Department Chair


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James C. Fleming, MD, FACS
Chair, Department of Ophthalmology

A native Memphian, Dr. Fleming has been a full-time physician with the Department of Ophthalmology since 1997, when he was recruited by Dr. Haik to head the Oculoplastic Service. In 2003, he was promoted to professor and appointed vice-chair of clinical affairs. Four years later, he successfully unified a consortium of the Baptist and Methodist health care systems - competitors that almost never work together - and established the HEI ambulatory surgery center. He was named the Philip M. Lewis Professor of Ophthalmology in 2008. On July 1, 2012, Dr. Fleming became the sixth chair in the department's 101-year history.

"Barrett has developed a group of people that have a great core value set," Dr. Fleming stated. "The primary job of chairman here is to continue to grow those core values." Those include giving patients the finest care that ophthalmology has to offer, providing the best education possible for future generations of ophthalmologists, recruiting top vision scientists, fostering a fertile environment for translational research, and providing a vertically integrated facility that inspires all of these to flourish together under one roof.

A master clinician, Dr. Fleming is consistently recognized by "Best Doctors in America" and has received many awards both locally and nationally. Over the course of his career, Dr. Fleming has authored more than 50 articles in peer-reviewed journals and presented more than 100 talks nationally and internationally. He also has a deep interest in healthcare policy and a long and outstanding record of service to multiple organizations. He has served as president of the American Society of Ophthalmic Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery and the Tennessee Medical Association. He is also on the council of the American Academy of Ophthalmology and chair of the American Medical Association's southeast delegation. He has traveled the world with ORBIS International and the World Cataract Foundation, volunteering his surgical expertise to improve the sight and lives of disadvantaged people in developing nations.

Dr. Fleming's wife of more than 35 years, Anne, is a UTHSC College of Nursing graduate. They are the proud parents of two daughters, Rebecca and Katherine, who are both physicians, and they have two granddaughters, Norah and Gabriela.