Dr. Kimberly Fortner Promoted, Dr. Robert Elder Retiring

Connect News Dr. Kimberly Fortner Promoted, Dr. Robert Elder Retiring

Dr. Kimberly Fortner Named Vice President of UT Medical Center’s Center for Women & Infants

Kimberly Fortner, MD

Fortner Replaces Retiring Longtime Medical Center Leader Dr. Robert Elder

The University of Tennessee Medical Center named Dr. Kimberly Fortner as vice president of the Center for Women & Infants, one of the medical center’s seven Centers of Excellence. Fortner’s new role takes effect on January 1, 2021 and she replaces retiring leader Dr. Robert Elder, who has been with the medical center since 1988.

In her new role, Fortner will be responsible for providing clinical leadership for the Center for Women & Infants and to ensure that all day-to-day clinical operations are consistent with the medical center meeting and achieving its mission, vision and values. Fortner will work closely with Becki Morrison, the executive director of the Center for Women & Infants, to provide leadership and set the overall direction, goals and objectives of the center in order to provide consistent high-quality care to medical center patients.

“It is both an honor and privilege to serve both the University of Tennessee Medical Center and the women and infants of this community,” said Fortner. “I look forward to building on the foundation built by Dr. Elder, who has served as VP since the inception of the Women and Infant’s Center of Excellence and has been an exemplary role model. I am grateful to medical center administration for fostering an environment where women in medicine serve in leadership positions on our campus. Moving forward, Ms. Becki Morrison and I will continue to build on the strong collaboration between providers in our region as well as medical center and graduate school colleagues to continue to provide exceptional, high-performing, and evidenced-based care for women and infants in our area.”


Specialty care provided by team members with the Center for Women & Infants includes pregnancy and childbirth, obstetrics and gynecology, pelvic medicine, urogynecology, midwifery, high risk obstetrics, gynecologic oncology, infertility, and neonatology. The University of Tennessee Medical Center serves as the state-designated regional perinatal center, caring for the highest risk pregnancies. The medical center also features an American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology certified Level III Neonatal Intensive Care Unit with private rooms and designated Level IV Maternal Care facility to deliver top quality care for mothers and babies before, during and after birth.

Fortner currently serves as medical director of obstetrics and director of University Laborists at the medical center. As Director of Maternal Fetal Medicine at the medical center, Fortner practices with High Risk Obstetrical Consultants and was elected by fellow physicians at the medical center as Chief of Staff for 2021. A longtime supporter of the benefits to the community and future physicians provided through academic medical centers, Fortner also holds several roles with the UT Graduate School of Medicine, the academic partner of UT Medical Center. She is director of the Maternal-Fetal Medicine Division and Program Director of the Maternal-Fetal Medicine Fellowship. Additionally, Fortner serves as vice chair and associate professor for Obstetrics Quality and Service.

Fortner first came to the medical center in 2005 as an obstetrician and gynecologist while also serving as a clinical instructor and OB/GYN Resident Clinic Director. In 2008, she left for a 3-year Maternal Fetal Medicine fellowship program at Duke University Medical Center. After working in physician leadership roles at Vanderbilt Medical Center for four years, she returned to The University of Tennessee Medical Center in 2015.

“Dr. Fortner has become a dynamic leader for The University of Tennessee Medical Center and the Center for Women and Infants throughout the past five years and our team members and patients have all benefitted from that growth and dedication,” said Joe Landsman, president and CEO of The University of Tennessee Medical Center. “We look forward to Dr. Fortner’s perspective and talent in the vice president role. We also congratulate Dr. Elder for his upcoming retirement. Throughout the past 30-plus years, Dr. Elder has continued to lead the medical center to greater advancements, improved processes and higher quality of care for those we serve.”

Elder spent 15 years as a member of the board of directors of University Health System, Inc., the not-for-profit entity that operates The University of Tennessee Medical Center. In addition to his longtime leadership position with the Center for Women & Infants, he served as medical director of the Center for Pelvic Health and a practicing urogynecologist with UT Urogynecology for the past four years. Elder delivered two generations of babies at The University of Tennessee Medical Center for many families in his OB/GYN roles with Women’s Specialty Care (now University Women’s Specialists) and Women’s Care Group from 1988 through 2016. In his academic roles throughout the years with the UT Graduate School of Medicine, Elder has served as chair, residency program director and professor of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology. He additionally serves as president of University Physicians’ Association, Inc. (UPA), the independent physician group that provides a variety of administrative services and solutions for the medical center, and a member of its board of directors since its inception in 1995.

“Dr. Fortner will do an excellent job and I certainly endorse her as the next vice president of the Center for Women and Infants at The University of Tennessee Medical Center,” said Elder. “Personally, it has been an honor and privilege to be here at the medical center and to achieve career goals that I never even imagined. The medical staff, administration and Graduate School of Medicine staff are some of the best anywhere, and I feel very fortunate to have worked with them. I see nothing but success at the medical center moving forward, and I’m very proud to have been part of the progress and developments that have occurred here throughout the past 30 years.”

Elder said after retirement he plans to continue to assist the medical center and UPA in a limited capacity providing administrative and training opportunities for staff and team members. In a personal capacity, he also looks forward to spending more time with his family, especially his grandchildren. He added that he’s ready to enjoy more time off, which many of his close colleagues and family members know is a code for spending some time at the golf course.


About The University of Tennessee Medical Center

The mission of The University of Tennessee Medical Center, a Magnet® recognized hospital also certified by The Joint Commission as a Comprehensive Stroke Center and Comprehensive Cardiac Center, is to serve through healing, education and discovery. UT Medical Center is a 685-bed, not-for-profit academic medical center, with a regional network of primary care and specialty care physicians and practices as well as outpatient regional health centers and urgent care locations throughout its 21-county primary service area. The medical center, the region’s ACS verified Level I Trauma Center and state designated regional perinatal referral center with a Level III private room NICU, is one of the largest employers in Knoxville. UT Medical Center features seven Centers of Excellence, including the Brain & Spine Institute, Cancer Institute, Emergency & Trauma Center, Heart Lung Vascular Institute, Advanced Orthopaedic Center, Primary Care Collaborative and Center for Women & Infants


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