December 2, 2021

Directorships honor VUMC leaders and philanthropic partners

Ten Vanderbilt University Medical Center leaders from across the enterprise in clinical care, research, education and administration have been named as holders of endowed directorships.

Ten leaders from across the enterprise in clinical care, research, education and administration have been named as holders of endowed directorships.

“Endowed directorships are an investment in high-quality leadership, allowing us to honor individuals from across our organization who are making significant contributions to the Medical Center and advancing their fields of expertise,” said Jeff Balser, MD, PhD, President and Chief Executive Officer of Vanderbilt University Medical Center and Dean of Vanderbilt University School of Medicine.

“Individuals, families and foundations who support our mission were important philanthropic partners for several of these directorships, and I want to express my appreciation for their generosity.”

The most recent directorships are spread throughout many different departments — highlighting individuals who impact patient care in myriad ways.

“We are delighted to be able to honor these outstanding colleagues through endowed directorships,” said David Raiford, MD, chief of clinical staff for VUMC and senior associate dean for Faculty Affairs in the School of Medicine.

“Their contributions touch all mission areas of our academic medical center, and this recognition is especially meaningful, resulting from a rigorous peer review process of each nomination.”

Holders of VUMC’s newest endowed directorships are:

  • Jessica Ancker, PhD, MPH, holder of the Randolph A. Miller Directorship in Biomedical Informatics Education.
  • Nancy Davis, MD, holder of the Katherine Jackson Johnston Directorship — established through support from an anonymous donor.
  • Oscar Guillamondegui, MD, MPH, holder of the Carol Ann Gavin Directorship in Trauma and Surgical Critical Care — established through support from Charles E. Gavin III in honor of his late wife, Carol Ann Gavin.
  • Sarah Jaser, PhD, holder of the Dr. William R. Long Directorship in Pediatric Psychology — established through support from Rebecca M. Long and family in honor of the late Dr. William R. Long.
  • Douglas Johnson, MD, MSCI, holder of the Susan and Luke Simons Directorship — established through support from Susan and Luke Simons.
  • Jennifer Lindsey, MD, holder of the James Elliott Directorship in Resident Education.
  • John Penn, PhD, holder of the Knights Templar Eye Foundation Directorship in Pediatric Vision Research — established through support from the Knights Templar Eye Foundation.
  • Seth Smith, PhD, holder of the Endowed Directorship for Radiology Research.
  • Rebecca Swan, MD, holder of the Dr. William R. Long Directorship in Pediatric Medical Education — established through support from Rebecca M. Long and family in honor of the late Dr. William R. Long.
  • Adam Yock, PhD, DABR, holder of the Directorship in Technology and Innovation for Radiation Oncology.

Dr. Ancker is vice chair for educational affairs and professor of Biomedical Informatics. She began her career as a freelance writer and journalist for the Associated Press and other organizations. A desire to understand more about how numbers were used and misused in decision-making led to her current career as an informatician. Her research is centered on the optimal use of information and IT to improve decision-making, with a special focus on health disparities and health equity.

Dr. Davis is associate professor of Medicine and vice president for Cancer Care Network and Strategy at VUMC. In this role, she works to expand access to oncological care throughout the region and oversees VICC community network oncology practices and affiliations with other health care systems. Davis’ research and clinical practice focus on the treatment of genitourinary cancers, particularly advanced urothelial and penile cancers. She advocates for a multidisciplinary clinical application of new diagnostics and therapies to improve outcomes while maintaining quality of life.

Dr. Guillamondegui is chief of the Division of Trauma and Surgical Critical Care, professor of Surgery, medical director of the Trauma Intensive Care Unit and director of the Vanderbilt Multidisciplinary Traumatic Brain Injury Clinic. A trauma surgeon and leader in the field of surgical quality and patient safety, Guillamondegui oversees a division that admits more than 5,000 patients per year. In addition, he is committed to the training and development of faculty, surgical residents, fellows and medical students.

Dr. Jaser is director of the Division of Pediatric Psychology and associate professor of Pediatrics. Her research is focused on risk and protective factors in children and adolescents with Type 1 diabetes. She has demonstrated the effects of adolescent coping, sleep, maternal adjustment and parenting on adolescents’ glycemic control and quality of life. Currently, Jaser is developing and testing interventions to improve outcomes in young patients with diabetes and their families. She is also interested in neurocognitive complications in pediatric Type 1 diabetes.

Dr. Johnson is associate professor of Medicine in the Division of Hematology and Oncology, director of the melanoma program, co-director of the Vanderbilt Program for Optimizing Immuno-Oncology Therapy and co-director of the cellular therapy and toxicity clinical trials team at VICC. His research centers on developing new immune and targeted therapies for melanoma and using existing treatments in the most effective ways, as well as methods to profile cancers to predict which patients will benefit from immune therapies.

Dr. Lindsey is director of resident education for the Vanderbilt Eye Institute and associate professor of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences. She has clinical duties at the Nashville and Murfreesboro campuses of the Tennessee Valley Healthcare System, which serves as the regional Veterans Affairs Medical Center. She became assistant chief of the ophthalmology section in 2014. In her resident education role at VEI, Lindsey participates in surgical instruction and oversees all aspects of the program’s curriculum and development.

Dr. Penn is the Phyllis G. and William B. Snyder, MD, Professor of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences; professor of Cell and Developmental Biology; professor of Medical Education and Administration; professor of Molecular Physiology and Biophysics; and vice chair of the Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences. His research focuses on the treatment and prevention of retinal vascular inflammation and angiogenesis — the leading causes of blindness in developed countries. Penn is working to identify therapeutic targets and partnering with industry to develop novel drugs to address these conditions.

Dr. Smith is associate director of the Vanderbilt University Institute of Imaging Science, director of the Human Imaging Core and professor of Radiology and Radiological Sciences, Biomedical Engineering and Ophthalmology. Smith’s work centers on translational imaging with a focus on the spinal cord and white matter disorders. He has pioneered the development of several advanced MRI methods to assess tissue composition, microstructure and function. These research developments have been translated to clinical applications and led to his recognition as a leader in the field.

Dr. Swan is professor of Pediatrics, vice chair for education in the department and assistant dean for Graduate Medical Education at VUMC. As vice chair for education, she oversees 114 residents, 85 fellows and more than 150 medical students in clinical settings. In addition, she provides faculty development and strategic direction in medical education. She performs similar activities institutionally in her position as assistant dean. Swan also dedicates clinical time to the General Pediatric Primary Care Clinic.

Dr. Yock is assistant professor of Radiation Oncology. His clinical and research interests include image-guided and adaptive radiation therapy, stereotactic radiosurgery and body radiation therapy, morphometric analysis for radiation oncology applications and radiation therapy treatment plan robustness analysis. He engages in interdisciplinary and international collaborations for innovative radiation technology techniques, technologies and workflows. Yock has also served as a mentor to students in master’s, doctoral and undergraduate medical physics programs, and he devotes significant time to teaching physics and medical residents.

A Directorship Celebration will be held next year to honor these new directorship holders as well as those who were announced in March.

Those previously featured holders are Daniel Fabbri, PhD; Stephen Jae Kim, MD; JoAnn Lindenfeld, MD; Pratik Pandharipande, MD, MSCI; Tonia S. Rex, PhD; Michael R. Savona, MD; and Adam Wright, PhD.

For more information about directorships, contact