New Internal Medicine Clerkship Directors Selected. Winter Williams, MD (General Internal Medicine) will join James Willig, MD, as co-director of the MS3 Internal Medicine Clerkship. Win did his residency (2009-2012) and chief residency (2012-2013) at UAB, and is active in teaching, simulation, and patient safety. Brooks Vaughn, MD (Endocrinology and Metabolism) will be the director of the MS4 Acting Intern rotations and develop curriculum for senior students. He has been heavily involved in teaching the fellows in endocrinology, is a clinical skills scholar for the students, and core clinical faculty for the Internal Medicine Residency. Brooks has an interest in ambulatory medicine, and interprofessional team development. The Department looks forward to their leadership in developing our students for a career in medicine.

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Anand Iyer, MD (Pulmonary, Allergy, and Critical Care Medicine Fellow) has received the UAB Emergency Medicine Residency Program Consultant of the Year Award. This annual award is determined by a vote of the Emergency Medicine Residents and is designed to acknowledge extraordinary work on behalf of the patients.

First year residents Alexander Smith, MD, Lauren Shea, MD, and Shannon Booker, MD, received the Glenn Cobbs Book Award for preparing the best admission writeups at the VA in April and May.

Stephen Clarkson, MD (PGY-2) won the best poster clinical vignette at the Alabama Chapter of the American College of Physicians meeting for his presentation “Hyperinfection with Strongyloides Stercoralis Masking as Idiopathic Hypereosinophilic Syndrome.” Our outstanding PGY-2 Jeopardy team also easily won both rounds: Rajat Kalra, MD, Preston Sonnier, MD, and Ashley Elam, MD.

William C. Bailey, MD, (Pulmonary, Allergy, and Critical Medicine) was given the Tulane Medical Alumni Association’s Lifetime Achievement Award for 50 years of exemplary service. Dr. Bailey is a 1965 graduate of Tulane University School of Medicine.

Katrina Booth, MD (Gerontology, Geriatrics, and Palliative Care) has been accepted for the 2015 Association of American Medical Colleges Early Career Women Faculty Professional Development Seminar designed to provide women physicians and scientists with skills to navigate the academic medicine enterprise.

Orlando Gutierrez, MD (Nephrology) will be the primary investigator for a newly funded American Heart Association grant to the Northwestern University Center for Disparities in Cardiovascular Disease Research. His project will examine an intervention that delivers food low in food additives to determine how access to healthy foods impacts the etiology of disparities in CVD.

Charles O. Elson, III, MD, (Gastroenterology and Hepatology) was recently published in the journal Science. Innate lymphoid cells (ILC) are a recently discovered type of cell that lacks antigen receptors, but responds rapidly to microbial, environmental or cytokine signals.This study, using a mouse generated at UAB by Dr Elson and colleagues, showed that a subset of ILC3s delete CD4 T cells reactive to a gut bacteria antigen in a manner similar to deletion of self-reactive T cells in the thymus.

NO MGR NEXT WEEK. Medical Grand Rounds will take a two-week summer break. Lectures will resume July 1.

Do you have Good News to share? If so, please email the Department of Medicine's Director of Communications, Carolyn Walsh.
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Steve Stigler, MD
(Pulmonary, Allergy, and Critical Care Medicine) has received the 2015 SOM Dean’s Excellence Award in Teaching—Junior Faculty. Since joining the Division in September 2012, Steve has received numerous teaching awards, led a redesign of the MICU morning report, and has instituted a weekly MICU Morbidity and Mortality Conference to discuss ways we can improve patient care. Congratulations, Steve!

Yong Zhou, PhD (Pulmonary, Allergy, and Critical Care Medicine) has received the 2015 SOM Dean’s Excellence Award in Mentoring—Junior Faculty. A nationally recognized expert in fibroblast and extracellular matrix (ECM) mechanobiology in fibrotic lung diseases, Yong is an exemplary mentor for trainees in the lab, and he serves as a scientific advisor for junior faculty members from the Department of Medicine and the Department of Pediatrics. Congratulations, Yong! 

The American Gastroenterological Association honored Mel Wilcox, MD, MSPH (Director, Gastroenterology and Hepatology) with the Distinguished Educator Award during the 2015 Digestive Disease Week conference in Washington, D.C. 

The Faculty Senate has elected its new representatives for the 2015-2016 Senate term. Carla Falkson, MD (Hematology and Oncology) is one of 8 senators who will represent the School of Medicine faculty beginning September 1. 

Our Chief Residents have just graduated after a year of being the hearts and souls of the Department as well as our most engaged teachers. Adam Edwards, MD, and George Nelson, MD, are now GI fellows at UAB, following in the footsteps of 2011-2012 Chiefs Jim Calloway, MD and David Fettig, MD. Starr Steinhilber, MD has joined our faculty in General Internal Medicine to teach and contribute to our experiential curriculum in quality and safety. Ashley Haddad, MD, has taken a competitive position at the University of Chicago as a research fellow in GIM and health disparities. 

Our incoming Chiefs for 2015-2016 are Josh Stripling, Rebekah Weil, R.J. Blackburn, Kirk Russ. We welcome these residents as rising stars and look forward to their shining year ahead.

Next week’s speaker for Medical Grand Rounds is Christina Puchalski, MD MS (Director, George Washington Institute for Spirituality and Health). She will present the Annual Deane K. Corliss Lecture in Palliative and Supportive Care on the topic: The Essential Role of Spirituality in Palliative Care:  A Whole-Person Model of Care.

Do you have Good News to share? If so, please email the Department of Medicine's Director of Communications, Carolyn Walsh.

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Nick Van Wagoner, MD
 (Infectious Diseases) and Chad Steele, PhD (Pulmonary, Allergy, and Critical Care Medicine) will serve as Co-Chairs for the Department of Medicine Culture Work Group.

Andrew Duxbury, MD (Gerontology, Geriatrics and Palliative Care) has been selected as one of Birmingham’s Top 50 Over 50 by Positive Maturity, a Birmingham non-profit that promotes wellness among seniors. Dr. Duxbury is being recognized for his efforts in optimizing the function of older adults, particularly around the issue of overmedication of the elderly.

Amanda Brito, MD (PGY1) Jill Neely, MD (PGY2) and Shabnam Sarker, MD (PGY3) took amazing care of a patient at the VA last week who had been admitted to medicine service observation for new onset ascites from liver cirrhosis.  The Vietnam veteran shared his heartfelt appreciation for everyone who participated in his care. The Department salutes you! Keep up the good work.

DOM Employees of the Month for April and May
  • Becky Wallace is an Administrative Associate in Pulmonary, Allergy, and Critical Care Medicine. She supports the Division Director, Dr. Victor Thannickal, and the Division's Administrative Office with contagious enthusiasm. She makes people feel special and valued and sets an example with a selfless team spirit.
  • Peggy O'Neal is a Financial Associate in Gerontology, Geriatrics, and Palliative Care. She is an outstanding member of the Division's administrative team. She approaches her responsibilities with enthusiasm, a keen eye to detail, and a high degree of accuracy.

As past president of the American Physiological Society, David Pollock, PhD (Nephrology) participated in the signing of an historic agreement for research collaboration with the leaders of the Cuban Society of Physiological Sciences. The memorandum of understanding was executed on April 28, formalizing an agreement for the exchange of scientific information and resources between the two organizations. 

Family and friends of the late Terry Phillips were so impressed with the care he received during his final days in the Palliative and Comfort Care Unit, they created a special tribute in his memory. The Hidden Valley Art Station is named for Terry’s home in Oneonta, offering caregivers and loved ones an opportunity to create art as a means of therapy during serious illness. The Station and its specially commissioned artwork was dedicated on May 11 in the PCCU break room. It will be furnished with paper, crafts and art supplies by the Student Alumni Society.

Ashwani Singal, MD (Gastroenterology and Hepatology), Evan Raff, MD (UAB Hospitalist), and Habeeb Salmeh, MD ((incoming Gastroenterology and Hepatology Fellow) have been published in the American Journal of Gastroenterology. Their article “PNPLA3 gene polymorphisms is associated with predisposition to and severity of alcoholic liver disease” is mentored research that performed a meta-analysis of ten studies and confirms the association of this genetic polymorphism with the risk of entire spectrum of alcoholic liver disease. 

Next week’s speaker for Medical Grand Rounds is Ravi Bhatia, MD (Director of Hematology and Oncology). He will present "Chronic myelogenous leukemia. Reaching for the cure."

Do you have Good News to share? If so, please email the Department of Medicine's Director of Communications, Carolyn Walsh.

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Lisa Willett, MD (Vice Chair for Education) was recently published in the American Journal of Medicine. Her article “Gender Differences in Salary of Internal Medicine Residency Directors: A National Survey” reports that women who serve as directors of internal medicine residency programs are paid less than their male counterparts. These research findings run in concert with other studies that have shown that gender-based wage disparities also are common for women in medium- and lower-wage positions. Read the UAB news article here.

Nicholas Van Wagoner, MD (Infectious Diseases) will become Assistant Dean for Students in June. He’s been at UAB for nearly 20 years, first earning his doctorate in cell biology in 1999, then completing his medical training. He joined the faculty in 2011. As a physician-scientist, his research interests focus on the acquisition of sexually-transmitted infections and in therapeutic interventions for the herpes simplex virus. For the past two years, he’s also served as a co-director for the Internal Medicine Clerkship.

Linlin Gu, PhD, Anitra L. Farrow, PhD, Alexandre Krendelchtchikov, and Qiana L. Matthews, PhD (Infectious Diseases) were published in the Journal of Visualized Experiments. Their article, “Utilizing the Antigen Capsid-Incorporation Strategy for the Development of Adenovirus Serotype 5-Vectored Vaccine Approaches” can be viewed at

Amit Gaggar, MD, MPH (Pulmonary, Allergy, and Critical Care Medicine) has received the American Thoracic Society’s Early Career Achievement Award. Dr. Gaggar currently serves as a director of the Pulmonary Biospecimen Repository and the Cystic Fibrosis Inflammation Group at UAB. In addition, his laboratory program continues to investigate the roles of proteases in lung disease.

Michael Wells, MD (Pulmonary, Allergy, and Critical Care) has received the first Sreedar Nair Early Stage Investigator Award in COPD from the American Thoracic Society. His research interest is in COPD, particularly in the areas of pathogenesis, biomarker discovery, disease progression, and treatment.

The 2015 Employee Engagement Survey is open through Monday, May 18. It is strictly confidential, so let your voice be heard.

Do you have Good News to share? If so, please email the Department of Medicine's Director of Communications, Carolyn Walsh.