Dr. Bill Bates has been appointed to head Belmont’s new college of medicine as the founding dean of the new program.
Bates is currently working closely with university President Dr. Bob Fisher — who announced the collaboration with HCA Healthcare in starting the new college in October 2020 — in order to develop bylaws and policy procedures in order to officially authorize the new medical school.
“It’s going to give Belmont students who want to be physicians the opportunity to go to medical school right here. And the other thing it will do, it’s going to heighten the interest in medicine. You know, having a school of medicine within a university enables students to learn more about becoming and being a physician,” explained Bates.
“There’s so much here at Belmont that we can provide such a broad experience,” said Bates.
Bates received his Doctor of Medicine and finished his residency at University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and completed a fellowship regarding reproductive endocrinology at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center.
“Another thing in my career, I earned a master’s degree in business administration, from MIT,” said Bates.
With his combined education experience of medical school and business administration, Bates has the knowledge of management, finance and medicine to start up medical schools and programs.
Bates has an array of experience as a dean at other institutions’ medical schools prior to moving to Nashville.
“I was dean at the Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston, then I had the opportunity to lay the foundation for a new medical school in Greenville, South Carolina,” says Bates.
Bates has also started two companies, one of which he ran for 13 years.
Bates anticipates the medical school being a great opportunity for current Belmont students — and students also believe the medical school will make Belmont a place of variety.
“The med school will diversify Belmont since there are a lot of music related majors here,” said Kaley Varner, a freshman nursing major.
Belmont is working with HCA Healthcare, one of the largest healthcare companies in the country. With the collaboration, Belmont medical students will be able to get hands-on experience.
“All of those hospitals will be places where our medical students can learn clinical medicine. They have pediatrics, they have obstetrics, they have internal medicine,” said Bates.
Bates describes his duties as dean of the college of medicine as three tiered.
“No.1, is recruiting faculty. No. 2, with that faculty, develop a curriculum. And No. 3, with that faculty, and with that curriculum, get ourselves accredited, so that we can then recruit and enroll students.”
After these three steps are completed, Bates will closely watch how the first class of medical students is doing and go from there.
Although there is no official date for the college of medicine to open, Bates assured, “we’re on a fast track.”
Bates said his strong interest in connecting with potential medical students and being a role model to his future faculty.
“One of the things I want to do, as soon as social distancing, and masking is beginning to relax. I want to wear a white coat on this campus and I want to go to dining facilities, and be visible and available to students who want to talk about careers in medicine.”
“You can tell them to look for the guy in the white coat with a stethoscope in his pocket.”
This article written by Allison Fedorchek.
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