Duty: The view at UTHSC

Cover feature for The Downtowner magazine

Oct. 2013

October 2013

October 2013

In 1911, a puzzle of sorts was put
together in Memphis that resulted in the
UT Health Science Center, the flagship,
statewide academic health system.

You probably pass by it every day —
on the way to and from work, on the
way to and from an Orpheum show or an
AutoZone Park ballgame — there, along
Union and Madison at the cross streets of
Dunlap and Manassas. If the time of day is
right, you see hundreds of lab-coated and
scrubs-wearing people, backpacks slung over
their shoulders and cell phones clamped to
their ears, streaming in and out of the redbrick buildings.

This is UTHSC — The University of Tennessee
Health Science Center — and the institution
has a longer and more ingrained history than
The Orpheum and AutoZone Park combined.
In 1911, a puzzle of sorts was put together
in Memphis when pieces of UT-Nashville’s
College of Medicine and Medical College, The
University of Memphis’s College of Physicians
and Surgeons (including its College of
Dentistry), and the Memphis Hospital Medical
College were dismantled and reassembled to
become the University of Tennessee College
of Medicine. The small, four-story building at
879 Madison held three colleges: medicine,
dentistry, and pharmacy.

Among the many to lead the institution
over the years was Orren Williams Hyman,
professor of histology and embryology, who
oversaw operations for 50 years, beginning
in 1921. He brought about vast changes and
advancements, commencing with removing
the tobacco juice–encrusted radiators in the
classrooms, as well as the rats that enjoyed
free reign in the cadaver room.

Since those inauspicious beginnings, the
school has grown both physically and in
educational scope. It now encompasses three
integrated sites across the state — Memphis,
Knoxville, and Chattanooga — with 2,850
students and 1,100 regular faculty members . . . (read more)