UTHSC’s Chancellor Dr. Peter Buckley Addresses Collierville Chamber Crowd

Detailing major goals of the school, Buckley outlined four areas: accomplishing the UTHSC mission; impacting health across the state; fulfilling Tennessee’s health care demands, and partnering with communities like Collierville.

Dr. Peter Buckley, Chancellor of the University of Tennessee Health Sciences Center (UTHSC) informed and entertained a group of Collierville business leaders on August 18 at the Collierville Chamber of Commerce. He was accompanied by Love Collins, Vice Chancellor of Strategy and Implementation and Vice Chancellor Development Greg Harris, also a Collierville Chamber board member.

A native of Dublin, Ireland, and a naturalized citizen of the U.S., Buckley has been in America for 30 years and assumed the Chancellor’s role at UTHSC six months ago, after serving as Dean of the School of Medicine at Virginia Commonwealth University and Executive Vice President of Medical Affairs for VCU’s health system.

Buckley addressed the growing need for nurses: “Hospitals are closing down because they don’t have the nurses.” He also highlighted the growing need for the school’s trainees, as reflected in the state’s number of doctors per capita. Nationally, the figure stands at 60 doctors per 100,000, but is 50 per 100,000 in Tennessee and only 4 per 100,000 when it comes to Appalachia.

Buckley’s address covered a wide range of topics, designed to highlight UTHSC’s importance to the local community and to the state of Tennessee, as well as to share insights into the current state of health care and health care education.

Buckley discussed UTHSC’s reputation of being in the forefront of medical care and its ongoing efforts to drive innovation. He noted that the school’s expansive group of specialists continues a tradition of “being the place to be when the worst happens” – when individuals face complex medical issues. “This [UTHSC] is where it all comes together” to improve healthcare in the state.

Citing the alarming rise of childhood obesity, now at 38%, Buckley mentioned the challenges of disparity of health care in the population and how social determinants of health have a stronger impact than the actual health care delivery.

UTHSC extends its reach across the state, not only through its four campuses (Memphis, Nashville, Knoxville, Chattanooga) and their partnerships with area hospitals, but also through the 880 training or clinical sites in 119 cities in Tennessee. With a $4 billion impact and with 3,000+ students, UTHSC employs about 4,000 people statewide. It is the largest educator of healthcare professionals in the state and boasts a 95% graduation rate. The school includes six health science colleges, each granting a doctoral degree: Medicine, Dentistry, Pharmacy, Nursing, Graduate Health Sciences, and Health Professions.

As UTHSC begins extensive renovation of its downtown campus and experiences “great momentum,” Buckley looks across the full spectrum of the school’s mission and statewide reach. “We’re proud to call Memphis our home. We’re proud to call Tennessee our campus.”