I hope this website will serve as an important venue for non-intrusive yet interactive communication between the GI and Hepatology division at UTHSC-Memphis and its alumni. Information on this website will be general in nature, providing an overview of our activities, but alumni should feel free to call (901-448-5813) should you wish to communicate more directly. Hopefully, we will be able to find out how our graduates are doing (professionally and personally) and how your UT training and experiences have influenced your career. I intend to use this section to keep you informed about new initiatives of the GI Division, what's new in Memphis (medical and otherwise), and how local and state politics are affecting our program. The website will also provide you with a portal of communication to our current fellows, who you may wish to recruit or offer some helpful advice. We intend to update this section of the website periodically, covering different topics over time, so visit frequently. Since this is a work in progress, any input on the content and/or presentation of the information contained on this website is much appreciated. Thanks for visiting and enjoy.
Dr. Toan D. Nguyen, M.D.
Chief, Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology
University of Tennessee Health Science Center, Memphis
Changes in the Medical Community in Memphis
In 1997, downtown Memphis had three major community hospitals: Methodist Central, Baptist Central, and St. Joseph's. In addition, UT managed the Bowld and LeBonheur's Childrens Hospitals, and had expanded its clinical and educational activities into Baptist Central. Shelby County managed much of The Med and then of course, there was the VA. Well, all that has changed. First, Methodist Healthcare acquired LeBonheur Childrens Hospital in the late 1990's. Next, St. Joseph's Hospital closed. Then Baptist Healthcare closed down Baptist Central and moved all operations to their expanding facility at Walnut Grove and I-240, known then as Baptist East. As part of the move, Baptist donated its downtown facilities (hospital, professional buildings, and parking garage) to UT. Following these changes, Memphis was left with 3 downtown hospitals – Methodist Central, The Med, and the VA.
These rather dramatic physical changes to the downtown medical landscape led to a new affiliation. UT and Methodist Healthcare signed an official merger agreement in which Methodist Healthcare acquired the Bowld Hospital and the residency training programs at UT and Methodist fused. Methodist Central Hospital was renamed Methodist University Hospital (MUH). In 2004, the merger was finalized with closure of the UT-Bowld Hospital and the 920 Madison UTMG clinics and the transfer of university faculty practice activity to the MUH campus. Local community business leaders are currently working with UT to develop a large biotech center on the old Baptist Hospital grounds. Meanwhile, The Med continues much the same, struggling to improve its health care delivery woes with some success. Interestingly, in the wake of all this activity, the VA has emerged as the most technically advanced hospital in Memphis. It boasts a new (seismically-sound) hospital facility and a completely paperless medical record system.
Regarding the UTHSC Division of Gastroenterology, the numerous changes that have taken place over the past several years are summarized below.
New Division Chief
After 14 years at the helm, Dr. Charles M. Mansbach II voluntarily resigned as Chief of the Division of Gastroenterology effective July, 1, 2002 to focus on his bench research. Christopher R. Marino, M.D. served as Chief of the Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology since then until 2006 when he was promoted to Chief of Medical Services at the Memphis VA. Dr. Rene Davila, M.D. and then Dr. Jaquelyn Fleckenstein served as interim Chiefs until September 1, 2010, when Dr. Toan Nguyen, was recruited from the University of Washington (where he was the Acting Chief of the Division of Gastroenterology), to be the new Chief of the Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology at UTHSC.
Move of the Academic GI Office
After decades on the 5th floor of the Dobbs Research Building and another decade at the 920 Madison Building, the Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology has moved to the Coleman Building, where the Department of Medicine and many of the Departmental Divisions are now based. Our official academic address is now Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, UT Health Science Center, 956 Court Avenue, Suite H210, Memphis, TN 38163. Parking is available in the elevated garage across the street with entrances on Madison and Court Avenues.
New Transplant Clinic Opened
In May, 2005, a newly renovated transplant clinic and adjacent ambulatory procedure center (dialysis, liver biopsy, and paracentesis) opened in Methodist University Hospital, down the hall from the GI Lab.
Dr. Smith promoted to interim Dean of the School of Medicine
Dr. James Lacy Smith was promoted to Chairman of Internal Medicine for the University of Tennessee Health Sciences Center in 2006 and then interim Dean of the School of Medicine in 2009.