New Board Chair Named at The University of Tennessee Medical Center

William Rukeyser named board chair at UT Medical Center, replacing term limited Bernard Bernstein, the first chair in the history of UHS, Inc., the board that governs the not-for-profit academic medical center in Tennessee.
By: Jim Ragonese
William Rukeyser
William Rukeyser
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* Knoxville - Tennessee - US

June 30, 2011 - PRLog -- The University of Tennessee Medical Center named William S. Rukeyser as its new board chair. Rukeyser, an internationally known financial journalist and business leader, takes over the role on July 1, replacing Bernard E. Bernstein, the first board chair in the medical center’s history. Rukeyser previously served as vice chair of the board of directors of University Health System, Inc. (UHS), the body that governs the not-for-profit academic medical center in Knoxville.

“The challenges ahead are formidable, but thanks in great part to Bernie Bernstein’s long and strong leadership, we’re on track to extend our leadership,” said Rukeyser.

Bernstein, the widely respected long-time Knoxville attorney and community advocate, has held the position of board chair since the creation of UHS in 1999 and leaves the post due to board mandated term limits. UHS was formed on August 1, 1999, the day the medical center became independent of the University of Tennessee system. Previously, Bernstein spent eight years as chair of a “liaison committee” created by the university’s board of trustees to supervise the hospital.

“I look back with satisfaction at the 20 years I have served in governance at The University of Tennessee Medical Center,” said Bernstein. “Improving patient care has always been our primary goal, and our Board has achieved that by working with our dedicated doctors, nurses and allied health professionals. The medical center is one of Knoxville’s largest employers and we have worked diligently to develop a devoted hospital staff committed to quality hospital care. We have also expanded our hospital campus by adding five new buildings and expanded medical services offered for our patients. We have a devoted board of directors which will now be led by Bill Rukeyser, who is well equipped to guide the Medical Center in the years ahead.”

Medical center executives expect the transition in board leadership will be seamless, as Bernstein and Rukeyser have served on the board together since its inception. As members of the liaison committee, both also worked with the UT Board of Trustees and medical center leadership to create independence for the medical center. The separation from the university, which was approved by the state legislature, allowed the medical center to become more competitive in the challenging health-care environment. Bernstein plans to remain active with the board in a non-voting role.

“Bernie always has understood the unique role the medical center plays in the community and has never allowed us to stray from the mission we serve and our commitment to community,” said Joe Landsman, president and CEO of The University of Tennessee Medical Center. “We’re going to miss Bernie tremendously. He’s been an overwhelmingly positive asset to this medical center. We’re also looking forward to working more closely with Mr. Rukeyser and the talents and skills he brings to the leadership role.”

Landsman credits both Bernstein and Rukeyser for the leadership that has led to advanced medical care and research, growth, quality improvements, financial stability and long-term sustainability for the medical center. Among the growth highlights Landsman points to that have occurred since Bernstein’s appointment as board chair:
•   Addition of more than 200 staffed beds
•   Construction of 68,000 square foot Cancer Institute and Ambulatory Surgery Center and approval of a new, 100,000-plus square foot dedicated Cancer Institute (groundbreaking set for July)
•   Construction of 103,000 square foot Heart Lung Vascular Institute
•   Expansion of UT LIFESTAR service from a centralized helipad to four regional bases of operation
•   Construction of the region’s dedicated Heart Hospital, a 126,000 square foot facility
•   Renovated and vastly expanded Emergency Department and Trauma Center
•   Opening of the region’s only Neonatal Intensive Care Unit to offer private-rooms for the care of critically ill and premature babies
•   Ground broken on a 755-space parking garage
•   Annual revenue growth increase from $263 million to current projection of $650 million

Bernstein is a partner with the Knoxville law firm Bernstein, Stair & McAdams, LLP, a firm he founded in 1959. His experience includes several years as an instructor at the University of Tennessee College of Law. He has been special trial counsel for the city of Knoxville and was a delegate to the Tennessee Constitutional Convention in 1977. Long a champion for equality and rights for all, Bernstein was a founding member of the Knoxville Chapter of the National Urban League. His advocacy efforts led to the creation of the Bernstein Commission, which has since been transformed into the Knoxville Police Advisory and Review Committee.

Rukeyser was the founding managing editor of Money magazine and managing editor of Fortune. An editorial consultant and freelance editor, Rukeyser served as editorial director of Corporate Board Management magazine from its founding in 1998 until 2009. Previously CEO of Whittle Books, corporate director of international business development for Time Inc. and editor-in-chief of Whittle Communications, Rukeyser also has been a foreign correspondent for the Wall Street Journal, a contributing editor of CNN Financial News and a personal finance commentator for ABC television and CBS radio.

The mission of The University of Tennessee Medical Center is to serve through healing, education and discovery. UT Medical Center, a 581-bed, not-for-profit academic medical center, serves as a referral center for Eastern Tennessee, Southeast Kentucky and Western North Carolina. The medical center, the region’s only Level I Trauma Center, is one of the largest employers in Knoxville. For more information about The University of Tennessee Medical Center, visit online at
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