Charles Hatcher, MD: "Born to be a Surgeon"

Charles Hatcher knew from a very young age that he wanted to be a heart surgeon. After receiving his medical degree from the Medical College of Georgia, Dr. Hatcher obtained a residency at Johns Hopkins in Baltimore. At Hopkins, he trained under leaders in the newly emerging field of cardiac surgery, such as Alfred Blalock, who developed the "blue baby" procedure used in treating the congenital heart condition known as tetralogy of Fallot.

After serving as chief resident in cardiac surgery at Johns Hopkins, Dr. Hatcher obtained a position as an assistant professor at the Emory University School of Medicine.

Only one day after moving into his basement office at Emory, Dr. Hatcher performed Georgia's first "blue baby" operation. He continued his pioneering efforts in cardiac surgery, performing the first double- and triple-valve replacement surgeries and the first coronary artery bypass graft surgery in Georgia.

Named Chief of Cardiothoracic Surgery at Emory in 1971, Dr. Hatcher began to recruit young, energetic, and innovative cardiac surgeons to Emory, building a highly successful program with outcomes that could be matched by less than one percent of other centers in the country.

Dr. Hatcher's talents were not confined strictly to the operating room. In 1976, he was named Director of the Emory Clinic, and began to exhibit his abilities as an administrator. Within ten years, the Clinic's billings had quadrupled, thus allowing the Clinic to provide the financial support to the School of Medicine necessary for building and maintaining an academic medical center of world-class caliber.

In 1983, Dr. Hatcher was named interim director of the Woodruff Medical Center. The following year, he assumed the position of Vice-President of Academic Affairs and Director of the Woodruff Health Sciences Center. He continued his administrative role with the Emory Clinic by serving as chief financial officer, as well as retaining his position as Chief of Cardiothoracic Surgery.

During his leadership, Dr. Hatcher has been responsible for turning the health sciences center into a major research institution. The medical school received nearly $90 million in research grants in fiscal year 1995. He helped drive Emory's commitment to playing a responsible role in the development of the medical and scientific community by initiating strategies such as providing assistance in the implementation of the medical school program at the Morehouse School of Medicine and working to bring the American Cancer Society's national headquarters to Atlanta. Establishing and maintaining a premiere patient care program that would meet the needs of Atlanta and the region is an achievement that may be attributed in large part to Dr. Hatcher.

Since 1996, Dr. Hatcher has served as senior consultant to the President of Emory University and the Emory Board of Trustees.

Dr. Charles Hatcher's talents as a physician, teacher, and administrator have enabled him to accomplish his childhood goals and much more. Emory's heart program would most likely not have the acclaim that it enjoys today without Dr. Hatcher's contributions and leadership.

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