August 1, 2013


Interim senior vice president and dean Anupam Agarwal

This week we welcomed our newest group of students, the class of 2017, to the School of Medicine. They approach our campus with excitement, anticipation, and nervousness—feelings that are familiar to all of us who have walked the path ahead of them. We also share their sense of pride. For many incoming students, the first day of medical school is the realization of a lifelong goal. It’s a moment to celebrate their achievement and begin the journey toward future milestones.

tapley jeffrey-web"Scholarship donors make it possible for us to dedicate ourselves and our time to becoming better students, in hopes of becoming better physicians, so that ultimately, we may be better servants to our patients."

—Jeffrey Tapley, MS-2

Birmingham, Ala.

The Paul W. and Martha R. Burleson Medical Scholarship

White Chaniece-web"As a first-generation college graduate, as well as the only individual in my family to pursue medicine, I am grateful for the opportunity to receive financial assistance toward my medical education. This scholarship is a constant reminder that I have great people in my corner. These individuals are confident in my ability to achieve the unthinkable."

—Chaniece White, MS-1

Mobile, Ala.

The School of Medicine Diversity Scholarship

caroline kennemer-web"Lessening the financial burden of attending medical school will allow me to choose a specialty I love, rather than choosing a specialty that will allow me to pay off educational debt more easily. I feel more free in my choice instead of being constrained by financial concerns."

—Caroline Kennemer, MS-1

Birmingham, Ala.

The Paul W. and Martha R. Burleson Medical Scholarship

Stephen Walker-web"I realized how strong the school in my backyard truly is, and my family and I could not be happier with my decision to attend UAB."

—Stephen Walker, MS-1

Trussville, Ala.

Dr. Seaborn W. Purifoy and Daisy Brown Purifoy Memorial Scholarship

The Jefferson County Medical Society Scholarship

SaraAnnWilkins-web"This gift truly affirms my commitment to use my medical education to improve health care in Alabama. Dr. Burleson's generosity has created in me a sense of trust in the goodwill of this community, freeing me to dream big about ways to contribute in return."

—Sara Ann Wilkins, MS-4

Birmingham, Ala.

The Paul W. and Martha R. Burleson Medical Scholarship

fryberger charles-web"Having scholarship support lifts a huge burden off my shoulders. The ability to pursue a career in medicine without the stress of large debt is a blessing I am very thankful for."

—Charles Fryberger, MS-2

Huntsville, Ala.

The Paul W. and Martha R. Burleson Medical Scholarship

A Crucial Challenge

There is one challenge, however, that can prevent our first-year students from realizing their dream of a medical degree: the rising cost of medical education. The legacy of loans can place a great burden on new physicians, limiting their ability to open practices or pursue research careers. For some, the strain is too much too early, and they must delay or defer their education. In Alabama, where many of our communities face a growing physician shortage, we cannot afford to lose even one future physician.

Scholarships can make all the difference. By helping to reduce the cost of education, scholarships enhance our power to recruit and retain the most promising students.

I am pleased to announce that we are continuing the partnership between the School of Medicine and our alumni, which provides a dollar-for-dollar match for every alumni donation for current-use scholarships, through 2014. Gifts made directly to the school or through the Medical Alumni Association for current-use medical student scholarships are eligible for the match.

Your response to this collaboration has been both generous and gratifying, and it is making a direct impact on the lives, education, and career prospects of many of our students.

Ryan Hadden-web
Ryan Hadden, MS-1
Jason Lauer-web
Jason Lauer, MS-1

Opening Doors to New Opportunities

For example, thanks to your support, we were able to recruit Ryan Hadden, a summa cum laude graduate of Oregon State University with interests in exercise science and health management and policy. Stephen Walker, who will join Ryan as a member of the class of 2017, had planned to leave Alabama for medical school until we offered him a scholarship. Sara Ann Wilkins, now in her final year, says her scholarship will enable her to pursue a residency in the state. Because of you and your contributions, first-year student Jason Lauer also can look forward to a greater range of specialty options.

These are just a few of the many bright, earnest and eager medical students who benefit from your generosity, and they especially appreciate the fact that alumni are key scholarship supporters. Your contributions send the powerful message that you are invested in their education and the future of medicine. Your support is a vote of confidence in their ability to succeed in school and beyond it, and your example inspires them to carry on your spirit of service.

Jessica Brooks Lane

Meet Jessica Brooks Lane

Scholarships are so important to our growth that they are a key component of our strategic plan. We have recently appointed Jessica Brooks Lane to serve as director of development for medical scholarships and alumni. A Birmingham native, Jessica brings plenty of fund-raising experience from other parts of UAB and community organizations. Now she is working closely with Meredith Burns, executive director of the Medical Alumni Association, to build relationships with alumni and encourage scholarship support. Jessica tells me that she is delighted to be working for a school with a distinguished history of innovators, healers, and leaders, and that her goal is to encourage and assist donors to support some of the nation’s top medical students—the individuals who will become the next great generation of health care pioneers.

I hope you will join me in welcoming Jessica as she, Meredith, and their colleagues begin reaching out to alumni in the coming weeks and months. You can reach Jessica directly at (205) 975-4452 and

Take Part in Our Progress

As we approach the beginning of a new school year—and the naming of our new permanent dean—I encourage you to attend alumni events, share your ideas, serve as an advocate for our progress, and invest in our students. Every contribution you make moves the School of Medicine forward and improves health care in Alabama, and for that, we are forever grateful.

With kind regards,


Anupam Agarwal, M.D.
Interim Senior Vice President for Medicine
Dean, School of Medicine