Carlos del Rio, chair of the Hubert Department of Global Health, succeeded Leon Haley Jr. as executive associate dean of clinical affairs at Grady Memorial Hospital two weeks ago, chalking up a fifth current Emory University leadership position.
Del Rio assumed the new position Jan. 16., making him the principal liaison between Emory School of Medicine and Grady, Haley said. Del Rio is now responsible for the strategic direction, operation and function of Emory faculty, residents and staff who practice primarily at Grady, according to Haley.
Haley, who had served as the executive associate dean since 2013, was named dean and vice president of health affairs at the University of Florida College of Medicine — Jacksonville Jan. 1.
Headed by Gregory Jones, the associate vice president for health affairs in the Robert W. Woodruff Health Sciences Center, the search for a permanent dean of Grady is expected to be completed by the end of del Rio’s term.
In addition to his Hubert chair, del Rio is a professor in the division of infectious disease at the School of Medicine, a program director for the Emory AIDS International Training and Research Program and co-director of the Emory Center for AIDS Research.
Since completing his internal medicine and infectious disease residencies at Emory, del Rio served as chief of the Emory Medical Services at Grady Memorial Hospital from 2001 to 2009. Del Rio worked with Grady patients in his research, which focuses on the epidemiology of HIV.
Del Rio said his various directorships within the University make him a strong bridge between the Emory and Grady communities. At Grady — the largest hospital in Georgia — about 700 University faculty supervise 366 Emory residents and fellows as they provide patient care.
“From a leadership perspective, [del Rio] knows Grady very well and has worked with Grady for years in the past,” Haley said.
As interim dean, del Rio aims to balance Emory’s mission of providing opportunities to students with Grady’s mission of delivering outstanding patient care, he said.
Del Rio believes Emory ought to engage with the local community in Atlanta. He hopes to see faculty and students from other Emory schools become more involved with patients, suggesting that Emory School of Law students, for example, could help patients who need but cannot afford legal services.
“[Emory is] located in Druid Hills in a wealthy neighborhood but we live in a city where there [is] a lot of poverty and underserved populations,” del Rio said. “As a private university we have a responsibility to be engaged with our local community.”
Chief of Infectious Disease at Grady Memorial Hospital Jeffrey Lennox praised del Rio’s “incredibly intense” passion for health and medicine, which fuels del Rio to mentor public health and medical students and collaborate with scientists around the globe.
“[Del Rio] is not someone who just sits back and accepts the status quo,” Lennox said. “My hope is that he is really able to transform the clinical care at Grady so that it is even more patient centered and has better outcomes for all of the patients.”