Worthy of Note: Kyla Terhune, M.D.

From the Summer 2015 edition of Vanderbilt Medicine Magazine

The General Surgery residency program at Vanderbilt School of Medicine has a new program director, but one with a familiar face.

Kyla Terhune, M.D., HS ‘11, associate professor of Surgery, took over the residency program, which is one of the largest on campus. She replaced John Tarpley, M.D., ‘70, who served in that role for nearly two decades.

Tarpley, a professor of Surgery and Anesthesiology, who is continuing his other clinical and academic duties, highlighted Terhune’s experience that makes her ideal for the job—including her time as a high school basketball player.

“She is a point guard, a teacher, a coach—great attributes and skills to lead our Surgical Residency program,” he said. “She coaches folks up rather than judges or puts them down.”

In the role, Terhune is charged with coordinating all aspects of the General Surgery residency, including the medical student interview and selection process, mentoring the 75 residents going through the program and assuring that all accreditation requirements for the residency are met.

While the transition was official on Nov. 2014, Terhune, who is also an assistant professor of Anesthesiology, has been playing a key role in the residency program role for several years.

“She and I have been sharing this job for a while,” Tarpley said. “Every year she has done more and more.”

Terhune emphasized that she and Tarpley have long shared the same vision for the residency, and the change will be seamless.

“I have been certainly very lucky to be able to learn from and work closely with Dr. Tarpley over the past decade,” she said. “We both value and support residents, their education and their well-being and see the idea of working for the residents as one of the most rewarding jobs in the world.”