Sergio Stagno, M.D., chair of the Department of Pediatrics, received the President’s Medal during UAB’s fall commencement exercises Saturday, Dec. 14, 2013.
The President’s Medal is one of the highest honors bestowed by UAB. The recipient is selected by the president, Ray L. Watts, M.D., upon the advice and recommendation of senior university officials. Stagno joins a very distinguished list of recipients “who have attained scholarly distinction and/or have rendered distinguished service to UAB.”
The President’s Medal proclamation for Stagno read:
“After 25 years of exemplary leadership as chair of the Department of Pediatrics and physician-in-chief of Children’s of Alabama hospital, Sergio Stagno, M.D., announced last September that he will step down from those positions upon the appointment of a successor. Stagno is a distinguished professor of Pediatrics, a professor of Microbiology, a senior scientist in the UAB Comprehensive Cancer Center and the Cystic Fibrosis Research Center and a senior scholar in the Sparkman Center for International Health Education.
Stagno exemplifies strength as a leader, colleague, mentor and physician. He has been a tireless advocate for the University of Alabama at Birmingham, for the School of Medicine and the Health System, for our patients, our students, our residents and our staff. Among his many awards are the Friend of the Housestaff Award, the Best Pediatrics Attending Award, the Best Overall Clinical Instructor Award and the Award for Leadership in Continuing Education and Advocacy for Children from the Alabama Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics.
Dr. Stagno earned his medical degree from the University of Chile Medical School in 1967 and came to UAB from Chile in 1971 as a perinatal infectious diseases fellow. He joined the faculty in 1973 as an assistant professor and in 1980 was promoted to professor. In 1988, he was named chair of the Department of Pediatrics at UAB and Physician-in-Chief of Children’s of Alabama. In 1993 he was appointed to the Katharine Reynolds Ireland Chair of Pediatrics. He also served as interim vice president for Health Affairs in 1995, interim president of the University of Alabama Health Services Foundation in 2008 and as president of the Health Services Foundation from 2010 to 2012.
Dr. Stagno has been a world leader in pediatric infectious diseases research, training and clinical care. He has served on many local, national and international professional societies, including several National Institutes of Health study sections and advisory councils. From 1987 to 1990 he served on the executive board of the Pediatric Infectious Diseases Society. He has also been a visiting professor at the Institute of Child Health at the University of London and he received the San Lucas Award of the Pontificia Universidad Catolica de Chile as an Honorary Faculty Member.
Dr. Stagno’s research, which has been continuously funded from the National Institutes of Health for almost four decades, has focused on cytomegalovirus, especially infection acquired during pregnancy and the consequences of the disease for children. Dr. Stagno has been an author on more than 220 peer-reviewed journal articles and abstracts, and 54 textbook chapters.
Dr. Stagno also exemplifies service to others. Through the Child Health Foundation, a non-profit organization he created, he provided funding for the establishment of three pediatric Centers of Excellence in Chile and promoted the exchange of pediatricians in training between these universities and UAB.
His generosity has also been deeply felt in the Birmingham region as a member of Leadership Birmingham, vice-president for International Service for the Rotary Club of Birmingham, a community advisor for the Junior League of Birmingham and a member of the Glenwood Autism and Behavioral Health Center advisory board.
UAB is honored to consider Sergio Stagno, M.D., one of its own. In recognition of his role as a pioneer in pediatric infectious diseases and a leader in medical education and children’s hospital administration and health care delivery, whose many significant contributions to the discipline of medicine and to the UAB medical community have immeasurably added to the quality of life around the globe, The University of Alabama at Birmingham is privileged to confer upon Sergio Stagno, M.D., the 2013 President’s Medal.”