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.
The six weeks since President Ray Watts appointed me to succeed him as your Interim Senior Vice President for Medicine and Dean have been very eventful, which is normal for a place as dynamic as UAB. This new position has given me an even greater appreciation for the work we all do to make a positive impact on students, patients, science and the community. Communicating our progress, and our challenges, is vital to understanding who we are as an institution and affording the community the opportunity to understand and appreciate who we are and what we do. To that end, this is the first of what will be several monthly messages from me.