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Health Care Hall of Fame


Two New Classes Inducted at Belmont

After postponing the annual Tennessee Health Care Hall of Fame induction ceremony last year due to the pandemic, the industry celebrated the outstanding leaders in both the 2020 and 2021 classes at a gala luncheon last month held in Belmont University's newly opened Fisher Center for the Performing Arts. The dual-year class recognizes 10 healthcare leaders and legends from across the state.

"Over the course of the past year and a half, the COVID-19 pandemic has refocused the spotlight on the healthcare industry and the important role healthcare professionals play in each of our lives," said Belmont President Greg Jones, PhD. "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."

2020 Inductees

  • Monroe Dunaway "M.D." Anderson: Healthcare philanthropist; former treasurer, president and CFO for Anderson, Clayton and Co. He is the namesake for the renowned M.D. Anderson Cancer Center.
  • Governor Phil Bredesen: Entrepreneur who started HealthAmerica and other prominent healthcare companies; former mayor of Nashville (1991--1999) and governor of Tennessee. Bredesen redesigned TennCare to become a model managed-care Medicaid program widely studied and replicated by other states.
  • Kathryn M. Edwards, MD: The Sarah H. Sell and Cornelius Vanderbilt Endowed Chair in Pediatrics and a professor of Pediatrics at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine. Her work has focused on the evaluation of vaccines for the prevention of infectious disease. She has contributed to vaccine development for Haemophilus influenza type B, pertussis, influenza, avian influenza, Streptococcus pneumoniae, smallpox, rotavirus, malaria and others.
  • Donald S. MacNaughton: Former CEO and chairman of HCA Healthcare; chairman of the executive committee at HealthTrust; and mentor to numerous healthcare providers and leaders.
  • G. Scott Morris, MD: Founder and CEO of Memphis's Church Health who developed a model for whole person healthcare and led Church Health to become the largest faith-based, privately funded health clinic in the country. Morris is also a popular speaker on community and faith-based healthcare

2021 Inductees

  • 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 nation. Cigarran was also co-founder, former chairman, director, president and CEO of AmSurg, Corp (now Envision); a two-time former chairman of the Nashville Health Care Council and an active community leader.
  • Autry O.V. "Pete" Debusk: Founder and chairman of DeRoyal Industries, Inc., a world-wide medical device manufacturer and member of the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission (MedPAC) to Congress. Debusk also serves as chairman of the Board of Trustees at Lincoln Memorial University, where he has helped launch multiple healthcare graduate and professional degree programs.
  • William E. Evans, PharmD: Former CEO of St. Jude Children's Research Hospital who led the hospital to consistent national rankings and increased cure rates for the most common pediatric cancers from 50 percent in 1975 to more than 90 percent in 2021. Evans is author of more than 450 scientific publications, an 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, PhD, MD: President and CEO of Meharry Medical College who catapulted the institution to the national stage. Hildreth is an acclaimed immunologist, virologist, researcher and healthcare educator and is an advisor to the local, state and national government on infectious diseases. He is also a renowned advocate for minority communities and a leader in fight for health equity.
  • Robert Sanders, MD: Former chairman of the Accident Prevention Committee of the Tennessee Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics. Sanders was a successful advocate and lobbyist of the Child Passenger Protection Act, leading to his name "Dr. Seat Belt." He is also a former director of the Rutherford County Health Department.

The Hall of Fame was created by Belmont University, Belmont's McWhorter Society and the Nashville Health Care Council to recognize Tennessee's most influential health and healthcare leaders. Additionally, 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 healthcare 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 $3.7 million has been raised to support McWhorter Society Endowed Scholarships, and there have been more than 160 scholarship recipients since 2014.

"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 healthcare leaders," said Jones. "I can think of no better way to solidify the hope we have for our healthcare students than by honoring the heroes and heroines we want them to emulate."

Nominations Open for Class of 2022

The nominations are now open for the next distinguished class. A nomination form, along with information on eligibility and requirements, judging criteria and required materials, are available online at The deadline to submit candidates for consideration is Feb. 22, 2022.


Tennessee Health Care Hall of Fame


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Autry Debusk, Belmont University, Donald MacNaughton, James Hildreth, Kathryn Edwards, McWhorter Society, MD Anderson, Nashville Health Care Council, Pete Debusk, Phil Bredesen, Robert Sanders, Scott Morris, Tennessee Health Care Hall of Fame, Tom Cigarran, William Evans
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