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VOL. 45 | NO. 31 | Friday, July 30, 2021

VUMC’s Wilkins lands major national award

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Consuelo Wilkins, M.D., MSCI, is the 2021 recipient of the Marion Spencer Fay Award from Drexel University College of Medicine in Philadelphia.

The national award recognizes women physicians and/or scientists who have made “an exceptionally significant contribution to health care.” Previous recipients include the late Bernadine Healy, M.D., the first female director of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), and pioneering breast cancer geneticist Mary-Claire King, Ph.D.

Wilkins is senior vice president for health equity and inclusive excellence at Vanderbilt University Medical Center and senior associate dean for health equity and inclusive excellence in the Vanderbilt University School of Medicine.

She is being honored for her accomplishments in advancing health equity, for engaging underrepresented populations in research, and for her contributions to community-engaged research and health equity “that will positively impact health outcomes for generations,” award officials said.

The award, which includes a $10,000 honorarium, will be presented to Wilkins during a ceremony at Drexel University College of Medicine Nov. 4. Wilkins also will deliver the annual Marion Spencer Fay Lecture.

A member of the National Academy of Medicine, Wilkins is a widely recognized thought leader in health equity who has pioneered new approaches to engaging marginalized and socioeconomically disadvantaged populations in clinical research.

She earned her bachelor’s and medical degrees from Howard University, completed residency training in internal medicine at Duke University Medical Center and a geriatric medicine fellowship at Washington University School of Medicine/Barnes-Jewish Hospital, and earned a master’s degree in clinical investigation from Washington University School of Medicine.

Wilkins joined the medical faculties at Vanderbilt and Meharry Medical College in 2012 and was named director of the Meharry-Vanderbilt Alliance, a position she held until 2020.

Chambers USA honors Stites & Harbison’s Smith

Smith

Chambers USA High Net Worth has selected Stites & Harbison, PLLC attorney Gregory D. Smith for inclusion in its 2021 guide in the category of Family/Matrimonial for USA: Tennessee. Chambers High Net Worth ranks top lawyers and law firms in the international private wealth market.

Smith, a member of Stites & Harbison, is a family law lawyer with 36 years of experience whose practice focuses on complex, difficult disputes between spouses and former spouses. In addition to serving as the office executive member of the firm’s Nashville and Franklin offices since 2014, he leads a team of five attorneys, two paralegals and two staff who cover everything family law-related.

Smith was recently inducted as a fellow into the American College of Trial Lawyers. Membership in the ACTL is limited to 1% of the total lawyer population in the U.S. and Canada.

MTSU names 2021-22 alumni honorees

Esmond

Middle Tennessee State University is again recognizing outstanding alumni who represent excellence and distinction through their professional careers, loyal support and service to the broader community.

From 1960 to present, the MTSU Alumni Association has recognized accomplished alumni with the association’s highest honor: the Distinguished Alumni Award.

This year’s recipient is Torrance Esmond (class of 2003) of Nashville. Known professionally as “Street Symphony,” Esmond is a record producer, music executive, composer and adjunct MTSU professor, spearheading a new hip-hop and R&B songwriting class.

This year’s Young Alumni Achievement Award, honoring a graduate age 35 or younger making a positive impact in the world, goes to Gabrielle Thompson (classes of 2012 and ’15), a Nashville resident and Free for Life International’s executive director and CEO for the past six years.

Clockwide from top left: Cook, Foote, Melton, Walters, Thompson and Miller

True Blue Citations of Distinction honorees include:

• Achievement in Education (MTSU faculty) – Rebecca Foote (class of 2006), of Murfreesboro, a Jones College of Business faculty member and Master Instructor coordinator in the Department of Accounting.

• Achievement in Education (non-MTSU faculty) – Mitchell Miller (classes of 1990 and ’91), of Middleburg, Florida, the John A. Delaney Presidential Professor at the University of North Florida, where he also serves as editor of the American Journal of Criminal Justice.

• Service to University – Chip Walters (class of 1985), of Murfreesboro, the longtime “Voice of the Blue Raiders” in football and men’s basketball and master of ceremonies for various athletic and universitywide functions and volunteer on numerous MTSU boards and committees.

• Service to Community – Col. Barry Melton (class of 1982), of Cleveland, Tennessee, who has worked since 1986 in numerous capacities with the Civil Air Patrol.

• Military Service – Col. Joel Cook (Classes of 1992 and ’93), of Yorktown, Virginia, who has spent 30 years in the U.S. Air Force as a pilot, vice wing commander and current director/chief at Air Combat Command headquarters in Virginia.

The Alumni Association will recognize them at several events during MTSU Homecoming in late October.

JLL Nashville adds to retail brokerage team

Shanks

Gary Shanks and Miller Fitts are joining JLL’s Nashville office as executive vice president and senior vice president, respectively.

Fitts

Shanks and Fitts bring extensive market experience to JLL, having facilitated more than 1 million square feet of retail transactions in excess of $250 million across the state of Tennessee during the last five years.

Before joining JLL, Shanks and Fitts served as partner and senior associate broker for The Shopping Center Group’s Nashville office, respectively. Shanks managed a retail portfolio of more than 4 million square feet, largely focusing on third-party leasing, disposition and sales for institutional firms, regional owners and developers. Shanks is an active member of Innovating Commerce Serving Communities, formerly known as International Council of Shopping Centers, and is involved with the Middle Tennessee Chapter of Certified Commercial Investment Member.

Music City Center adds to executive staff

Rice

Jensen

Robert Rice has joined Music City Center as the director of human resources, and Heather Jensen has been added as director of communications for the 2.1 million-square-foot convention center.

Rice holds an MBA from Trevecca University. He is a Society for Human Resource Management Certified Professional, as well as a Certified Professional in Human Resources. Previously, Rice served as a human resources leader for Ghertner & Company. He also held a non-credit curriculum instructor position at Middle Tennessee State University.

Jensen is a Nashville native and holds a degree in journalism from Middle Tennessee State University. Previously, she served as community relations officer, web content coordinator and multimedia product manager for the Tennessee Department of Transportation. Jensen also worked in broadcast television as a reporter and anchor in both Tennessee and Georgia news markets.

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