March 12, 2024

VUMC mourns loss of former Dermatology leader George Stricklin

Longtime Vanderbilt University Medical Center faculty member George Stricklin, MD, PhD, died Feb. 28. He was 74.

Dr. Stricklin led a distinguished career as a scientist, clinician, and faculty leader. He joined VUMC in 1988, also that year becoming chief of Dermatology at Nashville VA Medical Center. He would go on to become chief of the VUMC Division of Dermatology in 2002. He retired from VUMC in 2015.

George Stricklin, MD, PhD

Born in Marietta, Georgia, and raised in Palatka, Florida, Dr. Stricklin earned his bachelor’s degree from David Lipscomb University in Nashville in 1971, and his MD and PhD from Washington University in St. Louis in 1977. Before joining VUMC he taught at Washington University in St. Louis and at the University of Tennessee in Memphis.

Dr. Stricklin was instrumental in obtaining the prestigious NIH Skin Disease Research Center Grant for Vanderbilt Dermatology, which “encouraged investigators from many disciplines at Vanderbilt University to pursue investigation into skin diseases,” said Darrel Ellis, MD, professor of Dermatology. Dr. Stricklin “was both an excellent researcher — with a focus on enzymes regulating the extracellular matrix — and an excellent clinician,” Ellis said.

Dr. Stricklin paved the way for Dermatology becoming a freestanding department at VUMC, Ellis said. He was also the architect behind the construction of space for Dermatology at Vanderbilt Health One Hundred Oaks.

“George was a very close friend and colleague of mine for over 40 years,” said another colleague, Jo-David Fine, MD, MPH, professor of Dermatology, emeritus. “Vanderbilt’s School of Medicine and its many dermatology residency graduates owe him a great debt of gratitude for all that he contributed toward the promotion of rigorous clinical education among its students and trainees, the provision of outstanding patient care (both within the Medical Center and the affiliated VA), the promotion of research within the Division of Dermatology, and finally, for all that he did over so many years as its chief that finally led to the establishment of departmental status.”

Outside of work, among Dr. Stricklin’s other interests were ballroom dancing, which he shared with his wife, Debbie, and fishing, which he shared with his sons and his grandchildren.

“Most of all, he was a true friend,” Ellis said, “who could be counted on for everything from helping with lab projects, home repairs, and providing sage advice on survival and thriving in an academic environment. All of us who were lucky enough to know and work with George were truly blessed.”

Dr. Stricklin is survived by his wife, Deborah Stricklin, his sons, James and George Stricklin, daughter in law, Joanne Stricklin, and grandchildren, Miles and Nora Stricklin, all residing in Nashville. He is also survived by his sister, Nancy Lehde of Colorado Springs, Colorado, and his brothers, David Stricklin of Micanopy, Florida, and John Stricklin of Cherokee, North Carolina.

Services for Dr. Stricklin will be held Saturday, March 16, at Dignity Hall, Woodlawn-Patton-Roesch Funeral Home at Woodlawn Memorial Park, 660 Thompson Lane, Nashville. A gathering of family and friends will be held 12:30 – 2:30 p.m., with the celebration of life memorial service at 2:30 p.m.