Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam Monday announced the 16 members of his Health and Wellness Task Force, a group charged with developing an initiative to improve Tennessee’s health status by leveraging private and public resources.
University of Tennessee Chief Medical Officer Dr. John Lacey III is chair of the 16-member task force, which met Monday for the first time.
The members, listed alphabetically, are as follows:
Healthcare Corporation of America Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Richard Bracken;
Regional Medical Center CEO Reggie Coopwood, MD;
DeRoyal Industries CEO Pete DeBusk;
Health Commissioner John Dreyzehner, MD, MPH;
Zycron CEO Darrell Freeman;
Blue Cross/Blue Shield of Tennessee CMO Inga Himelright, MD;
Education Commissioner Kevin Huffman;
Methodist Hospital Vice President Cato Johnson;
TC Thompson Children’s Hospital Medical Director Alan Kohrt, MD;
TennCare CMO Wendy Long, MD, MPH;
Tennessee Medical Association Michael Minch, MD;
Pershing Yoakley & Associates Pres. Ed Pershing;
Healthways, Inc. Senior VP Vickie Shepard;
Mental Health Commissioner Doug Varney; and
Mountain States Health System CEO Dennis Vonderfecht.
Tennessee currently ranks 42nd nationwide in overall health, according to America’s Health Rankings. Though an improvement from previous rankings, health care costs in the private and public sectors continue to hinder potential job growth in the state while also threatening budgets, Haslam said in a release.
“This group’s mission is to chart a course to promote and support healthy lifestyles for Tennesseans with the ultimate goal of healthier citizens, reducing the burden of chronic disease on our state,” Haslam said. “The task force will focus on meaningful ways to promote healthy choices and personal responsibility to decrease rates of illnesses such as heart disease and diabetes.”