February 7, 2024

Julia Morris to step down from VUMC Legal Affairs role, move to part-time status

Julia Morris, JD, BSN, MSN, managing counsel, Office of Legal Affairs, for Vanderbilt University Medical Center, will be stepping down from her role and moving to part-time status with VUMC in June.

Julia Morris, JD, MSN
Julia Morris, JD, MSN

Julia Morris, JD, MSN, managing counsel, Office of Legal Affairs, for Vanderbilt University Medical Center, will be stepping down from her role and moving to part-time status with VUMC in June.

“You cannot think of VUMC’s legal function without thinking of Julia Morris,” said Michael J. Regier, JD, VUMC general counsel and secretary. “She has been a mainstay of the Department of Legal Affairs for decades and embodies all the best aspects of VUMC. Whether in the middle of the night, or on weekends or holidays, countless clinicians have counted on Julia to navigate them through extremely difficult situations. She has been a valued counselor, mentor, teacher and friend to literally hundreds of colleagues, both at Vanderbilt and across the state of Tennessee.”

Morris joined Vanderbilt in August 1984 as a staff attorney in the Vanderbilt University Office of General Counsel, later serving as deputy general counsel. Her career in health care began as a registered nurse after graduating from University of Kentucky College of Nursing in 1972. She received her master’s degree in nursing in 1976 and graduated from University of Kentucky College of Law in 1982. Morris’ nursing experience includes positions in medical surgical intensive care and adult medical units and nursing faculty positions at the University of Kentucky and University of San Francisco.

After graduating law school, she was in-house counsel and risk manager at a California hospital before taking her position in the Vanderbilt Office of General Counsel in 1984. Her legal practice and areas of interest include patient care issues, medical staff and medical staff by-laws, faculty and house staff, contracts, hospital policy and procedure, informed consent, and health care decision making, HIPAA, privacy and medical information, mental health law, EMTALA, and other health care regulation.

Morris has given numerous presentations on health care law and related issues to attorneys, nurses, physicians, risk managers, and other health care providers, as well as multiple presentations at the American Health Lawyers Association and Tennessee Bar Association Health Law Forums.

“I want to recognize Julia Morris for 40 years of dedicated service to VUMC and express my sincere gratitude for the countless ways she has used her considerable legal skills, along with her gift for diplomacy, to help countless individuals throughout our organization navigate a diverse range of challenging situations,” said C. Wright Pinson, MBA, MD, Deputy Chief Executive Officer and Chief Health System Officer. “We are incredibly fortunate for her contributions,” he said.

“I am so very grateful for the people I have had the privilege to work with and learn from at VUMC and to be a part of its mission and community,” Morris said. “I cannot imagine being anywhere else or having such a wealth of opportunities to continue to grow professionally. I have had such incredible colleagues as mentors and friends. There have been extraordinary moments of accomplishments and challenges here, but I have always been supported and part of a very strong team. The people are the key and strength of VUMC, and I value the experiences I have shared with them,” she said.

“Throughout Julia’s tenure, she has provided sage advice and wise counsel, but also a kindness and generosity second to no one else I have ever known,” said Sandy Bledsoe, former Vice President, Risk and Insurance Management for VUMC. “She taught me very early in my career that we should always think about the right thing to do for the patient, and if we keep that in mind, difficult decisions become clearer. Her thoughtfulness included anyone who was part of the team, and she had a way of making the work environment celebratory, even when dealing with difficult problems. VUMC is a better place because she has been here.”