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Vanderbilt reports record $11.9 billion economic impact in Tennessee

Dec. 12, 2019, 11:17 AM


by Princine Lewis

Through a record $11.9 billion in annual economic impact, Vanderbilt University’s deep and broad connections to Tennessee and its people continue to be key and growing drivers of the state’s economy and to the vitality and well-being of its citizens and communities.

The university today released the results of an independent analysis of the economic impact of Vanderbilt University and Vanderbilt University Medical Center, outlining the many ways the two institutions contribute to, and benefit, Tennessee’s economy.

“We are invested in Tennessee’s progress as a partner in facilitating innovation, jobs and growth,” Interim Chancellor and Provost Susan R. Wente said. “Vanderbilt’s success is intertwined with that of our state and region, and I am deeply proud of the many ways that Vanderbilt contributes to Tennessee’s economic strength. Our impact, through our educational mission and the activity that supports it, reaches far beyond our campus in terms of research, discovery, an educated workforce and jobs for Tennesseans.”

Vanderbilt-related operations, along with student and visitor spending, generated an annual impact of $11.9 billion in economic activity, approximately 79,200 jobs and more than $4.2 billion in labor income, according to the biennial report that looks at figures from fiscal year 2018. By comparison, the 2017 report, which was based on fiscal year 2016, listed the institutions’ annual economic impact as $9.5 billion, jobs at 63,500 and labor income at $3.8 billion.

Vanderbilt’s annual contributions stem from institutional spending on payroll, construction and general procurement with Tennessee companies, local spending by students and campus visitors, and economic development through labor force and research commercialization.

Though VUMC became a full independent nonprofit entity in spring 2016, the medical center has preserved its connections to the university in research and teaching. Together, Vanderbilt institutions are the largest private employer in the Nashville region and the second largest private employer based in the state — employing a total of approximately 33,200 faculty, staff and medical professionals.

Although they are tax-exempt as nonprofit institutions, the university and the medical center’s economic activity also contributed $279.2 million in annual tax revenue for the state.

The university, which serves a student population of just under 12,600, contributes more than 3,855 undergraduate, graduate and professional degrees to the economy each year.

On the medical side, there were approximately 2.4 million patient visits last year, along with $591 million in research awards and $711 million in charity care, community benefits and other unrecovered costs. In the 2017 report, uncompensated medical care provided by VUMC totaled $513 million.

With 1,091 licensed hospital beds, VUMC hosted nearly 67,000 surgical procedures and 2.4 million visits last year, while at the same time training more than 1,050 residents.

“There is a vital relationship between better health and a healthy economy. As we make new discoveries that offer the promise of new treatments and cures, and through ongoing investments in the strength of our health system, we are proud to play an important role in Tennessee’s economic prosperity,” said Jeff Balser, MD, PhD, president and CEO of Vanderbilt University Medical Center and dean of Vanderbilt University School of Medicine. “Our training programs remain a dominant resource for Tennessee’s specialty trained physicians, such as general surgeons, pediatricians and obstetricians, while we are always pursuing other initiatives that improve care and address costs that help contribute in other ways to our state’s prosperity.”

The 2019 report and analysis, by Austin, Texas-based TXP Inc., quantified the total annual economic and tax revenue generated by the university and medical center, including factors such as operations and construction, employment, student and visitor spending, and business spending generated by Vanderbilt-related activities. It also estimated the ripple effect — in jobs and labor income — of Vanderbilt’s operations and spending throughout Tennessee’s economy.

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