WHSC programs earn top marks on world stage

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September 27, 2022

The promise of HSRB II

Designed to incorporate features of the Francis Crick Institute in London, Health Sciences Research Building II (HSRB II), one of the biggest projects ever for the Emory campus, aims to bring together teams of scientists to solve the human health problems of our time. The state-of-the-art 350,000-square foot, eight-story building, which is scheduled to open late this year, has multidisciplinary collaboration, digital integration, and cutting-edge facilities built into its blueprint.

Interconnected computational and experimental “lab neighborhoods,” digital experiential platforms, new core instrumentation, and an innovation zone for start-ups are all designed to incite collaborations among the experimental researchers, computationists, and core technologists who will work there. The building design also incorporates connectivity with the adjacent Lullwater Preserve and supports in its design Emory’s campus-wide sustainability efforts.

The building will house laboratories for 130 principal investigators and 1,000 scientists from across specialties including: pediatrics, biomedical engineering, Winship Cancer Institute, cardiovascular medicine, the Emory Vaccine Center, radiology, and brain health. Core facilities include advanced imaging (7-T MRI), flow cytometry, high-level containment facilities, an automated biorepository, genomics, and other technologies.

Future issues of Health Sciences Update will explore more of the unique characteristics and the promise of HSRB II. For now, you can read more here.

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

David S. Stephens, MD
Interim Executive Vice President for Health Affairs
Interim Executive Director of the Woodruff Health Sciences Center

Emory Nursing Learning Center opens

The Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing (SON) opened its new Emory Nursing Learning Center (ENLC) in downtown Decatur on Sept. 16. The ENLC is a $20.6 million, 70,000-square-foot expansion featuring cutting-edge simulation and professional development space designed to prepare students to engage in interactive technology and experiential learning environments that will enable them to be the next generation of nurse leaders.

“We are excited to provide this immersive learning experience for our students,” said Linda McCauley, dean of the SON. “This realistic environment featuring state-of-the-art classrooms and simulation lab space will uniquely prepare our students to care for patients in a wide variety of clinical and home health settings. When you step into the building, you know that you have arrived at a place dedicated to preparing nurse leaders.”

Features of the ENLC include in-person and remote learning capabilities, an Innovation Hub designed as a space to nurture new ideas to meet rising health care challenges, the CenterWell Home Health Lab replicating a small apartment, and one of the most extensive simulation and skills labs in the state of Georgia. The simulation labs include mock telehealth, clinical, and hospital settings with high-tech equipment. Read more.

Bussey-Jones and Manning receive AAMC Group on Diversity and Inclusion Exemplary Leadership Award

Emory University School of Medicine (SOM) General Internal Medicine faculty Jada Bussey-Jones and Kimberly Manning have been selected as the 2022 recipients of the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) Group on Diversity and Inclusion (GDI) Exemplary Leadership Award. This award recognizes innovative leadership and impact from an individual or team responsible for developing and implementing an outstanding and highly effective program that demonstrates evidenced-based best practices for enhancing diversity and inclusion in academic medicine and biomedical sciences.

Serving as inaugural vice chair and associate vice chair of diversity, equity, and inclusion in the department of medicine since March 2019, Bussey-Jones and Manning have created, branded, and implemented several programs in their department across three key strategic areas—innovative recruitment initiatives, retention initiatives, and anti-racist structural changes. These initiatives include, but are not limited to, the Minority Fellowship Applicant Experience (#MFAX), RYSE virtual visiting mini-clerkship, six-month URiM faculty professional development program, and anti-racist IRB intervention.

In Brief
Jon Lewin and Jim Curran honored at Bill Foege Global Health Awards
Jonathan S. Lewin and James Curran were recognized for outstanding commitment to advancing the field of global health at the sixth annual Bill Foege Global Health Awards presented by Map International. During his tenure as EVP for Health Affairs, executive director of WHSC, and CEO and chairman of Emory Healthcare, Lewin led record-breaking growth in clinical volumes, research funding and patient quality outcomes. Curran led the nation's efforts in the battle against HIV/AIDS at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention before joining the Rollins School of Public Health (RSPH) as dean in 1995. Read more.
Peterson named Interim CEO of Emory Healthcare

Dane C. Peterson, president and COO of Emory Healthcare, became interim CEO on Sept. 1. In this role, he will be responsible for the overall performance of the Emory Healthcare enterprise and continue to hold the roles of president and COO. The appointment follows the announcement from Jonathan S. Lewin that he would step down from his roles as CEO and chairman of Emory Healthcare, executive vice president for health affairs of Emory University and executive director of the WHSC. Lewin will be joining the Emory University faculty in the Department of Radiology and Imaging Sciences. Read more.

Launching the largest HIV self-testing program

Following a successful pilot program in 2020-2021, RSPH researchers are preparing to launch the largest nationwide mailed HIV self-testing program in US history. Together TakeMeHome (TTMH) will deliver 1 million tests across the country, funded with $8.3 million for the first of a five-year CDC award. By early 2023, TTMH will begin distributing a free HIV self-test to people who enroll through its website. Orders will be processed through Amazon and mailed in discreet packages to all 50 states and Puerto Rico. Emory researchers will evaluate the program by assessing who used the tests, how many new diagnoses were made, and how many began HIV treatment or pre-exposure prophylaxis. Read more.

First in state to offer noninvasive focused ultrasound treatment for tremor

Emory Healthcare is the first health care system in Georgia offering a noninvasive ultrasound treatment for patients living with essential tremor or tremor from Parkinson’s disease. The innovative treatment, approved by the FDA, uses Insightec’s high intensity focused ultrasound technology guided by magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) for patients living with essential tremor or Parkinson’s-related tremor that is not adequately responding to medication. The procedure is performed in a single session in an outpatient imaging center and typically takes two to three hours. Read more.

Georgia’s best employers
Emory University and Emory Healthcare are among Georgia’s best employers, according to Forbes’ fourth-annual list of “America’s Best Employers By State.” The magazine named the university as No. 4 and Emory Healthcare as No. 18 among 100 companies ranked in Georgia. Forbes, in partnership with Statista, surveyed 70,000 Americans working for businesses with at least 500 employees. Surveys were conducted anonymously, allowing participants to freely share their opinions. Read more.
SON ranks No. 2 for undergraduate programs

The SON’s Bachelor of Science program is now ranked No. 2 in the nation, according to rankings by U.S. News & World Report. This is only the second year undergraduate nursing programs have been ranked, with the SON rising in this year’s rankings from the No. 4 to the No. 2 spot. The school now has three top-10 programs, with its master’s degree program ranking second and its Doctor of Nursing Practice program coming in at No. 6. Read more.

Study on effectiveness of rapid tests for future SARS-CoV-2 variants

The availability of rapid antigen tests has significantly advanced efforts to contain the spread of COVID-19, but every new variant of concern raises questions about whether diagnostic tests will still be effective. A new study published in Cell attempts to address these questions by evaluating how rapid tests will perform when challenged with future SARS-CoV-2 variants. The research team, led by Emory and funded by the National Institute of Health’s (NIH) Rapid Acceleration of Diagnostics (RADx) Tech program, developed a novel method for evaluating how mutations to SARS-CoV-2 can affect recognition by antibodies used in rapid antigen tests. Read more.

Understanding oral health in HPV-related oropharyngeal cancer in people with HIV

Little is known about why people living with HIV have a much higher rate of oral human papilloma virus (HPV) infection and oropharyngeal cancer (OPC) than the general population. Emory researchers Lisa Flowers (pictured above left), director of colposcopy and anoscopy services at Grady Cancer Center, and Canhua Xiao (pictured above right), Winship researcher and associate professor in the SON, are leading a study that will examine the role of the oral microbiome and periodontal diseases in oral HPV infection among people with HIV. Read more.

Racial differences in effectiveness of temporal thermometers

Emory researchers have found that the use of temporal artery (forehead) thermometers, which measure temperature through the skin using infrared technology, do not detect fevers as accurately as oral thermometers in hospitalized patients who are Black. Missed fevers could lead to delays in diagnosis, delays in antibiotics, and possibly even an increased death rate in Black patients, according to the researchers. Read more.

Jagsi named chair of Emory Radiation Oncology

Internationally recognized breast cancer and bioethics researcher and radiation oncologist Reshma Jagsi will join SOM and Winship Cancer Institute as chair of the Department of Radiation Oncology, effective Nov. 7, 2022. Jagsi is currently the Newman Family Professor, deputy chair and residency program director in the Department of Radiation Oncology and director of the Center for Bioethics and Social Sciences in Medicine at the University of Michigan. Read more.

Winship 5-K

You still have time to register for the Winship 5K, which is scheduled for Saturday, Oct. 1. Whether you run, walk or stroll, compete in person or log your miles virtually, one thing is certain—if you participate in this year’s race, you will be helping to support research advances against cancer. Register and learn more.

It pays to have friends

Emory's new Employee Referral Program, "It Pays to Have Friends," offers a $500 bonus to current employees who refer their friends or family members for jobs at the University. The bonus is paid for each successful referral (no maximums). The program is open to staff members and postdocs who currently hold a regular full-time or part-time position and are in good standing. Get more information here.

Preparing for Election Season

With Election Day approaching, many members of the Emory community are engaged politically. Whether you are sharing research and expertise with lawmakers and voters, volunteering at Emory's election site, or spending your personal time on the campaign trail, it is important to understand how Emory, as a tax-exempt nonprofit, interacts with elected officials. Learn more on Emory, advocacy, and lobbying.

The Virtual Underclass community event

Stephen W. Thrasher will discuss his new book, The Viral Underclass: The Human Toll when Inequality and Disease Collide, on Tuesday, Oct. 4 from 3 p.m.–4 p.m. This community event is part of Emory’s Center for Faculty Development and Excellence’s university course entitled “Pandemic Reflections” led by Jodie Guest, RSPH vice chair of epidemiology. The course focuses on HIV/AIDS and COVID-19 as two ongoing pandemics that have taught us about science and disease while bringing into sharper focus issues surrounding stigma, religion, communication, inequity, and politics. Register for the Zoom webinar here.

Dorothy A. Lerit associate professor in the SOM Department of Cell Biology, has received the Günter Blobel Early Career Award from the American Society for Cell Biology. The award is given to an outstanding early career life scientist who has served as an independent investigator for no more than seven years at the time of nomination. Read more.

William Shafer, co-director of the Emory Antibiotic Resistance Center, is a 2022 recipient of the SOM Dean's Eminent Investigators Award, which celebrates high-impact basic scientists who achieved the rank of full professor with tenure at least five years ago and continue to contribute at exemplary levels.

Yazmin Tenorio, a physician assistant student, received a NCCPA scholarhip. The annual endowed scholarship supports PA students who are underrepresented minorities, economically disadvantaged, and/or educationally disadvantaged. Read more.

Margaret Williamson, an infectious disease physician at Emory Saint Joseph’s Hospital, is the 2020 recipient of the E. Napier "Buck" Burson, Jr., MD, Physician Award of Distinction. The award is the highest honor for physician service at the hospital.

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