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  July 14, 2014  

Top-tier animal care


Earlier this month, Emory University was awarded continued full accreditation into 2017 by the Association for the Assessment and Accreditation of Laboratory Animal Care International, with no mandatory items or suggestions for improvement. Congratulations to the many who made this possible!

Doug Ander

Doug Ander (emergency medicine) was elected the Georgia Association of Physician Assistants Physician of the Year for 2014, the first time the award has been given to a physician who previously received it.


Kevin Clark, executive administrator for the Emory Transplant Center, has assumed an expanded leadership role as chief administrator for Emory's emerging Brain Health Initiative.

Jane Lawson

Jane Lawson, senior program associate, was named one of 11 recipients of the Emory University Award of Distinction for her outstanding contributions to the Emory Vaccine Center.

W. Clyde Partin

Clyde Partin (medicine) has been named director of the Emory Special Diagnostic Services (ESDS) Clinic, a new venture established last fall in the Seavey Comprehensive Internal Medicine Clinic. Supported by a gift from the Rollins Foundation, the ESDS clinic takes on hard-to-diagnose cases that require a coordinated, multidisciplinary approach to the patient's evaluation and care. (Stay tuned for a future story about interesting cases from this clinic.)


Tanveer Rab (cardiology) has been elected to a three-year appointment as counsillor, Georgia chapter of the American College of Cardiology, where he also serves as a member of the Interventional Section Leadership Council and the International Work Group.

Kerry Ressler

Kerry Ressler (psychiatry) was named interim director of the Emory MD/PhD program, an NIH-sponsored Medical Scientist Training Program.


Several SOM faculty have been named or are continuing as editors of top academic journals in their fields:

Jeff Boatright (ophthalmology) is founding and current editor of Molecular Vision.

Tim Buchman (critical care) was named editor of Critical Care Medicine.

Nancy Collop

Nancy Collop (pulmonology), director of the Emory Sleep Center, was named editor-in-chief of the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine.

Nadine Kaslow (psychiatry) is editor of the Journal of Family Psychology.

Greg Martin (pulmonology) is editor of the Open Access Journal of Clinical Trials.

Nelson Oyesiku

Nelson Oyesiku (neurosurgery) was renewed as editor of Neurosurgery.

Masayoshi Yamaguchi (hematology) is editor of the Journal of Osteoporosis and Physical Activity.

Please email here if you have been named or renewed as a journal editor recently.


Sept. 27: Winship Win the Fight 5K, starts at Emory's McDonough Field. More info.

Oct. 2-3: HIV & Aging: From Mitochondria to the Metropolis. Decatur Marriott, Atlanta. More info.


Speaking out about patient safety

Christian Larsen, Dean and VP for Health Center Integration  

We tend to talk about patient safety and quality in the abstract—an ideal we strive to attain, a statistic we want to improve, a vision we hope to achieve with new procedures or interventions.

Sometimes, however, it comes down to a patient lying unconscious on an operating table trusting us to do the right thing.

Urologist Viraj Master and OR nurse Michael Quinn experienced just such a moment.

"A patient of mine was scheduled to have one of his kidneys removed for a presumed cancer," Master says. "While awake, the patient was marked in the appropriate place on his abdomen, which was affirmed by several team members. By the time I walked into the room he had been repositioned onto his stomach, since we were going to operate from his back. I was creating surgical marks, assisted by team members, as to what the incision was going to look like, and where the ribs and the hip bones were, when one of the nurses asked, 'Dr. Master, which side are you operating on today?' "

Michael Quinn, the nurse who raised the question, received an immediate response. "Dr. Master went right over to the computer, reviewed the scans, and said, 'You're absolutely right, we're marking on the wrong side,' " Quinn says. "It is part of our culture of safety that anybody can stop the procedure at any time if there's a question."

After the operation, Master contacted the head of the OR to tell her about the incident. As word spread, Quinn was nominated for and received Emory Healthcare's Patient Safety Lifesaver Award. "Even though I was embarrassed and felt bad, I don't have an ego when patient safety is involved and thought this incident was important to talk about," Master says. "This was Emory culture at its best, and Michael Quinn clearly was modeling total, unswerving commitment at every moment of his job."

Quinn, who started as an orderly at Emory Midtown (then Crawford Long) in 1980, says, "It wasn't me as much as the process we have in place as a surgical team—to treat each other the way we would want to be treated, to respect each other's expertise, to communicate effectively. Although I received the commendation, I gave it to my director, because it is something each one of us does every day."

He credits the surgical "call to order" and Emory Healthcare's pledge as the core elements that create a sense of collegiality and allow team members to prioritize patient safety. "This came from the top and sets our direction," Quinn says. 'There was some pushback at first, but now everyone realizes the importance."

We continue to emphasize patient safety in thought and deed, from Code MET, which gives all employees (as well as family members) the ability to mobilize clinical resources if they see a patient in trouble, to the Clinical Learning Environment Review (CLER) visit, to the fifth-annual "Science of GME" poster session that took place on June 11 in the SOM Commons. The posters focused on tangible ways to enhance quality and safety, such as standardizing the protocol for intraoperative handoffs between anesthesia providers and reducing communication errors during transfers from the OR to the ICU.

"We are humans taking care of other humans. As individuals, we are error prone," says Dave Murphy, director of quality for the Critical Care Center, "but effective groups make themselves safer by establishing the right systems."

Indeed, the No. 1 factor that correlates with high levels of clinical excellence and patient safety is caregivers speaking up if they perceive a problem.

"It's easy to talk yourself out of saying something, out of fear of getting in trouble or believing that somebody else will say something," says Hal Jones, Emory Healthcare director of care transformation. "We want people not just to feel safe, but to feel like it's a part of their job to speak out if they notice anything amiss."

Open house for hope

Community leaders Ken Lazarus (left) and Leon Morales (right) hold the ends of the ceremonial ribbon being cut by Drs. Larsen, Ahmed, and Mulligan.

Emory's Hope Clinic, a translational research facility of the SOM and the clinical research arm of the Emory Vaccine Center, formally celebrated its move last year from downtown Decatur to more expansive facilities on Winn Way with an open house and ribbon cutting on June 12. The clinic focuses on human vaccine research and development and on treatments against infectious diseases with public health implications.

"We had grown and evolved significantly, and our prior space was no longer meeting our research and program needs," says Hope Clinic Executive Director Mark Mulligan, SOM professor in infectious diseases. "Our new space offers a comfortable and welcoming clinic for our study participants and clinical staff as well as first-rate laboratory facilities for our outstanding translational researchers."

Five other SOM infectious diseases faculty are based at the clinic—Drs. Srilatha Edupuganti, Nadine Rouphael, Paula Frew, Lilin Lai, and Colleen Kelley—where they are supported by more than 30 clinical and laboratory staff members.

Emory Vaccine Center Director Rafi Ahmed emphasized the global reach of the work done at the Hope Clinic, including research collaborations with international partners in Kisumu, Kenya; Bangkok, Thailand; and Bangalore and New Delhi in India.

The Hope Clinic focuses on developing new or improved vaccines and treatments for illnesses such as HIV, TB, flu, pneumonia, malaria, and diarrhea and possible biological weapons like anthrax, tularemia, and smallpox. The new 12,000-square-foot site consolidates faculty and staff who were previously spread across several buildings and provides expanded space for offices and exam rooms, a dedicated phlebotomy room, a licensed pharmacy, and both a research lab and a specimen-processing lab with biorepository.

Sincerest form of flattery

Media and information firm Thomson Reuters has released a searchable list of "Highly Cited Researchers 2014" that identifies more than 3,000 researchers worldwide who wrote the greatest numbers of highly cited papers over the past decade in 21 fields. These researchers ranked in the top 1% most cited for their subject field and year of publication, "earning them the mark of exceptional impact," says the site.

Among them were several Emory faculty:

Rafi Ahmed (Immunology)
Dana Boyd Barr (Environment/Ecology)
Eric Hunter (Microbiology)
Bali Pulendran (Immunology)
Leslee Shaw (Clinical Medicine)
Peter Wilson (Clinical Medicine)
Younan Xia (Chemistry and Materials Science)

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