Michael Johns, executive vice president for Health Affairs, outlined
the status and future of Emorys Woodruff Health Sciences Center
(WHSC) in a State of Health Affairs address delivered on Thursday,
Nov. 29, in WHSCAB auditorium.
Addressing an overflow audience of faculty, staff and students, Johns
characterized the last five years in health care as the perfect
storm and among the most difficult health care has ever seen. While
claiming WHSC has weathered that storm and is well positioned for leadership
in the years ahead, he pointed out that there is still much to accomplish.
Johns then unveiled a new framework of goals and priorities, as well as
a unifying theme, by which WHSC will define its activities and initiatives
in the coming years.
Johns described the proactive strategy he adopted upon his
arrival at Emory in 1996, which has resulted in the recruitment of faculty
and staff in targeted areas and investment in new, state-of-the-art facilities
for research, patient care and education.
In five years, Johns said, the total of sponsored research dollars awarded
to WHSC faculty has doubled. Each of the professional schoolsmedicine,
nursing and public healthhas revised its curriculum, and almost
1 million square feet of new space have been added or planned, including
a new Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing building, the new Whitehead
Research Building, a new comprehensive cancer center and the rebuilding
of Crawford Long Hospital.
Johns also described the creation and consolidation of all Emory Clinic
activities into Emory Healthcare and the difficulties the health system
has endured in the face of rising costs for medical drugs, devices and
supplies, and severe reductions in payments for care from insurers and
Johns praised the clinical faculty who, he said, are the health
care heroes, who have borne the brunt of this terrible storm in health
care and who are the reason that health care at Emory is still the best
available in Atlanta, in our region and, in some cases, nationally.
Johns devoted the second half of his address to a description of a new
Leadership Agenda and the need to further align the multiple
activities and goals of the health sciences center around a common theme.
He introduced a new statement of the core purpose of WHSCMaking
People Healthyand described five priority strategic
action areas: financial strength, innovation, leadership, people
and the workplace and knowledge management.
Initiatives in these five areas will include major fundraising efforts
to build endowments of the schools and hospitals and to support other
priorities; new support for faculty and staff innovation; the creation
of a new Woodruff Leadership Academy to which faculty can apply or be
nominated to receive leadership and management training; new efforts to
improve working conditions and morale, especially in the clinical system;
and the hiring of a new chief information officer who can design and implement
a unified, state-of-the-art information system.
The address ended with Johns exhorting faculty, staff and students to
take the opportunities we have to lead and to work toward
the new common purpose. To that end, everyone attending the event walked
away with a lapel button (to be distributed throughout WHSC) emblazoned
with the new motto, Making People Healthy.