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September 24, 2019

Looking back and ahead

Fiscal year 2019 has come to an end, and for the people and units of the Woodruff Health Sciences Center, it was another one for the record books! I hope you'll join me for my State of the WHSC address on October 22 to recognize our many successes in FY19 and to plan for continued accomplishments in FY20.

We are definitely not resting on our laurels, with the first few months of FY20 shaping up to include some exciting progress on several of our ongoing capital projects.

This month Emory Healthcare and the Atlanta Falcons broke ground on a new musculoskeletal and sports clinic on the same property as the Falcons' training camp. The new facility provides a convenient access point for northeast Georgia patients as well as the team. (See related story in this issue.)

Next month we break ground on a new musculoskeletal building at Executive Park. The state-of-the-art facility will help us manage the extraordinary growth we've seen in orthopaedics and spine, which is one of our fastest-growing and highest-patient-satisfaction service lines.

In November and December, we'll celebrate a very special pair of groundbreaking ceremonies--Winship at Midtown and the Health Sciences Research Building II. Made possible by the vision and generosity of the Woodruff Foundation and the Woodruff Fund, Inc., these facilities will help advance new solutions for the world's most significant health challenges.

And going into early 2020, we'll be breaking ground on a new building for the Rollins School of Public Health--the R. Randall Rollins Building. Thanks to the deep and ongoing commitment of the O. Wayne Rollins Foundation, this building will help our public health program continue its extraordinary trajectory as one of the world's leading schools of public health.

We have much to celebrate and much to look forward to! Thanks for all you do to make it possible.

Please direct questions and comments to evphafeedback@emory.edu.

Jonathan S. Lewin, MD, FACR
Executive Vice President for Health Affairs, Emory University
Executive Director, Woodruff Health Sciences Center
CEO, President, and Chairman of the Board, Emory Healthcare

WHSC Strategic Plan: Moving forward

Collaborate. Innovate. Serve. These actions underpin the Woodruff Health Sciences Center (WHSC) strategic plan, Setting Priorities for Our Future 2018-2022. Various multidisciplinary teams from across the WHSC are working hard to help guide the path forward in implementation of this plan, which focuses on strategic priorities in the areas of constructive culture, interprofessional education and collaborative practice, transforming models of care, innovative discovery, and data science.

The following provides an update on recent progress in one area, interprofessional education and collaborative practice. Please see the website for recent progress in other areas of the plan as well.

Interprofessional education and collaborative practice (IPECP) is of great significance as WHSC seeks to enrich educational experiences for its learners, advance joy of practice by strengthening professional satisfaction, and most important, improve upon the care provided to patients, their families, and the community. A WHSC IPECP Council has been formed to lead and coordinate IPECP activities across the WHSC and to elevate IPECP as a central educational theme, including five core elements of faculty development, student curriculum, research, simulation, and clinical practice.

Below are some ongoing activities, as well as recent achievements in this IPECP theme:

  • The council, in partnership with WHSC leadership, announced the inaugural round of IPECP Synergy Awards, which provide seed funding to encourage collaboration among educators and clinical practitioners from across disciplines to advance IPECP. WHSC is pleased to announce the first round of recipients of these awards, with a description of their projects.
  • Two teams attended AAMC's Interprofessional Education Collaborative 2019 Spring Institute to develop interprofessional care models focused on "Collaborative Population Management in Primary Care" and "Interprofessional Approach to Training Teams to Move ICU Patients." One of their posters, entitled "Enhancing Interprofessional Communication: An Interprofessional Academic Simulation Experience," received Best Poster Award.
  • Four abstracts from the WHSC Interprofessional Team Training Day were accepted for presentation at the 2019 Nexus Summit, where an interprofessional team attended to present abstracts and represent Emory.
  • The council hosted Curricula Summits in April to stimulate dialogue around an IPECP curricula framework focused on the following: Values/Ethics for Interprofessional Practice; Interprofessional Communication, Roles/Responsibilities; and Teams and Teamwork. The council also shared actionable and aspirational ideas aimed at advancing IPECP for all of Emory's learners and trainees.
  • As part of an effort to expand and strengthen the Woodruff Health Educators Academy, two Educators Salons were hosted in April and September, and a Monthly Journal Club has been launched.
These activities and achievements illustrate how WHSC is diligently working to innovate in educating tomorrow's workforce of caregivers and health care leaders, and they reflect the remarkable creativity, talent, and commitment of WHSC faculty and staff to improve the health and wellness of the communities it serves.

Training public health nurses to care for patients at evacuation shelters

Lisa Muirhead

First came Matthew (2016), then Irma (2017), followed by Michael (2018)--hurricanes that have pounded Georgia over the past three years.

When such storms occur, many residents leave their homes and head to state evacuation shelters, where staff include nurses from the Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH).

"In cases of extreme weather, we can expect more than 50,000 people to evacuate the Georgia coast, which has about 54 miles of coastline," says Jennifer Burkholder, deputy chief nurse of emerging health threats for DPH and an Emory graduate in nursing and public health.

"We've learned many lessons from recent events," she says. "We've analyzed the gaps and identified training needs to develop specific competencies in emergency preparedness for public health nurses for mass care."

Often, residents arrive at evacuation shelters with special health care needs. For DPH nurses, who typically work outside the hospital or clinic setting, caring for someone with co-existing chronic conditions, mental illness, or limited mobility can prove challenging in a shelter housing 50 to 100 people or more.

Needs also vary by situation. During Hurricane Matthew, DPH nurses found that shelter evacuees needed help with mobility and catheter care. During Hurricane Irma, nurses contended with flu cases as well as access-to-care needs of some evacuees.

"We saw two very different groups come in during each hurricane, so being prepared quickly changed," says Heather Holloway, the DPH emergency nurse preparedness liaison for the Macon, Georgia, area. "For public health nurses, we needed to identify a way to give some 'just in time' training and a refresher on specific types of care."

DPH turned to the Academic Clinical Partnership Committee (ACPC) at Emory's School of Nursing for help. Led by associate clinical professor Lisa Muirhead, the ACPC includes other Emory nursing faculty and staff as well as nursing leaders from DPH, Emory Healthcare, Grady Health System, the Atlanta VA Medical Center, Children's Healthcare of Atlanta, Northside Hospital, and Mercy Care.

In April 2018, the Georgia Public Health Nurses Preparedness Disaster Task Force, an ACPC subcommittee, met at Emory to prioritize the training needs of DPH nurses related to mass care. Their collaboration with faculty from the nursing school (Michael Garbett, Angela Haynes, Rose Murphree, Susan Brasher, and LisaMarie Wands) and physical therapy (Jennifer Sharp) led to production of four training videos demonstrating IV management, patient transfer techniques, ostomy care, and wound care.

"The online videos are now being used to train Georgia's public health nurses to ensure they have the skills needed during a deployment to a disaster shelter," says ACPC member Rebekah Chance-Revels, DPH deputy chief nurse for education and professional development.--Pam Auchmutey

In brief
Cooper receives Lasker Award

Max Cooper (pathology and laboratory medicine) has been awarded the 2019 Albert Lasker Basic Medical Research Award for work that changed scientists' understanding of the human immune system. His breakthrough--that the body has two separate kinds of lymphocytes to defend itself--opened the door to a new world of treatments and vaccines. He is recognized for identifying and defining the function of B and T cells, a monumental achievement that uncovered the organizing principle of the adaptive immune system and launched the course of modern immunology. Cooper, a Georgia Research Alliance Eminent Scholar, shares the award with Jacques Miller from the Hall Institute in Melbourne, Australia. Read more.

AAMC selects Ahmed for research award

Rafi Ahmed director, Emory Vaccine Center and a Georgia Research Alliance Eminent Scholar, received the 2019 Award for Distinguished Research in Biomedical Sciences from the Association of American Medical Colleges. Ahmed is credited with answering some of the most pressing questions regarding the crucial roles of T cells and B cells. Among other accomplishments, Ahmed’s lab was the first to demonstrate T cell exhaustion due to chronic viral exposure and show that this dysfunction was due to the inhibitory receptor programmed cell death. This work laid the foundation for FDA-approved immunotherapy drugs that treat various types of cancer. Read more.

New ortho clinic to open at Falcons training site

Emory Healthcare and the Atlanta Falcons broke ground this month on a new musculoskeletal and sports medicine clinic, located at the IBM Performance Fields, home of the Atlanta Falcons. The Emory Orthopaedics & Spine Center at Flowery Branch will provide a new location for patients, while also being an access point for Falcons players who need diagnostic imaging or to be seen by a sports medicine expert. The new clinic (about 29,000 square feet) signifies a long-term partnership between the Atlanta Falcons and Emory Healthcare. EHC has been the official team provider for the Falcons since 2018. Read more. 

Structural Heart named inaugural member of new NHLBI network

The Emory Structural Heart & Valve Center has been selected as the inaugural member of the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute's (NHLBI) Structural Heart Intervention Network, an evolving network of leading institutions participating in clinical studies to help advance minimally invasive treatment options for structural heart disease (abnormalities of the heart's valves and chambers). Network members agree to work collaboratively to create new treatments for structural heart disease and introduce new treatments into clinical practice. Above: Physician leaders Vasilis Babaliaros, Kendra Grubb, Adam Greenbaum.

New WHSC educators tradition

An Educators Salon sponsored by the Woodruff Health Educators Academy (WHEA) earlier this month, gave faculty across the health sciences an opportunity to see and hear about work in progress by WHEA educational scholarship fellows.

EHC Network expands beyond Atlanta

The Emory Healthcare Network is expanding its footprint beyond metro Atlanta and southwest into Columbus by adding St. Francis Hospital physicians and providers. Read more. Above: EHC leaders Don Brunn and Joel Shu.

Emory and Children's chosen for nationwide network

Emory and Children's Healthcare were selected to participate in a new research site for the Pediatric Emergency Care Applied Research Network (PECARN). They were awarded a four-year, $2.8 million grant to develop and conduct studies that focus on preventing and reducing morbidity and mortality in the sickest of ill and injured children. Claudia Morris and Hal Simon are lead and co-investigators, respectively. Read more.

OTT startup stats

The Office of Technology Transfer recently developed a new infographic and web page showing the longevity, success, and impact that Emory's startup companies have had over the years (includes data through fiscal year 2018). Also available is an infographic summarizing the impact of tech transfer at Emory over the past nine years, with numbers of inventions, patent applications, patents issued, license agreements, and licensing revenue.

Carolyn Clevenger (nursing faculty) was named a fellow in the Gerontological Society of America.

Walter Curran (Winship executive director) received the American Society for Radiation Oncology's Gold Medal, its highest honor. Read more.

Seth Force (cardiothoracic surgery) was named the Kamal A. Mansour Professor in thoracic surgery.

Michael M.E. Johns, MD (former Executive VP for Health Affairs ) will receive Research! America's Herbert Pardes Family Award for National Leadership in Advocacy for Research next March in Washington, DC.

Joe Sharma (general and endocrine surgery) has been named the William C. McGarity Chair in surgery.

Jesse Waggoner (infectious diseases) received the 2019 Clinical Scientist Development Award from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation.

Not pictured: Executive VP for Health Affairs Jon Lewin will be honored next month with the National Medical Fellowships Pioneer Award as an Atlanta Champion of Health.


Oct 5: Winship Win the Fight 5K: 8:00 a.m., Quadrangle, Emory University campus. Register.

Oct 7: Portrait of Spirit. Images and interviews of people living with disabilities. SOM lobby. 5:00-7:00 p.m. More info.

Oct 22: State of the Woodruff Health Sciences Center. 4:30 p.m., WHSCAB Auditorium. Reception on plaza level to follow. 

Oct 31: THINK Big Symposium, "The Promise of Precision Medicine: Harnessing New Technologies for Public Health Impact." 12:15 p.m. Auditorium, CNR Bldg. More info.

Nov 1: Emory University Sleep Symposium, 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., Emory Conference Center. Registration deadline Oct 4. More info.

Nov 14-15: 
3rd Interprofessional Simulation Conference. Day 1: 8:00 a.m. to 6 p.m., Marriott Century Center, Atlanta. Day 2: 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m., ExCEL Simulation Center. Register. More info.

Nov 14-15: Innovating with Existing Drugs and Nutraceuticals Conference (sponsored by the Center for Affordable Medical Innovation). Emory Conference Center Hotel. Register.

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