KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (April 2022) – The University of Tennessee, Knoxville, and Cherokee Health Systems have entered into a new partnership to address health issues in the region and advance the development of health education and research to improve the well-being of communities in Tennessee and beyond.
UT and CHS will collaborate on research activities, participate in seminars and training, enhance education programs, and support students, faculty and staff involved in teaching, research, and service activities to better the health and lives of Tennesseans.
“UT’s partnership with Cherokee Health Systems will provide real-world training experiences for students to work with rural populations and the underserved, and help prepare the workforce that our state needs,” said UT Chancellor Donde Plowman. “As a modern land-grant university, it is our mission to identify needs in our community and then devote our talent, expertise, and resources to meeting those needs.”
The announcement and signing of a memorandum of understanding were hosted by UT’s Howard H. Baker Jr. Center for Public Policy and included a presentation by CHS Director of Research and Health Equity Eboni Winford, with remarks provided by Plowman, CHS Chief Executive Officer Parinda Khatri, UT Provost and Senior Vice Chancellor John Zomchick, UT Vice Chancellor for Diversity and Engagement Tyvi Small, and Associate Dean of Research Hollie Raynor from UT’s College of Education, Health, and Human Sciences.
During the event’s opening comments, Khatri gave an overview of CHS and the synergy of the partnership with UT for collective community impact.
“Cherokee Health Systems is an integrated health delivery system that started in 1960, and it has grown to serve the community and increase the quality of life for patients through the blending of primary care and behavioral health,” said Khatri. “We have worked with UT students for more than 35 years and look forward to building on this foundation of collaboration through our shared vision of academic-community partnership that will be a national exemplar for education, research and service.”
Winford’s presentation focused on transformational research, integrated care, and workforce development. She outlined a vision to use data strategically to identify disparities and improve clinical outcomes by partnering with UT to uncover root causes and form interventions.
According to Zomchick, the partnership will enhance the university’s ability to provide high-impact experiential learning opportunities for students by collaborating with CHS to help communities in East Tennessee.
“Through the partnership, our faculty will have more opportunities to design hands-on learning experiences for our students. While learning by doing, our students will also be able to bring needed services to the citizens of East Tennessee. With this new partnership with Cherokee Health Systems, we extend our ability to connect with Tennesseans in a meaningful and impactful way.”
About Cherokee Health Systems Since 1960, CHS has been committed to ensuring Tennesseans get access to effective, high-quality care. CHS is a Federally Qualified Health Center that serves 75,000 people annually. We offer a wide array of comprehensive health services, including primary care, behavioral health, dental, and pharmacy. All of our services are available to children, adults and seniors on an ability to pay basis. CHS is a TennCare (Medicaid) and Medicare provider. In addition, CHS accepts commercial insurance for payment.
About the University of Tennessee, Knoxville The University of Tennessee, Knoxville, has been advancing knowledge and enriching lives since its founding in 1794. Tennessee’s flagship public research university, UT is a diverse community whose shared commitment to discovery, creativity, and education combines with a tradition of service and engagement to carry the Volunteer spirit throughout the state and around the world. UT’s campus—home to around 31,000 students and 9,000 faculty and staff members—is part of the vibrant city of Knoxville, located on the Tennessee River with the Great Smoky Mountains nearby.