Maintaining the Momentum

March 8, 2013

Agarwal-MedAlumWknd13

Interim senior vice president and dean Anupam Agarwal speaks at Medical Alumni Weekend.

Dr. Ray L. Watts bestowed a great honor upon me last month when he asked me to serve as interim senior vice president and dean of your School of Medicine, though I must admit that following in his footsteps is a great task. I am keenly aware of our great responsibility to the people of Alabama to maintain the momentum we have established. We must continue moving forward so that when a permanent dean is selected, he or she can begin from a position of strength.

Fortunately, we have a great team in place to accomplish this. Our administrators, department chairs, division directors, and center directors share the goal of fully implementing our strategic plan. I have worked with many of these dedicated leaders before, both as director of the Division of Nephrology and as interim chair of the Department of Medicine in 2011-2012. We already have experience in establishing a foundation for success. Now we will accomplish that on a larger scale.

Three Key Goals

Building upon the strengths of our strategic planning initiative, we will continue to grow our research portfolio in two ways: by recruiting top-notch funded investigators who are doing cutting-edge science in programs relevant to our strategic areas of research, and by retaining our best faculty and supporting their innovative work. This goal was at the top of Dr. Watts’s agenda as dean, and it remains at the top of ours.

Second, we want to make sure that we provide all of our students with the training and support required for success throughout their medical education, from the moment they apply through graduation, residency, and fellowship. Next year, the Liaison Committee on Medical Education (LCME) will visit the school as part of its regularly scheduled accreditation review. In preparation, we are giving ourselves a full examination. Our students recently presented the results of a self-study that identified issues we will address in advance of the LCME visit.

In addition, we must continue working closely with the UAB Health System and University of Alabama Health Services Foundation to ensure that our clinical programs are in sync. I am pleased to report that our academic medical center is doing extremely well. Our strategic plans have helped our health care teams to enhance the quality of care and patient satisfaction. These clinical improvements, in turn, help support our academic mission.

 MedAlumWknd2013
(Left to right) Interim Dean Anupam Agarwal, UAB President Ray Watts, Medical Alumni Association Immediate Past President Gerhard A.W. Boehm, MAA President Norman F. McGowin III, and former MAA President Theodis Buggs Jr. at Medical Alumni Weekend. Click to see photo slideshows of Medical Alumni Weekend events.

Supporting Alumni

We must also maintain our bond with alumni, which continues to grow stronger. I enjoyed getting to know many of our graduates while I served as interim chair in the Department of Medicine, and I am eager to meet more of you as interim dean. Our alumni have a wide range of accomplishments in diverse areas of medicine, but you all share a commitment to support our medical students—a commitment that the school stands behind 100 percent. Last month, at the 40th annual Medical Alumni Weekend, I reiterated our pledge to help the Medical Alumni Association (MAA) achieve its goals, which include adding scholarships, encouraging membership from students and recent alumni, and promoting programs that support students. Investing in these initiatives and this relationship is wise, because they will help to shape the future of health care in Alabama.

Mid-year dues notices are being mailed this month for the MAA, and I encourage you to join or renew your membership. Your dues—ranging from $25 for current students and residents to $100 for active members, or $250 for silver, $500 for gold, and $1,000 for platinum membership—make so many good things happen for our students, and I hope you will join me in supporting these efforts.

Spirit of Teamwork

Collaboration is one of the things that our academic medical center does best. In fact, that spirit of teamwork is what brought me to UAB from the University of Florida nearly a decade ago. On my very first visit, I could see how well the clinical, research, and educational programs meshed together to create the potential for success. As interim dean, I want to ensure that all of our partnerships—with students, faculty, staff, alumni, our community, and state—remain fruitful and strong. I encourage you to attend upcoming alumni events, read the latest issue of UAB Medicine magazine (which is also now available as a handy free app for your iPad), continue to support the school’s growth, and send me your thoughts and feedback. I look forward to accomplishing great things together during this transition.


With kind regards,

Agarwal-signature-web

Anupam Agarwal, M.D.
Interim Senior Vice President for Medicine

Dean, School of Medicine