Vickers transition headshotOn June 20, UAB and UAB Medicine will observe the newest federal holiday: Juneteenth, the oldest nationally celebrated commemoration of the ending of slavery in the United States. On June 19, 1865—about two months after Confederate General Robert E. Lee surrendered at Appomattox, Virginia, and two years after President Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation—Union soldiers arrived in

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Vickers transition headshotLast month, two years of effort by teams across our school culminated in a virtual site visit by the Liaison Committee on Medical Education (LCME), the accrediting body for M.D.-granting medical schools in the U.S. and Canada. Completing the April 11-13 site visit was a tremendous milestone that took an incredible amount of dedication and focus from many individuals to reach.

Maintaining LCME...
Vickers transition headshotMonday, April 11 was the start of a bold new chapter for the Heersink School of Medicine and UAB, when city, county, and state leaders joined me, UAB President Ray Watts, M.D., and other university, UAB Medicine, and UA System leaders, as well as key donors, to break ground on the new Altec/Styslinger Genomic Medicine and Data Sciences Building and the Marnix E. Heersink Institute for Biomedical Innovation...
Vickers transition headshotMarch is Women’s History Month, and the month we celebrate International Women’s Day. As such, I want to take this opportunity to highlight some of the incredible women who have made immeasurable contributions to our school. A series of profiles of senior leaders was recently published on our news site and includes several women whom I am honored to call friends and colleagues.

LaKisha Mack is...

Vickers transition headshotBlack history is a fascinating aspect of American history that is ripe for exploration and celebration any time, but Black History Month offers an ideal opportunity to spotlight some of the pivotal figures who contributed much to the fabric of our nation. That’s why I’m so pleased to share news of a grant in partnership with Tuskegee University that honors two exceptional Black Alabamians and lays

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Vickers transition headshotToday, I want to share groundbreaking news for UAB, the UAB Marnix E. Heersink School of Medicine, and the UAB Health System. The UAB Department of Surgery’s organ transplant program has successfully transplanted the kidneys from a genetically modified pig into the body of a brain-dead human recipient.

This news, published in today’s edition of the American Journal of Transplantation, is a

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Vickers transition headshotAround this time last year we were eagerly anticipating the arrival at UAB Hospital of the first coronavirus vaccine doses to Alabama, and what a year it’s been since then. In many ways it felt like 2020 all over again, as we persevered through the Delta surge and persisted in educating and taking care of our community even as vaccinations in our state lagged the rest of the country. We are now

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Selwyn Vickers 4 LRMany of us still remember the teachers and mentors who made a significant impact on us as medical students. Each year, our medical students honor their outstanding mentors, professors, courses, and course directors at the Argus Awards Ceremony. This year’s ceremony took place Friday, November 5, at Volker Hall Plaza. The Argus Awards were created in 1996 to enable medical students to nominate

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Selwyn Vickers 4 LRAs you are no doubt aware, Alabama continues to lag the nation in COVID-19 vaccination rates. As of Sept. 13, we remain among the three or four states with the lowest vaccination rates, with only 39% of the state’s population fully vaccinated. This is happening in the context of a truly alarming surge in infections and hospitalizations in Alabama, which is straining our health care system and

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Selwyn Vickers 4 LRI’m excited to share that the UAB initiative Live HealthSmart Alabama celebrated the first phase of its planned improvements in the Kingston and Titusville communities with a ribbon-cutting event in Kingston on June 16. Live HealthSmart Alabama aims to advance healthy eating, physical activity, and prevention and wellness in underserved neighborhoods throughout Birmingham and the state. The

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Selwyn Vickers 4 LRThis month I have news to share with exciting implications for our research enterprise. The School of Medicine recently announced the establishment of the UAB Immunology Institute (II), a cutting-edge and interdisciplinary hub for faculty, researchers, clinicians, health policy experts, and educators who seek to advance the study of immunology and improve human health through immune-based

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Selwyn Vickers 4 LRI begin this month with news of leadership changes on the horizon at one of our school’s key clinical care partners. Mike Warren, president and chief executive officer of Children’s of Alabama, is retiring from Children’s of Alabama effective June 1, 2021. Mike has served as CEO at Children’s since January 2008. He will be succeeded by Tom Shufflebarger, who currently serves as chief operating

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Selwyn Vickers 4 LRIt is with bittersweet emotions I share that, after nearly 13 years at the helm of the UAB Health System (UABHS), Will Ferniany, Ph.D., will retire at the end of 2021. Dr. Ferniany became chief executive officer of the Health System in 2008, his second stint at UAB. A senior leader in health care since 1975, Dr. Ferniany is also the CEO of the new UAB/Ascension St. Vincent’s Alliance. In this role, he...
Selwyn Vickers 4 LRThe arrival of spring heralds one of the most consequential milestones in a medical student’s life: Match Day, when our fourth years learn where they have matched for their residencies. The School of Medicine will celebrate Match Day 2021 virtually on Friday, March 19. The first match will be announced at 11 a.m., following a short program beginning at 10:45 a.m. This is always one of the most...

Selwyn Vickers 4 LRThis month, I couldn’t be more pleased to share that UAB has been named the Best Large Employer in the U.S. by Forbes magazine. The magazine describes UAB as, “no ordinary institute of higher education. Not only are its 23,000 employees responsible for the education and well-being of more than 22,000 students, but many have also been tasked with caring for thousands of pandemic-stricken

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Selwyn Vickers 4 LRHow to sum up 2020? It’s been one of the most challenging, complex, confounding years in my memory, but it’s also been a clarifying year, one of immense opportunity and hope that has affirmed my faith in medicine and our school on many levels. As an institution, we were tested in ways we’ve never been before, and I’m extremely proud of the creativity, tenacity, and resilience our faculty, staff,

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Selwyn Vickers 4 LRThere are several recent developments I’m excited to share with you this month. First, on October 28, our school hosted a COVID-19 Research Symposium. The symposium highlighted our school’s SARS-CoV-2 research and clinical trials on a global, national, and institutional level. Speakers presented on topics such as the NIH's involvement in research since the onset of COVID-19, global vaccine

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Selwyn Vickers 4 LRThis is the time of year our school typically hosts its annual Scholarship Dinner, when we bring together our generous scholarship donors and the outstanding students whose dreams of a medical education are made possible by their gifts. I’m saddened that this year’s dinner had to be canceled because of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, but I’d like to take this opportunity to share some impressive

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Selwyn Vickers 4 LRWe are living in a time of immense uncertainty and confusion, a situation that is compounded by how quickly information (and misinformation) can spread on social media. Recently, misinterpretation of CDC data generated widespread confusion around COVID-19 mortality statistics. We know our alumni are often looked to as trusted sources of medical information by their patients, loved ones, friends, and

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Selwyn Vickers 4 LRUnder ordinary circumstances, the School of Medicine would welcome the entering class of MS1s with the White Coat Ceremony this time of year, but, needless to say, circumstances are far from ordinary. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the in-person White Coat Ceremony was postponed. Fortunately, our Medical Education leaders were able to organize a virtual, White Coat Welcome event on August 14, not as

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