New Chief Medical Officers announcedFeb. 8, 2023, 3:39 PM
by John Howser
Rick W. Wright, MD, the Dan Spengler, MD Professor and chair of the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, has been appointed as Vanderbilt University Medical Center’s new Chief Medical Officer (CMO) and Senior Vice President for Clinical Affairs. Wright succeeds Paul Sternberg Jr., MD, who is retiring from the CMO role on June 30. Wright’s appointment is effective July 1.
As system CMO and SVP for Clinical Affairs, Rick Wright, MD, will report to C. Wright Pinson, MBA, MD, Deputy Chief Executive Officer and Chief Health System Officer for VUMC. He will continue to serve as the Dan Spengler, MD Professor and chair of the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery.
His responsibilities will include facilitating clinical affairs with physician and administrative leadership across the health system on and off campus with an emphasis on ambulatory operations, while driving the performance of ambulatory clinical quality and service metrics through Adult Clinical Practice Committee and other venues. He will be a leading VUMC adviser on improvements in clinical enterprise financial performance and will have broad oversight related to Vanderbilt Medical Group’s business activities.
As system CMO, Rick Wright, MD, will be appointed to multiple committees related to institutional operations and governance, and will have CMOs from across the health system, including the regional hospitals and ambulatory operations, reporting to him.
To better align physician leadership in the ambulatory enterprise, Patty Wright, MD, professor of Medicine, will be transitioning from her role as Chief of Staff for Adult Ambulatory, Davidson County to the role of Chief Medical Officer for Adult Ambulatory Clinics. She will begin serving in this role on July 1.
Patty Wright, MD, will continue to work with operational leadership on projects across the adult ambulatory enterprise and collaborate with the regional associate chief medical officers to ensure seamless operations across the adult ambulatory enterprise. In this new role, she will report to Rick Wright, MD, and Thomas Nantais, MBA, Executive Vice President for Adult Ambulatory Operations.
“I am pleased to appoint both Rick Wright, MD, and Patty Wright, MD, to these important leadership roles serving our health system,” Pinson said. “As health system CMO, Rick Wright, MD, will have broad responsibilities and play a vital role facilitating matters across the clinical enterprise. Patty Wright’s new responsibilities will allow her to expand upon the duties she held as Chief of Staff for Adult Ambulatory Operations.”
“We are fortunate to have talented leaders ready to assume such responsibilities that are integral to our health system’s continued growth and success. I want to express my appreciation to each for their sustained commitment to our organization. And I again thank Paul Sternberg for his exceptional service over the past 13 years as CMO.”
In addition to serving as system CMO, Rick Wright, MD, will continue to lead the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, a nationally ranked department that is currently home to more than 100 faculty, residents, fellows and clinicians. The department is internationally recognized for its training programs and innovative research across the continuum of orthopaedic conditions and diseases.
“I am both honored and excited about the new role I have been asked to take on for VUMC. It is a challenge to follow Dr. Sternberg after the many significant contributions he has made to our enterprise through the years. I look forward to the opportunity,” Rick Wright, MD, said.
Rick Wright, MD, joined VUMC in 2019 from Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis where he was the Jerome J. Gilden Distinguished Professor and executive vice chair of the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery. He was also head team physician for the National Hockey League’s St. Louis Blues.
He earned both a Bachelor of Science and medical degree from the University of Missouri-Columbia. He completed his internship and residency in orthopaedic surgery at VUMC, and then completed a fellowship in sports medicine with the Minneapolis Sports Medicine Center.
Patty Wright, MD, has excelled in a broad range of clinical and administrative roles during nearly 22 years of service to Vanderbilt, including as associate director for the Division of Infectious Diseases, safety officer in Quality, Safety and Risk Prevention, and executive medical director of the Medicine Patient Care Center. She has served as Chief of Staff for Adult Ambulatory Services since 2021.
“It is such a privilege to serve in the VUMC Adult Ambulatory enterprise. I am delighted to be taking on this expanded role and for the opportunity to work more with Rick, who I admire both personally and professionally. I look forward to building on Paul’s foundation of success developing efficient, patient-centered clinics,” Patty Wright, MD, said.
As an infectious diseases specialist, Patty Wright, MD, continues to play an integral role in VUMC’s ongoing COVID-19 response, having led numerous initiatives including the creation of the COVID-19 Infusion Clinic and chairing the Clinical Recommendations for Treatment of COVID-19 in Adult Patients Working Group.
She continues to serve on numerous committees and work groups, lectures medical students, residents and fellows on complex infectious diseases topics, and is a frequently invited speaker at professional gatherings.
She earned a Bachelor of Science degree from Western Kentucky University and her medical degree from the University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Medicine, where she also completed her residency in internal medicine and fellowship training in infectious diseases.