Five Tennessee gubernatorial candidates visited Trevecca Nazarene University last week when the University served as the location of a gubernatorial candidates’ forum centered on healthcare issues.
Candidates Randy Boyd, former commissioner of economic and community development; Karl Dean, former Nashville mayor; Craig Fitzhugh, state house minority leader; Beth Harwell, Speaker of the House and Bill Lee, business leader, took part in the forum, jointly hosted by the Governor’s Foundation for Health and Wellness and the Nashville Health Care Council in Trevecca’s Boone Convocation Center.
Dr. Dan Boone, University president, welcomed the crowd of more than 400 guests, to campus.
“Healthcare is critically important to us on the educational side, as a university that established the first physician assistant program in the state back in the ’70s, helped Belmont as a founding partner in the nursing consortium and now launching a master’s in healthcare leadership and innovation. We seek to prepare students for a healthier Tennessee, and we’re excited about this conversation happening on our campus.”
The candidates fielded questions on a wide range of healthcare issues, including the opioid crisis and access to healthy food options from a panel of top healthcare executives. Panelists included Milton Johnson, chairman and CEO, HCA; C. Wright Pinson, M.D., CEO, Vanderbilt Health System; Kenneth S. Robinson, M.D., president and CEO, United Way of the Mid-South; and Crystal Washington, senior vice president, Scripps Networks Interactive.
At the close of the forum, Nashville Health Care Council President Hayley Hovious expressed hope that the next Tennessee governor will take advantage of the unique concentration of health care leadership and expertise available to them in Nashville, the nation’s health care capital.
“Nashville, home to a dynamic ecosystem of more than 800 health care companies and service firms, is the epicenter of healthcare innovation, and we hope to preserve that for years to come,” she said. “It’s clear that this topic is important to all of the candidates, and we look forward to working with the next administration to ensure that Nashville continues to improve patient care across the state and the globe.”
As Middle Tennessee’s largest and fastest-growing employer, the health care industry creates a local economic impact of nearly $40 billion and 250,000 jobs.
To watch the forum in its entirety, click here to view the USA TODAY NETWORK–Tennessee’s recording.