UPA Leadership


New Year, New Beginnings. A Note from UPA's CEO, Kim Friar

From our experiences with 2020, we have a better understanding of how quickly the world can change before our eyes. We are proud to say that UPA quickly responded to the many new and unforeseen demands. Now, as we launch into 2021, healthcare continues to remain center stage in our country, and UPA remains vigilant to even more unexpected challenges.

Last year, UPA additionally announced the retirement of Robert F. Elder, MD, as president of UPA effective 12/31/2020. His commitment to UPA has been exceptional and we are thrilled that Amy B. Stevens, MD, is an exceptional leader who can step up and fulfill the obligations of being the president of UPA. She and Dr. Elder have transitioned business operations smoothly as they have worked together consistently in years past on major business projects.

Dr. Stevens has long served as a champion liaison between hospital and UPA projects and will offer UPA a bright evolution into future endeavors amid challenges that the healthcare industry continues to face. The ability to advance in any direction in which healthcare dictates is the major platform in which UPA was created and we are happy to launch into a New Year with such a strong presence.

We are also happy to report that Dr. Elder will continue to work alongside UPA part-time as Chief Physician Executive.

Most importantly, thank you to our physician and clinical members who trust us with their business operations and are the reason we exist; our team members who skillfully perform their duties to provide excellent service to our customers and finally to our board members for your leadership, and commitment as we continue to press forward as a unified strong voice in an unprecedented time.

Governing Leadership

UPA's Governing Association

Physician Established. Physician Led. Physician Owned.

UPA is supported by governing physicians and a highly-trained staff. We have over 1,000 clinicians and 900 team members. Our office is based in Knoxville, and we serve physician practices throughout Eastern Tennessee.

Our governance system at University Physicians’ Association, Inc. (UPA) is as follows:

  • Board of Directors - The Board consists of 18 elected physicians serving 3-year terms and are responsible for overseeing and managing the entire organization. They ensure that our overall mission, goals, and objectives of the corporation and interest of shareholders are met.
  • Contract & Finance Committee - The Contract & Finance Committee is a board-appointed committee that identifies and oversees the managed care contract negotiations and opportunities.
  • Membership Committee - The Membership Committee is appointed by Board members, and are responsible for preparing recommendations for membership criteria and identifying membership needs.
  • Planning & Marketing Committee - An appointed committee tasked with promoting the image and capabilities of the corporation and its shareholders.
  • Clinical Integration Committee - The appointed members of the Clinical Integration Committee monitor implementation of the Clinical Integration Program, including practice guidelines and benchmarks.
  • Nominating Committee - The Nominating Committee consists of 3 primary care shareholders, 2 specialty care shareholders, 1 hospital-based shareholder who are responsible for nominating from shareholders individuals to be considered for the board of directors.

Call University Physicians’ Association, Inc. at (865) 670-6700
to learn more about our healthcare solutions.


May 28, 2020

It is with mixed emotions that we officially announce the retirement of Robert F. Elder, MD, President of University Physicians’ Association, Inc. (UPA) effective 12/31/2020.

UPA achieved great heights under the leadership of Dr. Elder. Prior to UPA’s founding, he played an important role with the growth and success of this organization to which he was actively involved in its initial development. Upon UPA’s establishment in 1995, Dr. Elder was elected by his physician peers to represent the specialty seat of OB/GYN on the UPA Board of Directors. Two short years later he was named Chair of the UPA Membership Committee in 1997 and was then elected UPA Secretary. Parallel to the hospital and teaching appointments, his leadership roles were widely recognized which advanced him into the physician elected position as President of UPA. He has faithfully served as UPA President since 2005.

Dr. Elder’s commitment to our health care organization has been exceptional and we will certainly feel the impact of his stepping aside. We salute him for his dedication to UPA but applaud him with his decision to spend more time with his family and loved ones. So, while saddened with his leaving, we are confident that he will find the same success and happiness in his retirement.

When these business decisions are made, it is rare to find an exceptional leader that can fulfill the obligations without fail.

UPA is fortunate to have leaders with such esteem.

We are therefore happy to formally announce that Amy B. Stevens, MD has been appointed by UPA’s Governance as President of UPA. She and Dr. Elder will transition business operations smoothly, as they have worked together consistently in years past on major dealings and projects.

Dr. Stevens became a UPA Shareholder in 2001 upon her joining University Family Physicians and following her teaching appointment in Family Medicine. She quickly became recognized as a leader among her peers and was nominated to represent the seat of Family Medicine on the UPA Board of Directors in 2007. Dr. Stevens has passionately continued her clinical responsibilities while further advancing her administrative roles between the hospital and UPA. She has served champion with major products including clinical integration (CI) which entailed her as a founding board member with University Health Network (UHN), a combined CI network of UHS, Inc. leadership, UTMC and UHS employed physicians, along with leadership of UPA and independent physicians. She was nominated as Chair of the UHN Board of Directors and has served in that leadership role since 2017.

With her passion, leadership skills, and sharp reputation alongside her knowledge of UPA, the hospital and business partner entities, Dr. Stevens will offer UPA a bright transition into future endeavors amid the challenges which we continue to face in health care.

Dr. Stevens is a native of Knoxville beside her husband (Dr. Jeff Stevens) and children who are active within the Knoxville communities.

Please join us in applauding Dr. Elder for his dedication and service as he steps toward retirement and for Dr. Stevens as she advances further into her leadership as UPA President.