September 15, 2011

Frist joins Department of Cardiac Surgery faculty

Frist joins Department of Cardiac Surgery faculty

Former U.S. Sen. William H. Frist, M.D., who founded the Vanderbilt Transplant Center and served as its director from 1989 to 1993, has been appointed adjunct professor of Surgery in the Department of Cardiac Surgery and clinical professor of Surgery at Meharry Medical College.

William H. Frist, M.D.

William H. Frist, M.D.

After serving in the Senate for 12 years, and as Senate majority leader, he served as the 2008 Frederick H. Schultz Professor of International Economic Policy at Princeton University’s Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, and the 2008-2010 University Distinguished Professor of Business and Medicine at Vanderbilt University.

“As a returning member of the Cardiac Surgery faculty, I hope to contribute to a deeper understanding of the financing, organization and delivery of health services, each an important part of the practice of medicine and responsibility of being a doctor,” Frist said.

During his tenure in the Senate, Frist continued practicing surgery and led emergency medical responses to catastrophes around the globe, including to Sudan during the civil war in the 1990s, Darfur during the genocide, New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina, Sri Lanka following the Indian Ocean tsunami, Haiti after last year’s earthquake and most recently Kenya/Somalia during the ongoing famine.

“These humanitarian medical experiences, coupled with my focus in cardiac care and chronic disease in the developing world are the sort of perspective I hope to bring back to the Cardiac Surgery group specifically, and the Medical Center more broadly, to underscore the oneness of health and health care in our locale and world,” Frist said.

Frist served as assistant professor of Surgery in Cardiac and Thoracic Surgery at Vanderbilt from 1984 until 1994. He is currently chair of the Hope Through Healing Hands foundation, Save the Children’s “Newborn and Child Survival” campaign, the Tennessee State Collaborative on Reforming Education (SCORE), and is co-chair of both First Lady Michelle Obama's "Partnership for a Healthier America" to eliminate childhood obesity and the Bipartisan Policy Center Health Project in Washington, D.C.

He serves on the board of directors for the Harvard Medical School Board of Fellows, Clinton-Bush Haiti Fund, Kaiser Family Foundation, Smithsonian Museum of Natural History and the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

“We are thrilled to have Dr. Frist back on the Department of Cardiac Surgery faculty,” said John Byrne, M.D., William S. Stoney Jr. Professor of Cardiac Surgery and chair of the department.

“Our residents, students and colleagues stand to greatly benefit from his global health experience and his vast knowledge of the intricacies of the health care delivery system.”