Emory Report
March 3, 2008
Volume 60, Number 22


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March 3, 2008
Q&A: Fred Sanfilippo
Accelerating the momentum

By Michelle boone

Since becoming executive vice president for health affairs, CEO of the Woodruff Health Sciences Center, and chairman of Emory Healthcare this fall, Fred Sanfilippo has been a man on a mission to transform health and healing.

Emory Report:
What attracted you to Emory?

Sanfilippo: First, the people – great institutions have great people. President Jim Wagner and the strategic planning he’s led here are inspiring. I’ve also known some of Emory’s other outstanding leaders, like Mike Johns, for years.

Second are Emory’s partners. Putting together complex alignments and synergies is hard to do. It’s what makes institutions innovative, and Emory does it exceptionally well.
Third is momentum. The trajectory Emory Health Sciences has been on for the past 10 years is extraordinary. People are working toward a vision with huge potential to contribute to society by transforming health and healing.

ER: What have you learned about Emory in your first 100 days?

Sanfilippo: A lot – and I’m still learning. It’s as varied as every member of the faculty and staff. And it’s as focused as Emory’s vision to be a destination university characterized by courageous inquiry, as well as the Woodruff Health Sciences Center’s vision of transforming health and healing.

One thing I’ve learned is how well we collaborate. Emory has a very collegial culture, and the opportunity to partner well is terrific – especially across areas that might otherwise be competitive. For example, initiatives between Emory and Georgia Tech – in biomedical engineering and predictive health – are pretty unusual and very powerful. Our relationships with Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, Grady, Morehouse, the CDC, the VA, and many others are also remarkable.

ER: What opportunities do you see in Emory’s future?

Sanfilippo: Assets, problems, environments and resources are always changing and generating new opportunities. We’ll succeed by creating the most value for society and the people we serve – our students, patients, community and volunteers.

ER: What have you accomplished in your first 100 days?

Sanfilippo: I’ve tried to meet a lot of people and learn as much as possible about our programs and partners.
I’ve also started a few strategic initiatives – in research, by appointing David Stephens and his Research Advisory Council to evaluate opportunities; in education, by appointing an Education Task Force led by Jeff Koplan; in patient care by appointing a Clinical Integration Committee under Wright Caughman that is aligning School of Medicine departments with Emory Healthcare services to improve the quality of patient care; and finally, a Health Sciences Program and Facilities Planning group sponsored by John Fox, Stephens and Caughman to review programs and space plans for the short and long term.

We have remarkable momentum, and I’m trying to make sure we’re accelerating it.