Methodist Healthcare and The West Clinic Press Kit

Published On 10/28/2011

Cancer care in region to be greatly enhanced

MEMPHIS, TN - October 28, 2011   Methodist Healthcare and The West Clinic have entered into a partnership, effective January 1, 2012, to transform cancer care in the Mid-South area. The West Clinic, the region’s premier cancer practice and a nationally-recognized leader in cancer research, is joining forces with Methodist to create a comprehensive, fully integrated cancer service for the benefit of Mid-South residents. 

“The West Clinic is a world-class center of excellence for medical oncology, hematology, oncologic imaging, and other advanced medical care.  Together, our two leading organizations will be exceptionally well positioned to take cancer care to the next level,” said Gary Shorb, president and CEO of Methodist Healthcare. 

As part of the partnership, approximately 110 direct patient care employees at The West Clinic will become Methodist Healthcare associates. Physicians and administrative staff will remain with The West Clinic.  

 “The West Clinic’s goal has always been to help people be the best they can be during their cancer journey, and this partnership will help us do exactly that,” said Kurt Tauer, M.D., FACP, The West Clinic Chief of Staff.  “I have been at The West Clinic since 1985, and I’ve seen some amazing changes.  I expect this partnership to revolutionize the way we provide care to our patients and their families.” 

In another move that will further position this partnership for success, the University of Tennessee Health Science Center (UTHSC) plans to move its Oncology Fellowship Program to The West Clinic.  Methodist and The West Clinic will provide UTHSC $5 million annually over seven years, for a total of $35 million, to enhance cancer research, care programs, and innovation.  

Lee Schwartzberg, M.D. FACP, The West Clinic’s medical director, said, “My passion is all about translating research advances into positive benefits for our patients.  These highly-skilled fellows will further enhance our ability to revolutionize cancer care in our region by coordinating research and education across Methodist and UTHSC and training the next generation of specialists in this area.” 

“It is important to note that this is not a sale of The West Clinic,” affirms Erich Mounce, CEO. “The West Clinic and its physicians will remain independent and autonomous. This is a novel partnership that will build upon the strengths of both Methodist Healthcare and The West Clinic to transform the way cancer care is provided in the Mid-South.”  Mounce will maintain his position with The West Clinic and take responsibility for Methodist’s cancer service line, reporting directly to Gary Shorb. 

With eight locations across the Mid-South, The West Clinic includes 33 physicians and 400 employees.  The East Memphis, Collierville, Mid-Town, Brighton and Southaven locations will be part of this partnership. The West Clinic’s Corinth, Miss. operation will not be affected by this partnership. 

About The West Clinic

The West Clinic has been the region’s premier provider of cancer care in the Mid-South for over 30 years. With a team second to none in breadth of expertise, dedication to excellence, and commitment to compassionate care, our multidisciplinary physician group is comprised of 33 specialists in Medical Oncology, Hematology, Gynecologic Oncology, Breast Surgery, Endocrinology, Diagnostic and Interventional Radiology, Pain and Palliative Care, and other advanced medical care. With eight locations in Memphis, West TN, and North MS, patients across the Mid-South have greater access to the highest quality care available. 

The West Clinic’s clinical research program, under the direction of Lee S. Schwartzberg, MD, FACP, Medical Director, is internationally renowned. Over the past two decades, West Clinic has consistently been one of the first centers in the US to gain experience and hasten the development of new drugs for breast cancer, colon cancer, lung cancer, prostate cancer, lymphoma, and many other diseases.  Today, our researchers are investigating new drug therapies through participation in national clinical trials. For more information visit 

About Methodist Le Bonheur Healthcare

Methodist Le Bonheur Healthcare (MLH) is an integrated healthcare delivery system based in Memphis, Tenn.  Founded in 1918 by The United Methodist Church to help meet the growing needs for quality healthcare in the Mid-South, MLH has grown from one hospital into a seven-hospital system that also includes a home health agency, ambulatory surgery centers, outpatient facilities and physician practices serving the Memphis and Mid-South area. 

Methodist was recently named the best hospital in Memphis by U.S. News and World Report and #29 nationally in orthopedics.  Methodist Le Bonheur Healthcare has consistently been named one of the Top 100 Integrated Healthcare Networks in the country. 

Affiliated with the Memphis, Mississippi and Arkansas Conferences of The United Methodist Church, Methodist Healthcare combines a dedication to the art of healing with a Christ-centered commitment to minister to the whole person. 

The Memphis hospitals are licensed as one and with 1,689 licensed beds and 60,431 inpatient admissions, Methodist is the third largest hospital in the country.  With 10,000 associates, Methodist is the second largest private employer in Memphis.  Methodist Le Bonheur’s major areas of focus are: cardiology, oncology, neurosciences, transplant, and pediatrics. For more information visit

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Video Announcement

Gary Shorb, CEO of Methodist Le Bonheur Healthcare; Kurt Tauer, MD, Chief of Staff of The West Clinic; and Lee Schwartzberg, MD, Medical Director of The West Clinic, discuss what the partnership means for cancer care in the Mid-South.

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Erich Mounce Kurt Tauer Lee Schwartzberg Gary Shorb

Erich A. Mounce,
Chief Executive Officer,
The West Clinic 

Bio | High-Res Photo 

Kurt Tauer, MD, FACP,
Chief of Staff,
The West Clinic 

Bio | High-Res Photo 

Lee S. Schwartzberg, MD, FACP, Medical Director,
The West Clinic 

Bio | High-Res Photo

Gary Shorb,
President and CEO,
Methodist Le Bonheur Healthcare 

Bio | High-Res Photo

Medical Oncology/Hematology

Sonia Benn Stephen Besh Mike Martin Arnel Pallera

Sonia Benn, MD

Bio | High-Res Photo

Stephen A. Besh, MD

Bio | High-Res Photo

Mike G. Martin, MD

Bio | High-Res Photo

Arnel M. Pallera, MD

Bio | High-Res Photo

David Portnoy Jarvis Reed Sylvia Richey Bradley Somer

David C. Portnoy, MD

Bio | High-Res Photo

Jarvis D. Reed, MD

Bio | High-Res Photo

Sylvia S. Richey, MD

Bio | High-Res Photo

Bradley G. Somer, MD

Bio | High-Res Photo


Gary Tian Benton Wheeler

G. Gary Tian, MD

Bio | High-Res Photo

Benton M. Wheeler, MD

Bio | High-Res Photo

Gynecologic Oncology

Mark Reed Joseph Santoso Linda Smiley Todd Tillmanns

Mark Reed, MD, FACOG

Bio | High-Res Photo

Joseph T. Santoso, MD, FACOG

Bio | High-Res Photo

Linda M. Smiley, MD, FACS, FACOG

Bio | High-Res Photo

Todd D. Tillmanns, MD, FACOG

Bio | High-Res Photo

Diagnostic & Interventional Radiology

Scott Baum Thomas Hodgkiss

Scott L. Baum, MD

Bio | High-Res Photo

Thomas D. Hodgkiss, MD

Bio | High-Res Photo

Press Conference Photos

Click "high-res photo" to download a larger version.

Methodist and The West Clinic Press Conference

Methodist Healthcare CEO Gary Shorb with The West Clinic's Gary Tian, Arnel Pallera, Stephen Besh, Sylvia Richey, Sonia Benn, Bradley Somer, Benton Wheeler, Kurt Tauer, and Lee Schwartzberg  High-Res Photo

Methodist and The West Clinic Press Conference The West Clinic and Methodist Healthcare celebrate their new partnership. High-Res Photo 
Methodist and The West Clinic Press Conference Lee Schwartzberg of The West Clinic and Kevin Spiegel of Methodist University Hospital High-Res Photo
Methodist and The West Clinic Press Conference Drs. Benton Wheeler and Bradley Somer of The West Clinic High-Res Photo 
Methodist and The West Clinic Press Conference Methodist and The West Clinic Announce Their Partnership High-Res Photo 
Methodist and The West Clinic Press Conference Lee Schwartzberg, Medical Director of The West Clinic High-Res Photo