OUTGOING CDC CHIEF KOPLAN TAKES POST AT EMORY



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Last Updated

26 Nov 2002

Source: The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, March 26, 2002

Outgoing CDC chief Koplan takes post at Emory

By M.A.J. McKENNA, Atlanta Journal-Constitution Staff Writer

Dr. Jeffrey Koplan, the outgoing director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, won't be going very far: He will become vice president for academic health affairs at Emory University next door.

The new job puts Koplan in charge of planning for the research and teaching side of the Woodruff Health Sciences Center, which comprises Emory's schools of medicine, nursing and public health and its primate research center as well as its hospitals, clinics and physicians' practices.

It also puts the internist and health care economist in the inner circle of Dr. Michael Johns, the hard-charging chief of the university's medical and health sides. Johns has spurred significant hiring, construction and fund-raising since arriving in 1996.

Johns announced Koplan's appointment Monday, calling it "the perfect match at the perfect time."

He added: "Jeff is an extraordinary leader, both statesman and scientist, who leads the premier health agency in the world with distinction, and who thinks and acts with a global perspective."

Koplan assumes the job April 22. It has been vacant since David Blake stepped down in December.

This will be Koplan's second move from the CDC into the private sector: He joined the agency in 1972, left in 1994 for the Prudential Center for Health Care Research, and returned to CDC in October 1998 as director. He steps down from that job Friday.

The move brings Koplan -- whose wife is an adjunct professor of psychiatry at Emory and whose daughter is a medical student there -- to a school that is pushing to raise its national reputation and its rank in research funding.

Johns has frequently said he wants to see Emory become one of the top 10 academic institutions in the United States, ranked by federal grants. When he arrived, it was 31st. Since his arrival from Johns Hopkins University, Emory has doubled the grants it takes in each year, to $233 million.

Boosting research funding is one of the goals of Emory's aggressive construction program, which calls for spending $300 million to build 500,000 more square feet of lab and office space as a recruiting tool for up to 150 new faculty.

By hiring Koplan, the university will be able to make additional moves, Johns said, mentioning research into bioterrorism, vaccines and cancer as possible new ventures.

Construction and recruitment will be familiar topics to Koplan: He inaugurated and repeatedly defended the CDC's 10-year, $1 billion master plan for updating its aging buildings.

He hopes, he said Monday, to continue to work on subjects that he has revisited frequently in his career: health care economics, global health and bringing together public health and patient care.

Koplan will have one assistant, a switch from the 8,500 employees he supervised at the CDC.

"I have done a lot of academic things -- taught at a lot of places, done a lot of research, written papers, served on academic committees, many of them at Emory -- but it is very different when it is your full-time job," he said. "I'm going to be in learning mode for many weeks over there."