Pride in our UTHSC Advisory Board: Planning for the future as Tennessee's only public, statewide, academic health system.
Last week in Memphis, we held our first in-person UTHSC Advisory Board meeting since 2019. It was great to see our Advisory Board members together and we welcomed two fantastic new members – Dr. Randall Davis, a College of Medicine alum who works with Memphis Radiological P.C., and Dr. Josh Wayman, a College of Dentistry alum who owns and is the sole practitioner at RiverSprings Dental in Kingston Springs.
We kicked off the meeting with an appreciation plaque for U.S. District Judge Mark Norris to recognize him for his three years of outstanding service on the UTHSC Advisory Board. Judge Norris was also instrumental in the creation of the UTHSC Advisory Board, as he co-sponsored the UT FOCUS Act, which included the creation of seven member Campus Advisory Boards for each of the UT campuses, including UTHSC. We appreciate Judge Norris for his leadership and guidance. In his compelling remarks, Judge Norris praised our clinical leaders for outstanding advice and support during the COVID-19 pandemic. He also spoke passionately to us about the many qualities that makes UTHSC such a special asset to Memphis and to the great State of Tennessee and he encouraged us to “spread the word, far and wide” about our value to our communities... And yes, we will do just that going forward!
The Chancellor's Report and the College Updates from our Deans gave our board members a good overview of UTHSC. We discussed the mission, our partnerships, and strategic opportunities. As we embark on our next strategic plan, it is opportune for our Advisory Board members to be champions in extolling the value that UTHSC continues to bring to Tennessee as the only public, statewide, academic health system. I was also proud of how each of our Health Science Center Deans "sang the praises" of their faculty, staff, and trainees.
A solid financial footing is foundational to our future strategies and growth potential. Tony Ferrara, senior vice chancellor for finance, presented the proposed budget of $676 million for FY 2023 for Advisory Board approval. This budget includes the 4% salary increase for employees approved by the Tennessee legislature... an important support of all our colleagues at a time when many states across the nation are struggling and something that we all can be grateful for. We will write more on the proposed budget after the review by the Board of Trustees next month.
As we look to our future, Dr. Cindy Russell, vice chancellor of academic, faculty, and student affairs, presented the Advisory Board with a review of two proposed academic programs – Master of Health Science in Pathology Assistant and a joint Bachelors of Science in Nursing with UT Southern. The Pathologists' Assistant program will add an attractive graduate program in a high-demand discipline, while the joint BSN will help meet the deficit of nurses in Tennessee.
Peter F. Buckley, MD
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