Road leading on into the horizon

Progress Updates

Collaborate. Innovate. Serve. These actions underpin the Woodruff Health Sciences Center (WHSC) strategic plan, Setting Priorities for Our Future 2018-2022. The product of more than 18 months of hard work on the part of some 250 stakeholders, the plan is designed to be a roadmap for achievement in research, education, and clinical care delivery over the next several years. Its goals and strategies support and align with those of the Emory University strategic plan and support the realization of our shared vision for the future of the institution.

Achieving these goals for the WHSC means uniting us under a common vision for the future and ensuring that the significant individual strengths of our various units are integrated and synergistic, including the Emory School of Medicine, Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing, Rollins School of Public Health, Winship Cancer Institute, Yerkes National Primate Research Center, Emory Healthcare, and the Emory Global Health Institute. The plan was developed by and for the people of WHSC, and we can only achieve it with your engagement and guidance.

We invite you to explore the progress updates below by theme as we continue to implement this five-year strategic plan.

Interprofessional Education and Collaborative Practice (IPECP)

  • -The WHSC IPECP Council is focused on elevating IPECP as a central educational theme across WHSC in the core areas of faculty development, student curriculum, research, simulation, and clinical practice. The WHSC IPECP Council, in partnership with WHSC leadership, announced the inaugural round of IPECP Synergy Awards in summer 2019 aimed at providing seed funding to encourage collaboration among educations and clinical practitioners from across disciplines to advance IPECP. WHSC is pleased to announce the recipients of the IPECP Synergy Awards; read more about the projects on the WHSC website.
  • The Woodruff Health Educators Academy (WHEA) continues to expand its programs to foster an interprofessional community of educators across the health sciences. In the past year, WHEA created a Fellowship in Educational Scholarship program and Teaching Fellowship program to provide professional development opportunities to educators. WHEA also hosts monthly Interprofessional Journal Clubs and semi-annual Educators Salons.
  • 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.
  • In April 2019, the IPECP Council held Curricula Summits to engage in meaningful dialogue around what interprofessional education should be at Emory, and key competencies Emory should aim to develop across its schools. Nearly 80 attendees at the summits generated 56 ideas, 22 of which were fleshed out into further detail. The IPECP Synergy Award are supporting implementation for a number of these ideas.

Innovative Discovery

  • WHSC continues its focus on providing the tools and technologies to drive Innovative Discovery across WHSC. In the past year, WHSC acquired two 10X Chromium Controller instruments that enable the rapid generation of massively parallel encapsulated sequencing libraries that enable single cell sequencing. This state-of-the-art technology provides WHSC investigators the ability to analyze the expression of thousands of genes in single cells, allowing them to identify new cell types and functions that have previously been unrecognized. The WHSC Innovative Discovery Steering Committee is pleased to release a pilot grant request for proposals which will enable early-career investigators to access two single-cell sequencing technology platforms in the WHSC. Proposals are due October 14. For more information, email
  • The Steering Committee and WHSC leadership are exploring creating a new infrastructure for healthcare and research data, known as CRADLE (Clinical Research Analytics Data Lake at Emory).
  • The Cohort of the Future Task Force is in the midst of conducting a benchmarking process to assess options for platforms to host cohort data.
  • The Cohort of the Future Task Force developed a list of cohorts at the Emory, local, and national levels. The cohorts will be housed on the WHSC research website for investigators to access.

Data Science

  • The WHSC Data Science Steering Committee is finalizing the strategic framework for the WHSC Data Science Center, including the overarching structure, mission, goals, and priorities for the Center. As part of developing the framework, the Steering Committee completed an inventory and benchmarking interviews with data science centers at peer institutions across the country to inform the strategy and process toward the launch of a WHSC Data Science Center.
  • Numerous Steering Committee members are participating in the Emory Healthcare (EHC) FY20-FY24 subject matter expert team for Data and Analytics to align WHSC planning efforts with EHC in data science.

Transforming Models of Care

  • As part of the EHC FY20-FY24 strategic planning process, a Discovery and Innovation subject matter expert team began meeting in July 2019. One of the key topics for the team to discuss is how to enhance health services research across EHC in partnership with the WHSC schools.
  • EHC is implementing primary care re-design pilots as part of initial efforts to transform primary care. The pilots include enhancing the role of the medical assistant to take on additional tasks to enable providers to focus on direct patient care, integrating behavioral health models of care into the primary care setting, and care coordination.

Constructive Culture

  • The WHSC Constructive Culture Working Group meets on a regular basis to oversee implementation of the WHSC Constructive Culture initiatives. Work completed by the group includes standardizing WHSC orientation materials, conducting an assessment of leadership development programs across WHSC units, and inventorying recognition programs across units. Another key priority for the Working Group is taking Woodruff Leadership Academy (WLA) team projects centered around culture initiatives and identifying opportunities for implementation across WHSC.
  • In 2019, an interdisciplinary team of WHSC leaders attended a workshop series on “Toward a Culture of Ethical Practice in Healthcare.” The workshop series was designed to educate leaders on building structures that allows for maintaining consistency in actions throughout challenges from unconscious biases, differing landscapes, and disparate constituencies. The workshop attendees are working closely with the WHSC Constructive Culture Working Group to integrate best practices into WHSC leadership development resources.
WHSC Strategic Plan