Selwyn Vickers 4 LRMarch is Women’s History Month, and I’d like to honor the incredible work done every day by women on our faculty and staff. At the School of Medicine, we have made significant strides in increasing gender parity among our faculty and students. In 2014, the gender breakdown in our faculty was 65 percent male/35 percent female. In fiscal year 2018, it was 53 percent male/47 percent female. The 2018 entering class of medical students included 81 women and 105 men

Women are increasingly represented at all levels of medicine across the country, but a gender gap persists. A full 48 percent of all medical school graduates are women; however, they comprise only 34 percent of all physicians and surgeons, 21 percent of full professors in academic medicine, and about 16 percent of medical school deans. The numbers are even lower for women of color. 

Organizations like the American Medical Women's Association (AMWA) are working to change those statistics. AMWA was the first national organization of women’s physicians, and it continues to advocate and provide support for women in medicine throughout the U.S. For the second year in a row, the School of Medicine’s AMWA chapter hosted the Region 5 conference February 15-16. The event attracted participants from throughout the southern U.S. and the Caribbean to workshop, network, and learn. 

Speakers discussed the importance of self-care for physicians, the path to promotion and tenure, and ways to become effective leaders. Saturday’s events were aimed at medical students and included a suturing workshop, sessions on creating effective CVs and choosing a specialty, and a poster session showcasing original research, among others. 

The AMWA conference was sponsored by the school’s Office for Diversity and Inclusion, which is headed by Mona Fouad, M.D., MPH, senior associate dean for diversity and inclusion. Because of her work in that role as well as her service as professor and director of the Division of Preventive Medicine and director of UAB’s Minority Health and Health Disparities Research Center, Dr. Fouad has been recognized as the 2018 UAB Distinguished Faculty Lecturer. This is the highest honor bestowed by UAB on a faculty member who has advanced the frontiers of science and made outstanding contributions to education, research, and public service. We are extremely proud of her accomplishments, including becoming the latest School of Medicine faculty member to be elected to the National Academy of Medicine in 2017. Please join me in congratulating her on this prestigious recognition. 

Finally, I’m pleased to share that the School of Medicine once again performed well in U.S. News & World Report’s 2020 Best Graduate School Rankings. Our school rose two spots in two Medical Schools categories, ranking No. 30 in research and No. 35 in primary care. The Department of Anesthesiology is ranked No. 20 while three programs—internal medicine, pediatrics, and OBGYN—are all ranked No. 22. Combined with our impressive gains in other areas such as NIH funding, these metrics help cement our place among the nation’s preferred academic health centers.  

Speaking of rankings, the survey period for the U.S. News & World Report Best Hospitals rankings is currently open, and we ask that you watch for and complete this year’s survey. UAB Medicine was honored to receive high marks in the most recent Best Hospitals survey—with your help, we hope to see this continued success reflected on this year’s survey results.

Selwyn M. Vickers, M.D., FACS
Senior Vice President for Medicine
Dean, UAB School of Medicine
James C. Lee Jr. Endowed Chair
University of Alabama at Birmingham