Methodist Healthcare Foundation

In Focus with Dr. Kurt Tauer

Dr. Kurt TauerBirthplace:  He was born and raised in the city of Lebanon, Indiana.

The here and now:  He’s a board–certified oncologist and Chief of Staff at The West Clinic. He’s served on numerous local boards and is currently a member of the Methodist Healthcare Foundation’s Board of Directors.

CV highlights:  He earned his undergraduate degree from Wesleyan University and his medical degree from St. Louis University. He completed his residency in internal medicine at Baptist Memorial Hospital in Memphis, followed by a fellowship in medical oncology at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York City. He’s co-authored more than 45 abstracts and a couple dozen papers focusing on various aspects of cancer treatment.

Job of a lifetime:  He’s worked at The West Clinic since 1985, the only place he’s worked since. His path to West has an air of destiny to it. “The first patient I saw during my residency in Memphis was a man with colon cancer who was a patient of Dr. Bill West, founder of The West Clinic. When I did my outpatient clinic rotations, I was assigned to Bill’s clinic and we became friends. He encouraged me to come back and join him when I finished my fellowship. And the guy who lived in the apartment across from me while I was doing my fellowship in New York was Dr. Lee Schwartzberg, who is West’s medical director and has worked side by side with me since 1987. It’s all been very providential.”

Family matters:  He and his wife, Anita, have five children and six grandchildren.

Memphis matters:  Despite his Hoosier roots, he considers himself a tried-and-true Memphian. “All of my kids said they would never live in Memphis, and they all eventually came back, and they all love it.”

Medicine matters:  He’s drawn to oncology because he says it’s one of the few specialties where a doctor still gets to care for the whole patient. “When a patient gets cancer, the oncologist becomes their doctor for everything. I really love to take care of patients. It’s very gratifying on all levels. It’s a privilege and an honor.”

Patients matter:  As The West Clinic has grown, he says he and his partners have made sure that the individual needs of patients remained a top priority. “We’re a big place and that has advantages.”

Partnership matters:  With Methodist Healthcare and The University of Tennessee Health Science Center, The West Clinic has forged a new partnership and comprehensive cancer program known as West Cancer Center. “With the three partners behind West Cancer Center, we have all facets of cancer treatment in one place. And the spirit of the cancer center is so good for the patients.”

Methodist matters:  “We realized Methodist, in its approach, is much more aligned with us than any other hospital system. It sounds trite, but Methodist is really patient-centered. And that’s always been a focus for us.”

Making Methodist matter more:  “I dread a lot of board meetings, but I look forward to Methodist Foundation board meetings. They energize me. The work of the Foundation energizes everyone on that board. When you look at the programs it’s behind—the Hospice Residence, the Comprehensive Sickle Cell Center the Breast Cancer Disparities Initiative—how could it not?”

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