Vickers bookcase cropped LRI often say the two most important days in the lives of medical students are the day they get in to medical school and the day they get out. On March 15, we celebrated another outstanding Match Day, with 98 percent of medical students matching into residency positions. Our students will continue their medical training at 89 institutions in 30 states across the U.S.

I had a somewhat subdued Match Day—I was on a medical mission trip in Africa when I received a telegram informing me I had matched into surgical residency at my alma mater, Johns Hopkins. UAB’s students celebrated in a more festive way with their fellow classmates, friends, and family at the Alys Stephens Center

Overall, almost 42 percent of the class matched into a primary care specialty (click here for full results). The top five specialties for the Class of 2019 were:

  • Internal Medicine
  • Pediatrics
  • Family Medicine
  • Emergency Medicine
  • General Surgery

UAB is also celebrating a successful recruitment for residents in its 37 residency programs. A total of 216 new residents, representing 67 U.S. and 26 international universities, will begin this summer at programs in Birmingham, Huntsville, Selma, and Montgomery. I hope you’ll join me in congratulating all our graduates and in welcoming our new residents to UAB.

As I have previously shared, UAB is involved in a major precision medicine data gathering effort: the All of Us Research Program, a National Institutes of Health-funded effort to advance individualized prevention, treatment, and care for people of all backgrounds. The aim is to enroll 1 million or more volunteers, with a special focus on communities that have been historically underrepresented in biomedical research in order to make the program the largest, most diverse resource of its kind.

Enrollment is ongoing at a host of UAB locations and begins this month at additional sites across Alabama and the Southern All of Us Network. Enrollment sites include:

  • UAB Kirklin Clinic, North Pavilion, Medical Towers, and UAB Hospital-Highlands
  • Pop-up locations at UAB West Pavilion and UAB Women & Infants Center
  • UAB Huntsville Regional Medical Campus
  • UAB Montgomery Regional Medical Campus 
  • UAB Selma Family Medicine Program
  • Cooper Green Mercy Hospital
  • LSU
  • Tulane University
  • University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa
  • University of Mississippi Medical Center
  • University of South Alabama
  • Huntsville Hospital

I hope you will consider enrolling in this groundbreaking program that promises to drive precision medicine advances for years to come, and encourage your patients to take part as well.

Finally, I’d like to inform you of a change in leadership at the O’Neal Comprehensive Cancer Center at UAB. Michael Birrer, M.D., Ph.D., an internationally known gynecologic oncologist and director of the O’Neal Comprehensive Cancer Center, is stepping down from the position. Ravi Bhatia, M.D., director of the UAB Division of Hematology-Oncology and deputy director of the O’Neal Cancer Center, has been named interim director. Dr. Bhatia, a globally known researcher and practicing clinician, will carry forward the center’s mission as it works every day to provide the highest quality of life for people diagnosed with cancer, while advancing the world’s understanding of cancer and translating this knowledge into prevention, detection, treatment, and survivorship. We thank Dr. Birrer for his leadership of the O’Neal Cancer Center at UAB through a period of tremendous growth and dynamism.

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