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Your Middle TN Source for Professional Healthcare News


Wendy Long, MD, MPH


ACS ResearcHERS Program Bringing Awareness to Women in Science Women are driving forces in the fight against cancer. According to recent data from the American Cancer Society, 50 percent of research funded by the ACS is now conducted by women ... 4

Diverse by Design For more than two decades, the Tennessee Hospital Association (THA) has operated a unique internship program with a mission of matching minority healthcare students with hospital executives across the state ... 6

Women to Watch Turn to this year’s special section to read about the 10 honorees selected for the Class of 2019 who are making a difference at every point along the continuum of care ... 9-17

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May 2019 >> $5

Immunotherapy Shows Promise for TNBC Patients

FDA Approves Tecentriq® as First Immunotherapy Regimen for Breast Cancer By MELANIE KILGORE-HILL

A breakthrough therapy is offering unprecedented hope to women with metastatic triple negative breast cancer (TNBC). Last month, the FDA granted Genentech, a member of the Roche Group, accelerated approval to Tecentriq® (atezolizumab) plus chemotherapy for the treatment of adults with unresectable locally advanced or metastatic TNBC in people whose tumors express the protein PD-L1. The Tecentriq combination is the first cancer immunotherapy regimen to be approved in breast cancer, which represents a giant step forward in the treatment of a historically difficult-to-treat form of the disease.

Breast Cancer 101

Breast cancer is the most common cancer among women worldwide. According to the American Cancer Society, approximately 271,000 people in the United States will be diagnosed with breast cancer, and more than 42,000 will die (CONTINUED ON PAGE 4)

Reimagining Residency

AMA’s Next Push in Transforming Physician Training By CINDY SANDERS

well-being and enhance preparedness to practice. It’s the next phase in the AMA’s quest to transform physician In 2013, the American Medical Association training. announced an ambitious effort to accelerate change “When we really looked deeply at the changes being in medical education. Starting with 11 founding medimade in medical schools, we realized we’ve brought cal schools – including Vanderbilt University School of these now thousands of students through changes in Medicine – that were each on a mission to better prepare undergraduate medical education (UME) but hadn’t physicians to meet the future of healthcare, the initiachanged residency,” said Susan Skochelak, MD, group tive has now grown to 37 participating schools. Yet, resivice president for Medical Education with the AMA and dency training has not mirrored those transformations the driving force behind efforts to transform the way … until now. physicians learn and train to meet the demands of a rapDr. Susan Skochelak The AMA recently launched a five-year, $15 milidly evolving healthcare system. lion Reimagining Residency grant program to rethink how graduate Skochelak said the first cohort of students who benefitted from medical education (GME) could best address the workforce needs of curricular innovations are now interns. “Each subsequent year, there (CONTINUED ON PAGE 7) the current and future healthcare system, better support physician

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Specialized ER Care Designed for the Unique Needs of Women By Amber Price, DNP, CNM

the answers they need. Sometimes it is a pregnant woman who wants to know if they are in labor, or an older woman who is experiencing unusual bleeding, or a mother who has recently delivered a child and isn’t quite sure Women in the United States face a far greater risk of dying from if what she is experiencing is normal. If there is something unusual, we are childbirth complications than in many other developed countries around the here to take care of them and give women the answers they need, whether world. In fact, one recent study shows that maternal death rates in America they have a doctor here or not. have more than doubled in the last 20 years. The entrance to the women’s While these statistics are ER is conveniently located directly startling, it is more alarming that to right of the TriStar Centennial four out of five of these maternal Women’s Hospital where nearly deaths happen in the weeks and 3,600 babies are delivered each months before or after birth. year. The women’s hospital is They are not occurring in our particularly notable for its capacity hospitals during delivery, but to care for high-risk specialty in our communities, and may pregnancies. The hospital has a represent an absence of support 60-bed Level III NICU for advanced necessary for women to recognize care of the most medically fragile medical warning signs – like newborns. The hospital admits abnormal bleeding – and to seek about 10 high-risk patients each timely care. In Nashville, there day, who may be having medical is a place for women to go that problems that put them or their provides exceptional, specialized baby at risk. care designed specifically for the The TriStar Centennial unique needs of women. Women’s Hospital has three For the past decade, TriStar floors for delivery and each Centennial Women’s Hospital has floor has an operating room. been home to Nashville’s only In total, there are 13 operating emergency room specializing rooms where gynecological in obstetrical and gynecological and obstetrical procedures care. It is also one of only a are performed by 62 OB/GYN handful of such emergency care specialists who are on staff at the models in the nation – TriStar hospital. The TriStar Centennial Summit opened a dedicated Women’s Hospital is located on women’s ER in September of the 43-acre campus of TriStar 2018 – specifically designed to Amber Price, DNP, CNM, is the Chief Operating Officer for TriStar Centennial Centennial Medical Center. Women’s Hospital and The Children’s Hospital at Tristar Centennial. be a safe and reassuring place for If there is a need that would women to come and be treated. benefit from the clinical expertise Initially, the Women’s ER of another medical discipline, they are here. Likewise, if a patient comes to offered basic obstetric services, but it soon became clear that the unique our general ER and an OB/GYN crisis arises, our specialist can go there too. needs of women required an expanded approach to services. The highly We are able to successfully perform an emergency cesarean delivery specialized Women’s ER is staffed 24/7 with board certified OB/GYN anywhere in our hospital and in any of our operating rooms. We are specialists who treat about 8,000 patients annually. constantly working to improve our processes with the goal of safely Women who have any medical concerns at all can come to the ER delivering the baby within 10 minutes of an emergency. at TriStar Centennial Women’s Hospital and a women’s health specialist Our maternal critical care committee is a collaborative team of will examine and treat them. Typically, we offer a quicker turnaround and specialists from various parts of the hospital that are focused on learning shorter wait times than a general ER because we see patients with much from one another, thinking about things like cardiovascular disease in more specific needs. Moreover, all the things we need to treat our patients women and planning for emergencies so that we work together seamlessly. are right here in the emergency department, the specialists, the equipment The bottom line is in this day, in this community, women should not be – like ultrasound – and staff trained to care specifically for women. dying from treatable medical conditions. Our passion and our unwavering Often women go to a general emergency room if they have a concern focus are on patient safety and delivering outstanding outcomes. We are during pregnancy or after delivery. In a general emergency room, they proud of our record of accomplishment, and proud of the way we support would see an ER doctor who would consult with an obstetrician if needed. our patients and their families along the way. However, we find that things are often missed in a general emergency department that a specialist would likely notice. For more information about the comprehensive, This is what we do every day, and we do it very well. Our high touch multidisciplinary obstetrical and gynecological services care model helps us make sure we are addressing all the patient’s needs at offered by the physician specialists at TriStar Centennial one time. We have never lost a mother in our hospital, and that is in large Women’s Hospital, visit part because of our focused care, the way we listen to our patients and understand their unique needs. We know that adverse outcomes sometimes are related to not listening to women, so we take our time to really talk to our patients and listen to them. We give them a chance to explain what is going on, and when we do this, we often discover issues that can be addressed immediately before they have the potential to become worse. We offer women peace of mind, knowing they can come here to get SPONSORED CONTENT



MAY 2019



Accessing the Spectrum of Quality Care ACOG Wraps Annual Meeting in Nashville By CINDY SANDERS

patients with access to family planning erful, 10-minute presentations followed this topic that covers screening, diagnosis and preventive health services and inforby a Q&A panel with the speakers. The and management of cardiovascular disThe American College of Obstetrimation. ease in pregnancy and the new Practice EdTalks topics covered financial models, cians and Gynecologists (ACOG) has just Recent actions by the AdministraBulletin was released during the annual reproductive endocrinology and infertilwrapped the 2019 Annual Clinical and tion to change Title X will limit access to ity, menopause, microbiomes, polycystic meeting. Scientific Meeting. Held vital healthcare services ovary syndrome, the annual well-woman ACOG members have also been in Nashville from May to low-income women, visit, sterilization, and the environment. working hard across the country to pro3-6, the theme for this mote a culture of safety in hospitals, men, and adolescents. This was all in addition to more than year’s national gatherparticularly in labor and delivery units. These actions restrict 700 scientific ePosters with cutting-edge ing was “Accessing the With the infrastructure and support information that phyresearch in women’s health. Spectrum of Quality sicians can provide to provided by AIM, hospitals are impleCare.” menting standardized, evidence-based their patients, weaken NMN: Maternal mortality rates have The conference practices that reduce complications and safeguards that ensure been a big part of your efforts as ACOG also sets the stage for improve women’s outcomes.  AIM is a that Title X-funded propresident, what are your thoughts on leadership transition. grams offer evidencenational data-driven maternal safety and improving care? ACOG President Lisa based contraception, quality improvement initiative to reduce Dr. Hollier: The United States is M. Hollier, MD, MPH, and impose medically maternal mortality and severe morbidthe only developed country with a rising FACOG, welcomed ity. Over the last several years, and with unnecessary requirematernal mortality rate. This has been colleagues to the 67th ments on healthcare an additional $10 million grant from the a tremendous impetus for change. My annual meeting before facilities that will exclude Health Resources and Services AdminisPresidential Program at the meeting and passing the gavel to tration, the AIM program has grown and qualified providers from all of my presidential initiatives focused 2019-20 President Ted now enrolled 26 states … and counting. offering care to lowon implementable solutions to eliminate L. Anderson, MD, PhD, Our goal is to have participation from all income women. preventable maternal mortality. We are Dr. Lisa M. Hollier during the annual busi50 states, and I am confident that we will Last year,  ACOG seeing changes in the leading causes of ness meeting. do it. and other leading medical groups actively maternal mortality. With reductions in Now immediate past president, Holopposed these proposed changes and pregnancy-related deaths due to hemorlier shared thoughts on the past year as she rhage and hypertension, we are seeing NMN: During the national meeting submitted public comments to the U.S. led the organization of more than 58,000 that cardiovascular disease and cardiomyin Nashville, you passed the gavel to Department of Health and Human Sermembers. vices. On April 9, 2019, ACOG and leadopathy are the leading causes.   Dr. Anderson. Could you share some ing medical groups filed amicus briefs in Fortunately,  we know from materreflections on your time leading this Nashville Medical News: What were nal mortality review committees in states several cases across the country in support organization over the past year? some of the key issues addressed across the country, including Tennessee, of states’ and organizations’ motions for Dr. Hollier: ACOG has made during the meeting and over the past that as many as 60 percent of maternal preliminary injunction to stop the recently incredible progress on behalf of patients year? deaths are preventable.  Because of the issued changes to Title X from going into and our members in just one short year. Dr. Hollier: This year’s meetimportant role of cardiovascular disease effect.  Our committees have created and updated ing’s theme – Accessing the Spectrum of in maternal mortality, a large part of my our clinical guidance. We’ve developed Quality Health Care – included an inforpresidency was dedicated to updating NMN: What key clinical areas were and created programs and education that mation-packed program that addressed ACOG’s clinical guidance on pregnancy explored during the recent meeting? help our members implement our Practice the most timely and challenging topics and heart disease. Cardiovascular disease Dr. Hollier: The trifecta clinical Bulletins and Committee Opinions in their our members face as ob-gyns. Healthand cardiomyopathy account for about 1 seminars covered topics that are most clinics and in hospitals. ACOG members care access has been a key component of in 4 maternal deaths and disproportionimportant to ACOG members, includhave taken to the Hill and gone to their everything we’ve been working on during ing endometriosis, genetics, substance use ately affect black women. I am proud to state legislatures to ensure the leading my year as president, so having access as a disorder and trauma-informed care, and say that the dedicated, multidisciplinary voices of women’s healthcare are heard focus of the meeting was vitally important. DVT prophylaxis. This year we had a new members of my presidential task force and influence legislative and regulatory Access to quality healthcare is a key (CONTINUED ON PAGE 20) session, EdTalks, which were three powcompleted comprehensive guidance on to ensuring the health of women. ACOG is pursuing policy and legislative solutions to address the rising rate of maternal mortality and severe maternal morbidity in the United States. This includes advocacy for  Medicaid coverage for women up to a year postpartum, support for state perinatal quality care collaboratives, support for efforts to reduce racial and ethnic disparities in maternal health outcomes, and support for the Alliance for Innova• Increase revenue 18-40% tion on Maternal Health (AIM), a national • Spend less time charting data-driven maternal safety and quality improvement initiative to improve mater• See 15-25% more patients per shift nal outcomes in the U.S.  • Get 21% more face time with patients ACOG has always supported access to affordable healthcare, and we will • Improve patient satisfaction continue to oppose every attempt to roll • Improve charge capture back critical women’s health gains in the Affordable Care Act, particularly for • Reclaim up to 60% of your time women with preexisting conditions. We • Truly focus on your patients also continue to oppose efforts to deny access to reproductive healthcare and access to qualified providers through the Title X Family Planning Program. Title The Largest Tennessee-Based Scribe Provider X is the only federal program exclu615-398-0901 • • sively dedicated to providing low-income

Spend Time With Patients... Not Paperwork



MAY 2019



ACS ResearcHERS Program Bringing Awareness to Women in Science

More Research Led by Women, More Hope for Cancer Patients By MELANIE KILGORE-HILL

Women are driving forces in the fight against cancer. According to recent data from the American Cancer Society, 50 percent of research funded by the ACS is now conducted by women. That realization was the motivation behind the organization’s newest initiative aimed to promote women in science – ResearcHERS: Women Jenny Stripling Fighting Cancer. The program engages women of influence to raise funds that directly support women-led cancer research. The program spotlights the life experiences and discoveries of women in research and aims to inspire the next generation of girls to pursue their dreams of a career in science.

Empowering Women

“This campaign burst out of the question, ‘Does the ACS have a responsibility to help women support other women?’” explained Jenny Stripling, executive director of the American Cancer Society of Tennessee. “When we realized how much of what we’re funding is being done by women, we realized it was a real opportunity for us to highlight and celebrate what’s taking place.” Stripling hopes the campaign will encourage more young women to pursue STEM careers, which have traditionally been underrepresented by females. She also wants to encourage young investigators to

apply for initial funding and to give them the courage to pursue larger grants from other foundations. Nashville is one of 15 markets nationwide participating in the ResearcHERS campaign. Currently, the ACS is funding $9.95 million in research within Tennessee, including programs at Vanderbilt and St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis. “As an organization, we want to put funds where the best science is,” Stripling said. ACS ResearcHERS supports all cancer types and ages. The Society has a rigorous peer-review process to fund the most exceptional applications, regardless of cancer type, or gender of the applicant. Once the best research has been identified for funding, ResearcHERS funds will then be applied to women-led grants. “The individuals working within that realm are making funding decisions based on the best science to move us forward in finding cures for cancer,” Stripling said. ResearcHERS’ influential group of ambassadors are committed to raising a minimum of $2,500 each, serving as role models, and building awareness of the contributions of women in the fight against cancer. The campaign will run through May 2019. Stripling hopes more women will take an interest in joining the campaign and will continue to apply for funding through the ACS. “There’s always a place for someone with STEM interests to lean in and support each other and to encourage and help us in promoting this campaign,” she said. “Our goal is to raise $125,000 in our first year, and I am thrilled to be carrying the torch for this inaugural ResearcHERS campaign.”

ResearcHERS Ambassador Sheila Ridner An Innovator in Breast Cancer Research

ResearcHERS Ambassador Sheila Ridner, PhD, RN, FAAN, is changing the future of cancer care. A Martha Rivers Ingram Professor and Director of Vanderbilt University School of Nursing’s Doctorate in Nursing Science (DNS) Program, Ridner is pleased to give back to the organization that has funded more than $1 million in her research since 2006. “I got into research as a second career because I always said when I got older, I’d do it,” said Ridner, a former healthcare executive and oncology nurse. “One day I looked in the mirror and realized it was time.” Ridner who received her doctorate from Vanderbilt in 2003, was a first-semester Vanderbilt PhD student when she Dr. Sheila Ridner wrote - and later received - her first federal grant for breast cancer research. Her focus on lymphedema in breast cancer treatment led to additional funding, partnerships with the ACS and pivotal research studies, including novel studies using expressive writing and yoga as coping tools for lymphedema patients during treatment. Another current study focuses on the use of a compression device to reduce lymphatic swelling, which is common with head and neck cancers with 90 percent of patients experiencing some swelling as a result of treatment. Although historically more prevalent in men, HPV-associated head and neck cancer is a growing diagnosis among women. Ridner is also leading a massive, multisite international study testing a protocol to prevent lymphedema in breast cancer patients and just presented her interim findings at the American Society for Breast Surgeons meeting on May 3. “I have a strong commitment to promoting research and want more women involved because there’s a shortage of women in science and math professions,” she said. “I’ve received funding from the federal government, various foundations and industries … but without support of the ACS early in my career, it would have been much harder for me to be successful. They’ve always stepped up, and because of them, patients are the ones who’ve been able to benefit from my success.”

Immunotherapy Shows Promise for TNBC Patients, continued from page 1 from the disease in 2019. Erika Hamilton, MD, director of the Breast Cancer and Gynecologic Cancer Research Program at Sarah Cannon Research Institute and an IMpassion130 (Tecentriq) study investigator, said triple negative breast cancer, which accounts for 15 to 20 percent of breast cancers, is the most Dr. Erika Hamilton medically challenging to treat, partially because it tends to be more aggressive than more common types of the cancer. Breast cancer can be diagnosed based on the presence or absence of three receptors – estrogen, progesterone and HER2. These receptors are the drivers for the development and growth of breast cancer. Triple negative breast cancer is diagnosed when a pathology report shows a negative result for all three of the common receptors. 4


MAY 2019

Treatment Options

While targeted therapies exist to decrease reoccurrence of hormonallydriven and HER2 breast cancers, patients with TNBC have historically received only chemotherapy. “The tricky thing about triple negative breast cancer is that we haven’t had any targeted medications to treat it like we do for other types of breast cancer,” Hamilton said. “Triple negative is the worst prognosis, and women with metastatic TNBC typically have a survival rate of 18 months,” she continued. “Biologically, it just tends to be more aggressive, and it’s a more heterogeneous breast cancer group since all triple negatives aren’t the same. They’re a basket of cancers that don’t express receptors, so it’s been challenging to find a therapy that’s effective for a large enough population.”

Immunotherapy in Breast Cancer

Now, Hamilton and other oncologists are turning to atezolizumab – an immuno-

therapy already approved for treatment of certain lung and bladder cancers. Immunotherapy is a type of biological therapy that uses targeted drugs to convince the body’s immune system to recognize that there is something foreign in the body (cancer) and to attack the cells threatening it. Technically speaking, Tecentriq is a monoclonal antibody designed to bind with the protein PD-L1 expressed on tumor cells and tumor-infiltrating immune cells, blocking its interactions with both PD-1 and B7.1 receptors. By inhibiting PD-L1, Tecentriq may enable the re-activation of T cells, which are essential for immunity. During the Phase III IMpassion130 trial, which involved 902 participants, the IV therapy was administered in combination with the common chemotherapy drug nab-paclitaxel with notable results. Progression-free survival increased from 5 to 7.5 months, but what impressed Hamilton was that it translated into overall survival to a more significant degree. The 41 percent of TNBC patients with

the PD‑L1 protein, which helps cells hide from immune attack, extended life expectancy from 15.5 to 25 months. In fact, one TNBC trial participant under Hamilton’s care is still working full-time three years after starting atezolizumab and no longer receives chemotherapy. She said side effects of atezolizumab also make the therapy more appealing over chemo. “Day-to-day, it’s tolerated really well, with no nausea or hair loss,” Hamilton said, noting that some patients do experience fatigue or symptoms of immune activation, such as low-grade fever or body aches. “Compared to receiving chemo on a day-to-day basis, patients feel very good on it, and it’s something you can stay on longer than chemo,” she said. A Genentech spokesperson said the company currently has several other large, ongoing studies of Tecentriq in TNBC, including early and advanced stages of the disease. In addition to Tecentriq, they’re also studying the AKT-inhibitor ipatasertib in TNBC. nashvillemedicalnews



Serving the City

Long Takes Reins as Director of Metro Public Health By MELANIE KILGORE-HILL

partners, and I really wanted to regain that connection.”

Nashville’s recently appointed director of health might be new to the office, but she’s anything but new to Middle Tennessee. In March, the Metro Public Health Department announced the selection of Wendy Long, MD, MPH, former director of the state’s TennCare program, to lead the city’s health efforts.

Serving the City

Intro to Medicine

A native of northeastern Ohio, Long was drawn to the sciences and inspired by high school teachers who motivated her to want to learn more. She received her Bachelor of Science in microbiology from Ohio State University, where she became the first in her family to graduate college. As a student at Ohio State University College of Medicine, Long developed an interest in health policy but was unsure what that would look like from a career standpoint. That all changed during her third year of medical school, when her world was shaken by the sudden death of her 48-year-old father from heart disease. “For most students, third year is when you’re trying to decide on a specialty, and the experience with my father helped me see that, as much as I appreciated and admired those who cared for him after his heart attack, it was entirely preventable from a lifestyle standpoint,” she said. “That crystallized for me that I wanted to be someone working on the front end to prevent other families from having to experience a similar loss.” Long did her research and later left Ohio for the University of South Carolina, where she completed her preventive medicine residency and received her master’s in public health.


PHYSICIANS Malcom E. Baxter, MD

New Appointments

Following residency, Long joined the Tennessee Department of Health as a medical consultant for maternal and child health. In the years that followed, she held a variety of positions of increasing responsibility, culminating in her appointment in 1999 as assistant commissioner. In 2004, Long left the Department of Health to become the chief medical officer for TennCare, the state’s Medicaid program. She went on to serve as TennCare’s deputy director and chief of staff, and in 2016, Long was appointed director and CEO, overseeing health policy for the state’s 1.4 million TennCare enrollees. “Working with public policy at the state level and on such a large scale meant I could go home at night feeling like I was making a positive difference, but typically my view of that difference was through charts and graphs and spreadsheets,” she said. Her new transition to serve as Nashnashvillemedicalnews

ville’s director of health was a tough decision, but it came from a desire to get back to grassroots efforts at a community level. “In public health, what we’ve very much recognized over the years is that we can’t achieve our population health goals without addressing issues related to social determinants of health – from housing, transportation and daycare needs to the impact of the opioid epidemic,” she said. “These are all issues best addressed at a local level by working with community


Since her arrival in March, Long has been immersed in learning about the diverse programs and services offered through the Metro Public Health Department, managing a staff of more than 500 in four locations, visiting outlying clinics, and meeting with community partners and local healthcare officials. It’s groundwork she hopes will help guide department strategies and priorities moving forward. The Health Department’s multiple responsibilities include regulation of restaurants and public pools, operation of Metro Animal Care and Control, and direct care delivery through community clinics. “As director it makes for an interesting situation,” she said, “because we operate so many programs … with many different funding sources … so we’re always trying to make sure we live up to the responsibilities that come with the funds while not inadvertently creating silos.” Of course, oversight of population health is the cornerstone of the large organization. “Our mission is to protect and improve the health of residents in Davidson County, so one priority is making sure we continue to be vigilant and agile when it comes to responding to public health

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threats,” she said, noting recent outbreaks of measles and hepatitis A. In fact, city officials confirmed in April that 198 cases of Hep-A had been reported in Nashville since December 2017, as part of a recent multi-state uptick in cases. Long also hopes to work closely with area physicians to address disparities in child health. In Davidson County, the infant mortality rate is three times higher among the city’s black population than found in the white population. “When you see these inequities, it highlights the need to make sure we’re using our resources in a way that acknowledges and appropriately responds to such disparities,” she said. The Health Department interacts with more than 50 percent of the births in Davidson County through the Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) program, which provides access to healthy foods, nutrition counseling and breastfeeding support. In addition, school nursing, school-based dental sealants, childhood immunizations and home visiting services are some of the other child health programs offered through the Health Department that also offer points of contact with children and their families. “I hope my legacy will be that we have worked effectively with community partners to offer every child in Nashville the best possible opportunity for a healthy future,” Long concluded.

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MAY 2019



Diverse by Design

THA’s Agenda 21 Opens Doors, Launches Careers By CINDY SANDERS

For more than two decades, the Tennessee Hospital Association (THA) has operated a unique internship program with a mission of matching minority healthcare students with hospital executives across the state. The goal of the Agenda 21 Internship Program is simple – to diversify healthcare administration so care facilities more closely mirror the communities they serve. “We started it about 22 years ago, right after I started here,” said THA President and CEO Craig Becker. He recalled walking into a board meeting and seeing 25 middle-aged, white men around the table. “No women, nobody of color … diversity didn’t even include ‘investor-owned’ hospitals at that time,” he said with a laugh. Craig Becker “We’ve come a long way now,” he added of the current board, which includes four members of color and four women. “In terms of diversity, I would daresay our board is one of the most diverse hospital associations around.” Becker was quick to note the problem wasn’t specific to Tennessee. He had run into the same issue when he worked in Maine and New Jersey. “In both those states, it was exactly the same thing. It really bothered me that we were not reflective of our community.” The question was: How to begin attracting more diverse healthcare executives and helping them rise into the ranks of senior hospital leadership? “We thought a good way to do it was to start an intern program,” said Becker. Agenda 21 is a 12-week, supervised internship for qualified students pursuing graduate degrees in healthcare administration or a related field. Working closely with a hospital administrative leader/ mentor and staff, the intern gains valuable hands-on experience with the hospital’s management team. Yolanda James, director of public relations and strategy for THA, who has shepherded the program for summer 2018 and 2019, said the experiences vary. For some students, the 12 weeks Yolanda James are spent on one big project. For others, they get a 360-degree view of operations by being embedded in different areas for a week or two at a time. Still others, she said, complete three or four projects during the summer. “At the end, they present a case study of what they did,” noted James. Based on the success of Agenda 21, the decision to begin fostering diversity through interns was a good call. James 6


MAY 2019

said the program has about 200 alums now who are working in various capacities, including at the CEO level, in hospitals across the country. “Last year’s class of 2018 had nine students,” said James. “Of those nine, two have accepted hospital fellowships at Arkansas Children’s and the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center.” Becker added, “We weren’t doing this for people to only stay in Tennessee. We knew people would move around.” However, there are plenty of success stories in the state, as well. James noted a 2017 program alum was offered a full-time job with benefits at Erlanger starting the day after her internship ended. John Baldwin, III, MHA, market associate admin-

istrator/co-ethics and compliance officer for Parkridge Health System, credited the program with providing a solid platform on which he has been able to build as he has moved into increasing leadership roles (see box). Word-of-mouth awareness of the unique program has spread. James said she has seen an increase in out-of-state students applying for the program over the last few years. Those interested apply in the fall for the following summer’s internship class. After an application review, candidates selected to move to the next phase are interviewed, and those accepted go through two orientations prior to starting the program. For the purposes of

Agenda 21, “minority” is considered to include race, ethnicity and gender, which would include non-white male and all female students, as well as students of any race who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender (LGBT). For those who question the need for such a program, Becker said the answer is straightforward. Diversity gives hospitals a better shot at understanding the belief systems, customs, cultural differences or point of view of the populations they serve. “I think there is a growing awareness among our hospitals that they need to be reflective of their community,” he concluded. “If you don’t know that, you aren’t really serving your community well.”

Insights from an Agenda 21 Alum John Baldwin, III, MHA Market Associate Administrator/Co-Ethics & Compliance Officer Parkridge Health System, Chattanooga John Baldwin participated in Agenda 21 for two summers. He was first selected in 2015, just prior to his first year as a graduate student in the Master of Health Administration program at the University of Memphis, and again in 2016 between his first and second years of graduate studies. Below he shares personal insights from the experience: John Baldwin, III

Nashville Medical News: Where were you placed, and what was your experience? Baldwin: I had the privilege to serve as an Agenda 21 intern at TriStar Southern Hills Medical Center under the leadership of Tom Ozburn, chief executive officer. Tom was very intentional about providing a well-rounded and valuable internship experience. I was provided the opportunity to shadow and complete rotations to gain exposure to the various departments in the hospital.   In addition, I was treated as a member of the leadership team and attended all of the senior leadership meetings. I completed a plethora of projects that supported operations, strategy, quality, finance, and process improvement for various members of the leadership team. One of my favorite projects was the design and implementation of the H.E.A.R.T. Cart. This was a complimentary snack cart that provided refreshments to visitors of the hospital to improve the patient experience. H.E.A.R.T. was the acronym that represented the core values of the hospital (Healing, Empathetic, Attentive, Respectful, Together). The cart was utilized daily by members of the leadership to Tom Ozburn round in the hospital and it was a huge success! NMN: What was the value of that hands-on experience? Baldwin: The Agenda 21 internship exceeded all of my expectations and provided valuable exposure that I may never have gained prior to this program. This hands-on experience was the catalyst in my interest in pursuit of a career in healthcare administration.  I was able to gain practical knowledge and application about the profession. The Agenda 21 internship was truly pivotal to my progression and development as a healthcare administrator. I learned about the various complex challenges that exist within healthcare and also learned about the mission-driven focus of the organization. I observed how patients were kept at the center of all decisions and how compassionate care was provided by all of the team members. I learned about the importance of team work in the pursuit of excellence to provide high quality and affordable care.    NMN: How has Agenda 21 impacted your career? Baldwin: It served as a tremendous platform to build upon as I pursued my graduate studies and later provided an opportunity for employment.  Upon completion of the Agenda 21 internship, I was provided the opportunity to interview for an administrative fellowship with HCA Healthcare. In June of 2017, I began my healthcare administration career with HCA Healthcare as an administrative fellow at TriStar StoneCrest Medical Center. Upon completion of the administrative fellowship, I accepted a position as market associate administrator for Parkridge Health System in Chattanooga. NMN Note: The position at Parkridge has reunited Baldwin with Ozburn, who now serves as market president and CEO of the HCA-affiliated system.   NMN: Any other thoughts on Agenda 21? Baldwin: The THA staff and members of the Council of Inclusion and Health Equity do outstanding work each summer to support this internship program. The investment by the organizations to provide exposure and experience to students that want to pursue a career in healthcare administration is truly remarkable.  Craig Becker is a huge supporter and advocate for the program, and as a result of his leadership, the program has continued to thrive. It will be a tremendous honor for me to help serve as an Agenda 21 preceptor this summer in which Parkridge Health System will provide a very robust internship opportunity to another student. I’m thankful to have had the opportunity and encourage all to take advantage of a tremendous opportunity.  



Belmont, Lipscomb Partner on Honduran Pharmacy The Belmont University and  Lipscomb University Colleges of Pharmacy have recently announced a collaborative partnership with Jovenes en Camino to build and support a locally-run pharmacy in El Zamorano, Honduras. A Nashvillebased nonprofit, Jovenes en Camino is a boys’ home and clinic in Honduras that doesn’t currently have access to the essential services provided by a pharmacy. Students and faculty from Belmont and Lipscomb are teaming up to provide a creative solution to that challenge.  The collaborative partnership will allow students and faculty from both pharmacy programs to travel to Honduras throughout the year to provide services to local residents, beginning as soon as this summer. Teams will be comprised in a variety of ways including interprofessional teams that will include students in pharmacy, nursing, nutrition, PA and other health-related disciplines, and inter-university teams, comprised of faculty and students from both institu-

(L-R) Dr. Roger L. Davis, Lipscomb University; Sarah Catherine Teixeira, Jovenes en Camino; and Dr. David Gregory, Belmont University.

tions. Beyond pharmaceutical care, this interprofessional partnership will also

Reimagining Residency, continued from page 1 will be thousands more students coming through these new med school programs,” she pointed out. Skochelak said the concern was there would be an implicit message that the training they undertook during medical school didn’t really matter if they arrived at residency only to find no disruption in the status quo. “The next logical step is to say it’s a continuum of training and to bring these same principles and concepts of education forward to residency,” explained Skochelak. “We want to make a better handoff – a better connection – from medical school to residency in terms of learning approach.” She added practitioners must take the important new concepts that are part of health system science and understand how quality, safety and patient-centered care are implemented in daily operations to ensure readiness for practice. Skochelak continued, “We want to support a positive learning environment … not just for students but for faculty and staff, as well.” Building off the successful model used to transform UME, Skochelak said those chosen for the new residency grant funding will join an AMA-convened consortium. “The best way, we’ve proven, to accelerate the change is to bring people together in a community of innovation,” she explained. The group will evaluate successes and lessons learned and work together to broadly disseminate successful initiatives to residency training programs across the country. In late 2018, the AMA announced the new program. At the beginning of this year, the organization put out a call for innovative proposals with a bold vision to promote systemic change in GME with Letters of Intent due Feb. 1, 2019. Last month, that large pool was narrowed down to 30 applicants who have been asked to submit full proposals. Skochelak said she anticipates eight will be selected for fundnashvillemedicalnews


ing with the announcement coming in June at the 2019 AMA Annual Meeting in Chicago. The response has been tremendous. “We had more than 250 entities write Letters of Intent,” Skochelak noted, adding the entries represented more than 300 organizations including state medical societies, specialty societies, consortiums, nonprofits and others. “We’re really very intrigued with the fact that the response with the Letters of Intent was broader than just traditional residency programs. It says that people are really interested and excited to move forward with innovation and change,” she added. Skochelak said about 20 percent of the Letters of Intent addressed physician burnout. Other workforce issues including addressing provider shortages and ideas tied to the impact of social determinants were also recurring themes. The eight proposals selected will share in the $15 million set aside to fund the initiative and will be divided up over five years. Like the medical school programming, Skochelak anticipates there will be a year of planning prior to implementation with these new residency learners followed over subsequent years. After selection, the eight institutional partners receiving grants will meet to agree upon standardized criteria for student assessment, resident selection procedures, onboarding and transitions, core curriculum in health systems science and common evaluation standards to measure performance. No matter which eight are ultimately chosen, Skochelak said she is excited about the depth and breadth of ideas and the response from the larger medical community. “Clearly, it indicates we’re in a climate where people know we can improve and do better, and they want to partner with others who can really help them reimagine residency,” she concluded.

include additional healthcare providers as nursing, medical and other health-related programs will accompany pharmacists for travel. “Partnerships like this one allow areas of extreme poverty, like El Zamorano and beyond, to receive the muchneeded care and medicine needed to live a healthy life,” said Sarah Catherine Teixeira, executive director of Jovenes en Camino. As long-time supporters of Jovenes en

Camino, both universities were eager to formalize their partnerships, understanding the importance of service-focused education for students. “At Belmont, we are consistently looking for opportunities to allow our students to learn through service,” said David Gregory,  PharmD, dean of  Belmont’s College of Pharmacy. “We believe that we are better when we are serving others, as the opportunity to move beyond the classroom and serve allows our students to experience life and their intended profession in an entirely new light.” Roger Davis, PharmD, founding dean of  Lipscomb’s College of Pharmacy & Health Sciences, said through service students learn how to use skills gained in the classroom to help others, providing context to classroom learning. Additionally, he noted, “This collaboration demonstrates that in learning and in serving people there is a common ground that we all fit in. This is a unique expression of that between the two universities and between the two colleges. We are particularly excited about how this new facility will expand the capability of the people in Honduras to serve their patients and to have a lasting impact in that region.” 

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Creative Solutions to Combat Healthcare Workforce Challenges

Whether it’s a hospital struggling to keep enough doctors in their community or a new medical practice trying to find administrative  staff or outsourcing solutions to cut costs, today’s healthcare workforce environment is creating challenges that are far reaching.  To combat these issues, providers,  practices By ANDREW and other health- MCDONALD, care facilities  are FACHE seeking ways to get creative with how they operate, from longstanding solutions like consolidation to relying on technology such as using telemedicine to help deliver care and telecommuting to offer greater employee flexibility. The real struggle with staffing lies with recruiting and retention. There simply isn’t the quantity of talented staff out there to meet growing demand, and retention rates are often abysmal. It’s key to find employees who fit an organization’s culture and then take steps not lose them. Turnover can be very costly, so spending time upfront to ensure you find the right people is vital. Make sure you have an efficient hiring process, so you don’t lose the top candidates to a competitor and invest time and money in keeping them once you get them in the door. For healthcare providers, there’s an increasing focus on creating work cultures to keep staff morale and retention high. Today, some healthcare organizations are creating more flexible work environments where possible. Unless it’s absolutely necessary to be physically present, allowing employees the ability to work from home can have many benefits, such as reducing burnout. Other ways providers can look at creating a more flexible and welcoming environment include creating paid time off and maternity/paternity leave policies, as well as allowing sabbaticals. Many organizations, like LBMC, are also adding Learning and Development divisions or services that offer professional development as an additional employee perk. When it comes to the healthcare industry, one of the current trends is to

focus on inventive administrative staffing. For hospitals and medical practices, there’s a struggle to find staff members who are the right fit for the job. Utilizing medical services organizations (MSOs) can help these healthcare providers address their current needs and plan for the future. There are many ways MSOs can help. For instance, if a provider seeks to outsource — whether they are looking to find talent for accounting, human resources, IT or revenue cycle services — they potentially have the opportunity to work with high-level experts while simultaneously lowering costs. The healthcare industry has struggled in other areas that impact healthcare professionals and the general public. Hospitals are closing all around the country causing healthcare providers to search for new ways to operate when it comes to finances and delivering medical care. While some of these closures have impacted cities and their suburbs, many rural areas have been devastated by the lack of inpatient care and specialty services. A study from the North Carolina Rural Health Research Program reports that 85 rural hospitals closed in the U.S. between 2010 and 2018. Tennessee was the state with the second-most closures. This is where telemedicine is potentially able to make a difference. By using technology, medical practitioners are able to expand their geographic reach. For instance, a diabetic in a farming community located hours from a hospital could use a mobile app that logs blood sugar levels and sends the information to a medical professional who can advise them on insulin usage. Telehealth is also being used to combat physician burnout and increase patient engagement. The usage of telemedicine has increased exponentially over the past few years, and it has filled a critical gap in the healthcare field. According to the American Hospital Association, 76 percent of hospitals reported using telecommunications to provide medical care in 2017. That figure was up over 10 percent from the previous year and more than 40 percent higher than 2010. “Telehealth has become a viable option for providers and patients. Providers must continue to innovate, in order to keep up with consumer needs,” said LBMC TeleHealth Lead Josh Scales. According to a survey released in April by American Well at ATA19, physi-

AMA Study Shows Change in Employment Model For the first time in the U.S., employed physicians outnumber self-employed physicians, according to a newly updated study on physician practice arrangements by the American Medical Association. This milestone marks the continuation of a long-term trend that has slowly shifted the distribution of physicians away from ownership of private practices. Employed physicians were 47.4 percent of all patient care physicians in 2018, up 6 percentage points since 2012. In contrast, self-employed physicians were 45.9 percent of all patient care physicians in 2018, down 7 percentage points since 2012. For more details, go online to



MAY 2019

cian telehealth adoption has increased by 340 percent in the past three years. In addition to finding new ways to deliver medicine, healthcare providers are looking at methods such as consolidation and mergers and acquisitions in order to be financially healthy. Whether it is private equity firms buying physician practices … or hospitals acquiring a local doctor’s office, mergers and acquisitions can be a financial lifesaver. According to LBMC’s 2019 Business Outlook Report, growth through acquisition was named as a business strategy by 27 percent of participating leaders – which was an 9 percent increase from last year. Additionally, 12 percent of participating leaders noted they will consider either selling businesses or being acquired. Consolidating is another way healthcare leaders can improve business functions while synergizing operations. It can allow a healthcare provider to have a more centralized business support structure, such as having accounting, billing, human

resources, IT support and other services provided by professionals who are laserfocused on the business aspects, while providers focus on practicing medicine and growing their practice. By consolidating, a provider can enable their organization to access highly skilled talent, expand to more markets, and enhance their overall leverage with payers to potentially glean better rates for the services they provide. Though there have been numerous issues when it comes to the healthcare industry in recent years, finding and implementing creative workforce solutions can result in improved patient care and cost savings – a benefit for both providers and patients alike. Andrew McDonald, FACHE, is a shareholder and the practice leader for LBMC Physician Business Solutions, LLC and LBMC Healthcare Consulting. A Fellow of the American College of Healthcare Executives, McDonald has served as an administrator or consultant to a broad range of healthcare organizations over a 30-year career. For more information, go to

Expanded GME, Nursing Education Opportunities Last month, Nashville-headquartered HCA Healthcare, which has 185 hospitals and more than 1,800 clinical sites in 21 states and the United Kingdom, announced a new partnership with the U.S. Army Medical Recruiting Brigade. The two organizations signed a Patriot Partnership Program agreement on April 18 to enhance graduate medical education. Through the partnership, the Army Medical Department will provide subject matter experts to conduct clinics, lectures and grand rounds at HCA Healthcare residency and fellowship programs nationwide. The specialized training will include combat casualty care in the areas of infectious disease control, Representatives of the U.S. Army Medical Recruiting Brigade and HCA Healthcare sign an agreement seen as a win/win to mass casualty response enhance civilian and service member care. and emergency trauma. This program will also provide an opportunity for HCA residents and fellows to learn more about training and financial support offered through serving our country in the Army Reserves. In March, HCA officials announced the publicly traded company had become the majority owner of Galen College of Nursing, headquartered in Louisville, Ky. With 94,000 registered nurses affiliated with HCA, the agreement brings together one of the nation’s largest educators of nurses with one of the country’s largest employers of nurses. Currently, Galen College of Nursing, which will retain its name and continue to be led by CEO Mark Vogt, enrolls students in nursing programs across five campus locations in Kentucky, Florida, Ohio and Texas, as well as online. The partnership with HCA is expected to provide growth opportunities for the 30-year old nursing school. In addition to offering career development opportunities for HCA nurses, it is anticipated the alliance will provide opportunities for Galen to establish nursing programs at HCA affiliates across the country, providing more clinical education and career opportunities for their students.



By CINDY SANDERS When Women to Watch launched in May 2006, we certainly didn’t imagine that 14 years later it would become one of our most popular and highly anticipated features. The original intent was to shine a light on some of the women who weren’t always recognized for their impact on healthcare … whether that be as a clinician, researcher, educator, advocate, consultant, administrator or allied industry professional. While we’re pleased women now appear much more regularly throughout the year in the pages of Nashville Medical News as we seek out subject matter experts on a host of topics, we feel as strongly today as we did in 2006 that it’s important to recognize and celebrate incredible women doing important work to transform the industry. And with a record-breaking number of nominations this year, it’s exciting to see the abundance of talent embedded in Middle Tennessee. Although it’s always difficult to narrow down such a wonderful slate of nominees to just 10 honorees, we think you’ll agree the impressive women selected for the Class of 2019 embody the leadership and passion that make them stand out in their chosen fields. These women are smart, engaging, generous with their time and talents, funny, dedicated, entrepreneurial of spirit, collaborative and supportive of others working to improve the way we deliver and consume healthcare in this country. They are an integral part of the village required to support a highly regulated, highly complex system and the change agents necessary to rethink the status quo. We are thrilled to highlight the 2019 honorees and excited to watch what comes next for these amazing women.

Presenting Sponsor: Gold Sponsors:

Katina R. Beard, MSPH Chief Executive Officer Matthew Walker Comprehensive Health Center

Velinda J. Block, DNP, RN, NEA-BC Division Chief Nurse Executive HCA Healthcare TriStar Division



MAY 2019

Raised in Chicago, Katina Beard headed south for college at Tennessee State University. A student in the College of Business, she struggled to pin down a major that really ignited her interest … until she discovered healthcare administration and planning. “I enjoyed learning about the establishment of the first hospitals and how public coverage systems, like Medicaid and Medicare, came into existence,” she recalled “I had an instructor, Dr. Ernest Rhodes, that spoke about the health center movement, and the work that had been done in Mound Bayou, Miss.,” Beard continued. “Little did I know I would one day be working for an organization whose founder was part of this movement.” The more she learned, the more she realized healthcare extended beyond the walls of the hospital or local health department. Internships at the Veteran’s Administration and later at Matthew Walker solidified her desire to serve the underserved and often overlooked. “Matthew Walker Comprehensive Health Center is part of a national system of 1,400 sister clinics that together take care of 28 million people, regardless of their ability to pay,” Beard noted. She was first introduced to MWCHC during a gap year between completing her undergraduate degree and starting a master’s program at Meharry. Working as an agency temp, Beard wound up with an assignment at the Federally Qualified Health Center. During graduate school, she reconnected with contacts she had met while a temp and never looked back. “From 1996 onwards, I’ve worked in some capacity at Matthew Walker,” she said. Just as Beard was finishing her master’s degree in public health, Michelle B. Marrs arrived as the new chief executive officer of MWCHC. Marrs set the young grad student’s career on a trajectory that would lead to Beard taking the reins at the organization nearly two decades after she first walked through the doors as a temp. “This is why the Lord doesn’t show you everything at once … you wouldn’t be ready for it,” Beard said with a laugh. Finishing her master’s in 1998, Beard was just excited to be tapped for a senior management position in operations by the new CEO. “I was 25 years old. It was the first time I was ever salaried in my life. I think I still have the check stub,”

Beard said with a grin. In her new position, she oversaw everything from a computer conversion to the ground-up construction of today’s flagship facility on 14th Avenue. When facility management threatened to burn Beard out, Marrs had her learn to write grants. “She allowed me to do a lot. I think that’s why I’ve stayed here all these years … I’ve been able to recreate myself for the benefit of the organization,” Beard reflected. “(She) poured into me professionally and personally, showing that I can be a working mother and serve my community.” As CEO, Beard said all those different experiences have given her perspective and empathy. “I’m passionate about showing the community that Matthew Walker Health Center is here for the ‘group win.’” She added that too often people and organizations focus winners and losers. “I want people to know that we are here to walk with them through their work and ours.” Her favorite part of the job is rolling out a new program that just clicks and makes lives better. “It’s the global dynamics of what this organization means – not just to healthcare but to society as a whole.” Beard noted she can’t help but smile at the ‘new’ ideas around patient-centered care, value-based delivery and addressing social determinants. “The work that is now ‘state-of-the-art’ is how we’ve been doing things for 55 years,” she noted of the FQHC model. Yet, she continued, it’s exciting to see more people come to the table to address challenges. “Until we get rid of poverty and disparities, we will always have inequities,” she said of barriers to health and well-being. Her personal well-being comes from time spent with her husband, Michael, and their two children – daughter Makayla, 16, and son Kendall, 12. “We, like most families, are too busy but can’t figure out how to stop. So, I’m focused on spending time together and not taking for granted the small moments.” While her superpower might be the ability to help people see issues from another point of view, Beard admits to a secret wish. “My desired superpower is teleportation … well, because traffic is a mess,” she laughed. For this busy wife, mother, and nonprofit executive, any minute saved is one that can be poured back into family and community.

From the time she was young, Dr. Velinda Block wanted to be a nurse. A fan of the Sue Barton nursing book series, the profession sounded romantic and exciting. Block’s father, a professor and botanist, helped her connect with a nurse to better understand the field and all it entailed. “I had the opportunity to shadow this nurse and saw first-hand what an impact she had on patients and their families,” Block recalled. “I saw the high level of knowledge she possessed and that the physician truly respected her insights into care. I was in awe watching her and knew that I wanted to be able to make that kind of difference for people.” Block began her career as a NICU nurse after earning her undergraduate degree from the Medical College of Georgia School of Nursing. She earned her master’s from Vanderbilt University School of Nursing in 1989 and completed her doctorate in 2010 from the University of Alabama, Birmingham (UAB) School of Nursing. Both at the bedside, and later in nursing administration, Block said keeping patients and their families as the central focus has been what she loves the most. “As nurses, we get to be with people at their best times and at their worst times. When they are most vulnerable – they let us into their lives,” Block said of a responsibility she doesn’t take lightly. Her parents were both educators, and Block said they certainly served as role models for her career. They instilled a love of learning and modeled the importance of empathy. “They taught us hard work, the importance of education, do what you say you will do, and compassion for mankind,” she said. Perhaps it was her parents’ profession that has made Block so passionate about patient education and the challenges presented by a lack of health literacy, which is often compounded by barriers resulting from poor social determinants. “So many people have limited access to knowledge,” Block pointed out. “It is sad to see, and people can be judgmental without stopping to think, ‘How would I do it if I had to walk a mile in their shoes?’” Moving into nursing administration, Block now has the opportunity to impact patients in a different way. “I work to help create strong nurse leaders, and those people touch frontline nurses every day, making jobs and systems work better,” she explained.

Block said Ted Frey, the CEO at St. Louis Children’s Hospital who hired her for her first executive role, and Mike Waldrum, MD, the CEO at UAB who is a passionate advocate for quality and safety, both played key roles in shaping her worldview as a nurse executive. “Ted believed in my leadership ability and made me part of an amazing team. He taught me the importance of always keeping mission first,” Block explained. Waldrum, she continued, “taught me the importance of total transparency and that you should always ‘look upstream’ before coming to a conclusion.” In early 2017, Block accepted a new leadership challenge with HCA Healthcare’s TriStar Division. Today, she has overall responsibility for nursing across 19 hospitals in Tennessee, Georgia and Kentucky. “We have an aggressive three-year strategic plan for nursing at HCA that I want us to successfully achieve,” Block said of her goals. “Doing this will deliver top decile clinical outcomes and patient experience, zero harm and a practice environment that attracts and keeps bright nursing professionals.” The first step in providing the highest quality care, however, is making sure there are enough nurses to deliver it. “There’s such a demand for healthcare services, and we still don’t have enough nurses graduating from our schools. I’m very passionate about how we can continue to promote the nursing profession,” she explained. On the plus side, Block said accelerated nursing programs are attracting clinicians with different backgrounds and skills. “We’re seeing a lot more diversity in terms of who we’re recruiting into the field, and that’s wonderful.” When she isn’t working, Block likes to unwind by gardening, cooking and entertaining with husband Branson, a retired nurse and leader in the OR, at their townhouse in Nashville and at their lake house where they have fruit trees and vegetable gardens. With a graduate degree in public health, their grown son Cole, who now lives in the Atlanta area, has inherited his parents’ focus on addressing population needs to optimize health. Although there are many challenges in healthcare, Block said there is also much to celebrate. “I have been in healthcare for 36 years,” she said. “The evolution of care and improvement in outcomes for people has been incredible to see and be a part of. I have never regretted my field choice and would do it all over again.” nashvillemedicalnews


DeAnn M. Bullock, MD, FAAEM Chief Medical Officer Nashville General Hospital at Meharry Emergency Department Medical Director TeamHealth

“I went into healthcare simply to help people,” stated DeAnn Bullock, MD. Growing up in a family of teachers and physicians, she didn’t have to look far for role models. “My father and mother both instilled in me that service to others is one of the most important things you can do.” The Nashville native graduated from Tennessee State University before enrolling in Meharry Medical College. While always confident in her decision to be a physician, choosing a specialty didn’t come quite as easily. She liked several specialties but didn’t love them. “One summer I went out to visit my uncle in California who was a general surgeon,” recalled Bullock. “He said, ‘You move fast, you think fast … you should consider emergency medicine.’” At that time, the specialty wasn’t a dedicated rotation, so Bullock reached out to Wayne Moore, MD, at Nashville General Hospital to see if she could tag along for some extra shadowing shifts in the Emergency Department. “I fell in love with it and never looked back,” she said. After graduation, she matched in emergency medicine at the Medical College of Georgia in Augusta, where she became chief resident. After finishing her training, Bullock headed to Jacksonville, N.C., to work as a civilian contractor at Naval Hospital Camp Lejeune while her husband, Marc Watkins, MD, completed his service as a Navy physician. The two met in Nashville as she was finishing undergrad and he was beginning medical school and knew each other about a year before dating. “I ran into Marc and his roommate in the bookstore while they were buying dissection kits for gross anatomy, and we all went to lunch,” she laughed of their ‘romantic’ start. When the couple returned to Nashville after completing training and obligations, Bullock had the opportunity to return to Nashville General Hospital … this time as a full-time, contracted physician with TeamHealth, one of the nation’s largest physician services companies. Bullock, who is board certified and a Fellow of the American Academy of Emergency Medicine, was named medical director for the ED in 2014. More recently, she was named chief medical officer for Nashville General. “The chief medical officer role really focuses on patient safety, quality, physician engagement and alignment,” noted Bullock. “As an ED physician, you interact with everyone,

building relationships throughout the hospital … so there’s a level of trust and comfort. The providers know I’m here for our patients and for them. I’m dedicated to the organization and its mission.” A champion of Nashville General as a healthcare destination for all Nashvillians, Bullock is passionate about providing high quality, equitable access to care to everyone who comes through their doors. “I am also passionate about partnering with my patients and physician leaders to understand the ‘why’s’ of our processes to ultimately arrive at solutions.” It’s critical, she noted, to keep patients at the center of care and to actively engage them in their own healthcare journey. “As a constant patient advocate, being able to guide your patient through their present situation provides the most satisfaction and is one of the best aspects of being a physician,” said Bullock. “The ability to provide my patients a personal and caring experience, one in which they know their physician is a champion for them, no matter the outcome, is truly gratifying.” That unwavering support is evidenced by Bullock’s role as medical director of the Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE) program of Davidson County, which is based at Nashville General. She praised the skilled team of nurse practitioners for their dedication to the women and men who have faced assault. Her experiences with SANE and in emergency medicine have taught her not every outcome is the desired one. “I am humble enough to understand that I cannot work miracles, but I can tirelessly advocate for my patients at every encounter,” she said. Hectic schedules mean time with her husband, who serves as CMO of Kroger Health, commuting between Nashville and Cincinnati, and their two cats – Cira and Miyu – is especially appreciated. When Bullock has down time, she noted, “You’ll usually find me running on some random trail or in my kitchen cooking.” She and Marc are foodies who love creating dishes and entertaining friends and extended family at home. Bullock recognizes the importance of recharging so she’s ready to face whatever issues come her way. “I am fully committed to making Nashville one of the healthiest cities in the country. Even though I face a number of difficult challenges every day, being privileged to meet patients where they are and get them where they need to be is what keeps me coming back. Each day, when the day is over, I know I’ve made a difference in someone’s life,” she concluded.

Vanderbilt University Medical Center congratulates


Dr. Jeanne Wallace a 2019 Woman to Watch A dedicated educator, Dr. Wallace serves as Vice President and Director of the Division of Animal Care and an Associate Professor. Congratulations!







MAY 2019



Chris Clarke, RN, BSN Senior Vice President Clinical & Professional Practices Tennessee Center for Patient Safety Tennessee Hospital Association

Chris Clarke fell in love with healthcare before she even entered high school. “I was a candy striper when I was 12 or 13,” she said of volunteering at the old Nashville General Hospital. “I liked watching what the doctors and nurses did to heal and care for patients, and I enjoyed the opportunity to interact with patients and their families.” Knowing she wanted to pursue healthcare, Clarke wasn’t sure what path to take and laughingly admitted she was still weighing her options even after starting nursing school at Vanderbilt. It wasn’t that she didn’t love nursing, she was just intrigued by so many different areas. An early mentor wisely told her nursing offered access to an array of career options because it provides a broad perspective with the patient at the center. “I love nursing as a profession because it takes a look at the whole person – the physical, mental, spiritual. It’s a holistic view of a person and what matters to them and their definition of health and wellness,” she said. Accepting her diploma from Vanderbilt, it’s unlikely she could have envisioned all the places her nursing degree would lead. During her career, Clarke has delivered bedside care, provided health education to patients and the community, overseen a large women’s health program and served as president of the Tennessee Center for Nursing. She credits the preceptor on her very first job in the NICU for getting her career started on the right track. “She literally showed me professional nursing in practice,” said Clarke. “She’s the reason I was a successful nurse because she would push me to take the hard patients.” Clarke added there have been many role models over the years. “I think you need a mentor in every phase of your career. A mentor gives honest feedback and objective insights to help you see what your strengths and your areas of growth should be,” she said. “A mentor helps you get out of your comfort zone. That’s how you grow.” While Clarke certainly made a difference for the many patients she served in the first half of her career, it is her work through the Tennessee Hospital Association that has impacted countless lives across the state and beyond. In 2007, Clarke was a driving force behind the establishment of the THA’s Tennessee Center for Patient

Safety. Under her leadership, the center has collaboratively developed programs and initiatives to promote and share evidence-based practices to improve patient safety and quality. “I no longer do direct patient care, but I find tremendous enjoyment working on quality improvement and patient safety because I get to lift up hospitals and professionals that are doing improvement work and see the amazing passion and innovation they have to improve the care they deliver,” she stated. “A huge part of my work is figuring out how we facilitate hospitals learning from one another, and how we bring them resources and support they might not get otherwise.” Solving that puzzle is one of several challenges to moving evidence-based practices from ‘interesting reading’ to actual implementation. “New research and innovations come out daily, so keeping up and then getting the best information disseminated to frontline caregivers is challenging,” she noted. One best practice that seems to be a struggle for so many is finding a work/life balance. “As nurses and healthcare professionals, we do a great job of taking care of other people, but we don’t do a great job taking care of ourselves,” Clarke said. “Sleep is a reservoir-builder … you can’t function without sleep for very long without it having an impact on work, family and sanity.” In the middle of a major home renovation project with her husband Gary, Clarke ruefully admitted even ‘down’ time has been a bit stressful lately. On the bright side, though, it’s just one more reason to spend time outside with her two grown children – Jennifer and Jason – and their families. For pure joy, Clarke said nothing beats chasing after 16-month-old granddaughter Grace and eagerly awaiting baby number two, due to arrive in September. Encountering the next generation at work is also cause for excitement as Clarke meets young, passionate nurses, physicians and other healthcare professionals across the state. “They are really smart … really committed. It gives me hope to see them working together as teams and less in the traditional hierarchy model. They understand the importance of coordination, teamwork and communication. They get that it’s all about the patient. The next group of professionals are definitely going to make the healthcare delivery system better,” Clarke concluded.

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Driving business, practicing law.




MAY 2019



Nicole Cottrill Partner & Healthcare Lead DVL Seigenthaler, A Finn Partners Company

Cottrill credits her keen interest in science and health to her mother and her long career in healthcare communications to her friend. A graduate of Case Western Reserve University with degrees in sociology and history, she says the healthcare part of the equation came naturally. “My mom started nursing school when I started kindergarten,â€? she recalled. “Some of my earliest memories are quizzing her on weird symptoms and helping her to practice giving shots to oranges.â€? Accepting a position with Case Western’s School of Medicine after graduation seemed like a natural fit. “It’s the communications part of where I ended up that is probably more surprising,â€? Cottrill noted with a laugh. “That said, I wouldn’t change where I am. Getting to tell the stories of pioneering doctors, nurses, scientists and executives ‌ and being a part of educating the public on everything from heart disease and cancer predisposition to the mortality gap in mental healthcare ‌ is a true privilege.â€? A move to Boston led to a temporary job at the public relations firm Rasky Baerlein Strategic Communications where she started out answering the CEO’s phones. “They kept finding things for me to do and moving me around,â€? she noted. “I started in July. In December, they said, ‘You should just stay.’â€? So, she did. Five years later, Cottrill was vice president of the Healthcare and Science Practice Group. It was while at Rasky Baerlein that Cottrill met Amy Seigenthaler. “She was the one who pushed me into client work,â€? Cottrill noted. “She always thought I could do it – even when I wasn’t sure what ‘it’ was.â€? Seigenthaler ultimately returned to her hometown of Nashville to join her sisters in running the family public relations firm. When Cottrill’s husband, Dan Burke, decided to attend Middle Tennessee State University and the couple pondered a move to the Volunteer State, Cottrill reached out to her friend and colleague. Cottrill’s health and science experience put her in a great position to work with the firm’s many healthcare clients. One of the best aspects of her work, she said, is working with clients passionate about making a difference. “It sounds incredibly clichĂŠ, but there are some amazing people doing amazing things in healthcare,â€? noted Cottrill.

“It’s the unexpected people – that CFO who became a quality champion, that researcher who doggedly chased dead ends and found something groundbreaking, that nurse who changed care delivery for the better – who are my favorites.â€? She’s also passionate about moving the needle to improve care. “We combine communications and healthcare acumen to educate the public about critical issues, like the importance of vaccination or global disparities in childhood cancer survival rates or rallying a team around an initiative that can improve care,â€? she explained. While she loves her work, Cottrill said the fast pace and evolving nature of the field can make communications challenging. She also recognizes that even though she and her team are a step removed from providing care, the messaging and strategy they deploy has a real impact on real lives. Cottrill, who lost her mother to Alzheimer’s and infant daughter to a chromosomal disorder within months of each other, said she is keenly aware of the impact of words and actions. She praised the teams at Women’s Medical Associates of Nashville, TriStar Centennial and Alive Hospice for surrounding her and her husband with the care, support and education needed to allow them to make informed decisions. “That kind of experience really puts into perspective why what we do matters and how important it is to have an integrated and communicating health system and how important it is to have an educated and empowered patient.â€? Cottrill’s days are focused on helping clients communicate efficiently and effectively, but she’s perfectly content to spend her evenings discussing the various merits of trucks, cars, construction equipment ‌ and all things LEGOÂŽ, she said of spending time with her husband and six-year-old-son, Jack. “In my off time, I am chief reader of ‘The Magic Treehouse’ and designated master LEGO builder,â€? she added with a grin. Cottrill noted she’s always happy to read with Jack and hopes he’ll become a lifelong learner. It’s advice she also takes to heart and shares with others in the field. “Read everything you can and talk to as many people in the industry as possible. Be a willing collaborator. If we in healthcare don’t work together – outside the bounds of competition and swim lanes – we won’t succeed,â€? Cottrill counseled. Other important lessons learned, she shared, “Read more books. Drink more wine. When in doubt, buy the lipstick.â€?



on being named a Nashville Medical News


from your friends and colleagues at



MAY 2019



Lisa Davis, MAcc Chief Financial Officer Ascension Saint Thomas

Kristen F. Johns Partner Waller



MAY 2019

When it was time to think about a career, Lisa Davis knew she wanted to be an accountant but hadn’t really considered the intersection of her chosen field and healthcare. The East Tennessee native earned her undergraduate business degree and Master of Accountancy at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. Moving to Nashville after graduation, Davis began her career as an auditor with public accounting firm Ernst & Young. “This experience gave me the opportunity to work in multiple industries, and I was particularly drawn to healthcare,” she said. “The complexities of financial operations within the hospital setting, such as reimbursement, was fascinating to me and unlike any other industry I was exposed to, so I knew that I eventually wanted to spend my career in healthcare finance.” That transition came after five years with EY when she accepted a position with Saint Thomas Hospital (now Saint Thomas West) in 1998. In addition to being intrigued by the economic model behind healthcare, Davis noted, “I was also drawn to being in a nonprofit organization, and Saint Thomas was interesting because of the mission and being faith-based.” Davis started work with the hospital as an accounting manager before leaving briefly to work with a startup company in Dallas. Returning to Nashville and Saint Thomas, she worked in a special projects capacity as acquisitions grew the single medical facility into an integrated five-hospital system. By 2011, Davis had been named vice president of finance for Saint Thomas West and served as corporate controller for Saint Thomas Health. In 2013, she was named associate chief financial officer for the growing health system and stepped into the CFO spot for Ascension Saint Thomas in 2015. Davis said she has been fortunate to have several great mentors. Former Saint Thomas CFO Alan Strauss, however, was someone who made a tremendous and lasting impact on her career. “One of the things I learned from him is how to lead as a CFO beyond the lens of just the finances,” said Davis. “In order to impact the financial performance of an organization, you must also understand the strategy, have an open mind, see the bigger picture, and be willing to collaborate with others.” As CFO, Davis said, she is proud of the collegial spirit of

her team, and … like Strauss … is always happy to recognize and support internal talent. “I love that in my role, I’m able to empower others to understand where their opportunities exist and provide support to improve financial performance. This is key.” She continued, “I’m especially proud of our organization’s commitment to service of the poor as demonstrated by providing over $140 million of annual charity care and community benefit, which was substantially greater than what we had planned for in our expected budget.” Davis noted that by delivering efficient, effective care, funds are freed up to help those who are uninsured or underinsured access the appropriate level of care in the appropriate setting. While she said she is focused on the financial performance in the reality of today, it’s equally important to position the health system to be successful in the future, particularly as the larger delivery system moves away from fee-for-service to a fee-for-value model. One of her biggest challenges, she continued, is managing the system’s needs while still striving to serve the community’s needs, as well. “A lot of people think of CFOs as ‘CF-No,’” she laughed. “I always want to be collaborative in my thinking to help balance finances with our mission.” Davis added it’s important to know when to take risks. “We have to be incredible stewards of our resources, but we have to think differently about how healthcare is changing,” she explained. Just as she supports the Saint Thomas mission to serve the community at work, she also puts her faith into action by volunteering her time and talents. She previously served a six-year board term for Alive Hospice and is on the financial board for the Catholic Diocese of Nashville. Davis loves spending time with friends and family and traveling every chance she gets … including a trip to Belgium and Switzerland this summer. Time off helps her recharge for the big tasks ahead that she and her close-knit team face as care delivery evolves. “Over the next decade, I would like to be a part of transforming healthcare into an affordable, sustainable model. There is much work to be done, and we are excited to be a part of some of these efforts to move healthcare in this direction,” Davis concluded.

Every experience shapes the journey … but sometimes it requires stepping off the main road to find the path you’re meant to travel. When Kristen Johns graduated from Vanderbilt University with a degree in engineering, she accepted a position selling steel while looking toward graduate school. “There are no words to say how much I hated that job,” she laughed, “but the company paid for an MBA.” She fell in love with one of her first classes, which focused on legal and regulatory issues. Leaving steel behind, Johns enrolled in Saint Louis University School of Law and never looked back. A transactional patent attorney at Waller since 2014, she has worked with healthcare innovators throughout her career. “I’ve been on a couple different sides of the healthcare calculus as general counsel of a genomics biotech start-up and in healthcare information technology at what is now Change Healthcare,” she noted. “Each role was interesting, but I especially enjoyed being immersed in an emerging field of epigenetics and being part of its evolution in a variety of commercial applications,” Johns noted of the startup that has now grown into a global biotechnology company. “Pursuing knowledge related to cutting edge technologies led me to blockchain technology,” she added. At Waller, and in the larger Nashville community, Johns has become a key player in blockchain, recognizing and sharing the transformative potential the technology holds for healthcare to better meet the triple aim of providing engaged, high quality, cost effective care across populations. “I would define my ‘field’ as the intersection of law, business and technology,” Johns explained. “That amalgamation requires that I constantly learn, and in some cases, help shape certain aspects of those fields. I enjoy both the diversity and synergies in my work and am grateful to both my colleagues and clients for making most days a gratifying adventure.” Spending most of her time focused on new and innovative technologies, Johns knows it often takes patience to see those ideas come to fruition. She is particularly animated about the work being advanced by Tokenize Tennessee, which looks to realize the full potential of blockchain and other emerging technologies. “I’m excited about what will happen this year

even though we are planting seeds and waiting to see which roots will take hold.” She and husband Andy take a similar approach at home while raising three children – Luke, Frank and Ansley – ages 1115. Johns met her husband in a uniquely Nashville way. In town during her last year of law school, she was hanging out with friends on the porch at SATCO when she and Andy started chatting. Knowing she went to Saint Louis University and that her last name was Fjeldstad, he didn’t have too much trouble tracking her down to invite her to Steeplechase. Although she loves her work and is driven to help clients achieve their goals, Johns said her husband and children “have helped me know my boundaries and priorities.” That means carving out time to cheer on children in golf and tennis matches, lacrosse and baseball games, and swim meets. In addition to spending time with friends and family, she reenergizes by running the trails at Percy Warner with the family’s Australian shepherd in tow and practicing yoga. “Taking advantage of each day and trying to form the path for a successful family and life can obviously create stress,” Johns pointed out. “A dear friend, Laura Scott, gave me a bracelet that says: ‘All is Well,’ which is a reminder I appreciate seeing every day … even when I don’t feel like all is well.” While work and life are hectic, Johns said with age comes perspective and an appreciation of the unknown possibilities. “I have the benefit of life experience now in a setting that requires me to be entrepreneurial,” she said of her work at Waller. “Ten years ago, I was working at home with our babies, not employed by a third party. In my wildest dreams I could not have guessed I’d be a partner at Waller or receiving this award. Also, the word ‘blockchain’ was definitely not part of my daily vocabulary … unless it was a reference to Legos,” she noted with a laugh. At the end of the day, Johns said the best advice she can pass along to anyone considering the next move is to “find fulfilling work, cherish good relationships and give back to your community. And don’t settle … if you hate it, figure it out and do something else.” Following a course that veered from the original plan has led Johns to a life and career she loves and one that is helping set healthcare on a new, exciting path. nashvillemedicalnews


Rebecca M. Leslie, MBA Chief Executive Officer Nashville Academy of Medicine & Medical Foundation of Nashville

From the time she was a young girl growing up in Alabama, Rebecca Leslie thought she would be a physician. While in college, she worked at the front office of an oral surgeon and discovered something unexpected … she really enjoyed the analytical aspects and financial skills required to run a business. Happily, her role leading the state’s oldest medical society gives her the best of both worlds utilizing her business acumen to support area physicians as they work to make the community healthier. “The Nashville Academy of Medicine intersects with healthcare as we support 2,200 physicians in the greater Nashville area,” Leslie said. “As physicians serve and give back to their patients each day, the Nashville Academy supports and provides what is needed for doctors and their practices to thrive.” As if that wasn’t enough to keep Leslie busy, she also has a dual administrative role leading the Medical Foundation of Nashville. “The Project Access Nashville Specialty Care program was launched in 2005 and is now under the direction of the Medical Foundation of Nashville,” Leslie explained of providing a coordinated system of care to low-income, uninsured residents of Davidson County and parts of the larger metro area. “Since its inception, the program has provided over $40 million in donated care to thousands of uninsured Nashville area patients by more than 1,300 physicians and their affiliated hospitals and laboratories,” she said with evident excitement. Additionally, she continued, 23 safety net clinics utilize Project Access to address specialty care needs for their patients. Leslie, who sits on the boards for the Safety Net Consortium of Middle Tennessee and Tennessee Charitable Care Network and is part of the steering committee for NashvilleHealth, noted, “This comprehensive referral system ensures that each patient has access to the necessary primary and specialty care they need.” Busy days are made more challenging by the everchanging nature of healthcare. “As an association that represents a wide range of physicians, it is important that my team and I are up to date on what is going on in the world of healthcare both in Nashville and beyond. This requires flexibility and adaptability to best serve the needs of our members and our community,” she said. Leslie added a

‘one size fits all’ approach doesn’t work when it comes to engaging the membership. It takes an array of programming and offerings to meet the needs of members with different interests, who are at different points in practice, and have different motivations to get involved. “My favorite part is relationship-building and seeing someone have their needs met whether it’s a physician growing their career or a patient coming to Project Access for healthcare they greatly need,” she said. Equally, Leslie values the relationships built with her team at the Nashville Academy. Just as she had colleagues that helped support her and allow her to grow professionally in her previous position with the Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce, she works to model the attributes of a servant leader, willing to jump in and assist on any project, no matter how big or small, that moves the mission forward. “Mentoring those on my team and helping them grow and achieve their goals is a passion of mine,” she said. Leslie added it’s important to find someone who can both encourage and challenge you to grow. “It may be easy to become comfortable with how things are today and miss out on the opportunity that lies ahead tomorrow,” she counseled. That advice, she noted, is true both professionally and personally. “For me, my husband Brett is more adventurous than I am,” she said. A pilot, he’s encouraged her to take the yoke of the plane … but just for a few seconds, she laughed. He’s also challenged her to ski harder slopes and go canyoneering in Utah – hiking up in the mountains and then rappelling into slot canyons. The couple’s most exciting adventure, however, is parenting five-year-old Elizabeth and two-year-old James. As the children get a bit older, Leslie said they look forward to introducing them to skiing, and she hopes they will love the excitement of exploring new places and challenges. Her next big adventure professionally is set for 2021. “The Nashville Academy of Medicine is the oldest medical society in Tennessee, and we will be celebrating our bicentennial anniversary in 2021. This is the kind of celebration that only happens once in a lifetime,” Leslie pointed out. “I can’t imagine a better thing to celebrate – the history of physicians and healthcare in Nashville.”


DeAnn M.Bullock, MD, FAAEM Chief Medical Officer Emergency Department Medical Director

and all the 2019 Women to Watch honorees.




MAY 2019



Gina Bennett Pruitt, CPA, CISA, CRISC, CHFP, CCSFP, CHCO Member-in-Charge, Risk Assurance & Advisory Services KraftCPAs PLLC

Jeanne M. Wallace, DVM, DACLAM Attending Veterinarian and Vice President for Animal Care Vanderbilt University Medical Center



MAY 2019

Never one to back down from a good challenge, Gina Pruitt has spent most of her career staring down daunting tasks. Growing up in Crossville, she decided to pursue accounting at Tennessee Tech but was also intrigued by computer science, a subject she found a bit overwhelming. “I thought I’m not going to be afraid of it … I’m going to learn about it,” Pruitt said. One slight issue – Tennessee Tech didn’t offer an option to pair computer science with her accounting major. “So,” she noted, “I developed my own minor in Information Systems.” That problem-solving mindset has served Pruitt and her clients well over the years. She began her career as an auditor for the state comptroller’s office, where she tested a new computerized accounting and reporting system. Before long, she transitioned to a “Big 4” firm. Making the move to Deloitte, she noted, “led me to many of the areas I work in today at KraftCPAs.” Pruitt credited Terry Cowles, the partner who led Computer Assurance Services (later renamed Enterprise Risk Services) for the Southeast region of the national public accounting firm, as being one of the most impactful mentors in her career. “He encouraged me and gave me the feedback I needed to be successful,” she explained. Pruitt’s combined love of technology and accounting soon extended to an interest in Nashville’s burgeoning healthcare industry, and Cowles fostered that career objective. “He was the person who told me that I should try to start a national healthcare industry team for our service area, and then he helped connect me with the right people to allow me to do it.” She added her mentor and lifelong friend was also the one who recommended her for partnership in the firm. Although professionally successful, Pruitt longed for more time and flexibility to enjoy her children. Taking a 10-year break from accounting, she worked in medical billing and software sales while son Bennett, now 26, and daughter Camille, now 23, were young. However, her passion for accounting was clearly infectious as both children followed in her footsteps. Her son is an accountant in Charlotte, N.C., and her daughter is just finishing up her master’s in the field at the University of Tennessee.

In fact, talking to her children and their friends about accounting led Pruitt to discover another passion. “I love recruiting and mentoring young people who are still in college, as well as those just starting their careers. I know first-hand what it means to a person,” she explained. Joining KraftCPAs in late 2010 to head up Risk Assurance and Advisory Services, she often has the opportunity to serve as a guest lecturer and share insights into her diverse areas of expertise at universities across the region. Back at the office, she leads a team working at the intersection of technology, risk management and regulatory compliance with healthcare being one of their largest industry sectors. Assessing threats and advising clients on cybersecurity, HITRUST, HIPAA compliance, risk management and ways to maximize new opportunities, are all in a day’s work. “The good thing about highly regulated industries is the rules are laid out in black and white,” Pruitt said with a laugh. However, she continued, those rules tend to shift frequently. “We have to always be on our game,” she added. “Healthcare is an ever-changing world,” Pruitt continued of new technologies, services and delivery methods. “You must be agile and willing to change with the industry, as well as be open to new technologies such as blockchain. If you do that, you can be successful.” For Pruitt, it’s critical that she help develop the next generation of successful leaders. “If I don’t do that, then I really haven’t developed my team the way I should,” she said. “We have a lot of talented people, and I want to help them grow our business.” She’s also mindful of helping her team strike a work/ life balance. “Our job is very stressful, and we put in a lot of hours,” Pruitt said, adding everyone is keenly aware that a missed protocol could have serious consequences both for client companies and patients. With that pressure, it’s important to find what feeds the soul outside of the office. For her, that’s time on her houseboat and working to make Nashville better for all. “I have been blessed with a great career,” she concluded. “That affords me the opportunity to help others whether it be through service such as Habitat builds, serving at my church or donating to important causes.”

What to do when torn between pursuing a career in human or veterinary medicine? For Jeanne M. Wallace, DVM, the answer was simple … do both. “I assumed it was an either/or decision,” she said of choosing a path as an undergrad at Kansas State University. “Little did I know, I would find a perfect fit in the specialty of laboratory animal medicine – a profession that allows me to pursue my interest in science and provides opportunities to improve the health and well-being of both humans and animals.” After earning a degree in animal science, Wallace continued her veterinary studies at Kansas State, located in her hometown of Manhattan, Kan. “I grew up in the ‘Little Apple.’ My daughter rolls her eyes every time I say that … and rightfully so,” Wallace said with a laugh. She loved growing up in the vibrant college town, where her father was a department chair in engineering at the university. She said he and her mother, who went back to college after having five children, encouraged a natural curiosity. “They taught me to be the best I could be, while encouraging and supporting me when I wasn’t,” said Wallace. “They taught me to see beyond myself and recognize I was part of a bigger community. They taught me tolerance, empathy and compassion. These lessons apply to all aspects of life, but they have been particularly helpful to my career in healthcare.” Wallace, who is a diplomate of the American College of Laboratory Animal Medicine, completed residency and research fellowship training at Wake Forest University School of Medicine before joining the faculty. She and husband Mark Wallace, PhD, a neuroscientist, made the move from North Carolina to Tennessee in January 2006 when each accepted faculty appointments at Vanderbilt University Medical Center. “Working at VUMC, I see first-hand the dedication of physicians, basic scientists and veterinarians who, together, search for cures. I am always surrounded by young minds and new ideas that push me to grow personally and professionally,” she noted, adding that it’s exciting to be at the forefront of health discovery. In her leadership role, Wallace is focused on ensuring the infrastructure is in place to support a complex research portfolio. Although much of her day is spent administering the research program, Wallace is known for her work studying the

relationships between dietary fat, obesity and atherosclerosis in animal models of cardiovascular disease. “I think it always comes as a surprise to people that I’m one of 10 veterinarians we have here, now,” she said of her work at Vanderbilt. “Laboratory animal medicine is one of a handful of veterinary subspecialties that allows veterinarians to make significant contributions to both human and animal health and welfare.” She continued, “One of countless examples relates to diabetes, a disease that impacts millions of adults and children in the United States. The disease is also common in cats and dogs.” Through research at VUMC and other academic medical centers, Wallace noted there have been invaluable discoveries and advancements to inform diabetes care and maintenance for patients. “The patients include adults, children and their pets,” she said. “Neuroscience and infectious disease, immunity, inflammation … those systems are all related. What we can learn in one area can help and be translated to another area,” Wallace explained. And, she continued, just as different disease states are related so is research across species. “It’s not just veterinary health or human health, or even environmental health – we’ve started to use the phrase ‘one health,’” she noted of the push by the World Health Organization, CDC, and numerous academic medical centers to work, think and discover in an inclusive, collaborative manner. She loves the excitement and mental stimulation of working in an environment that is constantly moving, but she readily admits it’s also challenging to keep up with advancements. Wallace said working in an academic medical center … and working with young minds … keeps her on her toes. “Our scientific community is built on the ideas of exploration, inquiry and innate curiosity. I really enjoy being in the environment where you have young people asking questions and pushing those of us in the middle of our careers not just to stick with the status quo but to ask new questions, too.” When she isn’t busy supporting new exploration at work, Wallace is content to explore the 10 acres of land that she and Mark share with two dogs and two horses. Wallace loves hanging out with family and is excited that after living in New York for several years, daughter Alicia Jayo’s career has now brought her to Nashville, as well. nashvillemedicalnews


Congratulations Honorees!

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MAY 2019



Making the Grade News of Note in Healthcare Education By MELANIE KILGORE-HILL

Belmont University

New Epidemiology Minor Belmont University recently announced the addition of an epidemiology minor, allowing students to develop specialized skills in managing and applying population health data to inform public health practices and policies. Students will examine large, targeted health data sets – birth or death certificates, registries that track injury, disease or health risk behaviors – as part of efforts to help identify contributing risk factors and focus on prevention and better outcomes for patients, communities and whole populations. The coursework includes practical field experience to link skills to actionable steps. “Increased knowledge about the occurrence of disease and injury can help us reduce health risks and use our resources more wisely,” said Cathy Taylor, DrPH, MSN, RN, dean of Belmont’s College of Health Sciences. “We expect our graduates to contribute to a healthier Tennessee by doing just that.” Dr. Cathy Taylor

End of Life Care Simulation Lab Students in Belmont’s School of Nursing are prepared for all aspects of what they’ll experience on the job – including caring for patients and their families at the end of life. Senior nursing students in the Adult Health II course now experience training in the End of Life Simulation Lab. Though less than 2 percent of nursing curricula across the country is dedicated to end of life care, Belmont’s program is dedicated to not leaving these critical aspects of job training to chance. “We want to give our students some tools before they find themselves in such a heavy situation, and we want to be sure they have a chance to process in a safe place,” said instructor Sarah Camp, DNP, MSN. Following the simulation, Camp leads the students through a debriefing where they’re able to process their feelings and review the entire experience together. “Often, students become emotional during debrief, as they tap into personal experiences or see the nurse’s importance at this critical moment for a family,” Camp said. “I always tell them, ‘You may experience your patients’ deaths over and over again during your career, but the death of this loved one will only happen once in the life of a family member. Because of that, they will remember you. They may not remember the things you say, but they will remember how they felt when you were there.’”

Lipscomb University

New MHA Program This fall, Lipscomb University will welcome its first group of students into the Master of Health Administration program, designed for mid-careerists who want to build a successful career in healthcare lead18


MAY 2019

ership, clinicians who want to learn the business of healthcare and progress in leadership roles within their organizations, and individuals from non-healthcare industries who want to transition their experience and skills to a career in healthcare. Housed in Lipscomb’s College of Business, the MHA program has been developed in close collaboration with industry executives and has embraced curriculum that is intentionally integrated, interactive and immersive. “Healthcare is one of the leading industries in Nashville, and it is essential for the future leaders of these companies in this city and across the country to be prepared at the highest level,” said Bart Liddle, assistant dean for healthcare programs in Lipscomb’s College of Business. “With Lipscomb’s rich Bart Liddle history of preparing both healthcare professionals and business leaders, this is a natural intersection of these areas to continue to prepare graduates that will make an impact in this community.” The program, a first of its kind in the Middle Tennessee area, offers courses in a hybrid in-person and online format and may be completed in six semesters. First Anniversary of School of Physician Assistant Studies Lipscomb announced formation of the new School of Physician Assistant Studies in the fall of 2017 and accepted their first PA students in 2018, after receiving preliminary accreditation for the program. It’s the second physician assistant program in Middle Tennessee to achieve such accreditation. Lipscomb’s 27-month PA program drew more than 800 applications for 35 spots in its first cohort. In January, students celebrated the completion of their first semester with a symbolic rite of passage to welcome them into the medical profession: receiving their white coats with PA patches.

Meharry Medical College

Partnership with Detroit Medical Center In April, Detroit Medical Center and Meharry Medical College announced expansion of their affiliation to provide additional medical education and training for Meharry students in the Metro Detroit area. This new, two-year agreement will increase the number of medical students across all DMC hospitals. Currently, Meharry has medical students training at DMC’s Sinai-Grace Hospital. With the new agreement, more students will be added. “Meharry understands that Detroit is facing a shortage of primary care physicians,” said Meharry Medical College Dean Veronica Mallett. “By providing our students early exposure, they Dr. Veronica Mallett

will think of the DMC for residency and possibly return to further their training. This pipeline could ultimately help the citizens of Detroit through improved access to quality healthcare.”

Saint Thomas Health

New Nursing Transformation Unit The Nursing Transformation Unit at Saint Thomas West Hospital became a permanent unit in April. The Transformation Unit is a training ground for nurse leaders and patient care technicians within Ascension Saint Thomas to learn process improvement techniques that can be taken back to their respective units to spread the concepts directly to the bedside. Since launching the unit in October 2018, the transformation team has trialed 29 variations of interventions based on the barriers indicated by the bedside care team during orientation, on what works well in the clinical space, and on what needs to be changed.

Vanderbilt University School of Nursing

VUSN Ranked among Top 10 In March, U.S. News & World Report’s annual rankings of graduate nursing programs placed Vanderbilt University School of Nursing as No. 5 for its Doctor of Nursing Practice program and No. 8 for its Master of Science in Nursing program. Those positions are the highest rankings VUSN has received and mark the first time Vanderbilt has been ranked a national Top 10 best graduate nursing program. “Rankings are not changed overnight. This rise reflects years of continued effort and success in selectivity of students, maintaining a low student-faculty ratio, increasing research activity, recruiting distinguished faculty and more,” said VUSN Dean Linda D. Norman, DSN, RN, FAAN. “Most of all, it reflects the impact Dr. Linda Norman our alumni have on healthcare through practice, education and research. The quality of their patient care, scholarly work and nursing leadership shows others the value of a Vanderbilt nursing degree.” In addition to the overall rankings, six of VUSN’s specialties were recognized among the Top 10 best in the nation. The Family Nurse Practitioner and PsychiatricMental Health Nurse Practitioner specialties were ranked second. Adult-Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner, Adult-Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner and Nursing Informatics each ranked third. The Pediatric Primary Care Nurse Practitioner program was in the fourth spot, up from eighth last year. The publication didn’t rank Nurse-Midwifery programs this year, so VUSN’s Nurse-Midwifery specialty remains tied as No. 1 in the country from the prior rankings.

Master’s Programs Updates VUSN has redesigned two of its Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) specialty programs and relaunched them with revised curricula, educational formats and degree requirements. The programs, Nursing Informatics (NI) and Nursing and Health Care Leadership (NHCL), are now accepting applications for admission in fall 2019. In honor of the revised programs’ launch, VUSN will award 10 percent scholarships to all incoming fall 2019 students for their first year. “Our program is perfect for RNs in leadership roles — or for those who aspire to be leaders in our dynamic and ever-changing healthcare landscape,” said NHCL Academic Director Rick Watters, PhD, RN. “The art and science of nursing and leadership were integral to the redesign of the Dr. Rick Watters program. In addition to providing the knowledge and skills related to organizational and systems leadership, human and financial management, strategic planning, quality improvement and patient safety, the program includes immersion experiences and practicum courses to provide students with the opportunity to work on agency designated leadership projects.” One major change for the two specialties was moving them to be part time only, which is a significant draw for many registered nurses who want to continue working while obtaining a master’s degree. Both programs will be offered in a modified online learning format that allows students to complete degree requirements without relocating or giving up employment. The programs will incorporate oncampus interactive immersion experiences periodically during the program of studies. Distance learning activities for the programs will include online conferencing, videostreamed lectures and one-on-one mentoring by faculty. Curricular changes for Nursing Informatics incorporate newly emerging informatics competencies, concepts and innovations, as well as customized practicum experiences. “The Nursing Informatics program is perfect for RNs who have interests in technology and data, and who want to improve health on a larger scale, for example, system-wide,” said NI Academic Director Patricia Sengstack, DNP, RN-BC, FAAN. “Healthcare is one of the most technologically advanced fields, and the need for informaticists is expected to Dr. Patricia Sengstack only grow larger as innovation continues. We need nurses with the skills to transform care delivery using data and creating knowledge to drive a learning healthcare system. And the best way to develop those skills is through education.” nashvillemedicalnews


Matthew Walker Celebrates Legacy, Honors Community Leaders By CINDY SANDERS

Last month, healthcare industry and community leaders gathered for the Second Annual Dr. Matthew Walker, Sr. Legacy Breakfast at the Cal Turner Family Center at Meharry Medical College. The event was hosted by the Matthew Walker Comprehensive Health Center (MWCHC), which has served the Nashville community continuously since 1968 and has extended services through locations in Clarksville and Smyrna. The state’s first Federally Qualified Health Center, MWCHC provides primary medical care, behavioral health services, dental care, pharmacy services and health education to more than 17,000 patients annually. After an invocation by Rep. Harold M. Love, Jr., PhD (D-Dist. 58), CEO Katina Beard addressed the full house to provide a brief update on MWCHC’s signature programs and significant accomplishments over the past year, including announcement of a new 38-foot mobile medical unit that will allow the center to extend its reach into the community. Public health icon Stephanie Bailey, MD, delivered the keynote address focused on scholarship, leadership and service, followed by the inaugural awards presentations. The Michelle B. Mars Health Care Advocate Award, named for the visionary former CEO of MWCHC, was presented to Dr. Stephanie Bailey Stephaine Walker, MD, a fellowshiptrained neonatologist who helped establish ChurchFIT. The program, initially launched to help Mt. Zion Baptist Church’s 30,000 congregants improve fitness and increase health Dr. Stephaine Walker awareness, has now spread internationally. The Dr. Matthew Walker Sr. Legacy Award was presented to Henry Foster, MD. Professor Emeritus and former Dean of the School of Medicine for Meharry College, Foster also Dr. Henry Foster served as a clinical professor in Obstetrics and Gynecology at Vanderbilt during his long, distinguished nashvillemedicalnews


career. Foster studied under and worked alongside Walker, and both are inducted members of the Tennessee Health Care Hall of Fame. “Both Dr. Foster and Dr. Walker exemplify the advocacy and care for the community previously championed by Dr. Walker and Michelle B. Marrs,” said Beard. “We are honored to give them these awards for the incredible work they’ve accomplished in Nashville.” In addition, Sandra Long Weaver, board chair-elect for MWCHC, presented the Dr. Matthew Walker, Sr. Scholarship

award to Bathsheba Wariso, a third year Meharry medical student and Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Health Policy Scholar. Metro District 19 Councilman Freddie O’Connell stepped to the stage to Bathsheba Wariso unveil a new historic marker that will soon be installed near the health center, and

MWCHC Board Chair Valisa Thompson offered closing remarks. In addition to the awards and keynote address, the breakfast event serves as an opportunity to support the center’s mission through donations. Nearly three-quarters of the patients served by the non-profit organization are identified as a racial and/or ethnic minority, a little over 90 percent of those seen by providers fall at or below 200 percent of the federal poverty level, and nearly 65 percent of patients are uninsured.

THE 2019 LEGACY BREAKFAST IS A WRAP! We had a great time at this year’s 2019 Dr. Matthew Walker, Sr. Legacy Breakfast, and thank you to everyone who came out and supported Matthew Walker Comprehensive Health Center! Special thanks to all our sponsors of this year’s breakfast, including our Supporting Sponsor Piedmont Gas and our Legacy Sponsor Shugga Hi Cafe and Bakery.


MAY 2019



The Intersection of Safety, Quality & Operations ACHEMT Kicks off 2019 Educational Programming By SHARON STEWART, MSHCAD, FACHE

ACHE of Middle Tennessee held its first educational program of 2019 this spring at the Tennessee Hospital Association. Keynote speaker Kenneth Sands, MD, MPH, chief epidemiologist and chief patient safety officer for HCA Healthcare, focused on the intersection of safety, quality and operations in healthcare organizations. His call to action referenced a recent Navy disaster corrective action plan that emphasized the danger to organizations that stop being a “questioning culture” and thus miss significant risk factors that lead to bad outcomes. Sands drove home the need for healthcare organizations to build upon the traditional approach to safety, which emphasizes standardization, by adding a systems approach to mitigate the impact of unanticipated events. The expanded approach acknowledges that the entire environment cannot be controlled, and accidents are prevented by people being able to adapt to changing conditions. He recommended using the ACHE Blueprint for Safety to guide organizations through an assessment of their safety culture. Additionally, Sands reiterated the need for senior leadership to establish and support a questioning culture. Additionlly, Dawn FitzGerald, CEO of QSource, moderated a panel discussion that included perspectives from Pam Womack, CEO of the Mental Health Cooperative; Rachael Kurzer Givens, chief quality and compliance officer with BrightSpring Health Services; Jim Geraughty, MD, chief medical officer for Unity Physician Partners; and Jenny Slayton, vice president of Quality, Safety and Risk Prevention for Vanderbilt University Medical Center. FitzGerald invited the panelists to dis-

Mark Your Calendars Nashville Health & Wellness Fest

June 1 • Vanderbilt Recreation and Wellness Center Tickets are on sale for Nashville’s new health, fitness and wellness event. Tickets are $10 in advance, $15 at the door, and free for those ages 12 & under. The event will showcase 200 exhibits and feature a host of presenters, including Erin Oprea – fitness trainer for Carrie Underwood. There’s also ‘Puppy Pilates’ and many other interactive workshops and sessions. Info and tickets available at



MAY 2019

cuss how their organizations give priority to quality and safety. Givens reported that the first topic on the board meeting agenda for their newly merged organization was quality and safety everywhere they deliver services. Slayton noted, “Attention is the currency of leadership.” She shared her organization has leadership rounds on the clinical units that are intentional and focused on meaningful dialogue. Womack works with an organization where she and her staff, alongside clients with behavioral health and substance abuse issues are all working together in one large area. She noted that MHC’s staff is trained in therapeutic options so they can comfortably respond to unexpected needs. Geraughty presented the view of quality and safety from the perspective of population health based on his years of experience with managed care and payer organizations. The panel tackled the question of how to address quality and safety concerns in specialty populations like behavioral health. One of the key factors considered is the possibility that behavioral health and substance abuse clients could create a safety risk for employees, as well as other clients. OSHA is becoming more active with investigations of organizations where workplace violence includes patient to

employee encounters. The panelists noted proper training and protocols are essential. The panel agreed that in addition to traditional investigation and improvement activities, celebrating success is essential to sustaining a culture of safety. Meetings should begin with discussion of success stories. Panelists said the key, when working to motivate healthcare workers, is to humanize the discussion as much as possible. Instead of discussing only rates for example, they recommended telling a specific patient story, or a specific accomplishment like 30 days without a single CLABSI infection. The day’s event ended with the attendees having the opportunity to welcome the new National ACHE Chairman Heather J. Rohan, FACHE. Rohan is a member of ACHEMT and is president of HCA TriStar Division. She reiterated the opportunity for healthcare leaders to take advantage of the Safety Blueprint made available by ACHE by visiting safety.ache. org/blueprint. Sharon Stewart, MSHCAD, FACHE is senior director, Information Systems for Quorum Health Corporation. For more information on ACHE Middle Tennessee, including upcoming events, go online to

Accessing the Spectrum of Quality Care, continued from page 3

policies. It’s been a year of accomplishment, and I am so proud to have handed the gavel to Dr. Ted Anderson as our 70th president of ACOG. I’m  really  proud of the advocacy work we’ve done with our partners to get better data on the causes and contributing factors to maternal mortality. We recently celebrated the passage of the Preventing Maternal Deaths Act, which was subsequently signed into law in December. ACOG staff, along with our dedicated members, spent nearly 10 years advocating for this important legislation that will now ensure funding and infrastructure for state-based maternal mortality committees. I’m thrilled that I could help usher this bill across the finish line and that it became law during my tenure.  To help ensure that advocacy holds a central role in our organization and our specialty, I created the ACOG Annual Junior Fellow College Advisory Council Advocacy Leadership Training program.  This innovative and immersive program offers exclusive opportunities and experiences to our next generation of ob-gyn leaders, our JF chairs.  We’ve also invested in our Levels of

Maternal Care program this year. The initial guidelines were developed and published in 2015 and were designed to promote collaboration  among maternal facilities and healthcare providers  with the goal that pregnant women receive care at  a facility appropriate for their risk.  ACOG and the Society for Maternal Fetal Medicine (SMFM) have worked together to develop and pilot the levels of maternal care verification program. The lessons learned from the pilot were published this year.   NMN: Any other thoughts on the state of healthcare for women? Dr. Hollier: Healthcare providers and facility leaders can all make a difference — can all do more to improve the health of women. There are so many opportunities to implement policies, procedures, and guidelines that are effective in promoting better outcomes. We  know that women’s lives are worth saving, and we need to focus on our common goals. Together, we must make women’s healthcare a national priority and ensure that women have access to the spectrum of high-quality healthcare.  


Project Healthcare 2019 Applications Now Open

The Nashville Entrepreneur Center recently announced the opening of applications for the 2019 cohort of Project Healthcare Portfolio, a year-long entrepreneurship program designed to accelerate the success of growth-oriented healthcare startups. In addition to Project Healthcare Portfolio’s curriculum, being part of the cohort connects entrepreneurs with industry advisors and networking opportunities customized to meet each company’s stage of development. Applications are being accepted through May 31 for full-time founders with annual revenue of $0-$250,000 looking to grow their healthcare-centric startup. Details and application are available at

Leizman Named CMO for Premise Health Jonathan Leizman, MD, has been named chief medical officer for Premise Health, a leading national worksite and virtual health site company based in Brentwood. Previously, Leizman served as CMO for Cleveland Clinic AtDr. Jonathan Work, which is the workLeizman site and occupational division of the famed health system. Leizman graduated with honors from Dartmouth and completed his medical degree at The Ohio State University College of Medicine, followed by residency in family medicine at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine / University Hospitals of Cleveland.

Guiteau Named Kidney Transplant Surgical Director of TriStar Centennial TriStar Centennial Medical Center recently welcomed Jacfranz Guiteau, MD, as surgical director of the TriStar Centennial Organ Transplant Program. In this role, Guiteau oversees the transplantation and surgical management of Dr. Jacfranz patients seeking treatGuiteau ment for end-stage renal disease. He joins Ranjan Chanda, MD, kidney transplant medical director, to lead the clinical and operational initiatives of the TriStar Centennial program. Guiteau received his medical degree from Emory University School of Medicine in Atlanta and completed his residency and fellowship at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston. He is certified by the American Board of Surgery. 




Arelli Joins AdvancedHealth AdvancedHEALTH, Middle Tennessee’s largest, independent, multispecialty practice, recently announced the addition of Vineesha, Arelli, MD, pulmonology, to its growing group of providers. Arelli, whose areas of clinical interests include asthma, COPD, interstitial lung disease and pulmonary hypertension, sees patients at Smyrna Pulmonary and Sleep Medicine. She received her medical degree from University of Missouri-Columbia School of Medicine and completed an internal medicine residency followed by a pulmonary and critical care fellowship at the Cleveland Clinic Foundation.

Saint Thomas Heart Participating in Largest U.S. Heart Failure Clinical Trial

Last month, officials with Saint Thomas  Heart  announced their team has implanted four patients with Abbott’s CardioMEMS™ HF System as part of the landmark GUIDE-HF clinical trial. Saint Thomas West Hospital is one of 140 centers across the nation participating in the study. The trial will evaluate improved survival and quality of life with Abbott’s CardioMEMS™ HF System, which supports heart failure management by measuring pulmonary artery pressure (PAP) from within the body. Building on previous clinical trials, the GUIDE-HF trial will study whether the CardioMEMS device can reduce heart failure hospitalization and improve survival and quality of life for people living with New York Heart Association (NYHA) Class II-IV heart failure.  

Harney Named Partner for LBMC Employment Partners

In April, LBMC Employment Partners, LLC, part of the LBMC family of companies, announced Rebekah Harney  has been named partner and business development director. In her role, Harney will work with the leadership on long-term planning for the growth of the business, as well as Rebekah Harney continue to oversee business development for the company’s three offices. She joined LBMC Employment Partners in 2011 and was named manager for business development in 2014.

ticipating retail stores,” said TDH Deputy Commissioner for Population Health Morgan McDonald, MD, FACP, FAAP. “The new system makes transactions at cash registers more efficient for both shoppers and retailers and normalizes the shopping experience for our WIC participants who no longer have to redeem paper vouchers for their purchases.” With the new TNWIC system, benefits for WIC-approved foods are automatically entered into an account and accessed with a card similar to a debit card. This card replaces paper vouchers and can be used at any of the 790 WIC-authorized stores statewide. WIC is an important economic driver in Tennessee communities:   In 2018, Tennessee WIC participants redeemed almost $87 million in program benefits at WIC-authorized stores across the state. Each month more than 125,000 Tennesseans at nutritional risk receive WIC benefits provided through the Tennessee Department of Health in 124 county health departments, stand-alone clinics and hospital sites throughout the state.

Business Briefs

Nashville-based Bridge Connector, a health data integration startup, recently landed another $10 million in funding to continue growth. Last month, HealthStream, a leading provider of workforce development and provider solutions for the healthcare industry, announced the first cohort of companies integrating their solutions with hStream™, the Nashville-based company’s new platform-as-a-service (PaaS) technology. Last month, AdhereHeatlh™, the Brentwood-based health technology company focused on medication adherence, announced the addition of healthcare veteran Brad Fluegel to the company’s board. Fluegel is the former chief healthcare commercial market development ofBrad Fluegel ficer for Walgreens. Software and benefits advisory company Bernard Health recently launched BernieForms, a modern, affordable software solution for health questionnaires. Required for self-funded benefits plans, the health questionnaire process can represent an



the sole palliative care provider for Tennessee Oncology. Services are already available in clinics in Centennial Medical Center and in its Saint Thomas West, Chattanooga, and Murfreesboro locations. Alive will roll out these services in Tennessee Oncology’s additional clinics by the end of the year and expects to serve 1,600 patients annually through the agreement.

AccuReg Appoints Peterson CMO AccuReg, a technology solutions company offering a full suite of patientcentered front-end revenue cycle solutions for hospitals, announced last month David Peterson has joined the company as its chief marketing officer. In his role, Peterson will design and implement strategies to increase market share, facilitate new client growth, and boost customer retention. Peterson has more than 20 years of experience as a healthcare and technology executive and leader. Prior to AccuReg, he was chief marketing officer at Change Healthcare and SpecialtyCare. Peterson holds certifications in product marketing and product management from Pragmatic Marketing, is a certified Six Sigma Champion, and is a past chair of the healthcare special interest group of the Nashville chapter of the American Marketing Association. He will be based in AccuReg’s Franklin office.

Breakfast Honoring the Class of 2019 Wednesday, June 26th, 7:30-9 am Noah Liff Opera Center

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Tennessee WIC Launches EBT System

The Tennessee Women, Infants and Children (WIC) Program has transitioned to an electronic benefit transfer system from a paper-based method of issuing benefits. Tennessee families participating in WIC now use their TNWIC cards instead of paper vouchers to purchase WICapproved foods. TNWIC is available in all 95 counties of Tennessee. “We are so excited to offer TNWIC to Tennessee families and our par-

naire platform that features single sign on functionality with BerniePortal’s HRIS. Technology enabled compliance company ProviderTrust has moved to the Capitol View complex in the North Gulch. In the wake of continued healthcare cyber attacks, Nashville-based Clearwater Compliance has released new, breakthrough risk identification technology. Clearwater’s new Component Expert System (CES) enables hospitals and health systems to complete the security risk analysis (SRA) process more efficiently across the enterprise by logically grouping similar information system components based on their properties and associated controls. The patentpending technology automatically identifies relevant cyber and information risk scenarios, thereby facilitating a more effective risk assessment process. Community Health Systems, Inc. announced last month that many of its affiliated hospitals now support Health Records on iPhone, which brings together hospitals, clinics and the existing Apple Health app to make it easy for patients to see their available medical data from multiple providers whenever they choose. Approximately 100 CHS-affiliated hospitals are participating to help patients easily aggregate medical data. Alive, the only nonprofit provider of hospice care and end-of-life services for Middle Tennessee, has been named

administrative challenge for brokers, employers and employees. Inefficiencies in distributing, collecting and submitting the health questionnaire forms led to the development of BernieForms, a user-friendly, simplified online question-

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Let’s Give Them Something to Talk About! Awards, Honors, Achievements

Last month, officials with Vanderbilt University Medical Center announced Christine Seidman, MD, whose lab has identified the genetic causes of several human heart diseases including cardiomyopathy is the  recipient of the 2019  Vanderbilt Prize in Biomedical Science. Seidman is the Thomas W. Smith Professor in Medicine and Genetics at the Harvard Medical School and Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, a senior associate at the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard and a Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator. She is the 14th recipient of the Vanderbilt Prize in Biomedical Science, which was established in 2006 to honor women scientists with a stellar record of research accomplishments who have made significant contributions to mentoring other women in science. Seidman will receive her prize on Sept. 12, when she is scheduled to give her Flexner Discovery Lecture at Vanderbilt. Nine members of KraftCPAs and Kraft Healthcare Consulting have earned the designation Certified HIPAA Compliance Officer (CHCO). To sit for the threehour exam, candidates must have five or more years of compliance experience and take an extensive privacy and security officer course. Those who earned the designation are: C.J. Higgins, Alisa Howard, Scott Nalley, Gina Pruitt and Mike Wilson of KraftCPAs; and Brittney McClafferty, Scott Mertie, Katie Reid and Stacey Stuhrenberg of affiliate Kraft Healthcare Consulting. Cindy Reisz of Bass, Berry & Sims has been named the president-elect designate of the American Health Lawyers Association. She will help lead the organization over the next two years before beginning a one-year term as the national organization’s president in July 2021. Life Credit Union was recently honored with a Diamond Award for Best WebCindy Reisz site. The Diamond Awards recognize outstanding marketing and business development achievements in the credit union industry. Life Credit Union won the Best of Website Category for its 2018 website redesign, which launched during the celebration of their 60th diamond anniversary. The Society for Vascular Surgery’s Vascular Quality Initiative (SVS VQI) has awarded Nashville Vascular & Vein Institute a maximum three stars for its active participation in the registry, which looks to improve patient safety and the quality of vascular care delivery by providing webbased collection, aggregation and analysis of clinical data Life CU Diamond Award submitted in registry format for all patients undergoing specific vascular treatments. Participating enters can earn up to three stars based on actions that lead to better patient care. Olympic champion figure skater and Middle Tennessee resident Scott Hamilton was honored last month by You Have the Power … Know How to Use It, Inc. (YHTP) for speaking out against a culture of silence that has enabled sexual abuse of young athletes. “This year’s honoree is also a survivor triumphing both in multiple world championships, but also in his battles with cancer. And now Scott is working to support victims of abuse and amplify the national dialogue Scott Hamilton surrounding it,” said Cathy Gurley, CEO of YHTP. In the last six months, Neighborhood Health has achieved both Joint Commission accreditation and NCQA Patient-Centered Medical Home recognition, making them the only community health center in the region to accomplish this for all clinic locations.  For its leadership in optometry and care delivery, Spring Hill Eyecare has been named a 2019  Best Practices  honoree by  CooperVision, Inc., one of the world’s leading manufacturers of soft contact lenses. Spring Hill Eyecare is included among the 10 honorees chosen as this year’s class of Best Practices after a nationwide search that began in Fall 2018.  The Tennessee Commission on Children and Youth has chosen Our Kids for a John Seigenthaler Excellence in Media Award for the “What If I Told You?” campaign about childhood sexual abuse. Sumner Regional Medical Center’s Wound Care Center has been presented with a Center of Distinction Award by Healogics, the nation’s largest provider of advanced wound care services. The center achieved outstanding clinical outcomes for 12 consecutive months, including patient satisfaction higher than 92 percent, and a minimum wound healing rate of at least 91 percent within 30 median days to heal.



MAY 2019

Sumner Station Family Wellness Crider Sumner Station Family Wellness has welcome Brittany Crider, MD, to its staff of family care providers. Crider, who was an All-American in gymnastics during her college career at Springfield College in Massachusetts, earned her medical degree from Dr. Brittany Crider the Medical University of the Americas followed by residency at Baptist Health Madisonville in Kentucky. She is based at Sumner Station Family Wellness in Gallatin.

Morgan Named CEO of Addiction Campuses The Addiction Campuses Board of Directors recently announced Matt Morgan as CEO and board member after conducting a nationwide search. Previously, Morgan was CEO of Dental Services Group, a Cressey & Co. private equity Matt Morgan sponsored dental laboratory company. Morgan also previously served as senior vice president of operations for Amedisys. Other experience includes serving as president and general manager of AseraCare Home Health & Hospice and vice president of operations for Baylor HealthCare System. Morgan has a Master of Healthcare Administration degree from Washington University in St. Louis School of Medicine and is a Fellow in the American College of Healthcare Executives.

Landsberg Orthopaedics Announces Rebranding Last month, Landsberg Orthopaedics, formerly Rivergate Sports Medicine, announced rebranding for the group. Landsberg Orthopaedics is a part of AdvancedHEALTH, Middle Tennessee’s largest independent, multispecialty practice. Robert Landsberg, MD, cut the ceremonial ribbon at an event on April 9. While the name has changed, the practice continues to offer comprehensive care including arthroscopic surgery, sports medicine, arthritis care, joint replacement and other orthopaedic services.

Clover Health to Open Nashville Office Healthcare

technology company Clover Health  recently announced plans to open a Nashville office. As a growing Medicare Advantage plan provider already offering coverage options to Nashville seniors, the company has decided to establish a brick-and-mortar presence in the area during the second quarter of the year.


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Spero Health Opens Addiction Treatment Clinic in Smyrna

Brentwood-based Spero Health, a CARF-accredited organization specializing in local, affordable, outpatient care for individuals suffering from substance use disorder, announced it is expanding into Tennessee with the opening of a new clinic in Rutherford County. The Smyrna clinic, which marks the organization’s 24th location, opened May 1. Spero Health is enrolled with TennCare and accepting Medicaid, as well as select commercial insurance plans. Medhat Kalliny, MD, PhD, who is board-certified in Family Medicine, board-eligible in Addiction Medicine, and holds appointments in various professional organizations including the American Society of Addiction Medicine, has been named medical director.

Physicians Care, and Baptist Health Urgent Care, which is a joint venture with Baptist Health in Arkansas.

Wellpath Promotes Wofford

Wellpath recently announced the promotion of Stan Wofford to executive vice president of Local Government Healthcare. Wafford joined Wellpath in 2007 as a health services administrator and has worked his way through the ranks to senior vice president. Most recently, he served as senior vice president of the Local Government Healthcare with responsibility for the Wellpath mid-west region.

Cumberland Pharma Hosts NYSE in Nashville Last month, Cumberland Pharmaceuticals hosted “NYSE in Nashville,” a luncheon for Nashville executives and leaders on the New York Stock Exchange. During the event, held at LA Jackson, NYSE COO John Tuttle addressed the group and discussed the status of publicly traded companies in the area.

Envision CEO Christopher Holden & Cumberland Pharmaceuticals CEO A.J. Kazimi at the recent NYSE in Nashville event.

Urgent Team Celebrates Milestone

The Urgent Team Family of Urgent Care & Walk-in Centers, headquartered in Nashville, reached a milestone of 50 locations in late March. Since opening its doors in late 2011, Urgent Team has been on an aggressive growth plan to expand in the Southeast and be a leader in the transformative process of the consumer movement of healthcare. The company’s footprint currently touches four states (Tennessee, Mississippi, Alabama, Arkansas – and soon Georgia) and encompasses four brands: Urgent Team, Sherwood Urgent Care,

Blog Log The Nashville Medical News Blog features additional insights and information from a cross-section of industry leaders. The blog can be accessed directly through NashvilleMedicalNews.Blog or from the homepage of the main website.


SEEING ALL THE DETAILS doesn’t always require a microscope. e.

As a mutual malpractice insurance company, SVMIC has developed a fast and easy alternative for accessing policy information online. This new web-based tool was designed to

Don Baham, CISSP, CISA, MCSE, president of Kraft Technology Group, provides an overview of Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources (FHIR), an interoperability standard designed to lay the groundwork for the electronic exchange of healthcare information.

match the responsive service that our policyholders already experience with us over the phone.

Kim Estes Elliott, senior vice president of Clinical Services for Brookdale Senior Living, discusses the need for more senior living nurses and shares the joy of holistic care in fostering a culture of wellness in a clinical world. Greg Lemons, CPA, owner of Padgett Business Services in Brentwood, looks at the lessons learned from this first year of filing under the new tax law. Michelle Robertson, BSN, MBA, chief operating officer and chief nursing officer for Ascension Saint Thomas, celebrates Nurse’s Week – May 6-12 – with a look at healthcare transformation through nursing servant leadership.



See our new policy management platform


MAY 2019



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