History of Cardiology at Emory

Emory University School of Medicine has a long-standing history of contributions to modern cardiology. The first diagnostic catheterizations were performed at Emory by James Warren and Eugene Stead in the 1940s, and Drs. Stead and Warren published seminal descriptions of the hemodynamics of heart failure and atrial septal defects from this work in the 1940s and 1950s. Dr. J. Willis Hurst, who served as the Chairman of Medicine at Emory from 1957-1986 is an internationally renowned author and was the originator of The Heart, one of the premier textbooks on Cardiology. Emory is recognized as one of the founding centers of interventional cardiology. Dr. Andreas Grüntzig, the founder of coronary angioplasty, came to Emory in 1980, and remained on the faculty until his death in 1985. Our interventional center still bears his name. Dr. Leon Goldberg pioneered the use of dopamine as a clinical agent for cardiovascular support at Emory in the 1960s.

The basic research program in vascular biology and medicine began in 1988 with the recruitment to Emory of R. Wayne Alexander, MD the former Chair of the Emory University Department of Medicine. Vascular research in the Division of Cardiology at Emory University has grown enormously during the past 20 years. Dr. Alexander recruited a world-class team of researchers who have made major contributions to our understanding of basic and clinical vascular biology. The current division director of Cardiology, Robert Taylor, MD, and PhD has spurred the division on to remain at the forefront of cardiovascular research. Cardiology researchers have attained international recognition for research in oxidative stress and vascular disease.

Emory Division of Cardiology’s research team has been at the forefront of cardiovascular investigation. The Division has successfully established a translational research program that provides the opportunity to extend our findings to the study of human diseases. The culmination of our history at Emory, the excellence of our investigators and our focused research effort has placed us in a unique position to develop innovative diagnostic tests, establish new therapeutic modalities and gain further insight into the pathophysiology of cardiovascular diseases.

A Legacy of Academic Excellence

Emory University’s commitment to academics has helped create a heritage of medical excellence that serves the local, national and international community.

Emory University's heritage in medical education began over 140 years ago. Atlanta Medical College, Atlanta's first medical college, was established in 1854. The first building was erected at Butler and Armstrong streets near the site now occupied by Grady Memorial Hospital. A series of mergers followed and in 1898, Atlanta Medical College joined with the Southern Medical College (founded in 1878) to form the Atlanta College of Physicians and Surgeons. Fifteen years later, this college merged with Atlanta School of Medicine (founded in 1905) under the historic name Atlanta Medical College. Then in 1915, the combined school became Emory University School of Medicine. Emory University's medical school and hospital infrastructure have since grown to become one of the largest medical centers in the country.

The university has pioneered advances in basic and clinical research, developed and integrated new technology into patient care, and educated thousands of new and future physicians. Throughout its history, the School of Medicine has formed partnerships in and outside of Emory to strengthen its efforts in medical education, biomedical research and patient care. Examples of these partnerships include Grady Memorial Hospital, Emory University Hospital Midtown, Atlanta Veterans Affairs Medical Center, CDC, American Cancer Society, Emory Rollins School of Public Health, Children's Healthcare of Atlanta, and Georgia Institute of Technology.