ETSU’s Wykoff named to Governor’s Health Care Modernization Task Force

Published 9:00 am Monday, October 14, 2019

JOHNSON CITY — Dr. Randy Wykoff, dean of East Tennessee State University’s College of Public Health, is one of 26 individuals across the state who were selected to serve on Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee’s new Health Care Modernization Task Force.

The bipartisan, bicameral task force will be co-chaired by Stuart McWhorter, Finance and Administration commissioner, and Bill Carpenter, former chairman and CEO of LifePoint Health. The task force will host public discussions with the goal of providing options for consideration to address some of the state’s major health care issues.

“Working together, with patients, providers and payers, we can establish Tennessee as a world-class health care market for our people,” Lee said. “I would like to thank Commissioner McWhorter and Bill Carpenter for agreeing to lead this effort that will help move Tennessee toward better health outcomes and toward being a leader in the nation on health care.”

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The group’s discussions will help drive the state’s consideration of ideas to improve the lives of Tennesseans who lack access to quality, affordable health care through innovation, uniting market forces and addressing community-specific characteristics to health issues.

“Improving health is a complex challenge,” said Wykoff. “It requires changing behaviors, improving social conditions and assuring access to quality and affordable health care. While this is difficult, it can be done, and I am honored to have been invited to serve on the Governor’s Task Force focused on helping to make these changes a reality.”

Wykoff is a recognized national, state and regional leader in the public health arena. Earlier this year, Lee announced the new Center for Rural Health Research at ETSU, and Wykoff was tapped as the founding director. The center received a substantial funding commitment from Ballad Health and will work with Ballad Health, local health care delivery partners, national experts and the leadership of ETSU Health to identify new mechanisms to improve health in rural and nonurban communities.

Alan Levine, chairman and chief executive officer of Ballad Health, was also named to the Governor’s Health Care Modernization Task Force.

“From the beginning of his administration, Gov. Lee has prioritized the needs of Tennessee’s most distressed and rural counties,” Wykoff said. “Improving the health statistics of these counties is a critical part of these efforts, and I am honored to both be serving on this newly created Task Force and running the Center for Rural Health Research.”

In addition, Wykoff was one of 46 leaders from rural and urban communities across Tennessee who were named to the Leadership Tennessee class of 2019-2020. Through this role, he is participating in collaborative, nonpartisan dialogue on some of the biggest issues facing the state.

Wykoff is the founding dean of ETSU’s College of Public Health, a position he has held since 2006. During that time, enrollment in the college has more than doubled, and externally funded research has more than quadrupled. The college was recently ranked in the top third of all schools and programs of public health in the country, and Project EARTH and the Niswonger VILLAGE at the ETSU Eastman Valleybrook campus were recognized with the award for the most innovative public health curriculum in the country.

Before coming to ETSU, Wykoff was the senior vice president for International Operations at Project HOPE, responsible for overseeing all international health and humanitarian assistance programs in more than 30 countries. He also served as the deputy assistant secretary for health (Disease Prevention and Health Promotion) in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

“I believe that Tennessee is poised to make considerable progress in improving the health conditions of its citizens,” Wykoff said. “This task force will bring together a wide cross-section of voices and expertise to assure that the state moves forward as quickly as possible.”

To learn more about ETSU, visit