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Emory Healthcare expands presence with race sponsorship

By Johnny Jackson

jjackson@henryherald.com

Emory Healthcare is expanding its reach in what is billed as one of the largest Labor Day Weekend venues in the Southeast. The health-care system is title sponsor of the Atlanta Motor Speedway's 50th Anniversary NASCAR race -- the Emory Healthcare 500 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Race.

"When we initially began considering the possibility of partnering with the Atlanta Motor Speedway for this year's race and future events, a key -- in fact, the key -- allure in our minds was being able to extend our services to the many fans who would be attending this race and surrounding events," said Dane Peterson, chief operating officer for Emory University Hospital Midtown.

Peterson said the Atlanta-based health-care system plans to incorporate health and wellness screenings into the traditional race weekend experience. He said the activities will include blood pressure screenings; smoking cessation help and information; head-, neck- and skin-cancer screenings; and Body Mass Index screenings, as well as general information about health and wellness.

The chief operating officer added that tens of thousands of race fans will have access to the screenings during race festivities this weekend, Sept. 3-5.

"Having this incredible opportunity to reach out to so many men and women to provide potentially life-saving cancer screenings, blood pressure checks, and informative ways to live a longer and healthier life, is a perfect way for us to thank those in our community who have allowed us to serve them over the years, while also supporting this special event that means so much to our region," said Peterson. "You can bet there are people whose lives will be changed because of what they caught at the race track.

"At the end of the day," he continued, "we hope to make a difference in the lives of more than a few individuals, and ensure that they will be able to return for many more exciting Labor Day weekends at the Atlanta Motor Speedway."

Emory Healthcare was approached, back in July, by the Atlanta Motor Speedway about having the title sponsorship, according to Emory Healthcare Chief Market Services Officer Patrick Hammond.

Hammond said the title sponsorship presented an opportunity for the health-care system to receive national recognition as it expands its presence in metro Atlanta communities like Henry County, the site of the upcoming race.

Hammond noted that Henry County is represented particularly well at Emory Healthcare. Of the more than 10,000 individuals employed by the health-care system, as many as 3,000 are from Henry County. The system, he added, had more than 7,000 Henry County residents seek in-patient care in 2009.

"Emory has been a strong partner in the Southern Crescent community for many years," said Lance Skelly, media relations director of Emory Hospitals. "Emory also cares for many of the children of Henry County residents through its physicians associated with Children's Hospital of Atlanta."

Skelly said Emory Healthcare has provided screenings at Atlanta Motor Speedway's Sprint Cup Race for several years. "Partnering so closely with NASCAR and the Atlanta Motor Speedway is a unique opportunity to support the local communities that work so hard to host and operate one of the nation's premier sporting events each year," Skelly said.

"As a local health-care organization with a national reputation, Emory understands the importance the local health-care organization plays in attracting new business and economic growth opportunities to a community. It is also a chance to support, and thank, the many valued patients and physicians in the Henry County and surrounding region ..."