News & Events

  • Summer Health Professions Education Program Launches

    For the second summer in a row, first and second year college students, as well as community college students, have gatherered at UAB for the Summer Health Professions Education Program (SHPEP). This program, funded by a grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, is a 6-week-long in-depth exposure to health professions. Labs, lectures, and simulations combine with networking and recreational activities to make SHPEP an experience to remember. 

    SHPEP UAB accepts 80 students annually. The goal of the program is to increase diversity in health professions by recruiting and preparing underrepresented minority and disadvantaged students for successful educational experiences and a SHPEP 1careers in health care. The UAB School of Medicine partners with the School of Dentistry, the School of Optometry, and the School of Health Professions to offer comprehensive and educational programming. 

    The 2018 summer program kicked off June 4. On orientation day, students not only received their ID badges and visited Undergraduate Career and Devleopment, they participated in a scavenger hunt with GeoTrek Monday to learn about UAB's campus. Their experiences have also included anatomy lectures, shadowing orientation, an ultrasound workshop, and leadership/professional case conferences. 

    SHPEP will include many additional offerings, including community-based experiences, including primary care in underserved populations, workshops on study and life skills, and instruction on health science topics, scientific writing, and critical reasoning.

    This free program is open to all first and second year college students through an application process. For more information, click here.

  • UAB Medicine Celebrates 3rd Consecutive Year as Leader in LGBTQ Healthcare Equity

    2018 marks the third consecutive year that UAB Medicine has been named a Leader in LGBTQ Healthcare Equality by the Healthcare Equity Index.

    The Healthcare Equity Index (HEI) is a unique annual survey admnistered by the Human Rights Campaign that promotes and encourages inclusive crare for LGBTQ people in healthcare facilities across the United States. A record 626 healthcare facilities actively participated in the 2018 HEI survey. In addition, the HEI includes ratings from 901 hospitals that the Human Rights Campaign Foundation independently researched on behalf of LGBTQ patients to ascertain their existing policies. 

    In order to be named a "Leader in LGBTQ Healthcare Equity," a facility needs to receive a score of 100 points. Facilities receive points for meeting specific requirements and by having a certain number of best practices and policies in place. 2018 LGBTQ HEI

    The four core objectives of the HEI are to:

    • Ensure foundational protection for patients, visitors, and staff in patient and staff policies, and provide cultural competency training on LGBTQ inclusion

    • Demonstrate progress toward inclusion on LGBTQ patient care and support

    • Cultivate an inclusive workforce by providing LGBTQ-inclusive employee support and benefits

    • Demonstrate public commitment to the LGBTQ community

    UAB Medicine will celebrate this achievement with a reception on May 30, 2018, from 4:00 - 5:00 pm in the North Pavilion Atrium first floor.

  • SNMA Honored at UAB Student Excellence Awards

    The UAB Student National Medical Association (SNMA) was honored at the 2018 Student Excellence Awards on April 12, 2018, as the recipient of the 2017-2018 Program of the Year Award. The award recognized the Annual Integrative Healthcare Summit, which enjoyed its 14th year on February 24, 2018. 

    Each year, the Integrative Healthcare Summit brings togther high school and college students from within and beyond Alabama, exposing these students to a vast array of healthcare fields and professions. Although targeted at underserved andSNMA Award under-represented minority populations, any student in the relevant age group is invited to attend. The 2018 Summit represented the 4th year that high school students were invited to participate, and included workshops, interactive hands-on sessions, and student-led panels.

    "We had a record number of attendees, volunteers, and community affiliates. There were over 20 programs representing dental, medical, nursing, veterinary, allied health, and optometry institutions from Alabama, Florida, Georgia, and Tennessee," say members of the Summit's planning committee. "Our committee worked tirelessly on this event and we are thankful that the Summit is receiving recognition. We are hopeful that the success of this year's Summit will garner more support for future years."

    Medical students Alana C. Jones and Alana C. Nichols were present to receive the award.

  • UAB SNMA Earns Distinction at National Conference

    The annual Student National Medical Association (SNMA) Conference was held this year in San Francisco from March 28 – April 1. For more than half a century, this conference has served as the largest nationwide gathering of under-represented minority medical students and health professionals. The 2018 conference was entitled, “Embracing Our Diversity: Filling the Gaps and Building the Future,” and included five attendees from the UAB chapter of the SNMA at UAB School of Medicine. Their notable achievements include:

    • Co-recipient of the 2017-2018 service grant award, along with Vanderbilt UniversityScreen Shot 2018 04 19 at 10.04.24 AM
    • 3rd place award in the Poster Session
    • Alana C. Nichols awarded 2017-2018 SNMA Member of the Year
    • Election of Alicia Williams as Region IV liaison
    • Induction of local physician Dr. Christopher Carter to SNMA’s Hall of Heroes

  • American Medical Women's Association Holds Region 5 Conference at UAB

    On February 9-10, 2018, UAB’s Chapter of the American Medical Women’s Association (AMWA) hosted the first ever Region 5 AMWA conference. Region 5 includes Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi, Tennessee, and the Caribbean, and students, residents, fellows and faculty from schools in all of these areas were invited to attend.

    Beginning with a reception at The Wine Loft on the evening of February 9, the conference gave attendees the opportunity to network, share research, and examine germane issues related to personal and professional development.

    The formal conference events were held on February 10, at The Edge of Chaos at Lister Hill Library. Nearly 100 faculty, trainees, and students registered for the conference.P1020592

    A poster session beginning at 8:00 am gave attendees the opportunity to showcase current research endeavors. Following the poster session, the women and men in attendance were welcomed by Mona Fouad, M.D., MPH, Senior Associate Dean for Diversity and Inclusion, and by Lauren Walter, M.D., UAB AMWA Chapter President and Region 5 Faculty Director and Associate Professor of Emergency Medicine. Yvonne Chodaba, a 4th year Medical Student and Region 5 Student Director also offered words of welcome.

  • UAB Medicine Celebrates Second Annual Diversity Fair

    On the afternoon of January 26, the second floor atrium of North Pavilion began to fill steadily: first with representatives of each department of the School of Medicine, and then, as brightly-colored and eye-catching displays were constructed, with guests. The School of Medicine Office for Diversity and Inclusion celebrated its second annual Diversity Fair from 4:00 – 6:00 pm, with food, drink, and entertainment.

    2017’s inaugural Fair enjoyed more than 500 attendees; the 2018 Fair welcomed roughly 700 guests from across UAB Medicine. Each School of Medicine department was challenged to bring food and1.26.18 UAB Diversity Fair DMS Web 20 décor that represented some aspect of the faculty and staff of their department. Some chose to bring food representing as much of the national and international composition of their employees as possible; others focused on a single region or nation.

    Departments competed for the honor of best table, and were judged on their decorations, presentation, and the taste of the food they offered. Food selections from as far afield as India, Japan, Germany, England, China, and a wealth of other world locations filled the tables. A panel of six judges evaluated the tables. Restaurant gift cards will be awarded to the top ranking departments.

  • Dr. Feranmi Okanlami speaks at Diversity Grand Rounds

    “Diversity is a taboo word,” said Feranmi Okanlami, MD, MS, addressing an audience of UAB Medicine employees. “I asked people yesterday, ‘What is it that you feel when someone says, “diversity”?’ I know, whether you want to acknowledge it or not, certain people out there get uncomfortable. They think that you’re talking about bringing people who aren’t qualified in to replace people that are. . .  theFeranmi Okanlami conversation to be had is not that this side is right, and this side is wrong, but that there is right and wrong on both sides of the fence.”

    Dr. Okanlami’s address was the result of a collaboration between the School of Medicine Office for Diversity and Inclusion’s Diversity Grand Rounds and Nursing Schwartz Rounds. The January 26 lecture was one of the key events of Diversity Weekend, which coincided with second look weekend for resident applicants. The unique nature of the joint event between the School of Medicine and Nursing allowed Okanlami’s message broader reach.Oluwaferanmi “Feranmi” Okanlami was born in Nigeria before immigrating to the United States with his parents at a young age. His significant academic achievements earned him a spot at Stanford University for his undergraduate education, where he majored in Honors Interdisciplinary Studeis in the Humanities for PreMed students with an eye toward attending medical school. He ran Track & Field all four years, captaining the team his last two seasons, and achieving Academic All American recognition.

  • Department of Surgery Presents Dr. George Yang for Diversity Lectureship

    On February 13 at 7:15 am, the Department of Surgery will be hosting a Diversity Grand Rounds lecture featuring George Yang, MD, PhD, who will be speaking on the topic: "Impact of Immigration George YangonAmerican Surgery." This lecture is an initiative within the broader initiatives within the Department of Surgery.

    Dr. Yang is an Associate Professor at Stanford University School of Medicine, where he also completed his residency and internship. He is a fellow of the American Surgical Association and former President of the Society of University Surgeons. He is a recipient of the wound care management award, and previously served as the Chair of the publications Committee for the Society of University Surgeons. 

    The lecture will be held at Margaret Cameron Spain auditorium and is open to employees of UAB Medicine.

  • Celebrating Mona Fouad's Election to the National Academy of Medicine

    In October 2017, Mona Fouad, M.D., MPH, Senior Associate Dean for Diversity and Inclusion, was elected as a member of the National Academy of Medicine. This exceptional honor, which  is considered one of the highest in the fields of health and medicine, recognizes individuals who have demonstrated outstanding professional achievement and commitment to service. Only 70 national members and 10 international members are elected each year.

    On November 16, UAB leadership, as well as Fouad’s colleagues, friends, and family, gathered to celebrate her achievement in the lobby of Wallace Tumor Institute.

    Acknowledging that Dr. Fouad was the first person elected to the National Academy of Medicine at UAB in two decades, Selwyn Vickers, M.D. FACS, dean of the UAB School of Medicine and senior vice president for Medicine, illustrated the significance of Fouad’s accomplishment. “This is one of the highest honors at any level given to a physician scientist in the United States,” he said in his introductory remarks. “In this process, the National Academy will receive anywhere from 800 to 1,000 nominees a year. Dr. Fouad is a nationally 11.16.17 UAB Mona Fouad Faculty Celebration 30recognized leader who had the fortune to be elected this year.”

    Mona Fouad’s wide-ranging and extensive career in medicine and research boasts local, regional, national, and international achievements. A nationally recognized expert in health disparities research, she was one of the scientists who established health disparities as a valid field of scientific study. Not only did Fouad serve two terms as a member of the NIH Advisory Council on Minority Health and Health Disparities, she was among the experts tapped to assist in the establishment of the health disparities initiatives for the National institute for Minority Health and Health Disparities. Fouad is also the founding director of the Minority Health & Health Disparities Research Center (MHRC), which celebrated 15 years of continuous operations in 2017.

    “Mona worked tirelessly to establish the MHRC,” Vickers said, “and has been one of the founders of the field of health disparities. Her work has generated and combined research in multiple areas across cancer, behavioral disciplines, and social sciences, as well as multiple interdisciplinary programs across UAB.”

  • Office for Diversity and Inclusion Celebrates Promotion of Women Faculty

    “We are here tonight to celebrate exceptional women,” said Mona Fouad, M.D., MPH, “who are working to make significant advances in research, in teaching, in mentoring, and in clinical work. Years ago, each of the women recognized tonight made a deliberate choice to seek out excellence regardless of inequities or of personal and professional obstacles. Tonight, we rejoice in your achievement.”

    Dr. Fouad was addressing a group of women faculty and their families, colleagues, division leaders, and department chairs, who were gathered in the Wallace Tumor Institute Lobby to celebrate the promotion of 14 women to the position of professor. An annual event sponsored by the School of Medicine Office for Diversity and Inclusion, the October 19 reception was the third of its kind, intended to recognize the exceptional strides women are making within the School of Medicine.

    In 2015, when the Women in Medicine and Science Promotion Reception was launched, four women were promoted to the position of professor. In 2016, that number more than doubled, to ten women. In 2017, the Office for Diversity and Inclusion was delighted to recognize 14 women attaining the rank of professor.IMG 0090

    After light refreshments, each honoree was introduced by her department chair, or a representative sent by the chair. Each of the women faculty honored was outstanding in her field in important ways, from innovative contributions to research, to exceptional clinical achievements, to the attainment of significant grant funding. Many of the women honored had gained not only national recognition for their work, but had made a name for themselves on the global stage as well.

  • DCGME Annual Reception Honors New Faculty, Residents and Students

    In celebration of Global Diversity Awareness Month, the UAB Medicine Office for Diversity and Inclusion and DCGME Subcommittee on Diversity and Inclusion held its annual reception welcoming new faculty, residents and medical students on Tuesday, October 17. The lobby of the Wallace Tumor Institute filled with the sound of conversation as new and existing members of the UAB medical community gathered to network and converse.

    The Welcome Reception was an opportunity for students, faculty and staff to gather and celebrate the diverse and inclusive nature of our university,” explained Latesha Elopre, M.D., who, along with Marquita Hicks, M.D., runs the DCGME. “Our intention is to promote and foster an atmosphere of acceptance and collegiality to strengthen our UAB community.”P1020414

    Among the UAB leaders attending the event were Selwyn Vickers, M.D.; Mona Fouad, M.D., MPH; Deborah Grimes, R.N., J.D.; Craig Hoesley,M.D.: Alice Goepfert, M.D., and Anthony Patterson, MSHA. Marquita Hicks. M.D., and Latesha Elopre, M.D., who work with the DCGME, welcomed the evening crowd.

  • Transforming Success: Leadership Sessions with Women Faculty

    “Women throughout the workforce, from all walks of life, are having similar experiences,” says Lisa Graham, Ph.D., “and we feel very compelled to address them.”

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    Lisa Graham, Ph.D., and Julie McDonald, Ph.D., of McDonald Graham LLC, are engaging women faculty in the School of Medicine in their Transforming Success seminars, sponsored by the UAB School of Medicine Office for Diversity and Inclusion. Transforming Success is a series of leadership development sessions aimed at changing the way in which women faculty view success, and their own climb through the ranks of academic medicine. Graham is an organizational psychologist and McDonald is a clinical psychologist; their unique backgrounds and training have spurred them to offer real, meaningful tools to the clients they serve.

    For several weeks throughout the fall of 2017, 19 women faculty members, who were selected to represent their departments at the UAB School of Medicine, will learn how to shift their thinking to better prepare them for success, under the guidance of the psychologists at McDonaldGraham, LLC.

  • Lenora Billings-Harris Leads Unconscious Bias Training for Leadership

    On August 29 and 30, leaders throughout UAB Medicine gathered for workshops on unconscious and implicit bias, led by Lenora Billings-Harris, a world-renowned expert on dealing with bias in the workplace. Deans, department chairs, health system executives, and other key leadership members gathered in Finley Hall to discuss the internal workings of the human mind and how they play into everyday decision-making.

    “Diversity is simply who is on the team,” Billings-Harris explained to a full room of UAB Medicine leaders. “Inclusion is who gets to play.”20170829 143617

    She explained that unconscious bias – the internal preferences, frameworks and perceptions that frame the way each individual views the world – aren’t necessarily bad. In fact, the ability to make quick judgments was essential to survival throughout human evolution. However, unconscious bias becomes damaging when we assume that the judgments we make based on preferences, of which we’re unaware, reflect objective reasoning.

    The business world is replete with examples of excellence achieved through diversity of thought – but the term “diversity” carries with it uncomfortable baggage, Billings explained. People often think of affirmative action or quotas, when in reality it isn’t about either of those things. Increasing diversity increases the types of perspectives around the table, which can provide fruitful turf for new ideas and concepts to take root.

  • Summer Training Programs for Students Boast New and Long-standing Success

    One of the crucial mechanisms to address health disparities, the difference in health outcomes between different populations in the United States, is to train minority researchers and health care providers. Research has demonstrated myriad times that cultivating a healthy, high-quality pipeline for minority scholars, beginning at a young age, can result in greater minority representation in the health professions. 

    This year, the summer training programs for students interested in health care professions have expanded substantially. This is the first summer for both the STEP-UP and SHPEP programs, while the long-standing SEP programP1010009 celebrates its 10th year.

    The Short-Term Research Experience for Underrepresented Persons, or STEP-UP, is currently in its first year. It’s a research-based program which gives each student 8-10 weeks of full-time research experience. The program pairs 22 undergraduate students with mentors, who guide them through a research program, which includes training in the responsible conduct of research. The STEP-UP Program is a federally funded program managed and supported by the Office of Minority Health Research Coordination (OMHRC) in the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney (NIDDK) at the National Institutes of Health (NIH). The overall goal of STEP-UP is to build and sustain a biomedical, behavioral, clinical and social science research pipeline focused on NIDDK’s core mission areas of diabetes, endocrinology and metabolic diseases; digestive diseases and nutrition; kidney, urologic and hematologic diseases. The program includes the payment of all travel expenses to the annual STEP-UP Research Symposium held on NIH’s main campus in Bethesda, Maryland.

  • Office for Diversity & Inclusion: Academic Year in Review

    The School of Medicine’s Office for Diversity & Inclusion (ODI) celebrated an active and exciting academic year in 2016-2017.

    With an eye toward increasing and maintaining recruitment and retention among women faculty, the Office for Diversity & Inclusion (ODI) continued its active support of the endeavors of the UAB Chapter of the American Medical Women’s Association (AMWA). Through monthly lunch lectures, as well as special networking and recruitment events, AMWA served both as a focal point for women faculty and also as a mechanism for advocacy and activism.2.3.17 UAB Diverstiy Fair web res dms 41

    Women faculty who earned promotion during the year were celebrated in October, at the annual celebration of Women in Medicine and Science. Issues confronting women were discussed in a special lecture and lunch featuring Valerie Montgomery-Rice, M.D., on March 22, which coincided with the School of Medicine’s celebration of International Women’s Day.The ODI facilitated the continued growth and activities of department-specific women’s groups, such as Women in Emergency Medicine, and Women in Surgery, which held its annual program in April.

    Moving forward, the ODI will continue to put forward women faculty as candidates for the Executive Leadership in Academic Medicine (ELAM) program, in which UAB has always enjoyed strong representation. The ODI will also facilitate the development of junior women faculty through a series of workshops, and continue to interface with the UAB Commission on the Status of Women.

    Intentionally building a climate of diversity and inclusion was a crucial goal of the Office for Diversity & Inclusion in 2016-2017. To this end, the ODI continued to support the UAB School of Medicine Visiting Scholars program, developed more meaningful academic partnerships with Morehouse School of Medicine and Meharry Medical College, and began to explore areas of deeper collaboration with these schools.

  • Office for Diversity and Multicultural Affairs Welcomes Jenna Blythe-Tija!

    The Office for Diversity and Multicultural Affairs (ODMA) is delighted to welcome Jennifer (Jenna) Blythe-Tija, who will be spearheading medical student recruitment programs with the intention of building a more robust and sustainableJenna pipeline to medical school. 

    ODMA seeks to develop and maintain an engaging multicultural learning community that promotes the importance of diversity, social responsibility, ethical leadership, and education through health care, medical teaching, and research. Jenna’s core intent is to enhance outreach, education, and resourceful services for underrepresented student populations so they can best become tomorrow's healthcare leaders. Jenna, along with UAB School of Medicine and other health career professional schools participate in a variety of recruitment visits, presentations, and on-campus tours for students considering medical school.

  • AMWA: the Academic Year in Review

    Since its re-launch at the UAB School of Medicine in fall, 2015, the UAB faculty chapter of the American Medical Women’s Association (AMWA) has been hard at work identifying topics of pressing interest to women faculty, and providing resources to encourage networking and professional development. Through monthly meetings, and a number of working groups that target mentoring and advocacy, AMWA has engaged women in medicine and science at UAB School of Medicine in a myriad ways.

    Over the 2016-2017 academic year, this AMWA chapter, led by President Lauren Walter, M.D., has endeavored to not only provide a wealth of information through monthly topical meetings, but also to encourage individual Doctor and studentconnections not only between faculty members, but between faculty, trainees and students.

    The UAB AMWA chapter’s mission, which is to “promote, recognize, and celebrate women in medicine and science at UAB,” is realized on numerous levels through is components operations.

    Cynthia Brown, M.D., who serves as Mentorship Chair for the AMWA chapter, initiated and coordinated a “networking match” for AMWA members. This unique program connected senior faculty with junior faculty, and faculty with students and trainees, in order to cultivate meaningful mentoring relationships. Mamie McLean, M.D., the Advocacy Chair for the chapter, is engaged in information gathering and initiating conversations regarding dependent care with UAB leadership, a topic of special interest and importance to AMWA members.

  • Women in Surgery Holds Annual Program, April 10-11

    On April 10-11, the UAB Department of Surgery will host its second annual Women in Surgery Program, which aims to help promote community and camaraderie among female surgeons and encourage female undergraduate and medical students to Women in Surgery 1choose surgical specialties.

    “This year the program will focus on networking, mentorship and leadership,” said Dr. Catherine Parker, M.D., assistant professor in the UAB Division of Surgical Oncology and co-organizer of the two-day event. “Women are underrepresented in surgical faculty and leadership positions at U.S. medical schools. Through this program, we hope to highlight pathways to success for women in the surgical specialties and encourage undergraduate and medical students to pursue careers in surgery.”  

  • LGBT Health Awareness Week, March 27-31, 2017

    LGBT Health Awareness Week is the last week of March, March 27-31, 2017. This is a week designed to promote LGBT health and bring awareness to the unique health care needs of the LGBT community. The National LGBT Health Education Center LGBT Awareness Weeksuggests that health centers celebrate this week through one or more of the following:


    • Partnering with a local LGBT organization to host or sponsor an event

    • Holding a town hall to get feedback from LGBT patients and community members

    • Organizing grand rounds or training for staff on LGBT health needs

    • Creating a more welcoming environment by having LGBT health posters and brochures in waiting and exam areas, such as the ones available at

    • Directing staff to online training resources available at

  • Student National Medical Association Builds Relationships, Grows Outreach

    Early on Saturday morning, February 25, more than 70 high school and college students gathered on the UAB Campus to learn about the myriad possibilities available to them in the study of health professions. The Student National Medical Association (SNMA) sponsors this annual event, which is dedicated to exposing students from underrepresented populations to a broad spectrum of careers in health-related fields.SNMA Leadership 2017

    The UAB chapter of the SNMA is headed by four second-year medical students: Chisom Ifediba, President; Jarvis Johnson, Vice President; Maurice Asouzu, Treasurer, and Grace Raines, Secretary. Together, these students coordinate the health fairs, educational outreach efforts, and pipeline development programs that characterize the work of the organization.

    “SNMA’s focus on underserved and underprivileged communities drew me to SNMA,” says Ifediba, who serves as the President of the UAB chapter. “We have a unique way of looking at things; we don’t just focus on health disparities, we strengthen the pipeline programs and make sure that individuals can be educated and then go back to serve their communities.”