Notable News from the Department of Surgery

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Notable News from the Department of SurgeryFebruary 26, 2021

Remembering George Skardasis

George M. Skardasis, MD, September 21, 1935 – January 4, 2021, opened the first vascular laboratory in the Atlanta metro area at Crawford Long Hospital, now Emory University Hospital Midtown, and served as its medical director for 40 years. He also served as chief of the section of vascular surgery at the hospital until 2010, mentoring many residents and fellows along the way. He continued to perform procedures and treat patients until the age of 84.
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Toncred Styblo named an Unsung Heroine
Toncred Styblo, MD, has been recognized by the Center for Women at Emory with its Unsung Heroine Award for 2021, which honors her for demonstrating extraordinary dedication to issues that affect women at Emory or in the larger community. Dr. Styblo has been at Emory since 1988, and her strong commitment to the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of breast cancer has grown her clinical practice to over 1,000 patients a year. She has also been active both locally and nationally in clinical and translational research for over 30 years.
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Chris Dente earns Emory at Grady Innovation Award
This award acknowledges faculty who have used creativity and invention to improve patient care or trainee education by implementing new technologies and/or procedures, making significant scientific discoveries, creating new operational processes, or pioneering new educational programs. Dr. Dente's research focuses on the creation and use of biomarker and clinical data warehouse-based decision support tools for trauma surgery and critical care.
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Gary Bouloux to lead multi-center study of metal hypersensitivity following TMJR

Gary F. Bouloux, DDS, MD, MDSc, professor of surgery and interim chief of the Emory Division of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, has been awarded an Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery Foundation Research Support Grant to study the development of metal hypersensitivity following temporomandibular total joint replacement (TMJR). The grant received the Stephen B. Milam Award for earning the highest score from the OMS Foundation Committee.
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Lily Yang receives R01 to develop nanoparticle-driven immunotherapy
Lily Yang, MD, PhD, has received a National Cancer Institute R01 grant to develop a targeted immunotherapy that can treat patients with cancer and comorbid atherosclerosis. The research is expected to generate preclinical data for a future phase I clinical trial. Co-investigators include Drs. Lei Zhu, Charles Staley, Bassel El-Rayes, and Hanjoong Jo.
SORG Grant funds Dina Amin's work on orbital trauma and reconstruction
The Strasbourg Osteosynthesis Group (SORG) has granted funding to a project to establish critical size defect for orbital reconstruction led by Emory oral and maxillofacial surgeon Dina Amin, DDS, FACS. She and her team also hope to establish which implant is appropriate depending on the size of the defect.
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Bariatric Midtown team wins GA Hospital Association 2021 Patient Safety & Quality Award

A team of Emory bariatric clinicians led by Elizabeth Hechenbleikner, MD, has received 1st place in the Georgia Hospital Association's 2021 Patient Safety & Quality Awards. The team represented Emory University Hospital Midtown, and was included in the category of hospitals with greater than 300 beds. Their study focused on improving venous thromboembolism prophylaxis compliance among bariatric surgery patients at the hospital.
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RaDIANT: Working to improve access to kidney transplants
Stephen Pastan, MD, medical director of the Emory kidney and pancreas transplant program, and Rachel Patzer, PhD, director of the Emory Health Services Research Center, began leading the RaDIANT (Reducing Disparities in Access to Kidney Transplantation) Study in 2016. The study seeks to ensure equity among patients being referred for kidney transplant and in every step of the transplant process. Initially the study was limited to Georgia dialysis facilities, then widened to include North Carolina and South Carolina dialysis facilities, and has now expanded to the national level.
History and Status of RaDIANT
Allan Pickens' story highlighted during Black History Month
In honor of Black History Month, the Office of Faculty Academic Advancement, Leadership and Inclusion — with support from the SOM Recognitions Committee and the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Council — highlighted the stories of six outstanding faculty members, one of whom was cardiothoracic surgeon Allan Pickens, MD. Among other topics, Dr. Pickens recounts growing up in rural Alabama in a segregated public school system. "I experienced separate and unequal first-hand. I worked hard to succeed in medicine, and I am now working hard to make the journey easier for others that look similar and have similar backgrounds."
Read the Stories

Cathy Graham co-author of poster presented at 2020 SABCS

Cathy Graham, MD, was a member of the FLEX Investigators' Group that conducted the study "Using BluePrint to Elucidate the Molecular Heterogeneity of Triple Negative Breast Cancers," which was presented in a poster session at the 2020 San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium in December. The study assessed triple negative breast cancers (TNBC) to understand the relationship between gene expression signatures provided by BluePrint and immunohistochemistry-defined TNBC. The analysis suggested that BluePrint enables further stratification of TNBC tumors, moving this type of cancer into different subgroups and shedding new light on TNBC tumor heterogeneity that may have clinical implications for stratifying TNBC patients and identifying improved targeted treatment options.
View the Poster
ESJH receives notable recognition from AHA and The Mitral Foundation
The American Heart Association and The Mitral Foundation have designated Emory Saint Joseph's Hospital (ESJH) as a Mitral Valve Repair Reference Center for excellence in clinical outcomes and performance in mitral valve repairs. ESJH is the first hospital in the southeast to receive the designation. Douglas Murphy, MD, medical director of surgical robotics at ESJH, has performed thousands of mitral valve repairs over the years. Michael Halkos, MD, chief of cardiothoracic surgery at Emory Healthcare, says, "Patients routinely travel from all over the United States to have their mitral valve surgery at Emory."
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Upcoming: Interprofessional Collaboration in Global Surgery Symposium
This free virtual symposium is sponsored by the Emory Global Perioperative Health Alliance, and will highlight the importance of partnership among professionals of all backgrounds and cultures to ensure safe surgical care globally. The symposium will be held March 6 and 7, 2021, and will feature panel discussions with international surgeons, anesthesiologists, nurses, and researchers; student panels and a judged virtual poster session; and keynote speaker Robert Riviello, MD, MPH, Director of Global Surgery Programs, Brigham and Women's Center for Global Surgery and Public Health.
Event Website

Welcome new faculty and staff


Katherine Ross-Driscoll, PhD, MPH, is a member of the Emory Transplant Health Services and Outcomes Research Program of the Department of Surgery, as well as the Health Services Research Center at Emory. Her primary research focuses on the influence that access to care and quality of care has on racial, socioeconomic, and geographic disparities in outcomes among patients with end-stage liver disease.

Pranavi Ravichandran, MD, FRCSC, RPVI, completed her integrated vascular surgery residency at the University of Ottawa in 2018, where she returned to work as a surgeon and lecturer before joining the Emory Surgery faculty. Her primary practice location is Emory Johns Creek Hospital. Her academic and research interests include surgical education and disparities in healthcare access.


Cathy Anderson is the new administrative assistant for surgical services, primarily supporting Joseph John and Lisa Fisher. Ms. Anderson worked for Intel Corporation, Seattle, WA, for 12 years, with much of her tenure spent as an executive assistant. Prior to Intel, she worked as an executive assistant for the Aerojet Corporation, Redmond, WA, for four years. She is an alumna of Fort Valley State University, where she earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Education.

Black History Month Medical Honoree: Dr. LaSalle D. Leffall

In honor of Black History Month, Emory Surgery has collaborated with the Thomas F. Dodson Surgical History Society to highlight African American academic surgery pioneer LaSalle D. Leffall Jr., MD. The product of this collaboration is an interactive eBook created by Emory general surgery residents Emeka Ndubisi, MD, Brendan Lovasik, MD, and Jeroson Williams, MD, which celebrates the indelible imprint Dr. Leffall made on the field of surgery.
Read the eBook
WISER Podcast garners Women of Excellence Award
These awards are presented by the Center for Women at Emory. The WISER (Women in Surgery at Emory Residencies) Podcast spotlights the life stories of venerable women surgeons, surgical staff, and trainees as a means of mentoring and guiding the next generation of diverse, forward-thinking, and problem-solving surgeon leaders. The WISER executive team consists of director Jessica Liu, MD, PGY-4 surgery resident; co-founder Caroline Coleman, medical student; and co-founder Vivian Wang, MD, graduated Emory resident.
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9th Annual Diversity Celebration sustains the legacy of welcoming all
The virtual 9th Annual Department of Surgery Diversity Dinner welcomed over 120 guests, including training program applicants; current medical students, residents, and faculty; and supporters of the department. "The event showcased Emory Surgery's deepening commitment to equity in the field of medicine, and showed that trainees at Emory are nurtured in an environment centered around clinical achievement, academic success, and quality care for patients," says PGY-2 general surgery resident Jeroson Williams, MD.
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Emory Surgery was well-represented at the 45th Annual Winter Meeting of the Vascular and Endovascular Surgical Society (VESS). Vascular surgery faculty members Yazan Duwayri, Jaime Benarroch-Gampel, William Jordan Jr., Bradley Leshnower, Christopher Ramos, and Ravi Rajani; vascular surgery residents Shayna Brathwaite and Richard Meena; general surgery resident LeslieAnn Kao; and medical student Lindsay Gallo collaborated on several presentations, and Dr. Rajani was named Recorder of VESS for a three-year term. He previously held the position of Councilor-at-Large.

Gary F. Bouloux, DDS, MD, MDSc, has been elected President of the American Society of Temporomandibular Joint Surgeons (ASTMJS), and will serve a two-year term. Established in 1986, the ASTMJS has grown nationally and internationally and sponsors such affiliate organizations as the South American Society of Temporomandibular Surgeons, the Japanese Society of Temporomandibular Joint Surgeons, and the European Society of Temporomandibular Joint Surgeons.

In recognition of his accomplishments as an academic oral and maxillofacial surgeon, Steven M. Roser, DMD, MD, was awarded Fellowship ad eundem in the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh. The RCSEd was founded in 1505 by Royal Charter granted by King James IV, and is the oldest Surgical College in the world with almost 30,000 members in 100 countries.

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