The Collierville Chamber of Commerce Tuesday named the University of Tennessee Health Science Center its 2022 Health Care Provider of the Year during its annual Excellence in Business Awards at the Hilton Memphis.
According to the Chamber, the awards recognize organizations that set the standard of excellence and innovation in local business.
UTHSC was selected from among four outstanding finalists for the top health care award. As Tennessee’s statewide, public academic health care institution, UTHSC was recognized for being the largest educator of health care professionals across the state. Additionally, UTHSC’s faculty and residents staff major hospitals in Memphis and across Tennessee.
The Chamber cited UTHSC for “maintaining an incredible current presence in the area” with six colleges – Dentistry, Health Professions, Graduate Health Sciences, Medicine, Nursing, and Pharmacy –- as well as more than 3,100 students, who will add to the health care workforce for Tennessee. The awards committee was also impressed that UTHSC has approximately 380 researchers working on the cures of tomorrow.
UTHSC enjoys 1,266 total affiliations and connections with the Collierville community. Additionally, Greg Harris, assistant vice chancellor for Strategic Initiatives and Advancement Services at UTHSC, serves on the Chamber’s board of directors. Several prominent Collierville companies partner with UTHSC in support of its mission by being Corporate Exchange members, including the Chamber of Commerce.
“We are grateful for this award and the recognition of the University of Tennessee Health Science Center and our contributions in partnership to improve the health of the citizens of Collierville, the West Tennessee region, and across Tennessee,” said Chancellor Peter Buckley, MD. “Our thanks to Greg for his stellar leadership in initiating and successfully developing the Corporate Exchange with Collierville’s business community, as well as his work with the business communities in Germantown and Memphis. We are committed to being a force for good in communities across the state, and building these bridges with the business communities helps us fulfill that mission.”
While UTHSC’s main campus is in Memphis, the university also has campuses in Jackson, Nashville, Knoxville, and Chattanooga, with clinical and educational sites at major hospitals, including West Tennessee Health Care – Jackson Madison County Hospital in Jackson, Ascension Saint Thomas Hospital in Nashville, Erlanger Health System in Chattanooga, and the University of Tennessee Medical Center in Knoxville.
“Memphis is our home, Tennessee is our campus,” Chancellor Buckley said, referring to the university’s statewide mission and reach. As the university amplifies its reach across Tennessee, it is increasing its focus on rural health care, addressing the social determinants of health and researching cures for the diseases that most affect the citizens of Tennessee.
Also attending the awards event was Dr. Altha Stewart, senior associate dean for Community Health Engagement in the UTHSC College of Medicine. Dr. Stewart leads the work of the Office of Community Health Engagement, including programs focusing on children’s mental health and trauma services and addressing violence in the community.
The UTHSC representation for this event also included Diana Dedmon, DNP, director of Clinical Affairs for the UTHSC College of Nursing, who has spearheaded the College of Nursing‘s efforts to provide care in rural areas, including a new mobile health unit and training designed to expand the rural nursing workforce.
This work, and similar efforts by UTHSC across the state, position the university to impact health in cities such as Collierville and other areas in West Tennessee as they grow. Mark Heuberger, president and CEO of the Collierville Chamber, said the city has grown in population from 33,000 in 2000 to 49,000 in 2022. He attributes this to several factors, including that Collierville has available land for development, has a top-ranked school system, is among the safest cities in the state, and has a high standard for architecture and construction making it aesthetically pleasing. He also said the presence of Ford Motor Company’s BlueOval City in Stanton, Tennessee, about 40 minutes up the road from Collierville, will accelerate growth in the area.
At the awards event, Ermal Faulkner, director of BlueOval City and electric vehicles sites for Ford Motor Company, gave an inspirational keynote presentation and a glimpse of the exciting opportunities that will unfold with this major regional and statewide initiative.
In accepting the recognition on behalf of UTHSC, Chancellor Buckley said, “At UTHSC, we pledge to continue our work to be a good partner with our business communities across the state to promote a healthy Tennessee, where all communities can thrive.”