In continuing to strengthen its senior leadership roster, UTHSC College of Medicine Executive Dean Scott Strome, MD, has named Natascha Thompson, MD, associate dean of Graduate Medical Education (GME), and Michael Whitt, PhD, associate dean of the Office of Medical Education and chair of the Department of Medical Education.
As associate dean, Thompson, will oversee the GME offices for Memphis, Jackson, and Nashville, which train an estimated 897 residents in 72 programs certified by the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) and over 25 non-standard programs. She will serve as the designated institutional official (DIO) and will have responsibility and authority for the oversight and administration of UTHSC’s ACGME programs.
Dr. Thompson will provide strategic, programmatic, and policy leadership to the Office of Graduate Medical Education, ensuring the highest level in the quality of all programs and its continued accreditation. In addition, Dr. Thompson will be responsible for support of the creation and accreditation of future programs.
“I believe our clinical training at UTHSC is top-tier, and I am truly honored to be included on the Graduate Medical Education (GME) leadership team to advance clinical training efforts,” Dr. Thompson said. “I am dedicated to optimizing the clinical and educational environment for all trainees with the ultimate goal of enhancing health care quality for the patients we serve. I look forward to continued collaboration with Undergraduate Medical Education (UME) in point of care ultrasound training that spans the educational continuum, advancing our residents as teachers, skill set, and optimizing the retention of UTHSC students into UTHSC residency positions, and subsequently, retention of UT residents and fellows into health care careers in the state of Tennessee. I envision great potential in alignment of UME, CME and GME efforts and look forward to working with UTHSC leadership in achieving our united educational goals.”
Dr. Thompson joined UTHSC in 2003 as associate program director for Internal Medicine and Medicine-Pediatrics (Med-Peds) for the Department of Medicine. Prior to her new appointment, Dr. Thompson served as the program director of the Medicine-Pediatrics Residency program for 14 years. She is also an associate professor in the Department of Medicine. Dr. Thompson is a graduate of the University of Tennessee in Knoxville and earned her medical degree from the UTHSC College of Medicine. She completed her internship and residency training in Med-Peds and served as chief resident for the Internal Medicine residency at UTHSC. Dr. Thompson is the recipient of the Excellence in Teaching Award from Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital, a Top 20 Teaching Award from the UTHSC Department of Medicine, and is recognized among the Memphis Best Doctors listing. She is credited with growing the UTHSC Med-Peds program to the second largest program in the country.
“Dr. Thompson has done an outstanding job as our program director of the Med-Peds residency for 14 years, and graciously served as the interim associate dean of GME over the last two years,” Dr. Strome said. “I am delighted she has agreed to lead GME as the associate dean on a permanent basis. Her colleagues and I have an enormous amount of respect for her skills and dedication to our residents and fellows. I look forward to working with her in the many years to come.”
Dr. Whitt, in his new role as associate dean of the Office of Medical Education, will oversee the curriculum for approximately 656 medical students enrolled in the College of Medicine. He will be responsible for the academic standards of medical students, who train on the Memphis campus during their first two years and do their remaining two years of clinical rotations at the College of Medicine’s campuses across the state, which include Nashville, Knoxville, and Chattanooga.
As associate dean, Dr. Whitt will lead the curriculum processes and reform, implementing a system of integrated teaching, learning, and assessment.
As chair, he will oversee the recruitment, retention, and development of faculty in the Department of Medical Education. In addition, he is charged with overseeing the clinical and basic science curriculum, longitudinal integration of programs, and program assurance, and will serve as the faculty lead for the College of Medicine accreditation by the Liaison Committee on Medical Education (LCME) in 2021, ensuring compliance and maintenance of accreditation standards for the medical degree program.
“I’m very excited for this opportunity to serve as the associate dean and chair of Medical Education and appreciate Executive Dean Strome’s confidence in my ability to lead the medical education efforts for the College of Medicine,” Dr. Whitt said. “While serving as the interim associate dean I have been extremely fortunate to work with an outstanding team of assistant deans and support staff in the Office of Medical Education (OME) to help in this effort, and I will ensure that the OME continues to provide superior guidance and support for our students. I am committed to building a strong rapport between the student body and the administration and believe that I have gained the respect of the student leaders by listening to their needs and working with them to develop policies and practices that will provide them with the tools they need to succeed.”
Previously Dr. Whitt served as a professor and chair for the Department of Microbiology, Immunology, and Biochemistry, joining UTHSC in 1991 as an assistant professor. He is a graduate of the University of Kansas. Dr. Whitt earned his PhD from University of California, Davis, and completed his postdoctoral research at Yale University School of Medicine. His honors include being a finalist for the Student Government Association Executive Council Excellence in Teaching Award, the Golden Apple Award for Outstanding Lecturer in Medical Microbiology, and being a Top 25 Reviewer for the Journal of Virology.
“Dr. Whitt has proven himself to be an excellent leader, communicator, and colleague over his six years as chair of the Department of Microbiology, Immunology, and Biochemistry, and for the last 18 months as interim associate dean and chair of Medical Education,” Dr. Strome said. “I have complete faith in his ability to oversee the medical education program and to lead us through a successful accreditation site visit by the Liaison Committee on Medical Education in November of 2021.”