Letter from the Chair

Feb. 6, 2015

Dear Colleagues,

Innovation in imaging is a powerful driving force in health care. In 2001, 225 physicians were asked to rank the top 30 impactful medical innovations of the past 30 years.  Near the very top of this list of discoveries were several imaging technologies, including CT, MRI, mammography, and image-guided balloon angioplasty.  As a radiologist colleague in private practice frequently reminds me: “I would have nothing to do if it weren’t for you [academic radiology departments].”

The Academy of Radiology Research recently conducted an analysis of NIH-funded research and demonstrated a stunningly high rate of patents for every dollar of taxpayer money spent through the smallest of NIH Institutes, the National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering (NIBIB).  Patents may be seen as a surrogate marker for the economic benefit of research and innovation.

Thus investment in imaging innovation delivers enormous value to health care advances while serving as a stimulator for our economy.

The January 13th issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) features an article by NIH Director and geneticist Francis Collins on “Scientific Discovery and the Future of Medicine.”  In this piece, Dr. Collins emphasizes the need for stable funding for NIH.  In fact, the rate of funding for NIH grants is slowly rising from the nadir of 2013.

Our interdisciplinary search committee for a new vice chair for research to succeed John Votaw (who retired at the end of 2014) is bringing in top candidates from across the US.  This is a critically important position for our department and for Emory. 

Best always to all in 2015,