André Churchwell, M.D. | Director
Dr. André L. Churchwell is a Professor of Medicine (Cardiology), Professor of Radiology and Radiological Sciences, Professor of Biomedical Engineering, Senior Associate Dean for Diversity Affairs, and Chief Diversity Officer at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine. He was named the 2005 Walter R. Murray Jr. Distinguished Alumnus by the Association of Vanderbilt Black Alumni. The award recognizes lifetime achievements in personal, professional and community arenas.
Churchwell graduated from the Vanderbilt School of Engineering magna cum laude in 1975. He won the Biomedical Engineering Student Program Award that same year. He received his medical degree from Harvard Medical School in 1979 and later completed his internship, residency and cardiology fellowship at Emory University School of Medicine and affiliated hospitals in Atlanta. In addition, he was the first African American chief medical resident at Grady Memorial Hospital (1984–1985).
Churchwell received the J. Willis Hurst Award for Best Clinical Teacher in 1991 from Emory and in 2004 he was named the Emory University School of Medicine Resident Alumni Distinguished Achievement Award winner. For the past ten years he has been named one of the nation’s top cardiologists in “The Best Doctors in America.”
In 1986, while at Emory, he was also named Most Outstanding House Officer, made an honorary Morehouse Medical School class member and he received a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Minority Medical Faculty Development Award.
In 2010, he was awarded The Distinguished Alumnus Award of Vanderbilt University School of Engineering. Along with his physician brothers Kevin and Keith, he received the 2011 Trumpet Award for Medicine.
He serves on many medical school committees including the Admission and Promotion Committees and recently was named Dean of Diversity for Undergraduate Medical Education to add to his current role in the Dean’s office.
In 2012 and 2013, The Vanderbilt University Organization of Black Graduate and Professional Students (OBGAPS) honored Dr. Churchwell with one of the organization’s first Distinguished Faculty Awards. He was also recognized with an American Registry Most Compassionate Doctor Award. From 2010-2013, he has been awarded the Professional Research Consultants’ Five-Star Excellence Award—Top 10% Nationally for “Excellent” Responses for Medical Specialty Services and Overall Quality. And in 2014, he was honored as one of the Top 15 Most Influential African American Medical Educators by Black Health Magazine.
Furthermore, he was elected in 2012 to serve as the southern representative for the Group on Diversity and Inclusion for the AAMC (American Association of Medical Colleges). Since 2011, he has served on the Editorial Board of the Cardiovascular Engineering and Technology: A Journal of the Biomedical Engineering Society. In 2013, he helped create The Hurst-Logue-Wenger Cardiovascular Fellows Society (HLWCFS) of Emory University School of Medicine and was elected the first President of HLWCFS. And most recently, in 2014, he was named one of the “Top 15 Most Influential African-American Health Educators” by Black Health Magazine.
Dr. Churchwell lives in Brentwood, Tenn., and is married to Doreatha Henderson Churchwell, a nurse educator at Vanderbilt University Medical Center. They have two children, Crystal A. Churchwell and André L. Churchwell Jr. In the aftermath of this mother’s passing in February of 2020, Dr. Chuchwell composed a poem, “Mom is now reunited with Dad. Our memories will sustain us” celebrating the life of that iconic matriarch of a civil rights empowering family.
Selected News, Publications, Interviews and Updates
- “A Systems Approach to Addressing Covid-19 Health Inequities.” NEJM Catalyst, January 2021.
- “Vanderbilt professor uses comics to teach about health.” Anne Holt’s Tennessee, WKRN, April 10, 2019.
- “Innovation Activists: Designing Health Care’s Future” Episode 11 – Embracing Creativity in Health Care with André Churchwell.
- “A View From the Inside” produced by the Vanderbilt Institute for Digital Learning
- Vanderbilt’s chief diversity officer continues to break racial barriers. WKRN, Nashville.
- The role of creativity in resilience from the massive psychic trauma of slavery is well illustrated in Vision, a drawing by Dr. Churchwell.
- In the October 28, 2021 episode of the Nashville area podcast Tokens, Dr. Churchwell suggests that a life of cultivated virtue and diversity may serve to bridge such gaps. What role might race play in today’s ever-increasing gaps of social and economic inequality and what might we be able to do about it?