Last week, the University of Tennessee Health Science Center hosted the annual meeting of the Board of Directors of the University of Tennessee Foundation – a remarkable group comprised predominantly of UT senior alumni who are leaders in their communities across Tennessee and nationally.
“When community and business leaders visit the University of Tennessee Health Science Center, a successful visit can turn them into ‘UTHSC Ambassadors,’ who go away singing the praises of UTHSC and our mission,” said Chancellor Peter Buckley, MD.
The board members had the opportunity to visit the UTHSC Center for Health Care Improvement and Patient Simulation (CHIPS). They saw an outstanding demonstration by Tara Lemoine, DO, FAAP, executive director, and Jarrod Young, MBS, BSE, CHSOS-A, FSSH, director of operations.
The group also toured the new Delta Dental of Tennessee Building with College of Dentistry Dean James Ragain, DDS, PhD, and his colleagues. They learned how the state-of-the-art building, which increases the capacity to accept more dental students annually, fits into the College of Dentistry’s Healthy Smiles Initiative to increase the number of dentists practicing across Tennessee, particularly in in rural areas.
Similarly, they saw the new College of Nursing Mobile Health Unit and learned from Assistant Professor Diana Dedmon, DNP, FNP, BC, how this innovation will help in primary and secondary health care prevention in rural areas of Middle Tennessee.
During the exhilarating meeting conducted by Board Chair Ron Frieson, the members also heard from third-year medical student, J. P. Ransom, who gave a compelling account of how his life experiences and the excellent training at UTHSC are fueling his interest to pursue a career in pediatrics.
UT System President Randy Boyd recounted the successes of this year’s legislative session, chief among these being UTHSC’s new recurring operating funds of $10.7 million and plans to build on this by seeking an inaugural Health Sciences funding formula. UT Foundation board members also heard about the successful philanthropy at each campus, including the fact that UTHSC has exceeded last year’s fundraising and this year’s goals are on target to close out this academic year with total donations in excess of $27 million. The efforts of Charley Deal, PhD, who served as interim vice chancellor for Advancement, and those of the entire UTHSC Advancement team were lauded by the board members.
During an evening event, Alex Turley, CEO of the Henry Turley Company, described the new residential area at Orleans Station in the Memphis Medical District, a public-private partnership that is one step in transforming the urban environment adjacent to UTHSC. The group heard from Turley about how Memphis has been developed over time. Civic and business leader Scott Ledbetter and Shanea McKinney, PharmD, a 2008 UTHSC College of Pharmacy graduate and UT Board of Trustees member, also described the reinvigoration of the Pyramid and the Tom Lee Park on the Mississippi River, respectively.
The board members heard about recent leadership recruitments, prominent new academic programs and accomplishments, and the forthcoming 2023-2028 UTHSC Strategic Plan. “The UT Foundation board members expressed appreciation and enthusiasm for the momentum at UTHSC, and they will be powerful and highly vocal advocates on our behalf,” Chancellor Buckley said.
Later this week, in conjunction with the Greater Memphis Chamber, UTHSC will welcome approximately 30 British scientists, clinicians, and entrepreneurs, who are visiting Memphis in search of future collaborations.
“This is another opportunity for us to demonstrate excellence and form new collaborations,” the chancellor said. “Later this month, we will also host the annual meeting of the UT Board of Trustees – an additional opportunity for us to enlist the support of our state’s leaders in advancing our mission and being powerful advocates for UTHSC.
“These strategic opportunities are important and are not possible without the dedicated efforts of many,” he said. “This is much appreciated.”