by Leigh MacMillian

Vanderbilt University Medical Center has announced the establishment of the Mark Collie Chair in Diabetes Research. The endowed chair, which will support diabetes research and care, is named in honor of country music recording artist, award-winning songwriter, actor, filmmaker and philanthropist Mark Collie.

Stephen Davis, M.D., Ph.D., chief of the Division of Diabetes, Endocrinology and Metabolism at Vanderbilt, is the first holder of the Collie Chair.

Diagnosed with diabetes at an early age, Collie has made it his personal battle to help change the lives of people living each day with diabetes. He is a national advocate for diabetes research and started the Mark Collie Celebrity Race for Diabetes Cure in 1994 to raise funds to support the research, clinical care, and training at the Vanderbilt Diabetes Center.

Collie conceived of the idea for a Celebrity Race following conversations with his endocrinologist, Lawrence Wolfe, M.D., professor of Clinical Medicine at Vanderbilt, about how Collie could make an impact toward improving diabetes care.

At a celebration dinner held recently at the Country Music Hall of Fame in Nashville, Harry Jacobson, M.D., vice chancellor for Health Affairs, and other members of the Vanderbilt faculty expressed their thanks to Collie and the entire Collie family for their leadership and dedication to the Vanderbilt Diabetes Center.

Joining the Vanderbilt leaders and faculty members at the dinner were members of the Mark Collie Foundation Board and the Vanderbilt Diabetes Center Board, representatives of Eli Lilly and Company, and community friends. Eli Lilly and Company’s substantial support helped establish the Collie Chair. Joyce Rice, a longstanding member of the Collie Board and chair of the Collie Celebrity Race, and Don Light, Collie’s manager for many years, also joined the celebration.

Mitch Tull, director of Global Marketing Training/Capabilities for Lilly, received an award for his leadership role in the Collie Celebrity Race. Tull, who joined the Collie Celebrity Race effort in 1995, expressed his gratitude for the privilege of working with Collie, Vanderbilt physicians and community friends to make the Collie Chair a reality.

Jacobson, Steven Gabbe, M.D., dean of the School of Medicine, and Daryl Granner, M.D., director of the Vanderbilt Diabetes Center, presented Collie with a gift to express their appreciation for his tireless efforts on behalf of all people living with diabetes.

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