News Release: University News

Jun. 3,  2011

Wright Caughman Named Head of Emory Health Sciences Center

News Article ImageS. Wright Caughman, MD

S. Wright Caughman, MD, has been named Emory University’s executive vice president for health affairs, CEO of the Woodruff Health Sciences Center, and chairman of the board for Emory Healthcare. The appointments are effective July 1. They were approved unanimously by the University’s Board of Trustees at its June meeting today.

“It was a pleasure for me to able to recommend to the board that we remove the ‘interim’ label in front of Wright’s job titles,” said Emory University President James W. Wagner. “He is a seasoned physician-executive who knows the Emory system inside and out after having spent the last 21 years here in positions of increasing responsibility. Over the course of this past academic year, he has gained nothing but plaudits from colleagues across the University as well as from national academic health center leaders.

“I and many others have found Wright to be a firm and judicious leader for the health sciences, as well as a humane and thoughtful overseer of the academic enterprise generally. Already he has made important contributions as a member of the University’s Ways and Means Committee and the President’s Cabinet. The entire university will benefit from his wise counsel for years to come, and will enjoy the understated humor with which he characteristically dispenses it.”

The Woodruff Health Sciences Center consists of Emory University’s Schools of Medicine, Nursing, and Public Health; the Yerkes National Primate Research Center; the Winship Cancer Institute; and Emory Healthcare, the University’s comprehensive health care system. Before becoming interim head of the center effective September 1, 2010, Caughman served as director of The Emory Clinic, the group practice of the School of Medicine faculty, as executive associate dean for clinical affairs in the School of Medicine, and as vice president for clinical and academic integration in the Woodruff Health Sciences Center.

Douglas Ivester, chairman of the board of the Woodruff Health Sciences Center, said:  “I could not be more impressed with the way Wright combines authentic academic values, an understanding of the research mission of the University, and a strong business sense for the health care marketplace. Wright rose to the occasion when he was tapped as head of the health sciences enterprise last fall.

“He did not miss a beat in leading complex negotiations involving Emory’s various units, including  negotiations with St. Joseph’s Health System that resulted in our agreement to form a Joint Operating Company and our ongoing discussions with Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta to help craft an enduring partnership that will advance the research and patient care missions of both institutions.  I am confident that the Woodruff Health Sciences Center will continue to advance in national prominence under Wright’s tenure as CEO.”

Caughman said: “I feel honored and privileged by the opportunity to lead one of America’s great academic health science centers. The best feature is that it is integrated across premier programs in the Schools of Medicine, Nursing, and Public Health, along with the Winship Cancer Institute, the Yerkes National Primate Research Center, and a world class health care system. There are few places that have such outstanding programs across all dimensions of education, research and healthcare innovation, and where the faculty and staff are so deeply committed to collaborative discovery and innovation---all to improve the health of the people we serve, including the broader global community.”

Trained as a dermatologist, Caughman joined the Emory School of Medicine faculty in 1990 after serving 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 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.

A former high school English teacher who graduated from Davidson College, Caughman earned his MD from the Medical University of South Carolina and completed his residency in dermatology at Harvard Medical School. 

He and his wife Alison have three adult children and one grandchild.

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