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UTHSC Salutes Top Physicians with 2011 Outstanding Alumni Awards


As part of this year’s historic 100-year celebration of UTHSC, the UT College of Medicine (COM) 2011 Outstanding Alumni awards event will celebrate the history and future of medicine.

As part of this year’s historic 100-year celebration of the University of Tennessee Health Science Center (UTHSC), the UT College of Medicine (COM) 2011 Outstanding Alumni awards event will celebrate the history and future of medicine. The luncheon and awards ceremony will be held on Friday, September 16, at the Peabody Hotel, starting at 12:15 p.m., followed by a health care forum at 2:30 p.m.

The forum will feature keynote speaker Anton Gunn, regional director of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. He will lead a discussion on the implementation of the Affordable Health Care Reform Act. The public is invited to attend the free forum from 2:30 to 4:30 p.m. Interested individuals must register by calling Chandra Tuggle, director of UTHSC Alumni Affairs, at 901-448-5042. Citizens will be among COM alumni and students, as well as local health care administrators, researchers, and health service providers.

During the awards luncheon, the COM will welcome special guest alumnus William C. Cain, MD, a 1961 COM graduate whose deceased father, William Cain, MD, graduated from the COM 100 years ago in 1911, the year the University of Tennessee Medical Units formed as five existing medical colleges throughout Tennessee merged. In addition to the luncheon, Dr. Cain will attend other centennial weekend events, such as the gala on September 17 at the UTHSC campus.

This year’s four Outstanding Alumni Award recipients are: James H. Beaty, MD, Allen S. Boyd Jr., MD, Beverly Williams-Cleaves, MD, and Kenneth Sellers, MD, FACS. The honored alumni are selected annually by the COM Alumni Council and represent the epitome of what it takes to be leaders in the delivery of superb health care services — emotional intelligence, commitment, adaptability, creativity, and most of all, experience.

James H. Beaty, MD, Class of 1976, is a professor of orthopaedics and chief of staff at Campbell Clinic, an orthopaedics surgery center and teaching facility in Memphis. Dr. Beaty, a native of Georgia, sees patients daily while overseeing nearly 50 orthopaedic interns, residents and fellows.

When he was a teen, Dr. Beaty knew he wanted to be like his father, a Methodist minister, in choosing a career that “served people in some way.” After moving to Memphis with his family before his senior year of high school, he followed the advice of his parents and shadowed a number of professionals in various careers, including medicine.

“As soon as I spent time shadowing some physicians, I knew it was for me,” said Dr. Beaty. The young Beaty was interested in pediatric orthopaedics, and upon graduating with a bachelor’s degree in pre-med from Washington and Lee University in Lexington, Va., he returned to Memphis to attend medical school at the University of Tennessee. He completed his residency at the University of Tennessee-Campbell Clinic and a fellowship in pediatric orthopaedics at the Alfred I. DuPont Institute in Wilmington, Del.

“My interest is in newborn conditions like club feet, hip dislocations, and all of the congenital anomalies,” said Dr. Beaty. “My second interest is trauma. I’m interested in kids’ fractures of all kinds, the more unusual, the more interesting to me. The wonderful thing about orthopaedics is there’s a lot of immediate gratification for physicians. It involves a tangible, concrete problem that we can address and correct, so that most cases end happily,” he added.

“I am living the dream,” said Dr. Beaty, who credits his teachers for sparking his interest in orthopaedics. The expert is also involved in research, publishing articles, and contributing to textbooks, and has taken on various leadership roles in such organizations as the American Board of Orthopaedic Surgery, the Pediatric Orthopaedic Society of North America, the Mid-America Orthopaedic Association, and the Tennessee Orthopaedic Society.

Allen S. Boyd Jr., MD, Class of 1964, is a native of Arkansas and a retired neurosurgeon. Dr. Boyd recalls moments such as transforming a young girl’s face after he removed a pituitary tumor. The girl’s mother has never forgotten how the surgeon changed her daughter’s life; she spent years just stopping by Dr. Boyd’s office to show her gratitude.

Dr. Boyd received a bachelor’s degree in 1960 from the University of Baylor in Waco, Texas, after an honorable discharge from the U.S. Army. He then headed to medical school at the University of Tennessee. Upon graduation, Dr. Boyd completed an internship at the Graduate Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, and a residency at the Mayo Foundation and Mayo Graduate School of Medicine in Rochester, MN.

In 1970, Dr. Boyd started his Memphis practice in neurological surgery with Cannon, Hunter, Picaza and Boyd. Five years later, he became a member of the Semmes-Murphey Clinic where he remained until he retired in 2007. He also served as clinical associate professor at UTHSC. Dr. Boyd became involved in philanthropy, serving patients in need during medical mission trips to Southeast Asia and Africa. He also continued to see patients at the Church Health Center in Memphis.

At age 75, Dr. Boyd has been a patient as much as he has been a physician, having undergone nearly a dozen hip-related surgeries, four spine- and neck-related procedures, and a thoracic chest surgery. “Through it all, I am still here,” he stated.

Dr. Boyd has been affiliated with professional organizations such as the Tennessee Neurosurgical Society, American Medical Association, the Memphis and Shelby County Medical Society, the Tennessee Medical Association, the Memphis Neurological Society, and the American College of Surgeons.

Beverly Williams-Cleaves, MD, Class of 1969, is associate professor in the Division of Endocrinology at UTHSC and leads the endocrine outpatient clinics at the MedPlex Clinic. Dr. Williams-Cleaves also leads the Comprehensive Diabetes and Metabolic Center of Excellence in Memphis, which she established this year. Housed in the Good Heath Institute, the center is a one-stop shop for patients with diabetes and other metabolic disorders.

Dr. Williams-Cleaves, a native of north Memphis, says of her teenage years, “I became a source of advice for my girlfriends, so I started thinking about a career to help others.” She graduated from Manassas High School and continued her education at Howard University in Washington, D.C. She then completed medical school at the University of Tennessee and later completed an internship and residency at Beth Israel Hospital in Boston, Mass. During that time, Dr. Williams-Cleaves “fell in love” with the deductive reasoning applied in internal medicine.

“I had an epiphany that pointed clearly and exclusively to endocrinology,” she said. “My love of physiology and organic chemistry led to my career focus. Diabetes is the most common endocrinological disease, but the potential to help diabetics through treatment and preventive lifestyle changes is phenomenal.”

From facilitating community health fairs to organizing educational outreach programs, Dr. Williams-Cleaves is known as the diabetes expert who gives back to her community through organizations such as the American Diabetes Association, Healthy Memphis Common Table, and Bluff City Medical Society. She attributes her giving spirit to her mother who she describes as very gracious.

“She was always teaching us to be grateful for whatever anyone did for us and to be giving as well,” explained Dr. Williams-Cleaves.

Kenneth Sellers, MD, FACS, Class of 1968, is the medical director for the Mid-South Transplant Foundation.

“As Mid-South Transplant Foundation’s medical director, I get to meet donor families after they have had time to think about their loved one’s gift,” he said. “This has really changed and touched my life.” He stated that, “a bad day is not being able to work.”

When he was a very young man, Dr. Sellers once embraced the dream of being a professional baseball player. He dominated in sports from football to tennis, but decided to use his hands in a different way and become a surgeon.

The Missouri native recalls his first surgery — a gastric resection — as “awesome and a little overwhelming.” It was a pivotal moment in his college career as a pre-med student at the University of Missouri in Columbia. He went on to receive his medical degree from UTHSC. After completing his internship at Memphis hospitals, Dr. Sellers spent two years in the U.S. Army and completed a tour in Vietnam.

After his military stint, Dr. Sellers returned to Memphis and completed his general surgical residency at UTHSC and its affiliated hospitals. With a primary interest in transplantation, he remained on staff and played an active role in the first trauma service at UTHSC. After four years, he left academia and started his private practice in Blytheville, Ark. In 1992, he returned to Memphis to serve as associate professor of surgery at UTHSC, a role that led to his becoming the leader of the Mid-South Transplant Foundation.

The grandfather of four said he lives his life inspired by Mark Twain’s quote: “Do the right thing. It will gratify some people and astonish the rest.”