Early Facility Rendering Demonstrates Belmont’s Ambitious Goals for New Frist College of Medicine

Strategically placed complex on Wedgewood Ave. set to foster collaboration with University’s other highly regarded healthcare programs, community partners

Rendering of proposed building for Frist College of Medicine

Fresh on the heels of announcing its new medical school would be named after a healthcare icon, Belmont University revealed today a proposed rendering and location for the facility that would house the Thomas F. Frist, Jr. College of Medicine. Current plans for a 160,000 square foot structure that includes a 350-space, below ground parking garage puts the building in line with the size and scope of other medical school buildings while also allowing for room to grow. Subject to Metro Planning Department approval, the site is within a block of the campus’ Gordon E. Inman Center and McWhorter Hall, which collectively are home to Belmont’s well known nursing, physical therapy, occupational therapy, social work, public health and pharmacy programs.

Belmont President Dr. Bob Fisher said, “I’ve noted before that we have exceedingly high aspirations for this new College of Medicine, 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. This building must follow suit, providing state-of-the-art technology and opportunities for extensive collaboration. As health care continuously evolves, we are committed to creating an atmosphere where our students will be trained to lead the way in healthcare design and delivery.” 

The initial plans for the Frist College of Medicine building continue the rich architectural detailing for which Belmont is known, extending the campus’ footprint further down Wedgewood Avenue. The facility is being designed to create a fully interdisciplinary educational experience, allowing students in Belmont’s existing health science programs to interact with aspiring MDs and work together as a team just as they would within a normal healthcare delivery system. Large lecture spaces and learning studios will be complemented by high-tech simulation areas that utilize virtual and augmented reality as part of their simulated offerings. The facility is also anticipated to be flexible to adapt both to new technologies and equipment as well as to changes in health care models. In addition, the building is expected to establish a physical space dedicated to honor inductees to the Tennessee Healthcare Hall of Fame.

Belmont University announced May 3 that its new College of Medicine 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. 

Dr. Frist noted, “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.” 

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.

A Nashville native, Dr. Thomas “Tommy” Frist, Jr., his father Dr. Thomas F. Frist, Sr. and Jack C. Massey formed Hospital Corporation of America (now HCA Healthcare) in 1968. 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.

Teams of health care leaders, faculty and consultants have been gathering in retreats to formulate the vision and goals for the new college, ensuring it aligns with the mission that makes a Belmont education distinctive. Currently in the midst of hiring faculty and developing curriculum to share with the accrediting body, Belmont hopes to begin construction on the Frist College of Medicine building by the end of the year.