Joan M. Sullivan, MD

Featured | Medicine

2024 Outstanding AlumnA Award Winner

Dr Joan M. Sullivan was born and raised on Long Island, New York. She attended Georgetown University where she earned a BSN in Nursing. She received a Master’s in Nursing from University of Florida. She later moved to Memphis where she taught at the UT College of Nursing from 1972-1983. During that time, she was awarded the Golden Apple Teaching Award twice.

She also worked as a nurse at in the neonatal intensive care unit at the City of Memphis Hospital and at emergency rooms for Baptist Memorial Hospital and Methodist Hospital. With encouragement from Dr. E. Dianne Greenhill, she joined the US Army Reserves in 1977.

At the advice of Dr. H Edward Garrett, she applied and was accept to UTHSC College of Medicine in 1983. While there she was elected to the Medical School Executive Council 1984-86 and served as its President 1986-1987. She was also the Student Representative to the Health Affairs Committee of the UT Board of Trustees. It is noteworthy that students were exposed to then UTHSC College of Medicine Dean Dr. Robert Summitt (a retired Commodore in the Navy) and Dr. H. Pat Wall (a Colonel in the Army), each trying to recruit students to their service.

Following graduation, Dr. Sullivan completed her residency in OBGYN at University of Cincinnati While there, she was awarded the V. Bradley Roberts Award for Excellence in Operative Gynecology. Dr. Sullivan began private practice in OBGYN in Ithaca, NY where she practiced for 20 years. She was a member and then the Chairman of the Department of OBGYN at Cayuga Medical Center. In 2008, she was awarded the Distinguished Service Award by the Healthcare Association of NY State. She was a Lifetime Fellow in the American College of OBGYN and maintained her Board Certification from the American Board of OBGYN until her retirement in 2014.

She transferred from the US Army Reserves to the Army National Guard in 1994. In addition to monthly training sessions and two weeks each summer, she served on many missions including the wildfires on Long Island, USMA (West Point), Operation New Horizons (Guatemala), missions in Japan and in Iceland, the Crash of Flight 800, the ice storms in NY, and the attacks on the World Trade Center as well as serving on state and national promotion boards. Among her many positions in NY, she served as the Division Surgeon for the 42nd Infantry Division and the NY State Surgeon. While on Active Duty, Dr. Sullivan was deployed on two combat tours—one in Iraq and one in Afghanistan. One of the units she served with in Iraq was the 278th Cavalry Regiment from Tennessee.

Among Dr. Sullivan’s Military Awards are Legion of Merit (2), Bronze Star Medal (2), Meritorious Service Medal, Army Commendation Medal, Iraqi Campaign Medal, Afghanistan Campaign Medal, Global War on Terrorism Medal (WTC) and numerous state awards and medals. She retired from private practice in 2011. Three years later, she retired from the military after 37 years of service with the rank of Colonel. She now lives in a large retirement community in The Villages, Florida.

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