Belmont’s New College of Medicine to Be Named in Honor of HCA Healthcare Co-Founder Dr. Thomas F. Frist, Jr.

Thomas F. Frist, Jr. College of Medicine honors legend in health care, deepens Belmont, HCA Healthcare collaboration on new medical school

Thomas F. Frist Jr. head shot

Belmont University announced today that its new College of Medicine, first announced last October, will be named in honor of health care icon Dr. Thomas F. Frist, Jr., co-founder of HCA Healthcare. In addition to its name, the Thomas F. Frist, Jr. College of Medicine at Belmont University enjoys strong ties with HCA Healthcare, whose Nashville-based TriStar Health will provide residencies and clinical rotations for students of the college. 

Belmont President Dr. Bob Fisher said, “We have exceedingly high aspirations for this new College of Medicine. We know that we will have to earn a world-class reputation over time, but we intend to deliver a world-class learning environment beginning on day one with outstanding faculty, staff, students, physical resources and clinical experiences. It’s been said that a good name is more valuable than anything else, and the name ‘Thomas F. Frist, Jr. College of Medicine’ signals our determination to create an innovative, entrepreneurial approach to compassionate, patient-centered care that will settle for nothing less than the very best. We are deeply honored by the trust that Dr. Frist has shown in us by linking his name with our College of Medicine, and we are committed to build on the legacy of Dr. Frist and his fellow HCA Healthcare co-founders Dr. Thomas F. Frist, Sr. and Mr. Jack Massey.” 

Dr. Frist added, “Belmont has a history of building programs that are exceptional. I know with the leadership at the University, we have the potential to build a school that produces physicians with the same heart for service that guided my own career – not just for Nashville but also for a nation that desperately needs more practicing physicians.” 

In addition to being a leading healthcare provider, HCA Healthcare also is the leading provider of Graduate Medical Education (GME) in the country. The health system is the largest sponsor of GME programs, with more than 5,100 residents and fellows in 304 Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) accredited programs, and its affiliates currently include 61 teaching hospitals. HCA Healthcare’s flagship, TriStar Health, will provide Frist College of Medicine students vital learning experiences: core clinical clerkships for third year students and clinical elective rotations for fourth year students. HCA Healthcare also will provide a pathway to outstanding post-graduate medical education opportunities and will support existing members of the medical staff who may be interested in faculty positions.

HCA Healthcare CEO Sam Hazen said, “I have looked up to Dr. Frist throughout my 38-year career with HCA Healthcare. Not only is he a thoughtful businessman with immense knowledge and expertise, but he has remarkable compassion for others and leads by example. I am proud that his legacy will live on in the Frist College of Medicine. This is an exciting moment for Nashville, future medical students and our entire HCA Healthcare family.” 

The Frist College of Medicine is built on a strong history of connections between Belmont and HCA Healthcare, one that traces back to another of the company’s co-founders Jack Massey, a staunch Belmont supporter and the namesake of the Jack C. Massey College of Business. Since those early years, the organizations have worked together on a number of initiatives, including the Partners in Nursing Consortium to address a nursing shortage in Tennessee. HCA Healthcare also worked with the University as the local health advisor for the Oct. 22, 2020 Presidential Debate at Belmont.

Marty Dickens, current chair of Belmont’s Board of Trustees, noted, “Belmont’s new College of Medicine and the collaboration with HCA Healthcare represent a longtime dream of Dr. Fisher’s coming true. Now to have the honor of naming the new college after Dr. Thomas F. Frist, Jr. is truly a reach to the stars. The mission and values of healing and caring instituted by Tommy and his father, along with Jack Massey, when they founded HCA Healthcare are at the core of the culture of the organization. They also fit perfectly with the mission and values of Belmont University to help students engage and transform the world with disciplined intelligence, compassion, courage and faith. From this time forward when people see or hear about the Thomas F. Frist, Jr. College of Medicine, they will immediately know that this place is training doctors who are committed to the care and improvement of human life. This is truly another great day in the life of Belmont University.” 

Milton Johnson—retired chairman/CEO of HCA Healthcare, a Belmont alumnus and the incoming chair of Belmont’s Board of Trustees—added, “Tommy Frist was a mentor to me during my time at HCA Healthcare, and I witnessed firsthand how his character shaped the company’s culture. He led by example, demonstrating honesty, integrity and fairness in how he conducted business along with treating everyone he encountered with dignity. Having his name on Belmont’s new College of Medicine signals the intent to instill those same qualities in tomorrow’s health care professionals while giving them an exemplary model to emulate.” 

A Nashville native, Dr. Thomas “Tommy” Frist, Jr. is a graduate of Nashville’s Montgomery Bell Academy and Vanderbilt University. In 1965, he graduated from the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis and then returned to Vanderbilt University for his surgical residency, which was interrupted by a two-year term as a flight surgeon at Robins Air Force Base (GA) during the Vietnam War. 

While in the military, Dr. Frist had an idea for a company that would bring hospitals together to share resources. In 1968, Dr. Frist, his father Dr. Thomas F. Frist, Sr. and Jack C. Massey formed Hospital Corporation of America (now HCA Healthcare). As one of the nation’s first investor-owned hospital companies, HCA Healthcare modernized the way health care was delivered in the United States while keeping patient care and safety first. Dr. Frist served HCA Healthcare in various leadership roles including President, Chief Executive Officer and Chairman. He remained on the Board of Directors of HCA Healthcare until 2009 and currently serves as Chairman Emeritus.

An active philanthropist and civic volunteer, Dr. Frist served as Chair of the Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce, founded the United Way Tocqueville Society, and is the recipient of a number of awards including United Way’s “Lifetime Achievement Award” and the Nashville Business Journal’s “Best in Business Lifetime Achievement Award,” as well as being selected for induction in the inaugural class of the Tennessee Health Care Hall of Fame. He is the founder of The Frist Foundation, a Nashville grantmaker that has provided hundreds of millions of dollars to Nashville nonprofit organizations over the last thirty years.

About HCA Healthcare
Nashville-based HCA Healthcare is one of the nation’s leading providers of healthcare services, comprising 186 hospitals and approximately 2,000 ambulatory sites of care, including surgery centers, freestanding ERs, urgent care centers, and physician clinics, in 20 states and the United Kingdom. With its founding in 1968, HCA Healthcare created a new model for hospital care in the United States, using combined resources to strengthen hospitals, deliver patient-focused care and improve the practice of medicine. HCA Healthcare has conducted a number of clinical studies, including one that demonstrated that full-term delivery is healthier than early elective delivery of babies and another that identified a clinical protocol that can reduce bloodstream infections in ICU patients by 44 percent. HCA Healthcare is a learning health system that uses its more than 32 million annual patient encounters to advance science, improve patient care and save lives. Please click here to connect with HCA Healthcare on social media.