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Barr Brian 400x300Brian Barr, a former executive in the construction industry, is a recognized and prominent businessman in the Birmingham, AL community and beyond. He recently retired as a regional president at Brasfield and Gorrie.

Barr is also the parent of a child who has Type 1 diabetes. His son was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes when he was 17.

“As a parent, you want the best for your child,” said Barr. “Diabetes was certainly not on our radar until he was diagnosed. After that, it became a daily thought for him and our family as we learned how to support his diabetes management.”

But the Barr family wanted to go further than just daily diabetes management. They were interested in supporting research that would discover curative therapies for diabetes.

Barr was already plugged into several philanthropic networks and giving to the cause felt like the natural next step. He has served on a number of boards including the Birmingham Botanical Gardens, the Salvation Army, and others. Barr says he believes in the power of philanthropy to help our community, and beyond.

So, the Barr family did their own research and selected the UAB Comprehensive Diabetes Center (UCDC) to support through annual financial gifts. Barr says his draw to the UCDC was its rich history of diabetes discoveries and advancements.

“Research successes have made living with diabetes much safer and simpler just in the last few years,” said Barr. “When our son was diagnosed with diabetes, we felt like we needed to take action, and giving to the UAB Comprehensive Diabetes Center was the answer for us. The tangible impact of research advancements is felt in our home.”

For Barr, the UCDC represents a special philanthropic opportunity in the heart of Alabama with a worldwide impact.

“What I like best about giving to the center is that our gift stays right here in Birmingham, AL. The local nature of the gift as opposed to a national organization made it feel even more impactful for us. It’s nice to know that our contribution to successes felt worldwide are happening here so close to home,” said Barr.’’

Barr finds hope in the future of diabetes research. With an engineering background, Barr is particularly interested in diabetes devices that can replace important functions of the pancreas. He says they were just a dream several years ago.

“Also, it is my understanding that some of the research that Dr. Anath Shalev has ongoing may someday help to increase our understanding of why diabetes occurs in the first place, perhaps leading us to results that can change the outcome of a diagnosis,” said Barr.

At the UCDC, collaboration across several schools and departments make research discoveries possible. More than 200 members hail from the UAB School of Engineering, School of Public Health, Heersink School of Medicine, School of Optometry, and more. Each member works together to advance the field of diabetes research.

If Barr could speak to an individual or corporation who is considering making a gift to the UCDC, he would share the importance of supporting world-class research right here in the community of Birmingham.

“If you’re looking for bang for your buck, know that the medical advancements in diabetic research have had life-changing impacts in just the last several years to people you know and love. Know too that those impacts are accelerating monthly in part thanks to the work by those right here at the UCDC,” said Barr.