Centennial Baptist


Centennial Heros

  • Stephen C. Reynolds succeeded Joseph Powell as president and CEO of Baptist Memorial Health Care in 1994. (1994 – Present)

    Stephen Reynolds is highly regarded in the national, regional and local business and health care communities for both his amazing accomplishments and his tremendous personal character. His dedication to enhancing health care across the nation and to caring for the patients Baptist Memorial serves across the Mid-South is recognized by both his peers and his fellow Baptist Memorial colleagues. Under his guidance, Baptist Memorial has grown to become one of the largest not-for-profit health care systems in the United States and one of the top-rated integrated health care delivery systems in the country. He has achieved these goals while keeping the organization true to its not-for-profit mission, which mirrors the three-fold ministry of Christ-preaching, teaching and healing.

    Mr. Reynolds oversees a complex and far-reaching health care system at Baptist Memorial - one that includes 14 hospitals in Tennessee and Mississippi, as well as minor medical centers, hospices, behavioral health centers, clinics and a number of other entities. During his tenure, Baptist has added many advanced services and facilities to serve the Mid-South, including the Baptist Heart Institute, which, according to a leading health care ratings organization, houses Memphis' No. 1 heart surgery program; and Baptist Memorial Hospital for Women, which won a Citation of Merit as part of the American Hospital Association-McKesson Quest for Quality Prize(tm). In 1995, the Baptist College of Health Sciences was established under his leadership, and to date, has prepared more than 1,000 people to enter health care careers.

    Always mindful of our organization's Southern Baptist roots, Mr. Reynolds has extensively expanded Baptist's pastoral care program, which now includes 250 volunteer and employed chaplains who provide guidance and prayers in times of need. The pastoral care department also maintains a Web site that receives prayer requests from around the world, produces literature for patients and oversees a number of charitable efforts.

    Mr. Reynolds also has held a number of high-profile titles in national organizations. He is a Fellow in the American College of Healthcare Executives, a Healthcare Institute board member and former chair, vice chair of the National Quality Forum's National Patient Safety Task Force, a former VHA Inc. board member and past chair of the National Committee for Quality Health Care.

    Despite serving in numerous national leadership roles, Mr. Reynolds has continued to stay actively involved right here in the Mid-South. He is a past chairman of the board of the Memphis-area Better Business Bureau, Chamber of Commerce, and the Memphis chapter of the American Heart Association. He is the National Secretary of Ducks Unlimited Inc., and sits on the boards of Memphis Tomorrow and Dixon Gallery and Gardens.

    While it is Stephen C. Reynolds' outstanding career accomplishments that perhaps speak loudest, it is his personal character that truly distinguishes him. He is a strong man of God who brings the highest integrity, morals and ethics to each endeavor, whether professional or private.

  • Joseph Powell, a former administrative resident, joined Baptist in 1954 and succeeded Dr. Frank Groner as president and CEO of Baptist in 1980. Under Powell’s leadership, Baptist affiliated with a dozen hospitals in a little over a dozen years. (1980 – 1994)

    Joseph H. Powell was born in Etowah, Tenn., as the youngest of nine children.

    He earned his Bachelor of Science degree in 1950 and his Master of Health Administration degree in 1955 from the University of Tennessee. Beginning in 1963, Powell served as fellow of the American College of Healthcare Executives. In 1986, he earned his L.H.D. from Union University.

    Powell began his career with Baptist as an administrative resident in 1954. He held a variety of positions throughout the years including administrative assistant and vice president. He served as president of Baptist Memorial Hospital from 1980 to 1994 and president of the Baptist Memorial Health Care System from 1981 to 1994.

    During his years as president Baptist experienced unprecedented growth, from a single hospital in downtown Memphis to a health care system with services and hospitals throughout West Tennessee, North Mississippi and Eastern Arkansas. Powell was also responsible for the planning for Baptist College of Health Sciences and other labs and services.

    After his retirement in 1994, Powell continued his relationship with Baptist by acting as President Emeritus and Senior Consultant for the Baptist Memorial Health Care System, a position he still holds today.

    Powell also was instrumental in the formation of the Baptist Memorial Health Care Foundation, the charitable arm of the Baptist system, which provides each Baptist facility with resources to purchase new technology, implement innovative programs and enhance patient care.

    Powell has been honored with the Distinguished Service Award from the Tennessee Hospital Association, the Distinguished Service Award from the American College of Healthcare Executives, the L. Palmer Brown Silver Hope Award from the National Sclerosis Society and the L.M. Graves Memorial Health Award for Outstanding Achievement in Community Health.

    Powell’s career epitomized the blending of Baptist’s three-fold ministry of Christ. He devoted years of service to First Baptist Church as chair and vice chairman of deacons, a Sunday school teacher and departmental director.

  • Groner succeeded A. E. Jennings in 1946 as Baptist’s first professional administrator. He continued the course Jennings had set and made Baptist his home for more than thirty years, with workdays that often began at 8 a.m. and ended at midnight. (1946 – 1980)

    Groner worked closely with key physicians to reorganize the medical staff, putting an emphasis on quality as well as long-term growth. Together, they established the highest qualifications in the United States for hospital privileges. Their collaborative efforts set the tone for Baptist’s operations and helped pave the way for many of the hospital “firsts” that put Baptist prominently on America’s health care map.

    Frank Groner was born in Stamford, Texas on September 25, 1911. He attended College of Marshall and received his Bachelor of Arts degree from Baylor University in 1934. He also completed his graduate work at Baylor. Groner earned doctorate degrees from East Texas Baptist University in 1946, Union University in 1952 and Baylor University in 1969.

    Before coming to Baptist, Groner was registrar for College of Marshall from 1934 until 1936. He was assistant administrator for Southern Baptist Hospital in New Orleans from 1936 until 1944, when he was promoted to administrator.

    Groner began his career with Baptist in 1946 as an administrator for Baptist Memorial Hospital. He later served as president beginning in 1972 until his retirement in 1980. He kept his relationship with Baptist alive after his retirement and served as president emeritus until his death in 1994.

    During his career, Groner led Baptist Memorial Hospital to become the largest non-government hospital in the United States and the largest not-for-profit hospital in the world. He saw the facility grow from a 500-bed hospital in 1946 to a 2,055-bed regional referral center in 1980.

    One of Groner’s innovations was making most of the rooms in the ever-expanding Baptist Memorial Hospital private, something that was unusual for the time. Under his leadership, Baptist Memorial was also the first hospital in the nation to put televisions in patient rooms and pipe oxygen into surgery rooms.

    In addition to his dedicated service to Baptist, he served as a fellow of American College of Health Care Executives and a fellow of the Royal Academy of Health in London.

    He also served as president for many health care associations including the Louisiana Hospital Association, Southeastern Hospital Conference, Southwide Baptist Hospital Association, Tennessee Hospital Association, the American College of Health Care Executives and the American Hospital Association.

    Groner had an extensive history with Blue Cross and is considered a pioneer in the development of the nation’s health care insurance system through his support for prepaid voluntary health care plans and his involvement in local chapters of Blue Cross.

  • A planter from Greenwood, Mississippi, A.E. Jennings had been the largest contributor to the original building fund. Inspired by a sermon from W. T. Lowrey, he offered to rescue Baptist from severe financial distress. In 1915, he became the general superintendent. (1915 – 1946)

    Serving without pay and using his own resources, he bailed Baptist out of its indebtedness and guided its operations for another thirty-one years. Jennings, who embodied the leadership commitment of Baptist, led Baptist to a commonsense business innovation: bring doctors as close to the hospital as possible so they can provide better care for their patients, enjoy unprecedented convenience, and, as a result, refer more patients to the facility.

  • Founder of Campbell Clinic, Dr. Campbell was a pioneer in orthopedics and the emerging field of sports medicine.

    Campbell's relationship with Baptist Memorial Hospital helped it to flourish.

  • Dr. H.P. Hurt was the pastor of Bellevue Baptist who proposed the idea of Baptist Memorial Hospital to members of the Shelby Country Baptist Association in 1906.

    The time had come, Hurt preached, “for the people of Memphis and the tri-states to undertake another work for our suffering brothers.” He proposed that the new hospital be “open to all who are sick and in pain.”

    Hurt and two other pastors were named to a committee to seek financial support and, by 1908, they had a charter, sufficient money to start the project and a property.

  • Dr. Edward Garrett Jr. has been an integral part of many medical advancements at Baptist and is nationally known for his work as a cardiovascular surgeon.

    A graduate of Emory University, he earned a medical degree from Vanderbilt University. He is board-certified by the American Board of Surgery, the American Board of Thoracic Surgery and the American Board of Surgery-General Vascular Surgery.

    Garrett is medical director of heart/lung transplantation for the University of Tennessee and Baptist Memorial Hospital-Memphis. Baptist is home to about 15 heart transplants a year and in August 2003 celebrated its 200th heart transplant. In addition, Garrett is chief of the division of peripheral vascular surgery and chairman of the organ and tissue procurement committee at Baptist Memphis. Garrett also is an assistant professor and clinical instructor in the department of surgery at the University of Tennessee Health Sciences Center.

  • Dr. W. T. Lowrey was the first President of the Board Trustees (1912-1943).

    As a result of his sermon at Bellevue Baptist Church, Mr. A. E. Jennings offered to rescue the young Baptist hospital from its financial distress.
  • Baptist was Presley’s medical home. It was the place where he sought care; the place where his daughter, Lisa Marie, was born on February 1, 1968; and the place where, nine years later, he was pronounced dead.

    Presley loved the staff at Baptist. Each year, he hosted students from the Baptist School of Nursing at Graceland. Upon being discharged, he sometimes lavished an entire tray of jewelry upon his floor nurses. Once, his primary nurse received a car.

  • As founders of Semmes-Murphey Neurologic and Spine Institute, which continues operating today as one of America’s most influential neurosurgical practices, they were trailblazers in neurosurgery and contributed to the success of Baptist Memorial Hospital.

  • After graduating from the Baptist School of Nursing (as it was known then) in the September class of 1960, Shumaker became a staff nurse on the pediatric unit at Baptist Memorial Hospital.

    After returning to school for her baccalaureate degree, she was asked to join the faculty at the nursing school, where she rose to become department chair, then assistant director and ultimately the director of the entire school. During her tenure as director, the school moved to the baccalaureate model and became the Baptist College of Health Sciences, where she still serves on the alumni board.

    In the mid-1990s, she began a third “most rewarding” phase of her Baptist career as the executive director for the HOPE Health Center for the homeless, a clinic that provided free primary care to the homeless in Memphis. Shumaker continued to serve as executive director when the program transitioned to the Operation Outreach mobile health care clinic, even working part time for two years after her retirement in 2006.

  • Dr. Neuton Stern is a founding member of the American Heart Association and one of the nation’s pioneers in cardiovascular medicine.

    Stern, the first cardiologist in the Memphis area to use what was then a revolutionary EKG machine, helped begin Baptist’s long tradition of excellence in heart care.

  • Luella started the local tradition. She was the first baby delivered at Baptist.

    Her birth certificate – the hospital still has a copy – records the date of her arrival: August 9, 1912. In recognition of the milestone, her parents gave her a distinctive middle name: Baptista.

  • Katie Winchester is not only a member of Baptist Memorial Health Care’s system board of trustees, but she is also a member of the organization’s corporate board of trustees.

    She has been a member of the system board since 2002 and joined the corporate board in 2003. She was the first woman to serve as chair of Baptist Memorial Health Care’s corporate board. She has also served on the quality committee and finance committee for the corporate board, as well as the executive committee for the system board.

    Her leadership and support has helped the organization and its affiliates achieve noteworthy accomplishments. In 2008, Baptist Memphis was the only area hospital to be named one of the 100 Top Hospitals: Performance Improvement Leaders by Thomson Reuters, a global health care information company. That same year, Baptist Memphis was one of only three Mid-South hospitals named a Best in Value by Data Advantage.

    In addition to her commitment to Baptist Memorial Health Care, her leadership has also made a positive impact on the Mid-South community. Katie Winchester has been Chief Executive Officer of First Citizens National Bank since 1996 and serves as Chief Executive Officer of First Citizens Bancshares Inc. From 1999-2001, Ms. Winchester served as a Member of the Federal Advisory Council, Federal Reserve Board of Governors, Washington, D.C. She was named Dyersburg/Dyer County Woman of the Year in 1990 and Dyersburg/Dyer County Humanitarian of the Year in 2001. She served as the 2003 Chairman of the Dyersburg/Dyer County Chamber of Commerce.

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