The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga announces the establishment of the Vicky B. Gregg Chair of Gerontology in its School of Nursing.
The Chair is funded by a $1.5 million gift from the BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee Health Foundation and honors the distinguished career of the organization’s retired chief executive officer.
The UTC School of Nursing is already recognized as a leader in geriatric care, recently earning two U.S. Department of Health and Human Services grants for curriculum development and research in gerontology. The holder of the Gregg Chair will oversee research projects, community partnerships, and course delivery in the areas of adult and geriatric medicine. By combining resources with other UTC departments and a series of community partners, the UTC School of Nursing has the opportunity to contribute in the establishment of best practices in geriatric care.
By 2020, projections call for the percentage of Tennesseans aged 60 and over to grow to 22.6 percent of the state’s total population, and this aging population will place tremendous demands on healthcare providers. The American Geriatrics Society estimates a shortfall in healthcare professionals specifically trained to deal with the needs of older patients, with a particular need for registered and advanced practice nurses with geriatric training.
“I am so pleased that this chair is being named in honor of our dear friend Vicky Gregg,” said Bill Gracey, president and CEO of BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee. “She has given so generously of her time and talents in support of the health and well-being of Tennesseans. We at BlueCross are delighted to see her recognized in this way.”
The Chair will be filled by an advanced practice nurse with experience as an adult geriatric nurse practitioner and will mobilize groups to improve the health care of older adults through inter-professional teams, including representatives from such academic departments as nursing, nutrition, physical therapy, occupational therapy, and others. These teams will focus on curriculum development, research, and outcomes for best practices to improve the health of geriatric patients and identify cost-effective health care protocols.
“Vicky Gregg and BlueCross BlueShield have been such tremendous friends and supporters of this campus. We are happy for the opportunity to honor that partnership with the establishment of this Chair,” said Dr. Steven Angle, UTC Chancellor. “As we focus on student success and community connections, this Chair supports our effort to improve gerontology education and care, an important step toward those goals.”
Educated as a nurse, Ms. Gregg has over 30 years of experience in diverse health care environments, including clinical care, hospital administration, long term care, and health care benefits and financing.
Ms. Gregg retired in 2012 as chief executive officer of Chattanooga-based BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee, the state’s largest health plan which serves more than three million members in Tennessee and across the country.
Prior to becoming CEO, Ms. Gregg occupied several senior leadership positions in the company, including president and chief operating officer, executive vice president, and chief executive officer of Volunteer State Health Plan, the company’s Medicaid HMO.
Before joining BlueCross, Ms. Gregg worked for a national, publicly-traded health plan where, as market vice president, she oversaw operations, strategic development, acquisition, and health plan service-area expansion.
Ms. Gregg has been chairwoman of the Board of the National Institute for Health Care Management Foundation. She serves on the Board of Directors for America’s Health Insurance Plans, where she previously served as chairperson. She serves on the Boards of the University of Chattanooga Foundation, First Horizon, Trizzeto, and EPB of Chattanooga. In 2012 Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam appointed her to the University Of Tennessee Board Of Trustees, representing the state’s 3rd Congressional District.
She is married to Dr. Fred Gregg III, an ophthalmic surgeon, and has two children.