Lee selects West Tennessee hospital executive to be new health commissioner

Zach Vance • Updated Jan 17, 2019 at 8:40 PM

Gov.-Elect Bill Lee has selected a West Tennessee hospital executive to lead the Tennessee Department of Health in his administration, according to a Thursday press release. 

Dr. Lisa Piercey, of Gibson County, was appointed to serve as the next commissioner of the Department of Health. 

Piercey is executive vice president of West Tennessee Healthcare, where she oversees a roster of hospitals with an emphasis on rural hospitals in Bolivar, Camden, Milan, Dyersburg and Martin.

Piercey has a clinical background in pediatrics and specializes in child abuse pediatrics. She also serves as the medical director for the Madison County Child Advocacy Center and a faculty member at the Vanderbilt University School of Medicine. 

She will succeed Dr. John Dreyzehner as the next health commissioner, and in her new role, she will be responsible for overseeing the Ballad Health hospital merger, ensuring it abides by the Terms of Certification agreed upon as part of the Certificate of Public Advantage. 

Lee filled up the remainder of his cabinet by announcing three more appointments Thursday. Those include:

•  Penny Schwinn – Department of Education

Schwinn, a former teacher in Baltimore County Public Schools and Los Angeles, currently serves as the chief deputy commissioner of education at the Texas Education Agency. In this role, she pursued a series of reforms, including the transformation of a failing state assessment program. She also implemented the expansion of statewide externships and pathway development for improving students’ career readiness upon graduation.

Additionally, Schwinn oversaw the development of open-source instructional materials to empower teachers with high-quality resources for teaching. Prior to serving in the Texas Education Agency, Schwinn was the chief accountability and performance officer for the Delaware Department of Education, where she led efforts to conduct a testing audit, which led to nearly a 20 percent decrease in student testing time.

•  Brad Turner – Department of Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities

Turner serves as the director of client services at HealthStream Inc. Turner has worked with the State Interagency Coordinating Council to serve infants and toddlers with disabilities through early intervention programming connected to the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act. He also works closely with special needs volunteer organizations, including Project Help and Rising Above Ministries. Turner has served as a Rutherford County commissioner since 2010.

•  Christi Branscom – Department of General Services

Branscom serves as the chief operating officer and general counsel at Partners Development. Previously, Branscom served as the chief operating officer and deputy mayor for the city of Knoxville, where she was the first female in Knoxville history to serve in this role. She spearheaded a number of complex projects, including the transfer of ownership of Lakeshore Park from the state to the city, negotiating the Regal Entertainment Group move to the South Waterfront and overseeing construction of the city’s Public Works Service Complex. She has also served Knoxville as the senior director of public works and was also the first female in Knoxville history to serve in this role. Branscom founded Grace Construction in 2003, which specializes in custom home construction.




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