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Celebrating Excellence: UTGSM's 2024 Welcome Dinner and Faculty Awards

The University of Tennessee Graduate School of Medicine (UTGSM) recently hosted its 2024 Welcome Dinner and Faculty Awards, a cherished tradition that celebrates excellence and achievement in medical education, research, and service. The event, held on June 22, 2024, at the Bridgewater Place in Knoxville, TN, was a momentous occasion, bringing together new residents, fellows, and esteemed faculty members to honor their unwavering commitment to advancing medical education and research.

Dr. Robert M. Craft, Dean, presided over the welcome dinner, presenting the annual GSM Faculty Awards to deserving recipients. These awards, a cornerstone of UTGSM's legacy, serve as a testament to the dedication and passion demonstrated by faculty members in fulfilling the institution's educational and research objectives.

GSM Spirit Award

Larry C. Kilgore, MD
Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology Chair

The GSM Spirit Award, a prestigious accolade presented annually, honors a faculty member who embodies the core values and mission of the UTGSM. This year's recipient, Dr. Larry C. Kilgore, epitomizes the spirit of the UTGSM through his exemplary leadership, dedication to education, and commitment to advancing medical knowledge and patient care.

Dr. Kilgore's illustrious career spans decades of service and achievement in the field of obstetrics and gynecology. As the J. Max Austin Endowed Chair in Gynecologic Oncology at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) and later as Professor and Chair of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at UTGSM, he has made significant contributions to medical education and clinical practice. Dr. Kilgore's impact extends beyond the classroom and hospital walls, as he actively engages with professional organizations and community initiatives to promote public health and awareness. His exemplary leadership, compassionate patient care, and dedication to the UTGSM community make him a deserving recipient of the GSM Spirit Award.

"Perhaps Dr. Kilgore's most notable personal quality and legacy for our campus is that of recruiting, selecting and empowering young leaders, which he has utilized to lead a department from good to great over that past 10 years. He embodies the spirit of UTGSM through his tireless efforts to improve patient care and medical education, as well as through his tireless smile and universally positive approach," said Dean Craft.

Excellence and Leadership in Clinical Research

Jonathan Wall, PhD
Assistant Dean for Research

Jonathan Wall, PhD, stands as the epitome of excellence and leadership in clinical research, earning this year's esteemed award. His extensive expertise in “bench” research, coupled with his innovative approach to translational research, has propelled him to the forefront of his field.

Dr. Wall leads and oversees a lab which has spearheaded groundbreaking studies in amyloidosis and molecular imaging. His pioneering research on amyloid imaging techniques and novel therapeutic approaches has garnered widespread recognition and acclaim, both nationally and internationally. Dr. Wall's collaborative efforts with prestigious institutions and pharmaceutical companies have led to significant advancements in the diagnosis and treatment of amyloid-related diseases, positioning him as a leader in the field of clinical research.

Dr. Wall's dedication to mentorship and training further underscores his commitment to excellence in clinical research. Through his leadership, he has cultivated a culture of innovation and discovery, inspiring faculty, residents, and students alike to pursue cutting-edge research initiatives. His transformative impact on the UTGSM community and beyond solidifies his legacy as a visionary leader in clinical research. As the Assistant Dean of Research, Dr. Wall is also a driving force in advancing the institutional research mission at the UTGSM, where his strength as a collaborator has been brought to bear for the benefit of the entire campus.

Excellence in Teaching

Kristopher Kimball, MD
Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology

Kristopher Kimball, MD, exemplifies the qualities of an exceptional educator, earning this year's Excellence in Teaching Award. Dr. Kimball's journey at the UTGSM began with his appointment as faculty in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology in 2007, following his residency in Ob/Gyn and fellowship training in GYN Oncology at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. Beginning during his training and accelerating after his arrival to UTMC, he has demonstrated an unwavering commitment to teaching and mentorship, shaping the next generation of physicians.

As the Program Director of the OB/GYN residency program, Dr. Kimball has played a pivotal role in curriculum development and resident education. His innovative approach to teaching, coupled with his dedication to fostering a supportive learning environment, has earned him widespread acclaim from residents and colleagues alike, including five Excellence in Teaching Awards, three Resident Mentorship Awards, and two Excellence in Surgical Teaching Awards. Dr. Kimball’s impact extends beyond the classroom and operating room, as he has been described by his residents as a mentor who invests in their professional and personal growth.

Dr. Larry C. Kilgore, Chair of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, praised Dr. Kimball's teaching prowess, stating, "Dr. Kimball is an unrivaled educator within the department of OB/GYN. His unique ability to grow a resident's clinical knowledge base and surgical skillset, while also developing their confidence as a physician and surgeon, sets him apart as a mentor and leader." Dr. Kimball's impact on medical education and his commitment to excellence make him a deserving recipient of this prestigious award.

Excellence in Teaching (Volunteer)

Robert Wilmoth, MD
Department of Surgery

Robert Wilmoth, MD, is the recipient of this year's Excellence in Teaching (Volunteer) Award, recognizing his outstanding commitment to enhancing the educational experience of residents, fellows, and students without compensation. Dr. Wilmoth's journey in the Department of Surgery began as a resident, graduating in 2006, and later transitioning to private practice in his hometown of New Tazewell, TN. Despite the demands of his practice, Dr. Wilmoth has remained deeply engaged with the UT General Surgery Training Program, offering valuable insights and guidance to aspiring surgeons.

Michael B. Freeman, Chair of Surgery, emphasized Dr. Wilmoth's dedication, stating, "Dr. Wilmoth's selfless dedication to teaching is unparalleled. He willingly invests his time and effort into the education of our residents, providing them with invaluable insights and hands-on training in rural surgery." Dr. Wilmoth's commitment to education and his enduring impact on the surgical training program exemplify the spirit of volunteerism and excellence in teaching.

This annual event serves as a cornerstone for the UTGSM community, showcasing the exceptional accomplishments of its faculty members and embracing the incoming cohort of medical professionals. By celebrating these achievements, UTGSM cultivates an environment of camaraderie and distinction, underscoring the enduring legacy of medical education and research on our campus.

Dean Craft offered, "Those of us who have been on this campus for many years sometimes take for granted the incredible culture of collegiality we enjoy. At the end of this year's event, one of our new faculty leaders who we recruited from another prestigious university expressed that he had never experienced anything like this at his former institution. While this event may sometimes seem like just another date on the annual calendar, it actually serves as an important component in the growth and maintenance of our culture."

Posted June 27, 2024


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