Not only is science making it possible to change our current health care model, but so is society, Dr. Johns stated in his recent Vision 2012: Transforming Health and Healing address. Globalization means that we have unprecedented opportunities for improving public health, but we also face unprecedented risks for the rapid spread of disease, in addition to threats to health from natural disasters and man-made terrorism.
Explore This IssueNovember 2006
Science is enabling and society is requiring that we quickly make this transition and move beyond simply being the best within the current model of health care, and instead, provide the leadership to develop new forms of health and healing in the 21st century, said Dr. Johns.
To achieve his leadership vision, Dr. Johns has led the reengineering of Emory’s health care system, as well as major initiatives to focus and expand the research mission and innovations in health professions education. More than 2.1 million square feet of new mission-critical space has been added and an entire hospital essentially rebuilt. He has forged key partnerships with local universities-including the only joint department of biomedical engineering in the country (with Georgia Tech)-and has founded synergies with both public and private companies and organizations that leverage strengths and opportunities across all mission areas.
Dr. Johns also established the Woodruff Leadership Academy (WLA) (http://whsc.emory.edu/_wla/index.html ) in 2003-a program designed to grow tomorrow’s leaders from the ranks of today’s researchers, physicians, educators and administrators. By leaving the silos within their academic health centers, fellows learn managerial and technical expertise, as well as interpersonal, communications, and presentation skills necessary to meet the challenges of a rapidly changing health care environment.
Most importantly, these leaders-in-training learn how to work in teams. Leadership is about how you submerge your own ego and get those around you to rise up, said Dr. Johns in Momentum, a WLA publication. Everyone has a role to play. There are no unimportant people. Fellows gain an appreciation for, and expertise within, the teamwork approach to problem solving, planning, and operational implementation.
Physicians need to take on more leadership roles, become more knowledgeable and take a broader interest in health policy, health professions education and national health system reform, Dr. Johns said. He also advises his fellow otolaryngologists to become problem solvers, but to do so within the context of the larger organization to which they belong.
For example, by recruiting world-class faculty, increasing research funding by 60%, and consolidating clinical enterprises under one umbrella (Emory Healthcare) during the past 10 years, Dr. Johns has positioned the Woodruff Health Sciences Center as one of the nation’s preeminent academic health centers in education, research, and patient care.