May 16, 2008

Graduation 2008: New emeritus faculty honored for years of Vanderbilt service

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This year’s emeritus faculty includes, from left, Anderson Spickard Jr., M.D., Frederick Kirchner, M.D., and Gerald Gotterer, M.D., Ph.D. (photo by Neil Brake)

During Commencement, Vanderbilt Medical Center faculty members who are retiring this year were bestowed with the title of emeritus faculty, honoring their years of service to the University.

Gerald S. Gotterer, M.D., Ph.D., professor of Medical Education and Administration, Emeritus

Gotterer joined the Vanderbilt faculty in 1986 as a professor of Medical Administration and the associate dean for Academic Affairs in the School of Medicine. A graduate of Harvard College, he received his medical degree from the University of Chicago. Gotterer was also awarded a Ph.D. in physiological chemistry from the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. After serving on the faculty at Johns Hopkins, he moved to Rush University. At Vanderbilt, he was named senior associate dean for Faculty and Academic Administrative Affairs in 1999.

Gotterer facilitated the implementation of the clinician-educator track in the School of Medicine, played a key role in modernizing the curriculum, clarified the faculty appointment and promotion processes and was instrumental in creating campuswide policies for conflict of interest.

Last year, the school named one of its prestigious faculty teaching awards in his honor. His many contributions have enhanced considerably the effectiveness and prestige of the School of Medicine and the University.

Daryl K. Granner, M.D., professor of Molecular Physiology and Biophysics, Emeritus

Granner received his undergraduate, graduate and medical degrees from the University of Iowa and then joined the faculty there. In 1984, he was recruited to Vanderbilt as chair of what was then the Department of Physiology.

When he stepped down 14 years later, the department was ranked No. 1 nationally based on extramural funding for research.

Granner was instrumental in facilitating the transition to modern molecular methods of biomedical research on campus, played a key role in the development of the interdisciplinary graduate program and was instrumental in changing the name of the department to the Department of Molecular Physiology and Biophysics.

In 1993, he was named director of the Vanderbilt Diabetes Research and Training Center, which he later expanded into the Vanderbilt Diabetes Center. He also led the development of the Vanderbilt-Eskind Diabetes Clinic, which opened in 2005.

Over the last two decades, Granner's laboratory made a series of seminal observations in the fields of hormone action, diabetes and the regulation of gene expression, many of which challenged the conventional dogma of the time.

Thomas R. Harris, M.D., Ph.D., Orrin Henry Ingram Distinguished Professor of Engineering, Emeritus; professor of Biomedical Engineering, Emeritus; professor of Chemical Engineering, Emeritus; professor of Medicine, Emeritus

Harris holds bachelor's and master's degrees from Texas A&M University and a Ph.D. in chemical engineering from Tulane University. He joined the Vanderbilt faculty as an assistant professor of Chemical Engineering in 1964 and later received his medical degree from Vanderbilt.

Harris' focus is lung circulation, and he has published more than 230 papers, chapters, proceedings and abstracts. He is currently the director of the National Science Foundation Engineering Research Center in Bioengineering Educational Technologies. Harris served as director of the biomedical engineering academic program for 10 years and as chair of the Department of Biomedical Engineering from its establishment in 1988 until 2007, increasing faculty members from five to 17, increasing undergraduate and graduate student enrollments and increasing external research funding from $1 million to $10 million. Harris is a past national president of the Biomedical Engineering Society (BMES) and of the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering (AIMBE). His honors include selection as the Whitaker Lecturer and Research Award winner for the BMES; Fellow of the AIMBE; Theo C. Pilkington Outstanding Educator Award, Biomedical Engineering Division of ASEE; Distinguished Service Award, BMES; and Inaugural Fellow, BMES.

Frederick K. Kirchner, M.D., associate professor of Medical Education and Administration, Emeritus

Kirchner joined the Vanderbilt faculty in 1975 as an assistant professor of Urology after completing his residency at Vanderbilt. A graduate of Dickinson College and Cornell Medical College, he completed his internship at the University of Vermont.

In 1988, he was appointed associate dean of Graduate Medical Education in the School of Medicine. In 2004, Kirchner's primary appointment became associate professor of Medical Education and Administration with a secondary appointment as associate professor of Urology. During Kirchner's oversight of graduate medical education, there was continuous growth in programs and trainees. He worked with residency programs directors and staff to develop, refine and administer the institutional infrastructure supporting the administrative and educational needs for graduate medical education at Vanderbilt.

Among his many responsibilities was to ensure compliance with all state, federal and accreditation regulations governing graduate medical education. In a 2004 report by the Institutional Review Committee of the Accreditation Council, the IRC did not cite a single violation or deficiency. Kirchner's legacy extends well beyond Vanderbilt and derives from his vision for and influence over training programs currently involving more than 850 residents and clinical fellows.

Gary E. Olson, Ph.D., professor of Cell and Developmental Biology, Emeritus

Gary Olson was recruited to Vanderbilt in 1977 as an Anatomy department faculty member and as an investigator in the Center for Reproductive Biology Research. He served both as director and as co-director of the Histology Core Laboratory and the Electron Microscopy Core Laboratories supported by the Reproductive Biology Center Grant.

He has been a member on the editorial boards of several reproductive biology journals and has served as a regular member of the National Institutes of Health Reproductive Biology Study Section and as an ad hoc member of various U.S. Department of Agriculture and National Science Foundation peer review panels.

Olson’s research emphasis is on the cell biology of sperm development, epididymal function, embryo implantation and reproductive nutrition. His research has received funding from the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development; in addition, he has served as a co-investigator on several funded multi-investigator grants supported by the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development and private foundations. His research activities have resulted in more than 100 peer-reviewed publications and several book chapters.

W. Anderson Spickard Jr., M.D.; professor of Medicine, Emeritus

Spickard received his bachelor's and medical degrees from Vanderbilt. He was appointed a clinical associate at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease, National Institutes of Health, and then returned to Vanderbilt in 1962 to complete his residency training as the first Hugh J. Morgan Resident in Medicine.

Spickard joined the faculty in 1963. He has held the Chancellor's Chair in Medicine since 2002.

Spickard was the founding director of Ambulatory Services at Vanderbilt; the Moore County Primary Care Center in Lynchburg, Tenn.; Vanderbilt Occupational Health Service; the Vanderbilt Division of General Internal Medicine; and the Vanderbilt Institute for Treatment of Addiction-VITA. He also served as co-director of Vanderbilt Primary Care.

Spickard is a national and international leader in the areas of substance abuse prevention, treatment, education and physician wellness.

He was the national program director of the Robert Wood Johnson “Fighting Back: Community Initiatives to Reduce Demand for Illegal Drugs and Alcohol” and served in leadership roles for the Association for Medical Education and Research in Substance Abuse.

In 1999, he founded the Center for Professional Health at Vanderbilt and has served since then as chairman of the Physicians Wellness Committee.