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Tennessee Health Care Hall of Fame Announces Two Years of Inductees

Jun 24, 2021

2019 Healthcare Hall of Fame Awards Luncheon at Belmont University

2019 Healthcare Hall of Fame Awards Luncheon at Belmont University. rPhoto by Billy Kingsley

Belmont University announced today the sixth and seventh inductee classes of the Tennessee Health Care Hall of Fame. Because last year’s inductee class was not able to be recognized in person due to COVID-19, this year’s event will honor both the 2020 and 2021 classes at a ceremony on October 19.

With a mission to honor men and women who have made significant and lasting contributions to the health and health care industries, the Hall of Fame was created in 2015 by founding partners Belmont University, the McWhorter Society and the Nashville Health Care Council.

“Over the course of the past 18 months, the COVID-19 pandemic has refocused the spotlight on the health care industry and the important role health care professionals play in each of our lives,” said Belmont President Dr. L. Gregory Jones. “Now more than ever, we want to honor the leaders in this vital field, individuals who demonstrate the character, compassion and strength of purpose that quite literally transforms lives on a daily basis.”

The Hall of Fame nomination process was open to practitioners, executives, entrepreneurs, mentors, teachers, scientists, researchers, innovators or any person with a connection to the health or health care field who: 

  • was born, lived or worked in Tennessee
  • made a significant impact and lasting contribution to health care at the local, state, national or international level
  • exhibits the highest ethical and professional character
  • serves as an outstanding role model in their community

Among the highly-qualified nominees, inductees for each class were chosen by a selection committee made up of health and health care leaders from across the state. Selected inductees represent some of Tennessee’s greatest health and health care pioneers, leaders and innovators.

The 2020 inductees are:

  • Monroe Dunaway “M.D.” Anderson: Health care philanthropist; Former Treasurer, President and CFO for Anderson, Clayton and Co.; and Namesake for M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, the no. 1 cancer center in the world for research, diagnosis, care and treatment.
  • Governor Phil Bredesen: Former Governor of Tennessee and Mayor of Nashville; Leader of the initiative to re-make the nationally-respected model of TennCare and many other Tennessee public health programs; Successful healthcare entrepreneur, founding HealthAmerica, Coventry Corporations and the nonprofit Nashville’s Table; and Author of “Fresh Medicine: How to Fix Reform and Build a Sustainable Health Care System.”
  • Kathryn M. Edwards, M.D.: Sarah H. Sell and Cornelius Vanderbilt Endowed Chair in Pediatrics, Scientific Director of Vaccine Research Program and Professor of Pediatrics at Vanderbilt University Medical Center; Infectious Diseases Society of America Fellow; and  renowned Researcher and Vaccine Developer whose work has contributed to vaccine development and the elimination of countless diseases, advancing science and saving countless lives around the globe, and training the next generation of pediatricians, infectious disease doctors and researchers.
  • Donald S. MacNaughton: Former CEO and Chairman of HCA Healthcare; Chairman of the executive committee at HealthTrust; and Mentor to numerous health care providers and leaders.
  • G. Scott Morris, M.D.: Founder and CEO of Church Health of Memphis who developed a model for whole person health care and led Church Health to become the largest faith-based, privately-funded health clinic in the country; and Speaker on community and faith-based health care.

The 2021 inductees are:

  • Tom Cigarran: Co-founder, former Chairman, Director, President and CEO of Healthways (now Tivity Health), the largest chronic disease management company and well-being provider in the U.S.; Co-founder, former Chairman, Director, President and CEO of AmSurg, Corp (now Envision); Two-time former Chairman of the Nashville Health Care Council and active community leader. 
  • Autry O.V. “Pete” DeBusk: Founder and Chairman of DeRoyal Industries, Inc., a world-wide medical device manufacturer; Member of the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission (MedPAC) to Congress; and Chairman of the Board of Trustees at Lincoln Memorial University who helped launch multiple healthcare graduate and professional degree programs.
  • William E. Evans, Pharm.D.: Former CEO of St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital who led the hospital to consistently be nationally ranked and helped push cure rates for the most common cancer in children from 50 percent in 1975 to more than 90 percent in 2021; Author of more than 450 scientific publications; and elected member of the Institute of Medicine of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences (2002) and the U.S. National Academy of Medicine (2015).
  • James E.K. Hildreth, Ph.D., M.D.: President and CEO of Meharry Medical College, catapulting the institution to the national stage; Immunologist, researcher and health care educator; Advisor to local, state and national government on infectious diseases; and advocate for minority communities and leader in fighting for health equity.
  • Robert Sanders, M.D.: Former Chairman of the Accident Prevention Committee of the Tennessee Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics; successful advocate and lobbyist of the Child Passenger Protection Act, leading to his name “Dr. Seat Belt;” and Former Director of the Rutherford County Health Department.

Jones added, “The inductees of the 2020 and 2021 classes of the Hall of Fame have helped shape and advance the industry, paving the way for future health care leaders. As we continue to draw the best and brightest to Belmont’s health care programs, and as we plan for the Thomas F. Frist Jr. College of Medicine, I’m thankful for our inductees’ inspiration and countless contributions. I can think of no better way to solidify the hope we have for our health care students than by honoring the heroes and heroines we want them to emulate.”

In addition to recognizing Tennessee’s most influential health and health care leaders, the Hall of Fame serves as an on-going educational resource to document the rich history that has contributed to Tennessee’s position as a leader for national health care initiatives. Sponsors of the induction ceremony contribute to not only the long-term viability of the Hall of Fame, but also to the McWhorter Society Scholarship Fund, which benefits students pursuing careers in the health sciences. Since the inception of the McWhorter Society and the Tennessee Health Care Hall of Fame, more than $3.6 million has been raised to support McWhorter Society Endowed Scholarships, and there have been more than 100 scholarship recipients since 2014.