Henry Ford said, “If everyone is moving forward together, then success takes care of itself.” I believe the vibrant culture of collaboration our School of Medicine has fostered is an extraordinary embodiment of this sentiment and is a key factor in all our achievements. We are continuing this upward trajectory by adding a department, naming a new associate dean for Graduate Medical Education, welcoming a new chief physician executive position, and celebrating a faculty leader's truly outstanding accomplishment.

I’m excited to share the news that the Board of Trustees recently voted to make the Division of Orthopaedic Surgery a department effective October 1. Steven Theiss, M.D., the John D. Sherrill Chair of Orthopaedic Surgery, will serve as the interim department chair. We’re thrilled to welcome orthopaedics as our 27th department. I know this designation will better support the 30 surgeons and physicians, along with 11 advanced practice professionals, who provide comprehensive care in subspecialty areas like spinal surgery, foot and ankle, sports medicine, and pediatric orthopaedics, to name a few.

UAB Orthopaedic Surgery is a world-class practice, where surgeons perform more than 8,000 surgical procedures per year at UAB Hospital, UAB Hospital Highlands, and Children’s of Alabama. It’s also home to strong residency and fellowship training programs. This elevation to a department will allow the program grow its offerings, all while providing the best patient care for Alabama citizens, comprehensive training for future surgeons, and robust research programs.

Having a strong Graduate Medical Education (GME) program is critical to the overall success of our School of Medicine. Alice Goepfert, M.D., professor in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology’s Division of Maternal-Fetal Medicine, will do an outstanding job as the new associate dean for GME. In this role, Dr. Goepfert will contribute as a member of the School of Medicine Medical Education leadership team; function as chair of the Dean’s Council for Graduate Medical Education and serve on Patient Safety Committee, Quality Council, and others; serve as liaison with the ACGME as the Designated Institutional Official and assure compliance with ACGME Common and Institutional requirements; and oversee the ACGME accreditation process and all UAB postgraduate training programs in collaboration with clinical departments and individual program directors. Dr. Goepfert will collaborate with hospital leadership to integrate the overlapping education and clinical missions as they relate to the graduate medical education clinical learning environment. She will also direct engagement with relevant GME personnel at UAB-affiliated hospitals and UAB Regional Medical Campuses, as well as participate in the LCME accreditation process as it relates to GME programs.

Another key aspect of our growth involves the Organizing for Success initiative, and with that UAB Medicine has tapped Keith “Tony” Jones, M.D., former chair of the Department of Anesthesiology and Perioperative Medicine, to serve as its first chief physician executive. In his new role, Dr. Jones has responsibilities with the University Health System, the UAB School of Medicine, and the University of Alabama Health Services Foundation Board of Directors. He is charged with working to maximize practice efficiency and productivity, further improve quality and patient safety by promoting integration of the clinical service lines, and develop innovative and value-added care models. This position and the overall OFS initiative are aimed at enhancing both the patient and employee experiences at UAB.

Lastly, I’m proud to announce that Mona Fouad, M.D., MPH., director of the Division of Preventive Medicine and director of the UAB Minority Health and Health Disparities Research Center, has been elected as a member of the National Academy of Medicine (formerly the Institute of Medicine). As most of you know, this is one of the highest honors given to a physician or scientist in the United States. Dr. Fouad is nationally recognized as a leader in health disparities research and collaboration. She has worked tirelessly to establish the validity of health disparities as a national scientific research priority, and has had a profound impact in her interdisciplinary approach toward the elimination of health disparities. Both as dean and as a frequent research collaborator of Dr. Fouad’s, I’m thrilled that she has been recognized in this way for her exceptional career.

Even as our School and Health System evolve, I know that we can only excel in our missions in medical training, clinical care, and biomedical research by working together. These recent changes and achievements are a testament to our continuing commitment to smart, positive growth.

Selwyn M. Vickers, M.D., FACS
Senior Vice President for Medicine and Dean
James C. Lee Endowed Chair

October 2017