Thomas F. Frist, Jr. College of Medicine at Belmont University Names Leadership Team

Rendering of proposed building for Frist College of Medicine

Team continues work toward accreditation, oversees new facility, and sets College strategic direction

The Thomas F. Frist, Jr. College of Medicine at Belmont University, first announced in October 2020, has made significant strides over the last year including the recent naming of its comprehensive administrative leadership team. Under the guidance of Founding Dean Dr. Bill Bates, who was appointed in December 2020, the College’s leadership team is made up of experts from across the country including:

  • Reuben A. Bueno, Jr., M.D.—Associate Dean for Clinical Education, Professor of Surgery
    • A graduate of Yale College and Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, Dr. Bueno has completed training in integrated plastic surgery/general surgery, hand and upper extremity and pediatric plastic surgery at Southern Illinois University School of Medicine, Hospital for Special Surgery and Hospital for Sick Children, respectively. Prior to joining Belmont, he was Chief of the Institute for Plastic Surgery at SIU Medicine in Springfield, IL. 
  • Karen A. Lewis, Ed.D.—Associate Dean for Student Affairs and Diversity 
    • Dr. Lewis has served as a leader in student affairs, enrollment management and diversity at Morehouse School of Medicine, Meharry Medical College, Des Moines University and Carolinas College of Health Sciences. She has experience in allopathic, osteopathic, and podiatric medicine; physician assistant, physical therapy, masters and doctoral programs in biomedical sciences; nursing, radiologic technology, and laboratory science programs. She holds degrees from Clayton College and State University, Georgia State University and Vanderbilt University.
  • Stephanie McClure, M.D.— Associate Dean for Faculty and Academic Affairs and Professor of Medicine, Geriatric Medicine. 
    • Dr. McClure earned her medical degree and completed an internal medicine residency at Quillen College of Medicine of East Tennessee State University and served on the faculty with an active clinical practice. She is board certified in internal medicine and geriatrics. Prior to joining Belmont University, she served as the Executive Vice Dean for Student and Academic Affairs at Meharry Medical College.
  • Marilyn Odom, Ph.D.—Chair of the Department of Medical Education
    • Dr. Odom graduated from the University of South Alabama with a Ph.D. in Basic Medical Sciences and a specialization in Pharmacology. She completed her postdoctoral training at Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center. From 1999-2008, she served as a faculty member at Meharry Medical College, and most recently, she served as Chair of Pharmaceutical, Social and Administrative Sciences in Belmont’s College of Pharmacy. 
  • Anderson Spickard, III, M.D., M.S.—Associate Dean for Spiritual Growth and Development, Professor of Internal Medicine and Clinical Educator 
    • Dr. Spickard earned his M.D. from Vanderbilt University and his Masters of Science in Epidemiology from the University of Virginia School of Medicine. He completed an internal medicine internship and residency at the University of Washington. Most recently, prior to his appointment at Belmont, he served as Professor of Medicine and Assistant Dean of Education Design and Informatics at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine.

“I am honored to be leading such an accomplished team of experts who will oversee the foundation of this new College,” said Founding Dean Dr. Bill Bates. “We understand that health care is representative of so much more than the aspects of our identities that are discussed in the clinical setting. Within our curriculum, we plan to train students who embrace a whole-person approach to healing inspired by the love of Christ and develop a deep appreciation for all factors that influence health for our communities.” 

In addition to his role as Associate Dean and Professor of Internal Medicine, Dr. Spickard has been appointed as Special Assistant to the President for Health, a new position established by Belmont President Dr. Greg Jones. This role will consider the intersections of health, life, and faith across Belmont’s campus, inviting collaboration among all Colleges and establishing a foundation of the importance of health for human flourishing.    

“The creation of the Thomas F. Frist, Jr. College of Medicine at Belmont University, as well as the appointment to Dr. Spickard as the Special Assistant to the President for Health, signifies an incredibly significant point in the institution’s trajectory,” said Dr. Jones. “Belmont has been educating future leaders of our health care industry for decades, and the addition of a medical degree to our comprehensive health care programming is the natural next step. As we recognize that health intersects all aspects of our lives, we are committed to finding new ways to integrate a commitment to health and wellbeing into all disciplines across our campus.” 

Additional faculty have been hired by the leadership team since their appointment including: 

  • Rebecca “Beth” Conway, Ph.D.—Professor of Biomedical Sciences, Scientist Educator 
    • Ph.D. in Biomedical Sciences from the University of Connecticut Health Center. 
  • Michael Frederick Hill, Ph.D.—Associate Professor of Physiology & Pathophysiology, Scientist Educator
    • Ph.D. in Physiology from the University of Manitoba in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada 
  • Richard Preston Hobbs, III, M.D.—Professor of Internal Medicine-Pediatrics, Clinician Educator  
    • M.D. from University of North Carolina School of Medicine, Chapel Hill
  • Andrew Michel, M.D.—Assistant Professor of Psychiatry, Clinical Educator
    • M.D. from Vanderbilt University School of Medicine 
  • Eszter Szentirmai, M.D.—Assistant Professor of Anatomic & Clinical Pathology, Clinician Educator
    • M.D. from Vanderbilt University School of Medicine 

Faculty from other Colleges at Belmont have received dual appointments to teach within the College of Medicine including: 

  • Duane Hatch, Ph.D.—Associate Professor of Biochemistry, College of Sciences & Mathematics
    • Ph.D. in Synthetic Organic Chemistry from University of Cincinnati  
  • Nick Ragsdale, Ph.D.—Associate Dean, College of Sciences & Mathematics 
    • Ph.D. in Physiology from the University of Tennessee, Memphis 
  • Jennifer Thomas, Ph.D.—Professor of Immunology and Microbiology, College of Sciences & Mathematics 
    • Ph.D. in Microbial Pathogenesis from Northwestern University 
  • David Wyant, Ph.D.—Assistant Professor of Biostatics, College of Business 
    • Ph.D. in Health Services Research, Policy and Administration from University of Minnesota—Twin Cities

Belmont is establishing the Frist College of Medicine in collaboration with HCA Healthcare, one of the nation’s leading providers of healthcare services with 187 hospitals across the country and in the United Kingdom. This collaboration is built on a strong history between Belmont and HCA, whose Nashville-based TriStar Health will provide residencies and clinical rotations for students in the College of Medicine.

Last month, Belmont Board of Trustees Chair, alumnus and retired HCA Healthcare Chairman and CEO Milton Johnson and his wife Denice gave $10 million to the College in honor of Dr. Thomas F. Frist, Jr., the College’s namesake and HCA Healthcare co-founder, and Johnson’s many years of work with HCA Healthcare. The Johnson’s gift will name the Milton and Denice Johnson Lobby of the College’s new building, construction of which is currently underway on Belmont’s campus.  

The nearly 200,000-square-foot building, which was announced in May of this year, includes a 650-space, below ground parking garage, and will be located within a block of Belmont’s Gordan E. Inman Center and McWhorter Hall, which house the University’s well-known health, health sciences and pharmacy programs. The facility has been designed to create a fully interdisciplinary educational experience, allowing students in existing programs to work alongside aspiring MDs—just as they would in a clinical setting. 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.