IT HAS BEEN A REMARKABLE YEAR FOR EMORY UNIVERSITY.
As we closed the books on 2015, we also brought to a close and celebrated the conclusion of our strategic plan,
Where Courageous Inquiry Leads.
In the decade since launching that “roadmap to the future,” as we termed it back in 2005, our courage has served us admirably and held us in good stead.
The Emory community has weathered the global recession, emerging as strong as ever. We have successfully completed the largest campaign in our history at $1.7 billion. And — most important — we have taken deeply to heart our shared vision of courageous leadership in teaching, research, scholarship, health care, and social action. Along the way, we enjoyed tremendous success in further defining and achieving strategic initiatives.
At the beginning of a new year, we also are preparing to enter a new era. I announced in September that I would be retiring as president of Emory at the end of August 2016. The time is right, both for me personally and for Emory. I have been deeply moved by the kind words of support so many in our community have bestowed upon my wife, Debbie, and me since my announcement. Emory has been a passion for us, and that passion will continue as we explore the next exciting chapter of our lives.
Meanwhile, as Emory transitions to its next president, the good and noble work of our university community continues unabated. There is much to be accomplished together in the months ahead.
In this, my last annual report on the state of Emory University, I can say with total conviction that it is the people of Emory who make this such a wonderful institution. And it is the people of Emory who are so extraordinarily prepared to unfold a stunning new chapter in the life of this great university.
The theme of this year’s annual report is
It is a fitting concept so rich with possibility and so overflowing with examples that we have been challenged to fit into the pages of this single report the few dozen highlights that are representative of the literally thousands of examples that could easily fill volumes.
Emory’s leadership and courage was abundantly prevalent and visible this year during our care for four patients who were successfully treated for Ebola virus disease at Emory University Hospital. The expertise and compassion of our physicians, nurses, technicians, and scores of administrators and staff were on full view for the world to see as they provided extraordinary care and treatment under the glare of an unrelenting media spotlight. It was a proud and defining moment for the entire Emory community, and especially so for Emory Healthcare. Our work did not end with the discharge of those patients. Emory researchers continue to work on vaccines and treatments to help quell this deadly disease.
By that and every other measure, it has been a tremendously successful year for Emory.
Our superb faculty has demonstrated a masterful responsibility for the future. Even as they engage with students in classrooms and laboratories, conduct life-changing research, and pursue scholarship that creates new knowledge, our faculty also dedicates itself to recruiting stellar colleagues who will carry the institution forward. This year, we welcomed 48 new tenure-line faculty members across our nine schools and colleges. They come from the world’s most prestigious universities, and they share at least one important aspect: They all chose Emory as the place to continue the trajectory of their brilliant careers.
One of our joys is to celebrate the numerous faculty achievements, which in turn help lift and advance Emory to national and international prominence. Indeed, our year began with a Lasker Award bestowed upon preeminent Emory neurologist Mahlon DeLong, and it ended with the announcement that Emory faculty had generated an impressive $572.4 million in external funding for research.
Emory experienced a 15 percent increase in undergraduate applications in 2015, which bodes well for the future. Our students continue to be among the most talented and exceptionally well-qualified students any institution could hope for — and Emory competes fiercely for the very best. That category certainly includes Emory’s 19th Rhodes Scholar, Leah Michalove, who joins 32 other American college students in being chosen for this honor for 2016.
Emory students find a reimagined and more dynamic and purposeful student experience. From the residence halls of our new freshman village to the classrooms where we are rolling out our Quality Enhancement Plan, “The Nature of Evidence,” Emory students on our campus experience an extraordinary opportunity for intellectual, moral, and emotional growth. Our students have an enriched means to build on and contribute in their own way to the remarkable academic and cultural traditions that have been part of Emory’s campus life for many decades.
Emory also welcomed several new senior leaders this year, adding dimension and vitality to an already strong team. We are fortunate to have some of the most exceptional senior executives and deans working in higher education today. Their dedication, energy, and wisdom help guide Emory to aim higher and achieve even greater levels of excellence every day.
Our donors and friends have stepped up, as they always do, to provide generous support for our current initiatives as well as bolster our endowment. Philanthropic support this year topped $250 million, thanks to the more than 35,000 individuals, corporations, and foundations who made commitments. Our Scholarship Endowment Initiative has now received more than $135 million in private support since it was launched in 2013. Emory’s total endowment now stands at more than $6.7 billion.
We have so much to celebrate and to be thankful for here at Emory. As we pause to take stock of the past year — and indeed the past 10 years of following our carefully devised strategic plan — I would simply point to the legacies of leadership evident in the achievements of a host of Emory people. These legacies will inspire, encourage, and guide those who will come after us long into Emory’s bright future.
Emory is magnificently prepared to lead the way to that future with confidence and aspiration.
James W. Wagner
President, Emory University
in Confronting Global Challenges
THE EBOLA DOCTORS
As the worst outbreak of Ebola virus disease in history decimated communities in West Africa and gripped the world in fear, Emory stepped forward to lead with knowledge and compassion.
Emory University Hospital successfully treated the first Ebola virus disease patients in the Western Hemisphere, led by infectious disease physicians Jay Varkey, Aneesh Mehta, Marshall Lyon, Colleen Kraft, and Bruce Ribner, medical director of our Serious Communicable Diseases Unit.
Then “Team Ebola” set out to share what we learned with the world. Determined to change the paradigm of Ebola virus disease care, our experts posted all protocols online, published studies in medical journals, and provided training for hundreds of health care professionals. It’s an honor but not a surprise that Emory was tapped to lead the new National Ebola Training and Education Center.
We can’t know when the next Ebola virus disease epidemic will occur, but thanks to Emory’s research and outreach, our world is better prepared than ever before.
EMORY IS A CITIZEN OF THE WORLD, MEETING THE CHALLENGES AND OPPORTUNITIES THAT COME WITH RAPID GLOBALIZATION WHILE PLAYING A LEAD ROLE IN GLOBAL SCHOLARSHIP AND RESEARCH.
From fighting Ebola virus disease and preventing childhood mortality to unraveling political and cultural complexities, Emory’s impact is felt around the world.
Our researchers confront many of the biggest issues affecting global health and well-being, while our students and faculty strive to bring solutions to communities large and small.
Emory currently has more than 200 active international agreements governing research and exchanges, giving us a reach spanning six continents through faculty representing all of the University’s nine schools.
It’s a global commitment to the human condition anchored in both scholarship and service.
Inside and outside the classroom, Emory prepares our students to lead in an increasingly global society, with courses of study in 19 languages. And those language studies are put to practical use — almost 40 percent of our undergraduates are engaged in study abroad programs. International students now constitute close to 17 percent of our student body, enabling all students to engage in rich cultural exchanges before they ever leave the campus gates.
But we continuously strive to achieve more. In 2015, Emory’s Office of Global Strategy and Initiatives announced a bold blueprint for the University’s global engagement during the next five years, developed with feedback from more than 400 community members.
“A modern university is inherently global in reach,” the blueprint notes. “In a world of increasing interdependence and diminishing borders, global engagement is no longer a peripheral concern but a necessity.”
At Emory, it’s a necessity we embrace with commitment and compassion, driven by the goal of building a better future for all.
Emory made international headlines in August 2014 when Emory University Hospital agreed to treat the first patients with Ebola virus disease in the United States.
That fall, Emory Healthcare experts successfully treated four people with the disease, including Kent Brantly, shown above. In so doing, Emory doctors and nurses changed the paradigm of caring for Ebola virus disease patients and demonstrated that even the sickest have hope for recovery with aggressive supportive care. We also quelled international concerns by proving that this care could be provided safely, without endangering health care workers or the general public.
But our commitment to confronting the scourge of Ebola virus disease didn’t end when the last patient was discharged. First courageously offering clinical care of Ebola virus disease patients, Emory is now recognized as an international leader in researching the disease and helping both developing nations and the United States prepare for future public health emergencies.
Emory experts have shared their protocols and knowledge gained from patient treatment through journal publications, training conferences, and an extensive public website for health care organizations regarding best practices for safe and effective screening, diagnosis, and treatment of Ebola virus disease. Emory is also collecting plasma from the small group of Ebola virus disease survivors in the United States and storing it for future research and treatment needs.
Federal health agencies also rely on our expertise to train other hospitals and research effective treatments for Ebola virus disease.
The Department of Health and Human Services tapped Emory Healthcare and Emory University School of Medicine to partner with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to provide training, educational resources, and consultation for the 48 US medical centers that have been designated Ebola virus disease treatment centers.
The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) chose Emory to lead a 10-institution team using blood from Ebola virus disease survivors to study the potential for new therapies or vaccines based on the immune system’s response to the virus. The Emory Vaccine Center was also named to a DARPA-funded research partnership led by Inovio Pharmaceuticals to develop multiple treatment and prevention approaches against Ebola virus disease.
Seven Emory physicians were awarded government-funded grants to provide onsite expert consultation, evaluation, and education about Ebola to the CDC Global Migration Task Force.
Emory leads the new National Ebola Training and Education Center, in collaboration with the University of Nebraska Medical Center and the New York City Health and Hospitals Corporation (Bellevue Hospital).
Meanwhile, Emory continues to monitor and care for our own Ebola virus disease survivors — leading to an important medical revelation. Ian Crozier was the sickest of Emory’s Ebola virus disease patients, requiring both a ventilator and kidney dialysis to survive. He left Emory after “40 days and 40 nights” in the hospital, thinking his battle with the virus was behind him.
But when Crozier began experiencing vision problems, Emory ophthalmologist Steven Yeh made a startling discovery: The inside of Crozier’s left eye was teeming with virus. Yeh and other Emory physicians not only saved Crozier’s vision but worked with him to help other Ebola virus disease survivors by publishing their findings in the
New England Journal of Medicine
and traveling with Crozier to West Africa to treat patients and train health care workers there.
We also continue to educate our own community and the general public about the effects of Ebola virus disease.
During spring semester 2015, Emory’s nine schools came together to offer the Ebola Faculty and Community Forum, an extensive, multidisciplinary event with speakers including President Jimmy Carter. Our education reach was expanded even further by offering a free, six-week online class, Ebola: An Evolving Epidemic, offered through the Coursera platform.
Overall, the University-wide response to Ebola virus disease “has allowed us to share who we are with the world,” says Provost Claire Sterk. “We are a community that, yes, has the courage and expertise to respond to this epidemic across a broad range of disciplines, but more important, we are a community that cares.”
SCHOLARSHIP IN INDIA
It’s little wonder that India was named one of five gateways for international engagement in the “Global Vision for Emory,” a framework released this year by the Office of Global Strategy and Initiatives to help guide the University’s international priorities.
“From the study of anthropology and religion in South Asia, to collaboration on vaccine development and diabetes prevention, Emory’s current engagement with India is among its strongest anywhere in the world,” says Philip Wainwright, vice provost for global strategy and initiatives.
A faculty panel discussion on scholarship in India held on campus this year included collaborations to develop an HIV vaccine, efforts to forecast the explosive growth of diabetes in India, mathematics research, and an invitation to study a recent Delhi Assembly election.
Other high-profile Emory scholarship in India includes:
Born and raised in India, Usha Ramakrishnan has witnessed great strides in maternal health: during the past 20 years, maternal mortality has fallen substantially, access to prenatal care has dramatically expanded, and severe malnutrition has ebbed. Yet women of child-bearing age are still undernourished, “and that is often ignored as we have focused on children’s outcomes,” says Ramakrishnan, a professor of global health and director of Emory’s doctoral program in nutrition and health sciences. “My goal is to help create greater demand for improving women’s nutrition. If women start demanding these services, their health and the health of their babies will improve,” she predicts.
An international research partnership between the Emory Vaccine Center in Atlanta and the International Centre for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology in New Delhi, India, has received a grant from the National Institutes of Health to study dengue virus infection in India. Though dengue virus is a global epidemic — with an estimated 390 million infections worldwide — India is emerging as an epicenter of the dengue virus.
According to Murali-Krishna Kaja, an associate professor in the School of Medicine and the Emory Vaccine Center, “Currently there are no available antivirals or vaccines for dengue; thus, there is a compelling need for a better understanding of the immunology and virology of human dengue virus infections.”
Funded in part by the NIH International Collaborations in Infectious Disease Research program, the aim is to build capacity for dengue research in India using state-of-the-art tools and technologies. A substantial part of the five-year grant of nearly $3.4 million will fund researchers in India.
Chronic conditions are now the leading cause of death in India, accounting for more than 5 million deaths each year — more than 53 percent of all deaths. To help, Emory has joined in a global partnership with the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, All India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi, and the Public Health Foundation of India to create the Centre for Control of Chronic Conditions in New Delhi.
The center will generate new research on diabetes, heart disease, cancer, mental health, and injuries, following more than 50,000 participants throughout India for many years. The vision is to generate world-class knowledge that can impact policy and practice aimed at reducing the burden of chronic conditions in India and beyond.
Professor of Global Health and Epidemiology
Rollins School of Public Health
When it comes to public health, Scott McNabb is a global watchdog. Much of his career has been devoted to public health surveillance in some of the world’s most underdeveloped, underserved settings.
In the aftermath of the Ebola virus disease epidemic, McNabb serves as principal investigator for a team of School of Public Health faculty developing the Field Epidemiology Training Program in Liberia. Funded through a $7.43 million cooperative agreement with the CDC, the global health security program seeks to improve preparedness and response to health threats in low-income countries, with a focus on West Africa, by strengthening workforce development.
Each year, 7 million children around the world die from preventable causes. Many of those deaths could have been thwarted with better vaccines, antibiotics, nutrition, or access to basic care, says Jeffrey Koplan, vice president for global health at Emory.
With the support of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Emory is playing a lead role in creating a new global health surveillance network aimed at preventing childhood mortality in developing countries, particularly sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia.
The Child Health and Mortality Prevention Surveillance network, or CHAMPS, will help gather better data — faster — about how, where, and why children are getting sick and dying. CHAMPS will partner with governments and national public health institutes to better diagnose, characterize, manage, treat, and prevent these specific causes of disease.
“This surveillance network will help the Gates Foundation and other stakeholders to quickly generate the data needed to develop targeted prevention, diagnosis, and treatment for children in developing countries,” says Koplan.
The Emory Global Health Institute will lead the new network, in collaboration with US office of the International Association of National Public Health Institutes (IANPHI), the CDC, and the Public Health Informatics Institute — a powerful partnership grounded in global health.
The Gates Foundation plans an initial commitment of up to $75 million for the initiative, envisioned to become a 20-year project that could eventually expand to 20 sites worldwide.
There is no underestimating the global burden of tuberculosis. According to the World Health Organization, up to one-third of the world’s population now carries latent tuberculosis (TB) bacteria, which annually claims hundreds of thousands of lives.
In an effort to drive innovation in TB research, Emory was selected by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases of the NIH as one of four institutions that will create a Tuberculosis Research Units (TBRU) network. The NIH will award the Emory-led TBRU approximately $18.7 million over seven years.
Together, the four units will examine how the organism that causes TB interacts with the human host and the immune system to cause disease, with the aim of improving diagnosis, prevention, vaccines, and therapies.
“The differences in immune responses in those who remain well and those who become ill are not well understood,” says Henry Blumberg, principal investigator of the TBRU, professor of medicine in the Division of Infectious Diseases at the School of Medicine, and professor of epidemiology and global health in the School of Public Health.
“We believe our discoveries can help provide new tools to improve public health efforts and to guide TB vaccine development,” he says.
CURBING TEEN PREGNANCY
As one of the first recipients of the new Fulbright Flex Awards, Karen Andes is creating dialogue in Paraguay around the politically charged issue of adolescent reproductive health.
Her challenge: How do you design an effective intervention for teen pregnancies in a devoutly Catholic society where talking about sex has long been taboo?
As a political scientist who came to public health through demography and family-planning issues, Andes began working in Paraguay 10 years ago as a researcher with the CDC, studying the explosive growth of urban slums in Latin America.
She’s now an assistant professor of global health in Emory’s Rollins School of Public Health and will put the Flex Award, which funds multiple short-term stays in a country, to good use.
Her ongoing work has involved partnering with Mil Solidarios (“a thousand partners”), a local organization that keeps students in school by providing small scholarships, about $25 a month— “just enough to keep them from having to work with their families collecting recyclables,” Andes says.
Helping these young people avoid unintended pregnancies could have a tremendous impact, notes Andes, who plans to expand the intervention into nearby communities.
“This is the first generation of people that has not lived under a dictatorship,” she says. “Having this kind of dialogue now could have ripple effects well into the future.”
From empowering women in India to supporting water resources in Ethiopia, Emory students are making a difference on a global scale, pursuing their passions with service and scholarship that know no borders.
Through the master’s in development practice, offered through the James T. Laney School of Graduate Studies, our students combine rigorous coursework with extensive, hands-on fieldwork, spending two summers working as practitioners in training within leading humanitarian organizations in Africa, Asia, and Latin America.
They also complete internships with Atlanta-based international NGOS working on development, global health, environmental conservation, human rights, disaster assistance, and education.
In recent years, this has found students working on community building in Tibetan villages; global water initiatives in Uganda and northern Ethiopia; and climate change, agriculture, and food security issues in Kenya and Ghana.
The lure of global opportunities extends to undergraduates as well through Emory’s extensive network of study abroad programs.
in Educating the Next Generation
in Educating the Next Generation
PhD candidate, Institute of the Liberal Arts and James T. Laney School of Graduate Studies
By any measure, Fahamu Pecou has seen a year of breathtaking success. Within the span of a few months, his bold artistic vision — which explores contemporary representations of black masculinity and culture — was showcased at the Museum of Contemporary Art of Georgia, in a collaborative exhibit at Atlanta’s High Museum of Art, and at a solo exhibition in Paris. More recently, one of Pecou’s paintings was acquired by the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture, opening in Washington, D.C., in 2016.
He will also create a series of large-scale murals at four regional stations for the Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority. Now in his fourth year of graduate studies, Pecou considers himself an artist-scholar, drawn to Emory by “a deep yearning to be challenged in an intellectual environment.”
“Not only do I feel much more confident developing ideas and theories, it’s freed my work,” he says. “I find that I can address some of the concerns and ideas I have academically, which amplifies my art.”
EMORY IS REINVENTING THE CLASSROOM EXPERIENCE, WITH NEW COURSES, PROGRAMS, AND MAJORS THAT INSPIRE, ENGAGE, AND CHALLENGE STUDENTS AS NEVER BEFORE.
When faculty, staff, and students were asked in a recent survey which strategic priorities should become Emory’s focus for the next five years, the top response was not surprising: academic excellence.
A deep tradition of academic innovation thrives here — from interdisciplinary scholarship and courses that spring from topics as current as today’s headlines to world-class research and medical breakthroughs.
Here at Emory, the academy meets the outside world in challenging, creative, and even unexpected ways, blending a formula of acclaimed faculty, service-based learning opportunities, and academic rigor with current affairs and fresh ideas.
In the classroom, that might mean learning how chronic diseases can be preempted through the new discipline of predictive health, or understanding — by creating one’s own cubist painting — how 20th-century literature and art challenged artistic convention.
It might mean exploring the politics of music, understanding the brain by examining memory, or relating the study of ancient poetry about war to contemporary conflict by interviewing US veterans.
Whether by examining the Ferguson movement or using the Georgia coast as a field laboratory, we are helping our students pursue their passions, readying them to step into the future and make a difference.
THE NATURE OF EVIDENCE
In research, as in life, how do we know what to believe?
For first-year undergraduates, that question is at the heart of a new initiative that challenges students to question, explore, and engage with evidence in bold new ways.
When Emory began the process of reaffirming its accreditation through the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges, it came with a challenge.
For the first time, institutions were asked to create a Quality Enhancement Plan (QEP), an initiative dedicated to improving an aspect of student learning or the environment for student success.
Through University-wide conversations, the theme “The Nature of Evidence: How Do You Know?” was selected to be woven into the first-year undergraduate experience through new programming that includes:
Introductory online videos prepping first-year students to discuss the nature of evidence before they ever reach campus.
A campuswide Evidence Town Hall, where first-year students hear professors use evidence from different disciplines to explore the same question.
More than 30 first-year seminars this year, in classes ranging from anthropology to neuroscience, offering a special emphasis on evaluating and analyzing forms of evidence.
“Evidence is fundamental to learning, to knowledge, to problem solving — it is the foundation of so much of what we do,” says Tracy Scott, director of Emory’s QEP.
“In learning about evidence, students learn skills they can take and apply to any job,” Scott says. “You don’t learn those skills in technical majors or programs. You learn them through a liberal arts education.”
A TASTE FOR COLA
What happens when you ask a university to take a broad, deep look at itself and imagine what the liberal arts should look like in the 21st century?
That’s exactly what happened when Provost Claire Sterk charged the Coalition of the Liberal Arts (CoLA) — a committee representing voices from across campus — to envision the future of the liberal arts at Emory.
Last February, CoLA sponsored a public panel featuring distinguished faculty members from a range of disciplines discussing “The Power of Stories in the Liberal Arts.” Next, acclaimed author Salman Rushdie held an informal discussion with students, faculty, and alumni about the role that the liberal arts played in his own life. Both events were part of CoLA Conversations: The Emory Story Project — among several new initiatives that grew from CoLA recommendations.
By nurturing flexible learning communities across campus, CoLA reached the classroom this year with the debut of Emory’s first CoLA courses. Intended to stir new forms of scholarly inquiry, they include classes that examine the ethics of food, issues of disability and diversity, narrative and storytelling in a prison, and a broad study of climate change that allowed students to observe the 2015 United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change in Paris.
“Emory has something that many research universities are unable to claim — a strong and visible liberal arts core, with a liberal arts presence in every school and college, the residential experience, student organizations, and beyond,” Sterk says.
“The liberal arts get at the essence of what we are at Emory,” she adds. “They are not just one part of the University but a thread that is woven throughout the community.”
Associate Vice Provost for Academic Innovation
Samuel Candler Dobbs Professor of Psychology
Emory College of Arts and Sciences
As chair of the Coalition for the Liberal Arts, Robyn Fivush led a rigorous campus-wide challenge: Envision the future of the liberal arts at Emory. Today, that vision is being integrated into the Emory experience through a robust slate of new courses, programming, events, and campuswide discussions.
“We’re already a highly successful university; we have so many innovative programs and already do many things extremely well,” Fivush says. “At the same time, knowledge is dynamic. Moving forward, the goal is not to squash those ideas that have worked, but to use them as models to leverage greater access to the community, building to reflect new technologies, new ideas, and new interdisciplinary initiatives.”
NEW PROGRAMS, NEW HORIZONS
Scholarship is never static. That’s why at Emory we’re developing new scholarship programs and majors — not only to keep pace with a rapidly changing world but to meet expanding student interests.
Consider Kentucky Morrow, whose research on the Iraq insurgency sparked a deeper curiosity into statistics in the role of international conflict resolution. Today, he’s pursuing his interests as a quantitative science major, one of several new majors at Emory.
Quantitative science represents a new direction for “big data” education, teaching students how to analyze massive data sets within disciplines related to the liberal arts, from anthropology, political science, and history to economics, psychology, and women’s studies.
And interest is strong, drawing students from a variety of backgrounds. In fact, an introductory quantitative sciences course outside of the major has emerged as one of the fastest-growing classes offered within Emory College of Arts and Sciences.
It’s just one example of how students are finding the resources and pathways to pursue innovative, cross-disciplinary scholarship at Emory.
Kate Moran 15C found that flexibility, recently becoming the first Emory College student to graduate with a degree in Arabic studies. Her postgraduate plan? Pursuing a career in international development in the Middle East.
We’re one of only a few universities in the nation to offer the undergraduate degree, which was introduced through Emory’s Department of Middle East and South Asian Studies and designed for students from a wide range of disciplines interested in Arabic language and culture, says Rkia Cornell, professor of pedagogy and Arabic program coordinator.
NURTURING NURSE LEADERS
What will our next generation of nursing professionals look like?
Although nursing is one of the nation’s fastest-growing careers, many cities across the US — including Atlanta — face a nursing shortage. Here at Emory, we’re taking steps today to help shape tomorrow’s public health workforce and strengthen future nursing leaders.
This academic year, a dozen students became the first cohort to enroll in the Building Undergraduate Nursing’s Diverse Leadership at Emory (BUNDLE) program, offered through the top-ranked Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing.
Supported by a $970,000 Nursing Workforce Diversity grant from the Health Resources and Services Administration, the program focuses on providing financial support for racial and ethnic minority students.
Emory is among only 12 nursing schools in the nation to receive this competitive grant, intended to nurture nursing leaders in underserved populations by reducing barriers to enrolling and retaining students.
“With the changing demographics of the US, it’s important that the health care provider population mirror the general population and that all providers are trained to provide culturally sensitive care,” says Angela Amar, BUNDLE program director and associate professor.
“Our program aims to address the increasing diversity and health disparities in the populations we serve,” she adds.
And the commitment doesn’t stop there. This spring, the School of Nursing will launch its first-ever Introduction to Professional Nursing course, specially designed to introduce Emory College students to the multifaceted roles of nursing professionals in today’s health care system.
“This course will help students preview nursing careers early in their college journey,” says Amar. “Our alumni hold positions ranging from CEO and chief nursing officer at major health systems to public health nurses and clinical educators at community clinics.”
LESSONS BEYOND THE CLASSROOM
On a winter evening, a group of Emory first-year students met in the kitchen of the American Cancer Society’s Hope Lodge, a residential center on the Clairmont Campus.
Their challenge: cook dinner for some 60 cancer patients and their families, then sit and talk with them, borrowing from all they’ve learned about the disease, its treatment, and the arduous process of developing new drugs to help fight it.
Not your typical first-semester experience, to be sure. But a thorough, and thoroughly personal, way to gain insight into the complex world of cancer treatment.
Also unusual is the teaching team: a group of six Emory graduate students representing the natural sciences, social sciences, and humanities. Developed by doctoral students MaKendra Umstead and Jasmine Miller-Kleinhenz, the course is part of the order (On Recent Discoveries by Emory Researchers) program, which coordinates two seminar courses drawn from a variety of disciplines each semester.
Conceived by David Lynn, Asa Griggs Candler Professor of Chemistry and Biology, the program was funded through a $1 million grant from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute.
Through ORDER courses, graduate student instructors collaborate across disciplines to help bridge undergraduate and graduate scholarship.
Many first-year students enrolled in the class out of an interest in health or medicine. Some were inspired by a friend or relative who had battled cancer. Others sought a glimpse into how the drug development process worked.
But when the first three classroom lectures ended with students breaking into spontaneous applause, the course leaders knew they were on the right track.
“As a freshman, who gets to do anything like this?” says student Diana Bender-Bier. “I went home and, honestly, all I could do was talk about this class.”
Across the nation, the death of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, kindled an explosion of public opinion, quickly becoming a catalyst for a national conversation about race, politics, and power.
Here at Emory, a yearning for answers was reflected in the student body as well. Seizing an opportunity ripe for education and exploration, a team of faculty members responded by developing a course as timely and relevant as the day’s headlines.
That’s how The Ferguson Movement: Power, Politics, and Protest came to be Emory’s fall 2015 University Course — designed to unite students and faculty for an intensive, multidisciplinary exploration of a subject of common concern.
The course features a robust roster of faculty experts to examine the topic, representing disciplines that encompass African American studies, political science, history, law, public health and medicine, religion, and journalism.
The aim is to help participants think broadly about the impact that Brown’s death — and the overwhelming public response to it — has had on contemporary society, says Dorothy Brown, senior and special adviser to the provost and professor of law, who helped create the course.
“This is a great fit for Emory,” says Brown. “We have so many people here working on so many issues that are relevant to the Ferguson movement. Our research is rich.”
NIH PREDOC FELLOWSHIPS ABOUNDING
Although the idea of applying to the National Institutes of Health (NIH) for their first research grants may seem daunting to many young scientists, Emory is earning national recognition for preparing graduate students for success.
To date, a total of 50 students — including Kelly Lohr — now hold a Kirschstein-NRSA predoctoral fellowship from the NIH, a record that ranks Emory first in the nation.
That’s no accident. Those numbers reflect a culture of training that seeks to educate students in the targeted skills required in today’s competitive scientific environment, from writing and communicating effectively to conducting core research.
In fact, second-year graduate students are now required to take formal training in scientific writing. The strategy not only prepares students for their qualifying exams, it introduces them to the precise, rigorous thinking and writing that will be required for today’s competitive grant applications.
“We are committed to expanding professional pathways for our students,” says Lisa Tedesco, dean of Laney Graduate School. “We do this by implementing programming and training that is designed to make our students as prepared and competitive as they can be for a full range of collaboration within the biomedical and STEM workforce.”
ALL RHODES LEAD TO OXFORD
Leah Michalove was one of 32 American college students selected as a 2016 Rhodes Scholar — the 19th student from Emory to be chosen for the prestigious scholarship, which provides for two or three years of study at University of Oxford in England.
“I’m so excited and grateful. I wouldn’t have gotten here without the support of friends, family, and Emory. It’s going to give me an amazing opportunity to study at Oxford and build relationships with outstanding students from the US and around the world,” she says.
For those who know her, the prestigious honor might not come as a complete surprise. Since arriving at Emory, Michalove has been on a dedicated pathway to learning, both inside and outside the classroom.
Not only has she been deeply involved in Emory’s theater community, she helped found the pro-peace student organization Emory J Street U, is an active member of the Emory Scholars Program, served as both an Arabic and Hebrew language tutor, and volunteered as a classroom assistant in a Peruvian preschool.
“Leah Michalove is the kind of student who not only seizes every opportunity for learning but also leads in every endeavor that engages her energy and talents,” says Emory President James Wagner. “In that sense, she represents the finest Emory students and will make a splendid ambassador for the United States and for Emory at Oxford University. We are thrilled at her success.”
Michalove is a senior in Emory College, where she is a Dean’s Achievement Scholar majoring in Middle Eastern and South Asian studies, with a minor in anthropology.
Her undergraduate research is focused on the Middle East, with an emphasis on how modern Moroccan women express their identities through fashion and appearance.
After completing a master’s degree in social anthropology at Oxford, Michalove intends to pursue a doctorate in anthropology, focusing on the Middle East.
There’s more to the sleek new addition at Emory’s Sanford S. Atwood Chemistry Center than meets the eye.
Beyond the inviting glass facade, bright abstract paintings, sweeping staircase, interactive teaching space, and wide atrium sprinkled with study nooks, the innovative space was designed to foster a new era of science education and research at Emory.
The two-year, $52 million expansion and renovation project opened to students and faculty in mid-August. And the timing couldn’t be better.
“Science is happening at the interface between disciplines — and not just science disciplines,” says David Lynn, Asa Griggs Candler Professor of Chemistry and Biology.
“We are a liberal arts institution, and we want to forge connections throughout the campus community,” he explains. “We’ve created the space to catalyze these interactions.”
Many of the biggest challenges that the world now faces — from renewable energy to a changing climate and diagnostics and treatments for disease — require creative approaches from a range of vantage points, Lynn says.
“We want students coming in to bring all their different experiences and perspectives to bear to help solve problems,” he says. “We are leading the way, and setting the standards, for new and better ways to educate science students for the future.”
For 33 years, former US President Jimmy Carter has joined first-year Emory students for the annual Carter Town Hall — a spirited, no-holds-barred conversation that has become a coveted rite of passage for the University’s newest class.
“It’s a remarkable opportunity for students to hear directly from someone with the breadth of experience that very few people have ever had — not just as a president but as an active statesman who is still traveling the world, facing pressing global issues, with an unquenchable thirst to know, access to information, and a willingness to share his insights,” says Emory College Dean Robin Forman.
As Emory University Distinguished Professor, Carter has maintained a direct relationship with the University, engaging in the lives of Emory faculty and students since he accepted the position in 1982.
In addition to the town hall, organized by the Division of Campus Life, he shares his wisdom as a classroom speaker and in other public events each year.
At the 2015 town hall, Emory President James Wagner presented Carter with the President’s Medal, a rare honor intended to recognize “individuals whose impact on the world has enhanced the dominion of peace or has enlarged the range of cultural achievements.”
When Carter was asked about his favorite Emory memory, he reflected on the pleasures of dealing with “enlightened, gifted” university presidents, professors, and deans as well as the opportunity to teach in classrooms across the University.
“The partnership that has grown between The Carter Center and Emory University, and myself and Emory University, has been one of the highlights of my life,” he said.
in Creating New Knowledge
in Creating New Knowledge
Asa Griggs Candler Professor of Mathematics
Emory College of Arts and Sciences
Internationally recognized for his work in number theory, Emory mathematics professor Ken Ono has achieved acclaim for proving theorems that long have puzzled the greatest mathematical minds.
Early on, the work of legendary math genius Srinivasa Ramanujan would capture his imagination — a poor Indian clerk and largely self-taught mathematician whose impact is still felt to this day. In fact, much of Ono’s career has been spent unraveling Ramanujan’s mysteries. So when producers recently decided to translate Ramanujan’s life story into a feature film,
The Man Who Knew Infinity,
they turned to Ono as a consultant, asking him to explain mathematical concepts and teach actors to sound more like mathematicians.
In the classroom, Ono is renowned for attracting and inspiring a new generation of mathematical standouts — students who praise his passion, generous mentorship, and knack for creating a community of collaborators. “Talent has to be recognized, and it also has to be nurtured,” Ono says.
CREATING NEW KNOWLEDGE
HERE AT EMORY, LEARNING AND DISCOVERY ARE WHAT FUEL US — THE LIFEBLOOD THAT THRUMS THROUGHOUT CAMPUS, THE ESSENTIAL PULSE THAT PROPELS US FORWARD.
Emory is a vibrant incubator for new knowledge, nurturing intellectual insights, scientific discoveries, and experiential learning that impact lives every day.
From cutting-edge medical breakthroughs and new drug therapies to the discoveries of maverick mathematicians, from the creation of soul-stirring poetry to helping give life to Emory start-ups, we are a community of explorers.
That’s a formula that attracts award-winning students, acclaimed faculty experts, and leading researchers who bring their academic passions — and curiosity — into an intellectual arena rich with possibilities.
With campus resources that include a newly expanded chemistry building, a new sciences building set to open at Oxford College, and the newly remodeled Stuart A. Rose Manuscript, Archives, and Rare Book Library, our students and faculty are able to forge intellectual connections throughout campus as never before, in spaces designed to catalyze opportunities for discovery.
ACCELERATING CHEMISTRY DISCOVERIES
Emory is preparing students for a new era of collaborative chemistry, helping fuel a major paradigm shift in the logic of chemical synthesis — one that has the potential to impact the construction of all organic molecules.
Put simply, we’re breaking down research silos and speeding up scientific discovery.
Behind it all is the National Science Foundation’s Center for Selective C-H Functionalization (CCHF), which brings together scientists and students in a range of chemical disciplines from leading universities across the United States, Asia, and Europe — as well as from private industry — with the aim of making organic synthesis faster, simpler, and greener.
The center began with a network of top US research universities, headed up by Emory, when it launched in 2009. Since then, it has expanded through the National Science Foundation program Science Across Virtual Institutes to also include organic chemistry labs and research centers in Japan, Korea, England, and Germany.
At the same time, the network is opening doors for undergraduates, graduate students, and postdoctoral fellows from around the world to participate in national and international exchanges, learning the techniques of other labs while bringing in new ideas of their own.
“In organic chemistry, you might spend your whole PhD program just learning the techniques and expertise of one lab and one professor,” says Kathryn “Katie” Chepiga, an Emory graduate student in organic chemistry who participated in an international research project through the CCHF exchange program.
“When I heard how the center was changing that concept, I wanted to be a part of it,” she says. “I’m gaining a range of expertise and learning how to adapt to different lab settings. And I have a much bigger network of professors and students to bounce ideas off of when I run into a problem. It never feels like there is a dull moment in a project because we can come at it from so many different angles.”
Charles Howard Candler Professor of English and Creative Writing, Emory College of Arts and Sciences;
Curator of Literary Collections and the Raymond Danowski Poetry Library at Emory’s Stuart A. Rose Manuscript, Archives, and Rare Book Library
For award-winning poet Kevin Young, poetry rises from the stuff of life, and the inspiration for it is always percolating, ready to be shaped and shared. Even among the deep field of celebrated poets at Emory whom he counts as colleagues — including former US Poet Laureate and Pulitzer Prize–winner Natasha Trethewey and American Book Award–winner Jericho Brown — Young is considered a prolific and influential voice in American poetry.
This year, Young was awarded the 2015 Lenore Marshall Poetry Prize for
Book of Hours
, his collection about the sudden, tragic loss of his father and the birth of his son. Also named a finalist for the Kingsley Tufts Prize, the collection offers a frank, personal exploration of the cycle of life through death, birth, and rebirth.
“I think what I love about poetry is the way that music is in the poem, is in the words themselves,” Young says. “It’s not behind it, it’s not in front of it — it is it.”
THE LANGUAGE OF POETRY
When New York’s Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) began shaping an exhibit inspired by the centennial of the great migration, acclaimed poets and artists around the country were asked to share their vision.
Among a handful of the nation’s most celebrated poets invited to write poems for the exhibit were two Emory professors — former US Poet Laureate Natasha Trethewey and award-winning poet Kevin Young.
One-Way Ticket: Jacob Lawrence’s Migration Series and Other Visions of the Great Movement North
examines the movement of African Americans from the rural South to the urban North and features works by Trethewey and Young, as well as items from Emory’s Rose Library.
For both poets, the invitation was part of a year of accolades and opportunities. Trethewey was invited to author a weekly poetry column throughout 2015 for the
New York Times Magazine
. The format included a poem selected by the Pulitzer Prize–winning poet along with her introduction to it.
“I felt this was something important to do for poetry in America,” says Trethewey, Robert W. Woodruff Professor of English and Creative Writing and director of Emory’s Creative Writing Program.
“Because I live so much in the world of poetry, I can forget that there are a lot of people who don’t have that language for talking about what they see in a poem,” she explains. “So I’m trying to find a common language that allows me to introduce a poem in such a way that any of us could find an entrance, a way into reading it and enjoying it.”
Trethewey was also asked to create a poem in honor of the Decatur Book Festival’s 10th anniversary — a stirring work she presented during the festival’s opening keynote event.
A ROSE BLOSSOMS
Even before the doors had opened to Emory’s newly remodeled and renamed Stuart A. Rose Manuscript, Archives, and Rare Book Library, researchers were making reservations to work among its literary treasures.
Visitors who take the elevator to the 10th floor of the Robert W. Woodruff Library now find a sleek, expansive world of inquiry — a transformed space that showcases updated technologies and dedicated teaching spaces, with sweeping views of the Atlanta skyline.
But beyond the elegant aesthetic is a space that simply offers more of what Rose Library does best — providing access to rare, original materials and internationally acclaimed collections that are meant to invite discovery.
The transformation offers a facility that now matches the distinction of the Rose Library collections, says University Librarian Yolanda Cooper. “We were able to gain about 4,300 square feet and create exceptional spaces to fully support the stewardship of the Rose Library collections and increase our capacity for teaching and programming. That will provide the perfect forum to enable faculty and students to utilize and explore these collections in an extraordinary way,” Cooper adds.
The expansion represents the first major reenvisioning of the space since Woodruff Library was constructed in 1969. It was named for literary benefactor Rose 76B.
Rose Library holdings consist of an array of rare books and printed materials, including literary papers reflecting the work of acclaimed poets such as Ted Hughes, Langston Hughes, and Seamus Heaney. Salman Rushdie, Flannery O’Connor, and Alice Walker have their archives there.
“To have an author actively engaged in the materials means a lot to us,” says Rosemary Magee, Rose Library director. “They have entrusted us, and we are now a part of their story and they are part of ours. Our paths are interwoven. We learn from one another.”
NEW FDA TREATMENT FOR ACQUIRED HEMOPHILIA
For physicians, acquired hemophilia is a particular challenge to treat — not only can patients develop severe, life-threatening bleeding, but the rare bleeding disorder emerges as a complete surprise.
Acquired hemophilia is a disorder that isn’t present at birth but instead develops suddenly, usually targeting older adults. Patients typically report no previous personal or family history with bleeding episodes.
Essentially, the body’s immune system mistakenly believes its own clotting factor doesn’t belong, making antibodies to destroy it.
However, a research team led by Emory hematologist Pete Lollar is determined to improve outcomes for this blood-clotting disorder, which can occur spontaneously or following an injury or surgery.
Lollar, Hemophilia of Georgia Professor of Pediatrics in the Aflac Cancer and Blood Disorders Center at the School of Medicine and Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, has directed a research team for more than 25 years. His goal? To better understand the basic mechanisms of homeostasis and improve treatment for patients with hemophilia.
Late last year, the US Food and Drug Administration approved Obizur, a new treatment for acquired hemophilia originally developed by Lollar and his team.
Made available through the pharmaceutical firm Baxter International, Obizur was launched in the US this year.
BOOSTING VACCINE SUCCESS
Vaccination may well be among the greatest triumphs of modern medicine, yet researchers are still pressing to understand precisely how successful vaccines stimulate protective immunity.
Enter Bali Pulendran — Charles Howard Candler Professor in the Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, the Emory Vaccine Center, and Yerkes National Primate Research Center — who is using new approaches to create a global picture of immune responses to vaccinations in humans.
You might consider Pulendran the father of “systems vaccinology” — a scientific approach that combines immunology, genomics, and bioinformatics to predict the effectiveness of a vaccine without exposing individuals to infection.
Researchers already have provided proof of concept through studies of innate and adaptive human immune responses to vaccines that are global killers, including yellow fever, smallpox, seasonal influenza, meningococcal disease, and dengue fever.
Pulendran is the principal investigator of an Emory-led consortium that has been awarded $15 million over five years for the renewal of a grant aimed at better understanding and improving human responses to vaccination.
“Although most of our team’s studies thus far have focused on healthy young adults, the renewal grant will allow us to expand the reach of our study to include vaccine responses in populations that are particularly vulnerable to infections: infants, the elderly, and transplant patients,” explains Pulendran. “We want to be able to offer more effective vaccines across the lifespan, as well as address myriad health care concerns.”
UNRAVELING THE MYSTERIES OF ALZHEIMER’S
Because Alzheimer’s disease begins decades before symptoms are seen, understanding how to predict who may develop the devastating disease long has intrigued researchers.
However, a $25 million gift from the Goizueta Foundation to Emory’s Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center (ADRC) this year offers the promise of fundamentally changing the way Alzheimer’s disease is detected and treated.
“This transformational gift will allow us to discover ways to predict Alzheimer’s disease long before the first signs appear — a key first step that will enable us to develop new treatment targets and prevent the disease for future generations,” says Allan Levey, director of the ADRC and chair of the Department of Neurology at the School of Medicine.
“As we learn more about risk factors for Alzheimer’s disease, we also gain a better understanding of its relationship to vascular, immune, and other key health concerns that many Americans face as they age.”
Emory’s ADRC is among only 13 comprehensive research centers supported by the National Institutes of Health, and the only center in the Southeast.
“The abiding goal of this work is to develop better diagnostic and predictive tools that will be essential in order to start new prevention measures as early as possible — long before brain degeneration ensues,” says Levey. “We also aim to develop tools to help physicians and caregivers provide the best possible treatment for patients.”
More than forty years ago, Emory English professor Ronald Schuchard found himself sitting in the London flat of acclaimed poet and writer T. S. Eliot, undergoing an academic grilling by the late author’s wife.
Since Eliot’s death in 1965, as much as 90 percent of his prose had been locked away — at the writer’s own directive. But that night, Schuchard asked Valerie Eliot to give him access to some of her husband’s early lectures, and she agreed.
It was the beginning of a friendship that will ultimately give scholars and the public access to Eliot’s correspondence, lectures, essays, notes, and drafts.
After years of research and literary sleuthing, the doors finally opened on that “fugitive prose” with the publication of the first volumes of
The Complete Prose of T. S. Eliot: The Critical Edition
, part of a landmark eight-volume project shepherded by Schuchard, Goodrich C. White Professor of English Emeritus, who is general editor of the series.
Once complete, the digital and print project will corral a massive archive that will include more than 700 uncollected and 150 unpublished pieces. Produced through a collaboration among Eliot’s estate, Emory’s Beck Center for Electronic Collections (now part of the Emory Center for Digital Scholarship), and the University of London’s Institute of English Studies, the second volume was awarded the 2015 Modernist Studies Association Book Prize for Edition, Anthology, or Essay Collection.
For Schuchard, the collection marks the culmination of a lifelong quest: to offer the world a deep look into one of the most influential minds of the 20th century.
STRENGTHENING STROKE TREATMENT
With innovative technology and a multispecialty approach in diagnosing and treating stroke patients, Grady Memorial Hospital’s Marcus Stroke and Neuroscience Center is a leader in stroke care in the Southeast, where stroke is the third-leading cause of death.
This year, the center expanded its talented critical stroke care team with an infusion of new School of Medicine physician faculty appointments — doctors such as Aaron Anderson. “Combining the talents of these doctors with our team, technology, and state-of-the-art design of the center enables Grady to advance its already strong care for stroke patients,” says Michael Frankel, professor of neurology and chief of neurology and director of the center.
“Emory and Grady have played a critical role in changing the paradigm for stroke care by treating patients with clot-busting tPA,” says Frankel. “We are continuing our efforts to evolve the field of stroke care by offering more options to ensure people have a good outcome.”
Each year, Emory University Hospital and Grady are among the nation’s highest-volume hospitals for acute stroke, each admitting roughly 1,000 patients per year.
In addition, Emory University Hospital Midtown, Emory Johns Creek Hospital, and Emory Saint Joseph’s Hospital are now recognized as Advanced Primary Stroke Centers, along with Emory University Hospital and Grady. In total, Emory clinicians annually treat roughly a quarter of Georgia’s 20,000 stroke patients.
GIVING LIFE TO GREAT IDEAS
From discovering antitumor compounds and creating HIV vaccines to developing new drugs to treat hepatitis C, tuberculosis, or Parkinson’s disease, Emory start-ups demonstrate the robust, real-world impact of academic research.
Helping to shepherd many of these innovative discoveries from the laboratory to the marketplace is Emory’s Office of Technology Transfer (OTT) and researchers such as Periasamy Selvaraj, who is working to develop a vaccine for breast cancer and melanoma.
This marks the 30th anniversary of the OTT, which works to guide inventors through the complex process of technology transfer, helps increase the value of inventions, and assists in licensing inventions to established companies.
Each year, the OTT helps launch an average of three to six new companies based on University discoveries. In total, the office has overseen the creation of 72 companies; 53 of those are still active.
With royalties and equities, the direct financial result of tech transfer benefits both the inventors and the University. Emory reinvests a portion of those funds — $854 million in licensing revenue to date — to support additional research and science education.
in Advancing Caring and Healing
in Advancing Caring and Healing
William Timmie Professor of Neurology
Emory University School of Medicine
Thousands of people with Parkinson’s disease are now leading more normal lives thanks to groundbreaking research by Emory neurologist Mahlon DeLong.
DeLong’s research — spanning a 40-year career in medicine and science — identified the anatomical brain circuits involved in the clinical features of Parkinson’s and a novel target for surgical intervention, the subthalamic nucleus.
This finding paved the way for the application of high-frequency deep brain stimulation of the subthalamic nucleus, a technique now used worldwide for advanced Parkinson’s disease patients. More than 100,000 individuals have received the treatment, which suppresses tremor and other motor impairments.
In 2013 DeLong received the Breakthrough Prize in Life Sciences (the Oscar of science) from a cluster of tech titans in Silicon Valley, including Mark Zuckerberg. In 2014 he received the Lasker-DeBakey Clinical Medical Research Award, among the most respected science prizes in the world, which he shared with Alim Louis Benabid of France. In 2015 he was awarded the Taubman Prize for Excellence in Translational Medical Science.
“Dr. DeLong’s contribution to improved care and quality of life for patients with devastating movement disorders is remarkable,” says Eva Feldman, director of the Taubman Institute.“He exemplifies the ethos of the dedicated clinician-scientist.”
ADVANCING CARING AND HEALING
THROUGH OUR NATIONALLY ACCLAIMED STRENGTHS IN TEACHING, RESEARCH, AND THE HEALING ARTS, EMORY’S WOODRUFF HEALTH SCIENCES CENTER IS CHANGING LIVES.
Unraveling medical mysteries. Pioneering new treatments. Giving hope. At Emory, caring and healing go hand in hand with research and teaching, as we push the boundaries of medical knowledge to provide better care today and discover better treatments for tomorrow.
Our expansive Woodruff Health Sciences Center includes the School of Medicine, the School of Nursing, Rollins School of Public Health, Yerkes, Winship Cancer Institute, and Emory Healthcare, the most comprehensive health care system in Georgia.
Working together, they ensure that our clinical care is guided by the most advanced research, and our research is grounded in deep concern for the needs of patients and caregivers.
Researchers at Emory received $572.4 million from external funding agencies in fiscal year 2015 — marking the largest amount of research funding in Emory’s history and the sixth consecutive year that research funding exceeded $500 million. More than $537 million of that funding went to our health sciences center, a strong endorsement of our place among the world’s leading hubs for medical innovation.
As we build on our research success, we are also building our capacity to treat patients from around the world who seek out and trust Emory in their times of greatest need.
To serve those needs, the new wing of Emory University Hospital rises over Clifton Road, scheduled to open in 2017. With 450,000 square feet on nine levels, it will include care units designed for both cancer and transplant patients. From pioneering the techniques of deep brain stimulation to developing new ways to classify and treat cancers, our professors and physicians are guided by a mission that is simple but profound:
“To serve humanity by improving health through integration of education, discovery, and health care.”
DEEP BRAIN STIMULATION
You might call it brain hacking. Emory researchers are leading research into deep brain stimulation (DBS), in which electrodes are implanted in the brain to receive pulses of electricity that reduce or eliminate the symptoms of severe depression, epilepsy, and movement disorders such as Parkinson’s disease, essential tremor, or dystonia.
The result? Often, remarkable recoveries for people whose lives had been severely interrupted by their illness.
In the course of four decades of discovery about the mysterious basal ganglia and its role in movement and movement disorders, Emory neurologist Mahlon DeLong revolutionized understanding of Parkinson’s disease and contributed to the revival and development of surgical treatments for this and other movement disorders.
“With DBS, we’re not curing or treating the disease, we’re targeting the network,” explains DeLong, William Timmie Professor of Neurology. “It’s the circuit we’re after.”
The Emory Neuromodulation and Technology Innovation Center (ENTICe) advances the understanding and effectiveness of this therapy, drawing on expertise from Emory’s departments of Neurology, Psychiatry, and Neurosurgery as well as a partnership with the Neural Engineering Center at Georgia Tech.
As a research fellow at Johns Hopkins University, Helen Mayberg — the Dorothy C. Fuqua Chair of Psychiatric Neuroimaging and Therapeutics and a professor of psychiatry, neurology, and radiology at Emory — worked down the hall from DeLong.
As his research focused on the movement symptoms of Parkinson’s patients, she was interested in the depression many experience; her research ultimately identified a part of the brain, known as Area 25, that has high activity in depressed patients, regardless of whether they have Parkinson’s.
“If we couldn’t talk depression down, couldn’t drug it down, couldn’t shock it down, then I believed we could go directly to Area 25 of the brain and tune it down,” Mayberg explains.
Mayberg came to Emory in 2003 because of her belief in a multidisciplinary approach to depression, which dovetailed perfectly with the growing neuroscience initiative at Emory. Here, she works with neurosurgeon Robert Gross, studying how DBS achieves its success for depressed patients — looking not just at Area 25 but at communication among multiple brain regions.
The technique is also helping patients with drug-resistant epilepsy control the seizures that have limited their lives, based on the idea that if electric stimulation with the right frequency can restrain activity in a key bottleneck area in the brain, seizures won’t spread.
Gross, a professor in the Department of Neurosurgery, sees opportunities to refine electrical stimulation as technology advances: through finer electrodes, better MRIs to improve electrode placement, newer DBS devices that can record electrical signals from inside the brain over time, and a better understanding of how seizures spread in the brain.
“My concern is that the field will settle for something that is just good,” Gross says. “The question now is, how do we make this therapy great?”
At Emory, our researchers are determined to find out.
DEBORAH WATKINS BRUNER
Robert W. Woodruff Professor of Nursing
Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing
Deborah Bruner has devoted her research to improving outcomes for cancer patients. In 2015 President Obama announced her appointment as one of five new members of the National Cancer Advisory Board.
Lauded as one of the nation’s premier oncology researchers, Bruner focuses her work on quality of life and symptom management across cancer sites, as well as decision making for cancer therapies. She is internationally recognized for her trailblazing leadership within the National Cancer Institute’s (NCI) cancer clinical trials research network for scientifically measuring the cancer patient experience and incorporating that experience into improvements in care. Bruner is the first and only nurse to lead one of NCI’s national clinical community oncology program research bases, and serves as associate director of cancer outcomes research at Winship Cancer Institute and professor of radiation oncology at Emory University School of Medicine.
In 2015 she received the Distinguished Nurse Researcher Award from the Oncology Nursing Society. Her research contributions continue to evolve our understanding of how nurses can improve the quality of life for patients with cancer.
Dedicated to translating research into outstanding patient care, Winship Cancer Institute of Emory is Georgia’s first and only National Cancer Institute–designated cancer center. Three out of four cancer therapies approved by the FDA in the past seven years were tested at Winship, and our researchers continue to pioneer new treatment options.
Survival rates for multiple myeloma, a blood cell cancer, traditionally have been grim. Sagar Lonial, chief medical officer at Winship and an internationally recognized expert on multiple myeloma, is working to change that.
Immunotherapy — using a patient’s own immune system to fight disease — is on the cutting edge of cancer research, including for multiple myeloma. Studies Lonial presented this year show effective use of two different immune-based therapies that could significantly increase treatment options for these patients.
A Phase III study demonstrated that the addition of the drug elotuzumab to standard treatment cuts the risk of myeloma progression by 30 percent, while a Phase II study by Lonial showed an overall response rate of 29.2 percent for daratumumab as a single-agent therapy for refractory multiple myeloma patients. The studies are significant because currently there are no monoclonal antibodies approved for treatment of multiple myeloma.
Better treatments for cancer begin with a better understanding of the disease. A groundbreaking study led by Daniel Brat, a researcher and neuropathologist at Winship, will change the way patients with diffuse gliomas — a form of brain tumor — will be diagnosed and treated in the future.
The study is part of the Cancer Genome Atlas Research Network. More than 300 researchers from 44 institutions contributed to a molecular analysis of the tumors. They found that molecular diagnostics are much more precise and reproducible than looking at tissue under a microscope for classification.
This is a major step in starting to classify and treat brain tumors based on their genetic makeup rather than their microscopic appearance, which has been the traditional diagnostic approach for more than 100 years.
“This is important because the classification and grade that is given with these molecular tests will be more predictive of the tumor’s behavior, and we’ll know whether a patient’s disease requires more aggressive therapy or is sensitive to specific chemotherapies,” says Brat, who also is professor of pathology and laboratory medicine in the School of Medicine.
Emory also strives to ensure that patients diagnosed with cancer — of any kind — receive the care they need and deserve.
Winship clinicians working with patients from different populations and researchers working on population-based studies in cancer prevention and control are finding that race and ethnicity have less to do with disparities in health care than do economics and knowledge gaps or misconceptions. Change those, they say, and you can do a lot to erase some of the worst disparities.
A case in point: Winship gynecologist Lisa Flowers, who is based at Grady Hospital, works to address disparities in cervical cancer outcomes. Nationally, new cases of cervical cancer are 65 percent higher among Latinas and 45 percent higher among African Americans than among white women (except those in Appalachia and some other rural areas). But mortality is markedly higher for African Americans.
Director of colposcopy at the School of Medicine, Flowers has written extensively about the kinds of myths that drive those numbers — and how to combat them with education and community outreach.
“The bottom line is that biology and socioeconomic issues can be intertwined in the development of cancers and the delivery of appropriate health care,” says Walter Curran, executive director of Winship. “Our Winship faculty are committed to confronting both issues, to the benefit of our patients.”
When most people think of autism, they think of children diagnosed with the disorder. But Emory is working to help those with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) at all stages in their lives.
Pica, the repeated ingestion of inedible objects, can lead to life-threatening medical complications for some children with autism as well as those with other developmental or intellectual disabilities.
Research published by Nathan Call — director of Severe Behavior Programs at Marcus Autism Center and Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, and assistant professor of pediatrics at Emory School of Medicine — shows that intensive behavioral intervention can be effective at eliminating pica by using a variety of techniques.
Emory researchers also are studying the best ways to help parents work with their autistic children to reduce disruptive or aggressive behaviors. Despite the increased recognition of ASD in young children, rigorous testing and dissemination of evidenced-based treatments have lagged far behind.
Karen Bearss, assistant professor of pediatrics at Marcus and the School of Medicine, served as lead author of a study proving children respond more positively when their parents receive 24 weeks of parent training — with specific guidance for how to manage problems such as tantrums, aggression, and self-injury — instead of just parent education using information only. Lawrence Scahill, professor of pediatrics at Marcus and the School of Medicine, directed the study.
There is currently a critical need for resources and services for adults with ASD. Children who were diagnosed with ASD in the 1990s are adults now, and resources for them are scarce.
The Emory Autism Center, part of the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at the School of Medicine, is one of a small number of institutions in the country providing programs and services for adults living with autism.
In May 2015 the center entered into an agreement with the Georgia Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities designed to evaluate and improve Georgia’s community-based infrastructure for adults with ASD.
Meanwhile, the Emory Autism Center is also making use of the Emory campus for an initiative to help adults with ASD learn and practice important life skills. The pilot program, called myLIFE, provides opportunities for young adults with autism to address issues that are important for independent living. Participants practice skills such as cooking and laundry at an apartment on the Emory campus, which also provides a comfortable place for socializing. Volunteers take them to a variety of campus functions, from dining in the cafeteria to events. Participants get help with healthy living options from a volunteer nutritionist and medical and nursing students, and join one of Emory’s campus fitness centers.
“Our goal is to provide these young adults with every life experience possible, and being able to take advantage of our own campus has proven to be instrumental in their success,” explains Toni Thomas, program manager for adult services at the Emory Autism Center.
HELP FOR WOUNDED WARRIORS
The men and women of the US military dedicate their lives to serving our country. But when they are injured in the line of duty, it’s our duty to serve them.
This year, the Emory Healthcare Veterans Program was selected by the national Wounded Warrior Project to participate in a first-of-its-kind national medical care network.
The project connects wounded veterans and their families with individualized care for two of the most commonly experienced wounds from the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan: post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and traumatic brain injury. Emory joins Massachusetts General Hospital, University of California–Los Angeles, and Rush University Medical Center in the network.
Emory’s program will offer comprehensive care and treatment for post-9/11 veterans combining behavioral health care — including psychiatry, psychology, and neurology — with rehabilitative medicine, wellness, and family support.
“We are proud to serve this generation of veterans and their families in healing the invisible wounds of war,” says Barbara Rothbaum, director of Emory’s Veterans Program and professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Emory University School of Medicine.
Atlanta’s VA Medical Center is one of the larger and faster-growing medical centers in the country, and it faces a major nursing shortage. In 2013 Emory’s School of Nursing partnered with the Atlanta VA to create the VA Nursing Academic Partnership, training nurses in various aspects of veteran’s care, including mental health, traumatic brain injury, home-based health care, women’s health, and homeless care.
In 2015 the first cohort of nursing students graduated from the program. More than 75 percent took jobs with the Atlanta VA.
REDUCING ANTIBIOTIC RESISTANCE
Increasing resistance to antibiotic medications threatens to transform once-manageable infections back into widespread killers.
The new Emory Antibiotic Resistance Center combats this looming public health crisis. Antibiotic resistance is so challenging that it must be addressed by an “all-hands-on-deck” approach, explains infectious disease researcher David Weiss, who directs the center.
The center’s faculty bridges a broad range of disciplines.Microbiologists probe mechanisms of resistance, chemists search for new antibiotics, and microbiologists and pathologists refine methods for detecting dangerous bacteria.
Meanwhile, clinicians and public health experts consider how to nudge physicians into better antibiotic stewardship, how to organize expanded surveillance, and how to better organize health care programs and systems to avoid infections in the first place.
The center is also acutely aware that antibiotic resistance will be an ongoing problem, so faculty members play an important role in training new researchers — for example, PhD students in Laney Graduate School’s Antimicrobial Resistance and Therapeutic Discovery Training program, and physicians in the Infectious Diseases Fellowship Training program.
“We are trying to unite experts from diverse disciplines, especially researchers and clinicians,” Weiss says. “We want to be open to the unexpected.”
CYSTIC FIBROSIS CENTER
Cystic fibrosis (CF) is a brutal genetic disease causing a buildup of thick mucus in the lungs and other parts of the body, hindering breathing and significantly shortening life expectancy. Emory researchers and physicians are working to help CF patients lead longer, healthier lives.
Together, Emory and Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta manage the second-largest population of CF patients in the country. This year, the work received a major boost through a grant from the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.
The $1.8 million, four-year grant enables Emory, Children’s, and Georgia Tech to create the Atlanta CF Research and Development program. Through this program, we will be able to expand our CF research and translate the results more effectively to patients.
The new program will build on the many investments that Emory and Georgia Tech already have made toward taking systems biology approaches to understanding chronic disease states. As a complex, multiorgan disease, CF is a prime candidate for benefiting from a systems approach.
The goal is to promote interdisciplinary research into the biological mechanisms of CF and translate this new knowledge into therapies. Initial work will focus on the 660 CF patients cared for within the center’s clinical program.
in Promoting Sustainability
Master’s of Public Health Candidate and Research Assistant
Emory Center for Global Safe Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene
Rollins School of Public Health
Yvonne Kienast compiled a demanding list of factors in choosing the site for her graduate education, and yet, after her first year at the School of Public Health, she reports finding “even more — a research world I love to be in and professors who go ever further to support their students.”
The WaterHub also has found a welcoming home at Emory — and not just as the newest element in leading-edge sustainability efforts on campus. It doubles as a lab, one that Kienast is using to judge water safety, especially as more municipal water systems consider direct reuse of nonpotable water. Wastewater contains harmful enteric viruses; Kienast is exploring the WaterHub’s ability to remove or inactivate these microorganisms.
Thanks to Kienast, the WaterHub will take its place in the literature as the subject of her thesis, while the author eventually plans to pursue a PhD. For now, having the ability to work with top researchers Amy Kirby and Christine Moe has, Kienast says, “gone beyond all my expectations.”
FROM THE CLASSROOM AND RESEARCH LABORATORY TO CUTTING-EDGE CAMPUS CONSERVATION, EMORY UPHOLDS A COMMITMENT TO SUSTAINABILITY.
Where environmental stewardship is concerned, coming early to the game is critical. And Emory did.
Ten years ago we boldly enshrined sustainability in our strategic plan — well ahead of many other universities. And to give that plan life and momentum, we hired our first sustainability director a year later. In the decade since, Emory never hesitated to be out in front, recognizing that campus efforts are only part of the equation; commitment to positive transformation in our region, state, and world demands even more.
Now 50 percent of us commute to work using some alternative to single-occupancy vehicles. The campus shuttle system, running on biofuel from used cooking oil, eliminated more than a million car trips last year. Zero-landfill-waste academic buildings and events are increasing on campus, and construction waste recycling has topped 95 percent. Emory’s record is impressive as we near three million square feet of LEED-certified building space. One of our most dramatic transformations is the new WaterHub — the first system of its kind in the US. It hits the trifecta of social, environmental, and economic sustainability by relieving an overburdened municipal water system, saving Emory money, and being a living laboratory for research and teaching.
A decade in, sustainability will get harder and require more from each of us. We won’t hesitate to provide, in equal measure, both an uncompromising vision and the rolled-up sleeves to get there.
A revolution is taking root in a sleek new greenhouse just off Peavine Creek Drive near Emory’s baseball fields. Known as the WaterHub, it’s the first stop in a water-reclamation system that utilizes “adaptive ecologics” — a natural biological treatment method — to clean and repurpose campus wastewater. It’s also the first and only such facility in the country.
Using reclaimed water for even some nonpotable functions is projected to save Emory nearly 150 million gallons of potable water per year. It also helps address a growing problem: Atlanta relies on the smallest watershed in the nation for a metropolitan area of its size. Globally, the demand for fresh water is projected to outstrip availability by nearly 40 percent by 2030.
In addition to the cost savings and environmental benefits, the WaterHub also serves as a living laboratory, providing exciting possibilities for research, scholarship, and water-conservation applications far beyond campus. Even as the facility was being constructed, Emory students were beginning to utilize it for research by monitoring the changing microbiology of wastewater samples as the new project was ramping up.
In February, Gina McCarthy, administrator of the US Environmental Protection Agency, paid a visit, proclaiming, “This sort of project is important for the EPA. We have to start treating nothing as waste.”
Linda McCauley — dean of the School of Nursing — was invited to the White House in April for a roundtable discussion about climate change and health. The event was part of a series of National Public Health Week announcements President Obama made addressing the health impacts of climate change.
McCauley is part of a coalition of deans from 30 schools of medicine, nursing, and public health around the country committed to ensuring that the next generation of health professionals is trained to address the health impacts of climate change effectively. The roundtable event was aimed at building on the leadership of these institutions in incorporating climate change into their programs.
“Climate change is a serious issue that affects every person on this planet,” said McCauley at the time of the invitation. “I am grateful that President Obama and his team invited some of the nation’s top health care experts to provide recommendations on this subject.”
Two-thirds of the foods we eat every day require bees and other pollina-tors to produce a crop successfully, yet global bee populations are declining, in part due to environmental threats. That prompted Emory to eliminate the use of neonicotinoid-based pesticides and pretreated plants on its campus grounds in spring 2014, the first university to impose such a ban.
Now considered the most commonly used class of insecticides, neonicotinoids have been linked to widespread bee decline and impacts to other pollinator species by a range of scientific studies, according to bee biologist Berry Brosi, assistant professor of environmental studies and a lead author for the Global Assessment of Pollinators, Pollination, and Food Production for the Intergovernmental Platform for Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services, established by the United Nations.
In addition to banning use of neonicotinoids on campus, the University now purchases plants for campus landscaping that have not been pretreated with neonicotinoids, specifies in contracts with vendors and in campus construction standards that neonicotinoids or plants pretreated with neonicotinoids may not be used on Emory’s campus, ensures any substitutes for neonicotinoids used on campus are safer for pollinators, plants and maintains pollinator-friendly habitats on campus, and conducts campus outreach and education on the importance of pollinators.
Assistant Professor of Biology
Emory College of Arts and Sciences
Geneticist Roger Deal is among a consortium of scientists funded by the National Science Foundation’s Plant Genome Research program studying how plants cope with weather extremes. Deal’s work has revealed that plants have the ability to “remember” drought conditions in order to survive future extremes.
Much of his attention focuses on California, which, as the worst drought in the state’s history continues, is turning into a testing ground for how the world will cope with the clash of growing populations, dwindling water resources, and a changing climate.
Led by Tim Lian, professor of physical chemistry, a panel of chemists may have found a new means to harness sunlight for energy. The journal
is reporting that the breakthrough came through plasmon — a special motion of electrons involved in the optical properties of metals.
Lian’s lab, which specializes in exploring light-driven charge transfer for solar energy conversion, experimented with ways to use plasmon to make that process more efficient and sustainable.
One of the most vivid examples of surface plasmon can be seen in the intricate stained glass windows of some medieval cathedrals, an effect achieved through gold nano-particles that absorb and scatter visible light.
The current study was funded by the US Department of Energy. The study coauthors include Emory graduate student Kaifeng Wu, Emory postdoctoral fellow Jinquan Chen, and chemist James McBride from Vanderbilt University.
“Using unlimited sunlight to move electrons around and tap catalytic power is a difficult challenge, but we have to find ways to do this,” says Lian. “We have no choice. Solar power is the only energy source that can sustain the growing human population without catastrophic environmental impact.”
Emory ranked among the top 10 “greenest universities” in the country for 2015, according to BestColleges.com. Emory placed eighth on a list of the top 39 schools, drawn from evaluations of more than 200 colleges and universities.
“Our goal with this list is to spotlight the schools that have launched the most impactful initiatives to reduce on-campus waste and energy consumption, promote alternative transportation, provide funding to student- and faculty-led green proposals, and take other measures to benefit the environment,” the website notes.
Explaining our No. 8 ranking, BestColleges.com lists a variety of factors, from the University’s 385 acres of green space and construction of LEED-certified buildings to “robust offerings in the way of academics in the study of environmental science.”
“I’m particularly pleased that our efforts to incorporate sustainability into Emory’s academic mission were recognized,” says Director of Sustainability Initiatives Ciannat Howett 87C. “By preparing our students to be leaders of a more sustainable future, Emory’s commitment to sustainability extends beyond our campus gates, across generations, and around the world.”
When a massive iceberg breaks off from the front of a glacier, it can fall backward, slamming into the glacier with such force that it reverses the ice flow for several minutes and causes it to drop, producing an earthquake that can be measured across the globe.
“Glaciers are extremely sensitive indicators of climate change,” says Emory physicist Justin Burton, who specializes in laboratory modeling of glacial forces. “Having a quantitative understanding of how our polar regions are losing ice is crucial to any forecasting related to climate change, in particular sea-level rise and its environmental and economic impacts.”
Burton and a group of coauthors published their discovery in the journal
, including detailed documentation of the forces involved in iceberg calving and an explanation for the causes of glacial earthquakes. The research marks a major step toward measuring such events in near-real time and from anywhere in the world.
Burton’s study focused on Helheim Glacier in the Greenland Ice Sheet.
The research has generated significant attention worldwide, with an article in the
wistfully concluding that these earthquakes are “like the pulse of ice loss. So because Greenland will not go quietly, at least we will know how fast it is leaving us.”
In December 2014, Emory achieved early the goal set in 2005 to reduce energy usage per square foot by 25 percent in 10 years. Achieving the goal required extensive engagement across all levels of the University — from administrators who saw the wisdom of investing in energy-efficient systems for both new and old buildings to every individual who turned off a light or an appliance.
The conservation goal was part of the University’s 10-year strategic plan and included electricity, natural gas, and fuel oil use. Energy is one of the largest nonpersonnel expense categories at the University.
Lessons learned in achieving this goal will pave the way for the next. According to Sustainability Initiatives Director Ciannat Howett, “Achieving our energy reduction goal early shows that, when our community comes together around a shared vision, we can achieve what seems out of reach.”
in Transforming Society
Associate Professor of Political Science, Emory College of Arts and Sciences
Director, James Weldon Johnson Institute for the Study of Race and Difference
Appointed in January 2015 as director of the James Weldon Johnson Institute, Andra Gillespie brings enormous energy and an amplified social science lens to the institute, whose founding focus was on the civil rights movement. With Gillespie’s expert guidance, the institute now broadens its focus to include scholarship and public engagement that examines race and intersecting dimensions of human difference; dialogue on the significance of race and ethnicity in American life; and social sciences and humanities scholars of the African American, Asian American, and Latino/a American experiences.
Her own research focuses on African American politics, political participation, and leadership. Gillespie is a respected teacher and scholar at Emory and in steady demand beyond its gates — serving, for instance, as a Martin Luther King Visiting Scholar in the Political Science Department at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 2011–2012. She maintains an active public profile, providing regular commentary for local and national news outlets and publishing editorials in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Washington Post, and Politico.
“Given Atlanta’s history in the civil rights struggle in the US and its importance to that historical narrative, Atlanta has to have an institution that embodies what scholarship on race and difference looks like,” Gillespie says. “I think Emory can be that place.”
AS EMORY CHANGES THE LIVES OF STUDENTS THROUGH INQUIRY AND ENLIGHTENMENT, SO OUR GRADUATES ARE CHANGING THE WORLD AROUND US.
Community, for Emory, is a system of deep roots that radiate outward. In innumerable ways, across every facet of the University’s expertise, we grow partnerships beyond our gates, using knowledge to solve real-world problems.
“Smart with heart” is how we like to think of it. Throughout Emory’s history, we have held fast to demonstrating common cause in situations where we are needed most. In this way, faculty, staff, and students make good on Emory’s almost-limitless capacity for social transformation.
More than four in five of our students participate in community service or volunteer work. It is not a box they check or a requirement we impose. It is borne out of a tradition of service-based learning that inspires. As the students tell it, whenever they interact with community members, they are the thankful ones because something brighter now burns within them.
In settings that span health care, education, religion, law, and business, our human capital changes lives for the better every day. The desire to do so has never been enshrined in a particular strategic plan or administration. It’s in our root system.
ONE DAY . . . ONE KOREA
A summer course on moral leadership? By anyone’s standards, that would be demanding. But nothing about the charms of summer fun seemed to distract the Candler School of Theology students whom Robert Franklin led to South Korea this past May.
Franklin, public theologian and James T. and Berta R. Laney Professor in Moral Leadership at Candler, conceived the trip as a way “to examine moral leadership in context by visiting with leaders we regard as important moral agents in their communities and country.”
The students and Franklin met with leaders dealing with key issues facing Korean society, including normalization of relations with North Korea, support for the country’s World War II–era “comfort women” (who, in recent days, have been granted reparations from the Japanese government for their sexual slavery), the Sewol Ferry disaster, and corruption and integrity in public and private life.
Franklin summarized the trip by saying, “Emory students shared an intense and invaluable learning experience as they engaged and learned from leaders who for decades have been part of the moral drama of change and national renaissance. They gleaned information from diverse sources and expressed their learning in a fascinating group of final papers and proposals on Korean national reunification. The generosity of our hosts, many of them Emory alumni, underscored Emory’s unique relationship to the Korean peninsula.”
Photographs from that time tell a tragic story, as orphaned children with haunted faces wandered streets of rubble looking for help. It was 1945, the aftermath of the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
Nine Oxford College students sought to learn more about the lives behind those images through Global Connections, a cocurricular program that helps students connect their religious convictions with justice issues.
Blogging as they traveled, the group made stops at major memorial sites and peace museums in in Tokyo, Kyoto, Osaka, and Hiroshima in the course of 12 days. They also met with survivors — known as
, or “explosion-affected people.”
Faculty included Jill Adams, visiting assistant professor of religion at Oxford. Adams first made a visit to Hiroshima as a graduate student and was, she says, “leveled. There have been few times in my life when I’ve been that moved, that drawn into something. I think it marked a big shift in my own scholarship.”
Adams and Associate Professor of American Studies Molly McGehee in turn made the intensity of that experience available to their students. That included Justin Sia, the first-generation son of Filipino immigrants who heard family stories about conflict between Japan and the Philippines during World War II, and who has seen the change firsthand.
“It’s really interesting to me how Japan, one of the most belligerent nations in the world only half a century ago, is now one of the most peaceful,” says Sia, who is majoring in political science and economics.
Director, Ethics and the Arts Program
Assistant Director, Ethics and Servant Leadership Program
Center for Ethics
With expertise in ethics and the arts, as well as the ethics of identity, social constructions of race, and art-based social activism, the odds are that anything Carlton Mackey puts his hand to will be thought provoking. And so far, his record bears that out.
A professional photographer and filmmaker, Mackey made the documentary
17 Degrees Ain’t Nothing
— about five individuals living on the streets of Atlanta — which was also accompanied by a photo exhibition that won Emory’s first Creativity & Arts Award.
In 2012 Mackey created
50 Shades of Black
— a platform for an interactive global dialogue around issues of race, skin tone, sexuality, and identity. His latest project is Typical American Families, a winner of the 2014 One Region Atlanta IDEAS Challenge. “People all around us are overcoming some amazing obstacles to be a family and are doing so with strength and courage,” Mackey says. Both projects are under the umbrella of Beautiful in Every Shade, a grassroots empowerment campaign that Mackey conceived.
In his Emory role, Mackey approaches ethics and the arts by overseeing film series and exhibitions, advising the student Ethics and the Arts Society, and encouraging community partnerships. “Art is a window,” Mackey says, “that can open up into either an internal or public dialogue.”
Although fruit and vegetable cultivation in Georgia brings in more than a billion dollars a year, farmworkers remain low paid, living largely in makeshift camps or seasonal housing with little access to health care.
Since 1996 the School of Medicine has done its part to fill the health care gap for these workers. What began modestly has blossomed into more than 200 students, faculty members, and community volunteers staffing clinics in south Georgia. Rotating morning and afternoon clinics provide free care to between 1,200 and 1,600 farmworkers and their families during 12 days in June and an additional 300 seasonal workers during an October weekend.
The clinic teams have treated people who have never seen a doctor before, women in labor, and workers with acute illnesses and chronic conditions. Sick patients can be transferred to emergency care, or follow-up appointments can be scheduled through community partners such as the state’s Farmworker Health Program.
THE NEXT 100
Some of the best minds in theological education gathered for an academic conference at the School of Theology this past March to consider pressing issues facing theology in the coming century. Part of Candler’s yearlong Centennial Celebration, “Prophetic Voices: Confronting Theological Challenges of the Next Century,” sponsored by the McDonald Agape Foundation, the conference featured a dozen renowned theologians from Candler and beyond.
The three-day event consisted of presentations by Candler faculty members, with responses from distinguished guest panelists and audience questions. Each presentation centered on a theme selected by Candler’s Centennial Committee, including theological imagination and secularization, the image of God in the contemporary world, God’s creation and care of the earth, and the kingdom of God and global pluralism.
“These were identified as issues that are distinctive to our age in a way that they weren’t when Candler was founded a century ago,” says Luke Johnson, Woodruff Professor of New Testament and Christian Origins. Each topic involves convictions close to the core of Christian identity, contains a wealth of research from earlier theological traditions, involves developments of history and culture, and is under serious threat in the contemporary world.
Though the conference has ended, the conversation has just begun. Says Johnson, “The purpose of this conference is to start a conversation that can help shape the next 100 years of this school and be a prophetic voice for the church and the world.”
SEARCH NO MORE
For motivated young people with developmental disabilities, a “help wanted” sign — real or virtual — offers hope. That sign has been flashing at Emory Healthcare for the past 11 years, thanks to Project Search.
Despite interest in and fitness for work, high school graduates from special education programs often have unemployment rates as high as 80 percent. In 2004 Project Search took shape at Emory University Hospital Midtown with the help of Briggs & Associates, a local company with a 25-year history of developing nontraditional employment for people with a wide range of disabilities.
No bones about it: the hospital has seen an improvement in work-flow, employee satisfaction, and savings. For instance, patient billing completes more quickly, nurses gather supplies faster and spend more time caring for patients, and assembling blood culture kits in-house rather than purchasing from a manufacturer saves money. Not to mention that adding the job of a lab courier was more cost-effective than building a tubing system to transport lab work.
“Their contributions benefit the bottom line, and their relationships at work have been life changing in so many ways,” explains Emily Myers, region director at Briggs, who supervises the employees while on the job.
And were that all, it would be an unquestioned success, but there is also the halo effect of working with these young men and women. Jennifer Briggs, founder and CEO of Briggs & Associates, notes, “Emory Healthcare has embodied the fact that communities are whole only when all members are included and contributing.”
AIN’T NO MOUNTAIN HIGH ENOUGH
For families living in the coffee-farming community of Los Robles, an isolated town in the mountains of northern Nicaragua, access to health care long has been a tricky business.
A much-needed clinic changed that bleak picture and marked a major milestone for the Nicaragua Community Health Connection, a collaboration between local nonprofit Comunidad Connect and Social Enterprise @ Goizueta (SE@G), a program at Roberto C. Goizueta Business School.
Peter Roberts, academic director of SE@G and Goizueta professor of organization and management, has been the prime mover. When Roberts hit 40, he experienced a “midcareer crisis. I wanted my research and teaching to matter in a more tangible way. And that’s how this all started.”
Soon after, he was introduced to Comunidad Connect’s founder, Jon Thompson, an Atlanta native who recently had purchased a coffee farm in Los Robles with several business partners.
“If you believe intellectually that the problem is history, isolation, and endowments — and not specific people or specific behaviors — then you start to think through these issues more structurally,” says Roberts.
Now the SE@G team, which has included several MBA and BBA students, partners with Comunidad Connect on a number of high-impact projects in Nicaragua, developing a social capital framework for community leaders as well as providing assistance with fundraising, planning, and budget development.
For Roberts, building bridges between SE@G and other schools at Emory is a critical next step, and he envisions a productive partnership with the School of Nursing. “When you think about it,” he says, “everything that’s needed in Los Robles sits elsewhere on campus.”
As keynote speaker at the 2014 Emory School of Law Commencement ceremony, civil rights icon and US Representative John Lewis reminded graduates of the role the legal system played in the evolution of the civil rights movement.
“Under the rule of law, we have witnessed what I like to call a nonviolent revolution in America — a revolution of values, a revolution of ideas,” said Lewis, who also delivered the 2014 Commencement address for the University and received an honorary doctor of laws degree. “Our country is a better country and our people are a better people because of the law. So go out there and do your best to seek justice.”
This past year, Emory Law put those ideals into action, establishing the John Lewis Chair in Civil Rights and Social Justice. The chair was made possible through a $1.5 million anonymous donation that will enable Emory Law to conduct a national search for a scholar with an established academic profile and a demonstrated desire to promote the rule of law through the study of civil rights. The law school has committed to raise an additional $500,000 to fund the chair fully.
“Honoring John Lewis — someone who is so important to the conversation on civil rights — is a wonderful way to inspire the Emory community with our ongoing commitment to social justice and academic excellence,” says Robert Schapiro, dean of Emory Law and Asa Griggs Candler Professor of Law.
BREAK DOWN THE WALLS
Members of the Emory community gathered on June 19 at Candler for a prayer vigil in response to the attack on a historic African American church in Charleston, South Carolina.
Attendees filled the Wesley Teaching Chapel to capacity, even standing along the sides and in the back to show support and unity in the wake of the shooting at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church.
Ellen Echols Purdum, Candler’s assistant dean of student life and spiritual formation, spoke the names of each of the shooting victims as nine candles were lit on the altar in their memory.
“We pray especially this day for the souls of our brothers and sisters who have died through violence: Cynthia, Susie, Ethel, DePayne, Clementa, Tywanza, Daniel, Sharonda, and Myra, and for their families, friends, colleagues, and church communities,” Purdum said.
“Take away the arrogance and hatred which infects our hearts, break down the walls that separate us, unite us in bonds of love, and work through our struggle and confusion to accomplish your purposes on earth.”
Other prayers and readings were offered by Barbara Day Miller, associate dean of worship and music, and Angela Johnson and Karen Sawyer, both rising second-year master of divinity students who serve as spiritual life coordinators in Candler’s Office of Student Programming.
The readings were interspersed with periods of quiet prayer and reflection, the silence broken only by the soft sounds of some attendees wiping away tears.
Many attendees remained after the vigil ended, continuing to pray at their seats or coming forward to kneel at the altar. Those present also wrote prayers and condolences in a journal that was sent to Emanuel AME Church.
A GATHERING OF GLOBAL CITIZENS
“Think different,” Steve Jobs of Apple used to intone. For the faculty at the Center for Ethics, doing so comes naturally.
Consider the list of invitees to the BEINGS (short for “Biotech and the Ethical Imagination: A Global Summit”) program this past May. Some of the world’s preeminent scientists and bioethicists were there, of course. But so too were sociology, law, policy, and religion experts.
The goal is to reach global consensus for the direction of biotechnology in the 21st century.
Paul Root Wolpe, director of the Center for Ethics, organized the summit. “The idea is audacious,” he says of the plan to write guidelines within the next eight months. Major topic areas include:
Aspirations and Goals: How should we think about differing goals of biotechnology, from making money to curing disease, from understanding the basic nature of the organic world to promoting human flourishing?
Alien Organisms and New (ID) Entities: Cellular biotechnologies enable us to engineer novel organisms for industrial, environmental, or therapeutic purposes. How might these organisms modify existing social systems and ecosystems, and how do we balance innovation with responsibility?
Bioterror/Bioerror: What are the potential dangers of synthetic biological materials and pathogens in terms of accidents or criminal intent?
Ownership: Should custom- designed genetic material or organisms be subject to patents and copyright?
Donorship: How can government and private-sector entities collaborate to protect donors and create standards for bio and stem-cell banks?
“We do not represent just a single segment of society or government body or special interest,” Wolpe says. “We’re a group of global citizens who believe that for biotechnology to be used successfully, it has to be used ethically.”
SEE A NEED. ACT ON IT.
Any number of Emory students would ask: “Where does the line form?”
The line in question would be to participate in Vision in Action (VIA), a for-credit, yearlong program that pairs Emory students who have a vision for social change with faculty experts who help them realize those ideas.
The program is offered through Emory’s Office of Student Leadership and Service (OSLS). Students who are accepted as VIA fellows begin meeting weekly for independent study with an assigned faculty member throughout fall semester.
In order to apply, VIA fellows must either have already participated in LeaderShape Institute — a weeklong leadership-development program offered through OSLS that allows 60 Emory students to help create a vision for a more just world and learn leadership skills to help facilitate that vision — or they must take it during the spring semester they are enrolled in the program. After LeaderShape, students may then apply to via for additional faculty mentorship and course credits while working toward implementing their vision.
The program began with a visit that Brian Fuller 13C made to Emory lecturer Christine Ristaino. Fuller already had defined his dream: create a curriculum for middle school and high school students based upon self-awareness, self-efficacy, and self-esteem.
Ristaino, who teaches Italian, shared an interest in educational reform and offered a class on the Reggio Emilia approach to learning, an educational philosophy developed in Italy after World War II.
Together, they agreed to partner for an intensive year of independent study, researching self-esteem and its effects on behavior and academics in children with the goal of helping Fuller create the curriculum “that was just sitting inside of him,” Ristaino recalls.
After graduating, Fuller served as the Philadelphia program director for the Dream Program, an agency that promotes mentoring between college students and children in low-income housing developments.
That curriculum he developed while at Emory? He used elements of it on the job in Philadelphia. Today, he is still working to help children using fundamental ideas from that curriculum, now as a teacher at Success Academy Charter Schools in New York City.
Annual Report of the President 2015
PROPELLING EMORY TO THE NEXT LEVEL OF GREATNESS
MESSAGE FROM THE SENIOR VICE PRESIDENT FOR DEVELOPMENT
AND ALUMNI RELATIONS
Senior Vice President for Development and Alumni Relations
Emory’s philanthropic community provides a strong pipeline of resources to fulfill the University’s mission to create, preserve, teach, and apply knowledge in the service of humanity. We are committed to ongoing innovation and collaboration, we are building a solid foundation for growth, and we are proud to have a wide range of supporters by our side. Whether alumni, friends, corporations, foundations, grateful patients, or partner organizations, Emory’s donors are all focused on the same goal — to propel Emory to the next level of greatness. Together with researchers, professors, staff, medical professionals, and program directors, we are leading the way in aligning philanthropic intentions with the strategic investments that make Emory one of the nation’s top research and academic institutions.
For the third year in a row, annual support for the University exceeded $200 million, as donors contributed a record $250 million in gifts and commitments to Emory in 2015. This 17 percent increase over FY14 is a testament to the trust of donors, who recognize Emory as a sound philanthropic investment.
In all, 35,206 generous supporters made gifts or commitments to Emory, adding $52 million to the endowment and enabling Emory to demonstrate measurable impact for years to come. The significant increase in endowment strengthens the University’s financial portfolio, augmenting long-term health and intergenerational equity to sustain the high quality of the educational experience. The remaining $194 million in gifts and commitments went to current-use funds — $40 million more than in FY14. These funds can be put to use right away to advance Emory’s mission, respond to emerging opportunities, and allow the University to plan for both short- and long-term growth.
Emory’s commitment to its philanthropic partnerships requires intentional stewardship of these generous resources. That stewardship aligns the symbiotic relationships of researchers, professors, students, medical professionals, staff, and program directors with trusted and valued donors to bring shared visions to life. Together, we empower Emory to have a greater influence on society by advancing a thoughtful research mission, attracting game-changing faculty, and enrolling students who will alter the landscape of what is possible.
In health sciences, Emory led the way with advanced research in areas that affect the human condition. In FY15, Emory raised more than $199 million to support transformational innovations for health issues that currently affect and will continue to be relevant for populations of all ages. For example, vital research into early detection of Alzheimer’s disease allows Emory to identify risk factors and leads to further breakthroughs such as treatment targets and prevention of the disease in future generations. Its impact is exponential; learning about the risk factors associated with Alzheimer’s and other health concerns helps clarify the relationship among them and shines a light on the growing need for health sciences research.
Gifts to advance this type of discovery have a resounding multiplier effect in potential dollars saved for people around the globe, particularly when combined with the rising cost of health care. With respect to Alzheimer’s alone, the annual price tag to provide care for patients in the United States is expected to grow to $1.2 trillion (in 2014 dollars) by 2050, according to the Alzheimer’s Association. Philanthropic support in health sciences drives Emory’s position as an institution at the forefront of discovery for the cure, treatment, and prevention of disease.
Research is also vital to advancing the University’s mission in areas such as quantum physics and mathematical innovations. Ken Ono — whom you read about in a previous section of the report — is the Asa Griggs Candler Professor of Mathematics and enjoys global recognition for proving previously unsolved theorems that have puzzled mathematicians for centuries.
This level of outstanding leadership advances educational quality. Attracting and retaining the highest caliber of faculty — those who inspire and develop students in the classroom, labs, and beyond while making major contributions to research — requires investment in their success at Emory. Vast opportunities to engage, learn, and apply theories to practice alongside world-class professors and researchers such as Ono position Emory students for success, even during their undergraduate years. This past fiscal year, donors provided generous financial backing to establish 13 new endowed chair, professorship, and lectureship positions and gave more than $205 million in faculty and academic program support, representing a 33 percent increase over FY14. Such investments are essential to ensure that we remain in the vanguard of universities, and they enable Emory to advance pedagogical methods and identify the world’s next big business, social, health, legal, education, and environmental challenges.
Today’s academic marketplace is fiercely competitive. As the costs of education rise, the most talented, ambitious students have a world of options when selecting an institution of higher learning. Scholarships are imperative for Emory to attract the world’s next cohort of leaders, game changers, professionals, and humanitarians. In FY15, financial support for students helped establish 45 new scholarships, which increases Emory’s ability to matriculate top students who will enhance the classroom experience and contribute to thriving communities here at Emory and after they graduate.
Since 2013, Emory alumni, friends, parents, and others have donated more than $135 million toward our Scholarship Endowment Initiative, in some cases providing matching funds to encourage others to join the movement. These funds are transformative, though we still lag far behind our peers. We remain steadfast in our commitment to mitigate the rising burden that students and families face, removing cost from the equation of higher education decisions.
Fiscal year 2015 was indeed a strong year, and Emory could not have had better partners on this philanthropic journey. Donor engagement and generosity are energizing and humbling. Emory is proud of its fundraising success and committed to upholding the drive and integrity for which our students, faculty, alumni, and donors hold us accountable.
LEADING POSITIVE TRANSFORMATION IN THE WORLD
MESSAGE FROM THE EXECUTIVE VICE PRESIDENT FOR BUSINESS
Michael J. Mandl
Executive Vice President for Business and Administration
With the close of FY15, we celebrate not only another year of Emory’s contributions to positive transformation in the world and its continued financial strength but also the conclusion of Emory’s extraordinarily successful 2005–2015 strategic plan.
Through the dedication and hard work of so many, this period comes to a close with record external research funding, undergraduate applications, quality metrics, endowment, philanthropy, and faculty and student engagement. In short, Emory is in a much stronger position to deliver on its mission and achieve its vision today than it was a decade ago.
For example, in FY15, Emory’s researchers, among the best in the world, secured another unprecedented level of external funding — $572.4 million — nearly a 10 percent increase over FY14. These results are all the more impressive as federal funding remains relatively flat and competition for it intensifies. More important than the numbers, Emory research improves the human condition — whether it be through new models of public health, developing drug therapies to treat and prevent disease, or research to reduce childhood mortality dramatically in sub-Saharan Africa and south Asia. Closer to home, research funding drives economic development: for example, 19 high-paying jobs are created in Georgia for every million dollars in research funding Emory secures.
Recognition and support for Emory’s impact also are reflected in the more than $250 million in gifts during FY15. This represents a 17 percent increase over the previous year. The advancement of mission simply would not be feasible without the participation of the University’s 35,000 individual donors.
Coinciding with the completion of the strategic plan, the University also concluded its 10-year master plan in 2015. With roads realigned; trees and greenery planted; and buildings demolished, renovated, and newly constructed, the campus again has been transformed. Among the 20-plus new buildings constructed during the past decade, several opened in FY15:
The Library Service Center,
which was constructed on Emory’s Briarcliff property through a unique joint venture between Emory and the Georgia Institute of Technology. The facility will house a shared collection of millions of materials. In addition to cost-effective archival services, the materials can be seamlessly delivered to either institution on demand, thus freeing up valuable space on the main campuses of both universities.
The Manuscript, Archives, and Rare Book Library
(MARBL), recently named the Stuart A. Rose Manuscript, Archives, and Rare Book Library, opened on the renovated 10th floor of the Woodruff Library. The Rose Library includes an expanded reading room that nearly doubles the workstations available to researchers, dedicated teaching spaces, and room for interactive exhibits.
The Atwood Chemistry Center,
which was expanded by more than one-third, with new space added for interactive teaching and research classrooms and laboratories. This building serves as a key link to the completion of Emory College’s “Science Commons.”
As FY15 came to an end, Emory selected the architectural firm Duda Paine to design a new Campus Life Center, which will complete the transformation of the heart of the University’s main campus.
At the same time, Emory University Hospital’s nine-story bed tower emerged high above the ground on Clifton Road; it will take shape as its opening in 2017 approaches. Based on FY15 results, the new tower is needed more than ever, as Emory Healthcare had the highest volumes and second-highest net-operating margin in its history.
Our approach to health care is driven by mission — research and education, along with innovative and high-end complex care. Emory Healthcare is in a position of strength to confront the headwinds ahead; it enjoys a robust health network, the state’s largest number of affiliated physicians, and an extension of its reach via the “buildout” at Emory Saint Joseph’s Hospital and Emory Johns Creek Hospital, primary care expansion, and a partnership with Select Medical. Even with Emory’s internationally recognized capabilities, a strong presence in the local market, and progress toward adoption of the models required for future success, change in health care is accelerating, and Emory must continue to change in order to thrive.
We close FY15 with both financial strength and strength of mission. It is an important statement because the world needs Emory’s leadership. One of the most rewarding aspects of my role occurs when I am asked to speak to groups at Emory about leadership. I am often asked: What are the characteristics of leaders and what makes some so successful?
Of course, there is no one answer to these questions. Leadership comes in many forms and through many individuals. I see it every day at Emory — in our outstanding students, renowned faculty, physicians, and dedicated staff.
So, what does leadership look like? Watch what happens at Emory. One of the great leadership characteristics of Emory is the way the institution tackles significant world challenges. Emory sees great opportunity to make a positive difference through education, research, and patient care. It is a special place, and I thank all those who care so genuinely and give so much of themselves to advance Emory’s mission.
It is this leadership spirit and the people who espouse it in our community every day that give me great confidence that Emory’s future is even brighter than its past and that the world’s current and future citizens will be the beneficiaries.
A SOLID FOUNDATION OF FINANCIAL STRENGTH
MESSAGE FROM THE VICE PRESIDENT FOR FINANCE
AND CHIEF FINANCE OFFICER
Carol Dillon Kissal
Vice President for Finance and Chief Finance Officer
The financial strength of Emory serves to advance our mission of education, research, scholarship, and delivery of health care. Each year we seek to build on our solid foundation so that we can support the University’s growth and continued intentional investments for the future.
EMORY FINANCIAL TRENDS
Total net assets
Net operating revenues
Nonoperating net revenues (expenses)
Change in net assets related to noncontrolling interests
Change in net assets controlled by Emory
The table above summarizes the key consolidated financial results for FY15 and FY14.
CONSOLIDATED STATEMENT OF FINANCIAL POSITION
Emory’s total assets decreased slightly from $12.6 billion in FY14 to $12.4 billion in FY15, primarily due to decreased market value of investments.
Cash and cash equivalents increased from $557.3 million in FY14 to $607.2 million in FY15. For the fiscal year ended August 31, 2015, total investments decreased to $6.8 billion in FY15 from $7.0 billion in FY14. Interests in perpetual funds held by others decreased $58.5 million, again due to market valuations. Managed funds return for August 31, 2015, was negative 0.51 percent. The chart to the left reflects the total (operating and nonoperating) dollar amount of annual endowment and trust distributions and related market value for the past five years.
Patient accounts receivable increased 7 percent to $367.4 million due to higher volumes and rates for Emory Healthcare. Net contributions receivable decreased by 32 percent to $92.7 million due to pledge payments received during the year.
Emory’s total liabilities were $4.2 billion as of August 31, 2015. Accrued liabilities for benefit obligations and professional liabilities increased by $59.2 million in FY15 to $515.6 million. This increase primarily resulted from the increase in the postretirement and pension plan liability due to actuarial projections and change in the discount rate in FY15.
Long-term debt decreased by $40.6 million, or 2 percent, due to bond payments made as scheduled during the year. The University has various interest rate swap agreements that effectively convert certain variable rate debt to fixed rate to manage interest rate risk. Fluctuations in the fair value of these exchanges occur as interest rates change. The liability for derivative instruments of $150.5 million in FY14 increased to $176.8 million in FY15 and represents the estimated amount the University would pay if it chose to terminate the exchange agreements as of the last day of the fiscal year. The derivatives are performing as intended as a general hedge for short-term interest rates on the University’s variable rate debt. As the derivative instruments approach their maturity dates, the liability will decline accordingly.
CONSOLIDATED STATEMENT OF ACTIVITIES
The change in net assets for FY15 was a decrease of $292 million, from prior-year growth of $880 million, with both years driven primarily by investment-related activities reported in net nonoperating activities. Net operating revenue for FY15 was $4.4 billion, continuing a positive trend that has endured for the past five years despite the challenges in the economic and health care environments.
Emory’s operating revenues remained strong during FY15 as almost all major lines reflected an increase over FY14. Net tuition revenue increased 5 percent to $396.1 million in FY15. Strong enrollments coupled with planned rate increases were the primary drivers of this favorable change.
The University’s endowment spending distribution for operating only and distributions from perpetual funds increased 6 percent to $198.4 million in FY15. The balance of the spending distribution of $73.9 million supports nonoperating activities. The University targets a 4.75 percent annual distribution from the endowment while exercising prudence to protect the donors’ multigenerational support intentions.
Emory’s total sponsored revenue — including indirect cost recoveries, as well as government and other grants and contracts — has increased 2 percent to $486.7 million over the prior year. During FY15 Emory received 2,923 sponsored awards totaling $572.4 million. The total volume of awards is higher than FY14 by 3.9 percent.
The School of Medicine continues to drive research activity with 63 percent of total research awards during FY15. Yerkes and the School of Public Health accounted for 16 percent and 12 percent, respectively, of total award funds, with the remainder driven primarily by Emory College and the School of Nursing.
Net patient revenue increased 6 percent in FY15, driven equally by both the hospitals and the physician practice plans. Emory Healthcare overall had a strong financial performance year with an operating margin of 4.2 percent (before providing support to the School of Medicine). The University’s medical services revenue was favorable by 14 percent due to continued growth in the Emory Medical Care Foundation, which provides physician services at Grady, and the Pediatric Center-leased faculty physicians who provide medical services at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta.
Emory’s total operating expenses increased in FY15 to $4.4 billion, an increase from $4.1 billion in FY14. Salaries and fringe benefits increased 6 percent to $2.7 billion in FY15, mostly driven by planned increases in volume in the schools and in the increased number of Pediatric Center–leased physicians. A significant driver of the higher costs is attributable to the health plan expense related to our employee benefit (primarily prescription drug claims) and post-retirement benefits plan.
Other operating expenses increased 7 percent to $1.3 billion. The primary drivers of this increase were health care supplies, pharmaceuticals, and professional fees from the increased patient volume, systems upgrade costs, and expenses from higher-than-planned student enrollment. Interest expense was $1.2 million or 2 percent higher in FY15 due to less capitalized interest than in the prior year. For FY15, depreciation expense was $6.3 million, or 3 percent higher, than the prior year, which was expected due to placing four new building projects in service in FY14.
Emory’s investment portfolio declined due to less favorable market conditions with both lower investment income and realized gains and higher unrealized losses. In addition, this reflects a negative change in the fair value of derivative instruments of $26.3 million. The nonoperating gifts and contributions were $63.0 million, with operating gifts adding an additional $50 million. Total fundraising — including gifts and future commitments received in FY15 — were $251 million, an increase of 18 percent, as reported by Development and Alumni Relations.
Emory continues to have a relatively strong balance sheet despite the decline this year in the market. Operations were stable and exceeded plans both in the University and in Healthcare. On this solid foundation, we can pursue growth as we make intentional investments that highlight the strategic deployment of resources to advance innovations in education, research, and health care.