Beyond COVID-19

Collage depicting various examples of Emory's work in 2020

Although the Woodruff Health Sciences Center (WHSC) devoted considerable resources, time, and talent to responding to COVID-19 in 2020, it also contributed to the community in myriad ways not related to the pandemic.

In FY2019–2020, Emory Healthcare provided $130 million in charity care, which includes indigent care for patients with no health insurance, not even Medicaid or Medicare, and no resources of their own, and catastrophic care for patients who may have coverage but for whom health care bills are so large that paying them would be permanently life shattering.

The WHSC had an $11.4 billion impact on the metro-Atlanta economy, which reflects job creation, tax revenue, and capital investment.

Here are but a few examples of how the WHSC serves the local and state community:

Emory and the Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation have signed a letter of intent to create the Addiction Alliance of Georgia, a unique collaboration aimed at reducing addiction rates, improving recovery rates, and saving lives throughout the state. The alliance will partner with diverse stakeholders to provide comprehensive treatment and recovery support to both insured and underserved people. Emory and Hazelden Betty Ford will also work together to advance addiction-related education and research.

Emory’s Proton Therapy Center celebrated its second anniversary and marked an important milestone—treating more than 1,000 patients. Winship Cancer Institute is the first center in Georgia to treat patients with proton beam therapy, an advanced radiation oncology treatment option.

The Emory Transplant Center is making it easier for patients in South Georgia to access kidney and liver transplant services. Emory Transplant Center Thomasville opened its doors in early December, joining a network of clinics throughout the state. The center is among the top transplant programs in the nation for overall adult volume and has performed more than 9,700 transplants.

DeKalb County School District and Emory will collaborate on the development of six school-based health centers in DeKalb County Schools. The centers will serve to improve the overall health and well-being of children and adolescents through comprehensive health services that support the student, their families, and the school system. Plans are under way to launch school-based health centers in Jeff Davis and White counties.

Emory Healthcare worked with Grady Memorial Hospital for several months to help fill patient-care gaps that were left following Grady’s water pipe break. Grady patients were taken to Emory Decatur Hospital and Emory Hillandale Hospital. Emory Decatur Hospital assisted in the mother/baby area with deliveries that would have traditionally occurred at Grady.

Entire families in Clarkston who otherwise may not have been able to afford vision care are now able to get eye exams and glasses, thanks to Emory Eye Center faculty. Emory ophthalmologists, optometrists, and students visit the Clarkston Community Health Center every weekend to provide vision care services. The center has partnered with the Georgia Lions Lighthouse to provide glasses to those who need them.

Emory’s Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing is expanding in downtown Decatur. The school is renovating 70,000 square feet in a landmark office building that once housed Wells Fargo Bank. When it’s complete, the Emory Nursing Learning Center will  include a cutting-edge simulation and skills lab, new telehealth and remote- learning facilities, an innovation hub, and even a “home” lab that replicates a small apartment.

People experiencing homelessness in Atlanta received needed assistance through the Dignity Pack Project, developed and run by three public health students to provide hygiene and menstruation supplies, condoms, and PPE. The project, which began in August 2020, has provided approximately 500 Dignity Packs in a short period of time to a population with increasing needs during COVID-19.