September 2014

Vickers-BookcaseOn September 4, the School of Medicine family gathered to celebrate the memory and the legacy of our longest-serving dean of medicine, James A. Pittman, Jr., M.D., who passed away earlier this year. Dr. Pittman served as dean from 1973 until 1992, presiding over a period of unprecedented growth for the School and the University, especially in the recruitment of outstanding faculty. Click here to watch a video slideshow commemorating Dr. Pittman's life and career.

At the reception, we announced the creation of the Pittman Scholars Program, which will support the recruitment and retention of up to five highly competitive junior faculty members each year either to basic science or clinical departments. Selected competitively based on nominations from department chairs, Pittman Scholars will receive additional funding to support their research-related activities or scholarly enrichment. The purpose of the Pittman Scholars program is to identify and nurture tomorrow’s best physicians and scientists, and to reward their efforts with additional resources that support their goals. 


Dr. Jim Pittman, School of Medicine dean from 1973 to 1992. Photo courtesy of UAB Archives.

This effort represents one of the tenets of Management Wisdom from the New York Yankees' Dynasty: What Every Manager Can Learn from a Legendary Team's 80-Year Winning Streak, by Lance Berger. This little book outlines 14 core management principles that embrace the cultivation of home-grown talent, the creation of a culture that demands excellence, the pursuit of the most talented players from outside the organization, promotion of a diversified workforce, and celebrating our legends and heroes, past and present.

While leading a medical school is not quite like building a successful baseball franchise, the principles are universal, and they reflect the approach taken by our most successful deans, University presidents and other key leaders who sought to bring the best talent to UAB. Recruiting and keeping talent remains a top priority – perhaps THE top priority – for to achieve our goals, we need that talent at every level: in our senior scientists, our rising junior faculty, our fellows, residents and students, and our staff. Our people make the difference every day, and that is worthy of celebration.

Tommy Lasorda famously said, “There are three types of baseball players: Those who make it happen, those who watch it happen and those who wonder what happened.” Jim Pittman made it happen. We believe our Pittman Scholars will, too.

Selwyn M. Vickers, M.D., F.A.C.S.

Senior Vice President for Medicine and Dean
James C. Lee Endowed Chair

Pittman Slideshow from UAB School of Medicine on Vimeo.