Selwyn Vickers 4 LRI am pleased to share an abundance of exciting news with you this month. First off, UAB has named Dr. Mona Fouad’s “Healthy Alabama 2030: Live HealthSmart” project the winning proposal of the university’s inaugural Grand Challenge. Dr. Fouad is the director of the UAB Minority Health & Health Disparities Research Center, director of the Division of Preventive Medicine, and senior associate dean for diversity and inclusion in the School of Medicine. As the winner, her team will receive a three-year, $2.7 million award from the university to fund the initial effort.

Grand Challenges are ambitious goals with the potential to capture the public’s imagination and improve life for the people of Alabama and beyond. They are aimed at aligning university activities across teaching, research, scholarship, commercialization, patient care, and service, as well as harnessing the capabilities of partner organizations.

Dr. Fouad and her team’s project aims to elevate the state of Alabama out of the bottom 10 in national health rankings by 2030. The long-term goal is to get Alabama’s health rankings into the 30s in key metrics—obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol—which she anticipates will take about 10 years. For example, reducing the state’s obesity rate from 36.3 percent to 33 percent would move Alabama from 46th to 37th nationally. We congratulate Dr. Fouad and her team, and look forward to sharing updates with you as this inspiring project takes shape.

The School of Medicine Huntsville Regional Medical Campus (HRMC) celebrated its 45th anniversary April 8 (click here to view a photo album of the event). The event also recognized two generous gifts from The Valley Foundation to the HRMC. One gift establishes the William H. Coleman Sr., M.D., Huntsville Family Medicine Endowed Professorship to recruit and/or retain an expert faculty member. The endowment honors Dr. Coleman, a past president of the American Academy of Family Physicians and national leader on rural health, director of the Office for Family Health Education and Research at the HRMC, and the original director of the School of Medicine Rural Medicine Program at the Huntsville campus. The other gift establishes the Lourdes C. Corman, M.D., FACP, Endowed Support Fund for Huntsville Outreach, which provides financial support so that Huntsville campus internal medicine faculty can provide medical service and outreach to underserved Huntsville-area communities. Dr. Corman recently retired from UAB after serving almost 20 years as the chair of the HMRC Department of Internal Medicine. She has mentored hundreds of students, residents, and faculty over the decades, and her wisdom and passion for medicine have been invaluable assets to the program. If you would like to learn more about making a gift to the HRMC, contact Jessica Brooks Lane at 205-975-4452 or jblane@uab.edu.

Finally, I am honored to have been named president-elect of the American Surgical Association (ASA) at the ASA's annual meeting in April. Founded in 1880, the ASA is the nation's oldest academic surgical organization. It is the premier organization for surgical science and scholarship in the world, provides a national forum for presenting the development of the art and science of general and subspecialty surgery, and elevates the standards of the medical/surgical profession. I will serve as president-elect until next year, when I will assume the role of president. I’m honored to be the third black president in the organization’s history and to join Kirby Bland, M.D., former chair of the UAB Department of Surgery, as the second ASA president from UAB.

Sincerely,
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