A One-Stop Shop for Busy Executives: The Origin of Vanderbilt Executive Health Physicals

Long before Vanderbilt Health had an executive health physicals program, Bronson Ingram, the founder of Ingram Industries, was so impressed by his Vanderbilt University Medical Center (VUMC) primary care physician Craig Heim, MD, that he wanted his fellow corporate leaders to experience the same level of care. Dr. Heim began offering his services to other Ingram executives.

For years, Dr. Heim provided these executive health services from his primary care office, but when the Dayani Center was established in 1989, he was able to move these services to a more permanent home. The Dayani Center was founded in memory of Vanderbilt Medical School graduate Kim Dayani, MD, who passed away unexpectedly at age 41 from cardiac arrest. His family, including wife Carolyn and daughters Kimberly and Melissa, generously funded the creation of the center focused on early prevention of heart disease and other conditions.

The Dayani Center’s mission of comprehensive preventive care aligned perfectly with Dr. Heim’s goal of serving busy executives. When he relocated his program to the Dayani Center in 1989, Dr. Heim integrated it with a cardiac rehab program and other services, thus officially launching Vanderbilt Executive Health Physicals (EHP) program.

"One special aspect is that the Dayani family maintained contact with the center, celebrating milestones together,” recalls Teresa Roberts, RN, Manager, Executive Health & Wellness. “They were a kind and generous family, deeply connected to the center and the work done there, including our work at Vanderbilt EHP.”

Next Dr. Heim’s team focused on expanding services and growing their patient base. They actively sought feedback from executives to enhance services, eventually incorporating cardiac wellness, nutrition, fitness and more.

What an Executive Health Physical Looks Like

Today, an executive health physical at Vanderbilt takes 5 to 6 hours and provides comprehensive health information in a single session. Here’s the process:

  • Participants in the EHP program arrive fasting so providers can get a blood draw and labs at the beginning of the appointment.   
  • The appointment proceeds with a treadmill test, fitness evaluation and a physical assessment. 
  • Lab results arrive quickly, so a physician can review them with patients on the spot.  
  • Following the appointment, patients can benefit from 12 months of health coaching to ensure they stay on track to healthier outcomes.

Vanderbilt EHP collaborates closely with patients’ other health care providers to ensure comprehensive care. Roberts notes that it’s typical for many executives to begin focusing on their health around age 50, and EHP offers a personalized, comprehensive approach to taking that step.

“Many of our patients have been with us for over 30 years,” she notes. “We get to know them and their families well. Here they can avoid wait times and consult with providers who truly understand their health needs.”

Turning Over a New Leaf

After decades at the Dayani Center, Vanderbilt EHP moved to a new location in Franklin in 2019. The new clinic offers ample parking, spacious waiting areas and comfortable spaces for participants to relax and work during downtime. Despite the convenience and new facilities, leaving the Dayani Center was bittersweet.

“Moving to this great clinic in Franklin was a significant milestone,” Roberts says. “But for those of us who spent many years on this team, the Dayani Center holds a special place in our hearts.”

Dr. Heim has since retired, but the clinic continues his mission under the guidance of Medical Director Sapna Kripalani, MD. The team is made up of primary care doctors, an exercise physiologist and a registered dietitian. It also has prompt access to Vanderbilt Health specialists when needed.

“The program has grown, but we maintain the philosophy of providing a one-stop shop for busy executives who need preventive care,” Roberts says.

After 35 years in operation, Vanderbilt Executive Health Physicals has impacted hundreds of lives, helping executives better manage their health and uncover serious health issues early, when they are more easily treated.

“One of the most rewarding aspects is identifying symptoms or health indicators that patients were unaware of,” Roberts says. “Sometimes patients come in feeling fine, but we discover serious health issues. Being able to provide treatment is life-changing for our patients and deeply important to us.”

Executive Health Physicals is a self-pay program, but it also offers blocks of exams to cover a leadership team. Learn more by calling (615) 421–0112, emailing employersolutions@vumc.org or visiting the website.