Telling Our Story

Vickers-BookcaseI hope you received your copy of the School of Medicine Annual Report over the holidays, and that you enjoyed reading about the world-class work of our faculty and students during the 2013-2014 academic year. The report is also available online here.

Next up is our State of the School address, set for Wednesday, Jan. 28, at noon at Margaret Cameron Spain Auditorium. I invite you join us in person, or to watch via live stream at

Here’s a preview of the accomplishments I look forward to sharing in the address:

  • Boosting our National Institutes of Health funding ranking from 31st to 26th, our first positive growth in 12 years
  • Launching major initiatives in Informatics, Cancer Survival Outcomes, Genomic Science, and Personalized Medicine
  • Recruiting of outstanding physicians and scientists, including leaders in pediatrics, nephrology, and hematology/oncology, among others
  • Achieving the highest level of accreditation by the Liaison Committee on Medical Education, underscoring the high caliber of faculty who are teaching our students
  • Developing a comprehensive center for simulation, a key tool in medical education

Many of our medical alumni participated in a survey conducted by our Development office in partnership with the Medical Alumni Association in mid-2014. Respondents gave us great feedback on their concerns about where medicine is going in the 21st century, what makes them feel connected to the School, and the aspects of our mission in which they feel most invested. They also told us they want to know more about our School and our programs, and especially about our people: faculty, students, and fellow alumni.

We agree. We have a powerful story to tell. And we are stepping up our efforts to tell it.

I hope you will join us for the State of the School address, and that you will continue to tell us what’s on your mind. You are, after all, an important part of the School of Medicine story.

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


All in the Family

Vickers-Bookcase2Today, the School of Medicine announces two philanthropic gifts honoring a husband-and-wife pair of beloved School of Medicine faculty members.

Along with her husband, Wayne H. Finley, M.D., Ph.D., the late Sara Crews Finley, M.D., co-founded the first medical genetics program in the southeastern United States, and was co-director of UAB’s Medical Genetics Laboratory for more than 30 years. She served as the first female president of our Medical Alumni Association and the Jefferson County Medical Society, among many other honors and awards.

Not only was Dr. Finley a visionary leader in her field, she was also a wise, kind, and generous mentor to countless people in and outside of the medical profession. As a member of our admissions committee for 20 years, Dr. Finley guided and advised hundreds of applicants seeking careers in medicine.

So it is only fitting that the Sara Crews Finley, M.D., Leadership Scholars Program—established by Dr. Wayne Finley and the couple’s daughter, Sara J. Finley, and son, Dr. Randall W. Finley, a School of Medicine alumnus—honors Dr. Sara Finley’s commitment to recognizing and supporting the aspirations of our top students. Sara Crews Finley, M.D., Leadership Scholars will be selected based on academic achievement and leadership skills, and will receive a full-tuition scholarship for their third and fourth years of medical school. Recipients will also receive a new white coat with special insignia indicating their status as Sara Crews Finley, M.D., Leadership Scholars at our annual White Coat Ceremony in August.

finleys-lo-resDr. Sara Crews Finley and Dr. Wayne Finley photo-4-lo-res(From left to right) Dr. Shirley Kahn, Dr. Wayne Finley, Dr. Randall Finley, Sara J. Finley, and Dr. Ray Watts. The Finley children have also honored their father’s dedication to UAB with a gift to rename the Reynolds Historical Library, a collection of more than 13,000 rare books and manuscripts pertaining to the history of medicine and dating from the 14th century, as the Reynolds-Finley Historical Library. This gift is especially fitting, given Dr. Wayne H. Finley’s love for medical history, as he has authored a number of articles and books relating to the history of the medical center in Birmingham, including the University of Alabama Medical Alumni Association, 1859-2003. He is also a founding member of the board of the Reynolds Associates at UAB’s Lister Hill Library.

As Professor Emeritus in the Department of Genetics, Dr. Wayne Finley has made it his life’s work to use his pioneering knowledge of the field of genetics to better the lives of Alabamians, and has served as a model of excellence and intellectual rigor for countless young physicians.

In addition, the Finley children have established an endowed support to enhance the Reynolds Historical Lectureship, which will be renamed the Reynolds-Finley Historical Lectureship.

On behalf of the entire School of Medicine family, I want to thank the Finley family for their generosity. These gifts ensure that the Finley legacy of discovery, dedication, and excellence will live on through generations of School of Medicine students yet to come.

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