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College of Medicine Recognizes Excellence with the 2009 Alumni Awards


The College of Medicine honors four alumni as having made distinguished contributions: Drs. Henry Cheairs Farrar, James Netterville, T. David Sisk (posthumously) and O. Douglas Wilson.

Significant medical strides have been made locally, nationally and internationally as a direct result of outstanding University of Tennessee Health Science Center (UTHSC) College of Medicine graduates. Annually, the College of Medicine honors four alumni recognized by the executive committee of its alumni council as having made distinguished contributions to the health care industry. This year’s Outstanding Alumni Awards will be presented during a noon luncheon ceremony at the Peabody Hotel on Friday, October 16. Honorees include: Drs. Henry Cheairs Farrar, James Netterville, T. David Sisk (posthumously) and O. Douglas Wilson.

Henry Cheairs Farrar, MD, Class of 1954, showed an early commitment to the craft of surgery, which earned him the UTHSC Verstandig Award in March of the same year. He has since devoted his entire career to general surgery in the United States and abroad. He has served as a surgeon in Kentucky and Tennessee, and for 40 years, he spent one month per year in Nigeria where he started a hospital, which now has more than 100 beds.

To ensure that his dream of assisting the surgical needs of the African citizens in Nigeria continues, Dr. Farrar has secured financial and professional support for the hospital from the International Health Care Foundation in Searcy, Ark., and from Healing Hands International in Nashville.

Dr. Farrar currently practices medicine and surgery Carthage, Tenn., near Nashville. All six of his children have earned career success, with three of them being practicing physicians.

James Netterville, MD, Class of 1980, is an internationally recognized head and neck surgeon. In 1986, he joined Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville and was a founding member of the Department of Otolaryngology. Currently, he serves the university as professor of otolaryngology and director of the Division of Head and Neck Oncologic Surgery. Head and neck concerns involving voice rehabilitation, skull base, endocrine and oncologic problems are among his clinical and research interests.

Dr. Netterville is a member of numerous medical societies, review boards and executive committees, and has received significant awards and honors. He thrives on mentoring Vanderbilt Medical Center’s young medical students, residents and fellows. To recognize him, in 2003, Vanderbilt medical students bestowed upon him the initial CANDLE Award for teaching and mentoring excellence. Beyond his work at Vanderbilt, Dr. Netterville strongly supports medical missions through a surgical outreach program in Nigeria. He has also been an honored medical guest in countries in North and South America, Europe and Australia.

In 2004, Dr. Netterville’s peers honored him with the annual Humanitarian Award from the American Academy of Otolaryngology Head and Neck Surgery.

T. David Sisk, MD, was a member of the Class of 1961. He dedicated his career to orthopaedic medicine and is being honored posthumously, having departed this life in July 2009.

During his career, Dr. Sisk joined the Campbell Clinic medical staff and the UT Health Science Center College of Medicine faculty where he directed the orthopaedic resident training program from 1970 to 1993. From 1990 to 1994, he served as professor and chairman of the Campbell Clinic — UT Department of Orthopaedics.

Dr. Sisk chaired numerous committees including a sports medicine committee of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. His expertise in sports medicine led him to act as a consultant to the National Football League and the National Basketball Association. Additionally, he served as a team physician for various high school teams, professional football teams in several leagues, and for the University of Memphis from 1967 to 2002. In 2007, he was inducted into the American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine Hall of Fame. Earlier in 2009, he received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine.

O. Douglas Wilson, MD, is an alumnus of the Class of 1964. While in medical school, he also served in the U.S. Navy. Dr. Wilson was assigned the role of senior naval medical officer, and while enlisted, he developed his expertise in the area of pediatric medicine. He rose to the rank of commander and served as chief of pediatrics for the Naval Hospital at the U.S. Naval Academy. He resigned from the Navy in 1973 and founded a pediatric practice in San Diego, Calif., which advanced to become Children’s Primary Care Medical Group, Inc., where he currently practices. This single specialty medical group is one of the largest in the nation. Many of Dr. Wilson’s clients are “second-generation” pediatric patients whose parents he served in earlier years. Dr. Wilson received special commendation in 1998 for 25 years of service to California Children’s Services.

In collaboration with the University of California, San Diego, and Rady Children’s Hospital of San Diego, Dr. Wilson has been involved in several research studies for vaccine trials in pediatric patients. He is currently involved in an effort to improve the early detection and treatment of autism.