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January 31, 2020

Staying ahead of coronavirus

I’m sure you’re all keeping up with the news surrounding the ongoing outbreak of novel coronavirus infection. As cases continue to rapidly increase in China and are seen globally, it is likely that we’ll see additional cases here in the United States. I want to reassure you that Emory Healthcare is diligently monitoring the situation and that we are well prepared to handle it if the need arises in Atlanta or elsewhere in Georgia.

Our superb frontline staff have protocols in place to ensure that we identify, isolate, and appropriately treat any patients who present to Emory Healthcare, while at the same time keeping our other patients and our staff safe. We also have in place one of the world’s pre-eminent infectious disease teams, whose expertise has shaped the world’s understanding and treatment of emerging threats such as zika and Ebola, among others.

This situation is rapidly developing, and the Emory Healthcare team and I will keep you updated as relevant changes occur. In the meantime, please share my confidence that we are well prepared and that we stand ready to help wherever and whenever we are needed.

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

New research building breaks ground

Last month we broke ground for Health Sciences Research Building II (HSRB II), which will be built on Haygood Drive beside its sister facility. Plans for HSRB II include six stories above ground and two stories below ground, offering more than 346,000 square feet of dedicated research space for imaging sciences, biomedical engineering, cardiovascular medicine, child health including cancer, adult cancer, inflammation, immunity and immunotherapeutics, emerging infections and other cutting-edge interdisciplinary research programs.

The new facility will be funded in part from a generous $400 million gift from the Robert W. Woodruff Foundation, with $200 million of that gift directed for biomedical research. The additional $200 million will help build Emory’s newest cancer facility, Winship at Midtown, which broke ground in November at Emory University Hospital Midtown. Read more.

Emory leads two large NIH grants

The National Institute on Aging (NIA) is awarding approximately $37 million over five years to a team of international researchers, led by Emory, to help accelerate the development of promising new therapies that will effectively treat or prevent Alzheimer’s disease. The grant is part of a larger $73 million-dollar program by NIA to establish the Alzheimer’s Centers for the Discovery of New Medicines, two new research centers designed to diversify and reinvigorate the Alzheimer’s disease drug development pipeline.

Through these centers, NIH will expand the use of open-science and open-source principles to de-risk novel drug targets with the goal of facilitating the development of new treatments for Alzheimer’s. “Given the widespread aging of the U.S. baby boomer population, and current unsuccessful treatment approaches . . . . this substantial investment by NIA answers a critical and time-sensitive need for a diverse portfolio of well characterized new therapeutic and diagnostic targets for Alzheimer's disease,” says Allan Levey, director of the Goizueta Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center. Read more.

Emory University has also been tapped by the The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) to lead a new effort aimed at developing vaccines and other therapies to combat infectious diseases. Emory is leading eight academic institutions that will form the new Infectious Diseases (ID) Clinical Research Consortium Leadership Group. The group will also include a national and global network of collaborators and scientific experts.

David Stephens, professor and chair of the Department of Medicine and vice president for research of WHSC, will serve as the ID leadership group’s principal investigator along with Kathleen Neuzil, MD, professor of medicine and pediatrics at the University of Maryland, Baltimore.

“Emory has established itself as the nation’s leader in vaccines and therapeutic treatments for infectious diseases,” says Stephens. “Our journey to this leadership group began several years ago with investments in infectious diseases research and faculty, and the development of Emory Vaccine Center. This new network of expertise and resources allows us to diversify the approaches to prevent, treat and evaluate infectious diseases, not only nationally but also on a global scale.” Read more.

The history of Emory Clinic

A new book about Emory Clinic history: To the Ultimate Good: A History of the Emory Clinic, Early Years through 1994, recently hit the shelves. The book traces the history of the Emory Clinic, beginning with the initial gift in the 1930s from the legendary chairman of The Coca-Cola Company and philanthropist Robert W. Woodruff. Copies are available for purchase at the Emory Barnes and Noble Bookstore or online via the Bookhouse Group, Inc.

In brief
New emergency medicine chair

David Wright has been appointed chair of the Department of Emergency Medicine. Wright has served as interim department chair since June, 2018, and has been a member of our School of Medicine faculty since 1997. A tenured professor, he also serves as vice chair for innovation and discovery in emergency medicine and leads the Emergency Neurosciences Laboratory.

EUH recognized for surgical patient care

Emory University Hospital has been recognized by the American College of Surgeons National Surgical Quality Improvement Program (ACS NSQIP) as one of 88 hospitals out of an eligible 592 medical centers for achieving meritorious outcomes for surgical patient care in 2018. This is the second year in a row that EUH has received this recognition. EUH received meritorious status for outstanding composite quality scores in both “All Cases” and “High Risk” categories for surgical care in 2018. Just 56 hospitals were recognized in both categories.

St. Francis Hospital joins newly formed joint venture

Emory Healthcare and LifePoint Health have formed a joint venture to enhance access to, and delivery of high-quality, cost-effective care in Columbus, Ga. St. Francis Hospital in Columbus, which LifePoint has owned since 2016, will now be the first facility owned by the joint venture. Emory Healthcare and St. Francis have worked together in Columbus since 2003, when they began a cardiac services affiliation that aligned St. Francis’ electrophysiology program with Emory’s program. The heart/vascular relationship was strengthened in 2016 following LifePoint’s acquisition of St. Francis, when Emory began to manage the hospital’s cardiothoracic surgery services.

Two new offerings

Learn ways to enhance the lecture format and make your classroom teaching more effective at the Educators Salon on Monday, Feb. 10 5 – 7:00 pm at WHSC plaza. The talk will be followed by networking, wine, cheese, and snacks. Click here to register.

The Woodruff Health Educators Academy is also offering a certificate program for all health professions educators consisting of expert-led workshops to develop educational research skills coupled with a mentored scholarly project to be conducted in the participants’ authentic education settings. Applications due March 15, 2020. Application and more information here.

Coronavirus information resources

The coronavirus outbreak is rapidly developing with early data still emerging. Emory infectious diseases and travel medicine experts say good hygiene, particularly hand hygiene, can reduce the risk of many infections. The CDC has recommended health care workers use Standard, Contact and Airborne Precautions with eye protection. For more information, including a list of Emory experts, click here.

Mapping the journey

The Department of Surgery has embarked on its new strategic plan, planning for which began in 2018. The plan aligns with the department’s transition to the Em-Power methodology, Emory’s version of the Lean management organizational paradigm that deploys a process of continuous improvement by empowering frontline workers to solve problems. The 2019 surgery annual report explores the department’s journey.

New research tool available

Nearly 100 million patient records across 30+ institutions can now be queried by Emory’s clinical researchers and study teams through the Accrual to Clinical Trials Network to explore and validate patient cohorts and identify potential collaborators for investigator-initiated single- and multi-site clinical trials. The ACT Network is open access and available to all researchers at Emory at no cost.

Health challenges on the horizon

WHO released 13 urgent global health challenges for the next decade, reflecting a deep concern that world leaders are failing to invest enough resources in core health priorities and systems. For a list of the challenges, along with Emory experts in each area, click here.

Molly Bachtel, assistant professor of nursing, will receive the 2020 American Association of Nurse Practitioners Advocate State Award for Excellence from Georgia.

Dimitri Cassimatis, associate professor of medicine in the Division of Cardiology, has been named the Martha West Looney Chief of Medicine at EUH Midtown.

Alexander Isakov, executive director of Office of Critical Event Preparedness and Response, recieved the President’s Award from the National Assoc of EMS Physicians.

Wilbur Lam, associate professor of Emory+Children’s Pediatric Research Center, was named the inaugural W. Paul Bowers Research Chair by the Aflac Cancer and Blood Disorders Center.

Joellen Schildkraut, a leader in women's cancer research, joined Emory University's earlier this month. She is a professor in the Department of Epidemiology at the Rollins and member of Winship's Cancer Prevention and Control Research Program.


Feb 5: “Global Food Systems: Agriculture, Markets, Nutrition, & Resilience,” a panel discussion on experiences applying effective strategies to strengthen global food system hosted by Rollins and CARE. 12 – 12:50 pm, Rita Anne Rollins Room, 8th floor of Grace Crum Rollins building

Feb 6: The “Science of Love” symposium will be hosted by the Center for Translational Social Neuroscience and the Emory Conte Center. Speakers include Larry Young, director of the CTSN at Yerkes and Helen Fisher, senior research fellow at the Kinsey Institute and chief science advisor to Match.com. 6:30 – 8:00 pm, Claudia Nance Rollins Auditorium. RSVP to ibudrec@emory.edu

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