Notable News from the Department of Surgery

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Notable News from the Department of SurgeryMarch 27, 2020

Message from DOS Chair John Sweeney: Keep doing what you’re doing

While battling the COVID-19 pandemic is not the type of mettle-testing mechanism any community would wish for, we find ourselves having to do just that as we grapple with a situation that resists our control and demands heightened vigilance, awareness, adaptability, and resilience. And everywhere I look, I see our people doing their absolute best to do what brought us to Emory in the first place.
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Rachel Patzer's familial isolation tweet receives national attention
The story on Dr. Patzer's tweet has been picked up by multiple news outlets, including USA Today, CNN, The Hill, and the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, and inspired recognition from former President Obama. Dr. Patzer and her husband, Emory emergency medicine physician Dr. Justin Schrager, were also interviewed by Dr. Sanjay Gupta on the March 20th edition of CNN's Coronavirus: Fact vs. Fiction podcast and NPR's Morning Edition.
Read Story in USA Today
Emory helps build free online tool to assess COVID-19 risk
The free tool was designed by Vital software with guidance from Emory Department of Emergency Medicine's Health DesignED Center and the Emory Office of Critical Event Preparedness and Response. The new tool allows anyone to assess how likely it is that they have contracted the novel coronavirus. makes it easy for the general public to self-triage and is designed, in part, to prevent a surge of patients at hospitals and healthcare facilities.
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Emory Surgery places 6th in 2019 NIH funding rankings

According to ranking tables of annual NIH funding posted by the Blue Ridge Institute for Medical Research, the Emory Department of Surgery placed sixth for all departments of surgery nationwide in total research funding from the National Institutes of Health in FY2019, with faculty in the department receiving over $13.7M in grants.
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Sheryl Gabram-Mendola transitions from Emory Surgery and Grady, Keith Delman to serve as interim surgeon-in-chief
Sheryl Gabram-Mendola, MD, MBA, will transition from her clinical role in the Department of Surgery as well as her leadership positions and clinical work at Grady Memorial Hospital as surgeon-in-chief, chief of the Division of Emory Surgery at Grady, deputy director of the Georgia Cancer Center for Excellence at Grady, and director of the Avon Comprehensive Breast Center at Grady as of April 16th, 2020, at which point Keith Delman, MD, will begin serving as interim surgeon-in-chief at Grady.
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Matthew Clifton appointed new chief of Division of Pediatric Surgery
Matthew Clifton, MD, served as interim chief of the Division of Pediatric Surgery for more than two years, following the decision of former chief Mark Wulkan, MD, to step down so he could direct more focus on his role as surgeon-in-chief of Children's Healthcare of Atlanta. Dr. Clifton has also developed and led the pediatric general surgery fellowship since 2013. "The search committee interviewed several of the country's most well-established and up and coming pediatric general surgery leaders, and Dr. Clifton rose to the top of the candidate pool," says John Sweeney, MD, chair of Emory Surgery.
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Patient Jalen Richardson and the Burn Unit's Walter Ingram and Juvonda Hodge featured in riveting immersive story

After suffering third-degree burns over 60 to 70 percent of his body from a fiery motorcycle accident, Jalen Richardson spent 14 months in the Grady Burn Center under the care of its multidisciplinary team, headed up by Walter Ingram, MD, medical director of the center, and Juvonda Hodge, MD, assistant medical director. This riveting account of Jalen's journey back to wellness vividly documents the many steps and phases undertaken by one of the largest and most highly rated burn centers in the country to treat burns of this magnitude, and reminds us that patient determination is essential to recovery.
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Craig Coopersmith named Master of Critical Care Medicine
Craig Coopersmith, MD, was inducted as a Master of Critical Care Medicine (MCCM) of the American College of Critical Care Medicine during the Society of Critical Care Medicine’s 49th Critical Care Congress. This is the highest designation one can have in critical care, and is awarded to an individual who has achieved national and international professional prominence through personal character, leadership, eminence in clinical practice, and outstanding contributions to research and education in the field.
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Jahnavi Srinivasan wins Philip Wolfson Outstanding Teacher Award
General and GI surgeon Jahnavi Srinivasan, MD, who will succeed Keith Delman, MD, as program director of the Emory general surgery residency effective June 23, 2020, has been named to receive the Association of Surgical Education's Philip J. Wolfson Outstanding Teacher Award. Dr. Srinivasan is the second faculty member to be honored with the Wolfson Award. Barbara Pettitt, MD, director of medical student education, received it in 2009.
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Tim Buchman-led federal study finds surge in sepsis is straining providers
The number of elderly Americans hospitalized for sepsis has increased dramatically, placing significant financial strain on the nation's health care providers, according to a new federal study led by Emory critical care specialist Timothy Buchman, MD, PhD, FCCM. The study is the first to analyze large amounts of Medicare data related to sepsis. The analysis revealed a 40 percent increase in the rate of Medicare beneficiaries hospitalized with sepsis over the past seven years, an escalation that was faster than the overall growth in the Medicare population, and the associated costs totaled more than $41B in 2018. "The huge rise in admissions came from patients who had sepsis when they arrived at the hospital," says Dr. Buchman. The study team's analysis documents high mortality for patients hospitalized with sepsis.
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Mandy Ford senior author of study that describes immune control via Fc receptors
For a study published in Immunity, senior author Mandy Ford, PhD, scientific director of the Emory Transplant Center; co-first authors Anna Morris, immunology and molecular pathogenesis graduate student (pictured with Dr. Ford), and Carla Farley, MD, general surgery resident; and other Emory transplant researchers probed the functions of Fc receptors on T cells in mice and also examined markers from a kidney transplant trial. They identified a control mechanism used by the immune system to tamp down chronic inflammation, providing insight into how some people were able to stop taking immunosuppressive drugs after kidney transplant. The findings may also be important for a full understanding of how many drugs for cancer and autoimmune disorders (therapeutic antibodies) work.
Read the Study in Immunity
New Faculty: Thomas S. Granchi, MD, MBA
Dr. Thomas Granchi is chief of burn surgery at Grady Memorial Hospital. Before assuming his Emory appointment, he served as the medical director of the burn treatment center at the University of Iowa. He was a general surgeon in the U.S. Army Reserve Medical Corps from 2006-2017, and did two deployments to Iraq, two to Afghanistan, and one to Kosovo.
Dr. Granchi's Faculty Profile
New Faculty: Chrystal M. Paulos, PhD
Prior to joining Emory, Dr. Chrystal Paulos was the Cecilia and Vincent Peng Endowed Chair in Melanoma at the Medical University of South Carolina. The objective of her research is to develop novel T cell-based therapies for patients with melanoma. Her lab seeks to identify mechanisms underlying protective immunity in solid tumors with an emphasis on adoptive T cell transfer (ACT) therapy.
Dr. Paulos' Faculty Profile

Rachel Lee wins Best Visual Abstract at 2020 SESC

Rachel Lee, MD, MSPH, a surgical resident on research sabbatical under the mentorship of surgical oncologists Maria Russell, MD, and Shishir Maithel, MD, won the Best Visual Abstract Award at the 2020 Annual Scientific Meeting of the Southeastern Surgical Congress. The illustration accompanied her podium presentation, "The evolving landscape of hepatocellular carcinoma: A United States safety net collaborative analysis of etiology of cirrhosis."
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Parth Patel receives TSF Resident Research Fellowship Award
Parth M. Patel, MD, has been selected to receive a Thoracic Surgery Foundation Resident Research Fellowship Award, which will support research he is conducting at the Center of Transplantation Sciences at Massachusetts General Hospital. He will work under the guidance of Joren C. Madsen, MD, DPhil, co-director of CTS and director of the MGH Transplant Center.
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Abe Matar and Brendan Lovasik recognized with ATC Young Investigator Awards
Abe Matar, MD, and Brendan Lovasik, MD, general surgery residents on research sabbatical in the transplant immunology laboratory of transplant surgeon-scientist Andrew Adams, MD, PhD, were each selected for Young Investigator Travel Awards for the 2020 American Transplant Congress, to be held in Philadelphia in May 2020.
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Molly Elson and Elorm Agra selected for STS Scholarships
Elorm Agra and Molly Elson were recipients of the Society of Thoracic Surgeons Looking to the Future Scholarship, which is awarded to aspiring cardiothoracic surgeons to underwrite expenses for attending the STS Annual Meeting, held in New Orleans from January 25-January 28. Mr. Agra, a PhD student majoring in biomedical engineering, works in the Structural Heart Disease Research and Innovation Laboratory of Muralidhar Padala, PhD. Ms. Elson, a third year medical student, is being mentored by Allan Pickens, MD, program director for the Division of Cardiothoracic Surgery.
Ben Hazen awarded GSACS Fellowship
Ben Hazen, MD, PGY-2 surgical resident, received a Georgia Society of the American College of Surgeons (GSACS) Fellowship to attend the American College of Surgeons 2020 Leadership and Advocacy Summit in Washington, DC, March 28-31. Unfortunately, this ninth annual summit was canceled due to COVID-19. In his consideration letter for the fellowship, Dr. Hazen wrote, "As my role will quickly change from junior to senior resident, I hope to help align my program's growth to that of the College's. I am excited to learn about local and universal healthcare issues, and how influential decisions makers are working to improve these discrepancies."

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