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  1. 1. Faculty and Staff Newsletter - Fall 2007 7 Letter from the Chair R. Wayne Alexander, MD, PhD Dear Department of Medicine Faculty & Staff: As we look back over the past year, I am extremely proud of all that you – the faculty and staff of the Department of Medicine – have accomplished. We have once again experienced a year of tremendous growth that included welcoming over 90 new faculty to our department since September 2006. Our financial performance has been solid. We met budget for FY 2007 and continue to be able to reinvest in the Department. Our overall FY 2008 budget is at a record high with a five year growth rate of 63%. As we continue to grow and improve in our three missions - clinical care, education and research - we have heard from you that we need to focus on ways to stay connected as a department and support the professional development of our faculty and staff. Based on your feedback, we continue to expand our Faculty Development programs with an ongoing focus on providing mentorship opportunities to all early career faculty as well as targeted support in the form of seed grants for junior investigators. In addition, we are launching a formal Staff Development program to mirror our successful faculty development efforts and address needs for mentoring, training and recognition across the staff. To enhance connectivity and communication among our numerous divisions and sites, in September we launched a new Grand Rounds series with multi-site videoconferencing. Now many of our faculty and trainees at Emory University Hospital, Crawford Long Hospital, Grady Memorial Hospital and the VA Medical Center can participate in a key departmental educational activity of the week from their “home base”. I strongly encourage each of you to make this weekly event (Tuesdays at 7:30 am) a priority on your schedule. Grand Rounds will be broadcast via videoconferencing from the EUH Auditorium to Crawford-Long (MOT 5th floor, classroom 4); Grady (Faculty Office Building, 101); and VAMC (6th floor corner conference room). This is a time to invest in your own intellectual development as an academician as well as interact with our bright trainees and colleagues. Looking forward, there are many exciting challenges in the days and months ahead. Planning is well underway for a new clinical outpatient building to be located on the Clifton campus. Discussions are also underway concerning opportunities to expand our clinical and research space on the Midtown campus at Crawford Long. Dr. Fred Sanfilippo assumed the role of Executive Vice President for the Woodruff Health Sciences Center earlier this month and brings with him a strong focus on faculty, staff and patient satisfaction, and challenges all of us to contemplate our “leadership legacy” and use it to guide our priorities on a day-to-day basis. IN THIS ISSUE Education Update…pg 2 Research News…pg 4 Update from Grady…pg 3 Faculty Development…pg 5 Administration 1 – Staff Spotlight and Picnic Wrap up …pgs 3- 4
  2. 2. As you know, Grady Health System continues to face significant fiscal challenges as it works to fund its growing debt while continuing to meet the needs of its patients. We have over 125 faculty and staff in the Department of Medicine who work and practice primarily at Grady Hospital or in Grady-based clinics. These are not “Grady doctors or staff”. They are key members of our Department of Medicine family who directly deliver or support the delivery of excellent patient care, outstanding training of residents, fellows and medical students, and important scientific discovery. Leadership at the highest levels of the Department, the School of Medicine, the Woodruff Health Sciences Center and the University is working diligently to develop creative solutions. Within our department, we continue to advocate daily for the mission-critical role of our Grady-based faculty and staff. I remain optimistic that a plan will be developed to support Grady’s long-term existence, and yet I share the concerns of President Wagner and Dean Lawley in that time is very short. We must all continue to present our local representatives and stakeholders with the facts and encourage them to focus on developing an immediate solution rather than engage in delaying tactics. For the latest information regarding the rapidly developing Grady situation, please visit In summary, there is much to celebrate and yet, there is much work still to be done. Each of you – no matter what your specific title, division, rank or area of expertise - contributes each day to making this an outstanding Department of Internal Medicine. I am honored to work with you and offer my sincere thanks for all that you do. Wayne Education Update Joyce Doyle, MD Vice Chair, Education Student Updates: This is the inaugural year of the School of Medicine’s new curriculum spearheaded by Dr. Bill Eley, Executive Associate Dean for Medical Education & Student Affairs and with much input from Curriculum Planning Committee Co-Director, Dr. Carlos del Rio and many other Department of Medicine faculty. Key changes in the new curriculum include early entry into the clinical arena, less time spent in lectures, more time for small group learning, and time for participation in discovery and research. The Department of Medicine is delighted to have its faculty in major leadership roles with Lisa Bernstein, MD serving as Society Leader, and Drs. Kim Manning, Cliff Gunthel, Shanta Zimmer, and Jonathan Flacker appointed as Society Advisors. Dr. Jason Schneider will serve in the role of Adjunct Faculty Member for the Societies. The new academic year has brought many exciting changes to the M3 Internal Medicine Clerkship. More than ever before, our students are going to all of the Emory-affiliated hospitals for their medicine clerkship, including for the first time the hospital wards at Emory University Hospital. Because of the popularity of the subspecialty experience over the past year, all students have the option of doing a 2-week subspecialty “selective” of their choice during the clerkship. This has given our students an opportunity to work with many experts across the Emory community and continues to get positive reviews. Read more… 2
  3. 3. Update from Grady - a healthcare system in crisis Carlos del Rio, MD Vice Chair, Grady Affairs For many of us who have experienced the financial woes of Grady over the last twenty or more years, things seem different lately. However, what you are now reading in the papers almost daily is not necessarily new. The hospital has had four Chief Executive Officers in the last four years (Edward J. Renford, Andrew Agwunobi, John Henry and now Otis Story), and millions of dollars have been spent on three consulting firms hired by the Board of the Fulton-Dekalb Hospital Authority to make recommendations as to how to improve the hospital financial standing. Thus, the crisis is not new but it is certainly acute and is more a reflection of the overall state of healthcare financing in this country than of the circumstances of a specific hospital. Indeed, some say that Grady can be said to be the “canary in the coal mine” of the looming perfect storm in healthcare financing that may eventually bankrupt not only Grady but our healthcare industry. Over the past 15 years, the amount of money that Fulton and Dekalb counties contribute to the Grady budget has not changed much. It was ~ $107 M in 1993 and $105 M in 2005. In the mean time, the population of both counties increased by 26%. So on a per capita basis, the actual contribution has decreased by 22%, from $84.95 per person per year in 1993 to $66.10 per person per year in 2005. During that same time the overall cost of health care doubled and the number of uninsured increased to ~ 20% of the population of Georgia by 2004-05. That’s over 1.6 million uninsured Georgians! In fact, Georgia was one of only eight states to have a statistically significant increase in the uninsured population in 2004-2005 (this year the number is now closer to 1.7 million uninsured). Finally, Grady recently lost about $20 million in disproportionate share hospital (DSH) funding. This is the federal money set aside for hospitals that serve the largest number of patients who are uninsured and can't pay their medical bills. Why did Grady lose DSH funds? The reason is simple, other Georgia hospitals also needed the funds. For example, WellStar Cobb Hospital did not qualify for DSH last year, but this year they are slated to receive approximately $8.5 million. Read more… Administration - Spotlight on Staff Meridith Rentz, MBA, MPH Vice Chair, Administration Welcome back to another academic year in the Department of Medicine! One of the most important aspects to the success of our Department is our staff. In this issue of our newsletter, we want to turn the spotlight on three staff members, highlight their careers at Emory, and give you a chance to get acquainted with your colleagues. Carol Stephens, Human Resources Associate, Sr. Division of Cardiology Carol has been a familiar face with the Division of Cardiology and will celebrate her 17th year with Emory University in January 2008. Before coming to Emory, Carol worked in accounting for Snapper Power Equipment in McDonough, GA. She joined Emory as an accounting clerk, helping to support a growing number of 3
  4. 4. Cardiology faculty and staff members - back then one of the largest and continually growing divisions. The division still remains the Department’s largest and is constantly adding to their numbers. Read more… Picnic Wrap-up! A big THANK YOU to the over 330 guests that attended the 3rd Annual DOM Employee Appreciation Picnic on Saturday, October 13th! The weather was clear, sunny, and in the low 70’s throughout the afternoon at the Great Field at Clairmont Campus. Our guests enjoyed fun activities such as ping-pong, volleyball, mini-golf, a ginormous treehouse-shaped inflatable slide, and BINGO. We had six lucky door prize winners who won prizes that included gift cards to restaurants, movies, and iPod Shuffles! If you were not able to attend, you missed an exciting set of relay races, one of which involved Dr. Wayne Alexander and Dr. Doug Morris racing on scooters. A great big thank you to Anne Nguyen who did a fantastic job coordinating the event and to Events Committee members Karen Gardner and Linda Clarke for all their help. It was great fun had by all, and we look forward to seeing you at next year’s event!! Research Update Dr. Ken Brigham, MD Vice Chair, Research This fall brings another exciting year of opportunity for Emory faculty and staff engaged in research. There are several new K awards in the department, including: Beth McConnell in Digestive Diseases and Igho Ofotokun in Infectious Diseases. All of our junior faculty are to be commended for their continued research efforts. Our senior faculty have been successful as well. Congratulations to Dr. Jeffrey Lennox in Infectious Diseases for being designated as the PI of Emory's new NIH-funded HIV/AIDS Clinical Trials Unit, a primary site nationally in both the AIDS Clinical Trials Group and the HIV Vaccine Trials Network. Furthermore, there are several new RO1s including Frank Anania in Digestive Diseases, Roberto Pacifici in Endocrinology and Chris Yun in Digestive Diseases. Below you will find two exciting programmatic announcements as well as this year’s DOM research awards. Thank you again to everyone for their continued support of our research enterprise. CTSA Awarded Emory has been awarded one of the highly competitive Clinical and Translational Research Awards from the NIH. Dr. David Stephens, Executive Associate Dean for Research, Professor of Medicine and Division Director of Infectious Diseases is the Principal Investigator for this award. The extensive proposed program, titled the Atlanta Clinical and Translational Science Institute involves collaboration with Morehouse School of Medicine as well as with local and state governmental and civic agencies and industrial partners. Numerous members of the Department of Medicine are involved in this program, notably Dr. Jeff Sands, Director of the Division of Renal Diseases and Dr. Arlene Chapman, Professor of Medicine and a member of the Renal Division. This grant for support of research infrastructure will consolidate existing educational and translational research activities and expand the infrastructure into new collaborations and 4
  5. 5. community involvement. It is especially notable that this was Emory’s initial application for this award and funding of an initial application of this magnitude is a complement to the excellence of the investigators and of the herculean effort of designing and articulating the program that Dr. Stephens’ group accomplished. This program will mark a new area in clinical and translational research opportunities at Emory. Grand Opening of the Emory Georgia Tech Center for Health Discovery and Well Being The afternoon of Wednesday, August 29 marked the official grand opening of the Center for Health Discovery and Well Being located in innovatively designed space on the eighteenth floor of the Medical Office Tower on the Emory Midtown (Crawford Long) campus. This is the initial expression of the Predictive Health Institute, a major strategic initiative for the entire university. This translational unit will house a novel effort to define health, identify and validate biomarkers of health and develop and test interventions aimed at keeping people healthy. A large group of Emory and Georgia Tech leaders and faculty as well as business leaders and members of the local print and television press attended a festive reception hosted by Dr. Michael Johns, Chancellor of Emory University and most recently, Executive Vice President for Health Affairs. Dr. Johns’ comments lauded the new center as the future of health care and health related translational research. The Center is directed by Dr. Kenneth Brigham, Vice Chair for Research in the Department of Medicine and a large Technical Advisory Group includes numerous members of the department and is chaired by Dr. Alexander. Congratulations to the faculty members who received the 2007 Department of Medicine Research awards. Be sure to check the Faculty Development Website for the research kudos that are frequently posted. Faculty Development Dr. Kathy Griendling, PhD Vice Chair, Faculty Development The last four months have been busy ones for the Faculty Development Office. We were sad to see the departure of our Program Coordinator, Debra Brown, who left to pursue her degree in marketing full time. We are pleased, however, to welcome Alia Kamel as our new Program Coordinator. Alia comes to us from the Emory University Central Human Resources and brings a wealth of experience from Emory as well as other corporations. Her experiences in recruiting, project management and human resources administration will be invaluable to us as we move forward with the Faculty Development Program. You can reach Alia at 404-712-0855 or at When you have an opportunity, please stop by to meet her and welcome her to our team. The end-of-the-year celebratory grand rounds was inspiring as we celebrated the accomplishments of our gifted faculty. Elsewhere in the newsletter you can read about the research and teaching awards, and we would like to congratulate Dr. Alan Dollar for Outstanding Service- Assistant Professor, Dr. Rafael Perez for Outstanding Service - Associate Professor, and Dr. Joyce (Lisa) Tenover for Outstanding Service - Professor. In addition, Dr. Vincent Yang was honored for his superb mentoring of Early Career Faculty. We are fortunate to have such talented individuals in the department. 5
  6. 6. We recently held our new faculty orientation, followed by a welcome dinner at the beautiful home of Dr. Greg Martin. It was great to meet many of you and to hear about your career plans. Please check the website ( to read about our newest faculty, and help us to welcome them to the department. Profiles are updated monthly. To help our new faculty become familiar with policies and procedures at Emory, we created a faculty desktop reference that includes information about the departmental leadership, promotion policies, mentoring, School of Medicine faculty policies, as well as scholarship, teaching and service opportunities. Even faculty who have been at Emory for several years have found it useful. A copy is available on the website. We are beginning to plan our 2008 initiatives in faculty development. High on the list is implementing the recommendations of the FAME (for Fostering the Academic Mission in the Emory DOM) taskforce, due out later this month. This task force was charged with identifying the barriers to clinical scholarship and education, and proposing solutions to be adopted in the coming years. This is an issue critical to all of us, and we are eagerly awaiting the final report. We are also investigating bridge funding options to carry us through these lean times at the NIH, and will be making recommendations to Dr. Alexander next month. Finally, we are working with Meridith Rentz on a plan to improve the grant routing process for the department. Special Congratulations: Dr. Carlos del Rio, Vice Chair of Grady Affairs and Professor in Infectious Diseases, was recently elected to the Board of Directors of the HIV Medicine Association. The Association’s mission is to meet the needs and advocate on behalf of HIV medicine providers and the patients they serve. Dr. del Rio was also named one of Atlanta’s most influential international residents by Atlanta Magazine in the October 2007 edition. Dr. Jason Schneider, Assistant Professor in General Medicine, was inaugurated last month as National President of the Gay and Lesbian Medical Association (GLMA). GLMA works to ensure equality in health care for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) individuals and health care professionals. Congratulations on these outstanding honors! Education Update Continued: Emory School of Medicine was recently named one of six universities to receive a Robert Wood Johnson grant on Palliative Care Medical Student Education. Because of this, all students on the Internal Medicine Clerkship rotate on a Palliative Care service for one week. This opportunity has brought together the multiple faculty members who are palliative care experts and has given our students a rare opportunity to learn this important aspect of patient care. Other exciting news about the clerkship is the creation of our website on Blackboard, and the transition to One45 for our evaluation system. These are currently being introduced and will be expanded in the future. These systems come at a good time as the Liaison Committee of Medical Education (LCME) site visit is around the corner in March 2008. We have been very busy preparing for this and completing our internal review of the clerkship. The LCME preparation has forced us to re-evaluate our clerkship and introduce some needed changes, including more student observations, required patient encounters, feedback documentation, and more self- reflection of performance. 6
  7. 7. We want to thank everyone for making the student experience great as we have been told by the Dean’s office that Internal Medicine got great reviews from the student committee of the LCME review. We are in the process of sending out letters to all faculty who have received evaluations from students, summarizing the feedback. We look forward to increasing communication between us and the faculty and housestaff with Blackboard in the near future. Residency Update: The J Willis Hurst Internal Medicine Residency proudly graduated 51 residents in June 2007; 43 from the Categorical and 8 from the Primary Care Tracks. Fifty one percent of graduates selected subspecialty careers, matching into top fellowships nationally: 9 in Cardiology, 4 each in Gastroenterology and Nephrology, 3 in Hematology and Oncology and Infectious Diseases, 2 in Pulmonary/Critical Care, and 1 in Rheumatology. Of the residents who chose General Medicine careers, 40% selected careers with an outpatient focus, and 60% selected Hospitalist careers. For career trends among our graduates please see As per tradition, about half of our graduates have chosen to stay at Emory for either fellowship or a general medicine faculty position. We continue to have a remarkable 99% 3-year pass rate on the American Board of Internal Medicine Exam, one of the highest pass rates in the nation, and our residents remain highly sought after in the fellowship and job market nationally. On June 20th, Subspecialty Match Day, 30 PGY2 and 6 PGY3 fellowship applicants celebrated a highly successful match, getting their top choices in highly competitive fields: 16 in Cardiology, 8 in Gastroenterology, 5 in Hematology and Oncology, 4 in Pulmonary and Critical Care, 3 in Infectious Diseases. This is in addition to the non-Match specialties where we secured 1 Endocrinology and 1 Nephrology positions. For the 2007-8 academic year, the Department of Medicine enthusiastically welcomes an exceptionally talented group of new interns with the best match in over a decade. The class consists of 51 new Categorical, 10 Primary Care, 6 Preliminary and 24 Transitional PGY1 residents representing 50 different medical schools from 17 US states and 6 foreign countries. Residency Leadership: We are delighted to have the commitment and dedication of 6 Associate Program Directors (APDs) for the Residency Program. Dr. Lorenzo DiFrancesco continues to provide superb leadership and teaching in his role as APD at Grady and Dr. Stacy Higgins continues as Director of the Primary Care Residency Track and Director of Ambulatory Medicine. We have four new APDs who have joined the team this year: Dr. Dan Dressler at Emory is overseeing the Evidence Based Medicine and Medical Informatics curriculum; Dr. Kevin Galpin has spearheaded new initiatives in residency education at the VA; Dr. Val Akopov is leading efforts at Crawford Long Hospital; and Dr. Ursula Whalen is overseeing our educational initiatives in Quality Improvement as well as our ambulatory didactic series. Dr. W. Robert Taylor will continue as Director of the Residency Research Track, a highly competitive separate track within the Categorical Program, for those interested in Clinician Scientist Careers. We are excited to announce our NEW combined residency program for Internal Medicine and Psychiatry. The program is 5 years, and the residents split their time equally between Internal Medicine rotations and Psychiatry rotations. Residents who complete the combined program will be eligible for both Internal Medicine board certification and Psychiatry board certification. There are approximately ten combined Medicine-Psychiatry programs in the country and we anticipate Emory will be one of the best. We will be accepting 2 residents per year as of July 2008. The Combined Internal Medicine- Psychiatry residency program director will be Kellie Clearo, MD and 7
  8. 8. co-director Raymond Young, MD. For more information, please contact Kellie Clearo at We welcome our 2007-2008 Chief Medical Residents who were selected for their outstanding patient care, teaching, and leadership skills, Rob Cole at Emory Hospital, Lewis Satterwhite and Rachel DelFavero at Grady Memorial Hospital, Ali Kashkouli at the Atlanta VA and Stephen May at Crawford Long Hospital. In addition, we welcome Bernadette “Mariama” Cotrell, to the residency administrative team. On June 5th, we held the First Annual Emory Internal Medicine Residency Performance Improvement Conference. The event was the culmination of our new Performance Improvement Curriculum involving approximately 150 residents in the Grady Primary Care Center Continuity Clinic. Residents presented 10 posters reflecting their teams’ efforts using the Plan-Do-Check-Act model in improving exercise and nutrition counseling for patients with hypertension. In addition to Dr. R. Wayne Alexander, our special guest was Dr. Michael Johns who provided support for both the project and the event. This year we are kicking off a NEW Residency Distinctions Program to encourage and recognize excellence in several broad based areas. Residents who meet defined criteria for excellence in these distinctions areas will receive a diploma at graduation indicating achievement of the distinction. Faculty and staff who are interested in assisting with program development or serving in a leadership role are invited to contact Dr. Doyle at We see this as a way to bring together faculty, staff and trainees with similar interests and to inspire and encourage excellence: 1. Distinction in Medical Education involves demonstrating excellence in teaching others. It includes demonstration of excellence in clinical or classroom teaching, medical writing, or public speaking. Within this distinction, Dr. Hurst has graciously offered to provide a $500 award for the “Best Medical Writing.” 2. Distinction in Research involves demonstrating excellence in clinical or basic research activities. 3. Distinction in Medical Informatics involves demonstration of excellence in information technology, web development. 4. Distinction in Volunteerism and Community Service involves demonstration of active participation and leadership in programs to promote the health and well-being of our surrounding community. 5. Distinctions in Quality Improvement involves demonstration of attainment of knowledge and skills and active participation and leadership in quality improvement initiatives. 6. Distinctions in Global Health involves active participation in initiatives to promote health of our global community both internationally and locally. Subspecialty Fellowships: The subspecialty fellowship programs had an outstanding fellowship match this past year and continue to be among the most competitive nationally. The Department of Medicine is the home to many truly outstanding teachers and we congratulate the faculty, fellow, and resident recipients of the 2006-2007 teaching awards. Click here to view the awardees honored at the final Grand Rounds session of the academic year in June. Faculty Update: We wish to focus this year on maximizing bidirectional communication with our faculty. We will be holding faculty meetings at each of the four major hospitals over the coming months. The dates, times, and locations will be announced on the faculty listserv and will be 8
  9. 9. advertised at each hospital. Please attend and bring your ideas for improving medical education at any or all levels, from student to resident and fellow to faculty development. We greatly appreciate our outstanding faculty and staff and wish to make Emory a most vibrant and exciting place to learn and teach medicine. Thank you all so very much. Update from Grady continued: This past spring the Fulton-Dekalb Hospital Authority asked the Atlanta Chamber of Commerce to set up a Blue Ribbon Committee made up of business leaders to advise the Grady leadership as to the best pathway to follow to address the issues that threaten the Grady Health System. This Greater Grady Task Force was co-chaired by Pete Correll, former Chairman of Georgia Pacific and Michael B. Russell, CEO of H.J. Russell and Company. The Taskforce report was released on July 13th and consists of nine recommendations in three broad categories: Governance, Funding and Community Support. The Task Force recognized the urgent need for Grady to receive $120 million in short term cash plus $370 million to accomplish a two-year turnaround (which includes $250 million in badly needed capital improvements) and an additional $50 million per year to cover operating deficits. However, the cornerstone recommendation of the Task Force was for a new governance structure. Changing the way that the hospital is governed by converting its legal structure to a nonprofit 501(c)3 model, as every other urban hospital in Georgia, was considered to be a first critical step. The conversion to a 501(c)3 would allow the hospital to obtain additional financing that it currently can not have access to. So why has there been such reluctance to the change in governance structure from some of our elected officials? Changing the status quo is always painful, especially in such a large critical institution as Grady. However, the dramatically changing health care climate will require the board to step outside of their comfort zone for the sake of a good outcome. Every other public hospital in Georgia has made this switch. It is not "privatization" and in fact, may lead to even more accountability and transparency to the public, not less. In summary, I am convinced that while the situation seems critical, the path to recovery of Grady hospital is clear and, if followed, will ensure the long term financial and operational health of the hospital. What is now needed is the political will of the counties and the hospital board to accept that “business as usual” is no long acceptable and that the future of Grady requires them to make some politically unpalatable but important changes in governance. Their inaction would be disastrous and, if Grady were to close, could lead to a “patient tsunami” that will have a far reaching impact on Atlanta and beyond. I would urge all of you in the Department of Medicine (faculty, fellows, residents and staff) to contact your elected officials and urge them to accept the Task Force recommendations. Spotlight on staff continued… Carol has had seven different roles in Cardiology over the years. Currently, she has become involved with managing the human resources for the division. One of her favorite aspects about her job is the people. “I’m a people person!” she says. Carol enjoys meeting new faculty and staff and helping them with their concerns and requests. She makes an attempt to be personal with everyone, as evident with the pictures of children from faculty and staff members that she displays prominently in the break room. Two people Carol credits with making her experience so enjoyable are Drs. R. Wayne Alexander and David Harrison. Their kindness, compassion, and dedication to the department have made her years at Emory especially meaningful. When she is away from the office, Carol enjoys spending time with her family and is actively involved with her church. She has taught Sunday school for the past 30 years and is the 9
  10. 10. president of the Women’s Ministries for her congregation. In the future, Carol hopes to travel and do mission work when she retires. Steve Zaubi, Associate Director of Finance Department of Medicine Administration Steve Zaubi is one of the most recent members of our staff and is the new Associate Director of Finance for the Department. Steve is new to the academic medicine world, having worked with corporations such as Novelis, Home Depot, and Delta prior to coming to Emory. He also served as a missionary in Paris, France and west Africa. Originally from Ohio, Steve holds an MBA from Case Western Reserve University and an MIM (Master in International Management) from the Thunderbird School of Global Management. As a new employee, one aspect of Department life that he appreciates is the friendly, supportive, and team-oriented environment. Outside of his new duties, Steve spends time with his wife and three children and enjoys reading and running. Natalie Thorn, Lead Research Specialist Division of Pulmonary Medicine Natalie has been a part of the Department of Medicine since December 2002, beginning as a surgery vet tech and transferring to Pulmonary Medicine several years ago. Prior to coming to Emory, Natalie was an emergency room veterinarian technician for 10 years. She currently holds the role of lead research specialist, monitoring lab animals, harvesting and processing tissue, and preparing slides. Her lab’s current research project focuses on endotoxin-induced acute lung injury. As part of Dr. Richard Parker’s lab, Natalie feels the best part about her occupation is her colleagues. “I work with a great group of lab members,” she says. Her lab colleagues have a great sense of humor and help in adding fun to the daily lab routine. Outside of the lab, Natalie spends time with her three daughters and Gabby, her Australian shepherd. She has trained Gabby to catch Frisbees and entered in several Frisbee dog throwing competitions throughout the state, placing in the top three in several competitions. Natalie has also volunteered with an Australian shepherd rescue group for two years and has found homes for 4 dogs. In addition to rescuing dogs, Natalie has also had an interest in horses – she has trained and participated in barrel and speed races. In the future, she hopes to become involved in rescuing horses. 10