Tech.

Three faculty join Howard's leadership team: Charlie Kemp (biomedical engineering [BME]), director of the Healthcare Robotics Lab in BME at Georgia Tech, focuses on intelligent mobile robots for physical assistance in health care. Lena Ting (BME and physical therapy) will integrate human accessibility and rehab needs to inform design of robotics solutions. Randy Trumbower (BME and physical therapy) will work on interfacing robotics and physical therapy techniques.

Additional faculty will serve as student advisers, including Emory's Steven Wolf (physical therapy).

The team will focus first on developing the doctoral and master's programs, with the goal of having a mini-cohort of PhD students in spring 2016 and starting the official graduate degree programs next fall. The undergraduate degree will combine the five-year BS/MS degree program and undergraduate thesis option, allowing students to build a foundation for an eventual MS thesis. The graduate program will build on the highly successful multidisciplinary robotics PhD program at Georgia Tech. Read more.

Rollins celebrates anniversaries and impact around the world

Support from the Rollins family has been crucial to the school's success. L to R: Henry Tippie (trustee of the O. Wayne Rollins Foundation), Gary Rollins, portrait of O. Wayne and Grace Rollins, Amy Rollins Kreisler, Randall Rollins, and Pam Rollins.

The Rollins School of Public Health marked its 25th anniversary as a school and its 40th as a program by kicking off a host of events last month.

As part of the festivities, two previously endowed chairs were renamed to honor the school’s benefactors. Paige Tolbert now holds the O. Wayne Rollins Chair of Environmental Health and Colleen McBride is now the Grace Crum Rollins Chair of Behavioral Sciences and Health Education.

The school’s alumni association marked the occasion by creating a new award, the Outstanding Leadership Award, which was presented to Martha Alexander (visiting professor) 86MPH, Nancy Hunt 87MPH, and Dennis Jarvis 88MPH.

And in honor of James Curran’s 20 years as dean of the school, the James W. Curran Scholarship Fund was created with contributions from friends, faculty, and alumni and a $10 million pledge from the O. Wayne Rollins Foundation.  

Read more about the school's impact throughout the world.

Photos from the anniversary gala:

Dean Curran is the longest-serving current dean of public health in the country.

Gary Rollins (right) with Charles Hatcher (former director of the Woodruff Health Sciences Center) and Phyllis Hatcher

Creation of a new James W. Curran Scholarship Fund was announced at the event, with a pledge from the Rollins Foundation of $10 million.

Donors Gene (retired faculty member) and Rose Gangarosa

Program provides new grant-funding opportunity for junior faculty

A request for applications (deadline Dec. 22) went out earlier this month for junior faculty to compete for funding in a multidisciplinary training program called Building Interdisciplinary Research Careers in Women's Health (BIRCWH).

Claire Sterk and Igho Ofotokun  

A highly selective career-development program that connects junior faculty to senior faculty with shared research interests in women's health and sex differences, BIRCWH is funded by a recent five-year, $1.5 million NIH grant and $625,000 from the Office of the EVPHA. Provost Claire Sterk (also a professor in public health) is principal investigator, and Igho Ofotokun (infectious diseases) is director.

"The focus of Emory's BIRCWH training will be on infectious diseases, highlighting the global impact of these conditions on women and families, particularly those of ethnic minority background," says Ofotokun. "The Emory BIRCWH application had strong support from the deans of medicine, public health, nursing, and the graduate school and is structured to train scholars across all schools and departments within the university," he adds.

The Emory BIRCWH program has assembled a strong mentoring team that includes established, well-funded faculty in basic science, public health, and translational research across campus whose work focuses on infectious diseases and is relevant to women's health research. Complementary areas of research focus will include cardiovascular science, bioengineering, osteo-immunology, comparative effectiveness, and health disparity/economy research.

Existing collaborations with scientists at CDC, Georgia Tech, and Morehouse will provide additional mentorship and training opportunities in infection control, antimicrobial resistance, global health, community health, medical device development, nanotechnology, and health disparities research. Read more.

A free grant-writing workshop is available to help junior faculty who are planning to submit applications for BIRCWH funding. Contact Cheryl Sroka.

Cox Foundation helps launch new care model with $25 million gift

L to R: Chris Larsen, Bill Bornstein, James Cox Kennedy, John Pattaras, Peter Rossi

The James M. Cox Foundation has made a five-year gift of $25 million to launch new care models at Emory that are designed to improve patient experiences and outcomes. Prostate cancer will be the initial clinical focus.

The initiative accelerates efforts already under way to create more streamlined and reliable care for patients and families and includes the following:

- Simplified appointment scheduling via new technologies

- Enhanced coordination among the entire team of urologists, radiologists, oncologists, allied health professionals, and nurses

- Better communication with patients and families, including 24-hour access to clinical staff

- Telemedicine options

- Consistent, effective patient education and follow-up care.

"The idea for our gift is rooted in my recent experiences with the health care system," said Jim Kennedy, chairman of Cox Enterprises and grandson of company founder James M. Cox. "We want it to be easier and less stressful for patients and their families whenever they face serious health issues."

The gift creates two endowed chairs affiliated with the Winship Cancer Institute to enable Emory Medicine physician leaders to focus on change initiatives and research to improve patient care. John Pattaras (urology) and Peter Rossi (radiation oncology), both of whom specialize in prostate cancer, will help lead the new initiative.

Over the next five years, the care model will be expanded to include other clinical areas throughout the Emory system. Read more.

From the Executive VP

WHSC has so much to celebrate

Michael M.E. Johns

What an extraordinary month we've had since our last Health Sciences Update! A few weeks ago we announced that Emory researchers had received $572.4 million in FY2015—an increase of 9.69% and the highest funding in the institution’s history. Woodruff Health Sciences Center scientists received $537 million—nearly 94% of the university total.

Soon after that, we got the terrific news that our patient care facilities received top marks from the University HealthSystem Consortium—an independent organization that ranks health systems nationwide on quality and accountability. For 2015, Emory University Hospital ranked number four in quality, Emory University Hospital Midtown ranked number three in supply chain excellence, and the Emory Clinic came in at number five in ambulatory care quality.
Our ability to continue to excel at this level is a direct reflection of the extraordinary quality of the Woodruff Health Sciences Center's programs and people. Thanks and congratulations to everyone who makes our continued success possible!

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


In brief

Measuring chemical impact on kids' health


Along with Georgia Tech, Emory received $8.3 million from NIH to establish an exposure assessment lab to measure the impact of environmental chemicals on children's health. The grant is led by Gary Miller (public health) and is tied to the grant to establish the nation's first exposome research center, received in 2013 and also led by Miller.

Task Force for Global Health marks 30th year

Founder and honoree Bill Foege

The Task Force for Global Health, an Emory affiliate, marked its 30th year earlier this month with a conference at the Carter Center in which a high-profile panel tackled an ambitious topic: "What will it take to end diseases of extreme poverty?" Watch a webcast of the discussion.

Winship 5K breaks donation record


Although rain forced cancellation of the fifth annual Winship 5K, Winship patients at Emory University Hospital saved the day with their participation in a 0.5K in the hospital. Despite the change in plans, supporters raised a record amount for Winship—almost $750,000. Donations can still be made until Nov. 16.

New clinic locations

Sudha Cheekati

- Emory at Buford, across from the Mall of Georgia, opened Sept. 29, with internist Timothy Flynn.

- Emory at Avalon, Alpharetta, opened Oct. 13, with internist Sudha Cheekati.

- Emory at Tucker opens Nov. 9. In addition to primary care, this is the new home of the geriatric outpatient clinic currently on the Wesley Woods campus.


June Connor

June Connor, COO and CNO at EUOSH, will serve as interim chief nurse executive and chief patient services officer at EUH following the departure in December of Susan Grant, who is joining Beaumont Health in Michigan.

Heather Dexter

Heather Dexter has been named CEO of Emory Saint Joseph's Hospital.

Lou Ann Brown

Lou Ann Brown (pediatrics) is the new director of the Office of Postdoctoral Education, following the retirement of Mary DeLong.

Douglas Graham

Douglas Graham is chief of hematology/oncology and bone marrow transplant in pediatrics and director of the Aflac Cancer and Blood Disorders Center at Children's Healthcare.


Otis Brawley, Keith Klugman

The National Academy of Medicine (formerly the Institute of Medicine) has elected Otis Brawley and Keith Klugman to its newest membership. Read more.

Mary Jo Lechowicz

Mary Jo Lechowicz (hematology/oncology) has been named the Margaret Rollins Chair in Cancer at Winship.

Eric Sorscher

Georgia Research Alliance Eminent Scholar Eric Sorscher was inducted into the American Clinical and Climatological Association.

Ashley Mahoney,
Maureen Kelley

Ashley Mahoney and Maureen Kelley (nursing) were inducted into the American Academy of Nursing. Read more.


Oct. 28: Address by Dean Christian Larsen, 4:30 p.m., WHSCAB Auditorium. Reception to follow.

Oct. 29: "Compassion: Bedside, Waiting Room, and Home," Spiritual Health Grand Rounds. 12:30-1:30, various locations. More info.

Paul Johnson  

Oct. 29: 10th Geoffrey Bourne Lecture, "How Genomics is Transforming Medicine, Conservation, and Research," by Paul Johnson (Yerkes). 7:00 p.m., Zoo Atlanta.

Nov. 5-6: The Microbiome and Human Health. Emory Conference Center. More info.

Nov. 11: Emory Veteran's Day Ceremony. Emory Quadrangle, 10:55 a.m.

Nov. 13-15: Food=Medicine Conference. Emory Conference Center. More info. Emory employees and friends can use the code word EMORY to receive a 20% discount (apply in checkout cart).

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