Selwyn Vickers 4 LRAs technology becomes ever more ubiquitous in medical school instruction, the role of high-quality teachers and mentors remains critically important to training and molding skilled and compassionate physicians. This is a principle that holds true across all health professions, which is why UAB created the Healthcare Educators Academy. Funded with a grant from the University of Alabama Health Services Foundation endowment fund, the Healthcare Educators Academy has the following goals:

  • Create and support a community of leaders in education and a culture of excellence in teaching
  • Foster the careers of educators in health professions
  • Provide programming to improve the skills of teachers
  • Stimulate and support the creation and implementation of innovative approaches to teaching, learning, and assessment
  • Support educational research and scholarship in health professions education

The academy is composed of a steering committee with members representing UAB’s Schools of Medicine, Health Professions, Public Health, Dentistry, and Nursing; 12 faculty mentors; and 12 faculty mentees (click here to see the full list of inaugural mentors and mentees.) Schools and units participating in the academy include:

  • School of Dentistry
  • School of Health Professions
  • School of Public Health
  • School of Nursing
  • School of Medicine:
    • Department of Cell, Developmental and Integrative Biology
    • Department of Emergency Medicine
    • Department of Medicine
    • Department of Neurology
    • Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology
    • Department of Pediatrics
    • Department of Radiology
    • Department of Surgery

The academy officially launches this month with a reception on Sep. 17 to welcome the inaugural participants. I know the academy will be a deeply rewarding and enriching experience not only for our educator mentees but also for the mentors and others who will share their expertise and experiences to help them become better teachers.

Each year, our school also recognizes our top teachers’ achievements with the annual Argus Awards. The 24th Argus Awards ceremony will take place this Friday, Sept. 20, at 5:30 p.m. at the UAB Alumni House. Created in 1996, the Argus Awards give medical students the chance to honor their mentors, professors, courses, and course directors for outstanding service to medical education. It’s an interactive voting process in which faculty members are nominated based on course evaluations and students vote to select award winners in each category. Awards are divided into pre-clinical and clinical groups, and range from “Best Introductory Module” to “Best Clinical Educator” and “Best Resident Educator.” They also include awards for instructors at each of our regional medical campuses in Tuscaloosa, Huntsville, and Montgomery. You can view a full list of our 2019 winners here.

Another master teacher from our school has recently been recognized by UAB and the National Alumni Society. Gustavo “Tavo” Heudebert, M.D., interim dean of the UAB School of Medicine Montgomery Regional Medical Campus, is the recipient of the Ellen Gregg Ingalls/UAB National Alumni Society Award for Lifetime Achievement in Teaching, presented annually to a full-time UAB faculty member who has demonstrated an outstanding commitment to teaching.

To receive the award—the highest award for teaching presented by UAB—the faculty member must be a former recipient of the President's Award for Excellence in Teaching and have served UAB for 20 or more years as a full-time regular faculty member. I congratulate Dr. Heudebert on this well-deserved honor.

Lastly, the U.S. News & World Report Best Hospitals survey will soon be underway. If you have not participated before, consider being a part of the voting process. The overwhelming majority of the surveys are sent via email to members of Doximity, an online physician networking website similar to LinkedIn. Doximity members are 44 times more likely to receive a survey. To participate in the survey, you must claim your Doximity profile by the end of the day on Thursday, Oct. 31. Visit, search using your name, select or “claim” your profile, and confirm your identity. For issues related to registration and profile verification, you can contact Doximity at

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
Chair, The University of Alabama Health Services Foundation Board