Our Stories

Earning a ‘Tenfold’ Reward

Hospital leader sees enormous return in MMHC

DeAnn Bullock MD, FAAEM
Chief Medical Officer Emergency Department Medical Director, Nashville General Hospital

Vanderbilt MM Health Care 2021

As Dr. DeAnn Bullock Watkins puts it, her roles at Nashville General Hospital are “expansive.”

As an Emergency Department staff physician, she sees and treats the entire spectrum of illness and age. As the department’s medical director, she is responsible for its daily operational function, including quality of patient care, management of provider staffing, recruiting, and scheduling. And as Chief Medical Officer, she oversees everything from JCAHO compliance to the building of external relationships.

In 2020, she added schoolwork to her responsibilities. While clinical medicine will always serve as her foundation, Dr. Watkins says, “I wanted to truly understand the full spectrum of our healthcare ecosystem and what drives the decisions that are made.” The MMHC program suited her desire for an in-person experience that allowed her to continue working full-time. Also, she says, “I was impressed by the [student] cohort of professionals from across the healthcare industry and not just physicians.”

Even at the halfway point in the program, Dr. Watkins already saw benefits. “This program has allowed me to view the industry from a very different lens,” she says. “It has challenged me to think about situations differently and from a wider perspective. I have been able to translate things I have learned in the program into my daily role.”

She acknowledges that the time commitment is substantial, as is the challenge of balancing school with her other responsibilities. But she quickly adds, “Be prepared for what the program entails, and what you receive back will be tenfold.”

This program has allowed me to view the industry from a very different lens.