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April 1, 2002

Former CDC director Jeffrey Koplan joins WHSC

By Sylvia Wrobel


Jeffrey Koplan, outgoing director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), will become Emory’s new vice president for academic health affairs at the Woodruff Health Sciences Center (WHSC), effective April 22.

The announcement was made last week by Michael Johns, executive vice president for health affairs and WHSC director.

As the chief academic and research officer on Johns’ senior leadership team, Koplan will work with Johns to plan, direct and advance the WHSC’s research and academic strategies across the schools of medicine, nursing and public health, the Yerkes Primate Research Center, and Emory Healthcare’s network of clinics, hospitals and community health centers.

“Dr. Koplan’s decision to join our leadership team is a perfect match at the perfect time,” Johns said. “Jeff is an extraordinary leader, both statesman and scientist, who leads the premier health agency in the world with distinction, and who thinks and acts with a global perspective. He personifies the interdisciplinary spirit that we seek at Emory, and he has become the nation’s leading spokesperson for the integration of public health into medicine and nursing and for broadening the way health professionals approach health care.”

“As with my tenure at the CDC, I particularly enjoy being at an institution that strives for excellence and making an international contribution to health,” Koplan said. “As vice president for academic health affairs, I look forward to enhancing the symbiosis between the schools and research programs of the WHSC and to strengthening its partnerships with the CDC, American Cancer Society, Georgia Research Alliance, the Georgia Institute of Technology and other key research organizations and institutions.”

As CDC director from 1998 until the end of last month, Koplan led the agency responsible for promoting health and quality of life by preventing and controlling disease, injury and disability. CDC’s 11 centers, institutes and program offices work closely with local, state and federal health agencies and private sector partners to protect the public’s health and promote healthy lifestyles.

Koplan’s new position is not his first foray into the private sector. He joined the Prudential Center for Health Care Research in 1994 as executive vice president and director, and served as president from 1995–98. Koplan served as a clinical professor in Emory’s School of Medicine for 12 years and has had an appointment in the Rollins School of Public Health since its founding in 1990. He also holds academic appointments at Morehouse Medical School and both the schools of medicine and public health at Harvard, and he has been a visiting lecturer at many other universities and health sciences schools.

At Emory, Koplan is the successor to David Blake, who in 1997, soon after Johns arrived to head the WHSC, took what was then a new position as vice president for academic health affairs. Blake resigned in January to focus on his consulting practice.

Koplan’s wife, Carol, is an adjunct assistant professor in the School of Public Health, and their daughter, Kate, is a third-year medical student at Emory. The Koplans’ son, Adam, is a graduate student in theater directing in Seattle.