UTHSC College of Medicine Salutes Four with 2013 Outstanding Alumnus Awards

Memphis, Tenn. (Aug. 9, 2013) – Four outstanding physicians – a pediatric urologist, a pediatrician, a family medicine physician and a pathologist – will be honored when graduates of the University of Tennessee Health Science Center (UTHSC) College of Medicine gather in Memphis for the annual Medicine Alumni Weekend Aug. 15-17.

The College of Medicine Alumni Council will bestow its 2013 Outstanding Alumnus Awards on H. Norman “Butch” Noe, MD, a pediatric urologist; Dennis Black, MD, a professor of pediatrics and physiology at UTHSC; Charles White Sr., MD, a family medicine physician; and Charles Handorf, MD, a UTHSC professor of pathology. The awards are presented annually to give special recognition to UTHSC College of Medicine graduates who have distinguished themselves in their medical practice, their profession and their community.

The Outstanding Alumnus awards will be presented at the UTHSC College of Medicine Alumni Awards Dinner from 6:30-9:00 p.m. Aug. 15 at the Madison Hotel, 79 Madison Ave.

“Each of these individuals really represents significant contributions to their specialty and also to their community,” said Dr. Tom Whitaker, of Myrtle Beach, SC, president of the UTHSC College of Medicine Alumni Council. “I really think they are the best of the best of UT College of Medicine.”

Kris Phillips, associate vice chancellor for Development and Alumni Affairs at UTHSC, pointed out that the four physicians have dedicated a total of more than 160 years to the medical profession.

Dr. Noe, who grew up in Morristown, Tenn., and lives in Miramar Beach, Fla., decided he wanted to be a physician after overcoming a childhood illness. He received his undergraduate degree from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, in 1966 and his medical degree from UTHSC in 1969. The retired pediatric urologist’s four-decade-long career includes chief of urology appointments at prominent hospitals in West Tennessee, including St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital and Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital.

“At the time I went through my medical training, there was no such thing as pediatric urology,” Dr. Noe said. “Le Bonheur was one of the few freestanding children’s hospitals in the country. Memphis represented a wonderful practice opportunity to build something that had never been.”

Dr. Noe said he had always planned to practice general medicine or surgery. “But I fell in love with urology, specifically pediatrics, because those cases were always the most demanding.”

Dr. Handorf, UTHSC pathology professor and chair of the Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, found his way to pathology through studying medicinal chemistry. He pursued dual degrees in medicinal chemistry and medicine with a specialty in pathology, receiving his MD degree in 1977 and PhD degree in 1981 from UTHSC.

“Pathology has been a wonderful fit for me because I love the challenge of having hard problems to solve every day – whether in medical practice, academics, science, medical or hospital politics, or administration,” Dr. Handorf said. “By far, my favorite days are still the ones when I am of service making diagnoses in the operating room.”

Dr. Handorf has held a number of executive appointments at Methodist Le Bonheur Healthcare, including chief of staff and associate pathologist. He is the former president of the Tennessee Medical Association and Duckworth Pathology Group. Handorf, who received the 2003 Sherard Physician of the Year Award from Methodist Healthcare, is a past recipient of the UTHSC College of Medicine Lange Award for Outstanding Scholarship. He was a Memphis Business Journal Health Care Heroes nominee in 2007.

Dr. Black is the director of the Children’s Foundation Research Institute and vice president for research for Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital. He completed his pediatric residency and gastroenterology fellowship at Le Bonheur, after receiving his medical degree from UTHSC in 1978.

“I always knew I wanted to be a scientist or a doctor,” said Dr. Black, who holds the J.D. Buckman Endowed Professorship in Pediatrics at UTHSC. His research interests include pediatric liver disease, disorders of lipid metabolism and molecular mechanisms of fat absorption in the neonate. The National Institutes of Health, the FDA and several foundations have funded his research. He has served on the executive councils of the Society for Pediatric Research and the North American Society for Pediatric Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition (NASPGHAN) and as chair of the NASPGHAN Research Committee.

Dr. White credits his family physician in his native Arkansas, Dr. M.L. Dalton, with influencing his career choice. After graduating from then-Memphis State University, he attended medical school at the University of Tennessee, graduating in 1962. He then did an internship at Methodist Hospital in Memphis and spent time in the Air Force.

After discharge, Dr. White set up his family medicine practice in Lexington, Tenn., and still sees patients until about noon most days. He has taught residents and served on a number of boards and committees, including the Board of Medical Examiners. He has been active in and president of the Tennessee Medical Association, the Tennessee Academy of Family Physicians and the Consolidated Medical Assembly of West Tennessee. He has also been active in the Lexington Rotary Club, the Henderson County School Board and the Beech River Watershed Authority.

“We continually ask our alumni, ‘Where would you be without UTHSC?’ Our alumni continue to acknowledge that their preparation at UTHSC enabled them to be health care leaders in our state, region and the world,” said UTHSC’s Phillips. “This year’s recipients have certainly turned the tables because of their talents and contributions and made us question perhaps, ‘Where would we be without such distinguished alumni?’ “