Joe Sharma Appointed to McGarity Chair

August 2019

Joe Sharma, MD, associate professor of general and endocrine surgery and Emory Surgery's chief quality officer, has been appointed the William C. McGarity Chair of Surgery. After joining the department in 2006, Dr. Sharma became a prime mover in fine-tuning its clinical culture of quality and safety, influencing such milestones as Emory University Hospital being recognized in 2017 by the American College of Surgeons National Surgical Quality Improvement Program (ACS NSQIP) for achieving meritorious outcomes in surgical patient care.

The chair is named in honor of William McGarity, MD, who passed away on September 30, 1997. George W. Woodruff inaugurated the McGarity Chair in 1983.

Dr. McGarity was a former chief of surgery at Emory University Hospital and one of the founding members of The Emory Clinic, where he maintained a large general surgery practice until his retirement in 1992. He received many honors in the fields of endocrine surgery and inflammatory bowel disease, and conducted important studies of hyperparathyroid cases that contributed to a greater understanding of multiglandular parathyroid disease.

In 1973, Dr. McGarity established the Enterostomal Therapy Nursing Education Program at Emory, now known as the Wound, Ostomy, and Continence Nursing Education Center, to educate nurses from around the world in specialty care for patients with acute and chronic wounds, standard and continent diversions, and fecal and urinary incontinence.

Collin Weber, MD, professor of surgery emeritus, had been the chair holder since 1994. Dr. Weber worked closely with Dr. McGarity in both clinical and research settings, and conducted seminal investigations that resulted in significant contributions to the field of diabetes research, including being among the first diabetes investigators to examine both cross-species islet transplantation and the protective encapsulation of transplanted islets.

Dr. Sharma has been the steward of Emory University Hospital's partnership with ACS NSQIP since 2009. He oversaw the initiation and subsequent collection of data from EUH's surgical service lines that established the patient database which is the primary source for the risk-adjusted and benchmarked outcomes received from ACS NSQIP. These outcomes reports are a primary catalyst for Emory Surgery's improvement efforts.

Dr. Sharma also founded the Wound Infection Group, or WIG, which worked successfully to reduce the incidence of surgical site infections at EUH after colon surgery, and provided a blueprint for many of Emory Surgery's quality improvement projects.