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Denise Jamieson, MD, MPH, named James Robert McCord Chair in Gynecology and Obstetrics

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Colleagues, faculty, residents and friends gathered on April 12 to celebrate the appointment of Denise Jamieson, MD, MPH, as the James Robert McCord Chair in Gynecology and Obstetrics. Emory University School of Medicine Dean Vikas P. Sukhatme, MD, ScD, also chief academic officer of Emory Healthcare, offered his sincerest congratulations to Jamieson, referencing her commitment and leadership within the Emory School of Medicine faculty community.

Only the third person to be honored with this appointment, Jamieson has spent 20 years working with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and was searching for the next iteration of her career commitment to women’s reproductive health.

“I looked all over the country,” Jamieson explained. “The more I interviewed elsewhere, the more I began to realize how deeply I cared about Emory and our Department [of Gynecology and Obstetrics].” Jamieson’s commitment to shaping the future of medicine, and her dedication to Emory as the division director for gynecologic specialties and vice chair of population health, is the foundation of her many years of service.

The history of the James McCord Chair begins with one woman’s commitment to the furtherance of reproductive research, a sentiment that is mirrored by the career trajectory of Jamieson. Heiress to the Mellon Fortune, Mrs. Cordelia Scaife May donated 9,925 shares of Gulf stock in 1966. Her enthusiastic support of women’s rights and health and her commitment to Emory were the impetus for the creation of the James McCord Chair.  

Ira R. Horowitz, MD, the John D. Thompson, MD, professor of Gynecology and Obstetrics, executive associate dean of faculty affairs and professional development for Emory School of Medicine, and interim director of the Emory Clinic, identified Jamieson as a natural extension of the original intent of the endowment, which emphasized research and service responsibilities directly related to advancements in the field of fertility control. This appointment was based on Jamieson’s impressive commitment to these missions and to the GYN-OB department’s research, teaching and clinical missions.

The GYN-OB department currently has more than 13 CDC scientists who occupy adjunct appointments within the department. These physicians, under Jamieson’s leadership, represent 30 to 60 percent of the department’s resident research projects. Jamieson is a vital part of both Grady Memorial Hospital and departmental leadership.

“I could not think of a better recruit to join our department and to assist in establishing a health services research program,” Horowitz says.

“Denise has started to shift the landscape for population health in our department, leveraging existing models at Grady to harness data so that we can begin to look at emerging disease trends and identify priorities for improving health in our patient population,” said Penny Castellano, MD, FACOG, GYN-OB professor and interim chair, associate clinic director and chief medical officer, Emory Healthcare Physician Group Practice,

Castellano recalled that even as she on-boarded Jamieson into the role of full-time faculty, Jamieson’s enthusiasm for residents and her energetic commitment to educational content remained unwavering. As Castellano reminded the celebration’s attendees, whether it be her progressive research on Ebola or Zika or snow closures, Jamieson is a dedicated and cheerful constant. Her ability to foster intellectual curiosity among medical students and her compassion for patients remains steadfast and at the core of her work.

In an interesting commentary on the well-deserved path to being named the James McCord Chair, Jamieson noted that McCord’s portrait hangs just outside her office at Grady Hospital. This image joins the company of other paintings such as that of Dr. Luella Klein, the first female chair of a clinical department at Emory and the first female president of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. In hallways lined with pioneers in medicine and research, Jamieson continues to both uphold and perpetuate this long tradition of academic and clinical excellence.

Standing in front of her friends, colleagues and fellow researchers, Jamieson humbly offered to continue to build upon the great work being done at Emory.

“With this chair position,” she said, “I pledge to embrace and promote scientific inquiry and scholarship; strive for academic and clinical excellence; motivate and inspire medical students to pursue their passions; and teach, mentor, and support the next generation of obstetrician-gynecologists.”

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