UHS Past Chair Honor Wall Unveiled
UT Medical Center Unveils Wall Honoring Past Chairs of University Health System’s Board of Directors
Mr. William S. Rukeyser Recognized for 21 Years of Service
August 19, 2020 – Knoxville, Tenn. – Today, officials with The University of Tennessee Medical Center (UTMC) unveiled the University Health System, Inc. (UHS) Board of Directors Past Chairs’ Wall which will stand as a tribute to the commitment and contribution of the Board’s top leaders. Mr. William S. Rukeyser was honored during the unveiling as the system’s second Chair of the Board, a role he served since 2011.
According to Joseph R. Landsman, UTMC’s President and CEO, the wall was created to honor past chairs of the UHS Board of Directors who contributed to the mission and vision of the medical center and helped it achieve prominence in healthcare. The wall is located in the main lobby of the medical center’s Heart Hospital.
Rukeyser served as an inaugural member of the UHS Board beginning in 1999. He led UHS through a phenomenal expansion of facilities, including increasing inpatient bed capacity on the UTMC campus by 35%, building regional health centers in Sevier and Loudon counties and developing partnerships for inpatient rehabilitation and behavioral health hospitals. He also led during growth in programs and services such as advanced heart failure, cellular therapy and the Alzheimer’s services through The Pat Summitt Clinic.
“During Mr. Rukeyser’s tenure, the organization’s focus on quality and value-based care earned national accolades, including twice receiving Magnet® distinction by the American Nurses Credentialing Center and the Excellence Award from the Tennessee Center for Performance Excellence,” said Landsman. “In addition, Mr. Rukeyser oversaw the expansion of the organization’s commitment to research in the areas of cancer and Alzheimer’s disease.”
Landsman explains the wall also honors Mr. Bernard E. Bernstein who became the first Board Chair in the history of UTMC, on August 1, 1999, and served in that position until 2011. A highly respected and long-time Knoxville attorney and community advocate, Mr. Bernstein earned appointment to the role after chairing the liaison committee created by the University of Tennessee Board of Trustees to supervise the hospital and eventually oversee the state of Tennessee legislature’s approved separation by the medical center from the university system. Independence for the medical center created the need for the dedicated board governance structure for the not-for-profit academic medical center.
Under the direction and leadership of Bernstein, The University of Tennessee Medical Center saw tremendous growth and advancements of patient care and research, including the following: addition of more than 220 staffed beds; construction of a 68,000-square-foot Cancer Institute and Ambulatory Surgical Center; opening of the region’s first neonatal intensive care unit to offer private rooms; construction of the 103,000-square-foot Heart Lung Vascular Institute; construction of the 126,000-square-foot Heart Hospital, the region’s only facility dedicated exclusively to the care and treatment of cardiovascular disease; approval of a new 100,000-square-foot Cancer Institute; and significant growth of UHS’s annual revenue.
“Mr. Bernstein’s ongoing commitment to patient care, education and research has helped advance medicine and strengthen the position of the medical center on behalf of those we serve for many years to come,” said Landsman. “The University of Tennessee Medical Center and University Health System extend its sincere gratitude to Mr. Bernstein and Mr. Rukeyser for their leadership and dedication to our patients and their families.”