UTHSC College of Medicine Magazine - Summer 2021

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Engaged in the Community

Thank you to all our donors who made gifts last fiscal year and in previous years to support our amazing students and critical programs across the College of Medicine. Your thoughtful contributions have a life-changing impact that will be felt for many years into the future. We cannot thank you enough for your generosity!

Scholarships help students like these succeed.

JOIN THE MISSION alumni.uthsc.edu/give | 901.448.5516 UTHSC Office of Development and Alumni Affairs


< Leading Through the Pandemic

UTHSC Chancellor Steve J. Schwab, MD Executive Vice Chancellor and Chief Operations Officer Ken Brown, JD, MPA, PhD, FACHE


Robert Kaplan Executive Dean and Vice Chancellor for Clinical Affairs Scott E. Strome, MD, FACS Vice Chancellor for Development and Alumni Affairs Love Collins, III, MBA

CoM steps up to help public respond to COVID-19.

Assistant Vice Chancellor for Alumni Affairs Chandra A. Tuggle Senior Director of Development, College of Medicine Kelly Davis

Growing Hope >

Community garden aims to improve health.


Assistant Vice Chancellor for Communications and Marketing Sally Badoud Editor Peggy Reisser Designer Adam Gaines

< Reaching Across the Globe

Writers Alan Burns Amber Carter Jackie Denton Liana McWilliams Peggy Reisser


Photographers Alan Burns Natalie Brewer Brandon Dill On the cover: Students from the College of Medicine were among volunteers in the local vaccination effort, who were honored by Memphis and Shelby County leaders for their service.

All qualified applicants will receive equal consideration for employment and admissions without regard to race, color, national origin, religion, sex, pregnancy, marital status, sexual orientation, gender identity, age, physical or mental disability, or covered veteran status. Eligibility and other terms and conditions of employment benefits at The University of Tennessee are governed by laws and regulations of the State of Tennessee, and this non-discrimination statement is intended to be consistent with those laws and regulations. In accordance with the requirements of Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, The University of Tennessee affirmatively states that it does not discriminate on the basis of race, sex, or disability in its education programs and activities, and this policy extends to employment by the University. Inquiries and charges of violation of Title VI (race, color, national origin), Title IX (sex), Section 504 (disability), ADA (disability), Age Discrimination in Employment Act (age), sexual orientation, or veteran status should be directed to the Office of Equity and Diversity (OED), 910 Madison Avenue, Suite 826, Memphis, Tennessee 38163, telephone 901-448-7382 (V/TTY available). Requests for accommodation of a disability should be directed to the ADA Coordinator at the Office of Equity and Diversity. E073201(005220037)

Physicians share expertise abroad, bring lessons home.

Increasing > Primary Care

New curriculum to put more physicians where needed in Tennessee.


12 <M aking the Perfect Match

Match Day 2021 was a resounding success.

Show Your UTHSC Pride

New UTHSC specialty license plates are now available at Tennessee County Clerk offices.


From the Executive Dean Dear Friends, I write to you as our nation and the world continue to wrestle with a global pandemic and the issues of social justice and health care equity that it has placed in stark relief. As your UTHSC College of Medicine, we have used current events as a mirror for self-reflection. Based on this image, we have enhanced our resolve to improve diversity, inclusion, and equity within all aspects of our college and outside of our walls. We have appointed Claudette Shephard, MD, as our inaugural associate dean of Diversity and Inclusion, and empowered her to develop a comprehensive strategy to ensure that all people have equal opportunity to join the College of Medicine, and that once here, they are welcome and have the chance to assume leadership positions. We have established an integrated committee, Women in Medicine, to ensure equal opportunities for advancement and growth for women within the college. We have also developed programs to promote social justice within our communities, partnering with the City of Memphis to develop community farms on blighted lands, and initiating a program called Equitable Health in Neighborhoods to facilitate access to care for those most in need. We have done all this, while continuing to be a major force in all aspects of our common battle against COVID-19. During these turbulent times, we have solidified our outstanding clinical care programs in the face of shifting hospital priorities, grown our research enterprise with the addition of new college-wide initiatives, and ensured the well-being of our students – the lifeblood of our organization. After fine tuning our approach to STEP 1 preparation, 100% of our students passed Step 1 of the USMLE on their first attempt – a first in our history! After implementing a comprehensive strategy to address student debt, our average debt for students is down over $20,000 from the prior year and is almost $7,000 below the national average. After recent LCME approval, we welcomed our first cohort of students into our threeyear curriculum – approximately 10 students who will graduate in three years and immediately matriculate into one of our primary care programs. Perhaps not surprisingly, these and other changes resulted in a 48% increase in our applications to the College of Medicine, compared to a national increase of 18%. As we celebrate these achievements and seek to sustain our positive momentum, we look forward to defining and capitalizing on opportunities that lie ahead. As we travel this road, please know that we sincerely appreciate and value the foundation that you – our alumni – have built for us to grow upon. Thanks so very much for your continued support of our school. Respectfully,

Scott E. Strome, MD, FACS Robert Kaplan Executive Dean of the College of Medicine

Leading the Community Through Global Pandemic Lydia Makepeace, Chloe Hundman, and Austin O’Connor stood together before their May 19 commencement talking to a reporter about what it was like to be among the five College of Medicine students recruited to work with faculty to set up one of the first drive-through COVID-19 testing sites in Memphis. Each talked about fear and uncertainty that was overcome by a desire to do what they went to medical school for – to be of service to others. The College of Medicine has stood steadfastly at the forefront of the

battle against the coronavirus pandemic. Across the state, faculty and students have provided care to those with the virus, worked tirelessly researching COVID-19 therapeutics and supporting vaccine development, and offered accurate and timely information and guidance to the public about the virus. This is what the state’s primary public academic medical institution should and must do – meet the health challenges of today and train those who will face new ones tomorrow.

By the Numbers 4,924 Hours


UTHSC student volunteers, including CoM students, in direct vaccination roles in Shelby County

Number of students staffing Tiger Lane site daily, including nights and weekends.

3,978 Hours


UTHSC student volunteers from all colleges, including CoM students, in vaccination support roles


Student volunteer hours at COVID-19 Testing (Tiger Lane), March 2020-July 2020



Approximate number of tests per day at Tiger Lane at full capacity

68,918 Views (39,433 visitors) to uthsc.edu/coronavirus

How the UTHSC College of Medicine Stepped Up • Convened the first press conference in Memphis about the virus as it advanced in early 2020, and the steps being taken combat it. • Launched uthsc.edu/coronavirus and uthsc.edu/ coronavirus-es/, resources for the public with information about the virus and links to national, state, and local organizations monitoring it. • Opened one of the city’s first and largest public, drivethrough testing sites for COVID-19 at Tiger Lane at the Mid-South Fairgrounds in collaboration with the Shelby County Health Department and the City of Memphis. • Established an on-campus lab in Memphis to analyze COVID-19 test samples, one of only a few at academic institutions across the country. • Partnered with Regional One Health in Memphis on two late-stage clinical trials evaluating Regeneron’s REGNCOV2, an investigational two-antibody cocktail for the treatment and prevention of COVID-19. • Partnered with Regional One Health to launch one of only a few post-COVID-19 clinics in the country for individuals suffering from residual effects of the virus. • Working with colleagues at the University of New Mexico, CoM identified three drugs, already approved for other uses in humans, as possible therapeutics for COVID-19. • University Family Physician’s clinic for the Department of Medicine in Knoxville was instrumental in administering more than 25,000 tests for Covid-19 at The University of Tennessee Medical Center. • Hosted the director of the CDC for a virtual conversation about the coronavirus and public health response. • Jon McCullers, MD, senior associate dean for Clinical Affairs and chief operating officer for the College of Medicine and pediatrician-in-chief at Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital, was appointed to the Shelby County Board of Health. He is also on the Memphis and Shelby County COVID-19 Joint Task Force and the COVID-19 Advisory Committee for the UT System. • CoM students and faculty joined the community vaccination force in Shelby County at several sites. • CoM faculty and students at clinical partner institutions joined the vaccination effort across the state. • UTHSC, University Clinical Health, and the City of Memphis assumed direction of the Shelby County vaccination distribution effort. • UTHSC’s COVID-19 vaccine team, including those from CoM, were honored by Memphis and Shelby County leaders.



CoM Moves to Improve Health for All By Peggy Reisser In his 2021 State of the College of Medicine Address in May, Dean Strome addressed the college’s dedication to improving health equity in Tennessee and beyond. “We fundamentally believe that every single person deserves someone to care about them,” the dean said. “That’s just a fundamental fact. It’s been highlighted by COVID-19. It’s been highlighted by the disparities in health care. We simply have to do better.” To do better, the college is developing a new program called Equitable Health in Neighborhoods. Partnering with its (advisory) Board of Visitors, the college will focus on three diseases – high blood pressure, diabetes, and high cholesterol – which are the most common killers in underserved communities. Leading the project, is Altha Stewart, MD, senior associate dean for Community Health Engagement, working with Jim Bailey, MD, Robert S. Pearce Endowed Chair in Internal Medicine and director of the Center for Health Systems Improvement and the Tennessee Population Health Consortium at UTHSC.

The goal is to work with partner health care providers and professionals in Tennessee communities to screen for these diseases in underserved neighborhoods and offer care. In this way, the College of Medicine can make significant inroads toward addressing health disparities and improving overall health in Tennessee. The infrastructure is being set up, however, one aspect of the program is already set in stone. “If you walk in, we are going to try to help you,” the dean said.

Other Efforts by the CoM to Improve Health Equity: A $4.5 million grant from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality will allow researchers in the College of Medicine to set up a network of primary care providers across the state to improve outcomes for cardiovascular disease patients. Dr. Bailey is the principal investigator working with clinical partner institutions across the state. The Tennessee Heart Health Network will help participating practices offer new services, like health coaching and motivational text messaging, that have been proven to help people do better at healthy eating, physical activity, taking essential medications regularly, and stopping smoking. The network will develop and offer toolkits with evidenced-based and patient-tested interventions to participating primary care providers across the state.

CoM researchers are participating in a project to improve COVID-19 health outcomes among underserved Tennesseans. The Tennessee Community Engagement Alliance (CEAL) Against COVID-19 Disparities was established in response to the National Institutes of Health’s nationwide CEAL initiative. The $1 million statewide effort is being led by Meharry Medical College, and UTHSC is one of 33 academic and community partners across Tennessee collaborating on the project. Drs. Bailey and Stewart are co-principal investigators for West Tennessee.



Michelle Martin, PhD, director of the Center for Innovation in Health Equity Research at UTHSC, in collaboration with researchers at the University of Alabama at Birmingham Minority Health and Health Disparities Research Center, received a $2.39 million grant to create the Emotional Well-being and Economic Burden Research Network (EMOT-ECON), which will look at how the financial consequences of a disease affect a person’s emotional well-being. “Our work will advance understanding of financial burden and emotional well-being and generate the body of knowledge necessary for developing interventions that minimize the impact of financial burden and enhance emotional wellbeing,” Dr. Martin said.

Karen Derefinko, PhD, assistant professor in the Department of Preventive Medicine and the Department of Pharmacology, Addiction Science, and Toxicology, has received a $201,631 grant to study ways to reduce the stigma those in the African American community face when seeking treatment for opioid use disorder.

The Center for Health in Justice Involved Youth and the Office of Community Health Engagement in the College of Medicine led events in recognition of National Children’s Mental Health Awareness Week May 2-8. Activities, which included webinars and a Children’s Wellness Fair, promoted the importance of the mental health needs of children, adolescents, and their families, needs that have been heightened by the pandemic.

The Shelby County Relative Caregiver Program, funded by the Tennessee Department of Children’s Services and operating under the Center on Developmental Disabilities in the College of Medicine, hosted a cooking class on Zoom to teach children in the program how to cook a healthy meal. For nearly 20 years, the program has provided support and services to children who are being cared for by relatives because their parents are not able to raise them.



Frayser Community Garden Plants Seeds of Health in Memphis By Alan Burns

On a cold January morning, members of the Frayser community in Memphis, leaders from the University of Tennessee Health Science Center, the UTHSC College of Medicine Board of Visitors, the City of Memphis Division of Parks and Neighborhoods, and private partners came together to plant hope into the community’s soil. Frayser, which sits in the northern portion of the city, is home to approximately 50,000 Memphians and is the new home to the Frayser Community Garden. The garden, a joint effort of the Frayser community, UTHSC, and the city of Memphis, found its home on a 2.3-acre plot at the Links at Davy Crockett. Meetings between Dean Scott Strome, Altha Stewart, MD, senior associate dean for Community Health Engagement in the college; and Reverend Charlie Caswell, director of the Legacy of Legends CDC, led to discussions about food deserts and how to bring healthier foods to communities in need. A peach tree was planted in the garden on that January day, as the groups broke ground on the garden and started what they hope to be a fruitful community project. “This represents an excellent beginning to a program that we hope will lead to improved health outcomes for members of this community by offering healthy nutrition options, physical activity, and positive social activity for participating community members,” Dr. Stewart said. Members of the Frayser community have been front and center in the planning and execution of the garden, including Regenia Dowell, who has been in the community for over 40 years. Dowell serves as a member of the Garden Council and the Garden Communications Committee, as well as the president of the Frayser Parent-Teacher-Student Association. “Overall, I see this as a positive impact in our community,” she said. “I know people that garden and some have to go 8


far outside the city for land to garden and farm, but this will give us a chance to grow fruits and vegetables right here in our neighborhood.” She sees this garden ultimately as a chance to grow relationships in Frayser and the city of Memphis, while educating community members and younger generations about gardening and agriculture. “We see the goal of this garden as providing a place for people to be active, to understand their food’s origins, and overall to increase the health and well-being of the Frayser community,” said Nathan Lubin, president of Lubin Enterprises, Inc., and a member of the college’s Board of Visitors. “If we can utilize the assets of UTHSC to impact community health and societal well-being, we have an obligation to do that. So, let us get started.” Lubin, along with other board members, including Jim Shaheen, founder and chairman of Shaheen Strategic Investments, will be assisting the Frayser community with planning and collecting data on the plot’s soil and determining the best plants for the area. Along with providing equipment and services, such as tilling and fertilizing, the board also plans to work with the gardeners on increasing knowledge about the plants, foods, and more. Current plans are for the community members to begin planting in the fall. Dean Strome noted that the garden, and others in the future, have the potential to have a huge impact in the communities, but that the partnerships are the foundational pillars to building this health initiative. “We want people to realize that these are not UTHSC gardens, but gardens for and by this community,” he said. “We are a catalyst in our communities that can help drive meaningful change and promote equitable health.”

Improving Access to Mental Health Services for Youth in the Community By Jackie Denton The Center for Health In Justice Involved Youth (CHJIY) began more than six years ago to provide support for children and their families who may have contact with the justice system, however, it has evolved into much more. “We are now the go-to place for people who can’t figure out how to navigate the system,” said Altha Stewart, MD, CHJIY director. CHJIY began with funding of just $200,000 in 2015. Now, it has funding in excess of $2 million. “What started small is now an access point and portal of entry for children with mental health problems and trauma-related issues, and families in which instability in a household or community is a part of the problem,” Dr. Stewart said. “Collaborations with community organizations is the order of the day, and we serve as a central coordinating body. We are at the core of this.” The center has positioned itself as a resource for families and youth to have better access and resources to deal with trauma, Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) or exposure to trauma or violence that can contribute to negative behaviors in children, mental health services, as well as other support services related to the social determinants of health, such as access to transportation or food insecurity. By raising awareness for better mental health services for young people and their families and by coordinating the delivery of those services, CHJIY is ensuring the community’s youth have a chance to succeed. Programs include the Shelby Connects Network System of Care, which works with children who are showing the potential for becoming involved with the Department of Children’s Services, law enforcement, the juvenile justice system, or child welfare systems. CHJIY work with youth,

their families, and community mental health providers on the development of individualized services for treatment of mental health issues in partnership with mental health care providers, support specialists, and community agencies. Another program is Gang Intervention Focusing on Families and Trauma Supports (GIFFTS ), which aims to reduce the impact of violence on youth in specific neighborhoods through an enhanced gang intervention and prevention model. As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the GIFFTS program pivoted its services to address the needs of underserved youth affiliated with gangs or at-risk of being involved in gangs. “When the whole city shut down last year when COVID-19 first started, we were still in the community,” said Rhonda Shaw, EdD, CHIJIY program administrator. “We continued to support families. One of the barriers they face is transportation. Many of the food distribution lines, you had to be in a vehicle. Specialists made sure to pick up lunches and food boxes and delivered them to families to make sure they had what they needed at that time.” The GIFFTS program had to transition its school-based intervention model to a community-based approach, because schools were closed. CHJIY was able to continue and expand its comprehensive model for gang intervention and prevention by adding trauma-informed and family support services. With its Wraparound Frayser program, CHJIY works directly with school personnel and providers to identify the needs of children and with the families to ensure those needs are met, creating a trauma-informed school environment to support emotional well-being and improved academic performance. CHJIY partners with community faith-based organizations, such as the Legacy of Legends in Frayser. Laura Harris, PhD, CHJIY research director, said the center is working to expand the number of communities it serves. “The juvenile justice system was not designed to be the junior adult criminal justice system,” Dr. Stewart said. “It was, in its early days, designed as a rehabilitation, because children are developing. There is a potential for change, for improvement – so it is this what we are known for.”



Dr. Denis Foretia, third from right, and UTHSC physicians Drs. Austin Dalgo and Ken Busby, met with leaders of the Levy Mwanawasa University Teaching Hospital in Lusaka, Zambia, in August 2019.

CoM Reaches Out to a Wider Community For the College of Medicine, community outreach extends not only locally and nationally, but globally. The new UTHSC Center for Multicultural and Global Health (CMGH) was born from the passion of faculty and students in the College of Medicine to extend the university’s expertise and impact overseas, and at the same time, bring back experience and knowledge that stands to improve care at home. Its mission is to cultivate and leverage relationships with institutions in the United States and overseas to expand student, resident, and faculty access to multicultural health care delivery, address global health challenges, and train the next generation of global health leaders. Surgeons Dennis Foretia, MD; Nia Zalamea, MD; and Austin Dalgo, MD, MA; are among those leading the development of the center. All three are experienced at overseas health care work, and each has a deep dedication to improving delivery abroad and bringing lessons learned back home. “The mission of the center is to advance equitable and sustainable health across Tennessee and the world through knowledge, partnership, and discovery,” said Dr. Dalgo, 10


an assistant professor of pediatrics and the director of the Center for Bioethics and Health Equity at Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital. “I believe our center is poised to serve as a hub within the university that connects partners and our center to the real needs of the world.” These physicians believe embracing health care beyond the university and its immediate partners is the ticket to advancing health equity in Memphis and elsewhere. “As I often say to my learners, most U.S.-trained health care providers understand the problems and diseases that face the 1 billion or so people living in high-income countries, but in our center, we are seeking to teach about and work alongside the other 6.5 billion,” Dr. Dalgo said. “I believe that our center will provide a forum for students and faculty to seek health equality through knowledge and experience, both locally and globally.” The Center for Multicultural and Global Health was born from experience gained through another outreach organization in the College of Medicine, the Global Surgery Institute (GSI). Founded in 2018, the GSI was designed to anchor and support surgical mission work that was already being done across specialties, assist surgical residents and

students interested in doing mission work, and apply lessons learned about efficient health care delivery around the globe to local delivery of surgical care. A survey done during the organizational phase showed that approximately 20 surgical faculty members were providing 58 weeks of mission work each year around the globe on their own time, Dr. Zalamea said. The physicians, including Dr. Zalamea, were donating their surgical skills to help people in China, Vietnam, Honduras, Nicaragua, India, and the Philippines, among many destinations. They included ophthalmologists, plastic surgeons, pediatric surgeons, pediatric cardiac surgeons, general surgeons, surgical oncologists, and more. That survey also showed 60 percent of incoming residents were interested in doing international work as part of their training, and 65 to 70 percent of medical students had already been involved in international work prior to residency. Prior to the pandemic, Dr. Zalamea did medical mission work annually in the Philippines since 1999 with her family, who founded the Memphis Mission of Mercy, a 501(c)(3 ) nonprofit to provide health care to their home country. Dr. Foretia has traveled to Africa many times in recent years, until the global pandemic put that on hold. The most-recent trips to Zambia helped Drs. Foretia and Dalgo establish a partnership with Levy Mwanawasa Medical University in Lusaka, Zambia, that allows the institutions to collaborate in clinical care delivery; teaching medical, nursing, pharmacy, and other health care students; and research. A new effort, the Herbert Shainberg Scholars Program, will provide rising M4 medical students with the opportunity to study at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev in Israel for four weeks. In exchange, Ben-Gurion University will send students to UTHSC for four weeks. Ben-Gurion University Medical School for International Health has extensive programming and opportunities, including work with the Bedouin community there, to facilitate learning the various cultural, ethnic, and religious aspects of providing care. So many UTHSC faculty members and students are now interested in or involved in health outreach in the U.S. and abroad that it became clear the effort was bigger than the GSI. “Most of the work that is being done is not necessarily restricted to surgery or surgical subspecialties. It is allencompassing, including global health in general, in addition to surgical care, but it also includes the real need that we have across UTHSC to really better understand multicultural care delivery and how we deliver it,” Dr. Foretia said. “The message we are trying to send is that at UTHSC, we are really looking to leverage our expertise in providing care locally and internationally to inform how we better train medical students and residents coming out of our program,” Dr. Foretia said.

Dr. Nia Zalamea, left, with a coworker and a patient in the Philippines.

COVID-19 restrictions on travel have not stalled the mission. The CMGH has gone digital for the time being, actually increasing communication with international partners. • CoM students and medical students in Zambia meet on a monthly basis to exchange ideas through a journal club. • Plans for the Israel program are developing in order to be ready once travel restrictions are lifted. • International speakers have been brought in via Zoom to exchange information virtually about COVID-19 response around the globe. • A research collaboration with the medical university in Zambia is developing. • Work in the Philippines continues long distance. Since February, the mission has distributed over 80,000 N-95 masks to the Philippines, South Korea, and Italy. Also, more than 50,000 N-95 masks were distributed locally to Regional One Health, Baptist Memorial Health Care, Methodist Le Bonheur Health Care, local nursing homes, and testing centers.

Accelerated Curriculum Aims to Increase Primary Care Physicians in Tennessee By Peggy Reisser Leigh Anne Hogue, 32, is not your traditional incoming medical student. Yet, she is exactly the kind of student the College of Medicine is seeking for its newest program. A native of Kingsport, Tennessee, Hogue has a master’s degree in community and regional planning from the University of Oregon and spent four years working in that field in Oregon.

“Then, I decided that it just wasn’t the right fit for me as a person, and I wanted to have a different type of impact on people and their lives,” she said. “Through that process, I realized that I needed to move back to Tennessee, because I was going to become a physician and I really wanted to be a physician in the community where I felt connected to the people.” Hogue will be among the first cohort for the College of Medicine’s new Accelerated Three-Year MD Program, which allows students committed to practicing in primary care fields to complete their medical education and training in three years, instead of the traditional four years. “I knew this three-year program was a really perfect fit for me. Being an older student and from my experience, I feel like I’ve already spent the time getting to know myself, and the type of physician that I want to be, so I knew already that I wanted to go into primary care,” she said. “And so, the idea of going into the three-year program, being able to go ahead and pick my specialty, and go ahead and know that I’m going to get this in Tennessee, where I want to be a doctor, really just seemed like the perfect path forward for me.” When Dean Strome joined the College of Medicine in 2018, he set his sights on reducing student debt and increasing access to medical education. The accelerated curriculum program, launched earlier this year, is designed to do both. The college is recruiting its first group of up to 10 students to begin this fall. “We are incredibly excited about this program, as it will increase the already outstanding quality of our applicant pool, reduce the burden of student debt, and grow the pool of talented primary care physicians to serve the health care needs of Tennesseans,” Dean Strome said. Candidates must first be accepted into the college’s fouryear program, and then apply for the accelerated option. The program is available to students who know they want to enter the fields of Family Medicine, Internal Medicine, Pediatrics, Medicine-Pediatrics, Obstetrics and Gynecology, or Psychiatry. Accepted students will be conditionally accepted to one of these residency programs in the UTHSC system upon graduation from medical school.

The new curriculum allows the College of Medicine to help relieve the critical shortage of primary care physicians in the state, particularly in rural areas. It is hoped the program encourages graduates to remain in Tennessee to practice. In the accelerated curriculum, the preclinical phase of classroom instruction in the first two years of medical school will be similar to the standard curriculum. Students will complete all the core clinical rotations, but fewer electives since they will have already chosen their field

of practice. This allows students to complete medical school in a shorter time, while receiving similar training to their four-year peers “I honestly thought I would go elsewhere,” Hogue said. “But then, when I interviewed with UTHSC and got to meet the faculty and learn more about the school, I just knew I had to come to UTHSC, if I were to be accepted.”

Reducing Student Debt a Major Goal of the College of Medicine By Liana McWilliams The College of Medicine is committed to reducing tuition and easing debt for its students. The college has worked over the last three years to meet these goals, reducing tuition for non-resident students by $15,808 (23.3%) since 2019. In-state tuition for students has remained at a steady level since the beginning of the 2019 fall semester.

While the national average for debt after medical school was $176,617 in 2020, the college has worked hard to lower the average debt of its students. Between 2016 and 2020, the average debt of medical students at UTHSC decreased by $13,525 to $169,674 and is now 4% lower than the national average of $176,617.

Beyond focusing on tuition, the college has other initiatives aimed at decreasing student debt. These include financial literacy training for medical students, a financial wellness website that includes resources for students, and increasing scholarship support. More than 92% of medical students have received grants, stipends, and scholarships, up from 65.9% in 2017.

The work appears to be helping to relieve some stress on medical students. Student satisfaction rates have climbed since 2018 (76%) and have continued to rise each year, reaching an 88% satisfaction rate in 2020, according to a survey given by the college. This increase has put the college at an equal level with national averages for satisfaction among students.

By the Numbers 92%

UTHSC medical students receiving non-loan aid* (increase from 65.9% in 2017) *aid includes grants, stipends, and scholarships


$34, 566 Resident tuition (no increase in three years)

$51,850 Non-resident tuition (23.3% decrease since 2019)

Average Tennessee medical student debt (4% lower than national average)



CoM Looks Inward to Improve Success Outward By Jackie Denton The College of Medicine is doing some introspection, as it prepares for the accreditation visit of the Liaison Committee on Medical Education (LCME) this fall. “I’ve asked the team to view this, not so much as just a test, but as a chance for introspection and a chance to improve on things we might not be quite so good at,” Dean Strome said, during his State of the College presentation. “I think through careful study and introspection, we’ve identified areas of weakness, as well as areas of strength, and it’s given us the opportunity to get better.” The LCME is the nationally recognized accrediting authority for medical education programs leading to the MD degree at U.S. and Canadian medical schools. The standard term of accreditation by the LCME is eight years. Successful accreditation is vital to the College of Medicine and the university, as it allows medical students to receive financial aid, take the United States Medical Licensing Examinations, and participate in residency programs accredited by the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education. The College of Medicine has been planning and preparing for the visit since 2018. Dean Strome appointed a Quality Improvement and Compliance Committee, which is composed of faculty and staff, who are content experts across the educational platforms within the college. In addition, the college has multiple committees, including the

Self-Study Task Force, the Independent Student Analysis Committee, and several LCME Standards Subcommittees. Feedback from students has been an integral piece to the process. Information obtained through the Independent Student Analysis and the Association of American Medical Colleges Graduation Questionnaire last year, enabled the college to develop processes for quality improvement to ensure it is providing the best educational experience for current and future cohorts. Dean Strome said the issue that is most important to him from the student perspective is whether they are overall satisfied with the quality of their medical education. Over the past two years, the college has dramatically improved on this score, and is now at slightly above the national average. “One of my teachers used to say that the test is the time where you relax and show off what you know, it’s the preparation for the test that is difficult,” Dean Strome said. “Right now, we’ve prepared for this test, and I want to thank the team for all of their diligent preparation. We continue to prepare, as we seek to do better for our students – that is why we are all here, to teach and train the next generation of students in the state of Tennessee and beyond, who will assume the mantle and change the fate of health care in the future.”

The CoM’s internal examination has resulted in: • Increased diversity and inclusion within the college • Recruitment and hiring of new instructors and course directors

• Creation of data bases with up-to-date research opportunities • Development of a residents-as-educators curriculum

• Improvements to the pre-clerkship and clinical curriculums

• Standardization of lecture topics across the state

• More scholarships to attract well-qualified minority students

• Improvements to the onboarding process

• Matching minority students with faculty mentors

• Flexibility in the M4 year during residency interviews

• Better course organization and sequencing

• Free tutoring for all M1 and M2 students

• Changing the timing for breaks



• Career exploration electives for M3s

Shephard Named Associate Dean of Diversity and Inclusion Claudette Jones Shephard, MD, has been named the founding associate dean of Diversity and Inclusion for the College of Medicine. She currently serves as an associate professor and interim chair of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology in the college. For 10 years, Dr. Shephard has been the college’s representative for the Association of American Medical Colleges’ Diversity and Inclusion Committee. “Last year was a very interesting year, not just with COVID-19 and the pandemic, but all the social issues,” Dr. Shephard said. “For me this new role means that the college has come to realize that it’s time to have a specific role focused on diversity and inclusion. So I applaud it, I’m excited for this role.” As associate dean of Diversity and Inclusion, she will be charged with assembling a team of leaders to develop a strategic plan with the goal of increasing diversity and inclusion in the college over the next three years. This includes students, residents, fellows, and faculty within the college. She will also advise the Office of Student Affairs and Admissions and the Office of Medical Education on increasing recruitment of diverse students and faculty, and assist with the development of an inclusive curriculum for its students and faculty. “Some people have different ideas of what diversity is, they think in terms of underrepresented minorities,” she said. “It goes beyond just the underrepresented, the inclusion piece helps you feel like you belong. You can invite me to the party, but if you don’t sit next to me, or let me play the games, then I don’t know that I want to be there.” Dr. Shephard has been with UTHSC for more than 30 years. She first joined the college as an instructor in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology. “Diversity enhances whatever product we have,” Dr. Shephard said. “We see the need and importance of different talents and perspectives when corporations are coming together. It’s the same thing when building a curriculum, because we need to learn from the experience of everybody. I want everyone to feel excited about diversity and inclusion. For people not to feel like they are being forced to change, because that’s not going to do it. People have to want to change, because they realize it’s the right thing to do. And everybody wins.”



Students Achieve First 100% Pass Rate on Step 1 Exam

Third-year medical students achieved a 100% pass rate on the Step 1 Licensing Exam for the first time in UTHSC history, exceeding the national average by a full point. The exam, normally given during the second year before clerkships begin, was initially canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic and moved multiple times throughout the last year. “Our students worked extra hard during this challenging year, and even with multiple setbacks and limited resources, they managed to achieve new heights on their licensing exams,” said Michael Whitt, PhD, associate dean for Medical Education. “This speaks to the incredible strength of our student body, their diligent preparation, and our medical education,” Dean Strome said.

Working to End Gun Violence Physicians in the College of Medicine see gunshot victims in the emergency room too often. The college and the university joined other organizations to stop gun violence in the Memphis community. The university is one of several community sponsors and participants in the Unity Walks Against Gun Violence, which have been led by the Memphis Shelby County Crime Commission, as part of an ongoing initiative to bring awareness to the alarming rate of crime, especially gun crimes, in the city. “We are proud to join community leaders as we take a stand against gun violence in Memphis,” Dean Strome said. “Unfortunately, we see this occur too often. While we are unable to solve the issue completely, we remain committed to being a part of the solution to initiate change.”

UTHSC Launches New Cancer Program The College of Medicine has formed a new UTHSC Cancer Program. The program is a comprehensive, multidisciplinary initiative consisting of a group of university faculty clinicians, who will provide cancer care across multiple university-affiliated hospital systems and clinical practice groups in the region. The new program includes physicians in all cancer-related specialties and is centered around evidence-based interdisciplinary tumor board conferences that develop the best personalized treatment plan for each patient. The UTHSC Cancer Program also features a robust cancer research center with clinical trials and investigative efforts in basic, translational, population, and clinical sciences. David Shibata, MD, FACS, FASCRS, was named executive director and chief medical officer for the UTHSC Cancer Program.

Family Medicine Residency in Chattanooga Receives Generous Donation The Medical Foundation of Chattanooga gifted $135,000 to the UTHSC College of Medicine Chattanooga Family Medicine Department to support resident training. This gift allows the two current residents to complete the program. The program sees this donation as an opportunity to keep increasing the future of primary care in Chattanooga, the state of Tennessee, and the Southeast region.



Maday Named 2020 Tennessee Academy of Physician Assistants Educator of the Year Kristopher Maday, MS, PA-C, program director and associate professor in the UTHSC Physician Assistant (PA) Program received the 2020 Tennessee Academy of Physician Assistants (TAPA) Educator of the Year Award. Maday was formally recognized by TAPA on October 5 at the organization’s Fall Fest in Gatlinburg. The PA program at UTHSC began in 2013. Maday joined in 2017 to help the program grow. By 2018, the UTHSC PA Program was granted a 10-year accreditation by the Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant, Inc. That year’s graduating class earned a 100% first-time pass rate on the Physician Assistant National Certifying Exam.

Fulton Named Assistant Dean for Admissions in CoM Dustin Fulton, EdD, was named assistant dean for Admissions in the College of Medicine in January. Dr. Fulton served as interim assistant dean since May 2020. Dr. Fulton oversees and directs all operations and programs related to the admittance of medical students to the college, including managing the operations of the college’s Office of Admissions. He develops and implements recruitment strategies that link the college’s mission to the admission of a diverse group of students and assists in evaluating the outcomes of the admissions process.

New Class Welcomed with White Coat Presentation In September, the College of Medicine hosted its new first-year medical students for a small White Coat Presentation in the Student-Alumni Center on the Memphis campus. Following COVID-19 safety protocols, students received their coats from faculty members and were presented with their stethoscopes. The coats and stethoscopes were provided by alumni, faculty, and friends of UTHSC. “The College of Medicine is grateful for the generosity of each donor who sponsored white coats and stethoscopes for our incoming medical students,” said Dustin Fulton, EdD, assistant dean for Admissions. “These gifts allowed students the opportunity to start their journey to becoming a physician without the burden of any added expenses in an already tough year. We look forward to celebrating their accomplishments through a formal White Coat Ceremony later this year.”



Mire Named President-Elect of the American College of Physicians Ryan D. Mire, MD, FACP, a 1998 alumnus of the College of Medicine, was named president-elect of the American College of Physicians (ACP). The ACP represents internal medicine physicians, related subspecialists, and medical students. It is the largest medical specialty organization and second-largest physician group in the United States. Dr. Mire, a private practice internist and an assistant professor for the College of Medicine in Nashville, will be installed as the ACP president in April 2022. “I am humbly honored and grateful for the opportunity to serve in this leadership role,” Dr. Mire said. “My first encounter with the ACP was during my internship when I submitted and presented a case abstract. The organization has contributed immensely to my personal and professional growth over the years. I find it a privilege to now serve and give back to ACP in this capacity.”

Second Addiction Symposium Emphasizes Collaboration Across Tennessee Faculty from UTHSC, University of Tennessee President Randy Boyd, community advocates, and faculty from other institutions came together in May to discuss drug misuse and addiction issues, and to look at potential solutions. The Symposium on Drug Misuse and Addiction was hosted virtually by the College of Medicine and the University of Tennessee at Knoxville College of Nursing. President Boyd addressed the symposium with his thoughts on the collaboration that he has seen so far in efforts to reduce substance misuse. “Coming together so that we can all be aware of each other’s work is important and allows us to form a connection to tackle this issue in our state,” he said.

New Master’s in Forensic Dentistry UTHSC’s College of Graduate Health Sciences with the UT Graduate School of Medicine in Knoxville began offering a Master of Dental Science degree program in Forensic Dentistry in Fall 2020.

CoM Focuses on Wellness for Students, Faculty, Alumni The College of Medicine is working to make wellness part of everyday language for physicians, including residents, students, faculty, and alumni. This includes training, literature, and resources on staying physically and mentally well. As part of the college’s focus on wellness, virtual town hall meetings were held in March and April for students and faculty to talk about ways to better balance school, work, and life. Initiatives also include academic counseling for students, a Medical Student Wellness Committee, and a Graduate Medical Education Wellness website. Individual departments in the college also have their own programs.

Herr and Summers 2021 Excellence in Teaching Awards Recipients College of Medicine faculty members Michael J. Herr II, PhD, (left) an assistant professor in the Department of Anatomy and Neurobiology, and Nathan A. Summers, MD, an assistant professor in the Division of Infectious Diseases, received 2021 Excellence in Teaching Awards from the Student Government Association Executive Council. Two Excellence in Teaching Awards for each college are presented by students annually to faculty members. They are among the highest honors given to faculty on campus.



Why Make an Annual Gift to UTHSC?

Donating to UTHSC every year helps us provide scholarships, laboratory equipment, travel grants, community outreach initiatives, and many other benefits that would not be available using state or tuition-provided dollars alone! Thank you for being a partner with our campus, our colleges, and our programs. Your gift in any amount will make a difference. Donate $100 or more and become a member of our 1911 Society! For details, go to giving.uthsc.edu/1911.

Make your gift today! giving.uthsc.edu/give | 901.448.5516

2021 Match Day A Success When the pandemic hit early in 2020, medical students at UTHSC may have worried that their paths to graduation might be delayed. However, Match Day 2021 illustrates that their resilience and hard work allowed them to complete their training on schedule and to secure excellent residencies that will prepare them for bright futures in medicine. On March 19, 163 UTHSC medical students participated in Match Day to find out where they will be spending the next few years in residency programs. Recruitment for Match Day 2021 was done virtually due to COVID-19; however, according to the National Resident Matching Program, the 2021 Main Residency Match grew to its largest ever, with over 48,000 applicants and over 38,000 positions. Of the 163 UTHSC medical students matched, 42% matched to a preliminary or advanced program in Tennessee. Of the 42% who matched in Tennessee, 40%, or 65 students, matched into a UTHSC residency. Others matched into programs across the country, with 2% matching into a military residency. “This has been an unprecedented year for our fourth-year medical students, who initially had to be removed from their clerkships in their third year due to the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Catherine Womack, MD, associate dean of Student Affairs and Admissions in the College of Medicine. “Despite that, many worked with the College of Medicine to develop one of the only free COVID-19 testing sites before they returned to their clerkships and managed to graduate on time. These students were very flexible and did all their interviewing virtually. I am so proud of them and happy that they have matched to all these amazing programs, and I am looking forward to hearing about all their accomplishments when they come back for their UTHSC class reunions!”



BY THE NUMBERS • 163 matched in PGY1 positions; 4 are doing a postgraduation research year • 42% (69) Remaining in Tennessee (40% in UT System) • Of those in Tennessee 48 will be in Memphis, 1 in Jackson, 6 in Chattanooga, 5 in Knoxville, and 5 in Nashville • 2% (4) Matched into the Military Residency • 49% (79) Chose Primary Care specialties

THE RESIDENCIES INCLUDE: • 21% Medicine/Internal Medicine • 24% Surgery (includes Neurosurgery, 2; Ophthalmology, 4; Otolaryngology, 3; and Orthopedic Surgery, 6) • 17% Peds/Med-Peds • 7% Family Medicine • 6% Emergency Medicine • 6% Diagnostic Radiology • 4% OB • 3% Psychiatry • 2% Anesthesiology • 2% Research • 2% Pathology • 1% (each) Dermatology, Pathology, Physical Med and Rehab, Radiation Oncology, Preliminary Medicine

Congratulations Class of 2021!

BY THE NUMBERS • 160 Received MD degree - May 19 • 3.48 Average GPA • 11 Achieved a 4.0 GPA •9 Matriculated with an earlier class and took a Scholar’s Year for research or a Master’s in Public Health

• 1 Entered the PhD program and earned an MD/PhD at UTHSC • 1 Earned a dual Oral Maxillofacial Surgery/MD degree

For the first time in more than a year, in-person commencement ceremonies were held in May. The Class of 2021 graduated in a ceremony at the Renasant Convention Center in Memphis on May 19. Muthiah P. Muthiah, MD, associate professor in the Division of Pulmonary, Critical Care, and Sleep Medicine, served as the keynote speaker for the event. The class also heard from Kenneth Cocca, MD, president of the class.

BOARD PASS RATES • 95% USMLE Step 1 first-time pass rate with average score of 230 •9 7% USMLE Step 2 CK first-time pass rate *Due to the pandemic, the USMLE Step 2 CS exam was canceled

Couple’s Philanthropy Helps Students and Improves Care to Underserved Physicians Dana and Paul Latour wanted to do something to help students at their alma mater, and at the same time, make an impact on the health care landscape in their home state. The Latours, both 1977 alums of the UTHSC College of Medicine, made a significant investment to create a scholarship for students who express the desire to practice in rural and underserved communities. In this way, the Latours are doing their part to help ease the critical need for primary care physicians in underserved areas of Tennessee and beyond. “We have to think differently about access to primary care, particularly in rural and underserved areas,” Dr. Paul Latour said. “We wanted to invest in primary care medicine, as well as in the College of Medicine and future physicians.” This scholarship is a one-time award of about $25,000 presented just before graduation and after Match Day to students who are going into primary care in rural or underserved areas. Dr. Dana Latour completed a dermatology residency at UTHSC in 1981. Dr. Paul Latour completed internal medicine, nephrology and intensive-care training at UTHSC, finishing in 1982. They practiced individually for several years, then joined together at Franklin Dermatology Group and Latour Skin Care Center for the remainder of their careers, retiring about 10 years ago. 24


Dana Latour served as a member of the College of Medicine Alumni Council from 2018 – 2020. The couple has also significantly supported the Kaplan-Amonette Department of Dermatology and been involved with Dermatology and College of Medicine alumni activities. They made the decision to invest in the future of primary care physician in 2018 because of their strong belief in the importance of primary care medicine. It is important to them for the scholarship committee to give strong preference to students who express the desire to practice in rural and underserved communities because of the critical need and shortage of primary care in these areas. “The scholarship allowed us to aid outstanding medical students who have financial need by reducing their medical debt, while also addressing the critical shortage of primary care in rural and underserved areas,” Dr. Paul Latour said. Allan Akin, MD, from McKenzie, Tennessee, and Kirstie Finch, MD, from Lebanon, Tennessee, were the 2020 recipients. “This scholarship not only provides incredible financial assistance, but also validates my excitement in pursuing primary care in Tennessee,” Dr. Finch wrote to thank the Latours. “I am hopeful one day to emulate the incredible example you have set and pay it forward to the future generation of physicians as you have so thoughtfully done for me.”

SAVE THE DATE! 2021 College of Medicine Alumni Weekend | September 24–25 | Memphis This weekend is currently scheduled as an in-person event. Because we could not get together in 2020, we are honoring more classes this year. We will honor the following years: 1980, 1981, 1990, 1991, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2010, 2011.

Planned events include: • Back-to-Class socially distanced experience • Cocktail reception and Alumni Awards dinner • Recognition reception • Class reunion activities • The Alumni Council fall board meeting. For questions regarding Alumni Weekend, please contact Natassha Bowles, 901.448.2596, nbowles@utfi.org. For questions regarding class reunions, please contact Nahosha Braziel-Adams, 901.448.4959, nbraziel@uthsc.edu.

Leave Your Legacy Have you thought about the legacy you will leave behind? With a Planned Gift, you can: • Simplify your estate for your family • Reduce the tax burden applied to your assets • Benefit causes you hold dear

Legacy donors become members of the Hershel “Pat” Wall Legacy Society Dr. Wall’s more than 50 years of dedication to UTHSC as a student, faculty member, and administrator are unsurpassed. His legacy will live forever, as will the impact made by our donors. For more information about planned gifts to UTHSC and Legacy Society membership, contact Bethany Goolsby at 901.448.5516 or estateplans@uthsc.edu.

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2021 GOLDEN GRADUATE HOMECOMING OCTOBER 20–23 | MEMPHIS Honoring the graduates of 1970 and 1971 from all six UTHSC Colleges The Office of Alumni Affairs recognizes the importance of celebrating with your classmates at the Golden Graduate Homecoming in October. We are excited and working diligently to plan an event that is safe and enjoyable for you. At this time, we are planning an in-person event. Above all, our goal is to ensure the safety and health of all alumni and their families, and this could result in changes to our scheduled plans. Please save the date in October and look for ongoing updates Planned events will include: Welcome reception | College open houses and tours Breakfast and lunch with classmates Golden Graduate reception, ceremony, and dinner at The Peabody Hotel Early Bird registration closes Friday, August 27. Standard registration closes Wednesday, October 6. For registration and hotel information, visit alumni.uthsc.edu/golden

For more information, contact Nahosha Braziel-Adams in the Office of Development and Alumni Affairs at nbraziel@utfi.org or 901.448.4959.