December 03, 2013

Inspirational win

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coach_haaseThis past Thanksgiving weekend was, as usual, full of ups and downs in college sports. I love watching basketball, and on Sunday my family and I had the good fortune of being in the stands as the UAB men’s basketball team upset the 16th-ranked UNC Tar Heels in a thrilling game in Bartow Arena.

UAB has a great leader in head coach Jerrod Haase, who played and coached for UNC’s coach Roy Williams his entire career before coming to UAB a year ago. Coach Haase went into Sunday night’s contest with a solid game plan for winning – even Coach Williams said afterward that Coach Haase did a better job of preparing his team to compete.

As we watched the crowd pour onto the court after the game, surrounding the players and celebrating, I thought of similarities to the competitive atmosphere of academic medicine. Like our basketball team, the UAB School of Medicine also faces tough competition, but we also have a legacy of winning. On a regular basis we compete with other nationally ranked academic medical centers for new faculty and for NIH R, P and U awards. We have superstars, and we are highly ranked in several areas. Our goal is to raise the level of performance for our whole team, to be among the best not just in a few categories, but as a medical school overall.

The Blazers won because they demand excellence of themselves, they work hard and they execute the fundamentals. Our players grabbed 15 more rebounds than the taller, larger Tar Heels, they scrambled on the floor for loose balls and down the stretch they made free throws in high-pressure situations. When UAB stumbled, they didn’t give up. When UNC stumbled, UAB took advantage.

In the School of Medicine we will continue to do the fundamentals: recruit and retain the best and brightest faculty; grow a great academic clinical enterprise and research awards; train our students and residents; and increase support from our fans and funders. With hard work, a focused game plan and a determination to win, we can compete with anyone.

I am now Tweeting. Your great works deserve to be recognized, and communicating success helps develop a winning brand. I hope you’ll follow me as I fill the Twittersphere with good news from the School of Medicine as well as insights and retweets about medicine, science and policy.

Happy holidays
Finally, this holiday season I hope each of us will reflect on what we, together, accomplish. Our contributions and sacrifices, and those of our families, make UAB, Birmingham and the world a better place. Our responsibilities are tremendous; accepting them is both a blessing and a privilege. I wish you and yours a blessed, joyous holiday.

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