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Dr. Dhaval Desai named Outstanding Clinician of the Year by Emory University’s Department of Medicine

Monday, July 25th, 2016

Desai DhavalDhaval Desai, MD, director of hospital medicine at Emory Saint Joseph’s Hospital, has been named Outstanding Clinician of the Year by Emory University’s Department of Medicine. Each year, the Department of Medicine gives awards in multiple categories, from clinical to research to education.

Desai was awarded this honor from among more than 800 faculty in the divisions of cardiology; digestive diseases; endocrinology, metabolism and lipids; general medicine and geriatrics; hospital medicine; infectious diseases; pulmonary, allergy, critical care and sleep medicine; renal medicine; and rheumatology.

The criteria for the award are outstanding quality of patient care, commitment to team-oriented delivery of patient care, excellent rapport with non-physician clinical staff, participation in quality improvement projects, accessibility and commitment to collaboration with other physicians and dedication to the continuing education of physician colleagues through lecture and informal discussion of medical cases.

Desai has worked at Emory Saint Joseph’s since 2012, and served as the director of hospital medicine since July 2015. During his tenure, the hospital has seen a significant increase in patient satisfaction, and a decrease in patients’ length of stay.


WellStar’s new WATCHMAN procedure helps prevent AFIB-related stroke

Friday, July 29th, 2016

Patients living with non-valvular atrial fibrillation (AFib) now have access to a new treatment option that significantly reduces the risk of stroke. WellStar Kennestone Hospital is one of the first to offer the treatment publicly in Georgia. The WATCHMAN device is designed to keep harmful blood clots from entering a patient’s blood stream which could potentially cause a stroke.

watchman implantAFib is the most common heart rhythm problem and studies have found that a third of people living with the untreated condition experience a stroke. Studies have also found that AFib-related strokes are more frequently fatal and disabling.

“Approximately 90 percent of strokes in individuals with AFib originate from blood clots that have formed in the left atrial appendage,” said Amar Patel, M.D. co-medical director of WellStar’s Structural Heart & Valve Program. “The WATCHMAN device plugs off the left atrial appendage (an unnecessary tissue structure in the adult heart), thus preventing clot formation and entry into the bloodstream.”

Anti-coagulants or blood thinners – such as warfarin – are often effective at curbing this type of stroke. However, some patients with AFib are unable to tolerate long-term anti-coagulation for various reasons, including previous gastro-intestinal or intracranial bleeding, those who work with heavy machinery or those who are at high risk of falling. In this case, the WATCHMAN device is a highly effective treatment option as an alternative to long-term anticoagulation.

“Traditionally these patients have had to make a choice between protecting themselves from a stroke and increasing their risk of bleeding from the medication,” Patel said. “With the WATCHMAN device, the majority of patients can typically stop using blood thinners after 45 days.”

Patients with non-valvular AFib with certain risk factors such as increased age, congestive heart failure, high blood pressure, vascular disease and prior stroke are typically considered candidates for the procedure.

watchman for AFIB strokeThe 1-1½-hour procedure is minimally-invasive and is performed by a multi-disciplinary physician team including an interventional cardiologist, an electrophysiologist, an interventional echocardiographer and an anesthesiologist. Because the left atrial appendage is shaped and sized differently in different people, ultrasounds help the team take measurements to choose the appropriately sized device. While the patient is under general anesthesia, the physician team guides the WATCHMAN device into the heart through a flexible tube that travels from a vein in the upper leg.

“Folks are typically discharged after only one night,” Patel said. “Patients feel great the next day and are ready to go home. It’s a great thing to see.”

After 45 days, there is a 92 percent success rate for patients coming off of warfarin therapy. For the remainder of the patients, it typically just takes a little more time. After a year of healing, greater than 99 percent of patients studied were able to come off of warfarin therapy.


Psychiatry Spotlight

Thursday, July 21st, 2016

By Helen K. Kelley
Georgia physicians are at the forefront of developing innovative programs and research in the field of psychiatry. Here, we explore how they are increasing the knowledge and skills of new doctors, improving the lives of an underserved population with mental illness and more.

Peer Specialist Has Important Role in Training Medical Students and Junior Doctors

Peter buckley 3The Department of Psychiatry at Medical College of Georgia (MCG) at Augusta University has developed a unique program that helps people with mental illness in their recovery while, at the same time, training residents and medical students in treating mental illness. According to Dean Peter F. Buckley, M.D., the program is modeled on the recovery peer approach, which is based upon the premise that an individual with a “lived experience” is uniquely able to contribute to the rehabilitation and recovery of a person needing services.

Citing the New Freedom Commission on Mental Health established by President George W. Bush in 2002 to conduct a comprehensive study of the United States mental health service delivery system and make recommendations for improvements, Buckley says it is vital that doctors receive training that will sensitize them to become more holistic in their views of people with mental illness.

“We posed the question, ‘If it is so important in our nation to have policies to guide how we treat people for mental illness, shouldn’t we be training our doctors in that way?’” he said. “Our program has incorporated people who have experienced mental illness, but are more stable and far along in their recovery, to help others in their recovery. And then we took this model a step further by introducing it into the arena of training doctors and medical students. They now have the opportunity to care for people with mental illness with the benefit of guidance from a peer support specialist.”

Buckley adds that departments of psychiatry at other schools around the country have shown interest in MCG’s model.

“We’ve written and published about our philosophy and model,” he said. “Today, the peer support specialist, to us, is no longer unique and has been mainstreamed into what we do.”

Competency Restoration Program Helps Jail Inmates

Peter AshA partnership between Emory University, the state of Georgia and Fulton County is helping inmates with mental illness move forward through the justice system.

Some inmates remain locked up for months because they have been deemed incompetent to stand trial, yet they cannot proceed to trial until they receive the medication and/or therapy they need to become competent. It’s the ultimate Catch-22.

According to Peter Ash, M.D., a professor in Emory’s Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences who serves as director of the Fulton County Jail program, many of these inmates haven’t committed serious offenses.

“They’ve been arrested on relatively minor offenses, but they’ve gotten caught up in the system due to their mental illness,” he said. “It’s better to get these people effective treatment so that they don’t keep repeating their actions.”

The Fulton County Jail, the state and Emory worked together to set up an intensive psychiatric unit inside the jail, where a team of medical professionals evaluates inmates for needed treatment and therapy. The program has eased the burden in several ways. Previously, mentally ill inmates often lingered in jail, having been placed on a long wait list to get into Georgia Regional Hospital for evaluation. Now, with onsite evaluation and treatment, the backlog is disappearing and many inmates have been stabilized.

Ash says that research on the efficacy of the restoration program has shown excellent outcomes, sped up the recovery of those treated and saved money.

“Right now, the program is primarily for men. We’re also doing outcome studies and piloting a new program aimed at helping women with mental illness who are in the criminal justice system,” he said. “We’re always looking at how we can deliver a more careful assessment of the person’s level of problem and tailor their treatment to their level of need.”

Behavior Therapy Could Benefit Children with Autism

More young children 2 to 5 years of age receiving care for attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) could benefit from psychological services – including the recommended treatment of behavior therapy, according to The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The CDC’s latest Vital Signs report urges healthcare providers to refer parents of young children with ADHD for training in behavior therapy before prescribing medicine to treat the disorder.

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that before prescribing medicine to a young child, healthcare providers refer parents to training in behavior therapy. However, according to the Vital Signs report, about 75% of young children being treated for ADHD received medicine, and only about half received any form of psychological services, which might have included behavior therapy.

The report looks at healthcare claims data from at least 5 million young children (2-5 years of age) each year insured by Medicaid (2008-2011) and about 1 million young children insured each year through employer-sponsored insurance (ESI) (2008-2014). In both groups, just over 75% of young children diagnosed with ADHD received ADHD medicine. Only 54% of young children with Medicaid and 45% of young children with ESI (2011) received any form of psychological services annually, which might have included parent training in behavior therapy. The percentage of children with ADHD receiving psychological services has not increased over time


IDEAL Minimally Invasive Surgery

Wednesday, July 20th, 2016

By Nisha Lakhi, M.D., and Ceana Nezhat, M.D.

Nezhat, Ceana - Headshot 2The history of endoscopy is a story inextricably bound by the human energies of character and charisma, persistence and insistence. Over the course of several centuries, many great thinkers and visionaries have established the rudimentary foundation that minimally invasive surgery stands upon today.

However it was the Persian physician-philosopher Ibn Sina (980-1037 C.E.), commonly known to westerners as Avicenna, who has been credited for one of the most crucial turning points in the history of endoscopy – the use of reflected light (1). Ibn Sina’s endoscopic techniques are generally considered to be the first documented instances of using reflected sunlight and polished glass mirrors to examine internal cavities of the human body.

Several obstacles had to be overcome before endoscopy could be accepted as a legitimate form of surgery. The technical challenges included 1) creating or expanding entrances to the interior of the human body, 2) safely delivering enough light into the interior body cavity, 3) transmitting a clear magnified image back to the eye, and finally 4) expanding the field of vision. Although Ibn Sina was able to overcome the first two of these challenges with his use of reflected sunlight, the world waited several centuries before further technical innovation would shape modern endoscopy.

Endoscopy as a Philosophy

Perhaps the most unique aspect of the history of the endoscope lies in the issue of categorization. Just what is endoscopy anyway? Is it an instrument or technique? Revolution or evolution? Many have come to understand the meaning of endoscopy as merely that of a technology or instrumentation. Because its roots as an almost exclusively diagnostic tool are so recent, this limited conceptualization has been somewhat difficult to escape. A more accurate definition, however, places endoscopy firmly in the realm of a new philosophy, one rooted in what is now referred to as minimally invasive surgery.

One may also interpret much of the Hippocratic Corpus as predominantly advocating this minimalist approach, as can be inferred by the modern version of the Hippocratic ancient edict “First, do no harm.” Hippocrates specifically instructed physicians to avoid invasive methods as much as possible.

Sometime between antiquity and the late 19th to early 20th century, however, the favored form of surgical intervention transformed into one dominated by big incisions.

Yet, just like Newtonian physics, these classical theories of surgery would ultimately be challenged by the conceptual breakthroughs driven in part by the burgeoning field of modern operative endoscopy.

Great Leaps Forward

The next great leap forward took place in 1806, when Philipp Bozzini first looked into a human bladder with an apparatus called the Lichtleiter. This first known endoscope utilized a candle as the sole light source (1).

The scope consisted of a system of strategically angled mirrors that were positioned in such a way as to bring the image back to his eye while simultaneously conveying the distally placed candlelight into the interior body cavity. Thus the third challenge of reflecting images back to the eye was overcome.

With the advent of electricity, exponential growth in the development of endoscopic technology was seen through the 18th and early 19th century. Most notability in 1879, Maximilian Carl-Friedrich Nitze developed the first rigid endoscopic instrument with a built-in light source.

In 1902, the first laparoscopy was performed by the German surgeon Georg Kelling. He inserted a Nitze cystoscope into the peritoneal cavity of a live anesthetized dog and examined its viscera (1). Eight years later, Hans Christian Jacobaeus of Sweden performed the first laparoscopic operation on a human (1).

A Wave of Opposition

Other surgical specialties were resistant to using this new technology. Surgeons of this era equated “surgical might” with larger incisions (Big Surgeon=Big Incision). By the 1970s, laparoscopic techniques were almost exclusively in the repertoire of gynecologists. In addition, there were reports of deaths caused by insulation complications, electrocautery accidents and intraoperative hemorrhage.

Soon thereafter, urgent congressional hearings and governmental advisory panels were called into session to address these concerns. Symbolic actions were taken against laparoscopy. Most notability the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued a very strong public rebuke over patient deaths that were apparently linked to monopolar laparoscopic sterilization procedures.

However, one of the most pressing challenges was the ergonomic difficulty inherent to the use of laparoscopic equipment. Until the 1980s, laparoscopy was a one-man, one-eyed, one-handed procedure. The operating surgeon would have to hold the scope with one hand and peer through it as he operated. Thus visualization was limited, and complex operative procedures were not possible.

The Birth of a New Era: Videolaparoscopy

Dr. Camran Nezhat is considered to be the founding father of operative videolaparoscopy (2). He used a conventional video camera, and ‘rigged’ it to an endoscope and a television monitor. This conceptual breakthrough revolutionized modern abdominal and pelvic surgery. Video-laparoscopy refined the endoscopic process by empowering the surgeon with the capacity to operate in a vertical position, to use both hands and both feet simultaneously and to observe an enhanced field of vision on the video monitor while operating directly through the laparoscope.

The foundation of a multi-disciplinary endoscopic approach to complex pathologies was established in Atlanta, at Northside Hospital. The Nezhat brothers, in collaboration with other surgical specialties, performed many complex procedures for the first time by a minimally invasive approach. In the field of urology, along with Drs. Howard Rottenberg, Fred Shessel, and Bruce Green, laparoscopic techniques for bladder and ureter resection were pioneered. Similarly, in collaboration with colorectal surgeons, Drs. Earl Pennington, Wayne Ambroze, Guy Orangio and later on Mary Ann Schertzer, some of the earliest laparoscopic bowel resections were performed.

The general surgeons also began to adopt this new technology. Several notable general surgeons in Atlanta, including Drs. John Harvey, David Ruben and Patrick Luke later joined by Dr. Iqbal Garcha, began applying laparoscopic techniques to various surgical procedures.

Nezhats partnered with renowned gynecologic oncologists in Atlanta, Dr. Benedict Benigno and Dr. Matthew Burrell, to began using laparoscopy for their oncologic procedures. And surgeons of different specialties from around the world have since attended minimally invasive surgery courses conducted since 1984 at Northside Hospital.

During this time, Atlanta became a mecca of laparoscopic innovation. The first laparoscopic cholecystectomy in the United States was performed on June 22, 1988 in Atlanta by Drs. J. Barry McKernan and William B. Saye (1). At the Second World Congress on Endoscopic Surgery held in March 1990 in Atlanta, general surgeons and gynecologists from all around the world came together. At this meeting, video laparoscopy was validated as a true surgical specialty (1).

The Age of Robotics

Although videolaparoscopy allowed more complex procedures to be performed laparoscopically, its uptake was limited to select individuals who possessed the necessary skill set and aptitude to carry out these technically challenging procedures working off a two-dimensional video monitor. In 2000, the Da Vinci Surgery System (Sunnyvale, Calif.) was the first robotic-assisted surgery system approved by the FDA for general laparoscopic surgery. The robotic platform offered many advantages, including 3-D vision, enhanced dexterity, tremor filter and articulated instruments. This technology bridged the gap, as it allowed more surgeons to offer a minimally invasive approach to their patients instead of laparotomy.

Thus the enthusiasm and demand for minimally invasive surgery surged. Patients became educated about the advantages of minimally invasive surgery and started requesting robotic and laparoscopic procedures. Due to this increased demand, more providers began to offer a minimally invasive approach to their patients. However, some surgeons were inexperienced and did not understand the principles of laparoscopy, electro-surgery and safe specimen extraction. This resulted in a new surge of fatalities and complications.

From January 2000 to December 2013, 144 deaths and 1,391 patient injuries were attributed to the Da Vinci Surgical System (3). Several of these complications were due to inadequate surgical expertise. Complications were secondary to unsafe abdominal entry techniques, improper use of electrosurgical instruments, insufficient knowledge of anatomy and lack of adherence to the principles of minimally invasive surgery (4). Principles of safe specimen extraction were also violated. Collateral injuries and even death were reported secondary to morcellator blades (3). Additionally, due to unsafe uncontained tissue extraction techniques and poor patient selection for this type of procedure, dissemination of malignant intra-peritoneal pathology also occurred.

In 2014, driven by a broad public campaign, the FDA released a strong warning against the use of power morcellators. This had devastating and far-reaching consequences, as many began to abandon laparoscopy all together (4, 5). Johnson & Johnson issued a worldwide recall of their morcelator.

Eight months after the FDA warning was issued, one Florida health system observed an 8.7 percent decrease in benign minimally invasive hysterectomies and a 19 percent decrease in minimally invasive myomectomies (5). It was the first time, despite the decades of innovation and progress that we were reverting back to laparotomy.

Inflection Point Reached

Minimally invasive surgery today has reached an inflection point. We are no longer trying to prove that these procedures can be done. Rather, we must focus on doing these procedures safely and with the proper use of technology. We cannot afford to take steps backward, nor can we revert back to laparotomy or risk abandoning minimally invasive surgery all together. Therefore, we must maintain high standards and keep the art of minimally invasive surgery in the hands of experienced surgeons who can perform these procedures meticulously. An in-depth understanding of surgical anatomy, abdominal entry, port placement, electro-surgical principles, energy devices and tissue extraction techniques is of paramount importance.

The Future

Laparoscopy has revolutionized the practice of modern surgery from simple diagnostic work to advanced operative procedures. In the pursuit of even less invasive means for surgery, mini-laparoscopes and instruments some 3 millimeters or less in diameter have been developed. Mini-laparoscopic technology is a step beyond traditional operative laparoscopy and robotic-assisted surgery in that incisions are even smaller. The benefits are abundant and include reduced incisional pain, less risk of hernia or wound hematoma, no visible scarring, faster recovery and reduced costs.

Northside Hospital is the first hospital in Georgia to offer the new mini-laparoscopy technology. With mini-laparoscopic instruments, we have been able to successfully treat complex diseases including deeply infiltrating endometriosis affecting the bowel, bladder and ureter; removal of mesh embedded in the surrounding organs; or lysis of extensive adhesions.

Offering Patients the Ideal Surgery

We aspire to realize the dreams of the pioneers who spearheaded the revolution in modern-day surgery. To accomplish this goal, we must use our talents and expertise to improve and expand minimally invasive surgery. Our patients desire IDEAL minimally invasive surgery. That is, surgery Individualized, Data-driven, Economical, Advantageous and that offers optimal Long-term results.

Although minimally invasive surgery offers our patients an IDEAL surgical approach, there is a caveat – the surgery must be performed to a high standard of excellence in the hands of a skilled surgeon. Surgical success is dependent upon the knowledge and skill of the surgeon, beginning with an accurate diagnosis and proper selection of patients, determination of surgical access route and, especially, recognition of the surgeon’s own limitations.

As technological advances in this field are rapidly increasing, practicing surgeons must become proficient with new instrumentation and new surgical approaches. Therefore, adequate training and continuing education are crucial for success and the prevention of complications. If we truly want to progress and to offer an IDEAL minimally invasive surgical approach to our patients, we must not forget that the safety of our patients is of utmost importance.


1.Nezhat C. Nezhat’s History of Endoscopy – A Historical Analysis of Endoscopy’s Ascension since Antiquity (2nd edition). Endo:Press, Tuttlingen, Germany,2011.

2.Podratz, Karl, MD PHD. Degrees of Freedom: Advances in Gynecological and Obstetrical Surgery. Remembering Milestones and Achievements in Surgery: Inspiring Quality for a Hundred Years 19132012.Published by American College of Surgeons 2012.Tampa: Faircount Media Group; 2013.

3.Manoucheri E, Fuchs-Weizman N, Cohen SL, Wang KC, Einarsson J. MAUDE: analysis of robotic-assisted gynecologic surgery. J Minim Invasive Gynecol. 2014 Jul-Aug; 21(4):592-5.

4. Kimberly A. Kho, MD, MPH; Ceana H. Nezhat, MD Evaluating the Risks of Electric Uterine MorcellationJAMA. 2014;311(9):905-906. doi:10.1001/jama.2014.1093

5.Nezhat C. The Dilemma of Myomectomy, Morcellation, and the Demand for Reliable Metrics on Surgical Quality. JAMA Oncol. 2015 Apr;1(1):78-9. 6.Lum DA, Sokol ER, Berek JS, Schulkin J, Chen L, McElwain CA, Wright JD. Impact of the 2014 FDA Warnings against Power Morcellation. J Minim Invasive Gynecol. 2016 Jan 28.

6.Barron KI, Richard T, Robinson PS, Lamvu G. Association of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration Morcellation Warning with Rates of Minimally Invasive Hysterectomy and Myomectomy. Obstet Gynecol. 2015 Dec;126(6):1174-80.


Emory at Buford Purchases 15,000 Square Feet to Expand Operations

Wednesday, July 13th, 2016

The new Emory at Buford-Primary Care clinic, located at 3276 Buford Drive, is expanding its services less than a year from opening.

Emory Healthcare leased 15,000 square feet on the second floor of Emory Center, across from the Mall of Georgia. It initially opened with Emory at Buford–Primary Care. Internist Timothy Richard Flynn, MD, who has practiced in the northeast metro Atlanta area for 20 years, joined Emory to help launch the practice in October 2015.

Joining Flynn is Emory Heart and Vascular Center general cardiologist Renato Santos, MD. Santos is board certified in internal medicine, cardiology and interventional cardiology.

The Emory University Hospital Midtown Imaging Center has also been added at the Buford clinic. The imaging center performs MRIs, CT scans and X-rays. Its newest offering is a wide bore magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) machine, which can be a plus for patients who have difficulties with small spaces. It’s also helpful in imaging larger patients.


Atlanta Gastroenterology Associates Physicians Named Top Doctors for Metro Atlanta

Wednesday, July 13th, 2016

Ten physicians from Atlanta Gastroenterology Associates (AGA) have been named “Top Doctors.” Drs. Girish Anand, Norman Elliott, Charles Fox, Lori Lucas, Ralph Lyons, Enrique Martínez, Kamil Obideen, Neal Osborn, David Quinn and John Suh were recognized in Atlanta magazine’s July issue featuring “Top Doctors” for the metro area. AGA physicians represent 10 of the 21 physicians honored for the gastroenterology specialty.

“It is an honor for our practice to have so many of our physicians recognized with this award,” said Dr. Steven Morris, AGA’s Managing Partner. “It is a testimony to the quality of patient care that has been the foundation of our practice for the past 40 years.”

This year’s “Top Doctors” issue honored 623 physicians. The listing is compiled annually by Castle Connolly, an established healthcare research company based in New York City. The physicians are selected through peer nomination and an extensive screening process by Castle Connolly’s physician-directed research team.


Grady Diffusion Tensor Imaging (DTI) Machine Announced

Wednesday, July 27th, 2016

Grady - BrightMatter_PlanGrady Health System will be the first hospital in Georgia to acquire Synaptive Medical’s BrightMatter™ technology. This innovative solution provides physicians at Grady visualization with unprecedented details of a patient’s brain for intervention in situations such as stroke or tumor. BrightMatter, a seamless integration of essential technologies, is designed to support efficient clinical decision making with advanced imaging, planning, navigation and robotic visualization.

BrightMatter uses a type of MRI called diffusion tensor imaging, or DTI, to produce an image of the entire brain’s pathways. This occurs immediately after the MRI is complete and allows physicians to consider every possible approach. In a hospital like Grady where time is of the essence, immediate access to these details can make a significant impact on patients who may be diagnosed with a stroke or brain tumor.

“This technology brings the most advanced imaging system for neurosurgical planning and allows for minimally invasive surgical treatment of hemorrhages and tumors in deep locations of the brain that were previously deemed inoperable and will transform the way traditional neurosurgical procedures for brain and spine conditions are performed. The potential impact for patients is transformative and includes smaller incisions, shorter recovery times, and preservation of vital brain and spinal cord functions,” said Dr. Gustavo Pradilla, Assistant Professor of Neurosurgery for Emory University Healthcare, and Chief of Neurosurgery for Grady Health System and Co-Director of the Grady Skull Base Surgery Center.

The brain is made up of millions of pathways in the white matter that connect key functional areas. BrightMatter supports a physician’s ability to see these pathways, which cannot be seen with the naked eye or a standard MRI. While physicians know anatomy of the brain, every patient is different. Crossing these pathways may result in complications and prevent a physician from considering surgery. BrightMatter brings hope to patients whose condition might have previously been considered inoperable.



WellStar Kennestone Hospital Welcomes First Class of Medical Residents

Wednesday, July 13th, 2016

GMEWellStar Kennestone Hospital will launch a Graduate Medical Education (GME) program on Friday, July 1. In its first year, the program will welcome 14 residents to the hospital to continue their training in internal medicine and OBGYN.

Each year, new physicians graduate from Georgia-based medical schools and many are forced to leave the state to complete their training. Studies have shown that physicians are most likely to permanently practice medicine in the community where they finish their training. With concerns about having enough physicians to care for an aging population, it is imperative that Georgia hospitals train more physicians. Kennestone is one of eight hospitals that are partnering with University System of Georgia (USG) to launch new residency training programs.

“It is the right time to offer this new program,” said John Brennan, M.D., executive vice president and chief clinical integration officer for WellStar Health System. “We believe this program will help train the next generation of physicians, and these residents will come to us with their own ideas and knowledge, particularly about emerging practices, which will provide a reciprocal benefit to our physicians, staff and patients. We are positioning WellStar to meet our community’s needs as the population gets older.”

Kennestone received more than 2,400 applicants for its ten internal medicine and four OBGYN positions, echoing the need for more training programs in the state otc viagra substitutes. Residents will participate in the internal medicine and OBGYN programs for 3 and 4 years, respectively.

“WellStar’s vision is to build long-term relationships with these residents so they can continue to work in Georgia and hopefully, to serve WellStar’s patients for many years to come,” said Waldon Garriss, M.D., who serves as GME program director for internal medicine. “Our team members are so supportive and eager to make a difference in the lives of these students and the patients we serve.”

With the goal of offering an exceptional and personalized training environment to develop the next generation of physicians, WellStar Kennestone went through a rigorous planning process in order to obtain accreditation by the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME). Using practices from well-respected programs, such as Vanderbilt, Erlanger and Mercer, and creating some of their own, the Kennestone GME team built a curriculum and program that would attract the best and brightest medical students. The medical program spans the breadth of internal medicine, which includes ambulatory and inpatient services, critical care, subspecialty training, neurology, geriatrics and emergency medicine. The first of its kind in Cobb County, the GME program is expected to expand to 30 residents by 2018. The OB/GYN program will grow to 16 residents during that same time period.

On April 1, WellStar acquired WellStar Atlanta Medical Center, which has a 50-year history of training physicians in family medicine, internal medicine, orthopedics, general surgery and pharmacy. The two programs will learn and grow from each other.


WellStar Board of Trustees Names New Chair and Vice Chair

Wednesday, July 13th, 2016

Hafner_David_MD_004-2WellStar Health System announced new leadership on the WellStar Board of Trustees.

David Hafner, M.D., partner at Vascular Surgical Associates, PC, assumed the role of chair, succeeding Gary Miller who has served as chair of the Board for the past two years and remains a board member.

“Dr. Hafner is a strong physician and community leader who has served our patients and communities for 30 years,” said Gary Miller, past chair of the WellStar Board of Trustees. “He played an integral role in the recent acquisition of Tenet’s Atlanta-based hospitals and partnership with West Georgia Medical Center by chairing the Physician Advisory Council. He also serves on the WellStar Clinical Partners Board. I have been privileged to serve on the Board with Dr. Hafner for a number of years and look forward to continuing to work with him as we provide continued guidance, leadership and support for our System.”

As a not-for-profit health system, the 20-member WellStar Board of Trustees has created the vision and strategy focused on delivering world-class healthcare. During Miller’s two-year term as chair, WellStar expanded to become the largest health system in Georgia, launched a Graduate Medical Education Program, and opened a new health park in East Cobb County.


GSA Summer Meeting

Friday, July 22nd, 2016

July 22-24, 2016, Ritz Carlton Lodge, Greensboro, GA. For more information, visit Medical Association of Georgia



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