Emory Report
June 11, 2007
Volume 59, Number 32

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June 11, 2007
Johns showcases progress of Woodruff Health Sciences Center’s Vision 2012 plan

by robin tricoles

Early last June Michael M.E. Johns, CEO of the Woodruff Health Sciences Center and executive vice president for health affairs, announced the launch of a bold, comprehensive multi-year plan, Vision 2012: Transforming Health and Healing. The plan’s aim: to establish Emory’s eminence in patient-centered, research-driven, collaborative healthcare.

On May 30, before a standing-room only crowd at the WHSC Administration Building Auditorium, Johns spoke of goals already met and plans already under way in meeting the aims of Vision 2012.

“I told you that I’d be back in a year to report on our progress,” said Johns. “I’m back. And I’m happy to report that indeed we’ve made a lot of progress.”

One of the most important areas of advancement, said Johns, involves the creation of several clinical and translational leadership centers (see sidebar on page 7). “Each of these centers has begun recruiting additional world-class scientists, clinicians and administrators, all of whom understand and embrace the goal of leading the integration and transformation of care,” said Johns.

Johns also announced the upcoming opening of the Center for Health Discovery and Well-Being at Crawford-Long Hospital at Midtown. A conceptually and architecturally innovative medical care facility, this center is the cornerstone of Emory’s Predictive Health Initiative, and is aimed at helping people maintain health rather than treating diseases. The Center’s opening, said Johns, will mark the beginning of an exciting transformation by Emory in Midtown Atlanta, where innovative architecture, cutting edge research and green space will mingle with the liveliness of cosmopolitan residence, shops and entertainment.

Also making remarkable gains since last year, said Johns: Emory’s university-wide Global Health Institute, directed by Jeffrey Koplan, which received substantial backing from the University and has embarked on a number of new initiatives, including a vaccine institute in collaboration with researchers in India; a drug discovery training program in South Africa; a public health collaboration in Mexico; and an HIV/AIDS education program in several African nations. An initial focus of the new institute is the International Association of National Public Health Institutes, supported by a $20 million grant from the Gates Foundation.

Research and discovery are a vital part of Vision 2012, and Johns highlighted Emory’s vigorous efforts in recruiting eminent hires in fields such as genomics, bioinformatics and nanotechnology. “We plan to achieve a critical mass of stellar hires in a variety of departments in medicine, nursing and public health,” he said.

Total research support in the WHSC has grown from $133 million to more than $330 million over the last ten years, said Johns. “In the school of medicine alone, we have grown our NIH research during that period from
$55 million to more than $190 million,” he said.

To meet the University’s growing need for research infrastructure, 600,000 square feet of new space distributed over three locations will be added to the 700,000 square feet already added over the last decade, said Johns. “I can’t emphasize enough how important it is to continue to grow our research enterprise as we’ve done for the last ten years or so.”

Likewise, he said, it’s vital that Emory’s clinical infrastructure grows as well. “One of the biggest developments since last year at this time is the commitment by the Woodruff Foundation of $240 million to the construction of an Emory Clinic,” said Johns. “This is an extraordinary gift. It’s an enormous contribution toward realizing the future we are determined to create.”

To view the talk in its entirety, go the WHSC home page at www.whsc.emory.edu.

Centers for Excellence

One of the most important areas of advancement in the Woodruff Health Sciences Center’s Vision 2012 is the creation of clinical and translational centers of excellence. The centers are part of a strategy to provide national leadership in specific clinical areas within five years. The centers’ success is based on their ability to ramp up collaboration among researchers and clinicians to speed innovations to prevent and treat disease. In addition to new discoveries, these centers are expected to set new standards for patient safety and quality. Above all, the centers will be patient focused.

The five centers established thus far, with others to
follow, include:

• Center for Neuroscience
• Emory Transplant Center
• Emory Heart and Vascular Center
• Emory Center for Respiratory Health
• Winship Cancer Institute