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John L. Jefferies, MD, To Lead UTHSC Cardiology and the New UT Methodist Institute for Cardiovascular Science


John L. Jefferies, MD, MPH, has been appointed the Jay M. Sullivan Endowed Chair in Cardiovascular Medicine and Chief of Cardiology at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center (UTHSC). He has also been named co-director for the newly formed UT Methodist Institute for Cardiovascular Science.

As the Jay M. Sullivan Endowed Chair and Chief for the Division of Cardiovascular Disease, Dr. Jefferies will oversee the educational opportunities that occur within the division, including its comprehensive fellowship programs; the inpatient and outpatient clinical services offered through Methodist Le Bonheur Healthcare, the Memphis VA Medical Center, and Regional One Health; and the basic, translational, and clinical science research efforts within the institution.

John L. Jefferies, MD (Photo courtesy of John L. Jefferies)

“My vision for the institute is for us to be a regional and national leader in cardiovascular care in the very near future,” Dr. Jefferies said. “Our goal is to be a Top 50 Cardiology Program in the U.S. News & World Report rankings within the next few years.”

Dr. Jefferies will lead the new UT Methodist Institute for Cardiovascular Science, which the university foresees offering world-class care in all areas of cardiovascular medicine.

“This opportunity is so unique,” Dr. Jefferies said, discussing his reason for coming to Memphis. “An institution that is willing to invest substantial resources in developing something very novel and very important is highly unique and is very atypical in the current era of medicine.”

Specializing in heritable forms of cardiovascular disease, Dr. Jefferies will develop these programs at UTHSC and Methodist. The new UT Methodist Institute for Cardiovascular Science will have a cardio-oncology program in partnership with St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital that will work with adult cancer survivors who received treatment there.

“UTHSC and Methodist are very heavily invested in making this a nationally and internationally recognized program,” Dr. Jefferies said. “My role will be to lay the groundwork to further develop this institute, expand the number of services offered, and develop Centers of Excellence in distinct areas of cardiovascular medicine. We anticipate national and international referrals coming to Memphis to see us.”

Dr. Jefferies is joining UTHSC after serving as director of the Advanced Heart Failure and Cardiomyopathy Services in the Heart Institute at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center.

He comes to UTHSC after more than eight years with the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine and Cincinnati Children’s, where he was an associate professor of adult cardiovascular disease and pediatric cardiology from 2010-2015, professor of adult cardiovascular disease and pediatric cardiology from 2015-2018, and professor of human genetics from 2015-2018. In addition, he served as a cardiology clinical consultant for both the Heart Institute Diagnostic Laboratory and the Shriners Hospitals for Children in Cincinnati since 2016.

Dr. Jefferies’ research interests include novel gene discovery for various forms of cardiomyopathy, quality-of-life research in cardiomyopathy and heart failure, cardio-oncology, cardiac care in genetic syndromes, and novel drug investigation in heart failure. He has had and continues to have significant grant support from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute and from industry.

A two-time alumnus of the University of Tennessee, Dr. Jefferies graduated from UT Knoxville with a degree in microbiology in 1992 and his medical degree from UTHSC in 1996. He then completed an internship and residency in internal medicine and pediatrics at the University of Kentucky followed by a combined adult and pediatric cardiology training at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, TX.

Dr. Jefferies serves on the advisory board of multiple organizations including the Korey Stringer Institute and the Dystrophic Epidermolysis Bullosa Research Association of America. He is also on the editorial board of numerous journals including the Texas Heart Institute Journal, PLOS ONE, and the Journal of Cardiac Failure. He has authored over 180 peer-reviewed manuscripts and 20 book chapters. He is the chief editor of two widely recognized textbooks in cardiology and has delivered over 200 lectures nationally and internationally.

He is the recipient of many honors and awards, including the ACCF Research Fellowship Award from the American College of Cardiology and the Thrasher New Research Award.