A generous gift from a local family has renamed one of Tanner Health System’s most prominent facilities and will help the health system continue its crusade against the region’s leading cause of death: heart disease.
Tuesday evening, members of the Adams family — including Moreland Adams Jr., Mercedine Adams Harrison, Sharon Adams Walker, Greg Adams, Steve Adams and their mother, Nellie Adams — joined Tanner’s leadership and invited guests to dedicate the Adams Heart Center at Tanner Medical Center/Carrollton.
The facility opened in 2008 as Tanner Heart and Vascular Center — a four-story tower entirely dedicated to advancing clinical care for heart patients. The center features specialized facilities for vascular and interventional cardiac procedures, such as angioplasty and stenting.
“Cardiovascular disease takes more of our loved ones, friends, and neighbors than any other disease,” said Loy Howard, president and CEO of Tanner. “Almost everyone in west Georgia has cardiovascular disease or knows someone who does.”
The Adams’ gift not only gives Tanner Heart and Vascular Center a new name — it will support the continued expansion of heart care in the region, giving even more residents access to leading-edge cardiac care.
The Adams have a long history of involvement with Tanner.
Nellie Adams and her late husband, Moreland, wed in 1951. Nellie Adams began working as a nurse’s aide at Tanner in 1971 and served for 26 years until she retired from Tanner in 1997. Nellie Adams made sure her children appreciated a sense of community and service — including caring for others. Each of the Adams’ children went into careers of service.
His parents’ legacy — that service leads to success — has shaped Moreland Adams Jr.’s life. At 16, Moreland Adams Jr. became an orderly at the former Villa Rica City Hospital, eager to learn and grow.
Enthusiastic in his service, he became a surgical assistant and worked alongside the hospital’s first woman anesthetist. The experience inspired him to pursue training as an emergency medical technician from Carroll County Vocational School, completing the program in 1975. Moreland Adams Jr. served as an EMT until 1986, then founded his own ambulance service, selling it 12 years later. That’s when he joined his oldest brother, Steve Adams, at Southeastrans as chief operating officer until his retirement in 2019.
Mercedine Adams Harrison began her career as a certified nursing assistant at the former Villa Rica City Hospital in 1975. She became a licensed practical nurse in 1981, earning her degree from Carroll County Vocational Technical School and expanding her ability to care for her patients. As a nurse, Mercedine Harrison earned respect among the medical staff and other Tanner clinicians. She retired in 2011 from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to care for her parents but continues to volunteer at Tanner.
Sharon Adams Walker also has a deep history with Tanner. From her service as a ward secretary at the former Villa Rica City Hospital in 1973, she earned an associates in nursing from Floyd College in Rome, Georgia, and a bachelor’s in nursing from the University of West Georgia in 2005. Walker’s leadership ushered in Tanner Medical Center/Villa Rica’s women’s services program, and twice she served as interim director of nursing for the hospital.
Greg Adams launched his three decades in health care at Tanner as an orderly and, later, as a student of nursing. Greg Adams graduated from the former Floyd College’s nursing program in Rome and earned his bachelor’s from Oglethorpe University in Atlanta, then his master’s in nursing administration from Wichita State University in Wichita, Kansas.
After serving as a nurse and nursing administrator, Greg Adams began focusing on hospital leadership. He’s been the chair and CEO of Kaiser Permanente — the nation’s largest integrated healthcare organization — since 2019. A philanthropist and nationally recognized leader in healthcare transformation, Greg Adams has improved affordability and access in the quest for more equitable health outcomes.
Steve Adams became an accomplished entrepreneur and dedicated community servant since serving as an orderly at Tanner Medical Center/Carrollton when he was 15. He became an emergency medical technician (EMT) and began West Georgia Ambulance when Carroll County was without an ambulance service. He’s now the chief executive officer of Verida Inc., one of the region’s leading non-emergency medical transportation services and call centers with operations in several states.
Steve Adams is also a long-serving member of the board for Tanner, serving a quarter-century on Tanner’s board and chairing the board for Tanner Foundation.
At the Adams Heart Center dedication, Steve Adams took a moment to thank many of those in attendance for their support as he got West Georgia Ambulance off the ground in the 1970s — fulfilling a need at a time when Carroll County was without an ambulance service.
Then, keying a walkie-talkie, he gave the word for the Adams Heart Center sign to be illuminated for the first time — a permanent testament to his family’s commitment to the community, standing at the corner of Dixie Street and Clinic Avenue.
The Adams’ other contributions to Tanner include Adams Park and Adams Magnolia Park — honoring the 30-year legacy of Tanner Foundation’s Magnolia Ball — at the Tanner Health Pavilion in Carrollton, offering outdoor gathering spaces for Get Healthy, Live Well participants, as well as a calming refuge just off the Carrollton GreenBelt.
Tanner launched its interventional cardiology program at Tanner Medical Center/Carrollton in 2006, offering a nonsurgical approach to clearing blocked coronary arteries. The program expanded to Tanner Medical Center/Villa Rica in 2015. In the 16 years that interventional cardiology has been available in west Georgia, Tanner’s cardiologists have performed more than 8,400 cardiac interventions.
In January, the health system started offering open-heart surgery, providing a local option for the more than 500 open-heart cases from the region that had to travel to Atlanta, Birmingham or Rome for care and saving loved ones time and travel.
Both Tanner Medical Center/Carrollton and Tanner Medical Center/Villa Rica are accredited chest pain centers.
To learn more about impacting quality health care in the region, visit TannerMedicalFoundation.org.