News Update


The National Institutes of Health (NIH) has awarded Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center a grant worth an estimated $8.7 million over five years to establish a new center for research into Alzheimer’s disease.

The Alzheimer’s Disease Core Center (ADCC) at Wake Forest Baptist is among 31 NIH-funded research centers in the country. It serves the Southeast, which is the U.S. region with the highest per capita rates of Alzheimer’s and other age-related cognitive disorders.

The center will promote Alzheimer’s research and education and contribute to the national network of NIH-funded centers. Its primary focus will be on the role played by vascular and metabolic disorders in the occurrence of Alzheimer’s.

“The ADCC will provide extensive resources for coordinated, multidisciplinary investigations into how diabetes, peripheral vascular disease and other common conditions affect the transitions from normal aging to mild cognitive impairment and then to Alzheimer’s and other dementias,” said Suzanne Craft, PhD, the center’s director and professor of gerontology and geriatric medicine at Wake Forest School of Medicine, a part of Wake Forest Baptist.

Suzanne Craft, PhD

Suzanne Craft, PhD

“We anticipate that the knowledge we gain will contribute to the development of innovative strategies for prevention and treatment.”

Craft credits philanthropic support, particularly from the Kulynych family of North Carolina and the Texas-based Hartman Foundation, for accelerating the Medical Center’s progress toward being a nationally recognized research center for Alzheimer’s.

“We’re uniquely equipped to be a high-impact center because of our deep and strong foundation in aging research, specialized expertise in metabolic and vascular disorders, well-established ties to an ethnically diverse community with a high prevalence of these conditions, and exceptional institutional support,” said Edward Abraham, MD, dean of Wake Forest School of Medicine. READ FULL RELEASE


Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center’s Comprehensive Cancer Center has had its designation by the National Cancer Institute (NCI) as a comprehensive cancer center renewed for five years.

It is one of just three NCI-designated comprehensive cancer centers in North Carolina and one of 47 in the country. It has held this distinction continuously since 1990, one of the few to do so.

The NCI, which is part of the National Institutes of Health, confers the comprehensive cancer center designation in recognition of innovative care, scientific leadership and depth and breadth of research in basic, clinical and population science. The NCI designation includes grants that support shared research, foster transdisciplinary programs and provide developmental funds to advance scientific goals. READ FULL RELEASE


The Board of Directors of Wake Forest University Health Sciences has established an endowed fund in honor of Richard Janeway, MD, that will provide the first dedicated funding source for the Northwest Area Health Education Center (AHEC).

In September, Janeway attended an event celebrating the naming of the Richard Janeway, MD, Distinguished Director of Northwest AHEC Fund. Michael Lischke, EdD, MPH, the Richard Janeway, MD, Distinguished Director of Northwest AHEC, and Medical Center CEO John D. McConnell, MD, delivered remarks.

Richard Janeway, MD

Family members helped Richard Janeway, MD, celebrate the endowed fund established in his honor

Their remarks were followed by impromptu comments, both humorous and poignant, from many of those in attendance who recalled what Janeway and his trailblazing work meant to them.

Janeway, president emeritus of Wake Forest University Health Sciences, served the Medical Center for more than 35 years in roles that included dean of the medical school and executive vice president for health affairs. His leadership is credited for expanding the Northwest AHEC program into an important regional health educational resource.

Northwest AHEC is an educational outreach and training program that advances public health in its 17-county region. It strives to improve the supply, distribution, and quality of health and human service personnel—especially in primary care—through diverse community/academic partnerships.


John D. McConnell, MDJohn D. McConnell, MD, announced in May that he plans to step down in 2017 as CEO of Wake Forest Baptist but will remain at the Medical Center in a new position.

McConnell, who has served as the Medical Center’s first CEO since Nov. 1, 2008, will stay in his role as chief executive until the Medical Center Board of Directors appoints his successor.

In his new role, McConnell will assume responsibility as executive director for a new Medical Center company, Wake Forest Healthcare Ventures, which will seek to develop and commercialize innovative products and services in areas such as health care analytics and digital health. He will also resume faculty research and educational responsibilities. READ FULL RELEASE


Wake Forest Baptist opened a new neurosciences intensive care unit (Neuro ICU) in early 2016 that incorporated advice from the families and patients who had spent time in the current facility.

At 32,600 square feet, the $16.5 million Neuro ICU takes up half of the fifth floor at the Ardmore Tower. The 24-bed facility has a calming and airy feel with art on the walls, plenty of natural light and a double-matted floor that is soft and easy on the feet as it quiets foot traffic, all of which are conducive to a healing environment.

Family-friendly features include a large family waiting room, a family lounge with a kitchenette, two conference rooms for conversations between physicians and families, live teleconferencing capabilities and expanded private patient rooms. The amenities support a new approach to patient care in the Neuro ICU, reflecting evidence that in most cases having family around, and participating in patient care, improves a patient’s recovery. READ FULL RELEASE


When Wake Forest School of Medicine’s entering class arrived at the new Bowman Gray Center for Medical Education in late July, it made school history: it is the largest class ever admitted, with 129 students, and it has the most women ever in an incoming class, 69.

“When I entered Wake Forest School of Medicine in 1978, I was one of only 12 female students,” said Brenda Latham-Sadler, MD ’82, associate dean of student inclusion and diversity. “… It shows just how much has changed in those years with the perception, interest and acceptance of women in medicine.”

Minority students considered underrepresented in medicine represent 19 percent of the class, and 47 different undergraduate and graduate majors are represented. More than 20 percent of the class is proficient or fluent in Spanish, and 19 different languages other than English are spoken among members of the class.

“We pride ourselves on the widely representative makeup of our class of medical students,” Dean Edward Abraham, MD, said. “We believe the wealth of backgrounds our students bring will make them and their classmates better practitioners, because they mirror our community and our patients. We are off to a great start.” READ FULL RELEASE


Russell Howerton, MDRussell Howerton, MD, chief medical officer and professor of surgery at Wake Forest Baptist, has been appointed to the board of governors of the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI) by the U.S. Government Accountability Office.

PCORI is an independent, nonprofit, nongovernmental research funding organization created through the Affordable Care Act and authorized by Congress. Wake Forest Baptist is leading a state-wide, PCORI-funded study examining whether longer-term, post-stroke care improves stroke patients’ daily function.


Gopal H. Badlani, MDGopal H. Badlani, MD, professor and vice chair of clinical affairs in the Department of Urology at Wake Forest Baptist, has received India’s most prestigious award in medicine, the annual Dr. B.C. Roy National Award in the field of sociomedical relief.

Indian President Pranab Mukherjee presented Badlani with the award at the Presidential Palace in New Delhi on July 1, National Doctors’ Day in India. Badlani’s volunteer work included playing a key role in establishing a project that has provided urologic care to more than 6,000 underprivileged people in India over the past 15 years. READ FULL RELEASE


Gary E. Rosenthal, MDGary E. Rosenthal, MD, has been named chair of internal medicine. Rosenthal, an accomplished physician-researcher whose work has focused on improvement of patient care access, quality and cost, began work in September, succeeding Jeff D. Williamson, MD, who had served as interim chair.

Rosenthal’s research has been well funded by the National Institutes of Health, U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, among others. READ FULL RELEASE


Edgar D. “Ed” Staren, MD, PhD, MBANoted surgeon, educator and executive Edgar D. “Ed” Staren, MD, PhD, MBA, has been appointed vice president for cancer services at Wake Forest Baptist. He also will serve as deputy director for clinical affairs of the Comprehensive Cancer Center and executive director of the cancer service line.

Staren is former chief executive officer of Ashion PMed Management and president of its Ashion Advanced Individual Medicine subsidiary, both outgrowths of the Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGen) in Phoenix. He previously worked as professor, assistant dean and associate dean at Rush University Medical College, attending surgeon at Rush University Medical Center and Cook County Health and Hospitals System in Chicago, professor and medical director of the Medical College of Ohio’s Cancer Institute, and surgery chair and surgery clinical service chief of its hospitals. READ FULL RELEASE

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