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Tennessee Health Care Hall of Fame Inducts 2019 Honorees

(L-R) Dr. Jonathon Perlin, Richard Miller, Clara Elam (widow of honoree Dr. Lloyd Elam), Morris Flexner (son of honoree Dr. John Flexner), Dr. David Barton, Dr. Mary Bufwack and Nancy-Ann DeParle were inducted into the Tennessee Health Care Hall of Fame I

On Oct. 15, the Tennessee Health Care Hall of Fame inducted seven new members as part of the Class of 2019. The most recent honorees mark the fifth group of healthcare luminaries recognized since the inaugural class of inductees in 2015.

Created by Belmont University and Belmont's McWhorter Society with the support of the Nashville Health Care Council, a founding partner, the annual event recognizes industry pioneers, legends and leaders with ties to the state.

The seven members inducted this year were:

David Barton, MD

David Barton, MD: A psychiatrist and early advocate for delivering compassionate, holistic end-of-life care, Barton and fellow honoree John Flexner, MD, founded Alive Hospice. A faculty member at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, who later launched a practice as a community clinician in general psychiatry, Barton became increasingly interested in how the medical community approached dying and end-of-life care. Alongside Flexner, he began to establish new approaches to holistically care for the terminally ill and developed one of the first courses in the country to help train medical students in caring for those with life-threatening illnesses. In December 1974, Barton hosted a meeting of multidisciplinary providers at his home to discuss how to apply these concepts in the community. Within a year, Alive Hospice was incorporated, becoming the first hospice in the Southeast and one of the first few in the nation.

Mary Bufwack, PhD

Mary Bufwack, PhD: Serving as CEO of United Neighborhood Health Services (now Neighborhood Health) for nearly 30 years, Bufwack helped change the landscape for affordable primary care in Middle Tennessee and beyond. Leveraging federal resources and community partnerships, she grew the number of Neighborhood clinics from three to 13 during her tenure, initiated school-based and homeless services, and helped pioneer a comprehensive, integrated network to care for the medically underserved. Today, Neighborhood Health serves more than 30,000 uninsured and underinsured Middle Tennesseans. Bufwack earned her doctorate in anthropology from Washington University in Saint Louis and spent several years on the faculty of Colgate University before relocating to Nashville. Prior to joining Neighborhood Health, she worked with the YWCA's Domestic Violence Program where she established a new shelter to serve women and children, as well as helped implement law enforcement and court reforms to better protect domestic violence survivors.

Nancy-Ann DeParle

Nancy-Ann DeParle: A national healthcare policy visionary with deep Nashville roots, DeParle's healthcare career has spanned Tennessee, two White House administrations and boards of countless healthcare companies and non-profit organizations. A graduate of UT, she was the university's first female student body president. She went on to earn her law degree from Harvard and to be named a Rhodes Scholar at Balliol College of Oxford University. Beginning her career at Bass, Berry & Sims, she went on to serve as Commissioner of the Tennessee Department of Human Services under Gov. Ned McWherter, becoming the youngest Cabinet member in state history. She joined the Clinton administration as the associate director for Health at the White House Office of Management & Budget and went on to become administrator of the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Service (CMS), where she implemented the State Children's Health Insurance Program. DeParle later served as counselor to President Obama and director of the White House Office of Health reform where she spearheaded Affordable Care Act enactment. Currently, she is a partner and co-founder of Consonance Capital Partners, which supports innovative healthcare companies.

Lloyd C. Elam, MD

Lloyd C. Elam, MD: The Little Rock, Ark., native spent nearly five decades in Nashville. The first African American to graduate from the University of Washington School of Medicine, he completed internship at the University of Illinois and a residency in psychiatry at the University of Chicago before being recruited to Meharry Medical College to join the faculty and develop the Department of Psychiatry. Additionally, he founded Meharry's psychiatry residency program and launched one of the first hospital day programs in Nashville for psychiatric patients. The community health model was in its infancy, but as a proponent of providing better access to care, Meharry's Community Mental Health Center, which now bears his name, was founded. His leadership led to being appointed interim dean of the medical school, and at the young age of 39, he was named Meharry's sixth president, a role he held for 13 years. Elam remained an active faculty member, mentor, advisor and community leader until his death in 2008.

John M. Flexner, MD

John M. Flexner, MD: After earning his medical degree at Johns Hopkins, Flexner completed his internship and residency at Vanderbilt and Yale and his fellowship training in hematology at Vanderbilt. He served as a professor of hematology at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine from 1959 to 2011 and was named professor emeritus prior to his death in 2011 at the age of 85. Alongside fellow inductee Dr. David Barton, Flexner helped change the process of death and dying by founding Alive Hospice in 1975. Although known to be candid and honest about the seriousness of a patient's illness, he was equally renowned for his warmth and quick wit. Early in his career, Flexner became interested in pain management, which later led to his work within navigating end-of-life care. He also wrote several papers on T-Cell lymphomas and contributed to the seminal work of his collaborator, Dr. Robert Collins. Flexner was elected an American Cancer Society Professor of Oncology in 1981, one of only 17 in the country.

Richard L. Miller, FAIA, EDAC

Richard L. Miller, FAIA, EDAC: A 52-year veteran of the healthcare design industry, Dick Miller moved to Nashville shortly after earning his architecture degree from the University of Kansas. After relocating, he quickly rose through the ranks of Earl Swensson Associates, now ESa, which specializes in healthcare design and has created iconic facilities across the country. Just six years after joining the firm, Miller was named president and was elevated to chairman last year. Starting with less than two dozen employees, ESa is now recognized as one of the top-ranking healthcare design firms in the nation and employees more than 180 professionals across different disciplines. Passionate about the role healing environments play on improved patient outcomes and staff engagement, Miller has led countless projects including Centennial Medical Center and the Monroe Carell Jr. Children's Hospital at Vanderbilt here at home. He has co-authored three editions of a widely used text on healthcare design and is actively involved in a number of healthcare non-profit organizations in Middle Tennessee.

Jonathan B. Perlin, MD, PhD

Jonathan B. Perlin, MD, PhD, MSHA, MACP, FACMI: Nationally recognized as one of the country's most influential health leaders, Perlin has provided leadership for the Veterans Health Administration and HCA Healthcare. As Deputy and Under Secretary for Health of the VHA, Perlin led the nation's largest integrated health system and oversaw the benchmarking of clinical performance and full implementation of the system's EHR. He initiated the Million Veterans Program, mapping genomes of one million veterans to better understand disease and therapy and to prevent injury to service members. In his role as chief medical officer and president of Clinical Services at HCA Healthcare, Perlin led HCA to build a clinical data warehouse as the basis for a learning health system, which uses data from 32 million annual patient encounters to inform and improve care. This model provided the foundation for landmark clinical trials that identified ways to nearly halve healthcare-associated infections and prevent elective pre-term deliveries. Additionally, he guided HCA and U.S. policy to require influenza vaccination for healthcare workers to prevent transmission to patients. Perlin, a member of the National Academy of Medicine, also has served on or led multiple committees with broad national health implications.


Tennessee Health Care Hall of Fame


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Belmont University, David Barton, John Flexner, Jonathan Perlin, Lloyd Elam, Mary Bufwack, Nancy-Ann DeParle, Richard (Dick) Miller, Tennessee Health Care Hall of Fame Class of 2019
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