Campus News

November 7, 2011

Report From: Woodruff Health Sciences Center

Woodruff's legacy lives on

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

Next month, Dec. 6, marks what would have been the 122nd birthday of Robert W. Woodruff —the namesake and greatest benefactor of the Woodruff Health Sciences Center— and his legacy still lives on in the groundbreaking work being done by our faculty and staff. Mr. Woodruff, legendary leader of The Coca-Cola Company, was truly a visionary. When he made the initial gift that created the Woodruff Health Sciences Center, he foresaw the tremendous community impact an academic health sciences center would have both in Atlanta and across the state. More than three decades later, that impact continues to grow, as seen in the 2011 Community Benefits Report.

For far too many of our fellow Georgians, 2011 was another year of financial hardship. The state's unemployment hovers around 10 percent, and as more people have lost their jobs, the ranks of the uninsured have grown. In fact, Georgia now ranks fifth in the nation in the number of uninsured. For many of these people, their challenges were compounded by health problems they and their families could not afford.

That's where the Woodruff Health Sciences Center entered the picture. Our extraordinary team stood ready to offer service, compassion and care to all who turned to us for help this year. Just as our community's needs have grown, so has our response, not only in our own Emory facilities but also in concert with our affiliate partners at Grady, Children's Healthcare of Atlanta, and the Atlanta Veterans Affairs Medical Center.

In fact, in 2011 we provided more than $68 million in charity care to people in need – an increase of $5 million over 2010. Regardless of their ability to pay, thousands of Georgia's working poor, unemployed, uninsured and underinsured, children, seniors, veterans, and others received compassionate, cutting-edge care when and where they needed it. Some of these courageous people are profiled in the 2011 Community Benefits Report.

The inspirational stories in this year's report remind those of us in Emory's Woodruff Health Sciences how grateful we are for the opportunity to serve our neighbors in their time of need; how grateful we are for the faculty, staff, and friends who make our lifesaving and life-affirming mission a reality; and how grateful we are for Mr. Robert W. Woodruff, whose vision and generosity made it all possible and whose legacy of service to others lives on.

A message from S. Wright Caughman

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