Dixie Street Atrium at Tanner Medical Center/Carrollton Dedicated for John H. Burson III, MD
Posted Date: 11/28/2011
During the dedication of Tanner Memorial Hospital on Oct. 30, 1949, John H. Burson III, MD, was a boy, riding his bicycle around the grounds of the hospital with his childhood friends David and Dick Tisinger.
Now, the very face of the hospital carries his name.
Last week, Tanner Health System’s board of directors dedicated the atrium along Dixie Street in honor of Dr. Burson, who has been a member of the board for more than 15 years, chairman for more than 10, and a respected member of Tanner’s medical staff since 1979.
“I was greatly honored when Tanner named the atrium for me and my family,” said Dr. Burson. “Tanner has always occupied a very special place in my life. Three of my children were born at Tanner. I was privileged to begin my medical career at Tanner and have been present to see Tanner progress from a small rural community hospital to the vanguard hospital we have today, along with our other hospitals and clinics in our surrounding communities. My father was on Tanner’s board, and it has been my honor to follow in his footsteps on the board as Tanner has matured and now offers very high quality care for our expanded community.”
The atrium was built in 2008 as part of the first phase of a large-scale expansion and renovation of the hospital – a project that is continuing with the ongoing construction of a new emergency department and expanded surgical services unit. It stands almost in the footprint of the original 1949 Tanner Memorial Hospital, which – being outdated and limiting continued hospital expansion – was razed in 1985. Included in the 2008 construction was the Tanner Heart and Vascular Center and the Health Education and Wellness Learning Center, both of which are adjacent to the atrium.
During Dr. Burson’s tenure as chairman, the health system has grown substantially, including the health system’s affiliation with Bremen’s Higgins General Hospital in 1998 and the subsequent expansion and renovation of that facility; construction of the new Tanner Medical Center/Villa Rica facility in 2003; the 2008 expansion and renovation at Tanner Medical Center/Carrollton; the construction of Willowbrooke at Tanner – the first new inpatient behavioral health facility built in Georgia in at least 20 years – in Villa Rica in 2009; and the current, ongoing construction project at Tanner Medical Center/Carrollton.
“This dedication honors Dr. Burson’s service to Tanner, to the community and to the country,” said Loy Howard, president and CEO of Tanner Health System. “Beyond the important leadership he’s given to Tanner, Dr. Burson has been a driving force behind important local efforts like the Burson Center – a small business incubator in Carrollton that is helping to sow the seeds of the next generation of businesses that will bring this area continued prosperity. He also has been a generous philanthropist for a number of causes and has built two successful medical practices – first, Carrollton ENT, and now Villa Rica Ear, Nose and Throat – that have created jobs for local residents and opportunities for physicians to practice in west Georgia.”
In addition, Howard said, Dr. Burson has been a dedicated servant for his nation.
“When most physicians are entering their 70s, they’re starting to look toward retirement,” said Howard. “But when he was 71, Dr. Burson was on a military plane in a U.S. Army uniform, heading to Iraq.”
Dr. Burson, a retired lieutenant colonial with the National Guard, has served three tours abroad in Iraq and Afghanistan as part of a military program that allows civilian physicians to serve in the stead of military physicians who can then return home to see their families. To participate in the program, Dr. Burson has had to demonstrate his ability to stay in peak physical condition and hone his medical skills to serve both U.S. military personnel and local civilians.
During his first tour, to Iraq, Dr. Burson provided care to deposed dictator Saddam Hussein. In Afghanistan, he served at a base that frequently came under enemy fire.
Dr. Burson, a Carrollton native, was born on Croft Street in Carrollton. At age 2, his family moved to Clifton Terrace, and Dr. Burson spent much of his young life within a block of Dixie Street. He watched the construction of Tanner Memorial Hospital from the seat of his bicycle, as the construction site was along his paper route.
“My Tanner association really begins with my home birth on Croft Street, only a block from the present Tanner campus,” he said. “My birth is witness to the scarceness of medical care in our community at that time.”
A plaque designating the dedication will be displayed in the atrium.