Inaugural Endowed Professor of Diabetes Prevention and Outcomes Research
Division of Preventive Medicine

Assistant Dean for Continuing Medical Education

Contact Information:

Medical Towers 643
1717 11th Avenue South
Birmingham, Alabama 35205
Phone: (205) 934-6883
Fax: (205) 934-7595

Research Interests

  • Diabetes Community-Based Intervention Studies with Peer Supporters;
  • Diabetes Quality of Care;
  • Cardiovascular Epidemiology and Prevention;
  • Health Disparities;
  • Mentorship

Research Program

  • REasons for Geographic And Racial Differences in Stroke Myocardial Infarction (REGARDS-MI) ancillary study (NHLBI). This R01 examines racial and regional variations in the incidence of acute coronary heart disease in the 30,239 member REGARDS cohort. The sample is 42% black and 58% are women, and cohort members reside in all 48 continental US states.
  • Encourage. This program includes a Peers for Progress funded community based trial with 400 individuals with diabetes living in the Alabama Black Belt. This trial tested the effectiveness of volunteer peer supporters in improving diabetes metabolic parameters, functional status and quality of life. Encourage-2 is an AHRQ-funded community based trial testing the effectiveness of a community health worker delivered cognitive behavior training intervention in improving diabetes outcomes in individuals with both diabetes and chronic joint pain living in the Alabama Black Belt.
  • Collaborations and student experiences. We have had a large number of faculty, fellows, medical students, other graduate students, undergraduates and high school students work with us on both REGARDS and Encourage. These studies provide excellent opportunities for scholarly activity and we welcome interest. Please contact Dr. Safford at

Educational Background

  • Dartmouth College – BA
  • Cornell University Medical College – MD
  • Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania – Residency in Internal Medicine

Professional Activities

  • Vice-Chair of the American Heart Association Southeast Regional Affiliate Research Committee.
  • Assistant Dean, Continuing Medical Education
  • Associate Director, Center for Outcomes and Effectiveness Research and Education
  • Co-Director, UAB T32 Health Services and Comparative Effectiveness Research Training Program
  • Senior Scientist, Minority Health Research Center, Center for Aging, The Lister Hill Center, Nutrition and Obesity Research Center, Diabetes Research and Translation Center, Comprehensive Arthritis, Musculoskeletal and Autoimmunity Center

Selected Recent Publications

Dr Safford's PubMed publications


  • Magna cum laude, Dartmouth College, 1982
  • Phi Beta Kappa, Dartmouth College, 1982
  • Research Excellence Award, UAB Department of Medicine, 2010
  • Research Excellence Award, UAB Department of Medicine, 2011
  • Research Excellence Award, UAB Department of Medicine, 2012
  • Mentorship Award, UAB Minority Health Research Center, 2012
  • UAB Department of Medicine Max Cooper Award for Excellence in Research, 2013