Merry Christmas all! Tracy and I hope this holiday season brings peace and joy and 2015 was a rewarding year.
It’s been a fall of new beginnings for us in many ways. After three sons, and two grandsons, our family welcomed our first granddaughter, Amelia Fearn Frist, just over a month ago. We launched a pioneering new health initiative for Nashville that we believe will serve as a model nationwide. And most importantly, Tracy and I were married this summer in Sinking Creek, Virginia, where we have a farm where Tracy runs her grass-fed beef business. We’ve since opened a satellite branch in Williamson County. We are now in the cutting horse business in Franklin, Tennessee, expecting two new babies in April at our farm, Old Town. Tracy has had her hands full training a surgeon to be a cowboy.
Domestic Health Reform
But it’s not been all grass-fed beef and cutting horses this fall. Much of our work has been focused on launching NashvilleHealth, an endeavor meant to change Nashville’s health outlook. Although we are a national hub for healthcare, our citizens are not all benefitting from the talent, expertise, and resources we have here. NashvilleHealth will be a county-wide convener to open dialogue, align resources and build smart strategic partnerships to create a plan for health unique to Nashville’s needs, leveraging the rich resources of our city and region.
NashvilleHealth has been a big undertaking, but it hasn’t been the only thing we’ve been working on. The Nashville Health Care Council has announced its 2016 Fellows Class, a one-of-a-kind executive program on which Larry Van Horn from Vandy’s Owen School and I work. We’ve also been writing on antibiotic resistance, a growing and extremely serious problem, and health care technologies, especially telemedicine. We are closely watching the health delivery on a national scale, encouraging AHRQ and calling for reform at the VA, bringing attention to health issues for children and the elderly, and continuing to argue for needed refinements to the Affordable Care Act. We continue to use writing and social media as the primary means of changing the culture around many of these issues.
Hope Through Healing Hands & Global Health
Tracy and I visited Cuba again this year, this time searching for a family doctor. On previous trips we’ve seen hospitals and clinics, but the patient’s first contact has been the missing link. This fall, we made a surprise visit to a Cuban family doctor, and got to see what medicine there really looks like.
We’ve been forever impacted by our visits to Cuba, and late this summer Tracy and I launched Mountain AIR, an artist-in-residence program at our Virginia farm. Hector Frank, an incredibly talented Cuban artist, is our first resident. We’ll be headed back to Cuba next month.
We’ve also worked this year to spread understanding of global health’s role in our national security. PEPFAR stands as a shining example of what a concerted effort for global health can mean for our country’s health and safety at home, but now more than ever we must be active and visible.
SCORE & Education
SCORE continues to soar. The State Collaborative on Reforming Education once again celebrated the hard work of Tennessee students, teachers and administrators at the SCORE Prize event. ABC’s Nashville star Charles Esten—Deacon Claybourne—was on hand to perform as we named twelve schools and districts as finalists for the coveted SCORE prizes.
I’m even more excited than usual for SCORE’s next year. Last week SCORE announced a new strategic plan, refined the leadership structure, and launched a strategy to 2020 with goals including closing achievement gaps by income, race, and geographic location; preparing all graduating seniors for post-secondary education; and continuing our impressive state-wide improvement.
- If you’re in Nashville and you have a car, you must check out Yoshi. I’m not unbiased, but I am genuinely thrilled with the time it saves. You will never have to fill your own gas tank again!
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- A patient of mine is thriving 25 years after a lung transplant. It’s an amazing story. She’s a fighter—the longest living lung transplant in America.
- Again, happy holidays, and here’s to a wonderful 2016.