Southern Alum Inducted Into TICUA Hall of Fame
Robert Bowers (right) receives recognition as a TICUA Hall of Fame inductee from Southern President Ken Shaw.
In 1995, Southern presented Bowers with the Alumnus of the Year Award, and he recently was named recipient of the Champions of Health Care Lifetime Achievement Award that honors Chattanoogans who leave a legacy on the quality and delivery of healthcare.
As a young boy, Bowers gained an admiration for the twofold ability to understand problems others couldn’t see and to take action to fix them. This eventually became his calling into medicine, and he earned a doctorate at Loma Linda University Medical School in California in 1961. After years working as a family physician and later as an ear, nose, and throat specialist, Bower now freely gives his time as medical director for Volunteers in Medicine Chattanooga (VIM). The faith-based nonprofit provides primary care to people in the region without access to health insurance––nearly 16%, per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Operated on private donations, VIM logs 5,000 patient visits each year, all of whom are not insured by employers but also don’t qualify for Medicaid or government-issued subsidies. Bowers also was founder and past president of the Medical Foundation of Chattanooga, where he helped start Project Access to connect those who are uninsured with specialty care.
“You see another human being’s needs and you can help meet that need, so you do something about it,” Bowers said.
He is described by his peers and coworkers as a problem-solver who does whatever it takes, whether that includes paying a patient’s bus fare to return home, reaching into his pocket for cash to cover someone’s prescription fee, or requesting food vouchers for a struggling family.
Southern Adventist University is one of 34 member institutions in TICUA. The organization engages Tennessee’s private, non-profit colleges and universities to work collaboratively in areas of public policy, cost containment, and professional development to better serve the state and its citizens.