January 26, 2023

Mary Billstrand, MD, FASA, has been named chair of the Department of Anesthesiology in the College of Medicine at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center.
Dr. Billstrand currently serves as a professor and the executive anesthesiologist director of Surgical Services in the Department of Anesthesiology and Critical Care Medicine at the University of New Mexico. She will assume her new responsibilities at UTHSC on April 1.

As chair, Dr. Billstrand will oversee anesthesia providers with UTHSC, who practice at Regional One Health. This includes attending physicians and CRNAs (Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists). Regional One Health is a core teaching hospital partner with UTHSC. Dr. Billstrand said she is also committed to advancing the department’s strong educational mission to train physicians for Tennessee.

“What’s exciting is everyone there (at UTHSC) is excited about their mission and providing outstanding care for patients,” she said.

Dr. Billstrand said she was drawn to UTHSC by the similarities she sees between it and her current position in New Mexico. “I’m at the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque, and it’s also a Level 1 trauma center and the safety net hospital for New Mexico,” she said. “I definitely see that at Regional One Health.”

Regional One Health includes the only adult Level 1 trauma center in the region. “A safety net hospital is where you can be challenged professionally and make a difference in people’s care,” she said. “It is working with a population that really needs quality care that makes my work meaningful.”

She said she is also excited about strengthening the relationship between the Department of Surgery and the Department of Anesthesiology at UTHSC. “The Departments of Surgery and Anesthesiology go hand in hand, and the partnership can promote growth,” Dr. Billstrand said. “The Department of Anesthesiology at UTHSC has the ability to be a key partner, and this helps with the growth of Regional One Health’s mission.”

“We are absolutely delighted that Dr. Billstrand has accepted our offer to join our UTHSC College of Medicine family as chair of our Department of Anesthesiology in Memphis,” said Executive Dean Scott Strome, MD. “She was selected from a highly qualified candidate pool based on her leadership skills, clinical acumen, commitment to education, and dedication to helping the underserved. We are looking forward to welcoming Mary and her husband, Tom, to Memphis!”

Reginald Coopwood, MD, president and CEO of Regional One Health, said, “Regional One Health is excited to welcome Dr. Billstrand to Memphis and to our health system. Her appointment at UTHSC is a testament to the university’s commitment to bringing high level medical talent to this community. I believe her experience and expertise will play an integral role in the transformation of Regional One Health into an academic medical center.” 

Dr. Billstrand received her MD degree from the University of New Mexico School of Medicine and completed her residency in anesthesiology and critical care at the University of New Mexico Hospital. She also holds a Bachelor of Science degree in paramedicine and a master’s degree in education.

She served as president of the New Mexico Society of Anesthesiologists from 2020-2022. Dr. Billstrand’s research and publications have focused on regional anesthesia related to post-operative pain.