Campus News

September 10, 2010

Report From: Health Sciences

How the WHSC transforms lives

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

It wouldn't be an exaggeration to say that the Woodruff Health Sciences Center (WHSC) has transformed my life.

Since I joined the dermatology faculty in 1990, I've had the good fortune to experience WHSC from many perspectives – physician, educator, researcher and administrator – and to work alongside some of the most talented and dedicated people I've ever known.

The amount I've learned from my colleagues, students and patients over the past 20 years is humbling, and I'm still learning every day. I'm a different – and I hope better – person as a result.

It's not surprising that WHSC has transformed me because that's really the nature of what we do. I think all the people whose lives intersect with WHSC find themselves transformed in some way.

Our students find their futures transformed as a result of the comprehensive, cutting-edge health education they receive here. Our patients and their families find their lives not only changed, but also often saved, by the compassionate, high-quality medical care they receive here.

And our faculty and staff are transformed, as I have been, by working in a collegial environment with opportunities for learning and growth and the knowledge that they're making a lasting and tangible difference through the work they do.

And now WHSC itself is being transformed as we adapt to the rapidly changing external environment. The economy, health care reform, and other external developments require us to rethink the way we do business, and that's not necessarily a bad thing.

I prefer to view the changing environment as a context for positive energy – an opportunity to re-examine old ways of thinking and doing things and to embrace new ideas that will propel the health sciences to new levels of success.

After all, we'd rather lead change than have it happen to us. If we're going to continue transforming lives, we'll have to start by transforming ourselves, and I look forward to working alongside you in my new role as interim CEO of the WHSC as we explore the possibilities that lie before us.

As I begin to serve in my new role, I thank Dr. Fred Sanfilippo for his leadership and vision over the past three years. Fred is a leader who understands the need for change and never shrinks from it, and WHSC is stronger for having had him as its CEO.

I look forward to continuing our collective transformation because I know WHSC will always change for the better. Together, we have the chance to become both wiser and more impactful. It's a journey I look forward to taking with you.

Please let me know your thoughts and suggestions at

File Options

  • Print Icon Print