Tennessee Medical Association Installs 167th President;
Dr. Ronald Kirkland of Jackson Defines Post Pandemic Agenda

May 22, 2021

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Dr. Ronald “Ron” H. Kirkland, a board-certified otolaryngologist from Jackson, Tennessee, has been formally installed as the 167th President of the Tennessee Medical Association, the statewide professional association for more than 9,500 member physicians and their patients.

Dr. Kirkland was sworn in Saturday, May 22, at the organization’s annual meeting in Franklin, Tennessee, where nearly 130 physician leaders from across the state gathered in person to affirm the nonprofit’s governance, annual slate of business and upcoming legislative positions.

A TMA member since 1983, Dr. Kirkland has already served the organization in numerous capacities including chair of the TMA Legislative Committee, a board member of TMA’s IMPACT political action committee since 2015, chair of the Professional Relations Committee of TMA, and a delegate himself at the House of Delegates annual meeting.

Dr. Kirkland will serve as President until May 2022, providing valuable public and professional outreach on medical issues. He assumed the presidency from Dr. Kevin Smith of Vanderbilt University Medical Center, who commandeered the organization through a crisis-oriented year involving the COVID pandemic.

“It’s an honor for me to become the face of the Tennessee Medical Association,” Dr. Kirkland said. “Down to the woman or man, there’s one thing that holds us together, and that’s our love for the Tennessee Medical Association."

Dr. Kirkland has filled many medical advisory roles, including Board Chair of American Medical Group Association and its foundation. He served as the American Medical Association delegate from AMGA for 10 years, and is currently the Secretary of the Consolidated Medical Assembly of West Tennessee.

Dr. Kirkland touted the organization’s legacy and affirmed its priorities during a brief acceptance speech on Saturday.

“It was interesting to me to find out that there’s a Greek word pronounced tee-may, which means honor, reverence, dignity and grace,” Dr. Kirkland said. “How strange that that Greek word sounds so much like TMA.”

“That’s what TMA does – we advocate in an honorable and dignified way for our profession and our patients. Of course, TMA provides other services as well, but advocacy will always be our job number one. Our Advocacy team is recognized for being tough but honest on the Hill and for never proposing anything that might be injurious to our patients or to our profession and for never misrepresenting the facts.”

Dr. Kirkland received both his medical degree and his MBA from the University of Tennessee, and his Bachelors of Science from the University of Tennessee-Martin. He was President of Phi Chi Medical Fraternity at University of Tennessee Health Science Center, and later served as President of the University of Tennessee National Alumni Association.

He has been board chair for many community organizations across West Tennessee, among them Aspell Recovery Center in Jackson. Dr. Kirkland has served as president of the Jackson Rotary Club, as Commander of the Milton Talley American Legion Post 20 in Union City, and as Chairman of Deacons at First Baptist Church of Jackson. He served in the Vietnam War as an Army counterintelligence agent in 1970-1971.

Dr. Kirkland resides in Jackson with his wife, Carol, of more than 50 years. Together, they have four children and eight grandchildren.