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New UTHSC Advisory Board Holds First Meeting

UTHSC Chancellor Steve J. Schwab, MD, in foreground, opened the inaugural meeting of the UTHSC Advisory Board. Also pictured, is Phil Wenk, DDS,  who was voted chairman of the board. (Photo by Allen Gillespie/UTHSC)

The new UTHSC Advisory Board held its first meeting Thursday in the Student Alumni-Center on the Memphis campus.

Each UT campus across the state is now served by an advisory board of five public members, one faculty member, and one student member. The boards were established by the UT FOCUS Act passed by the state legislature.

Public members present were: U.S. District Court Judge Mark Norris; Michael Ugwueke, president and CEO of Methodist Le Bonheur Healthcare; Natalie Tate, PharmD, MBA, Chattanooga, vice president, Pharmacy, Blue Cross/Blue Shield; Lynn Massingale, MD, Knoxville, co-founder of TeamHealth; and Phil Wenk, DDS, Brentwood, president and CEO of Delta Dental of Tennessee.

UTHSC Chancellor Steve J. Schwab, MD, welcomed the board, thanking the members for their “100 percent attendance.” The chancellor is not a voting member of the board.

According to bylaws approved by the board, the UTHSC Student Government Association Executive Council (SGAEC) president will serve as the student member of the board. SGAEC President Anna Evans, a second-year Doctor of Physical Therapy student in the College of Health Professions, is the student member.

Terrance Cooper, PhD, Harriet S. Van Vleet Professor of Microbiology & Immunology in the Department of Microbiology, Immunology & Biochemistry, is the faculty member for the board. Dr. Cooper is a past president of the UTHSC Faculty Senate.

Dr. Wenk was unanimously elected chairman of the board. “It’s a great honor to serve on an advisory board in an area I have great love for,” said Wenk, a 1973 graduate of the University of Tennessee-Knoxville and a 1977 graduate of the University of Tennessee College of Dentistry.

Anthony A. Ferrara, UTHSC’s vice chancellor for Finance, was recommended by the chancellor to serves as the secretary of the board. He was approved on a voice vote.

Chancellor Schwab offered a brief overview of the university’s performance in core missions of education, clinical care, and research. “We believe we are at a national performance level education, we will continue to grow our clinical performance, and in research, we have a plan to move forward,” he said.

Dates and times for future meetings were approved. They are May 20 at 1 p.m., and Sept. 20 at 1 p.m.

After the meeting, Chancellor Schwab said the board “serves as group of statewide influential people who can not only advise us, but advocate for us.”