Message from the Dean

July 16, 2014

Vickers-BookcaseOn October 24, 2013, just a week after I began serving as Senior Vice President and Dean of Medicine, UAB kicked off the largest and most comprehensive philanthropic campaign in its history. When President Ray Watts announced the goal for the Campaign for UAB, I think we all felt a combination of excitement and trepidation, for $1 billion – with a “B” – is ambitious, to say the least.

By now you may have heard the news that UAB has reached the halfway mark toward that $1 billion. That is a remarkable milestone for any fundraising effort, and is especially meaningful to the School of Medicine, for more than 65 percent of the $500 million raised to date has been given in support of our people and programs. These generous individuals – patients, alumni and friends – and organizations are investing in the projects that are most meaningful to them, and we are deeply grateful for every gift of every size.

We are putting those gifts to work in key priority areas – research, medical education, faculty support and enhancements to our clinical enterprise – that will help us achieve our goal of becoming one of the nation’s most dynamic and productive universities for the 21st century and a first choice for education and health care. 

To learn more about how The Campaign for UAB supports the School of Medicine’s vision, and to meet some of our generous donors, visit the School of Medicine’s web site.

I look forward to sharing my thoughts with you in the Message from the Dean each month, along with the latest news from the School of Medicine and important reminders and resources to help you stay connected and involved with our programs and mission.


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

Scholarship Notes

I wish to extend my sincerest gratitude to you for your contribution to my ongoing medical education. With massive loans quickly growing larger, this medical scholarship will allow me to stress less about debt and focus on learning. Except for my four years of undergraduate studies at Alabama, I have lived in Birmingham all my life and am currently in my second year of med school. I chose medicine in order to apply my love of science in the most meaningful way possible: serving others. With the Step 1 board exam and clinical years fast approaching, I am anxious to apply this new knowledge to patients’ lives. Rather than viewing this scholarship as a reward for past efforts, I interpret it as an investment in my future. To that end, I assure you that your investment will not be wasted and it is truly appreciated.


Having been in my shoes before, I am sure you know that medical school is neither cheap nor easy. I want to thank you for making it a little of both with the Dean’s Medical Scholarship. I came to medical school with the goal to help provide medical care to those who do not usually receive it. While I do not know where or how I will execute this vision, I do know that your gift has continued my journey in reaching it. It is an honor to attend my classes here as it has provided a wonderfully enriching place to learn and grow.


I would like to thank you for your generosity. As I look back on these past 3 1/2 years, I realize how blessed I am. I have decided to pursue a career in emergency medicine and I hope to stay here for residency. I have big plans to make a positive impact in this community. Again, I thank you, and my family thanks you. I am the first doctor in my family, and they are so proud. And in a few years, the SOM will feel the same way.


I would like to say thank you and also the parties responsible for my School of Medicine scholarships. I am from one of the underserved communities right here in Birmingham, so I appreciate the patrons’ ability to give back to the community. I attended Xavier University in New Orleans. At present, I am a fourth-year medical student.

I chose to go into the field of medicine because of a life-changing experience that I had with my sister when she was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. The process of being on the patient side of health care really made me appreciate the doctor-patient relationship—that pact of trust, fellowship, and companionship.

My future goals consist of going into academic radiology, possibly specializing in interventional or neuroradiology. I appreciate the relief these scholarships have given me throughout medical school. By not having to worry about the burden of more loans, I was able to focus more on my studies and clinical duties. I just want to say thank you once again. I wouldn’t have been able to do it without the School of Medicine.


Thank you very much for helping defray the cost of my medical education through the generous gifts I received this school year. The money provided via the Dean’s Medical, School of Medicine general gifts, and School of Medicine Diversity Scholarships will provide me with the opportunity to focus more on my education and less on my increasing academic debt. As a student planning to pursue a career in academic medicine, I am greatly indebted to your generosity. Hopefully I will have the opportunity provide for future medical students in the same way.