Leaders of the University of Tennessee Health Science Center (UTHSC) recently hosted members of the Memphis City Council, Shelby County Commission and state legislature to update them on the economic impact of UTHSC on the community. The group also discussed the UTHSC campus master plan, which includes demolition of five buildings, construction of several new research and education structures, and renovation of outdated, existing facilities.
UTHSC Chancellor Steve Schwab, MD, and Executive Vice Chancellor and Chief Operations Officer Ken Brown, JD, MPA, PhD, welcomed the public officials, including City Council Chairman Edmund Ford Jr., County Commission Chairman James Harvey and State Representative Joe Towns. Brown took them on a tour of the campus, noting that he is committed to telling “the local constituency” more about what UTHSC does, especially the economic impact it has on the community.
As extensive as that role is today – with UTHSC having an almost $2 billion economic impact on the Memphis economy every year – that influence will become even greater, Brown explained, with multiple renovation and construction projects slated for the next few years. “The execution of our campus master plan is going to have a huge economic impact,” he said.
One such project being seriously discussed is a roughly $200 million Women and Infants health pavilion, which would be a cooperative effort with the MED. Another will be the renovation of the Mooney building and library, a structure situated at the historic core of the UTHSC campus, which has been vacant for the past 20 years.
Dr. David Stern, executive dean of the UTHSC College of Medicine, spoke of the pressing need to better take care of the “underserved population” in the region.
This is part of what he called “embedding” the College of Medicine more deeply into the local community. Stern called kidney disease, stroke and infant mortality major problems in the Memphis area. He said that the goal of his tenure is to make real improvements – to move the needle – in those areas.
“We’re focusing our scientific inquiries on those diseases where we can make a difference here in Memphis,” Chancellor Schwab told the legislators. UTHSC-trained physicians, nurses, pharmacists, dentists and allied health professionals comprise the lion’s share of the health care workforce in the state. UTHSC health care professionals provide more than a million days of hospital care across the state every year and more than two million outpatient visits.
As Tennessee’s only public, statewide, academic health system, the mission of the University of Tennessee Health Science Center (UTHSC) is to bring the benefits of the health sciences to the achievement and maintenance of human health, with a focus on the citizens of Tennessee and the region, by pursuing an integrated program of education, research, clinical care, and public service. Offering a broad range of postgraduate and selected baccalaureate training opportunities, the main UTHSC campus is located in Memphis and includes six colleges: Allied Health Sciences, Dentistry, Graduate Health Sciences, Medicine, Nursing and Pharmacy. UTHSC also educates and trains cohorts of medicine, pharmacy and/or allied health students — in addition to medical residents and fellows — at its major sites in Knoxville, Chattanooga and Nashville. Founded in 1911, during its more than 100 years, UT Health Science Center has educated and trained more than 56,000 health care professionals in academic settings and health care facilities across the state. For more information, visit www.uthsc.edu.