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2020 Wall of Distinction Honorees Announced

Four individuals have been added to the John W. "Jack" Lacey, III, MD, Wall of Distinction at The University of Tennessee Medical Center. The Wall of Distinction was created to honor team members and physicians who have contributed to the mission and vision of the medical center and who have, over the years, helped it achieve prominence in healthcare. As part of the medical center's 60th anniversary celebration in 2016, The John W. (Jack) Lacey Wall of Distinction was unveiled and dedicated. Since the first induction, there are now 34 honoree names on the wall.

The four honorees for 2020 are:

John Tucker Chesney, MD - former Chairman, Department of Anesthesiology, UT Graduate School of Medicine
During his tenure, Dr. Chesney laid the foundation for the Department of Anesthesiology to transition from an apprentice model clinical residency to an organized academic program with a focused didactic structure. Under his leadership, the residency expanded significantly in both size and academic reputation. Dr. Chesney also established a basic science bench research program and sub-specialty clinical divisions.

Eugene Hall - former Assistant Vice Chancellor, Hospital Administrator, Vice President
Mr. Hall served in many roles over his nearly 40-year career with the medical center. Always able to connect with all team members on a personal level, he "made rounds" every day, long before formal administrative rounds became common in healthcare. Mr. Hall served as the Hospital Administrator for 14 years, overseeing day-to-day operations of the medical center.  He was instrumental in multiple capital projects including the 12-story Boling Pavilion which became the first hospital facility in Knoxville with all private patient rooms.

Inga Himelright, MD, MPH, MBA - former Senior Vice President and Chief Quality Officer
Through her role as Senior Vice President and Chief Quality Officer, Dr. Himelright led quality activities at the medical center by designing and implementing a quality vision and structure. She was a major contributor and catalyst in other areas including patient safety, performance improvement, infection control, the hospitalists, case management and patient placement programs. Concurrently, she served as medical director for University Physicians’ Association.

Richard Obenour, MD - former Vice Chair, Department of Medicine, UT Graduate School of Medicine
Dr. Obenour devoted his medical career, spanning more than 50 years, to the medical center, where he was one of the first residents in 1956. In 1962, he was the only nonsurgical lung specialist in the region and eventually formed the Knoxville Pulmonary Group. He served on more than 66 committees and chaired nine of them in addition to serving as interim Chair of Medicine twice.

Inductees will be recognized in next year’s event, tentatively scheduled for August 2021. Please stop by the Wall of Distinction at your convenience to view the new inductees. For more information, please contact Jennifer Riley at or 865-305-6374.

Posted: August 21, 2020


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