Kern Family Foundation Provides $2 Million Grant to Support Frist College of Medicine

Three-year grant initiates framework to integrate character, entrepreneurial mindset, purpose in health care education curriculum, among other areas

Rendering of proposed building for Frist College of Medicine

Future Belmont University students, particularly those in the recently named Thomas F. Frist Jr. College of Medicine, will benefit from a curriculum informed by a newly secured $2.15 million grant from the Kern Family Foundation. The “Kern Initiative on Character, Entrepreneurial Mindset and Purpose at Belmont University” will provide the foundation for creating a transformational framework to embed the aforementioned traits into medical education and programming across all of the University’s health care-related majors as well as through Belmont’s other colleges and schools. 

Belmont President Dr. Greg Jones said, “Thanks to the vision and generosity of the Kern Family Foundation through this grant, we can dream big as we begin to envision and implement a distinctive and holistic approach to medical education. This initiative will help to ensure that Belmont places excellent practitioners of medicine into our communities who have a commitment to character, competence and caring that is crucial for holistic care of patients as well as the intellectual abilities and skills to be creative entrepreneurs with a clear sense of purpose. In addition, the grant will support our efforts to break down silos across colleges to engage in collaborative research, teaching and projects that will integrate these ideals in all of our graduate and undergraduate programs.” 

Kern Family Foundation President Jim Rahn said, “The Kern Family Foundation is pleased to support the transformational vision for Belmont University that has been articulated by President Jones and embraced by the board as well as administrative and academic leaders. It is a rare opportunity to invest in a cross-disciplinary initiative that will impact all existing Belmont colleges while also laying a firm foundation for the new College of Medicine. We are confident that Belmont will serve as a model and inspiration for other universities.”

The initiatives supported by the Kern Family Foundation grant align with Belmont’s mission as well as with the original vision Dr. Thomas Frist, Jr., his father Dr. Thomas Frist, Sr. and Jack C. Massey brought to their founding of HCA Healthcare. HCA Healthcare will provide residencies and clinical rotations for Frist College of Medicine students through its Nashville-based TriStar Health division.

The implementation of the Kern Initiative at Belmont will be co-led by the newly named Vice President for Transformative Innovation, Character and Purpose, Dr. Amy Crook, along with a to-be-selected faculty leader within the Frist College of Medicine. Together, these administrators will focus on the integration of character, entrepreneurial mindset and purpose in curricular and co-curricular programs across the University, particularly within the Frist College of Medicine. Their efforts will include cultivating connections with a variety of graduate medical education consultants, partners and colleagues to glean insights and influence program development. In addition, they will establish roundtable symposia with both senior, influential health care leaders and younger professionals to garner perspectives on how they were—and were not—formed for their current vocations.

“Belmont University is committed to providing the highest level of academic instruction and to engendering a set of core commitments in our students that makes them excellent citizens and leaders of character,” said Crook. “We have been intentional in shaping our students in and outside the classroom, and partnering with the Kern Family Foundation will allow us to focus and amplify our efforts around character development, entrepreneurial mindset and purpose across all aspects of our educational model. It’s especially exciting to be starting our medical curriculum with these elements fully embedded from its genesis. We want Belmont students to be known as much for their strong character as their academic acumen.” 

Dr. Bill Bates, dean of the Thomas F. Frist Jr. College of Medicine, added, “Our vision for this medical school extends beyond producing excellent physicians and health care leaders. We want every aspiring doctor who enters the Frist College of Medicine to be immediately impacted by a curriculum designed to promote character, competency, care and compassion in their practice upon graduation. With the Kern Family grant, we will set that standard on our first day of classes.” 

The three-year grant runs through May 2024 and will be enhanced by institutional investment in the proposed initiatives to create programs that are measurable, replicable and sustainable for the long term.

Timing on the opening for the Frist College of Medicine is determined by the accreditation process with the Liaison Committee on Medical Education (LCME), the accreditor for MD programs in the U.S. and Canada. Currently, the administration’s focus is on hiring faculty, creating the curriculum and designing the building that will house the college. Additional information will be announced at a future date.

About The Kern Family Foundation
The Kern Family Foundation’s mission is to empower the rising generation of Americans to build flourishing lives anchored in strong character, inspired by quality education, driven by an entrepreneurial mindset, and guided by the desire to create value for others. We focus on initiatives that have long-term, systemic impact. The Foundation was established in 1998 by Robert D. and Patricia E. Kern, founders of Generac Power Systems.