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Archive for September, 2011

Physician Executives of Georgia Meeting: Leading through Chaos

Friday, September 30th, 2011

September 30, 2011 at Kennesaw State University.  For more information, Teresa Unser at 770-975-7399 or


MAA & Cobb Medical Society Joint Meeting

Thursday, September 22nd, 2011

September 22, 2011 at Cobb Galleria Center. For more information, visit Medical Association of Atlanta.


Blue Ties – Fundraising Event for ProstAware

Monday, September 12th, 2011

September 12, 2011 at The Ritz Carlton, Buckhead. For more information, visit ProstAware Blue Ties.


Atlanta Medical Group Management Association’s A/R Summit

Thursday, September 8th, 2011

September 8, 2011 at Villa Christina.  For more information, visit Atlanta Medical Group Management Association.


Clinical Trial: Replacing Heart Valves Without Surgery

Wednesday, September 7th, 2011

Piedmont Heart Institute Physicians are currently accepting patients for the Medtronic CoreValve U.S. Clinical Trial. Piedmont Hospital is one of 40 hospitals across the United States to participate in the trial to evaluate a revolutionary non-surgical, less-invasive procedure as a treatment alternative to open-heart surgery for patients with severe aortic stenosis.

Patients who have severe aortic stenosis as well as a predicted high risk of requiring aortic valve surgery may be eligible to participate in the clinical trial. For more information about the CoreValve trial and eligibility, visit and search for the CoreValve trial.

“With an estimated 5 percent of those over the age of 65 experiencing some form of aortic stenosis, there is significant need for new treatment options that do not involve invasive surgery,” said Piedmont principal investigator Vivek Rajagopal, M.D., an interventional cardiologist with Piedmont Heart Institute Physicians. “As the population ages, the need for this procedure will continue to grow.”

According to an abstract published in the European Heart Journal in 2003, worldwide, approximately 300,000 people have been diagnosed with this condition (100,000 in the United States), and approximately one-third of these patients are deemed high risk for open-heart surgery, the only therapy with significant clinical effect that is currently available in the United States.

For trial participants randomly selected to receive the CoreValve System, physicians channel a catheter (thin tube) with a porcine, prosthetic valve through a small opening in the patient’s femoral artery to reach the heart. The physician guides the CoreValve System to the aortic valve, where it self-expands to replace the diseased aortic valve; the procedure is completed without open-heart surgery or surgical removal of the native valve.

In the United States, the CoreValve System will not be commercially available until the successful completion of this clinical trial and approval by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The CoreValve System received CE (Conformité Européenne) Mark in Europe in 2007.

For more information or to be considered as a participant in the trial, contact the Piedmont Heart Institute at 404-605-5003 or email


Saint Joseph’s and Emory Healthcare Move Forward with Partnership

Wednesday, September 7th, 2011

Saint Joseph’s Health System and Emory Healthcare announced that Saint Joseph’s Health System and Emory Healthcare have officially filed the required notice with the Attorney General of the State of Georgia regarding the new Joint Operating Company, Emory/Saint Joseph’s, Inc.

The proposed arrangement will give Emory Healthcare a majority ownership of Saint Joseph’s, with a 51/49 percentage split, and allow the joint health care system to expand services. Saint Joseph’s will retain involvement in governance of the JOC, including super majority voting rights on certain issues critical to Saint Joseph’s mission and values.

Subject to review by the Catholic Archbishop of Atlanta, Saint Joseph’s Hospital will continue as a Catholic facility sponsored by the Sisters of Mercy.

While the financial details of the transaction are not being publicly disclosed at this time, both health systems are contributing hospitals to the partnership; Saint Joseph’s will include its primary Sandy Springs based hospital and Emory Healthcare will provide its Emory Johns Creek Hospital in the arrangement.


Georgia Vascular Clinic and The Vascular Institute of Georgia Join Saint Joseph’s Medical Group

Wednesday, September 7th, 2011

Saint Joseph’s Heath System (SJHS) announced that Georgia Vascular Clinic and The Vascular Institute of Georgia are joining Saint Joseph’s Medical Group (SJMG); the move will effectively make Saint Joseph’s home to the largest and most comprehensive employed vascular group in the state.

With the addition of Georgia Vascular Clinic and The Vascular Institute of Georgia, Saint Joseph’s will build upon its vascular capabilities which already include treatment of: Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm, Carotid Artery Disease, Claudication and Diabetic Vascular Disease, Venous and other lower extremity vascular disease.

The physicians joining Saint Joseph’s from Georgia Vascular Clinic include: Brooks Alan Whitney, M.D., Joseph I. Zarge, M.D., and Charles J. Lewinstein, M.D..  From the Vascular Institute of Georgia: Michael Clark M.D.; Peter H’Doubler Jr. M.D.; Mark Mittenthal M.D. and Mark Rheudasil M.D.  Collectively these physicians have seven locations across north Georgia, including the Saint Joseph’s campus, Roswell, and Cumming.


WellStar Kennestone Hospital Designated an Epicenter for Training Surgeons in Gynecologic Robotic Surgery

Tuesday, September 6th, 2011

WellStar Kennestone Hospital has been designated as an Robotic Epicenter by Intuitive Surgical Inc., the maker the daVinci Si Surgical System, for gynecological surgery because of its commitment to excellence in robotic surgery. Kennestone is one of only 21 hospitals in the country to earn this designation and becomes a destination for surgeons from around the country to observe and learn robot-assisted gynecological procedures.

“Becoming a Robotic Surgery Epicenter to train visiting physicians was an objective when we launched our program in 2007,” said Candice Saunders, executive vice president and WellStar Kennestone Hospital administrator.

Physicians from around the country will come to Kennestone to observe Gerald Feuer, M.D., of Southeastern Gynecologic Oncology, LLC, who is one of 23 Epicenter surgeons in the nation. Dr. Feuer, an innovator in robotic surgery, performs more robot-assisted surgery for gynecologic cancer than any other surgeon in the United States and has worked closely with WellStar to build a physician and staff training program.  Because of the benefits offered by robotic surgery, it has the potential to make certain “open,” or abdominal, gynecologic surgeries obsolete, Feuer said.

Surgical robots at WellStar Kennestone and WellStar Cobb Hospitals are used to assist surgeons in general surgery, gynecologic, urologic and cardiac procedures. Advantages of robotic surgery are numerous and include: less pain, less blood loss, shorter hospital stays and a quicker return to normal activities. The da Vinci Si Surgical System allows the surgeon to perform delicate operations by providing better visualization, precision, dexterity and improved access to hard-to-reach areas.


Suresh Ramalingam, MD – Chair of Thoracic Malignancies Committee for ECOG

Tuesday, September 6th, 2011

Suresh Ramalingam, MDSuresh Ramalingam, MD, director of the division of medical oncology in the Department of Hematology and Medical Oncology at the Winship Cancer Institute of Emory University and a leader of Winship’s  Discovery and Developmental Therapeutics Program, has been named chair of the thoracic malignancies committee for the Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group (ECOG), one of the oldest and largest cooperative cancer groups in the country.

As chair of this important committee that selects new trials for such cancers as lung and other malignancies of the chest, Ramalingam, who has served as vice chair of the committee since 2008, will be in a leadership role to help design studies and to test new treatments for lung cancer.

“Dr. Ramalingam has distinguished himself as one of the leading national experts on lung cancer, and he is beginning to shift the treatment paradigm for this disease,” said Walter J. Curran Jr., MD, executive director of Winship Cancer Institute.

“Dr. Ramalingam is an exceptional translational researcher and a superb physician whose entire focus is on improving the care of patients with lung cancer and mesothelioma,” said  Fadlo R. Khuri, MD, deputy director of Winship and chair of Emory’s Department of Hematology and Medical Oncology, “His accomplishments would be remarkable in an individual twice his age. Dr. Ramalingam has the talent, skill, innovation, and dedication to make a major difference in the war on lung cancer.

Khuri noted that the National Cancer Institute recently awarded Ramalingam a Clinical Investigator Team Leadership Award, an honor given to only a select few physician leaders annually. Robert L. Comis, MD, Group Chair of ECOG, cited Ramalingam’s expertise in clinical research in lung cancer as a reason for his selection.

ECOG was established in 1955 as one of the first cooperative groups launched to perform multi-center cancer clinical trials. ECOG is currently one of the largest clinical cancer research organizations in the U.S. with almost 6,000 physicians, nurses, pharmacists, statisticians, and clinical research associates from the U.S., Canada, and South Africa.

Ramalingam currently serves as chair of E5508, a national Phase III clinical trial that is studying whether giving bevacizumab and pemetrexed disodium alone or in combination after induction therapy is more effective in treating patients with advanced stage non-squamous cell, non-small cell lung cancer. The trial will involve about 1,300 patients.

Ramalingam is a member of the Thoracic Core Committee of the Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group and serves on the editorial board of the journal Clinical Lung Cancer. He received his MB/BS from Kilpauk Medical College, University of Madras, Madras, India in 1992. He completed his Residency in Internal Medicine from Wayne State University in 1996, where he was also named Chief Medical Resident in the Department of Internal Medicine in 1996. He completed his Hematology-Oncology Fellowship from University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute in 2002.

North Atlanta Surgical Associates Opens Ambulatory Surgery Center

Tuesday, September 6th, 2011

The physicians of North Atlanta Surgical Associates (NASA) recently announced the opening of the first single-specialty general surgery center in Georgia at the Center Pointe Medical Office complex adjacent to Northside and St. Joseph’s hospitals.

The new 7,764-square foot Ambulatory Surgery Center (ASC) includes two operating rooms, one minor procedure room, three pre-op bays, and six recovery rooms bays. Prior to opening, the ASC earned The Joint Commission’s Gold Seal of Approval for accreditation by demonstrating compliance with The Joint Commission’s national standards for health care quality and safety in ambulatory care organizations.

ASCs are health care facilities that offer patients the opportunity to have selected surgical and procedural services performed outside the hospital setting. The goal of ASCs is to provide a high-quality, cost-effective alternative to outpatient hospital care for surgical services.

Until recently, general surgery was not considered a single specialty, making this facility the first of its kind in the state.

Dr. Iqbal Garcha, director of the NASA Surgery Center, said that the surgery center allows surgeons to schedule procedures more conveniently, assemble teams of specially-trained and highly skilled staff, and ensure the equipment and supplies being used are best suited to their technique. The doctors worked closely with architects to design the center to meet the needs of their patients.

The following NASA physicians are majority owners in the surgery center: Drs. C. Richard Cummings, Jr., George Shaak, Michael Hoffman, Jeffrey Hoadley, Mark Wilkiemeyer, Gary Ludi, Alexander Park, J. Dewayne Colquitt, John P. Daly, David M. Ruben, J. Patrick Luke, and Iqbal Garcha. Minority owners of the center are Drs. J. Clay Copher, M.D., Jeff G. Tucker, Louis A Goehring, Arnold Rosen, Russell A. Wilson, L. Thomas Winger, IV, George Daneker, and David D. Park.



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