April 09, 2014

Matches, models and Apple Awards

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It’s a Match

First of all I would like to congratulate all our fourth-year medical students, faculty and staff for another wonderful Match Day. This year, 94 percent of our students matched in a sharply increasing competitive environment.

Dr. Laura Kezar, assistant dean for students, and her office are responsible for coordinating activities with the National Resident Matching Program. Dr. Kezar and Dr. Hughes Evans, senior associate dean for Medical Education, provide outstanding leadership, and their teams did an outstanding job. It was a pleasure and an honor to be present at the ceremony in UAB’s Alys Stephens Center, sharing the experience with parents, spouses, other family members and friends.

I told the students that I struggled to determine the right specialty because I had so many interests. My advice to them: Focus on the patient. If you develop a passion for the patient, managing the disease comes naturally, and if you care about your patients, you will care about your rotation and specialty.

The excitement and joy of Match Day never ceases to amaze me. Best of luck to everyone as you plan for the next step in your educational journey. And to all you rising fourth-year students, get ready for the most exciting year of your education so far.

If you missed it, you can watch the entire ceremony online and read more about Match Day on our School of Medicine news page

Presenting UAB Medicine to our peers

At an Association of American Medical Colleges Council of Deans meeting recently in New Orleans I had an opportunity to learn how other academic medical centers are structured. Executives from Virginia Commonwealth presented their organization, and I presented ours, along with Dr. Will Ferniany, UAB Health System CEO, and Dr. Jim Bonner, chair of Radiation Oncology and president of the Health Services Foundation.

UAB’s leadership structure is unique in that the executives of the health system, the physician practice plan and the academic enterprise – Drs. Ferniany, Bonner and myself – make up this “joint operating leadership” and share decisions that affect the whole operation. This is important, because it allows for shared ownership of all the academic missions of UAB Medicine, that is, clinical faculty attend to patients in the hospital and clinics, academic research spurs clinical developments, the clinics and hospital provide training opportunities for residents and everyone has a hand in educating our future healthcare workforce.

The Big Apple Awards

They’re called the President’s Award for Teaching but they’re more memorably known as the Big Apple Awards. I received this award during my first tenure at UAB; I’m happy to see the committee has become more selective. This year’s School of Medicine awardees are Dr. Jason (JR) Hartig in the Department of Medicine and Dr. Silvio Litovsky in Pathology.

In a large academic medical center like UAB it’s easy for the talent of teaching to become lost amid our thousand-bed hospital, myriad high-tech equipment and the tens of thousands of patients who come and go through our clinics and hospital wards each year.

But teaching really underlines everything we do at UAB. Without the educational and academic components, we’re just another hospital. UAB certainly offers patients, students and our faculty and staff much more than a regional hospital. 

Dr. Hartig has won numerous teaching awards, some of them multiple times. I hear that he can also share a great depth of knowledge about trains, Alabama football and PowerPoint with our students and residents.

Dr. Litovsky first trained as a cardiologist in Argentina, then received multiple training fellowships in pathology in the United States. He cares passionately about the local Hispanic community, so he brings to bear not only a very specific knowledge about cardiopathology but also a worldview informed by personal experience that is increasingly important for students, residents and medicine in general.

Please join me in congratulating Dr. Hartig and Dr. Litovsky.
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