Leader in COVID-19 research

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September 09, 2020

Leader in COVID-19 research

We’ve talked so much recently about the Woodruff Health Sciences Center’s clinical response to COVID-19—and rightfully so. Our health care teams have risen to an almost unimaginable challenge in recent months, and they’ve done so with their customary compassion and excellence.

What you may not know is that another component of our tripartite mission—our research enterprise—has responded to the crisis with equal distinction. In spite of the challenges posed by the pandemic, Emory’s research team has emerged as a national leader in COVID-related research, currently ranking number three nationwide in COVID NIH awards among universities, and number five in the country when non-university research institutes are included.

Our COVID-19 activities span from advancing understanding of the virus to developing quicker and more accurate tests to finding treatments and a vaccine, and the numbers are impressive. As of September 6, the Woodruff Health Sciences Center has had 315 submissions from 186 primary investigators for a total of $177.1 million in proposals. This has already yielded 81 sponsored awards from 58 PI’s for a total of $89 million. In addition, we have successfully published 352 Emory-authored COVID-related manuscripts to date.

Driven in part by our successful COVID-19 research efforts, WHSC has achieved a remarkable year of research funding overall with $782 million in awards – an extraordinary increase of $140 million over FY19!

Thanks to everyone across all aspects of our research enterprise for continuing to excel under challenging circumstances and for leading the nation’s efforts to advance our understanding, prevention, and treatment of COVID-19.

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 and Chairman of the Board, Emory Healthcare

Dane Peterson named president of Emory Healthcare

Dane Peterson

Dane Peterson, chief operating officer (COO) of Emory Healthcare, has been named president of Emory Healthcare. He will retain his current title and position as COO, along with his new position of president. Peterson joined Emory Healthcare in 2007 as COO of Emory University Hospital Midtown, then was promoted to CEO of Emory University Hospital Midtown in 2012. In 2014, he was appointed Emory Healthcare Hospital Group President, and named COO of Emory Healthcare in 2018. As president of Emory Healthcare, Peterson will oversee the system’s health care delivery missions, finances, compliance and other areas. He will also remain focused on the day-to-day operations of Emory Healthcare as COO.

The Emory Nursing Learning Center

In an effort to prepare more students for licensure and offer continuing education to practicing nurses, the School of Nursing and Emory Healthcare will add nearly 70,000 square feet of space for teaching in downtown Decatur, Ga. The school will redesign portions of four floors at 250 Ponce with special attention paid to simulation, innovation, and team building. The Emory Nursing Learning Center will act as a hub for students and Emory Healthcare nurses. The school anticipates enrollment of 1,400 by 2025, making the extra room vital for developing skills and practicing procedures. The new Simulation and Skills Lab at the center will include mock hospital settings with state-of-the art equipment. When finished, it will be the largest simulation center in Metro Atlanta.

In brief
Medication disposal bins

The Emory University Hospital and Emory University Hospital Midtown pharmacies now have medication disposal bins where people can drop-off unused and expired prescriptions. The bins are open during pharmacy hours, which can be found here.

New HR chief

Lilicia Bailey will be joining Emory Healthcare as our new chief human resources officer, effective September 28. She joins Emory from Wake Forest Baptist Health in Winston-Salem, NC, where she was system senior vice president, chief people officer, and system academic enterprise change executive.

Division of Geriatrics and Gerontology formed

The Department of Medicine’s Section of Geriatrics and Gerontology has been elevated to the Division of Geriatrics and Gerontology. It will join the department’s nine other internal medicine divisions and will be led by Camille Vaughan.

New director of stroke center

Charles Michael Cawley III has been named director of the Emory MBNA Stroke Center. Comprised of specialists in neurology, neurosurgery, neurocritical care and interventional neuroradiology, the Emory MBNA Stroke Center is one of the largest clinical practices in the nation. It was established in 2002 with financial support from MBNA Bank.

New chief of infectious diseases

Aneesh K. Mehta was named chief of Infectious Diseases Services at Emory University Hospital and Emory University Orthopedics and Spine Hospital. Mehta served as the associate chief of ID Services at EUH/EUOSH since 2013. He is taking over for Carlos del Rio, who was chief at EUH for seven years. Del Rio has been named executive associate dean for Emory at Grady and chairman of the Emory Medical Care Foundation Board.

New chair of biostatistics

Robert T. Krafty has joined the Rollins School of Public Health as the chair and Rollins Professor of the Department of Biostatistics and Bioinformatics. Krafty joins Rollins from the University of Pittsburgh’s Graduate School of Public Health, where he is a tenured faculty member and chair of the biostatistics curriculum.

Synergy Awards

The latest Synergy Award recipients have been announced, and all 10 selected projects share a common theme: Advancing research on COVID-19. Proposals for these awards are required to include faculty members with primary appointments in at least two different schools as co-principal investigators. The awards are intended to support new, highly innovative projects that are not yet funded or published and that have potential to generate scientific achievements of the highest quality and impact. See the list of winners here.

Acknowledging our past. Empowering our future

The School of Medicine has put together an interactive timeline of its Black history to honor, acknowledge, recognize and celebrate Black physicians. The historical journey, beginning in 1836 with the rental of slaves to build the first few buildings on the Oxford campus, was presented during the National Medical Association's 125th Convention and Scientific Assembly, hosted (virtually) in Atlanta in early August.

Jeffrey Bradley (emeritus professor) was awarded the James W. Keller Distinguished Professorship in Radiation Oncology.

Eun-Ok Im has received the Outstanding Nurse Scientist Award from the Council for the Advancement of Nursing Science.

Nelson M. Oyesiku (neurosurgery) has been awarded the inaugural Daniel Louis Barrow Endowed Chair.

Merry Sebelik has received the 2020 Distinguished Award for Humanitarian Service from the American Academy of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery.

Guillermo Umpierrez is the recipient of the Endocrine Society’s 2021 Outstanding Scholarly Physician Award.

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