About the Inaugural Chair Holder

Dr. Martha Jo Edwards, Professor Emeritus and Retired Adams Chair of Excellence in Health Care Services

In 1992, Middle Tennessee State University named former associate dean of the College of Health and Public Affairs at the University of Central Florida, Dr. Jo Edwards, as the holder of the Adams Chair of Excellence in Health Care Services. While at UCF she developed programs from conception through accreditation in Physical Therapy, Health Services Administration, Radiologic Sciences and Radiation Therapy Technology and others. Post Iraqi invasion of Kuwait she initiated a project to complete the education of the Kuwait allied health work force in Orlando at UCF while Kuwait University was being rebuilt.

She earned her doctorate from the University of Florida in Gainesville, her Masters from the University of Memphis, and her Bachelor of Science from the University of Alabama in Birmingham. Dr. Edwards is a Certified Health Education Specialist and a Medical Imaging Specialist.

Under the direction of Dr. Edwards, the Center for Health and Human Services was developed and has executed grant-funded projects and contracts since 1993 focusing on health care workforce development and improving the health of Tennesseans. These contracts have totaled over six million dollars under Dr. Edwards direction, and the Center for Health and Human Services has continued that work since her retirement, receiving just over $2 million dollars in funding over the recent 3-year period . In 2003, she was appointed by the Tennessee Higher Education Commission to serve as founding executive director of the Tennessee Institute of Public Health (TNIPH) and continued on in recent years as a consultant to TNIPH. During her tenure as the Adams Chair of Excellence, she engaged faculty and staff at MTSU to work with the Tennessee Department of Health, Tennessee Hospital Association, volunteer health organizations and other state and federal agencies to improve the health of the citizens of Tennessee.  She represented MTSU and the Adams Chair on various state, regional, and national boards. Dr. Edwards has served on the State Department of Education Advisory Board for Health Science Education and advised students in this area for MTSU. She collaborated with and supported the pre-professional health advisement system, guiding MTSU students into the health professions. Active professionally, she has served on many state, local, and national committees and boards including recently on the board of the Tennessee Rural Partnership, THA Health Workforce round table, Board of Directors for Project Hope, the Rutherford County Wellness Council and others. She is published and is on three national and international editorial review boards for professional journals.