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Lewin to step down from leadership of Emory University’s Woodruff Health Sciences Center and Emory Healthcare

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Janet Christenbury

Since 2016, Jonathan S. Lewin has led record-breaking growth in clinical volumes, research funding and patient quality outcomes. He will become a member of the Emory faculty after a new executive vice president for health affairs joins the university.

Jonathan S. Lewin, MD, executive vice president for health affairs of Emory University, executive director of the Woodruff Health Sciences Center, and CEO and chairman of Emory Healthcare (EHC), announced today that after almost six years of record-breaking growth in clinical volumes, research funding and patient quality outcomes, he will step down from his leadership positions and will join the Emory University faculty after a new executive vice president for health affairs is selected and joins the Emory team.

“I cannot overstate what an incredible privilege it has been to lead both the Woodruff Health Sciences Center and Emory Healthcare. I remain incredibly impressed by all parts of Emory health sciences and the health care system, and plan to stay on at Emory as a member of the faculty—returning to my roots in innovation, education and technology development,” says Lewin.The leadership team has never been stronger, and the organization is better than ever. I am excited to watch what I am confident will be the continued success and growth of this great institution and to contribute in new ways to improve lives and provide hope.”

Lewin joined Emory in 2016 and has served in simultaneous leadership capacities as executive vice president for health affairs of Emory University, executive director of Emory’s Woodruff Health Sciences Center and CEO and chairman of Emory Healthcare. He held prior leadership positions at Johns Hopkins Medicine and Case Western Reserve University. His research accomplishments are in the development and application of new technologies for minimally-invasive interventional procedures and new magnetic resonance imaging techniques.

During his tenure at Emory, employment in the Woodruff Health Sciences Center has grown to approximately 34,000, a 35% increase. Health sciences research has experienced 57% growth in funding to a total $847 million in 2021.

The institution ranks among the most elite academic health centers in the nation, with the Emory School of Medicine ranking 14th nationwide in NIH funding, the Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing ranking fifth in NIH funding, and the Rollins School of Public Health ranking fourth in NIH funding. At the department level, the Department of Surgery ranks 10th in terms of NIH funding, Pathology and Laboratory Medicine ranks sixth, Biomedical Engineering third, and the Department of Pediatrics ranks number one in the country.

Many of the university’s top-ranked health sciences academic programs have been enhanced by new and expanded facilities including the Health Sciences Research Building II, the Nursing Decatur Educational and Simulation Facility, and the R. Randall Rollins Building in the School of Public Health. Philanthropic support to the health sciences at Emory has more than doubled from an average of $151 million to $309 million on an annual basis during Lewin’s tenure.

He has led unparalleled growth in Emory Healthcare, which has seen its annual total operating revenue reach $5.5 billion—a growth of more than 80% in the past six years. For the 10th year in a row, Emory University Hospital was named the number one hospital in Georgia and metro Atlanta; Emory Saint Joseph’s Hospital ranked number two for the sixth consecutive year; and Emory University Hospital Midtown ranked number five for a third year. Emory Healthcare was also named one of the 10 most trusted brands in health care in the U.S., and the only health system in Georgia, based on the most recent survey conducted by Monigle, the American Hospital Association (AHA) and the Society for Health Care Strategy & Market Development (SHSMD) of the AHA.

The health system has received numerous awards for quality, along with an increase in the number of its hospitals earning Magnet status for nursing excellence. With a strong focus on constructive culture, Lewin instituted Emory Healthcare’s new Office of Well-Being to focus on provider health and wellness and appointed the health system’s first ever chief diversity, equity and inclusion officer.

Lewin oversaw the purchase and development of Emory’s Executive Park campus, the opening of the Emory University Hospital tower, the Hawks practice/sports medicine facility, the Musculoskeletal Institute, numerous outpatient sites, and the in-progress Winship at Emory Midtown tower. He also led efforts to make Emory Healthcare the official health care provider of the Atlanta Braves, Falcons and Hawks.

Lewin has brokered unique partnerships and collaborations in order to increase patient access and improve outcomes, including the Emory + Children’s Pediatric Institute, an innovative collaboration with Kaiser Permanente, and renewal of the Emory/Grady/Morehouse partnership. He has also led transformative change in how local health systems, businesses and governments collaborate and interact.

He is widely recognized as a consensus builder within Atlanta and the region, a skill which has been particularly beneficial during the COVID-19 crisis. Lewin has coordinated with the CEOs of other large health systems to maximize the ability of all systems in the area to provide the best care for the Atlanta community. A champion of the underserved and rural health, Lewin has spearheaded efforts to reach all Georgia communities with world-class COVID-19 information and care. Under his leadership, Emory Healthcare has achieved COVID-19 survival rates among the highest of all national academic health centers.

Lewin has been named a most admired CEO by the Atlanta Business Chronicle and one of Modern Healthcare’s 50 most influential physicians. He is a recipient of the National Medical Fellowships Pioneer Award and the American Jewish Committee National Human Relations Award, among other honors.  

“Since 2016, Dr. Lewin has provided steadfast leadership to Emory, and I am grateful for all he has done to serve patients here in Atlanta and in communities across Georgia as head of the most comprehensive academic health care system in the state,” says Emory President Gregory L. Fenves. “He strengthened Emory Healthcare, significantly growing the organization, expanding the health care network, establishing vital partnerships, recruiting key leaders throughout the enterprise, focusing on diversity, equity and inclusion, and last year pivoting EHC to serve our community in response to the COVID-19 crisis with some of the best patient outcomes in the country.

“For our academic mission, Dr. Lewin helped bring in record research funding from the NIH, CDC and other agencies and research sponsors,” Fenves continues. “Dr. Lewin elevated the impact of our schools and hospitals, and he brought great energy and heart to his work every day. I am glad that he will continue to share his expertise and knowledge with our students and researchers as a member of the Emory faculty.” 

Lewin will continue to serve in his current positions until a new executive vice president for health affairs of Emory University is selected and begins their role. Further details will be provided as the university plans to conduct a national search.

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