A Nashville native, Dr. Thomas “Tommy” Frist, Jr. is a graduate of Nashville’s Montgomery Bell Academy and Vanderbilt University. An entrepreneur at heart, Dr. Frist created a collegiate advertising company and earned his pilot license while at Vanderbilt University. In 1965, he graduated from the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis and then returned to Vanderbilt University for his surgical residency.
His residency was interrupted by a two-year term as a flight surgeon at Robins Air Force Base in Warner Robins, Georgia during the Vietnam War. While in the military, Dr. Frist had an idea for a company that would bring hospitals together to share resources. In 1968, Dr. Frist, his father Dr. Thomas F. Frist, Sr. and Jack C. Massey formed Hospital Corporation of America (HCA). As one of the nation’s first investor-owned hospital companies, HCA modernized the way health care was delivered in the United States while keeping patient care and safety first. Dr. Frist served HCA in various leadership roles including President, Chief Executive Officer and Chairman. He remained on the Board of Directors of HCA until 2009 and currently serves as Chairman Emeritus.
Philanthropy has always been an important part of Dr. Frist’s life. His board activities have included The Frist Center, Harvard Business School Board of Dean’s Advisors, Montgomery Bell Academy, Nashville Health Care Council, United Way—both the national board and United Way of Nashville— and Vanderbilt University, among others. Dr. Frist also has been the recipient of a number of awards, including United Way’s “Lifetime Achievement Award” and the Nashville Business Journal’s “Best in Business Lifetime Achievement Award.”
Dr. Frist is quick to credit his success to his wife, Patricia (Trish), for her support and encouragement throughout the years. She kept Dr. Frist grounded on their first priority—their three children—while he helped build HCA into the company it is today.
A dedicated businessman, lifelong philanthropist and devoted father and grandfather, Thomas F. Frist, Jr., M.D. is an inaugural inductee of the Tennessee Health Care Hall of Fame.