January 17, 2013

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Senior vice president for medicine and dean Ray Watts

UAB was closed during the last week of 2012—the academic side took a holiday; our hospitals never close, of course—but many generous donors made sure that our development team stayed busy through the final hours of the year.

We are deeply grateful for the alumni, organizations, foundations, and grateful patients and families who include the School of Medicine in their charitable giving. Thanks to those donors, our investigators can accelerate the pace of research, our clinical teams can improve treatments and provide care that both saves and improves lives, and our students can be provided outstanding educational opportunities and receive scholarships that relieve the financial burden of medical school tuition.

Sharing the Rewards of Success

Many of these generous donors give to express their gratitude for what they have received themselves: the rewards of a successful career in health care, the knowledge that they and their loved ones are receiving the best possible care, or the hope of new treatments—and even cures—for the conditions that bring them to our hospitals and clinics. These donors share our commitment to excellence in each of these areas, and they make it possible for us to make significant progress toward our goals.

I'd like to introduce you to just a few of them:

(Left to right) Kayla Kitchens with Bill and Mary Battle

Bill and Mary Battle of Atlanta and daughter Kayla Kitchens of Birmingham devoted much time and energy in 2012 to raising money for the Battle Research Acceleration Fund in Rheumatoid Arthritis. Nell Johnson of Dothan made a significant gift on behalf of her family in honor of her late father-in-law, Joel E. Johnson Sr. The Johnsons’ gift will accelerate clinical and laboratory research in dystonia, a neurological condition for which research funds are sorely limited.

School of Medicine alumnus Dr. Robert G. Sherrill and his wife, Lanette Crumpton Sherrill, a graduate of the UAB School of Nursing, continue to support the UAB Center for Aging’s efforts to help caretakers of patients with memory disorders—and to provide transportation and other assistance to patients in our geriatric clinic. Patsy Spitzer of Pinson made a generous gift to our palliative and supportive care program in grateful appreciation for the care her late husband, Herbert, received at UAB.

(Left to right) Jim Emack, Henrietta Emack, Susan Emack Alison, and Anne Emack Couch with the painting by Barbara Evans

Enhancing Patient Care and Education

Two gifts to our Kidney and Pancreas Transplant Clinic are aimed at making patients feel more welcome while they wait. Lillian Gaston of Joplin, Missouri, the mother of Dr. Robert S. Gaston, the co-director of our Comprehensive Transplant Institute, used a series of charitable gift annuities to name the new garden outside the clinic’s front door. The family of James H. Emack Sr. donated a painting by Alabama artist Barbara Evans in his memory for the clinic’s reception area.

Gifts from Dr. George H. Karam of Baton Rouge and Dr. Craig L. Coe of Dothan will create the Legacy Endowed Support Fund for the Tinsley Harrison Internal Medicine Residency Program. Dr. Karam was chief medical resident when Dr. Coe was an intern. The Legacy Fund will ensure that today’s residents receive a firm grounding in the principles of professionalism for which Dr. Harrison is well remembered. We are so grateful for their personal gifts, and we look forward to working with them to increase the fund through gifts from other former residents and interns.

(Left to right) George Karam and Craig Coe

In addition, more than 450 alumni gave more than $200,000 in 2012 for medical student scholarships through the School of Medicine Annual Fund, the Medical Alumni Association, and the Jefferson County Medical Society. Matched by the School of Medicine, these gifts mean the world to our students, enabling them to focus on their studies and paving the way for accomplished careers.

Creating the Future of Care

These are but a few of the hundreds of people who invested in the School of Medicine in 2012. In doing so, they have invested in the future of medicine and the health and well-being of people they may never meet. Philanthropic giving is by definition an unselfish act, but those who give also receive something truly invaluable in return: the joy of helping others.

Best regards,



Senior Vice President for Medicine
Dean, School of Medicine
James C. Lee Jr. Endowed Chair