If Andrew Kerwin, MD, FACS, DABS, experiences déjà vu as he comes to the University of Tennessee Health Science Center to join the faculty of the College of Medicine, it’s because he trained at the university more than two decades ago. Now, however, he comes as the chief of the division in which he trained, instead of as a fellow.
Dr. Kerwin is the new chief of the Division of Trauma/Surgical Critical Care at UTHSC. He is also the Surgical Quality Officer at Regional One Health and the chief of Trauma at the Elvis Presley Trauma Center there.
Dr. Kerwin says his time as a fellow at UTHSC influenced his decision to return. He believes he was fortunate to learn from the “pioneers” of the UTHSC Trauma/Surgical Critical Care program.
Specifically, he points to Timothy C. Fabian, MD, former professor and chair of the UTHSC Department of Surgery, who started the trauma program in the early ‘80s and organized and developed The Elvis Presley Trauma Center at Regional One Health, now one of the highest-volume trauma centers in the United States. Dr. Kerwin also mentions Martin Croce, MD, the senior vice president and chief medical officer at Regional One Health, as well as a professor of surgery and the former chief of the Division Trauma/Surgical Critical Care at UTHSC. Dr. Kerwin is proud to follow in the footsteps of these physicians he considers role models.
“They really pioneered trauma care,” Dr. Kerwin says. “They set the standard of trauma care, and so when I looked at the opportunity of coming here, to be able to take over and lead after they had done all this and established this legacy and to be able to enhance the pioneering care that they’ve done over the years was really appealing to me.”
Dr. Kerwin previously served as the division chief of Acute Care Surgery at the University of Florida College of Medicine – Jacksonville, as well as the associate chair of the Department of Surgery and the Trauma Medical Director of UF Health Jacksonville, a Level 1 Trauma Center and one of the busiest in Florida.
Dr. Kerwin graduated from Southern Illinois University School of Medicine in Springfield in 1992, completed an internship at Loyola University Medical Center in 1993, and did his surgical residency at the Medical College of Ohio. In 1997, he did his fellowship at UTHSC. Dr. Kerwin is board certified in general surgery and surgical critical care.
Dr. Kerwin says he was drawn to trauma surgery and critical care because of the mechanics involved in it, the excitement, and the chance to help patients when they need it most.
“It is part of that adrenaline rush thing, and it’s always different,” he says. “And there’s a good deal of emotion involved in it, bonding with some of these patients and the families, taking them when they’re really having their worst day ever and having a chance to really provide high-quality care and getting them back to being restored to doing the things that they were doing before. It gives you a great deal of joy to see that happen and to know that you’re doing good work for the community.”
Dr. Kerwin is active in several national organizations. His clinical interests include multi-system trauma, massive transfusion protocols, and pediatric trauma. His research interests include patient outcomes, splenic injuries, management of cervical spinal cord injuries, and nosocomial pneumonia.
In addition to continuing to build the strong, cohesive, and collegial team in his division, Dr. Kerwin says he will focus on mentoring the newer faculty members on his team. He says he will also “look for any opportunities to continue to enhance the pioneering roots that were laid by Dr. Croce and Dr. Fabian and to enhance the national and international reputation of the program.”
“We are thrilled to have been able to recruit Dr. Kerwin back to Memphis. In addition to his strong leadership skills and national reputation, he approaches his work with a commitment to excellence, quality, and professionalism,” said David Shibata, MD, FACS, FASCRS, Harwell Wilson Alumni Endowed Chair in Surgery at UTHSC. “We look forward to benefiting from his leadership,”