The Region's Academic Medical Center

Click here to access Tripp Umbach's complete analysis measuring the economic impact of UT Medical Center.

Ever wonder what an academic medical center such as The University of Tennessee Medical Center means to you? It's a good question. And as an academic medical center, we are very comfortable with questions. That is because asking questions is the only way to learn. Learning is what makes us better at providing the quality and expertise in healthcare that our patients have come to expect. That is true for our doctors, our nurses and our entire staff.

So take a minute to learn about The University of Tennessee Medical Center and how an academic medical center is uniquely able to offer “Wisdom for Your Life.”

What are the basic benefits of an academic medical center?

  • Board-certified doctors in every major specialty available day and night.
  • Research programs that provide our patients with the latest advances in treatments and diagnostics.
  • New medical technology with doctors who have the wisdom to know when to use it and when not to.
  • Doctors who are current in the latest treatments and diagnostics, because they have to teach the next generation of doctors.
  • An environment that attracts individuals with the desire and ability to remain on the leading edge of medicine.
  • The largest selection of comprehensive services at any location in the East Tennessee region.
  • The high standards that come with the responsibility of not only practicing outstanding medicine, but teaching it as well.

How is an academic medical center different from a regular hospital?

Academic medical centers differ from other healthcare settings because they provide both routine and highly specialized healthcare services in an environment dedicated to patients. Here at UT Medical Center, we represent a unique blend of academics and patient care. Physicians, dentists, researchers and other medical professionals are on-site to provide highly specialized expertise to patients, to develop excellent physicians and healthcare providers for the future, to continue the delivery of excellent care to our community, to carry out research activities that bring the latest diagnostic and treatment methods to the patients we serve, and extend new knowledge and leadership in the world of medicine. Simply put, everything we do revolves around improving the care of our patients.

Why is it important to have comprehensive healthcare services at one location?

As an academic medical center, we offer a wide range of healthcare expertise located in one hospital campus, allowing a high level of interaction between these experts to provide efficient and effective care to our patients. Our Centers of Excellence include: Brain and Spine Institute, Cancer Institute, Center for Women & Children’s Health, Emergency and Trauma Services and Heart Lung Vascular Institute the Advanced Orthopaedic Center. 

What kind of medical research is being conducted?

As an academic medical center, UT Medical Center is actively involved in important research, all designed to benefit patients here and elsewhere in the world. We research new methods for diagnosing cancer at an early stage with specialized imaging techniques; new ways to treat cancer with advanced drug therapy and stereotactic radiosurgery via the CyberKnife system and TrueBeam radiotherapy; improved methods to treat diseases of the blood vessels; new drug therapy for high blood pressure; advanced methods for diagnosing and treating Alzheimer's disease; treatments for improving outcomes from brain injury due to major trauma; new techniques to decrease complications from coronary stent placement; and much more. Recently, we have conducted research studies on chronic bronchitis and emphysema, outpatient surgery, high blood pressure medications and dyspepsia treatment. It’s one of the benefits that are unique to an academic medical center, where doctors are engaged in significant healthcare research just down the hall from doctors who are treating our patients.

What does it mean when we say our doctors are 'board-certified?'

At UT Medical Center we have board-certified doctors in every major healthcare specialty available day and night. To be board-certified, our doctors must undergo 3 to 7 years of training in a specialty and pass rigid examination by The American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS), a non-profit physician-led umbrella organization for 24 of the 26 approved medical specialty boards in the United States. The ABMS is one of three leading entities overseeing physician certification in the United States, setting educational and professional standards for the evaluation and certification of physician specialists.

Why does an academic medical center have such high standards?

An academic medical center must meet all of the standards required of any hospital in this country. Additionally, our physicians and the hospital must meet standards set by the Accreditation Council on Graduate Medical Education to ensure medical training occurs in a setting where the quality of patient care is excellent. Initiatives such as the Pulmonary Disease Medicine Fellowship and Medical Simulation Center are great examples of blending the UT Medical Center clinical setting with the university’s goal of academic excellence.


Why is our emphasis on medical education so important to our patients?

Through a unique partnership, The University of Tennessee Medical Center and the UT Graduate School of Medicine educate healthcare professionals who take advanced skills developed here to practices, hospitals and research labs across town as well as around the world. They educate new medical professionals while carrying out their own clinical practice and conducting research to improve the health care of Tennesseans. Statewide, the University of Tennessee has provided more than 12,000 medical students, physicians and dentists with the education and experience to make them skilled and compassionate healthcare providers. During the last 25 years, The University of Tennessee Medical Center has prepared many of the physicians who practice medicine in the East Tennessee region – truly a great asset to our community in ensuring ongoing quality in patient care.

What kind of new technology is available at an academic medical center such as The University of Tennessee Medical Center?

Endoscopic Ultrasound is a new technology used at The University of Tennessee Medical Center that combines endoscopy and ultrasound to obtain images and information about the digestive track and surrounding tissues and organs. These images frequently are more accurate and detailed than those from traditional ultrasounds, improving diagnosis and treatment.

UT Medical Center is the only hospital in the region using a PET/CT Scan for cancer detection. PET stands for Positron Emission Tomography, which uses a tracer to show organ and tissue function. When combined with the technology of a CT scan that shows much more detail, it produces a more accurate image used in detecting cancer. The scan only takes about 2 to 3 hours and is performed on an outpatient basis.

Da Vinci Surgical System is the only commercially available technology that gives UT Medical Center surgeons the precision, dexterity and control of traditional open surgery, while minimizing the pain and risk associated with traditional surgery. Only 1 to 2 cm incisions are required to perform these minimally invasive surgeries, resulting in less pain, shorter recovery time and a quicker return to normal daily activity a reality for our patients.

The University of Tennessee Medical Center’s Brain and Spine Institute is the only facility in Knoxville that offers the CyberKnife Stereotactic Radiosurgery System, a revolutionary non-invasive technology that uses radiation beams for cancer treatment. CyberKnife enables treatment of tumors throughout the body at greater convenience and comfort to the patient than other radiosurgery systems for tumors and cancer treatment, including successful treatment of tumors of the brain; tumors of the spine; and tumors related to lung cancer, liver cancer and prostate cancer.