Emory Surgery newsletter Department of Surgery of the Emory University School of Medicine


CONTENTS spacer spacer spacer spacer spacer spacer spacer spacer spacer spacer spacer spacer spacer spacer spacer spacer spacer spacer spacer spacer spacer spacer spacer spacer spacer
Dr. David Feliciano accepting the 2011 Grady Healthcare Heroes Award
Dr. Feliciano accepting the 2011 Grady Healthcare Heroes Award

Dr. Gabram named new Surgeon-in-Chief of Grady Memorial Hospital

Dr. Sheryl Gabram
Dr. Gabram at the ribbon-cutting ceremony for the Marcus Trauma Center

Dr. Sheryl Gabram, a renowned breast surgical oncologist and professor of surgery at Emory University's Winship Cancer Institute and School of Medicine, adds another distinguished title to her professional honors: Surgeon-in-Chief at Grady Memorial Hospital.

"We are thrilled that Dr. Gabram has accepted this important role," says Dr. Chris Larsen, chair of the Department of Surgery. "She brings a wealth of diverse training experiences, a track record of commitment to underserved inner city populations, and vitality to this appointment."

Since joining Emory's faculty in 2005, Dr. Gabram has led numerous initiatives focused on decreasing disparities for breast cancer, established a high profile breast surgical oncology fellowship, and directed the highly successful Avon Comprehensive Breast Center at Grady — a program that has secured over $10 million in funding from the Avon Foundation. In 2009 Dr. Gabram was appointed to Deputy Director of the Georgia Cancer Center for Excellence (GCCE) at Grady and was instrumental in earning the coveted accreditation by the American Cancer Society Commission on Cancer in 2010.

Dr. Gabram earned her medical degree at Georgetown University School of Medicine in Washington, D.C., and completed her residency at the Washington Hospital Center, where she was inspired to pursue training in trauma and critical care. After completing a fellowship at Hartford Hospital, Dr. Gabram served as assistant director of trauma at the University of Connecticut for eight years. She also holds a Masters of Business Administration from that institution. Prior to Emory Dr. Gabram was professor of surgery and vice chairman of education and program director of the general surgery residency at Loyola University Medical Center in Maywood, Illinois.

Named one of America's Top Doctors for nine consecutive years and one of America's Top Cancer Doctors for seven consecutive years, Dr. Gabram has authored over 75 peer reviewed journal publications and has received the Arthur G. Michel, MD Award for Excellence in Breast Care from the Y-ME National Breast Cancer Organization.

"Over the past two decades," says Dr. Gabram, "I have witnessed the transformation of Grady Surgery, which has resulted in a nationally recognized trauma, burn, critical care, and emergency surgery program with accompanying training fellowships. It is an honor to be selected to lead a program with such a strong foundation. My intent is to build on our strengths while developing and expanding the programs in vascular, cardiac, minimally invasive, oncologic, and plastic surgery in the years to come. I look forward to working with this team of superb surgeons to fulfill the surgical missions of both Grady and Emory."

Dr. Gabram succeeds Dr. David Feliciano, who had served as Surgeon-in-Chief at Grady since 1994. A master surgeon and luminary in the fields of vascular and abdominal trauma and surgical critical care, Dr. Feliciano's teaching impact is unrivaled. He co-edited the 1st edition of Shock in 1987, which became an essential textbook in the field currently in its 6th edition; co-edited the 1st edition of Acute Care Surgery: Principles and Practice in 2007; and is on the editorial boards of such high profile journals as The American Surgeon.

back to top

double rule

Expanded Trauma Center at Grady increases efficiency and accessibility

Drs. Wu, Salomone, Attalah, and Haley at Grady
One of the new trauma bays with Drs. Daniel Wu, Jeffrey Salomone, Hanty Attalah, and Leon Haley

Considering that the Level I Trauma Center and state Center of Excellence at Grady Memorial Hospital has over 3,000 trauma admissions annually, 27 percent with penetrating injuries, it was becoming more paramount that its cramped quarters be updated so that it could maintain its tradition of providing state-of-the art care while continuing to move patients quickly and safely through the system.

On October 21, 2011, a ribbon-cutting ceremony was held for the hospital's new Marcus Trauma Center, marking the completion of a long overdue renovation and expansion project primarily made possible by a generous gift from The Marcus Foundation. Costing approximately $7 million, the new center has increased the number of major trauma resuscitation bays from four to seven and added eight minor to moderate trauma rooms. The expansion also allows for the treatment of up to 16 patients, two per trauma bay, if a mass casualty situation should arise.

Despite the fact that Grady's trauma resuscitation bays had become weathered and its resources stretched over the years, the quality of its often life-saving care was never in doubt. This refurbishment will enhance the trauma team's efficiency, allow for growth in services, and nurture heightened research and educational potential.

"Grady is a tremendous asset to this community," says Bernie Marcus, chair of The Marcus Foundation. "It is for the good of all citizens, hospitals, and services that Grady remain the premier Level 1 Trauma Center in the region and be able to respond to increasing demand with the most up-to-date facilities and technologically advanced equipment to go with its highly skilled medical personnel."

The Marcus Foundation donated $20 million to Grady in 2009 to improve care to trauma and acute neurological injury victims. The money was used to create the Marcus Stroke and Neuroscience Center, which opened in March of 2010, and the decidedly modern Marcus Trauma Center, which is scheduled to be fully operational and receiving patients by mid-November 2011.

back to top

double rule


SAPIEN Heart Valve
spacer spacer spacer spacer

FDA approves innovative valve for treatment of aortic stenosis

The FDA has approved the SAPIEN transfemoral transcatheter heart valve, which is expected to revolutionize the treatment of severe aortic stenosis in those patients considered inoperable by traditional surgical technique. Developed by Edwards Lifesciences, the valve offers a new non-surgical treatment known as transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR) for patients with failing aortic valves. Since 2007, Drs. Robert Guyton and Vinod Thourani, in cooperation with Emory interventional cardiologists Drs. Peter Block and Vasilis Babaliaros, have been the Local Surgical Co-PIs of the Emory University Hospital-based location of the nationwide, multi-center trial that laid the groundwork for the FDA's decision.

TAVR is a groundbreaking, non-invasive method of replacing diseased aortic heart valves in patients suffering from severe aortic stenosis that are too frail or sick to withstand the traditional open-heart surgical approach. The life threatening heart condition affects tens of thousands of Americans each year when the aortic valve tightens or narrows, preventing blood from flowing through normally.

Study results published in the September 2010 and June 2011 editions of the New England Journal of Medicine showed reduced mortality among patients treated with TAVR and concluded that the procedure should be the new standard of care for patients who are unable to undergo traditional therapies.

"This landmark trial and consequent approval by the FDA of the transfemoral aortic valve replacement device will radically alter the management of the inoperable, yet viable patient population with severe aortic stenosis," said Dr. Thourani. "For the first time, we will be able to provide a truly surgical treatment for aortic stenosis, without the deleterious aspects of cardiopulmonary bypass and a median sternotomy. We are fortunate that our multi-disciplinary heart valve team of cardiologists and cardiac surgeons will be able to provide this innovative technology to the citizens of Atlanta and our patients here at Emory University."

Further information regarding this technology should be addressed to 404-686-2513.

back to top

double rule
Dr. Vega and his surgical team
Dr. Vega and his team performing a VAD implantation
Heartmate II

The Joint Commission certifies VAD program

The Joint Commission (TJC) has awarded Emory's ventricular assist device (VAD) program Disease Specific Care Certification for Destination Therapy for the second time and identified no requirements for improvement. This approval is necessary for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to continue providing reimbursement for the care of destination therapy VAD patients at Emory Hospital. Destination therapy is a treatment for heart failure patients who need VADs as permanent therapy rather than as a bridge to heart transplantation or to candidacy on the heart transplant waiting list.

"Congratulations to the heart team for a superb team effort," says Dr. David Vega, surgical director of the program. "TJC commended Emory for the scope and depth of its VAD program and the team's commitment to heart failure patients and consistently maintaining such a high standard of care." Dr. Duc Nguyen is also a surgeon with the team, which includes VAD coordinators and nurse practitioners Ann Pekarek and Kris Wittersheim.

Emory implanted its first left ventricular device in 1988 and began using the HeartMate II in May 2007. TJC first awarded the VAD program certification for destination therapy in August 2009.

The VAD program is currently providing care to 27 patients who have received implants for final destination therapy and an additional eight patients who have received implants as successful bridges to transplants. Emory implants the HeartMate II and HeartWare devices as a bridge to transplantation or destination therapy.

back to top

double rule


Brandon and Cheri Hayes two weeks after the transplant
Brandon and Cheri Hayes two weeks after the transplant

Dramatic parent-to-child transplant at CHOA

Jaundiced and experiencing severe stomach pains, four-year-old Brandon Hayes arrived at Children's Healthcare of Atlanta at Egleston on October 4. His liver enzyme numbers were dangerously high and rising. His mother, Cheri, whose blood type was the same as Brandon's, completed steps at Emory to become a living donor and learned she was a match seven days later. Brandon's condition rapidly deteriorated over the 48 hours that followed.

The first parent-to-child transplant at Children's since 2006 began on October 13 at 8:30 a.m. with Cheri's seven-hour procedure, performed by Dr. Stuart Knechtle, director of liver transplantation at Emory and Children's, and Dr. Steven Hanish. Brandon's procedure was started at about 12:15 p.m. by Dr. Joseph Magliocca, who was later joined by Dr. Knechtle. The transplant was completed at 8:30 p.m.

"Ideally, we want to use a donated liver that is the same size as the recipient's," says Dr. Knecthle. "However, as a second option, since there is a limited pool of deceased donor livers for pediatric patients, we can surgically alter a larger liver to fit a small recipient. Our third option is to use a living donor split liver transplant procedure that would offer the best outcome for both donor and recipient. It's optimal for the portion of the donor's liver for the transplant to have three main vessels that align with the smaller recipient's vessels. In the Hayes' cases, the connection was almost perfect."

Both Brandon and Cheri have returned home and are progressing very well. Brandon hopes to return to playing soccer, his favorite sport, and shooting goals for his team.

back to top

double rule


Dr. Roser in Haiti
Dr. Roser in Haiti

Dr. Roser receives 2011 AAOMS Humanitarian Award

Dr. Steven Roser received the AAOMS Humanitarian Award during the opening ceremony of the 93rd Annual Meeting of the American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons in Philadelphia, PA. The award is presented in recognition of fellows and members of the association who have committed significant time and effort to improving the quality of life for the public.

Dr. Roser's history of volunteerism includes numerous trips to Central and South America since 1991 as a team leader for the Missions Abroad Program of Healing The Children-Northeast Inc, providing such services as cleft lip and cleft palate repair to disadvantaged children. In 2011 he traveled to Nicaragua in both May and October.

Dr. Roser has received several awards for his volunteer activities, including a presidential citation for humanitarian efforts in Ecuador in 2005 and a humanitarian award for relief efforts in Haiti from the Fraternal Order of Police in 2010. In the wake of the January 2010 earthquake that devastated Haiti, Dr. Roser was among the first wave of OMS responders to the country.

back to top

double rule



New arrival: Dana Meaney-Delman, MD

Joint Appointment, Emory University School of Medicine: Assistant Professor, Division of Surgical Oncology, Department of Surgery; Division of Gynecologic Oncology, Department of Gynecology and Obstetrics

Photo unavailable at press-time

Before joining Emory, Dr. Meaney-Delman served as a clinical assistant professor while working towards obtaining her Masters in Public Health at the Byrdine F. Lewis School of Nursing at Georgia State University. Prior to that, she served as an assistant professor at MD Anderson Cancer Center. At Emory, she will serve as a high-risk oncology specialist as part of the multi-disciplinary High Risk Assessment Team at Winship Cancer Institute, which provides risk assessment and counseling for patients and families concerned about the possibility of a hereditary cancer risk. She will also continue her investigations of cancer genetics and oncofertility issues.

back to top

double rule



Surgery Division Chiefs Meeting 5:30-7:00 PM, Nov. 29, 2011 Whitehead Room, EUH
Challenges Facing the Training of Future Pediatric Surgeons

Presented by Thomas Schmelzer, MD
– Pediatric Surgery Fellow, Department of Surgery, Emory University School of Medicine
7:00-8:00 AM, Dec. 1, 2011 EUH Auditorium
Collaborative Care: What Advances in Breast Cancer Can Teach Us About Reforming the Health Care System
Presented by leading breast surgeon Dr. Lee G. Wilke and Emory physicians Drs. Ruth O'Regan, Mylin Torres, and Amelia Zelnak
5:30 PM, Dec. 1, 2011 Miller-Ward Alumni House, 815 Houston Mill Road, Atlanta, GA 30329
»» additional information
Forgotten Lessons from the Forgotten War

Presented by John Zink, MD
– Chief Resident, Department of Surgery, Emory University School of Medicine
7:00-8:00 AM, Dec. 8, 2011 EUH Auditorium
A Review of Quality Measures in Breast Cancer Care with Selected Topics in Surgical Treatment and Interdisciplinary Management

Presented by Jared Linebarger, MD
– Breast Cancer Fellow, Department of Surgery, Emory University School of Medicine
7:00-8:00 AM, Dec. 15, 2011 EUH Auditorium
Dec. 22 and 29, 2011 Auditorium, EUH
Surgery Faculty Meeting 5:30-7:00 PM, Jan. 31, 2012 B6300, EUH
2011 Emory Surgery footer

PDF version of the October 2011 Emory Surgery newsletter Current Online Issue Contact Us Emory Surgery Newsletter Archives Emory University School of Medicine Department of Surgery