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Hixson Demo Day

December 17th, 2018

Out with the old. In with the new. Construction is underway in the new USA Hixson Office. 

USA's Christy Westmoreland scouts out the spot for the first sledgehammer hit for Dr. Ben Kellogg

Dr. Robert Jean and nurse Wendy Featherston  

The team discussing features of the new office

Pictured L to R: 
Wendy Featherston, RN (nurse for Dr. Jean),  Christy Westmoreland, RN (Satellite Operations Mgr),  General surgeons Dr. Jean & Dr. Kellogg,
Marsha Bock, RVT (USA COO), Craig Sarine (USA CEO)

“As the new year approaches, USA is focused on expanding our presence in the region, including a newly designed space that will accommodate more physicians and enhance our ability to provide exceptional surgical care to individuals who live and work in the Hixson and Soddy Daisy areas,” says Craig Sarine, University Surgical Associates CEO.


To kick off the construction,USA employees held a ‘demo day’ where Dr. Robert Jean and Dr. Benjamin Kellogg along with their staff donned hard hats and sledgehammers to begin demo on a wall that will be torn down in the office.


“After many months of working in a temporary office, we are looking forward to finally getting into our permanent home in the Hixson area. This was an important step in that process,”says Sarine. “Since we didn’t have any ground to break, we decided to break a wall. It was actually kind of fun to see the old go down, clearing the way for our new space.”


The USA Hixson office is locatedin the Physician’s Office Building on the campus of CHI Memorial Hospital –Hixson at 2051 Hamill Road, Hixson, Tennessee, Suite 108. The larger officespace, just down the hall in Suite 101, will open in early 2019, offering alarger lobby area and more exam rooms. 


With the expanded office space, Dr. Robert Jean, general surgeon with USA, will have full time office hours at Hixson. Dr. Erica Clark (vascular surgeon), Dr. Benjamin E. Kellogg(general surgeon), Dr. Eric C. Nelson (colorectal surgeon), and Dr. L. Richard Sprouse II (vascular surgeon) will also continue to see patients at this location. 


“I’m very excited about establishing ourselves in Hixson so we can continue to provide the kind of high-quality care that USA is known for across the entire Chattanooga and Hamilton County region,” says Dr. Jean. “We’re thrilled about the opportunity to meet the growing need in the area and partner with physicians in the region to provide timely, effective and convenient surgical care.”

Posted by University Surgical | Topic: News  | Category: news

Welcome, Dr. Murray!

December 12th, 2018

University Surgical Associates is excited to welcome Craig A. Murray, M.D., FACS to the general surgery team providing care for adults in North Georgia. 

Dr. Murray comes to USA from Albany, Georgia, where he has been in private practice for 15 years. He and his wife, Kimberly, a pharmacist, have been married 17 years. They have three boys – a high schooler, a middle schooler and a kindergartener, who Dr. Murray calls a late blessing! 

“We were very drawn to Chattanooga for two reasons – better educational opportunities for our sons and proximity to the many scenic locations this area offers,” says Dr. Murray. “As a family, we love being active, and that includes snow skiing, hiking and spending time outdoors. It was also very appealing to join with USA as they expand their services into the North Georgia region, where I believe I can be helpful in establishing high quality surgical services in an underserved area.” 

Dr. Murray earned his medical degree from the University of Oklahoma College of Medicine and completed a general surgery residency at the Medical University of South Carolina. Upon completion of his residency, Dr. Murray began his practice and became affiliated with the Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital in Albany, Georgia, where he served as Vice President of Medical Staff and Clinical Associate Professor at the Medical College of Georgia.

He is a member of the American College of Surgeons and has medical licenses in Georgia, South Carolina and Tennessee. Dr. Murray comes to University Surgical Associates with nearly 16 years of general surgery experience where he specializes in advanced minimally invasive surgery, including robotic-assisted procedures. 

Currently, Dr. Murray sees patients and performs minor surgeries at the USA Surgical Specialties Building at 2108 E. 3rd Street in Chattanooga and performs planned and emergency surgery at Erlanger, CHI Memorial and Parkridge. USA has plans to open another satellite office on Battlefield Parkway in the coming months.  

Advanced Surgical Care

University Surgical Associates' general surgeons manage adult general surgery issues from appendicitis to gallbladder disease, hernias and breast disease, as well as a wide range of surgical services including intraabdominal, gastrointestinal, cancer, endocrine, breast, and blood vessels. In his practice, Dr. Murray specializes in advanced minimally invasive surgery, robotic hernia repair, gallbladder disease, colon resection, appendicitis, abdominal wall defect, breast surgery, and anti-reflux procedures. 

“The problem-solving mentality has always been one of my favorite parts of surgery – finding a solution to a problem is really satisfying. I also love medicine and the combination of working with my hands to help people,” says Dr. Murray. “Running into my patients out in the community and seeing they’ve returned to their normal lives after surgery is the most gratifying part of my job. I feel blessed to do this every day.” 

“We are excited to have a physician of Dr. Murray’s caliber join USA. His surgical skill, expertise and patient care philosophy make him a welcome addition to our team,” says Michael S. Greer, M.D., president of University Surgical Associates. “As we move to offer our services to a wider number of people who live and work in the surrounding Chattanooga area, Dr. Murray is an excellent representative for the quality of care University Surgical Associates has always been known for in this community. Bringing these much-needed services and a surgeon of this caliber to North Georgia is a high priority for our practice.” 

“Personalized patient care and putting my patients’ needs first has always been the focus of my surgical practice, and I’m thrilled to maintain that type of physician/patient relationship at University Surgical Associates,” says Dr. Murray. “USA is comprised of some the most well trained and highest quality surgeons who I believe practice medicine the way I do. I’m excited to join these likeminded physicians and to continue the long track record they have of providing exceptional and innovative surgical care.” 

To schedule an appointment with Dr. Murray, call 423.267.0466. 

Posted by University Surgical  | Category: general surgery

Women make up an increasing proportion of students entering the medical profession. Before 1970, women represented 6% or less of the medical student population. Now more than ever before, women are choosing medicine as a career – nearly half of first-time applicants to medical schools in 2011 were women. 

Like their male colleagues, women are attracted to surgical careers for the intellectual challenges, technical aspects and the ability to affect immediate change in their patients’ lives. 

As we continue to highlight the women surgeons at University Surgical Associates, Dr. Erica Clark, vascular surgeon, shares her perspective on choosing a challenging career and how she’s navigating the work and world of surgery. 

Surgeon Spotlight 
Erica Clark, DO, RPVI 

Q: Why did you become a surgeon? 

A: I have an older brother who is a surgeon, and he encouraged me to consider the field. He felt my personality would bring something new to the table. I knew it would be difficult, but it’s always exciting and very satisfying to help someone. It’s also gratifying to make a difference in a field that less than 1 to 2 percent of the world population gets to do every day. I’ve never regretted my decision. 

Q: Why do you think surgery is one of the last fields in medicine that is predominantly men? 

A: I think there’s a stigma that because surgery can sometimes be long hours and work days that you can’t have a normal life. As a woman who wants to have a marriage or family – or even time for personal activities – it can be difficult to see how they can do all these things and be a surgeon. 

It’s possible for surgery to be part of who you are, not your complete identify. I enjoy other things in my life, but it’s easy to let work consume you. My way of handling that temptation is to focus completely on where I am at the moment - whether that’s at work or at home. I didn’t realize during residency that there are many different ways to structure your practice. Having knowledge of these models has helped me identify my priorities and better manage work and home life. 

Q: What do you think women bring to the field of surgery? 

A: I think every person – man or woman – has the ability to empathize with their patients and that is what’s most important. I do think women handle multi-tasking particularly well. I feel confident in juggling the everyday stresses of life and patient care. 

Q: What’s most rewarding about your job? 

A: I think it’s really rewarding to catch something and prevent a major problem. I deal with complicated patients every day who are scared about certain circumstances – like a stroke or a problem with a non-healing wound. The outcome and fear behind that is real and can change their life. I enjoy counseling patients on what we can do to prevent that outcome. 

Q: Why did you choose to practice medicine with University Surgical Associates? 

A: In my fellowship training, I worked for two years learning from all my current partners – who are some of the most intelligent people I know. I trust them with my own family, and they have taught me everything they knew. I’ve also seen them with their own families and patients, and I am more than happy with the choice I made to be part of this team. 

Q: What would you share with women who are considering surgery as a career? 

A: There’s so much more I know about surgery that I want other women to know. I almost didn’t go into surgery thinking I wasn’t firm enough or didn’t have the backbone for it. I had been told I was too nice – and that might mean I was too nice to control a difficult situation in the operating room. My brother encouraged me by suggesting that the field of surgery could benefit from my personality, too. Listening and being empathetic are not detriments to doing a good job. It’s possible to multitask and control an environment without yelling or screaming. I believe bringing more women with softer, but confident personalities to the operating room can make it better. 

Dr. Erica Clark earned her medical degree from Edward Via Virginia College of Osteopathic Medicine in Blacksburg, Virginia. She completed a general surgery residency at Spartanburg Regional Health System in Spartanburg, South Carolina, before completing fellowship training in vascular surgery from the University of Tennessee College of Medicine in Chattanooga. 

Dr. Clark is an assistant professor in the department of surgery at the University of Tennessee college of Medicine. She is a board-certified vascular surgeon who specializes in treating circulatory conditions including carotid disease, abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA), thoracic aortic aneurysm, peripheral arterial disease (PAD), mesenteric/renal artery disease, venous disorders and more.  

To schedule an appointment with Dr. Clark, call (423) 267-0466. 

Posted by University Surgical  | Category: surgery