University of Tennessee Health Science Center

Founded in 1911, the UT Health Science Center includes the Colleges of Allied Health Sciences, Dentistry, Graduate Health Sciences, Medicine, Nursing and Pharmacy; the School of Biomedical Engineering; the Bowld Hospital in Memphis; and the Graduate School of Medicine and the Memorial Hospital in Knoxville. It also operates graduate medical education programs in Knoxville, Chattanooga, and Nashville; family medicine centers in Knoxville, Jackson, and Memphis; and public and continuing education programs statewide.

The University of Tennessee, Memphis, was formed from the merger of five medical schools: Memphis Hospital Medical College and College of Physicians and Surgeons in Memphis; Nashville Medical College and the Medical Department of the University of Tennessee at Nashville; and Lincoln Memorial University located in Knoxville. A report on medical education published by Abraham Flexnor in 1910 provided the final motivation to close these old proprietary schools and establish a new medical school associated with the University of Tennessee. Heeding Flexnor’s advice, the Nashville campus of the Medical Department of the University of Tennessee was relocated to Memphis and the other schools consolidated with the new institution. The first session was held in 1911-12 at Lindsley Hall, named in honor of J. Berrien Lindsley. The University of Tennessee College of Medicine faced significant problems in providing adequate funding, acquiring an “A” rating from the AMA Council on Medical Education, and gaining control of its teaching hospital from local political elites.

At the end of the century, the university reorganized its UT, Memphis facility, establishing the UT Health Science Center in 2000. William R. Rice, who had been the chancellor of UT Memphis since 1993, continued as chancellor of the Health Science Center. The 2,000-member student body receives instruction from 800 paid and 1,000 volunteer faculty in Memphis and 150 paid and 300 volunteer faculty in Knoxville. Approximately 600 students graduate each year with baccalaureate, master’s, and doctoral degrees. UT Health Science Center is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools and each of the appropriate professional agencies for the various programs offered at the school. Three Centers of Excellence have received national attention for research in microbiology and immunology, neurosciences, and pediatric pharmacokinetics. UT Memphis has thirty-five endowed professorships, of which nineteen are Chairs of Excellence funded jointly by private gifts and the State of Tennessee.

Suggested Reading

Marcus J. Stewart and William T. Black Jr., eds., History of Medicine in Memphis (1971)

Citation Information

The following information is provided for citations.

  • Article Title University of Tennessee Health Science Center
  • Author
  • Website Name Tennessee Encyclopedia
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  • Access Date July 20, 2024
  • Publisher Tennessee Historical Society
  • Original Published Date
  • Date of Last Update March 1, 2018