World-class tertiary and quaternary care has been the hallmark of Emory’s academic medicine and continues to thrive. We learned recently that the University HealthSystem Consortium (UHC) quality rankings place our two largest hospitals numbers 10 and 11 out of more than 100 teaching hospitals in the country. Further, Emory University Hospital received the 2011 UHC Quality Leadership Award in September 2011, one of only 10 hospitals to do so. Our congratulations go to Emory Healthcare President John Fox and the entire Emory Healthcare family.
Along Clifton Road, we opened the new Claudia Nance Rollins Building in the Rollins School of Public Health in 2011. A new health sciences research building is coming out of the ground, and we have resumed building new clinical and hospital facilities to modernize and transform the experience of our patients as well as our physicians, nurses, and other staff in Emory University Hospital and The Emory Clinic. We had to put this large, multifaceted, and decade-long project on hold two years ago because of the recession, but we can no longer delay. The trustees approved resumption of planning in spring 2011, and we are in the first phase.
Orlando college student Linda Lu shares her experience of becoming the first person in the Southeast, and the 14th in the US, to receive a complete hand transplant. Lu, whose left arm was amputated at the age of one due to Kawasaki Disease, underwent the successful 19-hour, two-team operation, led by hand transplant pioneer Linda Cendales, on March 12, 2011, at Emory University Hospital.
Also last spring, the trustees approved creating a joint operating company between Emory Healthcare and Saint Joseph’s Hospital, aimed at strengthening and better coordinating clinical care for patients in our part of Georgia. The shared values of our two health care systems, as well as the opportunity for more rational delivery of services, make this partnership a good fit. More important, we will look for ways that this partnership can enhance the academic component of our health sciences, strengthening Emory’s leadership in such areas as neurology, orthopaedics, cardiology, transplantation, and oncology.
Not all great universities bother with hospitals, clinics, and schools of nursing, medicine, or public health—think of Princeton, MIT, and Berkeley. Those that do often are places of two cultures—the health sciences and then the rest of the institution. Historically at Emory, we have been tempted to think of ourselves this way—as two entities divided by Clifton Road, with health care on one side and the university on the other. Yet the mission of health care and our missions in professional studies and the liberal arts are closely intertwined, and both halves of our university significantly support and lift one another to higher levels of excellence.
At Emory, students change their professors' lives as well as the reverse. Charlie Saltalamacchia chose a double major in religion and chemistry on his path to becoming a doctor. Today he can see that what he learned at Emory prepared him well for his career. He credits Emory's strong liberal arts education—along with the insight and guidance of his religion professor, Bobbi Patterson—for giving him knowledge and perspective for his career and beyond.
Since stepping into his new role a year ago as executive vice president for health affairs, Wright Caughman has fostered both a keen understanding and a ready commitment to leading the health sciences enterprise in collaboration with the arts and sciences and the professional schools. Similarly, he is working with Provost Earl Lewis and Executive Vice President for Finance and Administration Mike Mandl to ensure that at Emory Healthcare we are asking and answering the right questions for this period of our institutional and national history, when both the health care industry and health education undergo significant transformation.
How can we advance the objectives of our academic health sciences center to make it not merely a great place for Atlantans and Georgians to find healing but also an international leader academically? How can we manage our health care assets to ensure excellence in medical education and research? How can we explore and experiment with new models for delivering patient care and health education? What innovations can we nurture in preventive medicine, healthy lifestyles, and the education of new kinds of health care providers, from medical geneticists to health coaches? How do we reduce cost while increasing quality?
The future of health care in America and how it will be paid for remain uncertain. Local market pressures and national policy changes apply fiscal and regulatory forces whose results are unpredictable. To the extent that it is possible to predict anything about the state of academic health care, this facet of our institution also is in good health.