Vickers transition headshotMarch is Women’s History Month, and the month we celebrate International Women’s Day. As such, I want to take this opportunity to highlight some of the incredible women who have made immeasurable contributions to our school. A series of profiles of senior leaders was recently published on our news site and includes several women whom I am honored to call friends and colleagues.

LaKisha Mack is senior associate dean for Administration and Finance. A Long Beach, California, native, LaKisha joined the Dean’s Office after a remarkable career at UAB that saw her rise from undergraduate student worker to the school’s most senior financial officer. She discusses her career trajectory, why mentoring women is important to her, and executing our vision as an academic medical center.

Along the way, LaKisha worked under Dawn Bulgarella. On January 1, Dawn assumed the role of president of UAB Health System while continuing in her role as Health System CFO. Prior to that, she served as the school’s senior associate dean for Administration and Finance, part of an extraordinary career in academic health care leadership. Serving in a variety of positions at UAB and the University of Alabama Health Services Foundation since 1993 has given Dawn a wealth of wisdom and expertise, which she shares in her profile.

Senior Vice Dean for Research Tika Benveniste, Ph.D., says she inherited her resourcefulness and work ethic from her Holocaust-survivor parents. Since joining UAB’s faculty in 1986, she has both participated in and fostered our school’s renowned collaborative research environment. Since joining the school’s senior leadership team, Tika has been instrumental in laying the groundwork for our rapid rise in NIH funding rankings.

A profile from last summer highlights Associate Dean for Strategic Planning and Administration Toni Leeth’s commitment to service. For decades, Toni has served in roles of service and civic engagement throughout different seasons of her life—including serving as president of one of Birmingham’s most respected service organizations, the Junior League of Birmingham, during the COVID-19 pandemic. She reflects on the experience, as well as her aspirations for our school, in the profile.

  An article highlighting participants in the inaugural Momentum in Medicine at UAB program, a UAB-centered version of the highly competitive Momentum Executive Leadership Program, highlights our school’s Executive Director of Communications, Paige Dorman. Paige has served on my leadership team since 2014, and in that time has elevated our communications operation to new heights and made it an essential element of our school’s success, especially during the pandemic when we were responding to multiple crises while adapting to numerous changes.

These are just a few of the women who contribute so much at every level of our institution. I encourage you to read their profiles and learn more about these fascinating and inspiring women. Each of their paths may be unique, but their stories are all characterized by skill, determination, and hard work.

I am pleased to share recent accolades for two women on our faculty. Ellen Eaton, M.D., and Akila Subramaniam, M.D., were named to Alabama Media Group’s 2022 Women Who Shape the State. Dr. Eaton, an associate professor in the Division of Infectious Diseases, became a trusted source of reliable information on COVID-19, vaccines, masking, and other topics, for her thousands of social media followers as well as through her many media appearances throughout the pandemic. Dr. Subramaniam is an associate professor in the Division of Maternal-Fetal Medicine. She has been  a leader in supporting patient education around COVID-19 vaccines, pregnancy, and fertility concerns. I congratulate both Dr. Eaton and Dr. Subramaniam for this well-deserved honor.

The latest issue of UAB Medicine magazine, the magazine of the Heersink School of Medicine, is now available online. In it, you can learn more about recent momentous events in our school, including the transformative $95 million gift to name our school the UAB Marnix E. Heersink School of Medicine and the Alabama family whose generosity and vision made it possible, as well as my transition to the dual roles of medical school dean and CEO of the UAB Health System and CEO of the UAB/Ascension St. Vincent’s Alliance. You'll also learn about innovative research being fostered by the UAB Immunology Institute; how a medical student-developed running program is helping homeless people; and much more.

Lastly, I invite you to join us via livestream for Match Day this Friday, March 18. The program begins at 10:45 a.m. CST and the first match will be announced at 11 a.m. You can also follow along on Instagram to be part of the celebration on this exciting and important day in our medical students’ lives.