Champions of Health Care 2023: Tim Davis — Lifetime achievement

Across nearly five decades, pediatrician cares for area youths

Photography by Matt Hamilton / Tim Davis
Photography by Matt Hamilton / Tim Davis

Tim Davis didn't have a farewell tour as he readied to retire from full-time medical practice, but that's only because he didn't travel.

The tour sort of came to him, recalls Dr. Ben Wiley, who says he joined Davis at Galen Pediatrics North in 2005.

"During the year leading up to his retirement from full-time practice, hundreds of kids and parents went out of their way to give him hugs and heartfelt words of thanks," Wiley writes. "The social impact of a lifetime of service was on display all year long."

That lifetime of service, nearly 50 years, earns Davis this year's Champions of Health Care Lifetime Achievement award. Davis says he retired from full-time practice in January 2022, but not necessarily because he wanted to.

"A lady from Social Security called and said, 'I can't give you advice, but if you don't start taking Social Security at (age) 72, you might as well light the money on fire,'" he recalls.

"I have done my utmost to help people and further the cause of good medicine," he says. "I'll continue to do that until they run me off."

In nominating Davis for the Champions honor, Wiley writes that his colleague still works part-time, "even night and weekend shifts to help make sure sick kids are cared for when they need it."

Davis says that, just as he knew when it was time to retire, he knew at the outset of his career that it had to be pediatrics.

"After I was done with medical school, I signed up for a pediatric internship at LeBonheur," a children's hospital in Memphis. "I thought, 'This is it. This is what God made me to do.'"

Davis says that after he finished his training at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville, he moved to Chattanooga in 1980 and went to work as an emergency-room pediatrician at what was then T.C. Thompson Children's Hospital. He stayed there 16 years before going into private practice, then joined Galen North in 1999.

Wiley was one of several Galen North Pediatrics staffer to nominate Davis for the Champions award. So did former patients and their family members. Michelle Parton wrote that Davis was "always attentive" to her granddaughter, who was "born with several health issues."

"He has been our savior so many times," she writes. "He always gives us the advice we need, even when it's tough to hear. Our family is so thankful for him and his compassion as a doctor -- and a friend."

Personal glance

What do you do to relax/beat stress?

I run, I go to the YMCA to workout and I make bullets -- it's called reloading -- and shoot pistols. I've got 25 pistols. I like the 1911 Colt 45 -- it's just got such history, and it's really comfortable to shoot.

What led you to become medical professional

Strange story -- I was in college, a semester away from graduating with a BS in psychology and a double minor in chemistry and biology. Then I decided I didn't want to be a grad student in psychology, so I asked my advisor what I should do. She said I had good grades and lots of science, so what about medical school? I thought it was a great idea. I took the (entrance exams), applied, got in, called my mom and told her I was going to be a doctor.

If you had to choose another profession, what would it be and why?

I might have gone into psychology, become a therapist.


* Honoring Chattanooga’s 2023 Health Care Champions

* Champions of Health Care 2023: Dr. Krish Bhadra — Innovation

* Champions of Health Care 2023: Dr. John S. Adams — Diversity and inclusion

* Champions of Health Care 2023: Diona Brown — Administrative excellence

* Champions of Health Care 2023: Welcome Home — Volunteer organization

* Champions of Health Care 2023: Mark Kapperman — Volunteer

* Champions of Health Care 2023: Mitch Dizon — Academic physician

* Champions of Health Care 2023: James Zellner — Community physician

* Champions of Health Care 2023: Kristi Perry — Individual community outreach

* Champions of Health Care 2023: Cempa Community Care — Group diversity & inclusion

* Champions of Health Care 2023: Ashley Haynes — Non-physician practitioner

* Champions of Health Care 2023: Paul Farmer — Administrative excellence

* Champions of Health Care 2023: Whitney Evans-Snardon — Rising star

* Champions of Health Care 2023: Erlanger Board of Trustees — Group community outreach

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