At this year’s White Coat Ceremony on August 14, Kevin Leon, M.D., R’02, associate dean for undergraduate medical education, delivered the keynote address. Dr. Leon talked about the many ways medical school will change the students and how much they will learn about themselves, calling medical school “a journey of self-discovery.”
He also spoke of the profound impression made on him by a 13-year-old leukemia patient named Michael whom Dr. Leon came to know while doing his pediatric rotation as a third-year medical student at Baylor College of Medicine. The boy eventually succumbed to the disease, but Dr. Leon says he still credits that time spent with Michael for teaching him about inner strength and courage, and “what it truly means to dedicate yourself to others” – more than any textbook could convey.
Dedication to others is at the heart of medicine, and as we welcomed 186 new students to the School of Medicine, we offered them two other examples of that guiding principle.
We recognized the recipient of the second Sara Crews Finley, M.D., Endowed Leadership Scholarship, which was established last year by the family of Dr. Sara Finley. Third-year medical student Salmaan Kamal of Tuscaloosa is the 2016 recipient of the scholarship, which supports students who demonstrate exceptional academic and leadership abilities. Throughout her more than 40 years on the UAB faculty, Dr. Sara demonstrated those abilities in so many ways; the scholarship in her name ensures that those qualities will remain visible to future generations of medical students.
The second annual Brewer-Heslin Award for Professionalism in Medicine was awarded to Desiree Morgan, M.D., vice chair of education and the residency program director for the UAB Department of Radiology. The award, which was established by former Alabama Governor Albert P. Brewer, recognizes faculty physicians for upholding the highest ideals of professionalism in medicine. According to Cheri Canon, M.D., FACR, Witten-Stanley Endowed Chair of Radiology, who nominated Dr. Morgan for the award, “it is her longstanding and unwavering passion for providing the utmost care to our patients that is her shining accomplishment. She has always embraced the concept of service lines in clinical care and has strongly advocated for radiologists to be embedded in patient care areas, not hidden away in dark reading rooms.”
Once again, we have welcomed an outstanding group of students to the School of Medicine. Click here to learn more about the Class of 2020.
As we celebrate new beginnings for the Class of 2020, we also note with sadness the passing of another example of dedication to others. Ben Vaughan Branscomb, M.D., a pioneering pulmonologist and beloved faculty member for 51 years, passed away July 4 at the age of 92. Dr. Branscomb is often referred to as the father of pulmonary medicine. He was recruited to what is now UAB by Dr. Tinsley Harrison and went on to become the founder and longtime chair of the UAB Division of Pulmonary, Allergy and Critical Care Medicine. You can read more about Dr. Branscomb’s esteemed life and career by clicking here.
The School of Medicine is immensely grateful to be associated with his profound legacy of service and care, and to all who serve as role models for our students.
Selwyn M. Vickers, M.D., FACS
Senior Vice President for Medicine and Dean
James C. Lee Endowed Chair