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New Strategic Plan Aims to Improve Health of Tennesseans

The University of Tennessee Health Science Center builds on its outstanding history as a health care leader in Tennessee and looks to the future with new 2023-2028 Strategic Plan.

The University of Tennessee Health Science Center’s new 2023-2028 Strategic Plan defines UTHSC’s direction for the future, as it continues to strive to improve health care and overall health across Tennessee.

The plan, approved in late June by the UT Board of Trustees, serves as a roadmap for UTHSC’s next five years and outlines the university’s new mission, vision, and values. It was developed under the leadership of Cindy Russell, PhD, vice chancellor for Academic, Faculty, and Student Affairs, in an inclusive planning process that spanned more than 18 months with participation from more than 700 faculty, staff, and students across all campuses, as well as alumni and community members.

“We are most grateful to Dr. Russell and to so many colleagues for a remarkable job,” UTHSC Chancellor Peter Buckley said. “Our strategic plan is a balance of inspiration, perspiration, aspirational activities, and foundational activities.” 

This long-term, collaborative process defined UTHSC’s new vision in four words: Healthy Tennesseans. Thriving Communities. 

The plan centers on five strategic pillars: Engaging Communities, Educational Excellence, Expanding Research, Advancing Health, and Developing Talent. The pillars rest on a new mission statement and encompass new values that reflect the UT System’s Be One UT values with added focus on the health sciences.

The new mission statement streamlines UTHSC’s previous mission statement, but retains its long-standing academic, clinical, research, and outreach focus. UTHSC’s new mission statement is: “Transforming lives through collaborative and inclusive education, research/scholarship, clinical care, and public service.”

UTHSC’s values mesh with the UT System’s Be One UT Values, which include Bold and Impactful, Embrace Diversity, Optimistic and Visionary, Nimble and Innovative, Excel in All We Do, United and Connected, Transparent and Trusted. Additionally, UTHSC’s values include Health Focused, Science Driven, Caring and Professional.

The plan reflects UTHSC’s commitment to strengthening partnerships in communities across the state; promoting quality interprofessional education; growing research, innovation, and entrepreneurship; expanding quality care; and creating an environment of success for all Tennesseans.

With six colleges – Dentistry, Graduate Health Sciences, Health Professions, Medicine, Nursing, and Pharmacy ­– UTHSC­ is the largest educator of health care professionals across the state. UTHSC’s faculty and more than 1,400 residents and fellows staff major hospitals in Memphis and across Tennessee. 

At its main campus in Memphis UTHSC enjoys long-standing clinical and educational partnerships with hospitals including Memphis Veterans Affairs Medical Center, Regional One Health, Methodist Le Bonheur Healthcare and Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital, St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, Baptist Memorial Healthcare, and St. Francis Hospital, as well as with multiple specialty clinics, physician practice groups, community, and public health programs.

The university also has campuses in Nashville, Knoxville, and Chattanooga with clinical and educational partnerships at major hospitals, including Ascension Saint Thomas Hospital in Nashville, Erlanger Health System in Chattanooga, the University of Tennessee Medical Center in Knoxville, and West Tennessee Healthcare–Jackson Madison County Hospital in Jackson. UTHSC has more than 880 clinical-educational training sites in communities across Tennessee, all supported through strategic partnerships. 

“This plan is building a solid foundation into an exciting future.”

Chancellor Peter Buckley

Moving to strengthen statewide clinical partnerships, UTHSC recruited its inaugural Vice Chancellor for Strategic Partnerships Paul Wesolowski, in May. The university is expanding its clinical reach into rural areas of Tennessee and increasing access to care. The Nursing Mobile Health Unit launched in May to bring health care to underserved areas in Lake and Lauderdale counties. The College of Dentistry is leading a $53 million state-funded Healthy Smiles Initiative to expand access to dental care across Tennessee.

The new strategic plan also includes priorities that apply across all the university’s efforts. These are campus culture and work environment; communications; data and data governance; diversity, equity, inclusion; and philanthropy. 

The strategic plan incorporates performance indicators designed to measure visible progress. It will provide a point of reference and instructional support for upcoming UTHSC strategic planning in the individual colleges.

“This plan is building a solid foundation into an exciting future,” Chancellor Buckley said.

The full 2023-2028 Strategic plan is available to view on the Strategic Plan webpage.