Legacy of excellence: Dean Michael Johns Accepts Post at Emory Steve Libowitz ----------------------------- Editor You have to invest a bit of time to get a sense of what Mike Johns has done for and at Hopkins since becoming dean of the School of Medicine five and a half years ago. His accomplishments, interwoven with those of the faculty and staff on his watch, stretch through 29 typewritten pages. Single spaced. Double sided. On Dec. 20, Dean Michael M. E. Johns announced his intent to leave what he called the best medical school in the world for the post of executive vice president for health affairs and director of The Robert W. Woodruff Health Sciences Center at Emory University, a health system of 1,400 faculty, 1,700 volunteer faculty and collaborative scientists, more than 11,000 staff, almost 3,000 hospital beds and more than 2 million inpatient and outpatient visits annually. The operating budget reaches approximately $1 billion a year. It was the ultimate offer that could not be refused. "He had discussed with me the offer, and clearly it was one of those circumstances where he simply could not turn it down," said Interim President Daniel Nathans in an open letter to the employees of the Medical Institutions. "All of us who have worked with Mike will miss him very much." In the days since his announcement, he said, everyone has been very supportive. "I have received dozens of letters and phone calls from faculty and colleagues," said Johns who also serves as vice president for medicine at Hopkins. "People realize the size and scope of this opportunity and the personal challenge it presents. While leaving is bittersweet because of the people I have worked with, I am comfortable it's the right decision." In his new position, which he will assume on July 1, Johns will oversee Emory's health sciences schools of medicine, nursing and public health, the Yerkes Regional Primate Center, The Emory Clinic, Emory University Hospital and Crawford Long Hospital. He also will have oversight of Emory's affiliate relationship for patient care, teaching and research with Egleston Children's Hospital, Wesley Woods Geriatric Hospital, Grady Memorial Hospital and the Veterans Affairs Medical Center. As CEO of the Emory University System of Health Care, Johns will head a clinical enterprise that stretches throughout the region. It's a remarkably broad and substantive undertaking, one that colleagues believe suits Johns just right. "It was his record of achievement here that led to such an outstanding opportunity for him at Emory," said James A. Block, president of the Johns Hopkins Health System. "Mike's devotion to excellence is unflagging." The quest for excellence is a phrase that comes up frequently in conversation with Dean Johns. It has been a constant throughout his career. In 1981, Johns, an otolaryngologist/head and neck surgeon, was named Young Surgeon of the Year by the Virginia Chapter of the American College of Otolaryngology and Head and Neck Surgeons. He was recruited to Hopkins in 1984 to become professor and chair of the Department of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, a department he built into one of the country's largest and most prestigious. He also is credited with reorganizing the faculty practice plan and helping to plan and develop the Johns Hopkins Outpatient Center. Colleagues said Johns' most enduring legacies also include his reform of the medical school curriculum, his advocacy of government-sponsored medical research, development of new technology transfer guidelines and his department chair appointments. In Emory, Johns sees many of the same complexities that permeate Hopkins: the challenge of managed care, the need to maintain high levels of quality academic research and the importance of boosting legitimate revenue sources, all while maintaining excellence in patient care. "All of medicine is subject to change within the existing environment of healthcare reform," Johns said. "The challenge, at Hopkins and at Emory, is to be successful in healthcare delivery while staying focused on academics and research. Even though this is a time of great change, it is also a time of great possibilities, and I think Emory is well-positioned for what has been for them a decade of tremendous growth. "That said, I have been deeply honored to serve as dean here, and over the next six months, I look forward to continuing our work to position Hopkins Medicine for the challenges of the 21st century."
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