January 20, 2017

Vanderbilt mourns loss of former Bariatric Surgery director Clements

Ronald Clements, M.D., professor of Surgery and the past director of Bariatric Surgery at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, died Jan. 19 at home surrounded by his family. He was 50.

Ronald Clements, M.D., professor of Surgery and the past director of Bariatric Surgery at Vanderbilt University Medical Center (VUMC), died Jan. 19 at home surrounded by his family. He was 50.

Ronald Clements, M.D.
Ronald Clements, M.D.

A distinguished professor in the field of bariatric surgery, Clements first came to Vanderbilt University to complete the Laparoscopic Fellowship program, a program he later directed. Prior to his current position, Clements was professor of Surgery and the director of Bariatric Surgery at the University of Alabama-Birmingham. He stepped down last year from his director’s role at Vanderbilt due to health concerns.

“We are all saddened by the loss of Dr. Clements, just as we were so honored to be in his presence in life,” said C. Wright Pinson, MBA, M.D., Deputy CEO and Chief Health Systems Officer for VUMC. “Ronnie was compassionate and also appropriately driven, always pushing for his center to be the very best in terms of clinical excellence and on the leading edge as far as new treatment options for his patients. I admired him for obtaining recently his Master in Management in Health Care, with his goal to be an even better physician leader. We will all remember his passion for helping those he cared for achieve better lives. He was one of the very best doctors. On behalf of the Medical Center, I want to express our sincere condolences to Kim and his sons.”

“Ronnie was an outstanding surgeon and a complete physician in every way,” said R. Daniel Beauchamp, M.D., chair of the Section of Surgical Sciences and the John Clinton Foshee Distinguished Professor of Surgery. “He had a deep well of compassion for his patients and took personal responsibility for their overall well-being. In addition, he was a wonderful mentor, educator and colleague and was always willing to give his time and support to others. He led the Bariatric service by example and encouraged everyone to share his vision of excellence. He will be missed by his related family and by his Vanderbilt family.”

“Dr. Clements dedicated his life to the service of his patients and those around him,” said Seth Karp, M.D., H. William Scott Jr. Professor and chair of the Department of Surgery. “Even as he dealt with his terminal illness, he gave of his time and energy to support the department and its patients. Memories of his warm personality, clinical excellence and indomitable spirit will continue as an inspiration to all of us.”

Clements was a graduate of the University of Alabama School of Medicine and the general surgical residency program at Carraway Methodist Medical Center in Birmingham, Alabama. He was a Fellow of the American College of Surgeons, the Southern Surgical Association, and the Southeastern Surgical Congress. He was also a member of the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery, the Society of American Gastrointestinal and Endoscopic Surgeons and the Society for Surgery of the Alimentary Tract. He served on a number of committees in these organizations.

Clements’ research interests included nonalcoholic fatty liver disease, metabolic changes associated with bariatric surgery and clinical outcomes of bariatric surgery. In 2015, the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery honored Clements for his accomplishments in metabolic and bariatric surgery by naming their annual Patient Safety & Quality Award in his name.

Clements was a member of Judson Baptist Church in Nashville, where he served on many committees and boards. He is survived by his wife, Kimberly, and sons, Ronald Hanson Clements Jr. and Blake Austin Clements.

Funeral services will be at 11 a.m. Monday, Jan. 23, at Judson Baptist Church. Visitation will be 5-7 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 22, and one hour prior to the service at the church. Graveside services will be at 2:30 p.m. Monday, Jan. 23, at Williamson Memorial Gardens.