News Release: University News

Jun. 4,  2010

Emory Leader to Concentrate on Health Care Innovation; Interim Head Named for Woodruff Health Sciences Center

News Article ImageFred Sanfilippo, MD, PhD

Fred Sanfilippo, MD, PhD, will step down effective September 1, 2010 as Emory University executive vice president for health affairs, CEO of the Woodruff Health Sciences Center, and Chairman of the Board, Emory Healthcare. As a nationally recognized researcher and leader in academic medicine, he will pursue his longstanding interests in improving the delivery of personalized healthcare. He holds faculty appointments in the School of Medicine and the Rollins School of Public Health.

"This is a unique time to study the many factors that affect healthcare quality, cost, access and personalized delivery," said Sanfilippo. "I look forward to working with Emory's incredible array of schools and centers throughout the health sciences and the rest of the University as well as local and national partners to develop new models for cost-effective, high-quality healthcare that is tailored to the needs of the individual patient."

Emory University President James W. Wagner thanked Sanfilippo for his leadership of the health sciences since joining Emory in 2007 from Ohio State University, where he was Medical Center CEO and executive dean for health sciences. At Ohio State Sanfilippo helped to implement a personalized, patient-centric approach to health care, an objective he has continued to promote through a variety of local and national organizations.

"Fred has my gratitude for his vigorous work on a number of fronts, all of which are important to Emory's future as a top-tier academic health sciences center of national distinction," Wagner said. "Under Fred's leadership, we have continued to advance our achievements in research funding, teaching excellence, and quality of patient care. Although the worldwide economic downturn in 2008 meant that we were unable to initiate large scale construction projects such as our planned facilities program on Clifton Road and in Midtown, the work Fred has done in leading that planning effort will be important in positioning us for future growth when conditions are once again ripe for expansion."

Sanfilippo said the passage earlier this year of the national health care reform act, which provides $10 billion in funding for supporting new healthcare models, test beds, and Health Innovation Zones, makes this an opportune time to study innovation in health care. At Emory he will help coordinate and expand studies on cost, quality, and access to healthcare under a wide range of different payment and clinical delivery models, with the objective of supporting new forms of personalized healthcare.

Douglas Ivester, chairman of the board of the Woodruff Health Sciences Center, thanked Sanfilippo and noted: "Among Fred's most long-lasting contributions as head of the Woodruff Health Sciences Center will be his focus on quality improvement, strategic alignments with our key partners and culture transformation to support our key initiatives. In these vital areas he initiated broad-based engagement and attention to improve our processes and performance."

Since joining Emory, Sanfilippo successfully recruited strong leaders to several important areas, including the dean of the Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing; the director of the Center for Comprehensive Informatics; the director of the Winship Cancer Institute; and the vice president for research in the WHSC, a new position he created in 2007. Under his guidance, Winship also secured its first P30 grant from the National Cancer Institute, becoming the first center in Georgia to earn NCI designation as a national cancer center.

Sanfilippo's tenure at Emory has been marked by his work to form strong multidisciplinary centers and regional partnerships. He helped to create new centers at Emory in Critical Medicine, Palliative Care, Aging, and Comprehensive Informatics. He also has helped to develop a new organizational alignment between Emory and Children's Healthcare of Atlanta that will support their mutual investment in shared research, academic and clinical priorities, and to extend Emory's partnership in biomedical engineering with Georgia Tech into the fields of predictive health and biomedical informatics.

Sanfilippo received his BA and MSc in physics from the University of Pennsylvania, and his MD and PhD from Duke University, where he also did his residency training and joined the faculty from 1979-1992, rising to professor of Pathology, Immunology, and Experimental Surgery.

From 1993-2000, Dr. Sanfilippo was the Baxley Professor and Chair of the Department of Pathology at Johns Hopkins, and led the formation of the Johns Hopkins Comprehensive Transplant Center, for which he was the director of research. In 2000 he joined Ohio State University as CEO of the Medical Center, Senior VP for Health Sciences, and Dean of the College of Medicine and Public Health. With over 280 publications and $20 million in personal research grant support, he has received numerous awards and recognition for his research and leadership in transplantation, pathology, and academic medicine, has served on the editorial board of 13 professional journals, and been elected president of seven academic and professional organizations.

Interim Successor Named to Head Woodruff Health Sciences Center

Wright Caughman
S. Wright Caughman, MD

In announcing the leadership transition, Wagner said S. Wright Caughman, MD, has agreed to serve as interim head of the Woodruff Health Sciences Center effective September 1, 2010. Caughman is director of The Emory Clinic, the group practice of the School of Medicine faculty, and the executive associate dean for clinical affairs in the School of Medicine.

"Wright is a 20-year Emory veteran who will be able to assume the full authority of this critical leadership role," Wagner said. "I am grateful that he has accepted my request to serve as interim executive vice president for health affairs, CEO of the Woodruff Health Sciences Center, and Emory Healthcare board chairman for at least one and possibly as many as three years."

As director of the Clinic, Caughman heads the major faculty physician practice plan of Emory University, comprised of over 1,000 faculty physicians, providing nearly 2 million patient encounters per year, and generating over $500 million in net revenue per year. As Director of The Emory Clinic, all clinical department chairs report to Caughman on all departmental matters concerning Emory Healthcare clinical operations, finance, and performance.

In addition, Caughman has served for the past three years as vice president for clinical and academic integration, a role in which he has been chief steward of Emory's strategic plan for developing new facilities, maintaining clinical excellence, and translating research advances into the education and training of new doctors. In that role he served as chair of the Clinical Integration Committee, the primary vehicle for decisions regarding the integration of clinical and academic missions across the School of Medicine and Emory Healthcare.

Wagner said Caughman's impeccable credentials as a clinical and scientific leader and his strategic role spanning all of the Schools and major operating units in the Woodruff Health Sciences Center, including Emory Healthcare, made him a uniquely strong choice to take over at the helm.

"I am honored to be given this opportunity to serve an institution that I love," Caughman said. "We will continue to work with all other divisions of the University in advancing the broader responsibilities, goals, and aspirations of Emory, even as we seek to develop new models and solutions for society in healthcare research, teaching, and clinical care."

Caughman joined the dermatology faculty at Emory in 1990 after serving as medical officer and principal investigator in the dermatology branch of the National Cancer Institute of the National Institutes of Health. In addition to teaching and working as a staff physician at The Emory Clinic, Grady Memorial Hospital and the Veterans Affairs Medical Center, he was director of research in Emory's Department of Dermatology for four years before becoming department chair.

He has been a member of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences in the Graduate Division of Biological and Biomedical Sciences, of the Winship Cancer Institute faculty, and has served as director of the Emory Skin Diseases Research Center. Caughman led a successful research program in cutaneous biology for many years and was one of two co-chairs of the School of Medicine research strategic plans in 1997 and 2003. He served as Chair and Alicia Leizman Stonecipher Professor of the Department of Dermatology from 1997 to 2007.

After receiving his undergraduate degree at Davidson College and his MD from the Medical University of South Carolina, Caughman completed his residency in dermatology at Harvard Medical School. 

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