A message from Ravi Thadhani

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May 22, 2023

Top of the class in drug discovery

Over the past decade, Emory University’s research funding has very nearly doubled. With few exceptions, our research enterprise has grown year over year—and, looking at the most recent figures, we can likely expect the same outstanding performance again this fiscal year. But what is the end result of all that funding? What outcomes are we achieving?

A recent article in the Journal of Technology Transfer examined one of many measures of a research program’s success—the development of FDA-approved drugs and vaccines—and found that Emory is top-of-class not only in research funding but also in lifesaving drug discovery. Indeed, the study found that Emory ranks number three worldwide in terms of discovery and development of FDA-approved drugs, behind only the National Institutes of Health and the University of California system (which is comprised of nine institutions).

To rank well ahead of our peer institutions both at home and abroad on this important metric is an extraordinary achievement, which confirms what I already know. The depth of research talent across all the schools and units of the Woodruff Health Sciences Center is unparalleled and distinguishes our institution as a leader on the world stage.

Thank you to all members of our research teams for your superlative efforts!

Kind regards,


Ravi I. Thadhani, MD, MPH
Executive Vice President for Health Affairs, Emory University
Executive Director, Woodruff Health Sciences Center
Vice Chair, Emory Healthcare Board of Directors

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

Joon Sup Lee to lead Emory Healthcare as CEO

Joon Sup Lee will assume the post of chief executive officer of Emory Healthcare on July 1. As CEO, he will be responsible for overseeing the most comprehensive academic health system in Georgia with 11 hospitals, 250 provider locations and more than 24,000 employees. 

Lee currently serves as the executive vice president at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC) and president of UPMC Physician Services, where he is responsible for 5,000 employed physicians and all clinically active faculty. His scope of work includes physician services, quality of care, patient experience, patient access and financial oversight of physician services.

An interventional cardiologist by training, Lee’s research and clinical interests focus on the role of stem cells in the treatment of coronary artery disease, rapid treatment of cardiac emergencies and catheter-based therapy for valvular heart disease. Throughout his more than 25-year tenure, Lee has been integral in the strategic growth of UPMC from a five-campus hospital system to a more than 40-hospital system, supporting and leading integration efforts of the campuses, service lines and practice plans. Read more.

Congratulations to the WLA Class of 2023

Congratulations to the Woodruff Leadership Academy Class of 2023 Fellows, who completed their WLA program in April. The class was divided into three teams, which tackled the following projects:

1. Cor Prudentis: Emory’s Roadmap for Multidisciplinary Care (Team Members: Edna Brisco, Bradley Carthon, Neal Dickert, Jonathan Grossberg, Reid Willingham, and Wendy Wright)
2. Table Shakers: Navigating Murky Waters: Achieving Compensation Transparency at WHSC (Team Members: Shelly Abramowicz, Leon Bernal-Mizrachi, Douglas Chesson, Jyothi Rengarajan, Stacie Schmidt, and Jessica Wells)
3. Cut To The Chase: ONEUP: One Emory Unified Appointment Process (Team Members: Olatunji Alese, Elizabeth Benjamin, Edjah Nduom, Manu Sancheti, Virginia Shaffer, and Adam Tribbett)

If you would like more information on any of these projects, please contact the WLA administrator, Melinda Morrow.

Our People

Surgery can be an anxiety-inducing and life-altering experience, but patients who have surgery at Emory Hillandale Hospital have a unique advantage. Corey D. Brown, specialty director of ambulatory surgery and interventional procedures, is in their corner. I had the privilege of meeting Corey recently and was deeply impressed by his skill in managing a complex outpatient surgery program, his powerful and positive leadership style, and his genuine passion for helping our patients and their families, which is abundantly clear in everything he does.

With 15 years of service to the former DeKalb Regional Health System and nearly five years with Emory since the transition, Corey currently oversees outpatient surgery preparation, the operating room, post-anesthesia recovery, special procedures, interventional procedures, and the sterilization, processing, and distribution department. And, he says, he has “the privilege of leading a dynamic team of loyal and dedicated nurses and ancillary staff.”

When asked about the people his team serves, Corey says, “The patient population that we serve at Emory Hillandale suffer from chronic illnesses such as diabetes, hypertension, sickle cell anemia, and obesity. Many lack adequate preventative health care maintenance, which results in poor outcomes. My job affords me the opportunity to meet this patient population where they are without judgment, offering encouragement and assisting them when they are most vulnerable.”

“A caring health care provider,” he continues, “regardless of his/her title can exact positive change on the populous served. ALL team members, regardless of their role, should strive to be patient-centered.”

This philosophy shines through in Corey’s work. As Edna Briscoe, vice president of patient care services and chief nursing officer at Emory Hillandale says, “Corey is truly amazing! He is a loyal, dedicated, and extremely knowledgeable nurse leader who always goes above and beyond to meet the needs of our patients, our staff, and our community.”

Thank you, Corey, for helping us improve lives and provide hope!

To nominate a colleague to be featured in an upcoming segment of Our People, please email me at evphafeedback@emory.edu and let me know what makes them special.

In Brief
Winship Cancer Institute at Emory Midtown opens

Winship’s newest facility at Emory Midtown opened for patients earlier this month, supporting a unique model of patient-centered, multidisciplinary cancer care integrated with innovative research to provide the best patient outcomes and a personalized patient experience. The new center will expand Winship’s oncology services and bring them together into one building. The facility comprises 17 stories and more than 450,000 square feet on three acres. It was made possible in part with a $200 million gift from the Robert W. Woodruff Foundation. Read more.

Emergency preparedness training for US Public Health Service

In the span of a few weeks last year, the Emory Nursing Learning Center went from a construction zone to a disaster zone. During four two-day sessions just weeks after the learning center opened, hundreds of US Public Health Service officers from across the country gathered in Decatur for emergency drills designed by Emory’s Office of Critical Event Preparedness and Response (CEPAR) in partnership with the USPHS and the Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing (SON). Read more.

Shuck named CEO of three facilities

Jen Schuck has been named chief executive officer (CEO) of Emory Decatur Hospital, Emory Hillandale Hospital, and Emory Long-Term Acute Care. She had been serving as interim CEO of the three facilities. Read more.

2022 Community Benefits Report

The 2022 WHSC Community Benefits Report is out, detailing how our team improves lives and provides hope. The total value to the community provided by the WHSC is $813 million, including $148 million in charity care provided by Emory Healthcare.

First positive surgical trial in the deadliest type of stroke

The results of a promising surgical treatment for hemorrhagic strokes, led by researchers at the Emory School of Medicine (SOM) since 2017, were announced at the American Association of Neurological Surgeons meeting. The ENRICH (Early MiNimally-invasive Removal of ICH) trial demonstrated a positive surgical outcome in the treatment of intracerebral hemorrhage. Read more.

Improving maternal mortality in Guatemala

Emory’s safe+natal program, a maternal health project in Guatemala which has demonstrated massive success in improving pregnancy outcomes in Maya communities, is among the top five finalists under consideration for a $9 million grant from the MacArthur Foundation’s Lever for Change Maternal & Infant Health Award. 

EPC leadership appointments

The Emory Primate Center (EPC) has announced several leadership appointments. Thomas Wichmann has been named the deputy director of the EPC. Thomas joined the center in 2004 and has served as associate director for scientific programs since 2017. Rama Amara is the new EPC associate director for research strategy. Rama, who has been with the center for more than 20 years, is known worldwide for his expertise in developing vaccines against infectious diseases. Mirko Paiardini, who joined the center in 2010, is the new division chief for microbiology and immunology. 

Teaching health care professionals to work together effectively

High-functioning health care teams can’t work effectively unless team members with different backgrounds and training know how to cooperate and work together, and that is sometimes difficult to achieve. A team of researchers based at the SON, the SOM, the Emory Clinic, and seven other US teaching hospitals reports developing successful techniques for overcoming the friction and misunderstanding that can arise when health care professionals with different roles come together to work with patients. The journal BMJ Open published their report. Read more.

Increasing access to behavioral health services

Emory Healthcare and the Goizueta Institute @Emory Brain Health are joining forces with NeuroFlow, a behavioral health infrastructure company, to support and improve the delivery of psychiatric services for both patients and providers. The collaboration will also pilot a primary care suicide prevention program. The entities will seek to complement and scale Emory’s new collaborative care model within its primary care clinics. Read more.

Studying community-based patient navigation

The National Institute of Nursing Research has awarded a $3.4 million grant for the SOM, SON, and Morehouse School of Medicine researchers to study the impact of the integration of community-based, perinatal patient navigation into the continuum of maternal care for Black women in a safety-net health system. The team will also implement a high-fidelity care model intervention and utilize health system and patient-reported data to determine the model’s effectiveness. Read more.

Winship Catalyst Fund bridges funding gap

Atlantan Bernard Gray has created a unique endowment at Winship that addresses an underfunded stage of the research pipeline. The Winship Catalyst Fund will enable Winship researchers to bring promising drugs and treatment strategies from discovery to clinical use. "Federal funding typically takes a research project through basic discovery," said Mike Cassidy, director of the Emory Biomedical Catalyst. "But there’s a huge funding gap between discovery and application. Berny's gift is a great example of how philanthropy can close that gap." Read more.

Atlanta Falcons make donation to Emory Healthcare Veterans Program
In commemoration of Military Appreciation Month in May, the Atlanta Falcons have announced a $225,101 donation to the Emory Healthcare Veterans Program. The donation is intended to support the health care needs of veterans and service members who have served our country. Pictured above, Atlanta Falcons’ linebacker Lorenzo Carter visits with military members during the team’s annual Salute to Service week in 2022. Read more.

Tracey Henry, associate professor of medicine, has been awarded the Society of General Internal Medicine's ACLGIM Leadership Award.

Mark Lee, a nurse scholar who works on the 7E Complex Medicine Unit at Emory University Hospital, was recognized as one of 10 statewide awardees this year from the Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s Celebrating Nurses program. Read more.

Mary Newell, associate director of the Emory Breast Imaging Center, was named president of the Society of Breast Imaging. View video.

Millie Sattler, Emory Healthcare corporate director of retention and career development strategy, was honored as the sole nursing leadership awardee this year from the 2023 Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s Celebrating Nurses program. Read more.

May 23
Emory Explores: One Year Post-Roe. Carrie A. Cwiak 03FM 03PH and Adam Jacobs 90C offer a unique perspective from two alumni physicians working in complex family planning. 12:00 – 1:00 pm. Register here
May 25
Larry Young (psychiatry and behavioral sciences), the 2023 Dean's Distinguished Faculty Lecture and Award recipient, will give his honorary lecture on "The Brain Science of Social Connections: Implications for Health and Society." 5:30 pm, James B. Williams Medical Education Building, Room 110. Reception to follow. Register here.

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