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College of Medicine Recognizes Excellence with the Alumni Awards


The 2010 College of Medicine’s Outstanding Alumni Awards will be presented to James C. Fleming, Ann McGuire Grooms, Phyllis E. Miller, and Jesse C. Woodall, Jr.

Phil McGraw, PhD, the psychologist known for the “Dr. Phil Show” on television, wisely stated during a broadcast, “Great leadership starts with removing an ‘I can’t do it’ attitude.” Graduates of the University of Tennessee Health Science Center (UTHSC) College of Medicine have been making bold moves to take health care into greater heights for decades. Annually, four alumni who exude commitment, creativity and courage in improving the health care industry are selected by the executive committee of the UT College of Medicine alumni council to be duly recognized. This year’s Outstanding Alumni Awards will be presented during a noon luncheon at the Peabody Hotel on Friday, October 15. Honorees include: James C. Fleming, Ann McGuire Grooms, Phyllis E. Miller, and Jesse C. Woodall, Jr.

James C. Fleming, MD, FACS, Class of 1974, serves UTHSC as vice chairman of the Department of Ophthalmology and as the Philip M. Lewis Professor of Ophthalmology. Dr. Fleming splits his time between these duties and working a full clinical and surgical schedule. In addition, he directs the Orbit Center, a service at the UT Hamilton Eye Institute (HEI) to treat orbital disease and trauma, and is chair of the UT Medical Group Finance Committee.

In 1997, Dr. Fleming joined the UTHSC Department of Ophthalmology as head of Oculoplastic Service. He was promoted to full professor in 2003 and helped to establish the UTHSC fellowship in Oculoplastic Surgery. Dr. Fleming led the development of the HEI Surgery Center, a state-of-the-art unit that began providing ocular surgeries in 2007. The center, which is also a training lab for aspiring ocular surgeons at UTHSC, became a reality due to Dr. Fleming’s effort to garner support from Baptist Memorial Health Care Corp., Methodist Le Bonheur Healthcare Corp., and ophthalmologists in the community.

Dr. Fleming is passionate about serving organizations that shape health care policy. He chairs the Tennessee Medical Association Delegation to the American Medical Association and has held the office of president of: the Memphis Eye Society; the Memphis and Shelby County Medical Society, and the American Society of Ophthalmic Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery. He also served the Council of the American Academy of Ophthalmology and the American Society of Ophthalmic Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery.

In 2005, Dr. Fleming received the Senior Achievement Award from the American Academy of Ophthalmology. Locally, the Memphis Business Journal honored him with the 2007 Health Care Hero Award in the top physician category. Dr. Fleming donates time as a volunteer physician for the Church Health Center and provides services internationally to Third World nations through the Orbis Flying Eye Hospital and the World Cataract Foundation.

Ann McGuire Grooms, MD, Class of 1966, specializes in pediatrics, neuromusculoskeletal medicine, sports medicine and family medicine in Gainesville, Fla. In 1978, Dr. Grooms joined the University of Florida Student Health Care Center as a staff physician and assistant professor. She focused her work on sports health and women’s medicine, and launched the university’s first medical program for all student-athletes in the 1980s.

Dr. Grooms received the University of Florida Faculty Superior Accomplishment Award in 1996 and 2003. In 1997, she earned the Centennial Leader Award for leading a scholarship campaign benefitting students in the College of Education, Health and Human Services at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. Dr. Grooms is a charter member of the American Medical Society for Sports Medicine and a fellow of the American Academy of Pediatrics. Additionally, she has served as a member of the University of Tennessee Medical Alumni Council for the state of Florida.

Phyllis E. Miller, MD, Class of 1972, has specialized in obstetrics and gynecology in Chattanooga since the 1970s. Dr. Miller currently serves the gynecology needs of women at The Women’s Institute for Specialized Health in Chattanooga and is a fellow of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. She was the first female chief of staff at Chattanooga’s Erlanger Health System from 1993 to 1995, and the first female born in Polk County to become a physician.

While managing her private practice in Chattanooga, Dr. Miller also serves as president of three medical organizations: the Tennessee Medical Association, the Chattanooga-Hamilton County Medical Society, and the Chattanooga OB/GYN Society. She provides support to other medical organizations, including the Medical Foundation of Chattanooga and the State Volunteer Mutual Insurance Company review committee. In 2010, the Tennessee Medical Association selected Dr. Miller as the Outstanding Physician of Tennessee. She recently completed her first medical mission trip, which consisted of one month in Haiti following the devastating earthquake that struck the island nation in January. Her work in Haiti included delivering babies and providing other women’s health care needs.

Jesse C. Woodall, Jr., MD, FACOG, FACS, is an alumnus of the Class of 1964. After medical school, Dr. Woodall enlisted in the U.S. Army as a captain. He served as an Army flight surgeon and later returned to Memphis where he completed a residency in obstetrics and gynecology.

Since 1970, Dr. Woodall has specialized in obstetrics and gynecology in a private practice in Memphis. He currently provides office gynecology services, but discontinued the practice of delivering babies, recalling that he has delivered babies in the second and third generations of some families. While practicing medicine, Dr. Woodall has served as an associate professor in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at UTHSC. He received the department’s Excellence in Clinical Teaching Award in 1996.

Dr. Woodall has held the offices of president and vice president for the Memphis Medical Society, and is a member of the Tennessee Medical Association, which awarded him the Outstanding Physician Award in 2000. On a national level, Dr. Woodall is a diplomat of the American Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology, as well as a fellow of: the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology; the American College of Surgeons, and the American Society of Colposcopy and Cervical Pathology.