When I arrived at UAB as a young assistant professor in 1994 the medical center was booming. The building of North Pavilion had just been completed and the School of Medicine was ranked 16th in NIH funding. It was an exciting time.
In February, when Dr. Ray Watts, president of UAB, asked me to serve as the interim senior vice president for medicine and dean of the medical school, my first reaction was, “No, thank you.” I was extremely honored, but I felt like my plate was already full with other responsibilities.
One of the things that makes medical care at major academic medical centers like UAB special is the scientific discovery that unfolds daily that helps us understand biological mechanisms in ways that lead to better care for people suffering injury or disease.
Being part of a world-class academic medical center – focused on training medical and graduate biomedical students, conducting research and caring for thousands of patients – it is sometimes easy to forget that our campus is also home to world-class student athletes. The drive, determination and focus important to being a college athlete are similarly important in our students, clinicians and scientists.
One of the pleasures of serving as the interim dean and senior vice president is congratulating, on behalf of everyone in the School of Medicine, our faculty as their contributions of hard work and talent are recognized. I have been doing that a lot lately.
Thanks to strong collaborations and hard work – by UAB, the city, the Birmingham Business Alliance, the Birmingham Convention and Visitors Bureau, our fellow universities and many other entities – progressive developments are being noticed across the country.