Featured photo: Peter Buckley and Harley
Peter F. Buckley began his tenure as the 11th chancellor of the University of Tennessee Health Science Center in February.
Buckley is a native of Dublin, Ireland. He and his wife, Leonie, emigrated to America in 1992. Six years later, they became American citizens. The couple have two adult sons, John and Brian, and a Great Dane named Harley.
Buckley describes himself as a servant leader and has said he considers it an immense pleasure and privilege to serve as an ambassador for UTHSC and its many colleagues and partners in Memphis and across the state.
A psychiatrist and expert in schizophrenia with a background of studies in brain imaging and neurodevelopment, Buckley is a Distinguished Fellow of the American Psychiatric Association, a Fellow of the Royal College of Psychiatrists and sits on the Data and Safety Monitoring Board of the National Institute of Mental Health.
Prior to joining UTHSC, Buckley served as the dean of the School of Medicine at Virginia Commonwealth University. Before that, he was the dean of the School of Medicine at the Medical College of Georgia in Augusta for seven years, overseeing regional campuses across the state of Georgia.
“I had the privilege of interviewing for this distinguished position in the middle of the pandemic, and so I could see firsthand all the great work, the team cohesion, and the community engagement and the support across the state by UTHSC’s students and residents, faculty and staff,” he says.
Expanding Access to Primary Care
In November, leaders of the College of Medicine opened the first UTHSC Health Hub in the inner-city Uptown area of Memphis. The UTHSC Health Hub in Uptown is a neighborhood approach to improving health in underserved areas of the community.
The UTHSC Health Hub in Uptown is the prototype for what is hoped will be many locations established by the UTHSC College of Medicine to provide a convenient entry point to primary care in areas of Memphis and Shelby County that are underserved. The care will focus on three conditions—obesity, hypertension and diabetes—all of which are linked to increased mortality.
The hub is staffed by certified health coaches, who do the screening for obesity, high blood pressure and diabetes; offer support for health behavior change and chronic disease and lifestyle management; and help patients to get access and referrals to essential primary and behavioral care.
Stepping Up to Omicron
Continuing its roughly two-year commitment to the battle against COVID-19, UTHSC and its clinical practice partner, University Clinical Health (UCH), opened a drive-through COVID-19 testing site for the community on UTHSC’s Memphis campus in January during the height of the spread of the Omicron variant.
Located outside the Van Vleet Building, home to the UTHSC Campus Police, the site tested more than 2,760 people in its first two weeks. Staffed by volunteers from UTHSC and UCH, the site has been able to deliver results within 24-36 hours from the time a specimen is processed and sent to the on-campus lab in the UTHSC Department of Pathology. The lab has been analyzing test samples for the community since March 2020.