Selwyn Vickers 4 LRThe arrival of spring heralds one of the most consequential milestones in a medical student’s life: Match Day, when our fourth years learn where they have matched for their residencies. The School of Medicine will celebrate Match Day 2021 virtually on Friday, March 19. The first match will be announced at 11 a.m., following a short program beginning at 10:45 a.m. This is always one of the most exciting and highly anticipated days for our students, and I invite you to join in online at www.uab.edu/matchday.

You can commemorate Match Day by making a tribute gift to the School of Medicine honoring a student, faculty mentor, or loved one. The Dean’s Office is matching gifts 1:1 through September 30, 2021, in these categories:

• All gifts to the School of Medicine General Scholarship
• All gifts to any scholarship assisting URiM (underrepresented in medicine) students, including the new Excellence through Equity Medical Scholarship
• All gifts to the GME Wellness Resource Center, a first-of-its-kind in the Southeast wellness center focused on the needs of physicians in training slated to open inside UAB Hospital this year, up to $50,000

Make your gift online or contact Jessica Brooks Lane, director of development for medical scholarships and primary care, at 205-834-2581 or jblane@uab.edu.

As part of Women’s History Month, throughout March we are honoring the contributions of women who made history at our school and women who are pushing boundaries and challenging the status quo today. Read the first of a series of articles highlighting some of these fascinating women, and check our news feed for updates throughout the month.

Another inspiring woman, Megann Bates Cain, MPPM, has been named chief development officer for the School of Medicine, effective January 1. Megann has provided outstanding interim leadership to the School of Medicine’s advancement team over the past year. She led our fundraising officers to reach an incredible $59 million in new contributions in 2020, during a year of immense challenges, and she has worked to develop and deploy a new organizational structure to maximize our productivity to sustain and grow these efforts. Learn more about her background and achievements.

Marie-Carmelle Elie, M.D., has been named chair of the Department of Emergency Medicine, becoming the first Black woman to be named a permanent chair of an academic emergency medicine department at a major American medical school. She officially assumes the role on June 1. Dr. Elie obtained her undergraduate degree from Columbia University and her medical degree from the State University of New York in Brooklyn with a distinction in research. Following her emergency medicine residency at Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York, she completed the prestigious Critical Care/Trauma Fellowship at the R. Adam Cowley Shock Trauma Center at the University of Maryland. She is triple board-certified in emergency medicine, critical care, and hospice and palliative care medicine.

Dr. Elie currently serves as associate professor in the Division of Critical Care, Department of Emergency Medicine and the Division of Palliative Care, Department of Medicine at the University of Florida’s College of Medicine. There, she laid the foundation for the emergency medicine research mission as director of Research and Clinical Trials, and currently directs the emergency-critical care research effort. Additionally, she serves as chief medical officer for Gainesville’s Haven, a hospice and palliative medicine organization that spans services across the State of Florida. Read more about her impressive career.

Speaking of groundbreakers, eight UAB researchers were included on Cell Mentor's list of “1,000 Inspiring Black Scientists.” They include five scientists from the School of Medicine: Farah Lubin, Ph.D., an associate professor in the Department of Neurobiology; Foluso “Joy” Ogunsile, M.D., an assistant professor in the Division of Hematology and Oncology; Michelle Gray, Ph.D., an associate professor in the UAB Department of Neurology; Ninecia Scott, Ph.D., a postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Microbiology; and Maigen Bethea, Ph.D., who earned her doctoral degree working in the lab of Chad Hunter, Ph.D., associate professor in the Division of Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism and is now at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus. It is truly an honor to work alongside such inspiring and innovative Black scientists whose work is pushing the boundaries of known science and creating breakthroughs that can help patients around the globe.

I was honored to be highlighted during our school’s Black History Month celebration in February. For this year's Black History Month theme, "The Black Family: Representation, Identity, and Diversity," I discussed my upbringing in rural Alabama during the Civil Rights Movement, the central role education has played through generations of family, and how family has been at the center of every success I have enjoyed, including becoming the first Black/African American dean of the UAB School of Medicine.

Recently, I participated in a panel dedicated to bioethics of the COVID-19 vaccine in partnership with Tuskegee University, the Southern Christian Leadership Foundation, and the UAB Minority Health and Health Disparities Research Center. The town hall catered to residents of Alabama’s Black Belt, where, because of painful past events like the Tuskegee Study, mistrust around medicine and health care persists in communities of color. I invite you to watch the town hall that sought to answer community members’ questions and dispel fears and misunderstanding around the vaccine.

Finally, I want to direct your attention to this excellent profile of Anupam Agarwal, M.D., the school’s executive vice dean and Nephrology division director. Dr. Agarwal was interviewed as part of World Kidney Day, and he discusses causes of the higher prevalence of kidney disease in Alabama, the convergence of kidney disease and COVID-19, and the life journey that brought him to medicine, nephrology, and UAB.

As we approach the one-year anniversary of the pandemic in Alabama, I am hopeful we may soon turn a page in the pandemic saga. I am pleased Governor Ivey extended Alabama’s mask mandate until April 9. I will urge my patients, friends, and family, as well as the entire School of Medicine community, to continue to mask up, wash their hands, and employ other safety precautions after the mandate lapses, until we have more definitively contained the virus. Thank you for all you have done this past year to keep our communities safe and to continue providing care under unprecedented circumstances.