Thomas F. Frist Jr.

Dr. Thomas F. Frist Jr.

NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) - Belmont University announced Monday that its new College of Medicine, which was announced in October, will be named in honor of health care icon Dr. Thomas F. Frist, Jr., co-founder of HCA Healthcare.

In addition to its name, the Thomas F. Frist, Jr. College of Medicine at Belmont University enjoys strong ties with HCA Healthcare, whose Nashville-based TriStar Health will provide residencies and clinical rotations for students of the college.

“We have exceedingly high aspirations for this new College of Medicine. We know that we will have to earn a world-class reputation over time, but we intend to deliver a world-class learning environment beginning on day one with outstanding faculty, staff, students, physical resources and clinical experiences,” Belmont President Dr. Bob Fisher said in a news release. “it’s been said that a good name is more valuable than anything else, and the name Thomas F. Frist, Jr. College of Medicine signals our determination to create an innovative, entrepreneurial approach to compassionate, patient-centered care that will settle for nothing less than the very best. We are deeply honored by the trust that Dr. First has shown in us by linking his name with our College of Medicine, and we are committed to build on the legacy of Dr. Frist and his fellow HCA Healthcare co-founders Dr. Thomas F. Frist, Sr. and Mr. Jack Massey.”

“Belmont has a history of building programs that are exceptional,” Frist said in a news release. “I know with the leadership at the University, we have the potential to build a school that produces physicians with the same heart for service that guided my own career – not just for Nashville but also for a nation that desperately needs more practicing physicians.”

In addition to being a leading healthcare provider, HCA Healthcare also is the leading provider of Graduate Medical Education (GME) in the country. The health system is the largest sponsor of GME programs, with more than 5,100 residents and fellows in 304 Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) accredited programs, and its affiliates currently include 61 teaching hospitals. HCA Healthcare’s flagship, TriStar Health, will provide Frist College of Medicine students vital learning experiences: core clinical clerkships for third year students and clinical elective rotations for fourth year students. HCA Healthcare also will provide a pathway to outstanding post-graduate medical education opportunities and will support existing members of the medical staff who may be interested in faculty positions.

“I have looked up to Dr. Frist throughout my 38-year career with HCA Healthcare. Not only is he a thoughtful businessman with immense knowledge and expertise, but he has remarkable compassion for others and leads by example,” HCA Healthcare CEO Sam Hazen said in a news release. “I am proud that his legacy will live on in the Frist College of Medicine. This is an exciting moment for Nashville, future medical students and our entire HCA Healthcare family.”

The Frist College of Medicine is built on a strong history of connections between Belmont and HCA Healthcare, one that traces back to another of the company’s co-founders Jack Massey, a staunch Belmont supporter and the namesake of the Jack C. Massey College of Business. Since those early years, the organizations have worked together on a number of initiatives, including the Partners in Nursing Consortium to address a nursing shortage in Tennessee. HCA Healthcare also worked with the university as the local health advisor for the Oct. 22, 2020, Presidential Debate at Belmont.

“Belmont’s new College of Medicine and the collaboration with HCA Healthcare represent a longtime dream of Dr. Fisher’s coming true,” Marty Dickens, Chair of Belmont’s Board of Trustees, said in a news release. “Now to have the honor of naming the new college after Dr. Thomas F. Frist, Jr. is truly a reach to the stars. The mission and values of healing and caring instituted by Tommy and his father, along with Jack Massey, when they founded HCA Healthcare are at the core of the culture of the organization. They also fit perfectly with the mission and values of Belmont University to help students engage and transform the world with disciplined intelligence, compassion, courage and faith. From this time forward when people see or hear about the Thomas F. Frist, Jr. College of Medicine, they will immediately know that this place is training doctors who are committed to the care and improvement of human life. This is truly another great day in the life of Belmont University.”

A Nashville native, Dr. Thomas “Tommy” Frist, Jr. is a graduate of Nashville’s Montgomery Bell Academy and Vanderbilt University. In 1965, he graduated from the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis and then returned to Vanderbilt University for his surgical residency, which was interrupted by a two-year term as a flight surgeon at Robins Air Force Base (GA) during the Vietnam War.

While in the military, Dr. Frist had an idea for a company that would bring hospitals together to share resources. In 1968, Dr. Frist, his father Dr. Thomas F. Frist, Sr. and Jack C. Massey formed Hospital Corporation of America (now HCA Healthcare). As one of the nation’s first investor-owned hospital companies, HCA Healthcare modernized the way health care was delivered in the United States while keeping patient care and safety first. Dr. Frist served HCA Healthcare in various leadership roles including President, Chief Executive Officer and Chairman. He remained on the Board of Directors of HCA Healthcare until 2009 and currently serves as Chairman Emeritus.

An active philanthropist and civic volunteer, Dr. Frist served as Chair of the Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce, founded the United Way Tocqueville Society, and is the recipient of a number of awards including United Way’s “Lifetime Achievement Award” and the Nashville Business Journal’s “Best in Business Lifetime Achievement Award,” as well as being selected for induction in the inaugural class of the Tennessee Health Care Hall of Fame. He is the founder of The Frist Foundation, a Nashville grantmaker that has provided hundreds of millions of dollars to Nashville nonprofit organizations over the last thirty years. is now with you on the go! Get the latest news updates and video, 4WARN weather forecast, weather radar, special investigative reports, sports headlines and much more from News4 Nashville.

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