Leadership academy tackles tough issues in health sciences

Woodruff Leadership Academy includes leaders in research, teaching and patient care

Health Sciences Update | June 21, 2012

Each year, fellows in the Woodruff Leadership Academy (WLA) undergo an extensive leadership curriculum in monthly sessions from January to May. For their extracurricular assignment, they are divided into four groups, each with diverse expertise, to address challenges faced by academic health sciences centers in general and by Emory in particular. Each group chooses one issue from a list of provided topics and spends the next four-plus months exploring their subject and learning from one another.

WLA Dean Gary Teal says their prescription is to define the problem and/or opportunity, research best practices, survey both internally and externally, provide insight, devise solutions, and make recommendations about their issue in the context of the Woodruff Health Sciences Center. Expectations are high and issues weighty. One frequently reported side effect of these efforts, believed to be harmless, is that in working together, often at odd hours at the beginning or end of the day, participants have quite a bit of fun.

In May, the fellows presented and defended their findings to a group of faculty, mentors, administrators, and trustees. Following are details about groups and topics of the WLA class of 2012.

Group 1, which called themselves "The Adapt-able Hyphens," comprised Tara Adyanthaya (Office of General Counsel), Therese Baker (unit director, cardiovascular ICU, Emory University Hospital), Craig Coppersmith (transplant ICU), Nael McCarty (pediatrics), Jeffrey Newport (psychiatry), and Karen Strait (animal resources). They presented "A proposal to reduce and manage conflict in advanced illness and end-of-life care."

Group 2, "The Cliffhangers," included Volkan Adsay (pathology), Anne Dunlop (preventive medicine), Rishi Gupta (neurology), Janice Lea (nephrology), Arshed Quyyumi (cardiology), Kathleen Rodger (clinical trials director, Winship), and Kathryn Yount (global health, public health). This group presented "Preparing for changes in the research funding climate."

Group 3, "Team Incisive," included Jessica Arluck (gyn/ob), Pat Capes (emergency medicine), George Grant (research and innovation, pastoral services), Sagar Lonial (Winship), Cindy Moore (Emory University Hospital OR), and Leah Phillips (financial planning, Emory Clinic). They addressed "The seven-day-a-week hospital."

Group 4, "Fist of Six," included Wendy Book (cardiology), Sanjay Dhall (neurosurgery), Kendra Moore (finance, gyn/ob), Stephen Pastan (transplant center), Kaiya Valentine (unit director, cardiovascular surgery, EUH Midtown), and John Votaw (radiology research). They presented "The Center for Diagnostic Medicine (CDM) at Emory: A destination to improve lives one diagnosis at a time.". The CDM's mission would be to provide expert diagnostic evaluation for rare, undiagnosed, and/or misdiagnosed conditions.