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Caughman to step down as Emory University executive vice president for health affairs

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Vince Dollard

 S. Wright Caughman

S. Wright Caughman has announced his intention to step down as Emory University’s executive vice president for health affairs, CEO of the Woodruff Health Sciences Center (WHSC) and chairman of the board for Emory Healthcare. A search process for his successor will begin immediately. In the meantime, Caughman will continue as executive vice president until the search is complete.

Caughman, 66, cites his conviction that the WHSC has arrived at a moment of necessary transition in leadership.

“As I’ve reflected upon Emory’s needs and opportunities and my own personal and professional goals, I’ve come to realize that now is the time to recruit our next health sciences leader — one who will continue to champion our values and vision, and one with the talent, passion and capacity to serve for the next five years or more,” he says. “I have absolute confidence in our future, and I know this is the right decision for Emory and for me.”

The Woodruff Health Sciences Center consists of Emory University’s School of Medicine, the Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing and the Rollins School of Public Health; the Yerkes National Primate Research Center; Winship Cancer Institute; and Emory Healthcare, Georgia’s largest comprehensive health care system.

Trained as a dermatologist and a research investigator, Caughman joined the Emory School of Medicine faculty in 1990 after completing residency and seven years in biomedical research at the National Institutes of Health. Prior to beginning his service as head of the WHSC in September 2010, he had been director of The Emory Clinic, executive associate dean for clinical affairs in the School of Medicine, and vice president for clinical and academic integration in the Woodruff Health Sciences Center.

“Wright has done a remarkable job of instilling confidence in our health sciences activities during some very challenging years of adapting to new realities,” says Emory University President James Wagner. “He brought to his role the experience of a seasoned physician-executive, clinician and scientist who also has a clear perception and firm understanding of the big picture. His commitment to the highest quality in education and training, research and discovery, and patient care has led to significant advances and recognition throughout Emory and the broader local, regional and national communities. Emory has benefited tremendously from Wright’s humane and thoughtful leadership.”

Douglas Ivester, chairman of the board of the Woodruff Health Sciences Center, says, "In the four years he has led the Woodruff Health Sciences Center, Wright has helped us keep our goals in focus with the right mix of education, research and best-quality health care. The entire enterprise has benefited from Wright’s experience and guidance. The board is grateful for Wright's leadership, and we look forward to working with him during the transition period as we continue to emphasize the academic values of superb teaching, ground-breaking research and exceptional patient care."

Caughman comments, “While I will ultimately be stepping down from my current position, I am not sitting down in the interim. I will continue to do all I possibly can to prepare the way for the success of Emory’s next EVP for health affairs.

“I have been humbled time and again by the talent, commitment and personal engagement brought to our distinguished institutions by my colleagues and friends. They are the critical factor that enables Emory to do great things and makes Emory a great place to serve.”

A former high school English teacher who graduated from Davidson College, Caughman earned his MD from the Medical University of South Carolina and completed his residency in dermatology at Harvard Medical School. He and his wife, Alison, have three adult children and three grandchildren.

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