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Media Contact: Holly Korschun 16 November 2006    
  (404) 727-3990   Print  | Email ]

Dr. Michael Johns Named Chancellor of Emory University
Michael Johns, a nationally recognized thought leader in academic medicine who has directed Emory University's Woodruff Health Sciences Center for the past decade, has been appointed Chancellor of Emory University.

Johns, executive vice president for health affairs, CEO of the Woodruff Health Sciences Center and chairman of the board of Emory Healthcare, will assume the chancellorship on Sept. 1, 2007. He will continue to hold his current positions in the Woodruff Health Sciences Center until at least that date, or until a successor is appointed following a national search.

At Emory the Chancellor not only serves as an advisor to the President and the Trustees but also can be assigned responsibility for task and project leadership. In his new role, Johns will continue to support the implementation of the University's strategic plan, "Where Courageous Inquiry Leads," whose development he co-chaired over the course of 18 months with the University's provost and executive vice president for academic affairs, Earl Lewis.

In addition, it is expected that Johns will guide the development and implementation of programs for leadership development, mentoring, and succession planning. Off -campus, he will represent the university on such matters as health care policy and partnership building, especially the growing partnership between Emory and Georgia Tech, for example.

The position of chancellor previously was held by former provost and interim president Billy E. Frye from 1997-2001. Johns will become the fifth chancellor of the university.

"Since coming to Emory more than three years ago, I have been deeply impressed by Mike Johns' statesmanlike direction of the Woodruff Health Sciences Center, and I have been continually reminded of the esteem in which he is held by colleagues in other leading research universities and academic health sciences centers nationwide," said President James W. Wagner. "But beyond his leadership in the health sciences, Mike has been a true University citizen, co-chairing with Provost Lewis the university-wide strategic planning activity and engaging creatively in program support and guidance for the Carlos Museum and more broadly in the arts and sciences. Owing perhaps to his long list of accomplishments through the health sciences center, his "renaissance" interests may be underappreciated.

"Mike embodies an untiring passion for excellence and a remarkable dedication to improvement of all of Emory. Simply put, Mike Johns raises the game of everyone around him."

Emory University Board Chairman Ben Johnson added: "Mike Johns has accomplished remarkable things for and with Emory. He has a keen eye for talent and a knack for seeing what lies just over the horizon. I feel grateful that we will continue to benefit from his energies and wisdom in this new role of Chancellor."

"I am honored to accept this new position as Chancellor for Emory University beginning in September 2007," responded Johns. "I look forward to the many opportunities to advance the strategic direction we have set with the able assistance of many colleagues from throughout the University over the past two years. As I look to the future and prepare to make this transition to a new set of University-wide responsibilities, it is clear we are in the middle of a most exciting time, and I look forward to this new role and its grand opportunities."

Johns was recruited to Emory to head the Woodruff Health Sciences Center from Johns Hopkins University, where he had risen from service as chair of the Department of Otolaryngology--Head and Neck Surgery to become dean of the School of Medicine. His mandate was to make the Woodruff Health Sciences Center competitive with the best in the nation, and this vision of becoming the best inspired an array of accomplishments.

During his tenure, the WHSC consolidated its clinics and hospitals under Emory Healthcare, now the largest, most comprehensive health care system in Georgia, with 4.2 million patient visits annually. In research, annual grant awards to faculty more than doubled, climbing to $331 million in 2006, with these funds supporting initiatives ranging from nanotechnology and genomics to vaccine and drug development, tissue engineering, and predictive and global health.

Johns continually emphasized the need for the WHSC to play a leadership role in solving problems on a national scale, and Emory health sciences faculty membership in the influential Institute of Medicine during his tenure grew from one to 21. Emory's influence also grew locally as the university became a major player in transferring health care technology to the marketplace, including the launch of 37 start-up companies and the licensing of eight therapeutic products. Another 23 are under development.

Meanwhile, the Woodruff Health Sciences Center's annual economic impact on metro Atlanta has grown to $4.6 billion, and charity care provided to the community by Emory Healthcare clinicians has grown to almost $71 million per year.


Emory University is one of the nation's leading private research universities and a member of the Association of American Universities. The university includes the four-year Emory College; the two-year Oxford College; highly ranked professional schools in business, law, medicine, nursing, public health, and theology; and a graduate school of arts and sciences. In addition to its nine schools, the university encompasses The Carter Center, Yerkes National Primate Research Center, and Emory Healthcare, the state's largest and most comprehensive health care system.

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