June 9, 2003

Henry, Robinson named ABC ‘Heroes’

By Holly Korschun

Administrators and faculty from throughout the Woodruff Health Sciences Center (WHSC) were recognized in five categories of achievement by the Atlanta Business Chronicle in its 2003 Health Care Heroes Awards.

Emory Hospitals CEO John Henry was the winner of the Lifetime Achievement Award, presented on May 15 at a dinner at the Atlanta History Center, and vaccine researcher Harriet Robinson was named “Hero” in the Health Care Innovations category.

Henry was recognized for his 40 years as administrator and then CEO of Emory Hospitals, for his leadership in overseeing the merger of Crawford Long and Emory hospitals, and for leading Crawford Long’s recent redevelopment. He cited the teamwork within both his administrative staff and his own family—more than 40 members of these two groups were on hand to watch Henry receive the award—as being critical factors in his successful career.

Robinson, who is chief of microbiology and immunology at Yerkes National Primate Research Center and a faculty member of the Vaccine Research Center, was recognized (along with colleagues at Emory and the National Institutes of Health) for development of an AIDS vaccine candidate, and for the successful testing of the vaccine in rhesus macaque monkeys at Yerkes.

The vaccine, which entered a Phase I clinical trial this year under development by the biotech company GeoVax, is considered to be a leading candidate for containing HIV infections and preventing progression to AIDS. Robinson and her team also are developing a version of the vaccine they plan to use in clinical trials in India, targeting the particular form of HIV prevalent in that country.

Other WHSC faculty members were honored as finalists in four categories at the awards competition.

Neurologist Jerrold Vitek was a finalist in the physician category, with recognition for his role in developing groundbreaking therapies for neurological disorders such as Parkinson’s disease and dystonia, and for his caring relationship with his patients.

Transplant surgeons and immunologists Chris Larsen and Tom Pearson were finalists in the Health Care Innovations category, with recognition for successfully conducting the first islet transplant in Georgia to treat Type I diabetes, and for their ongoing innovative research in working to achieve true im-mune tolerance in organ and tissue transplants.

James Eckman and Alan Platt of the Georgia Comprehensive Sickle Cell Center at Grady Health System also were finalists in the innovations category for their development of technology that allows health care providers to assess and document pain levels and thus direct treatment more effectively.

Linda Spencer, director of the Public Health Nursing Leadership Program at the Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing, was a finalist in the Allied Health category. She was recognized for her 22 years of work to improve nursing and health care in underdeveloped countries.

Psychologist Nadine Kaslow was a finalist in the Community Outreach category for her efforts to build programs at Grady Hospital to help abused women and their children.