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Four Receive Outstanding College of Medicine Alumni Awards for 2018


Four UTHSC alumni members were selected to receive 2018 Outstanding Alumni Awards from the College of Medicine and the Office of Development and Alumni Affairs. The Outstanding Alumni Awards Luncheon is part of the College of Medicine Alumni Weekend in September.

The honorees are Paul Blaylock, MD, JD; Dennis Higdon, MD; Elijah Dudney, MD; and Suzanne Satterfield, MD, MPH, DrPH, a posthumous honoree.

Paul Blaylock, MD, JD (COM ’72)

Paul Blaylock, MD, JD

A dual alumnus of the University of Tennessee System — UT Martin Class of ’68 and UTHSC Class of ’72 — Dr. Blaylock has served in many leadership roles with his alma maters throughout the years.

As an undergraduate student at UT Martin, he was a member of Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity and was president of the Student Government Association (SGA).

The student government office at UT Martin is named after him, an honor he received in 2006. He also has a statue on campus that memorializes his friendship with mentor Dr. Phil Watkins, who served as vice chancellor of Student Affairs and SGA adviser.

In 2017, Dr. Blaylock was named one of UT’s 100 Most Notable Alumni. His accolades are not just from his alma mater, but from other organizations, including the American College of Legal Medicine, which awarded him the President’s Award and the Jefferson Award for his disaster relief work at Ground Zero after the September 11 attack in New York City. He is an avid participant of both community and charity contributions.

Dr. Blaylock moved to Portland, Oregon, where he graduated with a Juris Doctorate from the Northwestern School of Law at Lewis & Clark College, spending the past 40 years serving as both a trauma physician and a trial lawyer in the Portland area.

Dennis Higdon, MD (COM ’70)

Dennis Higdon, MD

Retiring with the rank of Major General, Dr. Higdon served his country for 38 years in the Tennessee Air National Guard. During his distinguished military career, he was the Air National Guard Assistant to the United States Air Force Surgeon General. Dr. Higdon served on active duty during Desert Storm and Iraq. He received many honors, including Medical Corps Officer of the Year.

He is a 1965 graduate of Middle Tennessee State University and a 1970 graduate of UTHSC. Dr. Higdon completed an internship with Methodist Hospital in 1971, and moved to Nashville to complete a residency in anesthesiology at Vanderbilt University Hospital in 1973, serving as chief resident.

Dr. Higdon returned to Memphis in 1973, joining the Medical Anesthesia Group, with Methodist Healthcare. During his career with Methodist Hospital, he served as president of the medical staff, chairman of the board for Methodist Extended Care Hospital, and chairman of the board of the Methodist Healthcare Foundation. He also served as president of the Memphis Medical Society. He retired in 2014.

Dr. Higdon has been vice chairman for the Tennessee Board of Medical Examiners. He has been active on the board of directors for the Tennessee Medical Association, the Tennessee Society of Anesthesiologists, and the Memphis and Shelby County Medical Society.

Elijah Dudney, MD (
COM ’52)

Elijah Dudney, MD

Dr. Dudney practiced for 30 years as one of only two physicians in Jackson County, Tennessee. Known in the community for being selfless in his work for more than 50 years, Dr. Dudney is remembered for the countless babies he delivered and surgeries he performed.

In 1946, at the age of 16, he graduated from high school as the valedictorian. He attended Tennessee Polytechnic Institute, known now as Tennessee Technological University, from 1946-1949.

After receiving his medical degree from UTHSC in 1952, he enrolled in a civilian internship program with the United States Air Force, interning at Nashville General Hospital. He qualified as a flight surgeon, after attending the School of Aviation Medicine at Randolph Air Force Base in San Antonio, Texas.

He was assigned to Washington National Airport, where he took care of VIP personnel traveling to and from the United States, including presidential flight crews. While serving in active duty in Washington, D.C., Dr. Dudney was an escort for social and state functions at the White House, and was a White House aide to President Dwight D. Eisenhower.

When he completed his work in the military, Dr. Dudney moved to Chattanooga to begin a surgical residency at Erlanger Baroness Hospital, where he was chief surgical resident in his final year.

Dr. Dudney returned to Gainesboro for private practice in 1959, where he continued his military service as a reservist, retiring in 1973 as a Lieutenant Colonel. He retired from private practice in 1997.

Suzanne Satterfield, MD, MPH, DrPH (COM ’81)

Suzanne Satterfield, MD, MPH, DrPH

Coming from a family of health care professionals, Dr. Satterfield dedicated her career to educating future physicians. She majored in biochemistry, graduating from Rice University in 1977. In 1981, she received her medical degree from UTHSC, where she excelled academically and was inducted in Alpha Omega Alpha Honor Society. In 1985, she received a Master’s of Public Health from the University of Miami. She received a Doctorate in Public Health from Harvard University in 1990.

Dr. Satterfield joined the UTHSC Department of Preventive Medicine in 1993 as an assistant professor. She was held in high regard by her students, serving as the co-director of the Evidence Based Medicine curriculum for fourth-year medical students; curriculum director for the Epidemiology Principles in Clinical Medicine course for first-and second-year medical students; co-director for the Clinical Trials course in the Master of Epidemiology Program; and was a member of the Medical School Admissions Committee for 17 years. Dr. Satterfield was a mentor to many, often hosting medical students in her home for events such as orientation.

Throughout her career at UTHSC, Dr. Satterfield was active in clinical research, serving as co-investigator for the Memphis site of the Women’s Health Initiative from 1993 until 2010; principal investigator for a National Institutes of Health osteoporosis trial; and a reviewer for the UTHSC Institutional Review Board.

Dr. Satterfield was named an associate professor in 2011 and continued to work at UTHSC in research and education until her death in 2017.