November 12, 2004

VUMC’s corporate relations program on growth track

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Lynette Gillis, M.D.

VUMC’s corporate relations program on growth track

The corporate relations program at Vanderbilt University Medical Center has more than doubled in size over the past several months to cover 60 large companies across Middle Tennessee.

The program was established five years ago with the goal of fostering good relations between area employers and VUMC. Cheryl H. Chunn, who runs the program, is a one-woman concierge service who helps employers find whatever they need at Vanderbilt: a shorter wait for a doctor's appointment, employee wellness services, a doctor to come give a talk about various health topics, on-site health screenings and flu shots, information about clinical trials, advice about lodging near the Vanderbilt campus, and on and on. “I put corporations together with resources at Vanderbilt,” Chunn said.

Through Chunn, VUMC learns more about employee health benefits across the region, and this information helps Vanderbilt better serve Tennessee employers.

Employers in the program have use of the Vanderbilt VIP hotline, providing 48-hour access to doctor's appointments. Carol Grace, manager of benefits at Ingram Industries in Nashville, said the human resources staff at Ingram frequently refers employees to this service. “It is invaluable,” Grace said, “The nurses who schedule the appointments just do a wonderful job.”

Grace and Chunn inventoried some of the other services that Ingram has gained through Vanderbilt corporate relations: VUMC nurses have visited Ingram to administer flu shots; some 220 Ingram Barge captains and pilots receive wellness services and physical examinations through Vanderbilt's Kim Dayani Health Promotions Center; Chunn recently helped set up meetings to help people at Ingram learn more about clinical trials at VUMC.

In addition to a company's number of employees, Chunn said the main criteria used to select employers for inclusion in the corporate relations program is whether the company has decision-making authority based in Nashville. For more information, contact Chunn at 936-6049.