Emory Report
July 7, 2008
Volume 60, Number 34



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July 7, 2008
Campaign to make more lifesaving ‘firsts’ possible

Fred Sanfilippo is executive vice president for health affairs, CEO of the Woodruff Health Sciences Center and chairman of Emory Healthcare.

Three years ago, Marc Baskett lay dying at Grady Memorial Hospital. A catastrophic car accident had left him in a coma, and his parents prepared for the worst. But that was before their Emory doctors told them about ProTECT — a clinical trial that treats traumatic brain injury (TBI) with natural progesterone.

Emory is the only place in the world where this extraordinary work — the first successful new treatment for TBI developed in decades — is being done. Thanks to basic and clinical research at Emory’s Woodruff Health Sciences Center, Marc was home with his family just seven weeks after the accident — happy, healthy and grateful to be alive.

Stories like Marc’s are what make our donors passionate about supporting WHSC — and why we’re confident about our ambitious new fundraising campaign being launched this fall. Our donors get a great return on their investment by supporting groundbreaking advances with unlimited potential to save and improve lives not only here in Atlanta, but also throughout the nation and the world.

You might wonder what makes donors choose WHSC over other health institutions they could support. What differentiates us from other academic medical centers, health systems, universities and research institutes?

Very simply, it’s the synergy among our research, education and clinical missions; among our departments and disciplines; and among people of varying professions and skills that makes us a model academic health sciences and services center. Our interdisciplinary programs assure that discoveries in the lab are translated into practical health applications and delivered to people in need by some of the best and brightest health professionals in the country.

In sum, we work together across the breadth of health sciences and services in ways that other institutions can’t or won’t — resulting time and again in innovative “firsts” like the study that saved Marc Baskett’s life.

Many examples illustrate the breakthroughs that result from our team approach. Emory was the first place in the country to offer 3-D breast mammography — a new technology that reduces missed lesions by 40 percent. We’re also the lead of three centers nationwide using stem cells from a patient’s own bone marrow to regenerate heart muscle and improve its function after a heart attack. Deep brain stimulation — pioneered here at Emory — is giving people with severe clinical depression a new lease on life. And our Yerkes National Primate Research Center was the first in the world to develop a transgenic nonhuman primate model for neurodegenerative diseases — allowing us to more effectively study the devastating effects of Huntington’s Disease.

Remarkable advances like these, resulting from interdisciplinary alignment and collaboration across departments, schools, centers, our health system, and the University, are what make WHSC unique as a true academic health center. When our campaign launches in September, we want all of our supporters to know about these and other innovations so that they can join us as we continue “transforming health and healing … together.”