Vickers BookcaseSelwyn M. Vickers, M.D., FACSTalk to any of the 233 scholarship recipients at the School of Medicine, and they’ll tell you that their scholarship has been critical in allowing them to pursue their dreams of a medical education. My own career might have been completely different if not for a 1,000-mile trip I took in the summer of 1982.

       I had been accepted to medical school at Johns Hopkins and, having developed strong ties with friends and mentors during my undergraduate studies there, I wanted to stay in Baltimore for my medical education. But doing so would attach a heavy financial burden to my future.

       An advisor told me about the Joanna F. Reed Medical Scholarship, an endowment established to provide scholarships to Alabama students who had been accepted to private medical schools. My roommate and I drove straight from Baltimore to Huntsville, where we met my mother, who drove on with us to Brewton, Ala. My roommate and I were two of seven students interviewed, and all of us received Reed scholarships.

       That support for my medical education was a gift for which I am deeply grateful to this day. The generosity of the Reed family allowed me to finish medical school with minimal debt and to make decisions about my career based my desire to be an academic surgeon, rather than worry about my ability to pay back student loans.

       Many of our donors give to out of a desire to create a legacy that will benefit health care in our state for generations to come. Others, like me, received scholarship support as medical students and want to pay it forward. Some give to honor an influential mentor or a loved one. Others seek to foster a physician workforce that reflects the diversity of our society. For all of these reasons and more, the generosity of our donors enabled the School of Medicine to award $3.34 million in scholarships to 233 students in the 2015-2016 academic year, the most ever awarded and a 9 percent increase over last year.

       In the days surrounding our annual Scholarship Dinner on November 12, we have spotlighted scholarship donors and recipients on the School of Medicine’s Facebook page. You can also watch students and donors discuss about the impact of scholarships on our scholarship video.

       I want to thank our scholarship supporters who are making a powerful difference for today’s medical students and for the future of health care in Alabama. The scholarship I received was instrumental in making me the surgeon, educator, and person I am today. I am excited to see what today’s scholarship students will make of the opportunities they have received.

Selwyn M.Vickers, M.D., FACS
Senior Vice President for Medicine and Dean
James C. Lee Endowed Chair 
Vickers Bookcase2Selwyn M. Vickers, M.D., FACSOne of the most appealing aspects of a career in academic medicine is the opportunity to help shape future generations of health care leaders. Our faculty have committed countless hours to training our students to be skilled and compassionate physicians, and preparing them to adapt and excel in our ever-shifting health care landscape.

Created in 1996, the School of Medicine’s Argus Awards give medical students the chance to honor their mentors, professors, courses, and course directors for outstanding service to medical education. Faculty members are nominated for the awards by course evaluations, and students vote to select winners in each category.

This year’s Argus Awards ceremony took place October 2 at the Children’s Harbor Building. Many of the 2015 winners have been honored with Argus Awards in years past. Some of the perennial student favorites honored again this year include:

  • Best Educator: Patient, Doctor, and Society — Michael S. Saag, M.D., Jim Straley Endowed Chair in AIDS Research and Professor of Medicine
  • Best Educator, Fundamentals 1 — Martin E. Young, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Medicine
  • Best Educator, Fundamentals 2 — Ken B. Waites, M.D., Professor of Pathology
  • Best MS1 Organ Module — Cardiovascular Directors Harish Doppalapudi, M.D., Associate Professor of Medicine, and Silvio H. Litovsky, M.D., Associate Professor of Pathology
  • Best Educator, Pulmonary Module — Kevin J. Leon, M.D., Professor of Medicine
  • Best Educator, Gastrointestinal Module — Brendan M. McGuire, M.D., Professor of Medicine
  • Best Educator, Renal Module — Vineeta Kumar, M.D., Associate Professor of Medicine
  • Best MS2 Organ Module Endocrine Directors — Shawn F. Galin, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Medicine, and Hussein D. Abdullatif, M.D., Professor of Pediatrics
  • Best Clinical Educator (Huntsville) — Farrah Ibrahim, M.D., FACP, Associate Professor of Medicine
This year, I reinstated a program, the Dean’s Excellence Awards, to recognize outstanding contributions made by School of Medicine faculty. Awards were given to junior and senior faculty members in the areas of service, teaching, research, diversity enhancement, and mentorship.  The 2015 winners are:

  • Senior Faculty Winner, Diversity Enhancement — Lee I. Ascherman, M.D., M.P.H., Professor and Director of the Division of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Neurobiology
  • Junior Faculty Winner, Service — Michele Y. Kong, M.D., Assistant Professor of Pediatrics
  • Junior Faculty Winner, Research — Beatriz León-Ruiz, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Microbiology
  • Senior Faculty Winner, Service — Avi Madan-Swain, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Pediatrics in the Division of Pediatric Hematology Oncology
  • Senior Faculty Winner, Education — Michele H. Nichols, M.D., Professor of Pediatrics in the Division of Pediatric Emergency Medicine
  • Senior Faculty Winner, Mentoring — Lisa M. Schwiebert, Ph.D., Professor of Cell, Developmental, and Integrative Biology and Associate Dean for Postdoctoral Education
  • Junior Faculty Winner, Teaching — William S. Stigler, M.D., Assistant Professor of Medicine in the division of Pulmonary, Allergy and Critical Care Medicine
  • Senior Faculty Winner, Research — J. David Sweatt, Ph.D., Evelyn F. McKnight Professor and Chair of the Department of Neurobiology and Director of the McKnight Institute
  • Junior Faculty Winner, Mentoring — Yong Zhou, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Medicine in the Division of Pulmonary, Allergy and Critical Care Medicine

Each of the faculty members honored by both of these awards have much to be proud of in their careers here at UAB, and I am grateful for their commitment to our school. I feel certain the students whose lives they touch every day feel the same. Just as we remember the master teachers under whom we trained, today’s students no doubt will remember these outstanding faculty for their caring approach and their commitment to professionalism

Selwyn M. Vickers, M.D., FACS
Senior Vice President for Medicine and Dean
James C. Lee Endowed Chair