A Letter from the Chair

Greetings,

Standaert_suitIt is with great pleasure that I welcome you to the UAB Department of Neurology website. Our department is part of a large, dynamic and growing academic medical center. The core missions of our department and institution are service, research, and teaching.

Our 1,100 bed state-of-the-art UAB Hospital offers the highest standards of care in all disciplines, and access to the latest in technology and treatments. Recent additions to campus include the recently completed $350 million UAB Hospital North Pavilion, a high technology facility, with all new operating rooms, ICU's, catheterization/imaging/interventional suites, and an Emergency Department covering almost a full square block. The 430,000 square foot Women's and Infant Center and the Hazelrig-Salter Radiation Oncology Center were recently opened. Children's of Alabama opened a large expansion of its campus with the Benjamin Russell Hospital for Children.

Our faculty of nearly 50 neurologists spans all the major subspecialties of the field. Major clinical programs include stroke and cerebrovascular disease, epilepsy, memory disorders and neuropsychology, movement disorders, multiple sclerosis, neuromuscular disease, neuro-oncology, and headache and pain. UAB Neurosciences were ranked 31st in the nation in the 2010 U.S. News & World Report list of "Best Hospitals."

For inpatient care we have a 26-bed Neurological ICU, as well as a new Neurosciences Unit containing hospital floor beds on the 8th floor that is connected via a sky bridge to our other Neurosciences Unit on the 8th floor of the West Pavilion. We have more than 2,000 Neurology admissions per year representing the full spectrum of acute and tertiary referral neurological disorders, and we have a very close working relationship with our outstanding Divisions of Neurosurgery, Neuroradiology and Neuropathology, as well as other closely allied departments such as Medicine, Psychiatry and Rehabilitation Medicine, just to name several.

Our Neurology faculty outpatient practices are contained in The Kirklin Clinic. We provide care for neurological disorders through over 24,000 neurological outpatient visits annually. Outpatients have access to a comprehensive range of modern diagnostic services, including neuroimaging, electrodiagnostic studies, neuropsychological evaluations, and neurogenetics studies. We also provide referrals to a comprehensive range of other specialties and providers, including physical, occupational and speech therapy.

Our clinical care is provided in the context of a vibrant neuroscience research community which has expanded rapidly in the last five years. This was a result of a process of a strategic planning process was initiated in 2005 which placed a high priority on the Neurosciences. Much of this growth can be traced to new leadership: Dr. Kevin Roth, recruited as Division Director for Neuropathology and now Chair of Pathology; Dr. Ray Watts, recruited as Chair of Neurology who later served as Dean of the School of Medicine and now is President of UAB; Dr. David Sweatt, Chair of Neurobiology; Dr. Jim Meador-Woodruff, Chair of Psychiatry, and myself, recruited in 2006. The result of this new leadership has been a substantial increase in both numbers of faculty and extramural support. Since 2006, a total of 57 new tenure track faculty have been added in the primary neuroscience departments (Neurology, Psychiatry, Neurobiology, Neurosurgery, Neuropathology), bringing the total census to 145. There has been a parallel growth in extramural support for the Neurosciences at UAB. Since 2005, the number of NIH awards in the Neurosciences has grown by 40%, and total value of these awards have increased to over $68,000,000 in FY 2009.

To support our department, we have new administrative offices, a new Residency Program Office Suite and a beautiful new state-of-the-art Neurology Library and Learning Resource Center connected to the Residency Program Suite Sparks Neurosciences Building. Four other floors that were being renovated are also finished now for the consolidation of our Neurology faculty, staff and house staff offices, as well as the EMG/EEG/Neurophysiology Laboratories, clinical research units, and other laboratories. Additionally, we have 15,000 square feet of new laboratory space for disease-related neuroscience research.

Regarding education, we offer Neurology Residents and medical students unsurpassed opportunities for training in clinical care, research and teaching. We encourage all of our residents to get involved in some form of research (clinical or laboratory) during their 2nd and 3rd year of Neurology training so they can learn the science and methodology of research, as well as make scientific presentations at national and international meetings that should lead to publications. Our fellowship programs are rapidly expanding; we have or will have postdoctoral fellowships in all subspecialty areas that, where applicable, lead to board certification.

Perhaps as important as all of the above are the outstanding camaraderie and cooperative spirit that exist throughout the department, and each day we are truly excited about and look forward to coming to work. Furthermore, we all take pride in our department and institution, and excellence and mutual respect for one another are our standards.

 If we can be of service to you, please call on us.

David G. Standaert, MD, PhD
John N. Whitaker Professor and Chair, Department of Neurology