The Memphis region has the
three interactive medical functions necessary to become a
Medical functions are centered in major hospitals, medical
schools, and research centers. The large Memphis hospitals
provide health care centers. Among these the Church Health
Center is a recognized model for "working poor"
health progress. The University of Tennessee Health Science
Center provides a training facility and research for the
regional health care industry. Research conducted at the
medical school, metro and regional hospitals and independent
facilities provides the cutting-edge knowledge. There are
several renowned clinics in the bio-med field serving the
region and manufacturers. Each hospital, medical school and
research center is interactive and synergistic, providing the
foundation and framework for the region's development as a
St. Jude is a world-class
St. Jude Children's Research Hospital is one of the
world's premiere centers for research and treatment of
catastrophic children's diseases, primarily pediatric cancer.
St. Jude has a world-class staff including a Nobel Prize
winner for Physiology and three members of the National
Academy of Sciences. Noteworthy is St. Jude's dedication to
providing cost-free medical services for childhood diseases to
children under the age of 18 all over the world. The
hospital's high quality of medical care and research in
children's diseases has provided good results and significant
progress. Childhood cancer survival rates have increased from
20% to over 80%. This extraordinary facility is currently
undergoing a $1 billion expansion to increase its research and
care capability and will hire 400 new researchers. The new
areas of research to be conducted include chemical biology,
molecular biotechnology and human immunology and immunotherapy.
There are five important
medical clusters in the Memphis region.
The largest cluster of medical facilities and research
centers in the region is located in the Memphis metro area. It
includes the University of Tennessee Health Science Center,
St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, Veterans Hospital,
Baptist Memorial HealthCare System, the Regional Medical
Center - The Med, Methodist Healthcare, the MERI (Medical
Education Research Institute) and the Southern College of
Optometry. Other facilities are emerging to the east and south
in response to the need for services in suburban areas. Other
major hospitals are located in Jonesboro, Jackson, St. Francis
The Memphis region has
significant medical research facilities.
Most medical research in the region is conducted at the
University of Tennessee Health Science Center, St. Jude
Children's Research Hospital and the University of Memphis.
While some research is done collaboratively, each institution
has its own research focus - St. Jude in children's diseases
and UTHSC in bio- and health-sciences. Potential research
relationships also exist between the UTHSC and the medical
schools in Little Rock and Nashville and the research center
at Oak Ridge. Currently, UT has funding for $50 million in
research with plans to expand to $200 million in 5 years. The
University of Tennessee has a program to work on projects with
the Oak Ridge Research Center. Important research within the
region is also taking place at University of Mississippi,
which has just received a $60 million grant, and at ASU, which
is focused on bio-agriculture research.
research is the foundation for developing the bio-med
component of the economy.
The logistics infrastructure and diverse medical functions
of the region have encouraged the expansion of a bio-med
component of the economy. Tri-Star Center is a joint operation
of UTHSC and the University of Tennessee established to
facilitate the commercialization of technology in the Memphis
region. The center has the resources and environment necessary
for startup businesses to develop a presence in the bio-med
market. The economic impact of this center is linked to the
quantity and quality of research being conducted in the
region. The region has already been successful in attracting
medical specialty companies such as Smith & Nephew,
Sofamor-Danek, Wright Medical and Planet RX. A continued
emphasis on technology commercialization will attract other
medical companies to the region. The region is poised to
significantly expand its bio-med base.
Develop a collaborative
medical council involving hospitals, medical schools,
universities and the business community.
A medical council would increase synergy between the
institutions, develop and support policy and increase
investment to build the bio-med economy. It could address the
need to significantly increase research dollars (doubling from
$50 to $100 million at UTHSC), the commercialization of
technology from medical research and advance the Medical
School to become one of the top 25 schools in the country in
terms of its faculty, research and funding.
Define the regional
The region must define its goals for the level, quality
and synergy it wants its medical establishments to achieve.
This will require new partnerships to be formed between the
public, private and medical community. The Memphis region can
become a world-class bio-medical health service center or
remain a metropolitan service center. While the region
contains an array of medical facilities, it often operates in
a competitive and fragmented manner that limits the synergies
necessary for the region to become a major bio-med economic
Significantly strengthen the
biomedical economic cluster.
Bio-med is emerging as a key component in the new economy.
Regions that position themselves to participate in this growth
sector will advance and attract new economic activity. The
Memphis region has a good foundation upon which to build a
bio-med industry. However, its various parts need to be
strengthened to experience large-scale economic growth. The
UTHSC in Memphis will either emerge as a major research center
or remain a teaching institution. Its research budget will
determine the direction the medical school will take.