About Family & Community Medicine
Chairman:T. Michael Harrington, M.D.
Community Health Services Building - 20th St.
930 20th Street South
Birmingham, AL 35294-4202
The Department of Family and Community Medicine (DFCM) was established in 1975 as an administrative unit of the University of Alabama School of Medicine by founding chairman Dr. Robert G. Sherrill, Jr. In 1979-80, the UAB Family Practice Residency program began and an ambulatory training clinic was established both to educate residents and to maintain faculty clinical skills. The clinical practice saw approximately 9,000 patients each year until the mid-1980s when increasing demands for primary care and demands to generate additional clinical revenue to support the department’s educational mission caused a surge in outpatient visits. For the next decade, the joint faculty-resident clinic practice completed over 20,000 outpatient visits annually. In addition, the department maintained a hospital inpatient service, provided care at a local nursing home, and offered family-centered obstetrical services. During the early 1970s, Family Practice Residency Programs were also established on the Huntsville and Tuscaloosa campuses and in Selma.
Where We Are Today
DFCM is a recognized leader in the fields of clinical care, premedical education, practice-based research, and student health services. On the Birmingham campus alone, the department employs 10 clinicians and 33 staff who are devoted to family medicine patient care and to the health and welfare of UAB students. In addition, 5 affiliate faculty provide patient care in UAB PrimeCare satellite clinics, over 100 physicians serve as preceptors and course instructors for third and fourth year medical students and nearly 100 have worked with the research network. The UAB Health System also continues to maintain Family Medicine Residency programs in Huntsville and Selma and medical student programs in Huntsville and Tuscaloosa, each with their own faculty and staff.
The Department Chair, T. Michael Harrington, MD, graduated cum laude from the University of Notre Dame and earned his medical degree from the University of Virginia School of Medicine. After completing his internship and residency in Family Practice at the Naval Aerospace and Regional Medical Center in Pensacola, FL, Dr. Harrington was recruited to UAB in 1984 to serve as Medical Director of the Family Practice Clinic. He subsequently rose through the ranks to Professor. In addition to serving as Chairman in 1991, he was appointed as Assistant Dean for Off-Campus Family Practice Programs. Since 2003, he has served as Executive Director of the Alabama Academic Family Medicine Council, which is an advisory board to the Deans at both UASOM and the University of South Alabama College of Medicine (USACOM). He has held numerous positions with the county and state medical societies, recently completing his tenure as President of the Jefferson County Medical Society and beginning his term as President of the Medical Society of the State of Alabama.
The mission of the Department of Family and Community Medicine is to provide high-quality and cost-effective patient care. Opportunities for education and research will be possible due to the excellence of our clinical programs.
To meet this mission, DFCM is divided into four divisions:
- Clinical Services provides patient care for the entire family, with approximately 15,000 visits and nearly 3,000 referrals annually. UAB Primary Care has been ranked in the top 10% in the country by U.S. News and World Report and patients consistently rate our services and staff as ‘excellent.’
- The Division of Medical Student Education develops and administers programs and curriculum for students through their four years of medical school. Students consistently rank our Clerkship program #1, 2 or 3 in 23 of 26 categories.
- The Research Division works to facilitate practice-based research through the UAB Primary Care Research Collaborative (PCRC) and the Alabama Practice Based Research Network (APBRN). Both work to promote Family Medicine and Primary Care research as critical to improving the nation's health.
- The Division of Student Health Services provides prevention, treatment and medical counseling for UAB students. Its mission is to provide quality health care in an efficient, friendly and caring manner, to advocate for our students, and to promote student health and wellness. As the ‘health care provider of choice for UAB students, the Division is continually evaluating and expanding its services to address students’ unique challenges and promote positive lifestyle choices.