Vickers Commencement 2015Selwyn M. Vickers, M.D., F.A.C.SCommencement is a time of both anticipation and reflection for our students. The long journey through medical school is officially coming to an end, and the next step, toward residency or other postgraduate endeavors, looms on the horizon.

Thanks to the dedicated work of our medical education leadership and staff, our students are well-equipped to conquer the challenges that lie ahead, and to navigate an increasingly complex health care environment with skill and compassion.

We were honored to have Mary D. Fisher, a noted activist, artist, and global leader in HIV/AIDS advocacy—as well as a member of the School of Medicine’s Board of Visitors—as the keynote speaker at our 2015 Commencement on May 17. Born in Louisville, Ky., and raised
in Michigan, she attended the University of Michigan and served as the first woman on President Gerald Ford’s advance team. Diagnosed with HIV in 1991, she became an outspoken advocate for AIDS prevention and education and for the compassionate treatment of people with HIV and AIDS. A stalwart supporter of HIV/AIDS research at UAB, she founded the nonprofit Mary Fisher CARE Fund in 1999. Based at the UAB Center for AIDS Research under the direction of Dr. Michael S. Saag
, the fund supports clinical AIDS research and promotes public education about HIV/AIDS medicine and policy.

 IMG 0276Path of Honor This year’s Commencement featured what has become an SOM tradition: the Path of Honor, in which alumni and faculty lead the academic procession and form an aisle through which the graduating class passes on their way to the stage to receive their diplomas. The Medical Alumni Association started Path of Honor in 2012, and it is inspired by the statement from the Hippocratic Oath, “I will respect the hard-won scientific gains of those physicians in whose steps I walk, and gladly share such knowledge as is mine with those who are to follow.”

Often, participants are alumni whose family members are graduating. That was the case for pediatrician JoAnn M. Mays, M.D. ’81, and her husband, internist Michael C. Mays, M.D. ’82, whose daughter Melissa Mays graduated this time. “Three weeks ago, I walked my daughter down the aisle at her wedding,” says Dr. Michael Mays. “Last Sunday, I stood proudly alongside her mother in the Path of Honor and watched my ‘little girl’ walk down the path in her cap and gown on her way to receive her academic hood and degree. I was happy, sad, proud, relieved … Being a part of this ceremony was a true honor for me and an unforgettable experience.”

Jonathan Yu MD and Felicia Yu MD Commencement 2015Jonathan Yu, M.D., and Felicia Yu, M.D. at Commencement 2015     Felicia Yu, M.D. ’11, now an East-West Primary Care Fellow at the UCLA Center for East-West Medicine, has taken part in Path of Honor twice—once in 2013 when her brother Patrick Yu, M.D., now an internal medicine resident at UAB, graduated, and again this year, when she and Patrick both participated to celebrate the graduation of their brother Jonathan Yu, who matched into UAB’s orthopaedic surgery residency. “Path of Honor was great—it was a very special way to participate in graduation for my brothers,” she says. Click here to see a photo album of images from Commencement on the School of Medicine’s Facebook page. While you’re there, be sure to “like” the UAB School of Medicine so you can stay up-to-date on the latest news and events.

Selwyn M. Vickers, M.D., FACS
Senior Vice President for Medicine and Dean
James C. Lee Endowed Chair