The Georgia Affiliate of the American Heart Association (AHA) recently awarded Charles R. Hatcher, Jr., MD, with the 2005 R. Bruce Logue Award for excellence in medicine. Dr. Hatcher, a native of Attapulgus, Ga, and renowned cardiothoracic surgeon, served as Vice President for Health Affairs and director of the Robert W. Woodruff Health Sciences Center of Emory University from 1984-1996.
The award recognizes physicians who represent the highest level of excellence by achieving a standard that others aspire to achieve. According to Michael M. E. Johns, MD, who succeeded Dr. Hatcher in 1996, the impact of this man from a small town in southwest Georgia will be felt throughout the world of medicine well into the 21st century.
"As his successor, I have a unique sense of Dr. Hatcher's footprint and the size of his shoes," Dr. Johns told a group or 200 people, including Dr. Logue's daughter, gathered at the Piedmont Driving Club for the award ceremony. "He was an extraordinary heart surgeon, but it is as a strategist and leader that history will most remember him. He had a gift for negotiation and partnership that few can match."
During his tenure as Vice President for Health Affairs at Emory, Dr. Hatcher oversaw the divisions of the health sciences center, which then included the Schools of Medicine, Dentistry, Nursing, and Public Health; Emory University Hospital (EUH), Emory Crawford Long Hospital; and Yerkes National Primate Research Center. He coordinated and strengthened ties with several medical affiliates, including The Emory Clinic and Wesley Woods Center of Emory University, later to become part of Emory Healthcare; and longtime partners Egleston Hospital for Children, now part of Children's Healthcare of Atlanta; Grady Memorial Hospital; and the Atlanta Veterans Affairs Medical Center.
During his vice presidency, Dr. Hatcher was instrumental in creating the Rollins School of Public Health, established in 1990 as Georgia's first public health school. Rated among the nation's top 10 public health schools, it has contributed to Atlanta's reputation as "the public health capital of the world." Dr. Hatcher also helped change the face of the Emory campus, with several new buildings funded and built, including the Emory Eye Center, the O. Wayne Rollins Research Building, and the Grace Crum Rollins Public Health Building. In addition, he advocated for the establishment of Morehouse School of Medicine and helped bring the American Cancer Society to Atlanta near the Emory campus. He was also influential in establishing the Georgia Research Alliance, helping to strengthen the state's research economy.
He also oversaw the growth of the health sciences center into one of the country's leading academic medical centers. Emory's health sciences research more than doubled under his leadership.
Rein Saral, MD, is currently senior associate director for the Emory Winship Cancer Institute, associate medical director for Emory Hospitals, and, like Dr. Hatcher, he is a past director of The Emory Clinic. Dr. Saral came to Emory in 1991, and he was immediately impressed by Dr. Hatcher's eloquence and visionary leadership.
"Of all the extraordinary people I have known at Emory, Charles Hatcher is the person for whom I have the greatest respect, not because of what he said but because of what he did and who he is. The Woodruff Health Sciences Center we know today - no, the Emory University we know today, the Atlanta health care scene we know today - would not be what they are or where they are today without the decisions he made and actions he took," Dr. Saral said at the R. Bruce Logue Award ceremony.