About VUMC News & Communications
Vanderbilt University Medical Center’s Office of News & Communications provides media access to the newsmakers and opinion leaders at the medical center.
Our media relations experts, science writers, editors, photographers and support staff will connect you to the sources you need. Our office also produces several publications, including the weekly VUMC Reporter, the newspaper of record for Vanderbilt University Medical Center.
News and Communications also provides photography services for VUMC, including head shots at our studio, located at C-2207 Medical Center North. To request a photo, go to https://ckm.vumc.org/npa/phototracker/.
An information officer is on call 24/7 for media requests at 615-322-4747. More information for the media.
Chief Communications Officer
John Howser serves as assistant vice chancellor for the Medical Center’s Office of News & Communications. Howser joined VUMC in 1987 when he served as the Medical Center’s staff photojournalist. Since then, he has assumed increasing responsibility as VUMC’s media relations director, assistant director, deputy director and director for the Office of News and Communications. Howser, a native of Madisonville, Ky., received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Photojournalism from Western Kentucky University and is a former newspaper photographer.
National News Director
Craig Boerner works with Medical Center News and Communications as the National News Director. He responds to national media outlets seeking medical experts and promotes Vanderbilt stories and studies that have broad national interest. Boerner is the Medical Center’s liaison to booking sources in the on-campus VUStar studio, which has a video uplink and ISDN line for use by national networks and radio programs. He came to Vanderbilt from the Nashville City Paper, where he was a reporter for five years, covering all aspects of the city, including government, public safety, education, development and politics. Boerner is a longtime print journalist and holds a bachelor’s degree in English from the University of Missouri. He previously held reporter positions at In Review in Nashville, the Southwest Times Record in Fort Smith, Ark., and Press Argus Courier and Alma Journal in Van Buren, Ark. He also wrote for various publications in Missouri while working for the University of Missouri Sports Information department.
Assistant Director, Director of Publications
Kathy Whitney joined the Medical Center’s Office of News and Communications in June 2007. She is assistant director and director of publications in the Office of News and Communications, supervising editors of the Medical Center’s publications, including the VUMC Reporter, the Medical Center’s weekly newspaper; Hope, which brings news from the Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt; and Momentum, the magazine of the Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center. She is also the editor of the biannual Vanderbilt Medicine magazine, the alumni magazine of Vanderbilt University School of Medicine. Prior to joining News and Communications, Whitney worked as a freelance writer covering Nashville health care news. She has more than 20 years of health care and academic public relations experience and has worked for the University of Miami Hospital and Clinics, the College of Charleston and the Medstat Group, a health care information company. Whitney has a Bachelor of Arts degree in journalism from Western Kentucky University.
Wayne Wood is assistant director and executive director of new media and electronic publications and is editor of the Medical Center online employee magazine VUMC Voice. He also has a faculty appointment in the Vanderbilt School of Medicine as assistant in the Division of Medical Education and Administration.He is a graduate of the University of Tennessee and earned a Master’s in Liberal Arts and Science from Vanderbilt University, where he wrote a thesis on singer-songwriter Warren Zevon. Previously, he hosted the NPR interview program “Medically Speaking,” and is the author of Watching the Wheels: Cheap Irony, Righteous Indignation, and Semi-Enlightened Opinion.
NEWS AND MEDIA STAFF
MEMBERS OF THE MEDIA: To connect with an information officer 24/7, call 615-322-4747.
Public Relations Specialist
Kylie Avery joined Vanderbilt University Medical Center in 2019. She works with VUMC medical professionals and local media to educate and inform the public on medical advances, advice and research. Avery also contributes to VUMC’s newspaper The Reporter covering the Asthma, Allergy, and Sinus program, the Tennessee Poison Center, Emergency Preparedness, and Allied Health programs. Avery graduated from The State University of New York at Buffalo with a bachelor’s degree in Communications. Prior to joining Vanderbilt, she worked in New York as a marketing specialist in the technology and engineering fields.
Senior Information Officer
Jessica Pasley has been with Medical Center News and Communications since 1999. Pasley, a Senior Information Officer, is the Media Relations Manager for Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital and works with print, broadcast and electronic news media. Her job responsibilities also include highlighting research and news generated by the Vanderbilt Eye Institute as well as pitching in to write for a variety of publications for the communications division. A native of Nashville, Pasley graduated from Washington and Lee University in Lexington, Va. She was among the first group of women to attend the former all-male university. Her writing career began while a high school student at the Nashville Banner. Upon graduating from W&L with a degree in Journalism, she officially joined the Banner team as a copy editor and later as a medical features writer. After eight years, Pasley switched gears to become the Publications Director at Saint Thomas Hospital before joining the Vanderbilt’s Office of News and Communications.
Matt Batcheldor is an information officer in the Office of News and Communications. He contributes stories to the VUMC Reporter and several other Medical Center publications while assisting with media relations. Prior to joining Vanderbilt in 2014, Batcheldor spent 13 years as a reporter at the Nashville Business Journal, The Olympian (Olympia, Wash.), and The Courier-Journal (Louisville, Ky.) Batcheldor, a native of Louisville, has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Print Journalism from Western Kentucky University.
Danny Bonvissuto joined the staff in 2022 after 15 years as a freelance writer. In addition to staff roles at Nashville Scene, The City Paper and The Atlantan magazine, she’s written marketing content, cookbooks for Cooking Light and Southern Living, contributed to WebMD, Men’s Journal, Food & Wine and HGTVGardens.com and helped many people preserve their personal stories. Raised (but not born) in Nashville, Danny graduated with honors in English from a SEC school outside of Tennessee but never brings it up because it makes locals angry. She covers Psychiatry, Otolaryngology, Hearing & Speech Sciences, the Osher Center for Integrative Health, Vanderbilt Wilson County Hospital, Obstetrics and Gynecology, Vanderbilt Kennedy Center, Nephrology and Hypertension, Pharmaceutical Services, Orthopaedic Surgery and contributes to VUMC magazines.
Information Officer and Editor, VUMC Reporter
Doug Campbell, who served as editor of the VUMC Reporter from 1995 to 2000, rejoined the staff in the News and Communications office in 2004. In between he served as managing editor of Amusement Business, a weekly entertainment industry trade publication. He holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Northern Colorado.
Jill Clendening joined the News & Communications staff in 2016 as a public information officer. She writes news and feature stories for Vanderbilt publications and websites, including the VUMC Reporter and Vanderbilt Medicine. She has been with Vanderbilt University Medical Center since 2008, where she previously worked with Nursing Research, as well as with the Department of Anesthesiology – one of the largest medical departments on campus – as the group’s communications/marketing coordinator. Before joining VUMC, Jill worked with the Tennessee Department of Transportation as a publications editor, and before leaving traditional journalism she worked at the City Paper as an assistant editor and The Tennessean as a staff writer. Jill also worked as a senior editor for Journal Communications, an integrated media and content marketing firm based in Franklin, Tennessee. Jill is a graduate of Middle Tennessee State University in Murfreesboro, Tennessee, where she earned a bachelor of science degree in mass communications.
Diana Duren serves as the art director over many of the department’s award-winning publications, including Momentum, Hope, Vanderbilt Medicine and Vanderbilt Nurse. Before coming to Vanderbilt, Diana worked over 13 years at Corporate Design as a senior designer. She graduated from Western Kentucky with a bachelor’s degree in graphic design.
Communications Coordinator – Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt
Christina Echegaray joined the Vanderbilt team in 2010, coming from The Tennessean, where she was a reporter covering medicine and life sciences. She serves as editor of the Children’s Hospital biannual publication Hope and contributes stories involving Children’s Hospital to other News and Communications publications, in addition to other broad responsibilities. Echegaray received her bachelor’s degree in journalism and Spanish from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. Prior to The Tennessean, she worked as a reporter for the Sarasota Herald-Tribune in Bradenton, Fla., and the Telegram & Gazette in Worcester, Mass.
Senior Public Relations Specialist
Holly Fletcher joined Vanderbilt University Medical Center in late 2018. She spent 2018 designing a journalism experiment, BirdDog, to understand how readers engage with wonky, data-heavy information in a digital age. Prior to BirdDog and communications consulting, Holly covered the business of healthcare for The Tennessean/USA Today Network-Tennessee, with a reporting focus on the nexus of education, health and economics as well as how various macro trends — such as rising deductibles, increasing chronic diseases, and early transitions to value-based care — affect the flow of money. Before moving to Nashville in 2014, she covered M&A and project finance in the power, utility and clean energy space across the Americas for more than five years from New York City for Power Finance & Risk, where she held a variety of roles, including managing editor. She earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in International Affairs from Northeastern University in Boston and a Master of Science degree from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism in NYC.
Paul Govern contributes news and features to the VUMC Reporter, Vanderbilt Medicine, Momentum and other VUMC publications. Previously a publications writer with hospital administration, Govern joined News and Communications in 1998. Before joining Vanderbilt he was editor of a regional magazine in Greensboro, N.C.
Chief copy editor
Nancy Humphrey is a native of Columbia, Ky., and received a Bachelor of Arts degree in journalism and history from Western Kentucky University. She was a general assignment and medical reporter for the Nashville Banner from 1982-1985 and worked for the communications office of the Bureau of Health Services, Tennessee Department of Health, prior to joining the staff at Vanderbilt in 1993. She serves as chief copy editor for the department, and with Humphrey as editor, Vanderbilt Medicine won the 2000 CASE Circle of Excellence silver medal award for special constituency magazines and a 2002 award of distinction in the Association of American Medical Colleges’ 32nd Annual Awards for Excellence competition.
Leigh MacMillan, Ph.D.
Information Officer / Science Writer
Leigh MacMillan writes news and feature stories about basic biomedical research for Vanderbilt publications and websites, including the VUMC Reporter, the Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center magazine Momentum and the Research News @ Vanderbilt website. She joined the news and communications staff in 1999. MacMillan earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Chemistry from Michigan State University and a Ph.D. in Pharmacology from Vanderbilt University. She added two years of postdoctoral training, also at Vanderbilt University, before deciding to change course and pursue a career in science writing. MacMillan enjoys the challenge of “translating” basic science findings into compelling stories for both scientific and lay readers.
Senior Science Writer / Contributor, Research News @ Vanderbilt / Manager, VUMC Research Communications
Bill Snyder writes for the Medical Center’s Office of News and Communications and assists in its media relations effort. He was founding editor of Lens, (https://lens.newsarchive.vumc.org/), an award-winning biomedical research magazine published by the Medical Center between 2003 and 2010. A graduate of Stanford University, Snyder reported on science and health care for daily newspapers for more than 20 years before joining the News and Communications staff in 2002.
Information Officer/Editor, Momentum magazine
Tom Wilemon joined Vanderbilt University Medical Center in 2015, coming from The Tennessean where he was a health reporter and investigative reporter. He is editor of the biannual Momentum magazine for Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center. He covers orthopaedics, neurology and neurosurgery, and physical medicine and rehabilitation. He has previously worked at Memphis Daily News, SunHerald in Biloxi, Miss.; and The Daily Corinthian in Corinth, Miss. He has a Bachelor of Liberal Studies from the University of Memphis.
Donn joined the Medical Center’s Office of News & Communications in 2020 as a senior photographer. Donn is a Nashville native who started his photo career at The Nashville Banner where he served as both a staff photographer and photo editor. After the Banner closed, he freelanced for about 25 years shooting both editorially and commercially with clients including the Country Music Association, the Associated Press, the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum, and several corporate clients. Twenty of those years, Donn also served as the team photographer for the Tennessee Titans.
Erin O. Smith
Erin Smith joined the Medical Center’s Office of News & Communications in early 2020 as a photographer, contributing to News & Communications publications (the VUMC Reporter, VUMC Voice, Momentum, Hope and Vanderbilt Medicine), various VUMC websites and publications, as well as external media platforms when photos are requested from the medical center. Prior to joining VUMC, she worked as a staff photographer at the Chattanooga Times Free Press in Chattanooga, Tenn., and The Times in Gainesville, Ga. Smith is a graduate of the University of Georgia with a bachelor’s degree in journalism and minor in Spanish.
Born in New York and raised in Nashville, Susan received her formal training at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts and the New England School of Photography both in Boston. Susan has studied and worked with professional photographers in New England, California and the South, and has experience in photojournalism, advertisement and documentary work. Susan’s work has appeared in Elle, Harper’s Bazaar, Marie Claire, Cosmopolitan, and Rolling Stone.
Media Press Tracker Database Assistant / Office Assistant
Marjorie Moore oversees the data entry for the department’s database which tracks media placements, and assists with other office functions.
Assistant to the Director and Office Manager
Gladys Smith assists the director in the day-to-day administrative office functions and manages the department’s budget.