Emory Report
October 22, 2007
Volume 60, Number 8

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October 22, 2007
Emory faculty and staff impact medical writers conference

By robin tricoles

Emory faculty and staff had a significant impact on this year’s American Medical Writers Association international conference, held in Atlanta. Their talks ranged from heart health to health policy at the conference that attracted more than 1,000 AMWA members.

Bill Eley, executive associate dean for medical education, shared the keynote address with Eve Higginbotham, dean of Morehouse School of Medicine. Eley and Higginbotham discussed the current state of medical education and its ongoing evolution, including the need to focus more on preventing disease.

Jeffrey Koplan, vice president for academic health affairs, Woodruff Health Sciences Center, received the Walter C. Alvarez award, given annually to a person known for excellence in communicating health care developments and concepts to the public. Koplan addressed the conference on the importance of working with people in other parts of the world to solve common health problems such as avian flu and obesity.

Venkat Narayan, Hubert Professor of Global Health and Epidemiology, talked about the causes, trends and future of twin epidemics: obesity and diabetes, both on the rise.

New drug development — from bench to breakthrough — was the focus of a session headed by chemistry professor, inventor and entrepreneur Dennis Liotta. Liotta explained the process of discovering and bringing a new drug to market, a feat that can cost more than $800 million and take more than a decade to accomplish.

Other Emory speakers included Marie Csete, who discussed how ethical, political and religious factors are influencing the field of stem cell research; Kenneth Brigham talked about predictive health; Walter Orenstein discussed vaccine policy; and Kate Heilpern discussed the challenges faced by emergency health care. Web development specialist Wendy Darling examined various forms of information technology that can help medical writers inform their listeners and readers.