Executive Profile: Dr. W. Scott West

On why it makes sense to go with your gut, his love for the rural life of a Montana cowboy and why all roads lead to a backyard barbecue.

Dr. Scott West, a Nashville psychiatrist for nearly 25 years, is one of five doctors with Associated Psychiatrists of Nashville. He is also medical director of the neurobehavioral unit at St. Thomas Hospital. Last year, he became the first doctor in Tennessee to use Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation, a new technology aimed at treating depression.

Dr. Scott West, ThriveLogic (Nashville TMS)
Dr. Scott West is a Nashville psychiatrist.
Photo: James Yates, NBJ

What is the most outside-of-the-box idea you have ever had in your professional career? Bringing TMS to Nashville would qualify, as it was new and largely unknown technology. NeuroStar TMS was cleared by the FDA in October 2008 as a treatment for depression that has not responded to an adequate antidepressant trial. It is a procedure that uses a magnet similar to an MRI machine that pulses rapidly and when placed over the left side of the front of the skull provides a safe and well-tolerated treatment of depressive symptoms.

What was the result? TMS has been great so far. All of our patients have experienced benefit and over 80 percent have had remission of their symptoms.

How did you wind up in your current position? I had been in practice providing outpatient and inpatient psychiatric treatment for over 23 years when the opportunity to bring NeuroStar TMS to Nashville occurred. I had struggled with treating patients who had not responded to aggressive treatment and having limited options. One patient stood out: She was a wonderful young lady who struggled over many years with limited and transient responses. She would research options and brought TMS to my attention many years ago when it was in the early stages of research. Thus, I followed it with interest and pursued it as it became available.

What makes an effective business leader? Someone with vision and the ability to put people in place that can make the vision happen or be trained to do so.

What word best describes your leadership style? Encouraging.

Professional pet peeve? Laziness.

What keeps you up at night? Patient concerns.

What do you do to relieve stress? Time with family, yard work, walking, spy novels and target shooting.

What is the simplest thing you never learned to do? Tie rope knots.

Pets? Presently one Yorkie. Her name is Mitzi and she is inseparable from my wife.

What’s the best gift you’ve ever received? My children were both born in December and I consider them the best gifts. Kindness from others is always a great gift.

Person outside of your family you would most like to spend time with on an island? Irish author and scholar C.S. Lewis; I know I have much to learn from him.

You’ve just been given $100,000 to donate to charity. Where would you give it, and why? There are many wonderful and valuable organizations, but I would give the money to the Mental Health Association of Middle Tennessee as I know what they do, how they do it and who they help.

When faced with two equally-qualified candidates, how do you determine whom to hire? I believe work needs to be enjoyed whenever possible, so I would go with my gut and hire the person I have the best feeling about because it is more likely I would enjoy being around that person.

What would you like to cross off your “bucket list” next? Take my wife to Ireland.

What line of work would you pursue if you couldn’t work in your present one? I would be a horse wrangler in Montana. I grew up with the TV cowboys of the ’50s and ’60s, and my heroes have always been cowboys.

Organization or company other than your own that you most admire? Any mom-and-pop business that has found a way to keep on going.

Can you name a person who has had a tremendous impact on you as a leader? Ralph Mosley is a gentleman I met at church years ago when he was CEO for Southwestern. I was involved with various church activities and committees he chaired and learned about integrity, compassion and dedication as I observed him lead.

What is there about you that people would be surprised to learn? I can have a wicked sense of humor.

Biggest professional mistake and how you overcame it? We once had an office manager move out of town and advanced someone we all liked into that position even though we were not sure she was ready. She wasn’t and we waited too long. We then had to make a change which was not easy for any of us to replace her.

What is the one behavior or trait that most often derails leaders’ careers? I do not know if it is most often, but greed is the trait that is most obvious.

They’re making a movie of your life. Is it a drama or comedy and who plays you? It has to be a comedy and Robin Williams is, hands down, the choice to play me.

What skill would you most like to improve? I would love to be able to work with fine woods in detail.

If you could live a double life, the other would be: A designer and builder of decks and other outdoor spaces. That would dovetail nicely with my love of barbecuing.

About West
Age: 55

Title: Medical director

Company: ThriveLogic (Nashville TMS)

Address: 30 Burton Hills Blvd. No. 375, Nashville 37215

Web: www.thrivelogic.com

No. of employees: 3

Most recently read book: “The Land of Painted Caves,” by Jean M. Auel

Favorite music artist: Harry Chapin

Education: University of Tennessee, Knoxville, B.A; University of Tennessee Center for Health Sciences, M.D.; Vanderbilt University Medical Center, Residency in Psychiatry

Community involvement: Alzheimer’s Association of Middle Tennessee; Nashville Alliance for the Mentally Ill; Agoraphobics in Action, Medical Advisory Board; Middle Tennessee Mental Health Association; Second Presbyterian Church; Saint Paul Christian Academy

Source: Nashville Business Journal