Craft is dean of UT College of Medicine in Knoxville

Jay FitzOur Town Health

Robert M. Craft M.D. has been named dean of the UT College of Medicine in Knoxville. He has served as interim dean since October 2022.

Dean Craft completed his residency at UT Medical Center in 1993, and joined the faculty of the College of Medicine in Knoxville in 1994 in the Department of Anesthesiology, after a fellowship in neuroanesthesiology at the Mayo Clinic.

A native of Kingsport, he grew up in Memphis and is also a graduate of the University of Tennessee, Knoxville.

Craft said he will focus on growing the College of Medicine in Knoxville to help meet the shortage of physicians predicted for Tennessee.

“Growth is the bottom line in order to ensure physician-led care for our region,” he said. This would include expansion of the Graduate Medical Education (GME) programs that direct residencies and fellowships, as well as expansion of educational opportunities for medical students (Undergraduate Medical Education or UME). He also wants to increase the research enterprise on the campus, which is integral to the education missions.

Specifically, Craft would like to expand residencies by 20 percent and provide more opportunities for medical students to study in Knoxville. The college sponsors 11 residency programs and 17 fellowships.

Currently, medical students can complete their third and fourth year in Knoxville. He would like to eventually enable medical students to do their entire training in Knoxville.

“I’d like for us to be a conduit to develop and recruit young people from these underserved counties around us, and get them back into those communities as fully trained physicians,” he said.

The University of Tennessee Health Science Center provided information for this article.

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