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January 9, 2014


My warmest wishes to all of you, as we start out the New Year with record-setting, single-digit temperatures here in Atlanta.

While the "Polar Vortex" affected many states much more than our own, facing the frigid conditions in a region largely unaccustomed to such temperatures took some attention: we covered plants and pipes, checked in with neighbors, monitored weather.com and school closings.

And, if you are like me, perhaps you spent a few extra minutes appreciating the warmth of home, the reassurance of your support network of friends and family, and the flexibility of colleagues.

Likewise, we face some novel conditions as we move forward into 2014.

As I referenced in my first annual dean's address, we must work together to move away from traditional (indeed, outmoded) norms, expectations, and structures to a team-based model of shared resources, internal cooperation, and patient-centered care.

These aren't just words or platitudes to me, but daily values through which we accomplish our shared missions of health care, research, and teaching.

Medicine is overwhelmingly a human endeavor—something all too easy to forget as we leap from one dazzling technological advance to the next.

Fittingly, modern health care demands the polarities of precision and flexibility, clinical objectivity and compassion, ingenuity and standardization, confidence and humility.

"Betterment is a perpetual labor," says author and surgeon Atul Gawande.

Let us strive, always, to be incrementally better.

Let us find the strength to withstand inevitable failures and disappointments by keeping faith in each other and by embracing a willingness to change in ourselves.

And let us be stronger by sharing the labor of this collective enterprise we call Emory Medicine, making it joyful and rewarding along the way.

Best regards,


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