NewsDecember 11 2022

Alzheimer’s Research Initiative Launched at UT Medical Center

Backlit image of the Pat Summit Clinic entrance
Dr. Roberto Fernandez, Amy Miles, Dr. Russ Langdon
From left, Dr. Roberto Fernandez, Amy Miles and Dr. Russ Langdon

In an effort to expand Alzheimer’s disease research on the campus of The University of Tennessee Medical Center, former Regal Entertainment Group CEO Amy Miles has agreed to chair a major fundraising initiative to support research at The Pat Summitt Clinic. The announcement comes as the medical center celebrates The Pat Summitt Clinic’s one year anniversary. The Alzheimer’s Research Initiative represents the evolution of the clinic as it continues to fulfill the organization’s mission to serve through healing, education and discovery, and grows toward becoming a nationally recognized Alzheimer’s disease center.

Legendary basketball coach and teamwork expert, Pat Summitt envisioned a place in East Tennessee where patients, families, caregivers, and leading medical experts would work collaboratively to improve care and support, educate future physicians and clinicians, and conduct ground-breaking research in the field of Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias.

Inspired by coach Summitt’s vision, The Pat Summitt Clinic opened its doors in January 2017, supported in part by a grant from The Pat Summitt Foundation, allowing the medical center to increase the capacity of Alzheimer’s patients to address the growing need in the region. Today the clinic, the first and only of its kind in the region, serves approximately 3,500 patients in East Tennessee. That number is expected to increase to approximately 6,000 within the next five years. The initiative Miles is leading will directly support the research focus at the clinic.

“Many Regal employees have been personally touched by Pat’s legacy on and off the court,” said Miles. “She left us with a charge to carry on her mission. I’m proud to partner with The University of Tennessee Medical Center’s Pat Summitt Clinic to work to eradicate this terrible disease.”

Miles, a graduate of the University of Tennessee and longtime admirer of coach Summitt, added that she signed on to the Alzheimer’s Research Initiative because she recognized the impact of the disease throughout the nation.

There are currently an estimated 5 million cases of Alzheimer’s disease in the nation. That number is expected to more than triple, to 16 million, by the year 2050. According to Dr. Roberto Fernandez, medical director of The Pat Summitt Clinic, the fundraising initiative will provide for significant expansion of the multi-disciplinary research being conducted at the facility, with a focus on the structure, function, behavior, and pathology of the brain as well as how each is impacted by Alzheimer’s disease.

“As Alzheimer’s moves closer to becoming an epidemic in our country, it is imperative that we increase our research initiatives to ultimately seek a cure for this disease,” Fernandez said. “We greatly appreciate the passion that Amy Miles brings to the Alzheimer’s Research Initiative on behalf of all those impacted by Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias. She does so also in memory of Pat Summitt and demonstrates much of that same powerful and positive spirit that the coach brought in working to defeat Alzheimer’s disease.”

The Alzheimer’s Research Initiative will culminate with the 2019 An Evening In Orange, a signature fundraising event of the medical center.

“It’s so fitting to have Amy Miles, who is such an influence not only in our Knoxville community but also nationally, chair this initiative as we honor the legacy of Pat Summitt, one of the greatest figures in the history of sports,” said Kathy Boyd, chief development officer at UT Medical Center. “Our Alzheimer’s Research Initiative elevates the work of our physicians, researchers and scientists, and allows our community, the region and others from across the country the opportunity to support this important cause.”

For more information about the Alzheimer’s Research Initiative, contact The University of Tennessee Medical Center Development Office at (865) 305-6611 or via email at