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Stephen Miller, MD, Named Robert S. Pearce Chair in Internal Medicine


Guy Reed, MD, chair of the UTHSC Department of Medicine and Lemuel Diggs Professor of Medicine, has announced that Stephen Thomas Miller, MD, MACP, is the inaugural Robert S. Pearce Chair in Internal Medicine.

Guy Reed, MD, chair of the University of Tennessee Health Science Center (UTHSC) Department of Medicine and Lemuel Diggs Professor of Medicine, has announced that Stephen Thomas Miller, MD, MACP, is the inaugural Robert S. Pearce Chair in Internal Medicine. Dr. Miller, UTHSC professor of medicine and vice chair of the Department of Medicine, is also an educational leader at Methodist Le Bonheur Healthcare and a well-known Memphis physician.

“Dr. Miller has been a superb physician and educator in our community for the past 37 years,” said Dr. Reed. “His commitment to outstanding patient care and community service embodies the legacy of Dr. Robert S. Pearce, Dr. Iris Pearce and the Pearce family physicians who have cared for patients in the Memphis area for generations.”

In his new position, Dr. Miller will expand and develop programs between UTHSC and Methodist in medical education and patient care, and will work closely with Dr. Reed on strategies where the two institutions intersect. Due to his new appointment as an endowed chair, Dr. Miller will step down from his role as senior vice president of Research and Education at Methodist University Hospital, but will continue to serve as medical director for Graduate Medical Education at Methodist, see patients at the hospital, and teach in the Methodist Teaching Practice.

A graduate of Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Dr. Miller completed his residency in internal medicine through the Robert Woods Johnson Foundation Clinical Scholars Program. In 1974, he came to Memphis and UTHSC to work with John Runyan, MD, a legendary leader in internal medicine, to focus on preventive intervention. During his distinguished career, Dr. Miller led the way in research and treatment of hypertension, and in the management of chronic diseases and geriatrics with a focus on examining the whole patient through an interdisciplinary team.

Dr. Miller was founding director of the Division of General Internal Medicine at UTHSC and previously served as associate dean for academic programs at Methodist University Hospital. He has written 75 publications in leading medical journals such as Preventive Medicine, the New England Journal of Medicine, and the Journal of the American Medical Association. In 2008, the expert received the inaugural Leader and Mentor in General Internal Medicine award from the Society of General Internal Medicine Southern Region. In 2009, he received both the Outstanding Service Award of the Council and the Laureate Award from the Tennessee American College of Physicians Chapter. In April 2011, Dr. Miller received designation as a Master of the American College of Physicians.

The path to medical excellence for Dr. Miller began during his childhood when his grandfather, a rural physician, would take him on house calls in remote parts of Kentucky. It is a similar story that led to the establishment of the Dr. Robert S. Pearce Chair in Internal Medicine.

Iris Pearce, MD, a fifth-generation physician and UTHSC College of Medicine alum who passed away in 2005, established the Dr. Robert S. Pearce Chair in Internal Medicine in honor of her late father. Dr. Pearce said her father was the greatest influence on her life. As an only child whose mother died when she was 7, Iris joined her father on house calls and on hospital visits. He practiced in Memphis for 35 years.

Those early experiences ignited her fascination with medicine and motivated her to follow in the footsteps of her father, grandfather, great-grandfather and great-great grandfather — all physicians. Upon graduation from medical school, Dr. Iris Pearce became the first female resident in internal medicine at John Gaston Hospital (now the Regional Medical Center at Memphis) and was later named the hospital’s first Chief Resident. She served as director of the City of Memphis Hospitals for many years and had a unique passion for the poor and underserved. Her gift will allow Dr. Miller to continue their passion of providing medical care for all.