IN THIS ISSUE:
Spotlight on Class of 1982
New Pathway Programs Alumni Awards
40 YEARS OF IMPACT
Pictured on the cover: Dr. Abbi Laszacs, a member of the Class of 2022, is pictured with Dr. Greg Swabe, a member of the class of 1982, Quillen’s first graduating class. Cover Photo by Matthew Carroll
Quillen Magazine Dr. Brian Noland ETSU President Dr. Kimberly D. McCorkle Provost and Senior Vice President for Academics Dr. William A. Block, Jr. (’92) Vice President for Clinical Affairs Dean, Quillen College of Medicine Dr. David Linville (’00) Senior Associate Dean and Chief of Staff, Associate Vice President for Clinical Affairs Editors Melissa Nipper University Marketing and Communications Carol Sloan University Advancement Contributors Kristen Early Jennifer Hill Joe Smith Graphic Designer Taylor Campbell Biomedical Communications
This has been an eventful and exciting year at Quillen College of Medicine. On May 6, Quillen College of Medicine’s Class of 2022 received their degrees. They joined the ranks of the more than 2,200 alumni who have completed their medical education at Quillen. Not only has the Class of 2022 become part of this important milestone in Quillen’s history, but they are also a special class in their own right. The majority of their medical education was completed in the midst of the global pandemic, but they persevered and finished strong with 100 percent of the class matching with a residency training program on Match Day. You cannot get any stronger than 100 percent, and you cannot find many events that can rival the excitement, energy, and emotion at our Match Day celebration. This year, we were able to host the event in person for the first time since 2019. Seeing the students celebrate with their families, classmates, and professors was the dose of hope and joy that many of us needed after the pandemic’s effects on so many aspects of our lives over the past two and a half years. In this issue of Quillen Magazine, I hope you will enjoy meeting some of our inaugural alumni who were members of the Class of 1982. These individuals took a chance on a newly established medical school that was committed to preparing physicians to serve rural and underserved populations, and they paved the way for the success we have experienced over the years. Forty years later, we are now a nationally ranked medical school that attracts thousands of applicants each year. In its 2023 “Best Medical Schools” rankings, U.S. News & World Report named Quillen No. 3 in the country among medical schools with the most graduates practicing in health professional shortage areas. We also were highly ranked among medical schools with the most graduates practicing in rural areas (No. 33) and in primary care (No. 34). Overall, we ranked No. 65 in the primary care category.
Principal Photography Ron Campbell Matthew Carroll Gerry Philpott Larry Smith Charlie Warden
These rankings speak to every part of the Quillen College of Medicine mission, which is to educate future physicians, especially those with an interest in primary care, to practice in underserved rural communities. The fact that we have been nationally ranked among medical schools is gratifying in and of itself. However, it is even more special that we have been recognized specifically for areas that are on point with our mission and values.
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These rankings reflect the commitment and hard work of our faculty, staff, students, and alumni. They reflect four decades of impact! Thank you to all of those who have been part of Quillen’s success over the past 40 years. It is my honor and privilege to serve alongside you.
P.O. Box 70694 Johnson City, TN 37614 423-439-6315 ETSU is an Equal Opportunity Educational Institution/Employer. ETSU-220699-A-22
Dr. William A. Block, Jr. Vice President for Clinical Affairs Dean, Quillen College of Medicine
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40 Years of Impact Graduates reflect on ways things change, stay the same East Tennessee State University’s Quillen College of Medicine has undergone many changes since its inaugural class of medical students received their degrees in 1982. Most notably, the medical school moved from the main campus to ETSU’s campus at the James H. Quillen VA at Mountain Home, where it has had room to grow and add state-of-the-art simulation laboratories and an interprofessional education and research program to enhance student training. The class size has also grown from 24 in 1982 to 66 graduates in the class of 2022. However, as much as things have changed, some of the hallmarks of Quillen College of Medicine that were true 40 years ago remain the same today – a fact that became clear when Dr. Greg Swabe, a Knoxville pediatrician and member of the inaugural class, visited Quillen’s campus and met with Dr. Abbi Laszacs, a graduate of the class of 2022. As they shared their Quillen stories, there were several parallels – even though their experiences were 40 years apart. “I came to Quillen because East Tennessee was my home, and this is really where my heart was,” Swabe said. “I also wanted to be part of a new medical school. My favorite memory of Quillen is the fact that it was a small class and you got so much personal attention, and I don’t think that would exist anywhere else. The small class and the personal attention we got certainly were some of the things that helped me survive medical school.” Although her class of 66 is larger than the inaugural class of
24, Laszacs also was attracted to Quillen’s smaller class size when compared to other medical schools she considered. “At a larger or a different school, I could’ve gotten lost – a fish within a big ocean. But at Quillen, I was really able to thrive and have opportunities readily available to me,” Laszacs said. Another aspect of Quillen that Swabe and Laszacs share is the college’s unwavering commitment to training primary care physicians. Swabe recalls that some of the most rewarding memories of his career have been the relationships that he has formed with patients and their families – and even the opportunity he has had to treat the grandchildren of two of his Quillen classmates. “Someday, I know that I’ll retire, but those will always be precious memories to me,” he said. Laszacs, who completed Quillen’s Rural Primary Care Track, is also heading into primary care, beginning an obstetrics and gynecology residency at UCSF-Fresno this summer. “At the end of my four years, I look back with nothing but pride having chosen Quillen, and I am honored that Quillen chose me. Quillen has really prepared me for my future,” Laszacs said. Swabe, who remembers what it was like to be in her shoes, is cheering her on as he celebrates the 40th anniversary of his own graduation. “I am so very proud to be a Quillen graduate,” he said. “I encourage the class of 2022 to love what they do because this is the start of a rewarding career for them.” EAST TENNESSEE STATE UNIVERSITY | 1
Class of 1982: Where are they now? We checked in with a few members of Quillen College of Medicine’s inaugural class to find out: Where are they now?
Dr. Wear Culvahouse OB/GYN
Dr. Wear Culvahouse worked as an OB/ GYN for 22 years at Greenwich Hospital in Connecticut. Now retired from medicine, Culvahouse serves as the chief operating officer of Douglas Graneto Design, the design firm of his husband, Douglas Graneto. Culvahouse and Graneto have a daughter, Katie, who is in the seventh grade. Favorite Quillen memory: It happened during the fall of my first year while I was working on cadavers with Dr. Richard Peppler. All of
us students, at one time or another, hit “the” wall. There was such internal pressure and an enormous amount of knowledge to acquire in a very short time, and I hit the wall while I was learning the cranial nerves. I had lost confidence in my ability to continue in school and to do the work. I dropped in to see Dr. Peppler with my tail between my legs. He could see that I had lost confidence, but within 30 minutes … he transformed me, and I didn’t doubt myself ever again. He has remained my favorite professor!
Dr. Joseph M. D’Amico
Dr. Thomas Clary
Favorite Quillen memory: The first day of anatomy with Dr. Peppler.
Thomas Clary retired in March of 2022 after 37 years as a pediatrician at Oak Ridge Pediatric Clinic. He continues to reside in Oak Ridge.
Dr. Joseph D’Amico worked as an orthopedic surgeon with the Orthopedic Associates of Stamford (Connecticut) for 35 years. After retiring in 2021, D’Amico moved to Jupiter, Florida with his wife of 37 years. They have four children and three grandchildren.
Dr. Judith M. Bowen
Specialty Field— Adult Psychiatry; Family Systems Theory and Psychotherapy Dr. Judith M. Bowen continues an active practice of outpatient psychiatry with her husband, Dr. Stephen Kowalski, in Birmingham, Alabama. Telehealth has allowed them to safely be available to their patients during the COVID-19 pandemic. Favorite Quillen memory: I have many fond memories of my days at ETSU with the Class of ’82. They began with the 1978 Welcome Picnic, followed by Dr. Peppler’s Halloween Surprise in the anatomy lab, Dr. Hougland’s popcorn balls, 2 | QUILLEN COLLEGE OF MEDICINE
the “beer muscle,” class photo in the thencenter courtyard of the VA Hospital, and our welcome skit, “The Wizard of State” in 1979. The best memories are of times we shared together as classmates (in and out of the classroom) and with faculty who engaged with us and invested in us. My favorite memory is our graduation ceremony at the VA Theatre and the tossing of our caps that followed outside on the lawn. The ETSU College of Medicine first class successfully crossed the finish line!
New Pathways Programs open doors to increased diversity New programs are opening pathways into Quillen College of Medicine for students from diverse walks of life. Recent pathway programs include EQUIP (Extending Quillen to the Underserved through an Integrated Program), a partnership with East Tennessee State University’s Honors College, and an innovative new program, led by the College of Arts & Sciences, that will lead to opportunities for underrepresented students to get into medical school. This program is in development and will be revealed later this year. “Quillen College of Medicine has an exceptional history of increasing access to health care, specialty care, and medical knowledge for our region,” said Dr. Tom Kincer, Associate Dean for Rural and Community Programs. “These new pathway programs are an exciting continuation of that mission, allowing Quillen to attract a very diverse student cohort from all areas of the state. The result will be a more diverse student body and increased diversity among future physicians,
which in turn brings broader medical care coverage to all.” EQUIP, which launched this spring, seeks to identify and mentor students to become primary care physicians committed to rural and underserved medicine. The program accepts students in their final two years of high school and up to the first semester of their sophomore year of college. EQUIP will enhance the student’s ability to successfully navigate the education, activities, testing, and application process necessary for medical school admission. An integral portion of the program is the opportunity to develop relationships with Quillen’s faculty, staff, and medical students. The program also includes a four-week summer experience for rising junior and senior college students, including one week spent on Quillen’s campus. During that week, students will have the opportunity to learn in Quillen’s classrooms, train in the simulation labs, and experience the state-of-theart anatomy lab. The remaining three
weeks of the summer program will take place in the community, working alongside a physician and developing a community engagement project. Students who complete EQUIP will enjoy a guaranteed interview when they apply to Quillen. Meanwhile, five of eight students (three of whom are alternates) who complete their bachelor’s degrees within the cohort program with the Honors College will receive guaranteed admission to Quillen. All students selected will receive a $2,500 annual scholarship for up to four years. The program will focus heavily on experiential learning, leadership and problem solving and will also require students to study abroad. Students will have opportunities to do job shadows and internships as well, and can study any major they want, though there will be some course requirements. Students will receive funding from the university for the study abroad program, summer programs and for research activities.
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A Physical Presence CIIDI now has its own space in Building 6 For the first time in its eight-year history, East Tennessee State University’s Center of Excellence in Inflammation, Infectious Disease and Immunity (CIIDI) has a physical presence to call its own. In October 2020, CIIDI officially moved into its new space on the second floor of Building 6 on the James H. Quillen VA Medical Center at Mountain Home. They have spent the past year renovating the space, adding state-of-the-art scientific equipment and preparing it to become a hub of research and education for CIIDI’s critical mass of researchers in inflammation, infectious disease, and immunity. “Our dedicated space facilitates communication, collegiality, exchange of ideas, and provides opportunities to establish interprofessional and intraprofessional collaborations,” said Dr. David Williams, CIIDI Co-Director and Carroll H. Long Chair of Excellence at Quillen College of Medicine. Prior to moving into the new space, CIIDI members were spread out across various labs on the VA campus. Over the past year, they have been able to come together in the new space to expand their infrastructure through the development of the CIIIDI Human 4 | QUILLEN COLLEGE OF MEDICINE
Tissue Biorepository to collect human specimens and associated clinical data that can be utilized for human subject research. “The biorepository significantly enhances our translational and clinical research, including COVID and long COVID studies in proteomics and neurology,” said Dr. Jonathan Moorman, CIIDI Co-Director and Professor and Division Chief of Infectious, Inflammatory, and Immunologic Disease. “We also have
active programs in cardiovascular disease, HIV, and sepsis.” The center has added other new elements to its infrastructure, including acquisition of new research instrumentation and the Drug Discovery and Synthesis core, which focuses on developing innovative immune therapies as well as the discovery of new and novel adjuvants for increasing vaccine effectiveness. Another way the center has expanded its clinical research program is through
the creation of a dedicated Clinical Research Office, which is staffed by James Adkins, Director, and Ben Pelton, Clinical Research Coordinator. One of the office’s first initiatives was a collaboration with ETSU’s College of Business and Technology’s MBA program to create a capstone project where MBA students explored opportunities to heighten the center’s sustainability. Throughout the growth and changes
that have occurred over the past year, the research produced by CIIDI members continues to be the focus.
grants, and there have been a number of publications authored by CIIDI members.
Their research has gained attention in areas such as COVID-19 and postacute sequelae of SARS-CoV-2, or “long COVID.” In addition, some members are also investigating how COVID infection impacts their scientific areas of emphasis, such as cardiovascular illness. Members have been awarded multiple COVID-related
Over the past year, several CIIDI members have conducted research on adjuvant and vaccine technology and also on the novel role of lactate in infectious disease and heart attack induced cardiovascular dysfunction. As they look toward the next year, CIIDI leaders are excited about resuming in-person educational learning opportunities that had been put on pause due to the pandemic. In addition, they are looking forward to hosting invited speakers who are nationally and internationally known in their respective fields. All of this can now take place in their new, state-of-the-art space. “The new CIIDI home makes it possible for us to better serve our members, the university community, and the research enterprise at ETSU,” said Moorman. “In addition, the new facility makes it possible for us to better serve our core missions of research and education.” To access the CIIDI facility, reserve the conference room, or for general questions, contact Joy Bohannon, CIIDI Executive Director at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Dr. Jonathan Moorman
Dr. David Williams EAST TENNESSEE TENNESSEE STATE STATE UNIVERSITY UNIVERSITY xx 5 5 EAST
ETSU Health named an inaugural ‘ETSU Hero’ East Tennessee State University celebrated the extraordinary and impactful stories of the inaugural recipients of the ETSU Heroes award during a ceremony held March 30, 2022. The ETSU Heroes recognition program honors the exemplary service of those who “embody excellence and contribute significant and innovative accomplishments” to the university. ETSU Health was recognized as one of the inaugural heroes in recognition of the system’s efforts to provide care throughout the pandemic. ETSU Health is comprised of students, faculty, clinicians and staff from the five health sciences colleges: Medicine, Nursing, Public Health, Pharmacy and Clinical and Rehabilitative Health Sciences. The ETSU Health team stood on the front lines from the moment the pandemic began by establishing the region’s first drivethrough COVID-19 testing site and later opening the first COVID-19 Community Collection Site that delivered molecular PCR test
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results within 24 hours. Students, faculty, and staff provided education and made items such as hand sanitizer, masks, gloves and other products available. The ETSU Health team also delivered some of the first doses of the COVID-19 vaccines and has continued to offer vaccine clinics. The other inaugural heroes include Patti Marlow, Zachary Olsen, Derek Patton, and Kelvin Tarukwasha. In addition, Ballad Health also received special recognition for the health care heroes risking personal health and providing steadfast leadership throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. The Heroes celebration will become an annual event on campus, recognizing the work that often takes place behind the scenes to make ETSU and the community a better place to live, work, and study.
Linville takes on new role In January 2022, Dr. David Linville began a new role as Senior Associate Dean and Chief of Staff at Quillen College of Medicine and Associate Vice President for Clinical Affairs at East Tennessee State University. “Dr. Linville is well known to many as a graduate of Quillen and a long-term faculty member,” said Dr. Bill Block, Dean of Quillen College of Medicine and Vice President for Clinical Affairs at ETSU. “We are thrilled that he is returning ‘home’ to the medical school in this new role.” Prior to this, Linville served as Executive Vice Provost for Academics and Health at ETSU and has previously held roles 6 | QUILLEN COLLEGE OF MEDICINE
at Quillen including Associate Dean for Graduate Medical Education and Assistant Dean and Director of Operations. In his new role at Quillen, Linville assists in managing the College of Medicine in the Dean’s Office and with the Office of Finance and Administration. He also contributes to the ongoing efforts of ETSU Health to align clinical practices across the university to enhance education and clinical care. Linville earned his M.D. from Quillen in 2000 and completed an internship in general surgery at ETSU. He also holds an Ed.D. in educational leadership (2015) from ETSU.
ETSU earns interprofessional education honors East Tennessee State University’s Interprofessional Education and Research (IPER) program earned two statewide awards recognizing its work in championing and cultivating interprofessional education and practice. The Tennessee Interprofessional Practice and Education Consortium (TIPEC) presented the People’s Choice Award and the Poster Award to ETSU for a presentation showcasing ETSU’s relationship with interprofessional teams during the Remote Area Medical (RAM) clinic that occurs each November in Gray. Interprofessional education is rooted in students learning and practicing team-based, collaborative care in order to improve health outcomes for patients. The award-winning poster, titled “Growing Community Engagement and Aligning Curriculum,” was presented by Dr. Emily Flores, Associate Professor of Pharmacy Practice at Bill Gatton College of Pharmacy, and Dr. Caroline Abercrombie, Director of Community Engagement for Interprofessional
Education and Research Programs at ETSU. Dr. Brian Cross, Director of Interprofessional Education at ETSU, and Dr. Alicia Williams, Assistant Director of Interprofessional Education and Research Programs, were coauthors of the poster presentation. “IPE is not new at ETSU, but it continues to grow in numbers of participants and in programming each year,” Cross said. “I am very proud of these awards our team received, which are an acknowledgement of all of the people who have been working so hard for many years to develop this program. These recognitions validate what is happening in IPE at ETSU, and I look forward to the continued growth and notoriety of our program – both on a state and national level.” In addition to the TIPEC awards, ETSU was showcased nationally at the Nexus Summit 2021, which is the national meeting for IPE sponsored by the national Center for Interprofessional Practice and Education.
Grant to support veterans in recovery from SUD Dr. Anthony DeLucia, Professor of research in the Quillen College of Medicine Department of Surgery, was awarded more than $49,000 by the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) to support planning of a Northeast Tennessee alliance to support veterans in recovery from substance use disorder. DeLucia authored the ETSU grant titled “VetSASA: Veterans Substance Abuse Support Alliance of Northeast Tennessee.” VetSASA is one of 17 projects receiving more than $5.5 million in the second round of Investments Supporting Partnerships In Recovery Ecosystems (INSPIRE), an ARC initiative addressing Appalachia’s substance use disorder (SUD) crisis through projects that create or expand a recovery ecosystem leading to workforce entry or re-entry. “I congratulate Dr. DeLucia on his INSPIRE award and applaud his work in
helping those in addiction recovery break the barriers to entering the workforce,” said ARC Federal Co-Chair Gayle Manchin. “The substance use disorder crisis isn’t only a health and family issue – it also has severe economic impacts, keeping many Appalachians from participating in the labor force and contributing to the region’s economic growth. “With ARC’s INSPIRE initiative, we’re starting to change that. INSPIRE projects focus on creating recovery-friendly work environments, providing supports to both individuals in recovery and their employers, and training individuals to meet the demand in growing professions. When we help individuals in recovery succeed, our communities succeed.” The VetSASA 18-month planning grant, which will run through June 2023, will support the formation of a coalition of
stakeholders from an eight-county region that will work to support veterans. Among these groups are veterans organizations; SUD patients and health care providers; employers; chambers of commerce; faithbased organizations; social services; local governments; K-12, higher education and technology partners; food, housing and transportation providers; law enforcement and court system representatives; and others. DeLucia said one goal supported by the grant is to bring this coalition together for a conference this fall to learn more about veterans affected by SUD and develop ways to increase veteran job training, placement and support activities. In developing his VetSASA proposal, DeLucia was aided by Luke Dawson, a second-year medical student at Quillen and a U.S. Marine Corps veteran, who assisted with data analysis in a summer research project. EAST TENNESSEE STATE UNIVERSITY | 7
Dr. Rebecca Copeland stands in her office at ETSU Health Internal Medicine.
Coming Home Many alums answer Quillen’s call For Dr. Rebecca Copeland, medical school in Memphis was entirely fail or succeed, devoid of the support and investment that Quillen College of Medicine’s faculty and staff provide students. Now a professor with Quillen’s Department of Internal Medicine, Copeland is the current longest-serving residency alum on faculty, having completed Quillen’s Internal Medicine residency in 1993. While this year marks her 29th on faculty, her history with ETSU extends decades earlier. Her father, Dr. T.P. Copeland, chaired the Biology Department, while her mother, Jean Copeland, worked in the business office. “I’m a faculty brat,” she said with a laugh. “The home economic students needed experience in childcare. My mother gave them me.” 8 | QUILLEN COLLEGE OF MEDICINE
After her brief stint in home economics as a 9-month-old, Copeland joined University School, attending through high school. She went on to complete even a master’s degree with ETSU. Quillen’s first class began the same year she chose to attend medical school, but she decided to spread her wings from a lifetime living on or near ETSU’s campus. She grew up in those years away, but Quillen called her home when she chose to leave family medicine and pursue her internal medicine residency in 1991. “Quillen is home for me. There’s so much about it that I have loved,” she said. Her favorite experiences have included serving on the Admissions Committee with Doug Taylor, Associate Dean and Director of Admissions and Records, and teaching all levels throughout her career. “I believe that Quillen is one of the finest medical schools in the nation,” she said. “I’m so impressed by the attention given
by faculty to medical students. That’s something that I never experienced.” Dr. Gregory Clarity is right on Dr. Copeland’s heels with 27 years of service. He is a Quillen medical school and residency alum who fell in love with Family Medicine Bristol’s program. “The entire program had a friendly, family feel, and the residents were a very cohesive group. They also had a strong faith commitment,” he said. “The Bristol program has a certain magic. Two of the faculty who taught me when I was a resident are still here today. And six of our eight faculty are graduates of our program.” Quillen’s faculty and students often talk about finding a home, building a family, enjoying personal relationships, and feeling that someone cares. These common themes for conversation are made uncommon by not referencing their personal lives, but the comradery they find at the college among their “Quillen family.”
Dr. Gregory Clarity
That comradery pulls many medical students and residents back to Quillen after their graduation. Of Quillen’s 241 faculty, about 25% are medical school or residency alumni. They include Dr. Bill Block, ETSU Vice President for Clinical Affairs and Dean of Quillen College of Medicine, and Dr. David Linville, Senior Associate Dean and Chief of Staff at Quillen College of Medicine and ETSU Associate Vice President for Clinical Affairs. After completing his internship in general surgery in 2001, Linville became a part-time faculty member, teaching basic sciences and learning about curriculum management. “Quillen is an extraordinary place that highly values serving the people of our region in a robust, educational environment for our students and residents,” Linville said. “I think that many alums are eager to give back to our college, providing the next generation of physicians the same personal mentorship from which we greatly benefited as students.” When selecting a medical school, it was Quillen’s culture of learning about each student and becoming invested in each student’s success that made his decision. “As students, we weren’t just numbers on a class roster. Having that close-knit community was key in maintaining a healthy balance in medical school,” he said. “The culture is much of the reason why I’m still here today.” With Quillen’s unique culture and rare combination of excellence and care, perhaps it is no surprise that alums keep returning. A 2010 medical school alum, Dr. Nadia Sabri is one of the most recent to join faculty. “As I progressed along my career, I looked for opportunities that combined my love of life-long learning, quality care, pediatrics, lifestyle medicine, and wellness,” she said. “Well, interest, timing, and opportunity aligned, and here we are! I am honored to be a part of Quillen’s inspiring and dynamic community that strives to combine innovative approaches to education, research, and wellbeing to support the current and future generations of physicians.”
Dr. Nadia Sabri Dr. David Linville
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Enriching the Environment Quillen affirms need for holistic student care Respect for people is at the core of every aspect of Quillen’s mission, from educating future physicians and serving the underserved to promoting diversity that enriches the cultural environment and improves patient care. In support of that mission, recent changes have reaffirmed Quillen’s commitment to providing comprehensive, holistic care for students. The strategic work of Dr. Bill Block, ETSU Vice President for Clinical Affairs and Dean of Quillen College of Medicine, bears that out. In November, he named Rachel Walden as Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. Then in January, he named Dr. Jean Daniels to the position of Director of the Academic Support and Counseling Services. “We are actively working to bring holistic student care to the forefront of our efforts by committing significant attention and investment,” Block said. “Rachel Walden and Dr. Jean Daniels’ new roles are an important part of building leadership who will drive our renewed endeavor to support our community and affirm our respect for diversity of people and thought.” Walden, who also serves as Associate Dean of Learning Resources, said that her role is to ensure sustained attention to diversity, equity, and inclusion by connecting faculty, students, and staff, facilitating collaboration, redeveloping
10 | QUILLEN QUILLENCOLLEGE COLLEGEOF OFMEDICINE MEDICINE
pathway programs, and being a resource with an open door. Issues surrounding social change have long been a passion for Walden, who has served for several years on Quillen’s diversity council, including as co-chair, and worked on non-profit advocacy groups. Her passion runs deep, linking back to seeing her mother’s family struggle for acceptance as Koreans in northeast Tennessee. She works for a better, more equitable world in honor of her mother, who valued equality, kindness, and aid to anyone in need. As one of her initiatives, Walden has opened Zoom office hours during which faculty, staff, students, and residents alike may drop in to discuss any topics related to diversity, equity, and inclusion. That ranges from advice for recruitment and hiring, training needs, brainstorming, requests for resources, check-ins, and the opportunity just to chat. “I have genuinely loved all the conversations I’ve had with students and faculty so far in this role because it’s through conversations – even difficult ones – where we can come together and work toward shared goals,” Walden said. “It’s also important in this role to pay attention to issues like institutional policy, curriculum, search committee procedures, and other aspects of running a college that don’t look exciting on the surface but are important for ensuring sustained learning and equity.”
Meanwhile, as Director of Academic Support and Counseling Services, Daniels provides professional expertise and leadership in integrating academic support, wellness, career guidance, outreach, counseling, and psychiatric services into a cohesive unit.
Efforts do not end with these new roles. Students and Quillen administrators have worked together during the development of new educational programs at Quillen, forming learning communities that help to evolve the way in which medical students prepare for their careers as physicians.
Daniels’ new role complements her work as an Assistant Professor in the Department of Learning Resources, where she provides direct academic support to students. In addition to being a Licensed Professional Counselor-Mental Health Service Provider and Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, Daniels has provided clinical services for more than 30 years.
Quillen students divide into four learning communities, the names for which are inspired by local hiking trails and destinations: Cloudland, Hartsell Hollow, Iron Mountain, and Laurel Falls (crests for each of the four learning communities are pictured at left). The purpose of Quillen’s learning communities is to increase the opportunities for learning, leadership, and service that exist outside of the traditional classroom. There are three main goals: wellness, career development, and inclusivity. “As the Learning Communities Institute highlights, the communities create common values and purpose, promote wellness, and add to a sense of personal membership – as well as help identify individual student needs and provide personal influences to help them travel their individual medical school path,” said Dr. Deidre Pierce, Associate Dean for Student Affairs, who has directed their development for Quillen. “It brings a continuity of wellness, academic support, and mentoring, which enhances personal and professional growth of learners. It promotes a positive health care learning environment to reinforce professionalism, humanism, and the well-being of Quillen students.
Quillen College of Medicine Learning Community Crests
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Dr. Lisa Piercey (’02)
Dr. Lisa Piercey, a pediatrician from the Class of 2002 and one of three Quillen College of Medicine Outstanding Alumni for 2022, served the past three and a half years as the 14th Commissioner of the Tennessee Department of Health (TDH). She became the youngest female ever appointed to that role at the age of 41 in 2019 upon the inauguration of Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee after a decade in health systems operations, and departed state government effective May 31 to enter the health care investment sector.
about a month before graduating, and then had triplets during her chief residency year.
After taking community college classes at night while in high school, Piercey finished college and started medical school at Quillen at the age of 20. She married her husband after her second year and gave birth to their daughter
Piercey says she never intended to do anything outside clinical medicine – and she still sees patients one afternoon each week – but the transition to the administrative and policy side of medicine has been natural.
“Balancing family demands with medical school and residency was definitely a challenge, as was having no extended family in the area to help with the kids,” she recalls. “But those challenges also led to some of the greatest joys – friends, ‘adopted’ family members, and our church stepped into the gap and supported us throughout my medical training and my husband’s undergraduate and graduate degrees at ETSU.”
“As the product of a family full of entrepreneurs and small business owners, I’ve always been fascinated with the intersection of health care and business, which is what led me to pursue my MBA a couple of years after finishing residency. And when you’re in a business with significant regulations and dependence upon governmental reimbursement, you quickly realize how impactful policy decisions are in health 12 | QUILLEN COLLEGE OF MEDICINE
care. So, I’ve really found my niche in the ‘sweet spot’ of the trifecta of clinical medicine, operational efficiency, and public policy.” As Commissioner of the TDH, Piercey led the state’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic, and now she is combining her public policy experience with her background in clinical medicine and health system operations to help accelerate the growth and innovation of health care companies. “Never in my wildest dreams would I have imagined that my tenure in office would involve a once-in-a-century pandemic, but that is also the same reason I am deeply grateful for this unique opportunity. As hokey as it sounds, I have always thought of the 7 million Tennesseans as ‘my patients,’ so it has been an especially high honor to be in the position to offer care and advice to them throughout the recent crisis.” Piercey finds balance through triathlon, music, traveling, and other activities with her family. “They have been exceedingly understanding and resilient, and their support has allowed me to capitalize on several career opportunities while still fulfilling my role as a wife and mother of four teenagers.”
Dr. Ryan Stanton (’03)
At the racetrack: Quillen alumnus Dr. Ryan Stanton with Dr. Angela Fiege, past Medical Director and current physician with the AMR NASCAR Safety Team.
“The most important thing for students to understand is that the established pathway’s not always the pathway you’re going to take. It is establishing your own path, finding what you love to do – your passions – and then following them, and just because it doesn’t currently exist doesn’t mean it won’t exist later,” says Dr. Ryan Stanton, Class of 2003. Stanton has established his own pathways, and is now one of three Quillen College of Medicine Outstanding Alumni for 2022. The emergency medicine physician first fell in love with stock car racing while sitting in the nosebleed section of Bristol Motor Speedway with his Boy Scout Troop. During his residency at the University of Kentucky, Stanton got a paying gig working the infield care center at Kentucky Speedway. He later got the opportunity to join the traveling safety team, and says it’s a “huge blast” to wear a fire suit and stand 50 feet from a track, watching the cars go around. “When I started working with NASCAR, there was no such thing as a traveling NASCAR safety team. Now, not only do I get to be Medical Director for the
NASCAR Safety Team, I’m also the Medical Director for SRX and Road to Indy. It’s building relationships, putting your nose down, and building paths as you go.” Another path Stanton is creating is in media. He started as a 14-year-old, narrating the weekly radio broadcast of Johnson City’s Munsey Memorial United Methodist Church. He later learned about production, board operation and announcing at ETSU’s public radio station WETS-FM 89.5 and WJHL-TV. He built on that foundation to expand his influence as a physician. Today he is Chief Medical Contributor for Lexington’s WDKY Fox-56; hosts a syndicated weekly health segment, “Doc Is In,” which airs in six markets throughout the Southeast; and hosts two emergency medicine podcasts, “ACEP Frontline” and “Everyday Medicine for Physicians.”
because everybody’s healthy and safe.” In addition to these side endeavors, Stanton is on the staff of Central Emergency Physicians in Lexington, Kentucky, and is Medical Director of Lexington Fire/EMS, overseeing the operations of over 48,000 EMS runs annually. He also serves on the Board of Directors and as National Spokesperson for the American College of Emergency Physicians. He and his wife, Donna, a 2004 Quillen graduate, have two daughters, Ava and Amelia.
“I feel like we can educate more than just room-to-room if we, as physicians, can educate and hopefully keep people safe and prevent illness and injury,” he said. “My goal is to be decent enough in media that I work myself out of a job EAST TENNESSEE STATE UNIVERSITY | 13
Dr. Nia Zalamea (’04)
Dr. Nia Zalamea (right) and Dr. Denise Wong (left), then a third-year resident, in surgery at the Memphis Mission of Mercy in 2018. (Photo credit: Matt Ducklo)
Dr. Nia Zalamea credits the character development, mentorship, and support she received at Quillen College of Medicine, along with the passion for serving the poor through surgery that was planted by work with her parents, for leading her to where she is today. Zalamea, a member of the Class of 2004 and one of three QCOM Outstanding Alumni for 2022, is a general surgeon and Chair and Vice President of the Memphis Mission of Mercy. The mission was founded by her father, Renato Zalamea, a retired nurse anesthetist, and her late mother, Norma Zalamea, who was a registered nurse. They emigrated separately to the U.S. from the Philippines and met for the first time in Memphis, where they married and started their family. Renato’s 1998
During her first mission trip to the Philippines in May 2000, before she started medical school, Nia Zalamea’s job was to hold a lamp for the surgeon, and her life was changed. (Photo courtesy of Dr. Nia Zalamea) 14 | QUILLEN COLLEGE OF MEDICINE
Dr. Nia Zalamea and her father, Renato Zalamea, in the Memphis Mission of Mercy operating room in 2018. (Photo courtesy of Dr. Nia Zalamea)
medical mission to Guyana inspired them to found the Memphis Mission of Mercy, which has provided more than $17.7 million worth of free medical and surgical care in the Philippines over the past two decades. Zalamea entered medical school to build on the foundation of medical service her parents began. “I am a product of my parents, their work, and their upbringing,” she said. “I simply followed a path they developed and allowed me to join. As colleagues in mission, we have had the opportunity to serve our sisters and brothers in need together. “As my dad always said, if we help one person, our mission is accomplished,” she continued. “There is no dollar spent
in vain when spent on someone in need who does not have a dollar. We did not embark on this with the goal of helping a certain number of folks, or with a certain dollar impact. We were doing it because of our ‘why’ – that every person counts. What we found, though, is that our financial impact was great and we did have a great impact in numbers, even though that wasn’t what we defined as success. This humility of the work is what I love most.” Zalamea is also Assistant Dean of Student Affairs and an Assistant Professor of Surgery with the University of Tennessee Health Science Center in Memphis and Director of the UT Global Surgery Institute. In that role, she strives to pay forward the blessing her parents gave her by involving her in their service medicine work. “My primary purpose is to open doors for learners to have similar experiences. I also see my role as showing them the multitude of ways to incorporate care for the underserved into their ‘jobs,’ whether it be here in the U.S. or abroad. Lastly, my teaching role also brings the responsibility of passing on and keeping center the ethics, the quality concerns, and the person-centered care within the realm of surgery as service.”
A Perfect Match 100% of Class of 2022 secures residency training positions The Quillen College of Medicine Class of 2022 enjoyed a successful match rate, with 100 percent of the class securing residency training positions in 17 different specialties/sub-specialties in 21 states. Twenty-five students will continue their training at institutions in Tennessee, and an additional 21 students will train at institutions in the Southeast. Eight members of the Class of 2022 will remain at Quillen College of Medicine for their residencies. More than half of the Class of 2022 will enter primary care (family medicine, pediatrics, internal medicine and obstetrics/gynecology) and six students will enter emergency medicine. A number of students matched to highly competitive specialty programs, including anesthesiology (four), orthopedic surgery (three), ophthalmology (one), neurology (one), diagnostic radiology (one) and urology (one). Two students will complete their residency training through military service. This was the first year since 2019 that Quillen students received their matches in the traditional Match Day celebration, where they open envelopes revealing their matches together, surrounded by faculty, friends, and family.
EAST TENNESSEE STATE UNIVERSITY x 15
SCAN TO SEE THE HIGHLIGHTS
Congratulations, Class of 2022 Sixty-six students completed their medical education and received their M.D. degrees Quillen College of Medicine’s Commencement ceremony held on Friday, May 6. The Class of 2022 is Quillen’s 41st graduating class, and 2022 marks the 40th anniversary of Quillen’s first graduating class, the Class of 1982. “I am extremely proud of the Class of 2022,” said Dr. Bill Block, Vice President for Clinical Affairs and Dean of Quillen College of Medicine. “I have watched them persevere through a pandemic with determination and resilience. They will take these lessons, as well as what they learned in our classrooms, clinics, and labs, with them as they leave us for
16 | QUILLEN COLLEGE OF MEDICINE
their residencies. They will make us proud.” The class selected Dr. Blair Reece and Dr. Bryan Helsel to present their doctoral hoods. In addition, 22 students were hooded by a physician relative. Dr. Jason Moore was given the highest honor by students to administer the Hippocratic Oath during the ceremony. Dr. Reid B. Blackwelder, Associate Dean of Graduate Medical Education and Continuing Education for Health professionals, was the speaker. ETSU President Dr. Brian Noland presented the diplomas, and Dr. Kimberly D. McCorkle, Provost and Senior Vice President for Academics, provided closing remarks.
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Student Awards Several members of the Class of 2022 received graduation honor awards for their work and activities conducted during their time at Quillen. Those earning recognition are:
Dr. Morgan Howard Whitmire
The Ronald S. McCord Rural Family Medicine Award was awarded to
Dr. Lindsey Merkle Moore. She
received the Dean’s Distinguished Student Award and a GlasgowRubin Achievement Award.
also received the Tennessee Academy of Family Physicians Award.
Other Glasgow-Rubin Achievement Awards were presented to
Dr. Rex Siu
Dr. Kaitlyn Janae McCollum Wise and Dr. Angela Ruth Hacksel-Newmark.
earned the Henry Clay Reister Award.
Dr. Abbigayle Laszacs
received the Ann Tranum Hawkins Award for Excellence in Women’s Health and the OB/GYN Award (Dillard M. Sholes Society Award). She also was inducted into the 1911 Society.
The Outstanding Performance Junior Surgical Clerkship Award was presented to Dr.
Dr. Kristen Alora Ricker received the Internal Medicine Award.
Dr. Logan Deyo received the Dr. Jay and Mina Mehta Family Award in Preventive Medicine. The Cheryl L. McLemore, M.D. Memorial Pediatrics Award was presented to Dr.
Lapinski. Dr. Sarah Allen Ray received the Kevin Swabe Memorial Award.
Dr. Andersen Lea Estes
received the Leonard Tow Humanism in Medicine Award and the Department of Pediatrics Award.
the James Christopher Corbin Memorial Award in Psychiatry.
The Osler Award was presented to
Dr. Nelly Grigorian. The Excellence in Emergency Medicine Award was presented to
Dr. Jordan Bryce Newby and Dr. Raymond Cody Winstead
Dr. Caitlin Nicholson.
received the Merck Manual Award for Academic Excellence.
Dr. Jeanette Cagle Brendle
Dr. Bethany Paige Faust
was the recipient of the H. Cowan Moss Family Medicine Award.
was presented with the Dr. Humera B. Chaudhary Memorial Award.
Dr. Taylor Marie Harris
Dr. Haley Noel Porter and Dr. Taylor Marie Harris
received the Philip John Hinton, M.D. Career in Surgery Award.
Dr. Benjamin Welch received
received the Learning Communities Founders Award.
ETSU Summit Awards In addition, several outstanding Quillen programs and distinguished student leaders won ETSU Summit Awards. Each spring, ETSU Student Activities and Organizations and the Division of Student Life and Enrollment host The Summit, celebrating the superior accomplishments of students outside of the classroom. The Quillen honorees included: Outstanding Academic Organization President: Haddon Hill/Quillen College of Medicine Defenders of Potential 2021 Overall Program of the Year: Anatomy on Wheels/Quillen High School Outreach Program Peacebuilder Award: Haddon Hill/Quillen College of Medicine Defenders of Potential 18 | QUILLEN COLLEGE OF MEDICINE
Expanding Pediatric Services Growth at Quillen College of Medicine brings increased accessibility to pediatric specialty services in region Strategic additions within specialized fields to Quillen College of Medicine’s faculty have brought significant growth and increased accessibility to pediatric specialty services in the region. These additions bring enhanced services to ETSU Health’s clinics and to area hospitals, including for such pediatric specialties as neonatology, endocrinology, gastroenterology, neurology, surgery and ophthalmology. That’s alongside incoming specialists such as a rheumatologist, a geneticist, a pulmonologist, additional neonatologists, and another gastroenterologist. “Our commitment to serving the underserved never waivers,” said Dr. Sheri Holmes, Associate Dean for Clinical Affairs. “We recognize that it can be financially and emotionally debilitating to have to travel hours away for your child’s care. We are working every day to see that the children of this region benefit from quality health care that is accessible right here in the Appalachian Highlands.” As communities experience increasing cases of children afflicted with diabetes, the addition of three pediatric endocrinologists to the region marks a significant accomplishment for ETSU Health. Drs. Evelyn Artz, George Ford and Evan Los practice at ETSU Health’s Pediatric Subspecialties clinic alongside other such recent additions as gastroenterologists, Drs. Ligia Alfaro Cruz, Anjali Malkani and
Gopinathan Gangadharan Nambiar, as well as neurologist, Dr. Willie Anderson. Ophthalmologist Brent Aebi, M.D., joined ETSU Health Surgery in early 2022, accepting patients of all ages and expanding the clinic’s pediatric services for conditions such as impaired vision (amblyopia) and crossed eyes (strabismus). Jeremy Powers, M.D., joined ETSU Health in 2021 as a reconstructive and cosmetic surgeon, representing a significant advancement in the accessibility of pediatric plastic surgery in the region. A fellowship-trained microsurgeon, Powers partners alongside obstetricians to prepare families for the needs of children who will be born with conditions such as a cleft palate. Aebi and Powers are part of a growing team. In summer 2020, Michael Allshouse, D.O., and Brad Feltis, M.D., Ph.D., joined the faculty at Quillen and the team at Niswonger Children’s Hospital, bringing with them impressive credentials in pediatric trauma care, pediatric general surgery and fetal surgery. Allshouse and Feltis were recruited through a joint effort between ETSU and Ballad Health in the ongoing effort to attract highly qualified specialists to support and enhance programs, as well as to provide previously unavailable pediatric surgical services to the Appalachian Highlands. They joined Dr. Lesli Taylor in the Division of Pediatric Surgery at ETSU.
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Quillen Students Inspire Legacy Gift Each July since 2008, Dr. Tom Sadler has visited Quillen College of Medicine to teach first-year medical students embryology. The students are very fortunate because Sadler literally “wrote the book” on embryology. He is the author of Langman’s Medical Embryology, a clinically oriented medical text about human development and birth defects that is used in many medical schools in the United States and is translated into 14 languages. Sadler received his bachelor’s degree from Wake Forest University in 1971 and his Ph.D. in anatomy and embryology from the University of Virginia in 1976. He has taught and directed courses in embryology and anatomy for over 40 years, primarily at the University of North Carolina where he was Professor of Cell Biology and Anatomy for 21 years. In 2002, he was awarded the Godfrey P. Oakley Jr. award by the National Birth Defects Prevention Network.
The admiration is mutual. Kwasigroch said of Sadler’s teaching, “Tom’s course is always highly rated by our students. He’s also developed a terrific working relationship with the faculty and staff in the anatomy lab and has become a member of the Quillen family.” This fall Sadler made the decision to establish a legacy gift from a retirement account and from his book royalties for Langman’s Medical Embryology to Quillen. He chose to support the Quillen Veterans Scholarship Endowment and the Center for Surgical Innovation and Training.
You may wonder what brought Sadler to Quillen as a Visiting Professor. The answer goes back to his graduate school days at UVA, where he met and became best friends with Quillen’s own, Dr. Tom Kwasigroch, Professor in the Departments of Medical Education and Biomedical Sciences and Director of the Medical Human Gross Anatomy Teaching Program. Their friendship has endured through the years. “I was thrilled when Tom agreed to come to Johnson City to teach our students because I knew his strengths as both a teacher and a researcher,” said Kwasigroch. While Sadler’s friendship with Kwasigroch brought him to Quillen, what keeps him coming back every year are the Quillen students. “Quillen medical students are the best students I have had the privilege to teach. I have been teaching medical students embryology for over 40 years and I have never had a group better than at Quillen. They are eager to learn, they work hard, and they are respectful of the faculty,” Sadler said. 20 | QUILLEN COLLEGE OF MEDICINE
Dr. Tom Sadler pictured with his students.
“I decided to include Quillen in my estate planning because of the students. I appreciate that many go into general practice and that many are veterans. I think the school has established a rapport with its students and the community that should be a model for all medical schools. It is the kind of educational experience that I always wanted to be a part of and thanks to Dr. Kwas I have had that opportunity,” he said. “Everyone has made me feel most welcome.” If you are inspired to make a legacy gift, contact Wade Horsley at email@example.com.
First Bank & Trust Company Scholarship It began with a tour of the ETSU Quillen College of Medicine to learn more about how it supports the region’s health care needs. Mark Nelson, President and CEO of First Bank & Trust, was impressed that many of the medical students and residents often decide to stay and work in the region, seeing it a great place to live, work, and raise a family. Embracing every aspect of serving as a community bank, First Bank & Trust Company makes it a priority to give back to the regions where it operates. Nelson felt that Quillen College of Medicine and its students were a good
fit for support, so the bank began with an annual scholarship. Nelson still recalls the day that he read the thank you note from the first scholarship recipient, Riley Parr, to the bank’s board of directors. “In the card, Riley shared his passion for serving rural areas, his heartfelt gratitude for a scholarship that would help lessen his debt load, and his desire to stay and work in our region,” Nelson said. “When I finished, the response was ‘THIS is why we give back!’” Then the pandemic hit, showing the community just how vitally important
health care workers were. Their daily sacrifices and the toll it took on them personally was evident, and many throughout the community were searching for meaningful ways to say, “Thank you.” That’s when First Bank & Trust Company decided to upgrade its annual scholarship to an endowment, which would provide a scholarship award for perpetuity. Now, for years to come the First Bank and Trust Company Scholarship will support health care providers in training at Quillen College of Medicine. And, that’s how they say, “Thank you!”
Pictured left to right are: Hugh Ferguson, First Bank & Trust Company Senior Vice President and East Tennessee regional manager; Mark Nelson, First Bank & Trust Company President and CEO; Dr. Bill Block, Vice President for Clinical Affairs and Dean of the Quillen College of Medicine; and Riley Parr, Quillen College of Medicine third-year student. EAST TENNESSEE STATE UNIVERSITY | 21
Institute for Integrated Behavioral Health Meeting the growing need for mental health care in Northeast Tennessee The spotlight shines brightly on mental health needs these days, especially given the rise in anxiety and depression worldwide as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. And meeting the growing need for mental health care in Northeast Tennessee is the aim of the Institute for Integrated Behavioral Health at ETSU Health. Founded two years ago by Dr. Jodi Polaha, the Institute provides behavioral health services to the community through collaboration with primary care providers within ETSU Health’s primary care clinics. In the summer of 2021, Polaha, a clinical psychologist and Professor in Quillen College of Medicine’s Department of Family Medicine Research Division, and Dr. Matthew Tolliver, Assistant Professor and Director of Behavioral Health in the Department of Pediatrics, received a $1.85 million grant to develop, implement, and evaluate a program for training and retaining a behavioral health workforce in Northeast Tennessee. This funding was awarded by the Health Resources and Services Administration for their project, “Integrated Care Appalachia: A Model Training Program to Accelerate the Behavioral Health Workforce in Northeast Tennessee.” “We have a profound workforce need in this region across the gamut of mental health providers,” Tolliver said. “This grant creates a pipeline that takes people at the end of their graduate training programs; provides a final year of training in primary care with exposure to telehealth, children and youth, and other specialized topics; and then lands them a permanent position, hopefully here in our region.” “We want to inspire our behavioral health trainees to stay local and work in primary care,” Polaha added. 22 |x QUILLEN QUILLENCOLLEGE COLLEGEOF OFMEDICINE MEDICINE 22
“Integrated Care Appalachia” works with students in three graduate training programs at ETSU: the Clinical Psychology Ph.D. program, Master of Social Work program and MSN Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner concentration. Students are integrated into eight ETSU Health primary care clinics, and eventually, five expansion sites in the most highneed, high-demand areas. The trainees work and learn in an evidence-based model of integrated care, which is a collaboration between health professionals to provide complete treatment to patients and improve overall well-being. Integrated care blends behavioral health services with general and specialty medical services to provide whole-person care. Integrated care is a key component of high-quality primary care, an emerging bestpractice model supported by many national professional organizations and the National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine. These students gain valuable experiences working with vulnerable populations, particularly children, adolescents, and transitional-aged youth at risk for behavioral health disorders. Through placements at health centers and other community-based settings, trainees gain experience working in underserved communities where behavioral health services are most urgently needed. “In many ways, growing a mental health workforce is one way to create a healthier environment so that people can experience balance, fulfillment and good health in their lives, including in their work,” Polaha said. “The health and wellbeing of our workforce has to do with people staying in their jobs, and more behavioral health services will contribute to a healthier community and workforce.”
Meet ETSU’s New Provost
Following an extensive national search, Dr. Kimberly D. McCorkle was appointed Provost and Senior Vice President for Academics at East Tennessee State University, succeeding Dr. Wilsie S. Bishop, who retired in June 2021. McCorkle arrived at ETSU after spending 19 years at the University of West Florida where she most recently served as Vice Provost and Professor. She was named Interim Vice Provost in 2017 and assumed the role on a permanent basis the following year. As Vice Provost at UWF, McCorkle held responsibility for academic program development and oversight, strategic planning efforts, faculty development, accreditation and institutional effectiveness, undergraduate research, student grievance processes, and compliance and policy review. In addition, she served as the university’s SACSCOC liaison and managed all institutional accreditation efforts. McCorkle spent seven years with
the UWF College of Education and Professional Studies, including three years as associate dean and another three as an assistant dean. For 15 years, she held a faculty appointment in criminal justice and legal studies, and, prior to moving to the Office of the Provost, she served as Chair and Professor in the Department of Legal Studies, Public Administration, and Sport Management. While she served in college and departmental leadership roles, she continued to teach and act as faculty sponsor for the UWF Mock Trial Team, which she led for over 15 years. Upon her arrival at ETSU, McCorkle conducted a listening tour where she visited every college on campus. “I was struck by how passionate our faculty are about teaching and sharing knowledge with their students,” McCorkle said. “Their stories were truly inspiring.” To amplify those stories, McCorkle has launched a new podcast, “Why I Teach: Conversations with ETSU
Faculty,” that features some of these teachers. In addition to spotlighting the ETSU faculty, the podcast is also a platform for sharing teaching strategies from veteran professors in order to enrich the quality of instructorship in the region and the nation. Her first guest was Quillen’s own Dr. Tom Kwasigroch, who is one of the inaugural faculty at the College of Medicine. Dr. Kwas discussed the ways in which medical education has changed, particularly in the area of gross anatomy, and the important role of the Human Anatomical Gifts program. He also shared information on upcoming revisions to the medical school curriculum. McCorkle’s second guest is a graduate of ETSU’s biomedical sciences program. Dr. Sean Fox is a member of the Class of 2013 and currently teaches in the College of Public Health. To follow McCorkle’s podcast, visit etsu.edu/provost. EAST TENNESSEE STATE UNIVERSITY x 23
Color My World Healthy Students teach, encourage youth through outreach program Quillen College of Medicine students take part in numerous community outreach endeavors – from Remote Area Medical Events to Habitat for Humanity – in keeping with the college’s mission to reach the underserved. One opportunity unique to Quillen allows students to have an impact close to home, in the Carver Community of downtown Johnson City. “Color My World Healthy” benefits both young and old in this predominantly Black community. Through this program, Quillen students design and teach classes to students in after-school activities at the city’s Carver Recreation Center and Langston Centre in downtown. They teach such topics as nutrition, fitness, anatomy, and more. “Meet the Doctor” helps the children understand the need for medical doctors and that there is no need to be afraid to go to the doctor. A “Keep Kids Off Drugs” class is sometimes taught in tandem with Bill Gatton College of Pharmacy students. The program is dear to the heart of Elaine Evans, who recently retired as the community consumer health specialist
at Quillen College of Medicine Library. “We have a captive audience,” says Evans, who applied for the initial $25,000 grant to fund the program from the National Library of Medicine, part of the National Institutes of Health. “After they finish their homework, they come to class. ‘Meet the Doctor’ is their favorite. They love it. The medical students bring their instruments and show them, ‘This is how we listen to your heart.’” As an offshoot of the youth program, “Color My World Healthy” has expanded its reach to the adults in the community, both at Carver Rec and neighboring churches, with health fairs and classes on health topics specific to minority groups and the elderly. It is hoped that “Color My World Healthy” will have another benefit besides educating youth on health topics – that of recruiting more minority students to the health professions. Professor Rick Wallace of the QCOM Library points to a disheartening statistic from the “Black Men in White Coats” documentary that was screened at Carver in 2021, which
Medical student Michaela Williamson of Hendersonville, Tennessee, enjoys teaching and interacting with youth at Johnson City’s Carver Recreation Center through “Color My World Healthy.” 24 x QUILLEN COLLEGE OF MEDICINE
is that 4% of physicians are African Americans. And Evans notes that only two African American men from the Tri-Cities have graduated from Quillen. “What I get, from having my ear to the ground,” Evans says, “is that they graduate from high school thinking, ‘There’s no way I can go to college and become anything. I’m poor; my parents don’t have any money.’ So we want to start at the elementary and then high school level, and make minority kids aware that ‘Yes, there is a path for you. You just have to learn what it is and how to follow it.’” Through “Color My World Healthy,” med students like Michaela Williamson spend one-on-one time with students, including in the “How to Become a Doctor” class, sharing
their own stories and describing the pathway to becoming physicians, nurses, and other health professionals. “We’re all really excited about tutoring and teaching about different medical disciplines,” said Williamson, a second-year medical student from Hendersonville, Tennessee, who is president of the Student National Medical Association chapter at Quillen. “The reason that a lot of us, myself included, came to Quillen is because we want to work in underserved areas, and we want to recruit as much diversity to medicine as possible. Carver Rec is a community hub, and to get plugged in there will be an opportunity not just for us to work with those kids, but also network and see where else we’re needed. A lot of people in our organization have a real passion for community service work.”
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Caring for the Community
SCAN TO LEARN MORE ABOUT THE RAM CLINIC
Quillen faculty, students volunteer at annual RAM clinic
An interprofessional team of students, faculty and staff from East Tennessee State University’s five health sciences colleges volunteered at the Remote Area Medical (RAM) clinic in Gray Nov. 5-7. This was the fifth year that ETSU sent a team to Gray to help deliver free medical, dental and vision services to people of the region. The ETSU Health volunteers represented Quillen College of Medicine, Bill Gatton College of Pharmacy, College of Public Health, College of Nursing, and College of Clinical and Rehabilitative Health Sciences. Throughout the weekend, the students assisted with vision, dental, and medical screenings and services, including audiology screenings. They 26 | QUILLEN COLLEGE OF MEDICINE
also provided health awareness and education initiatives, such as naloxone training and smoking cessation. “The community engagement is twofold,” said Dr. Caroline Abercrombie, director of Experiential Learning at Quillen College of Medicine and director of Community Engagement for Interprofessional Education Programs. “We want to make sure that we’re meeting the needs of our community, but also meeting the needs of our students and the learning objectives. “The students are getting to meet the real patients, see the struggles they have and connect them with resources in the community. At the same time, they’re getting to be part of the interprofessional team here that delivers dental, medical, and vision care and helps those patients fill those needs they have.”
In addition to its regular services, due to the pandemic, this year’s RAM Clinic also required all patients to be screened for COVID-19. ETSU Health students assisted with the screenings, as well as administering COVID-19 vaccines to patients. “I’m thankful that we’re able to be a part of this event,” said Dr. Emily Flores, associate professor of Pharmacy Practice at Bill Gatton College of Pharmacy. “I love that we’ve been able to do it for five years. The event has adapted over time. It’s different doing it in a pandemic, but we know that the care and the service are still needed. Just because the pandemic pauses some things, your health doesn’t stop, so I’m glad that we’re able to continue these services for the gaps in our area.”
Healthcare Simulation ETSU celebrates innovative learning opportunities East Tennessee State University celebrated Health Care Simulation Week with special recognition and events for the health care simulation professionals who work with the Center for Experiential Learning (CEL) at the Mountain Home VA campus at ETSU. “Experiential learning focuses on creating innovative learning opportunities that result in a meaningful impact utilizing the most sophisticated technology available to provide a safe, yet realistic environment to develop clinical skills through health care simulation,” said Dr. Caroline Abercrombie, Senior Director of Experiential Learning. ETSU has three areas within its CEL, including the Simulation Laboratory, the Simulation Standardized Patient Program, and the Center for Surgical Innovation and Training in the Anatomy Laboratory at Quillen College of Medicine. “The learning laboratories focus on task training, mannequinbased simulation, and embedding learners from all five ETSU Health colleges in simulated clinical environments,” Abercrombie said.
The Simulation Laboratory The Simulation Laboratory at ETSU consists of six simulation rooms at ETSU’s Bishop Hall (Interprofessional Education and Research Center) that mimic the real-life patient care setting. “Our labs use mannequin-based simulation, which uses highfidelity simulators,” said Andy Berry, Simulation Lab Manager. “These simulators are mannequins that physiologically respond to treatment like what would occur in real-life patients.” The six simulation rooms are flexible spaces that can be manipulated to incorporate a multitude of scenarios and real-life teaching environments that range from outpatient examination rooms to inpatient rooms in areas such as the emergency department, intensive care unit, labor and delivery suite, and an operating theater.
Simulation Standardized Patient (SP) program The Simulation Standardized Patient (SP) program is also utilized by students from across the ETSU Health colleges to give them a safe place to practice their communication and physical exam skills. A standardized patient is a person trained to portray a realistic patient, their family member, or others to create a scenario accurately and consistently. They are trained to give feedback to the students in the patient’s voice. “Our SPs ‘become’ the patient with all its many facets,” said Perry Butler, Simulation SP Manager. “They might have the characteristics of a stroke or a burn victim, complete with props and special effects makeup. Being an SP takes a special mix of skills: teaching, acting and a love of working with students.”
The Center for Surgical Innovation and Training The ETSU Center for Surgical Innovation and Training (CSIT) is currently under construction at the Anatomy Laboratory at ETSU’s Quillen College of Medicine.
Dr. Caroline Abercrombie
“Several years ago, the anatomy faculty and staff incorporated a non-traditional embalming approach (Thiel embalming) that provides a much more realistic preservation utilized for teaching a variety of procedural and physical exam skills in the curriculum,” said Robert Becker, Manager of the Gross Anatomy Lab. “As this idea continues to evolve, we are now beginning construction on the CSIT lab to provide students with the opportunity of practicing procedures on these ‘surgical donors’ to aid in their knowledge before beginning residency.” EAST TENNESSEE STATE UNIVERSITY | 27
In Memoriam Brian Skipton Clark Brian Skipton Clark, Technology Coordinator for Quillen College of Medicine’s Department of Continuing Medical Education (now called Continuing Education for Health Professionals), passed away unexpectedly at his home on August 10, 2021. He was 43 years old. Mr. Clark loved his job and had a great respect for faculty and staff in his office and at Quillen College of Medicine, as well as the practicing physicians and other health care professionals across the region.
Dr. Peter Graham Frizzell
(M.D. ’91; Res. ’95) Dr. Peter Graham Frizzell, 66, of Johnson City, Tennessee, passed away on March 16, 2022. Dr. Frizzell received his M.D. from Quillen College of Medicine in 1991 and served his psychiatry residency at East Tennessee State University from 1991-1995. At the time of his passing, Dr. Frizzell served in the Psychiatry Department at the James H. Quillen VA Medical Center. He was also honored to have previously served as the President of the Tennessee Psychiatric Association for two terms along with being the Deputy Representative to the American Psychiatric Association.
Dr. Michael Fowler
(M.D. ’98; Res. ’00) Dr. Michael Fowler, Associate Professor of Medicine in the Division of Diabetes, Endocrinology and Metabolism at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, a celebrated Master Clinical Teacher, and co-medical director of the Shade Tree Clinic, died Feb. 20, 2022 of cancer. He was 49. Dr. Fowler earned his bachelor of arts degree in Spanish from East Tennessee State University and his M.D. from ETSU’s Quillen College of Medicine, where he also completed his internship and residency training in internal medicine. He served as chief resident in medicine at James H. Quillen VA Medical Center before coming to Vanderbilt in 2000. He completed his fellowship in endocrinology at Vanderbilt and then joined the faculty.
Whitney Broyles Hill Whitney Broyles Hill, 32, of the Cassi community, passed away September 24, 2021, at Johnson City Medical Center. She worked at ETSU Health Family Medicine and was a wonderful mother who loved her family and her church family at Union Chapel Freewill Baptist.
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Dr. Thomas Weston Hodge III (Ph.D. ’82) Dr. Thomas Weston Hodge III passed away at the age of 69 on July 31, 2021 at St. Simons Island, Georgia. He completed his Ph.D. at Quillen College of Medicine in 1982, where he received two Outstanding Alumni awards. Dr. Hodge was the former Director of Immunogenetics at the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. He authored or co-authored over 100 peer reviewed publications, book chapters, patents, IND, Orphan Drug applications, and spent six years in an NIH study group. At the height of the AIDS epidemic, Dr. Hodge served as a Section Chief of Molecular Immunology at the National Center for Infectious Diseases at the CDC. Before his death, he was an integral part of a team bringing new medical technology to South Georgia that saved hundreds of COVID patients’ lives.
Dr. Melinda A. Lucas Dr. Melinda A. Lucas was born June 27, 1953, at Blount Memorial Hospital and passed away after a brief illness at Blount Memorial Hospital June 1, 2021. With the transition of pediatrics from UT Knoxville to East Tennessee Children’s Hospital, Dr. Lucas transitioned to East Tennessee State University, where she practiced pediatric critical care as the first Board Certified Specialist in their PICU, developing the sedation team, teaching pediatrics to third- and fourth-year medical students and pediatric residents. There she received the Servant’s Heart Award for Medical Staff and the Health Care Heroes Award. She also completed the Physician Leadership Academy at Mountain States Health Alliance. Dr. Lucas retired as a Professor of Pediatrics from the Quillen College of Medicine in 2019.
Dr. William Thomas Neumann (M.D. ’82) Dr. William “Bill” Thomas Neumann, 69, passed away peacefully in his home January 27, 2022. Dr. Neumann, a member of the inaugural class at Quillen, completed a residency in internal medicine at the Medical College of Georgia and remained in Augusta as an internal medicine practitioner until his retirement in 2021. He was board certified in internal medicine and a Fellow in the American College of Physicians. He served as the Chief of Medical Staff at St. Joseph’s. He also served on the Board of Directors of the hospital for many years.
Dr. John Alan Stewart (M.D. ’91)
Dr. John Alan Stewart passed away on January 6, 2022 in Port Orange, Florida. He completed his M.D. at Quillen College of Medicine in 1991. He was a surgical and anatomic pathology resident at the Medical College of Virginia from 1991-1996. After practicing for a little over a year as a pathologist, he realized he wanted to be involved in direct patient care. Dr. Stewart had a strong drive to help people prevent the illnesses and diseases that he could only diagnose as a pathologist. He then completed the Family Medicine Residency at the University of Mississippi in 2001. EAST TENNESSEE STATE UNIVERSITY | 29
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