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Archive for February, 2015

New Medical Director for Piedmont Heart Institute

Tuesday, February 24th, 2015
Andrew Boyle, MD

Andrew Boyle, MD

Piedmont Heart Institute has named Andrew Boyle, M.D. as the new medical director for its Advanced Heart Failure Center. As Piedmont continues to grow its advanced heart failure program, Dr. Boyle oversees the medical management of heart transplant, mechanical circulatory support, heart failure and cardiomyopathy patients. He most recently oversaw the heart transplant program at the Cleveland Clinic Florida.

“Piedmont Heart Institute has taken an aggressive approach in fulfilling the critical need for advanced heart failure services in the southeast,” said Charles Brown III, M.D., chief of cardiovascular services for Piedmont Heart Institute. “In just a few short years our talented team has established one of the most successful mechanical circulatory support programs in the country and expanded our transplant services to include heart. Dr. Boyle’s leadership will help ensure Piedmont Heart Institute continues to grow as a recognized leader not only in the southeast, but across the United States as well.”

According to the American College of Cardiology, despite major improvements in the treatment of most cardiac disorders, heart failure remains a challenge and is the most common cause of hospitalization. Advanced heart failure centers like Piedmont enable physicians to focus on their specialties and provide the latest technologies and therapies to patients with complex and life-threatening heart disease.

Dr. Boyle comes to Piedmont from the Cleveland Clinic Florida, where he oversaw the heart transplant program and served as chairman of the Robert and Suzanne Tomsich Department of Cardiovascular Medicine Center and director of the Heart and Vascular Institute.

After earning his medical degree from the University of Ottawa in Ontario, Canada. Dr. Boyle completed his internal medicine residency at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota and fellowships in cardiovascular disease and heart failure transplantation at the Cleveland Clinic Foundation in Cleveland, Ohio.

Dr. Boyle is certified by the American Board of Internal Medicine in both cardiovascular disease and heart failure and transplant cardiology. He is also a member of the Heart Failure Society of America and the International Society of Heart and Lung Transplant.


New Unified Health System Vision in the Works

Tuesday, February 24th, 2015

Emory University and WellStar Health System recently announced that they are engaged in formal discussions regarding their vision to create a new, unified health system to provide patient care throughout Metro Atlanta, Georgia, and beyond. The new health system would be formed by combining Emory Healthcare, an entity owned by Emory University, and WellStar Health System into a new system.

The Executive Committee of the Emory University Board of Trustees and the WellStar Health System Board of Trustees have each approved a resolution to continue discussions for the next 45 days. These discussions will serve as an opportunity to educate constituents, have dialogue, and answer questions in preparation for committing to a multistep design process for the new health system that would take about a year to complete.

“This is a tremendous opportunity to create an unparalleled new healthcare system,” said John Morgan, chair of the Emory University Board of Trustees. “Combining the significant resources, talent, and expertise of Emory Healthcare and WellStar Health System would bring together two highly respected institutions that together are well known for their commitment to patient care, education, discovery, and innovation. We are honored to be engaged in discussions with WellStar, a prominent community-based health system.”

“As a not-for-profit health system, WellStar Health System was built to serve our communities,” said Gary Miller, chair of the WellStar Board of Trustees. “The same focus on our patients and our team members as an employer of choice that has led to our system’s continued growth will still permeate everything we do. This move is an affirmation of our commitment to providing world-class care to our communities long-term.  We are privileged to be in discussions with Emory University regarding Emory Healthcare, a leading academic health system.”

The strategic intent is to combine the significant healthcare resources of Emory Healthcare and WellStar Health System in order to create a new, innovative healthcare environment with the best of community-based care and the best of academic medicine.

“During discussions among trustees and executives at both Emory and WellStar, it quickly became evident that we share a vision, commitment, and enthusiasm to create a new organization that strengthens and advances our mission of exceptional patient care, health sciences and medical education, and research,” said James W. Wagner, president of Emory University. “We have an extraordinary opportunity to create a health system that is second to none.”

“Our shared vision is to design one of the best health systems in the nation to serve local communities, the state of Georgia, and beyond,” said Reynold J. Jennings, CEO of WellStar Health System. “The new system will be one of the most innovative and transformational healthcare systems in the industry.”

The combined competencies of WellStar Health System, a community-based health system, and Emory Healthcare, an academic health system, will provide an organization that can thrive in the rapidly evolving healthcare environment.


AACAP Encourages Strict Enforcement of Safety Measures and Initiatives to Protect Children From Gun Violence

Tuesday, February 24th, 2015

The American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry (AACAP) opposes legislative efforts to limit, restrict or interfere in clinical inquiries led by physicians with patients and parents related to the presence of and access to firearms in the home.

AACAP encourages the strict enforcement of existing laws pertaining to safety measures and initiatives related to gun ownership designed to protect children and reduce the incidence of gun related violence. AACAP also supports efforts to educate children and the general public about the increased risk of accidental injury and death associated with gun ownership. These efforts include support for increased funding for research on gun safety, the prevention of gun related violence, and the mental health and treatment needs of children and families affected by gun-related violence. and the mental health and treatment needs of children and families affected by gun-related violence.

To see a copy of AACAP’s Children and Guns Policy Statement, please click here.

AACAP provides various resources on children’s mental health including information on factors that may lead children to participate in gun violence. To learn more, please visit:

AACAP’s Facts for Families, “Children and Firearms”

AACAP’s Facts for Families, “Understanding Violent Behavior in Children and Adolescents” 


New Hi-Tech Screening Device Helps Detect Cervical Cancer

Tuesday, February 24th, 2015
Dr. Holt Harrison

Dr. Holt Harrison

A new computerized diagnostic tool designed to assist in the early detection of cancerous and pre-cancerous cervical lesions, called DySIS™ Advanced Cervical Imaging System, is making its U.S. debut, after undergoing extensive testing and review in Europe.

Endorsed by the U.K. National Institute of Health and Care Excellence, the new FDA-cleared medical device is praised by physicians for its ability to help identify abnormalities on the cervix, which can sometimes escape detection during a standard colposcopy. A colposcopy is a diagnostic exam, usually administered after an abnormal Pap smear, in which a doctor applies a special solution to the cervix. Then, peers into a binocular viewer, called a colposcope, to look for areas that turn white, indicating abnormal cells and that a cervical biopsy may be needed.

“The DySIS system is a next generation colposcope, offering important advancements that improve the examination procedure for both doctors and patients,” said Dr. Holt Harrison of the Northeast Georgia Physicians Group Heritage OB/GYN in Gainesville, one of the first OB/GYN practices in the U.S. to offer the new computer-assisted screening device.

The DySIS Advanced Cervical Imaging System is used by the examining physician as follows:

  • A high-resolution digital image of the cervix is displayed on the DySIS touch screen to allow normal assessment of the cervical area. Image color, brightness, contrast, and magnification of the displayed image can be adjusted.
  • Acetic acid, which turns abnormal cervical cells white, is applied to the surface of the cervix by the physician via a built-in syringe with a diffuser for instant homogenized coverage over the cervix.
  • The operator uses the intuitive touch screen interface to conduct a standard colposcopic examination while DySIS uses Dynamic Spectral Imaging to record the entire acetowhitening process.
  • The system then produces a DySISmap™ Advanced Cervical Scan, which is like a weather map, in that it shows the precise areas of the cervix where acetowhitening is most extreme and most likely to contain abnormal cells.
  • The physician refers to the DySISmap and marks biopsy points that may be needed based on the information displayed, as well as other examination information.
  • The scanned digital image of the cervix and DySISmap showing acetowhitening and biopsy points are then saved, along with patient notes entered via the touch screen.

A traditional colposcopy can often be very frightening for a patient, because, during the examination, they have no idea what the doctor is looking at or thinking, Dr. Harrison said:

“Thirty seconds of silence can seem like five minutes, and a patient’s imagination can begin to race as they assume the doctor has discovered the worst.”

With the DySIS system, a patient is able to view what the doctor is viewing in real-time, and discuss the meaning of the colorized zones and markings on the DySISmap, which Dr. Harrison said, enables the patent to be involved and more at ease during the examination procedure.

“Since many patients with dysplasia don’t need immediate treatment due to the possibility of spontaneous resolution, careful long-term follow up is vital,” Dr. Harrison said. “The DySIS system stores high resolution images, which allows the physician to detect changes over time with greater accuracy.”

Examinations performed using the DySIS Advanced Cervical Imaging System do not result in any additional out-of-pocket expenses for the patient.


Giving Back in Big Ways

Thursday, February 19th, 2015

By Helen K. Kelley

From ATLANTA Medicine, Vol. 86, No. 1

When it comes to philanthropic causes, physicians are often on the front lines. Here, we feature some Atlanta doctors who are making a difference in the lives of others, both at home and across the miles.

Dr. Charles Moore

Dr. Charles Moore

Providing free care and education to Atlanta’s uninsured

When Charles E. Moore, M.D., a head and neck cancer specialist with Grady Health System, saw that many of his patients had limited treatment options because they had sought help too late, he began looking for the reasons why.

“I found that most of my patients were coming from three zip codes in medically underserved areas around Grady, and that many of them had cancers that could have been easily treated if the disease had been identified early. There was a need for education and increased awareness,” he says. “Some of my patients would come to me, asking me to visit certain areas and provide help. I knew I needed to do something for these people.”

Dr. Moore began conducting what he calls “Tupperware clinics” out of the back of his car. Armed with medical supplies, he drove out into the community, visiting  nontraditional areas like homeless shelters, bridges and overpasses to talk about head and neck cancers and do screenings. There, he saw all of the additional medical needs that weren’t being addressed in people who had no access to care.  He recruited colleagues to help provide primary and specialized care.

From those humble beginnings, the initiative grew – the physicians began operating out of mobile health units and then a comprehensive medical facility, the HEALing Community Center, was established. Today the Center, located in downtown Atlanta, offers free and sliding scale healthcare to the uninsured, including primary, pediatrics and specialized care, and behavioral and mental health services.

Additionally, the Center focuses on teaching people about prevention, offering health, nutrition and cooking classes, and even one-on-one health coaching. Dr. Moore hosts a regular event called “Walk With a Doc,” in which he invites a specific community to hear a brief talk about health and then go on a one- to three-mile walk with him.

Dr. Moore says there are so many small things that make the project rewarding.

“People are so grateful for the help, and they’re hungry for the knowledge,” he says. “We help them take small steps toward improving their health and, in some aspects, their lives. We can provide them with hope that there’s a chance for something better. That’s the biggest reward.”

There is always a need for more physicians in primary care and various specializations to volunteer at the HEALing Community Center and participate in community outreach activities. For more information, call 404-564-7749 or go to

Dr. Deborah Martin

Dr. Deborah Martin

Bringing hope to rural Ghana

“Imagine what life would be like with no access to healthcare, no hospital or doctors in your community, nowhere to turn when illness or injury strikes you or a loved one. This is a reality for the inhabitants of rural Ghana, where children and adults die of pandemic disease and disabling conditions that are both treatable and preventable.”

This is the introduction shared on The Yonkofa Project’s website. The Yonkofa Project was born from the experiences of Dr. Gabriella Nanci and Dr. Deborah Martin, who first traveled together to Ghana on a short-term medical mission in 2010. There, the doctors found that many of the rural villagers’ diseases could be prevented with basic access to medicine and preventive care.

Shortly thereafter, Dr. Nanci conceived the project and together with Dr. Martin formed a nonprofit to bring sustainable healthcare to the remote areas of this struggling country.“Yonkofa,” which means “friendship” in the local Twi language, was chosen as the name. Building plans were developed, the land for the first clinic was donated, and, in the rainforest village of Yiwabra, The Yonkofa Project took root.

“There are not many hospitals in Ghana; the nearest one to Yiwabra is a regional facility located more than an hour’s drive away. Getting a taxi to come to the village is almost impossible and the villagers can’t afford cab fare anyway. There is such a need for primary care clinics throughout the country,” Dr. Martin says. “Dr. Nanci and I wanted to take part in something that involved more than just occasional short-term medical missions to Ghana. We wanted to created a sustainable source of primary medical care.”

The Yonkofa Project is not simply a philanthropic effort by American doctors. It is a growing collaboration that includes physicians, local residents, Ghana’s Ministry of Health, the University of Ghana and more. The clinic in Yiwabra is well underway, with two buildings constructed from prefabricated components that often take several months to arrive via cargo containers.

“The village chiefs donated the land for the clinic, and the local villagers are doing most of the construction with supervision by a Ghanaian engineer,” Dr. Martin says. “The difference in what we’re doing is in the partnerships and the teamwork. We have made the connections to establish something permanent.”

Dr. Martin says that the goal of the project doesn’t stop with the completion of the clinic in Yiwabra.

“Our hope is to build a new clinic in a different region of Ghana each year until there is a source of primary care available to every Ghanaian citizen,” she says.

Learn more about The Yonkofa Project by visiting


Advances in Orthopaedic Trauma

Thursday, February 19th, 2015

By Douglas W. Lundy, M.D., MBA, FACS

From ATLANTA Medicine, Vol. 86, No. 1

Ortho TraumaOrthopaedic surgery is a diverse specialty comprised of multiple subspecialties focused on anatomic areas or pathologic processes (degenerative disease, developmental or trauma). Although the origins of orthopaedic surgery stem from treatment of children affected by polio, a tremendous portion of orthopaedic surgery throughout the world today involves the treatment of injuries to the bones, joints and surrounding tissues of the musculoskeletal system. Orthopaedic trauma surgery has advanced significantly over the last 50 years, with massive strides in the understanding of injury and the techniques to successfully return these patients to a functional level of living.

The subspecialty of orthopaedic trauma is an underrepresented discipline in orthopaedic surgery that has benefited greatly from the conflict in Iraq and Afghanistan. It is a very unfortunate truth that the treatment of injury always increases greatly in the time of war. It is especially unfortunate that many young American men and women must be injured in battle for funding to become available for these very important initiatives.

Through the aggressive lobbying efforts of orthopaedic surgeons, hundreds of millions of dollars have been directed by Congress to fund research on the treatment of extremity injuries during war. The valuable lessons learned from the suffering of American combatants will further improve the treatment of American citizens now and in the years to come.

Trauma continues to be a major problem in the state of Georgia. Although trauma is the No. 1 killer of Georgians between the ages of six months to age 44, the state continues to underfund efforts to improve the trauma system and establish a truly effective trauma network.

Trauma costs this country $406 billion a year, including both healthcare costs and lost productivity. Studies by the Georgia Trauma Care Network demonstrate that fatality rate from motor vehicle crashes doubles as the distance from a verified trauma center increases.

At 13.2/100,000, the death rate in Georgia from trauma is higher than the national average of 11.3. Nonetheless, when Georgia Trauma Care Funding, Amendment 2, an effective constitutional amendment to fund trauma care in the state, was placed on the ballot four years ago, the initiative was defeated 52.6 percent to 47.4 percent. Ironically, the sections of the state that would have benefitted the most from this funding actually voted en masse to defeat the effort.

Mangled extremityTreatment of Mangled Extremities

Significant improvement techniques and a better understanding of severe extremity trauma has occurred over the last several years. The use of vacuum-assisted devices in the treatment of severe soft tissue trauma has dramatically decreased the morbidity of the treatment of these injuries. Improvements in the surgical and pharmacologic care of these injuries have resulted in lower rates of infection and other complications. Once again, much of this learning resulted from the horrific injuries sustained by our soldiers as they served valiantly in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The Lower Extremity Assessment Project (LEAP) was a tremendous effort by orthopaedic trauma surgeons to better understand the outcomes and ideal treatment of mangled extremities. I contributed some of the patients to this study during my fellowship 15 years ago, and this project resulted in over three dozen publications describing best practices in patients with these injuries.

The main findings of this study were sobering. Patients with severe lower extremity injuries did equally poorly whether their extremities are reconstructed or amputated, and the worse news is that the patients actually deteriorated in function between two and seven years after injury. This finding highlights that although we can reconstruct the bone structure and often gain healing, the extent of the soft tissue injury often determines the eventual functional outcome of the patient. Even though we have made significant strides in the treatment of these injuries, we still have a long way to go.

Pelvic and Acetabular Fractures

Pelvic and acetabular fractures with their associated injuries are some of the most catastrophic injuries affecting patients injured from motor vehicle crashes or falls. Increased understanding of the mechanisms leading to hypovolemic shock and death from pelvic injuries has resulted in a decrease in death rates and improvements in surgical techniques and functional outcomes. Minimally invasive techniques have resulted in faster returns to work and decreased morbidity for these badly injured patients.

Damage Control Orthopaedic Surgery

One of the biggest advances in orthopaedic trauma is the increased understanding of the contribution of major fractures to the overall stability of badly injured patients. With increased collaboration of orthopaedic surgeons with trauma surgeons and the trauma service, critically injured patients that would have died not too long ago now survive to live productive lives. Carefully timed and tactical emergent treatment of femoral and pelvic fractures, compartment syndromes and mangled extremities help optimize the patient’s condition during the critical hours after injury. After the patients have stabilized, we then return to surgery to anatomically reduce and stabilize articular fractures and accomplish definitive stabilization.

Advances in the care of patients with severe extremity injuries continue to develop, and these patients are enjoying much greater functional outcomes than they would have in the not too distant past. Although there is still much to accomplish in the care of these patients, we have come a long way. Atlanta has fellowship-trained orthopaedic trauma surgeons on staff at Grady Memorial Hospital, Kennestone Hospital, North Fulton Hospital and Gwinnett Medical Center trauma centers ready to care for patients presenting with severe injuries.



Bibb County Medical Society Board Meeting

Wednesday, February 18th, 2015

February 18, 2015. For more information, visit Medical Association of Georgia


American Osteopathic Academy of Addiction Medicine PCSS-MAT Webinar on Treatment of Opioid Dependence

Saturday, February 14th, 2015

February 14, 2015. For more information, visit Medical Association of Georgia


AMGMA February Meeting

Thursday, February 12th, 2015

February 12, 2015, Atlanta. For more information, visit Atlanta Medical Group Management Association


New Chief Consumer Officer, Chief Strategy and Performance Improvement Officer and Chief Nursing Executive for Piedmont Healthcare

Tuesday, February 10th, 2015

Matt GoveMatt Gove

Matt Gove has accepted the role of chief consumer officer for Piedmont Healthcare where he will oversee Piedmont Healthcare’s patient experience and philanthropy. This is in addition to his current responsibilities managing the system’s marketing, communications and external affairs. In the expanded role, he will work closely with the system’s practices, hospitals and outpatient services to help develop their approach to meeting consumer needs. Also, Gove will play a more central role in developing outpatient and retail strategy as well as philanthropic campaigns and community outreach. He has been with Piedmont Healthcare since 2011 and recently led the system’s rebrand campaign in 2012 and in 2013 was named Atlanta Marketer of the Year by the American Marketing Association.


Michelle FisherMichelle Fisher

Michelle Fisher has been promoted to chief strategy and performance improvement officer. In her new role, she will lead Piedmont Healthcare’s strategic planning and business development activities. In addition to her current project management responsibilities, she will continue to develop the system’s Quality and Process Improvement Program (QPI) as well as support other key financial and operational initiatives. Fisher has been with Piedmont Healthcare since 2003 and has supported the system’s growth and strategic expansion throughout her tenure, including the development of the Piedmont Health Institute and the onboarding of Piedmont Newnan Hospital and Piedmont Henry Hospital.




Denise RayDenise Ray

Denise Ray has accepted an expanded role for Piedmont Healthcare as the system’s chief nursing executive. This is in addition to her current responsibilities as chief executive officer for Piedmont Mountainside Hospital. In her new position, Ray will collaborate with Piedmont Healthcare’s front-line nursing teams to redesign the system’s patient care model. As the healthcare environment continually changes, she will work to enhance the quality of care and services provided throughout the Piedmont
Healthcare system. Ray joined the system in 2008 and has serves as the Mountainside CEO since 2012.



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