December 19, 2019

Year in Review 2019: New appointments bolster VUMC’s core missions

André Churchwell, MD, Chief Diversity Officer for VUMC and senior associate dean for Diversity Affairs in Vanderbilt University School of Medicine (VUSM), was named interim vice chancellor for equity, diversity and inclusion and chief diversity officer for Vanderbilt University.

Churchwell, who continues to serve in his School of Medicine and VUMC roles, holds the Levi Watkins Jr. M.D. chair and is professor of Medicine, Biomedical Engineering and Radiology and Radiological Sciences.


Alice Coogan, MD, was named interim chair of the Department of Pathology, Microbiology and Immunology (PM&I).

Coogan, professor of Pathology, Microbiology and Immunology, succeeded Samuel Santoro, MD, PhD, the Dorothy Beryl and Theodore R. Austin Professor of Pathology, who stepped down as chair but remains on faculty.

Eric Skaar, PhD, MPH, the Ernest W. Goodpasture Professor of Pathology and director of the Division of Molecular Pathogenesis, will also serve the department in the new role of Vice Chair for Research.


Mark Denison, MD, Craig-Weaver Professor of Pediatrics, was named director of the Division of Pediatric Infectious Diseases.

Denison is also professor of Pathology, Microbiology and Immunology and director of the Lamb Center for Pediatric Research.


Maureen Gannon, PhD, professor of Medicine, Molecular Physiology and Biophysics, Cell and Developmental Biology, and Vice Chair for Faculty Development in the Department of Medicine, was named to the newly created role of Associate Dean for Faculty Development for VUSM.


Kimryn Rathmell, MD, PhD, Cornelius Abernathy Craig Professor of Medicine and director of the Division of Hematology and Oncology, was named interim chair of the Department of Medicine. Her appointment is effective Jan. 1, 2020.

Rathmell succeeds Nancy Brown, MD, Hugh J. Morgan Professor and chair of the department, who is departing Vanderbilt to join Yale University as dean of the Yale School of Medicine.


Meg Rush, MD, MMHC, who began her career at Vanderbilt University Medical Center more than three decades ago, was named interim president of Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt.

Rush succeeded Luke Gregory, MBA, MHA, the hospital’s longtime chief executive officer who died Oct. 18 following a lengthy battle with lymphoma.


Carmen Solórzano, MD, professor of Surgery and chief of the Division of Surgical Oncology and Endocrine Surgery, was named chair of the Department of Surgery.

Solórzano had been serving as interim chair since July 2018 while a national search was conducted to fill the position vacated by Seth Karp, MD, H. William Scott Jr. Professor. Karp now serves as the chair of the Section of Surgical Sciences.


Kyla Terhune, MD, MBA, associate professor of Surgery and director of the Surgery Residency Training Program in the Section of Surgical Sciences, was named Vice President for Educational Affairs for Vanderbilt University Medical Center and Associate Dean for Graduate Medical Education for Vanderbilt University School of Medicine.

Terhune succeeded Donald Brady, MD, the Medical Center’s longtime Graduate Medical Education (GME) leader, as he transitioned to new responsibilities as Executive Vice-President for Educational Affairs for VUMC and Senior Associate Dean for Health Sciences Education with VUSM.


Callie Thompson, MD, assistant professor of Surgery, was named director of the Vanderbilt Burn Center, one of the largest burn centers in the United States.

Thompson joined the surgical faculty in the Division of Trauma and Surgical Critical Care in 2016, and she’s been an integral member of the Burn Center team, including serving as the interim director since early 2018.


Jeffrey Upperman, MD, was named Surgeon-in-Chief of Children’s Hospital and chair of the Department of Pediatric Surgery. He succeeded John W. Brock III, MD, who transitioned to focus on his role as Senior Vice President of Pediatric Surgical Services and become Surgeon-in-Chief Emeritus.


Consuelo Wilkins, MD, MSCI, associate professor of Medicine and executive director of the Meharry-Vanderbilt Alliance, was named to the newly created positions of Vice President for Health Equity at VUMC and Associate Dean for Health Equity with VUSM.


Rick Wright, MD, a leading orthopaedic surgeon and sports medicine specialist, was named chair of the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery.

Wright came to VUMC from Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis. He was also head team physician for the National Hockey League’s St. Louis Blues.