It is my pleasure to welcome you to the Division of Preventive Medicine in the Department of Medicine at the University of Alabama at Birmingham.
Our mission is to optimize the health and well-being of individuals, communities, and populations through collaborative research, training, and dissemination of knowledge. We aspire to reduce burden of disease, increase opportunities for healthier living, and enhance the quality of life of all people.
As a research division, we generate new knowledge in epidemiology, disease prevention and control, behavioral aspects of disease, disease outcomes, and medical and health systems. Our primary scientific program areas include cancer prevention and control, diabetes and obesity, cardiovascular disease, drug use and misuse, and the cross-cutting themes of health disparities and health outcomes pursued through behavioral, community-based, and population-based research. Our scientific accomplishments are enormous. Over the years we have become leaders in prevention research through our central role in major national studies such as the Coronary Artery Risk Development in Young Adults (CARDIA) Study, The Women’s Health Initiative (WHI), the Prostate, Lung, Colorectal and Ovarian (PLCO) Cancer Screening Trial, the National Lung Screening Trial (NLST), the Cancer Care Outcomes Research and Surveillance Consortium (CanCORS), and other large projects that generated evidence-based models for disease prevention and control.
To support this robust research, we maintain a strong infrastructure that includes a research clinic with laboratory and imaging facilities; nutrition unit; a wellness and prevention facility; Data, Information and Statistics Core (DISC); informational technology team; business and personnel office; and administrative support staff. We also house two university-wide interdisciplinary research centers – the UAB Minority Health & Health Disparities Research Center and the UAB Center for Outcomes and Effectiveness Research and Education – and two shared facilities of the UAB Comprehensive Cancer Center: the Biostatistics and Bioinformatics Shared Facility and the Facility for Access to Clinical Enrollment Services.
We strive to create an academic environment that is synergistic and conducive to growth. We offer a variety of teaching and mentoring opportunities for faculty, postdoctoral fellows, and students and provide leadership by securing funding to support these educational and career-development activities. Our multilevel faculty mentoring, particularly as it relates to promotion and tenure, builds the research capacity of the Division, the Department of Medicine, and the University.
Building community capacity
One of the greatest strengths of the Division is our community-supported research. Our community partnerships have created a sustainable research capacity. More importantly, they are a lasting investment in the communities we serve because they empower people to take charge of their own health. HealthSmart, a downtown wellness center, promotes UAB among our community constituents, supports the University through community outreach, facilitates the integration of research and service, and disseminates evidence-based practices. The Minority Health & Health Disparities Research Center (MHRC), on the other hand, is working to eliminate the health inequalities experienced by racial and ethnic minorities locally, regionally, and nationally.
Naturally, we are very proud of our accomplishments. However, this is just the beginning. Preventive medicine is rapidly gaining ground as local, state, and federal agencies are looking at solutions to improve health while reducing overall healthcare costs. Please take a moment to reflect on the immense value of preventive medicine as you explore the disciplinary and methodological innovation that has propelled our Division to the forefront of medical research.