The Drive for Research Excellence

Much of this issue of Engage highlights the value of medical research and our role in applying research discoveries to improve care. At Wake Forest University School of Medicine, we are focusing our research efforts as never before into a plan for excellence.

Julie Ann Freischlag Headshot - Engage Winter 2022Members of our research leadership team have chosen specific areas where the work we do can make the greatest difference:

  • Aging and mobility
  • Alzheimer’s disease
  • Cancer
  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Diabetes, obesity and metabolism
  • Neurosciences
  • Regenerative medicine

The leadership team also identified 2 priorities that cross all those focus areas:

  1. Research across the lifespan, from pediatrics to geriatrics
  2. Health equity research, including health disparities and social determinants of health

Although health equity has been emphasized in our previous research work, it now stands as a central part of our strategic plan. This allows us to address issues in a powerful way across multiple areas of research that are important to all of the communities we serve. Being part of Atrium Health means we serve more communities than ever – and greatly expands our opportunities for clinical research.

As the academic core of the Atrium Health enterprise, we have created we have created a single research infrastructure to expand biomedical research activities across the enterprise.

Our new structure and our focused research priorities will help us achieve our long-term goals of increased national recognition for our leading-edge research. Most importantly, our vision and your partnership will ultimately improve the health of our patients and communities.


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Julie Ann Freischlag, MD, FACS, FRCSEd(hon), DFSVS
Chief Executive Officer, Atrium Health Wake Forest Baptist
Chief Academic Officer, Atrium Health
Dean, Wake Forest University School of Medicine