For David Stern, MD, Robert Kaplan Executive Dean of the College of Medicine at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center, a primary goal is “to see the university become essential to the fabric of health and wellness in our community.”
Since he joined UTHSC five years ago, the College of Medicine has made great strides in that effort, and the community is recognizing that progress.
The chamber annually honors 10 of its member companies and organizations that have been successful in the past year and are positioned for growth. The 10 were presented at the chamber’s 2016 Annual Chairman’s Luncheon.
Dr. Stern was among those invited to address the city leaders assembled at the luncheon. He said the College of Medicine physicians, researchers and practitioners work daily to make change happen in our community.
He cited four steps the college is taking to do this:
- creating nationally-recognized centers-of-excellence addressing unmet medical needs in our community
- caring for vulnerable populations
- eliminating health care disparities
- engaging the community through innovative programs.
Major clinical initiatives launched by the college in 2016 reflect this effort.
- The UT Mobile Stroke Unit hit the streets of Memphis to tackle the heavy burden of stroke in the community. The mobile unit is designed with the most-comprehensive and up-to-date scanning equipment to allow for diagnosis and treatment with clot-busting drugs at the scene, instead of waiting until the patient arrives at the hospital. Earlier treatment equates to better prospects for recovery.
- To battle the epidemic of addiction in the community and region, the college established a Center for Addiction Science. Addressing all types of addictions across the age spectrum with evidence-based and trauma-informed treatment, the center was recently named the first Center of Excellence In Addiction Medicine in the country by The Addiction Medicine Foundation.
- The College of Medicine’s Center for Health in Justice Involved Youth focuses on the mental health issues that often result in young people entering the juvenile justice system. In October, the center took the reins of the county’s primary collaborative effort to address childhood trauma, which is known to contribute to mental health problems that affect behavior later in life.
“At UT, we are in the medical business, not just an educational and research enterprise,” Dr. Stern said. The college has more than 800 clinical faculty members, who practice in more than 25 specialties in all hospitals in the Memphis area.