One school of thought

Thomas Lawley

Five words on the cover of this book appear time and again throughout the pages that follow. Taken together, they sum up what we are all about in Emory University School of Medicine, each a different tack to get to the same destination, i.e., service to humanity.

The sense of a shared goal, of being on the same path, of working toward the same end, permeates all we do here and supplies a steady source of joy and optimism even in times of economic challenge.

Commitment, an important component of medical training at Emory, is the opportunity to work with underserved patients, whether in local clinics for the homeless or in developing countries around the globe.

Take knowledge, for example. Our faculty and students have more personal interaction throughout all four years of medical school and are thus learning from each other more than ever before, their relationships mirroring the kind that ideally should exist between patients and their doctors. They are happier and better off for it, and the patients they serve are too.

Curiosity offers another perspective into what excites and inspires. In addition to receiving a record amount of sponsored research support this year, our scientists have the privilege of testing the benefit to patients of research that started here, including a new treatment for traumatic brain injury and a DNA AIDS vaccine. 

As important as both knowledge and curiosity are, their value dims outside a context of compassion. Students and residents who come to Emory do so understanding that they will have the opportunity to learn from a vast range of patients in different settings, including those who are most disadvantaged. They have the opportunity to work with faculty who are concerned not only with pioneering new treatments but also with issues such as improving quality and safety, solving intractable problems pertaining to cost and access, and finding better means of preventing disease in the first place. Together, they are on a mission, headed in the same direction.

Commitment, knowledge, curiosity, compassion, opportunity: Five words, yes, but one school of thought.

Thomas J. Lawley, MD

Dean, Emory University School of Medicine

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