Selwyn Vickers 4 LRThis is the time of year our school typically hosts its annual Scholarship Dinner, when we bring together our generous scholarship donors and the outstanding students whose dreams of a medical education are made possible by their gifts. I’m saddened that this year’s dinner had to be canceled because of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, but I’d like to take this opportunity to share some impressive information about scholarships in our school.

  • Thanks to the generosity of our donors, the school awarded over $3.6 million in scholarships for the 2020-2021 academic year
  • 183 medical students, or 23% of the medical student body, received scholarships this academic year
  • 32 first-year medical students received scholarships
  • There are more than 140 donor-established scholarships, travel funds, and other education assistance funds in the School of Medicine

As the cost of higher education and medical training increases, and given the economic uncertainty caused by the pandemic, scholarships are more critical than ever. The average medical student graduates with $200,000 in debt, a burden they can carry with them well into their careers. We are very grateful for these investments in our students, which ultimately are investments in the future of Alabama’s physician workforce and the health of their patients and communities.

Now is an ideal time to make a scholarship gift as my office will match gifts to the School of Medicine General Scholarship and the School of Medicine Minority Medical Scholarship through Sept. 30, 2021. Click here to learn more about giving to medical student scholarships, or contact Jessica Brooks Lane at 205-975-4452 or jblane@uab.edu.

In other news, it’s residency recruitment season, and given travel restrictions and health concerns, candidates for our residency and fellowship programs have not been able to travel to Birmingham for interviews. Our Graduate Medical Education Office and residency and fellowship directors have had to find innovative ways to introduce them to our programs, our academic medical center, and our city from a distance. They’ve used all the platforms available to them, from Twitter chats and takeovers to virtual meet-and-greets with program directors and current residents on Zoom. Two important tools are new videos that the school’s communications office helped create. One video highlights our institutional excellence and the many benefits of training at UAB. The other video showcases the city of Birmingham as “a place for everyone,” and spotlights many of its most appealing attractions and characteristics. I’d also like to share this informative graphic highlighting the excellence of our residency and fellowship programs These will no doubt be powerful recruitment assets for years to come, even after we conquer COVID-19.

Finally, after a thorough search, I am pleased to announce that Warner Huh, M.D., will serve as chair of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, effective November 1.

Dr. Huh received his medical degree in 1995 from Georgetown University School of Medicine followed by a residency at Tufts University School of Medicine in Boston, Massachusetts. He went on to complete a fellowship at UAB in 2002, where he then joined as a member of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology faculty.

During his time with the department, Dr. Huh has served as vice chair of Gynecology, the Margaret Cameron Spain Endowed Chair in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, professor in the Department of Surgery, professor in the Department of Epidemiology at the UAB School of Public Health, director of the UAB Comprehensive Ovarian Cancer Program, senior scientist for the Comprehensive Cancer Center, and medical director of the O’Neal Cancer Service Line.

I want to extend a special thanks to Todd Jenkins, M.D., who has served capably as interim chair since October 2018. Dr. Jenkins will continue to serve the department as a senior leader and division director of Women’s Reproductive Health.

Our OB/GYN faculty have shown resiliency and professionalism while managing the uncertainty associated with leadership changes. Dr. Huh brings with him a wealth of knowledge, leadership experience, and departmental expertise. I know that he will continue to strengthen and grow our already outstanding Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology. I hope you will join me in welcoming Dr. Huh to his new role.