Dr. Chet Gentry is a Fellow of the American Academy of Physicians, and is board certified in two specialties, Family Medicine AND Hospice and Palliative Care.
Dr. Gentry’s medical background began with his early fascination with First Aid in Scouting, and working as an EMT for EMS in Detroit during four of his undergraduate years. He obtained a B.S. in both Biology and Human Development, emphasizing Gerontology, and continued with a graduate level specialty certification in aging from the Institute of Gerontology at Wayne State University. He attended medical school at Michigan State University in the College of Human Medicine. After medical school he began his residency at the affiliated Roanoke Memorial Hospitals program where he could obtain additional training in obstetrics and neonatal intensive care.
Dr. Gentry started his practice career as a rural solo physician in 1993, practicing the full scope of care from OB, with C-sections, to nursing home care. He was a pioneer then, building his practice with ideas gleaned from the careful study of many practices. He opened in 1993 in Sparta and was one of the first practices in the Upper Cumberland to utilize Physician Assistants and Nurse Practitioners as part of the primary care delivery team in 1994.
Dr. Gentry’s goal has always been to create a primary care delivery system that treats the whole patient – physically, mentally, and spiritually – in the context of their family and community relationships. In 1997, Dr. Gentry founded the Wellness Center, which included a certified Diabetic Education Center, and a certified Low Intensity Outpatient Program for alcohol and drug addiction as well as dual diagnoses. In addition to A&D, the Wellness Center provided primary care level, group-based programs for tobacco addiction, obesity, and chronic diseases such as diabetes, congestive heart failure, and depression.
Dr. Gentry also was an early adopter of such cutting edge concepts as shared (Group) medical appointments, disease registries, population-based care, and community integration. As a result of his work with diabetic groups, he received a national best practice award for diabetes from the Practice Partner Research network. He has utilized a team-based approach to care throughout his career. He expanded his practice to three physicians and three nurse practitioners in 2001, later acquired a practice in Spencer, and established it as a Rural Health Center.
Dr. Gentry has served as Medical Director for several home health agencies, the EMS systems of White and Van Buren Counties, and for several hospice agencies. He currently is Medical Director of Caris Hospice, and is on the Hospice Advisory Committee of the Cookeville Regional Medical Foundation. In 2008, he obtained a second board certification in Hospice and Palliative Care.
Dr. Gentry has served as an ER physician in the rural hospitals of White, DeKalb, and Cannon counties, as well as at Cookeville Regional Medical Center. He has worked as a Hospitalist at Cookeville Regional Medical Center, and helped initiate the hospitalist program at White County Community Hospital (now St Thomas Highlands Hospital) in Sparta. He has also worked with the CRMC Rehabilitation Center in Physical and Rehabilitation medicine.
Dr. Gentry has been actively involved in leadership of medicine, serving as a student delegate to the AAFP, serving as resident on the Board of Directors of the Virginia Academy of Family Physicians, and 12 years on the Board of Directors of the Tennessee Academy of Family Physicians. Dr. Gentry has been a passionate advocate of rural health, serving on the Board of Directors of the Rural Health Association of Tennessee for 10 years. In 2001, he received the Rural Health Practitioner of the Year award.
Dr. Gentry is passionate about improving primary care. He was involved in a nationwide primary care research network (PPRNET), and in 1998 received a national award for Best Practice in Diabetic Care. He served as Chief Medical Officer of the Cumberland Center for Healthcare Innovation, a network of 65 rural physicians, nurse practitioners, and physician assistants who are dedicated to achieving the goals of better health, better quality of medical care, and lowering cost for patients in the region.
Dr. Gentry loves spending time with his family, with original family roots in the Jackson County area. He has four boys, aged 18-24. He is actively involved at Collegeside Church of Christ, and has been active in Scouting with his family since 1993. He enjoys hiking, canoeing, camping, sports, and history. He loves music, including singing, piano, and guitar.
Dr. Gentry attributes his success to God and the guiding principles that God has given us to follow. In addition, Dr. Gentry has been blessed in partnership with many people who share the same passion to provide excellence in health care – from family and friends, colleagues, and especially his patients, who have taught him more than he ever learned in school.