Selwyn Vickers 4 LRThere are several recent developments I’m excited to share with you this month. First, on October 28, our school hosted a COVID-19 Research Symposium. The symposium highlighted our school’s SARS-CoV-2 research and clinical trials on a global, national, and institutional level. Speakers presented on topics such as the NIH's involvement in research since the onset of COVID-19, global vaccine development, basic science surrounding COVID-19, therapeutics, and population health. Keynote speakers included Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, and Dr. Kathleen Neuzil, director of the Center for Vaccine Development at the University of Maryland School of Medicine. With more than 2,000 registrants, the symposium was a resounding success. You can watch the full symposium here.

Medical students honored their outstanding mentors, professors, courses, and course directors at the Argus Awards Ceremony on October 27 during a live ceremony on Zoom. The Argus Awards were created in 1996 to enable medical students to nominate faculty members by course evaluations and vote to select award winners for each category. Awards are grouped by preclinical and clinical years, and include awards for Best Organ Module, Best Educator in each of the organ modules, Best Resident Educator and Best Community-Based Educator for each of the school’s four campuses (Birmingham, Huntsville, Tuscaloosa, and Montgomery), and more. The full list of Argus Award Winners is posted here.

Our faculty includes an abundance of nationally and internationally renowned experts in their fields, many of whom hold leadership positions in prestigious professional associations and organizations. School of Medicine Executive Vice Dean and Nephrology Division Director Anupam Agarwal, M.D., will conclude a year term as president of the American Society of Nephrology (ASN) in December. The organization is made up of more than 20,000 health professionals from 131 countries. I’d like to congratulate Dr. Agarwal on his term as ASN president, and encourage you all to view the inspiring President’s Address he delivered at the ASN’s Annual Meeting in October. We are very fortunate to have Dr. Agarwal on our leadership team, caring for patients in our hospital and clinics, and helping train the next generation of nephrologists here at the School of Medicine.

We recently announced the planned opening next summer of a unique wellness center focused on the needs of physicians in training. Slated to open inside UAB Hospital’s West Pavilion, and the first of its kind in the Southeast, the Graduate Medical Education Wellness Resource Center will offer residents and fellows access to a multifunctional space where they can go to decompress, exchange ideas, pursue research projects, visit privately with their families, and exercise. The goal of providing the space is to promote camaraderie, team-building, and work-life balance, while helping the young physicians feel more fulfilled in their careers. The new center has been made possible by $500,000 lead gift from the School of Medicine, UA Health Services Foundation, and UAB Hospital. The 3,348 square feet of centrally located space will feature five zones that cater to trainees’ specific wellness needs, including a hospitality zone where trainees can spend time with their families and children, and enjoy healthy meals provided for on-call physicians.

Construction is expected to begin in June 2021. A campaign to raise the funds necessary to complete the project has been launched; you can learn more about supporting our innovative GME Wellness Resource Center online or contact Jessica Brooks Lane at jblane@uab.edu or 205-975-5659.

Finally, as we recently celebrated Veterans Day, I’d like to honor the many School of Medicine alumni and current faculty and trainees who have served our country in the armed forces. Their commitment to their country and their patients stands as an example of true sacrifice and service to us all. Thank you for answering that call.