Explore UAB

The University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) traces its roots to the 1859 founding of the Medical College of Alabama in Mobile and the 1936 opening of the Birmingham Extension Center of the University of Alabama. In 1945, the Medical College of Alabama was moved to Birmingham and the University’s Medical Center was founded in Birmingham. In 1954 the Extension Center was moved to a newly constructed facility adjacent to the Medical Center, bringing together for the first time the University’s two academic components in Birmingham.

In 1966, the Extension Center and the Medical Center were administratively merged to form the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB). In 1969, UAB became an independent institution, one of the autonomous universities within the newly created three-campus University of Alabama System—the University of Alabama (Tuscaloosa), the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB), and the University of Alabama in Huntsville. At that time, the Medical College of Alabama, located in Birmingham, became known as the “University of Alabama School of Medicine.”

Regional campuses at Tuscaloosa and Huntsville were established in 1972, and the Huntsville Regional Medical Campus officially joined UAB in 1995. The Montgomery Regional Medical Campus was established in 2012 with classes beginning in 2014, and the Montgomery Internal Medicine Residency Program has been affiliated with the school since 1978. The Selma Family Medicine Residency program was established in 1977.

Under a revised operating plan adopted by the Board of Trustees in 1980, the University of Alabama School of Medicine has responsibility for educating and training candidates for the M.D. degree, providing graduate education in biomedical and related health sciences, developing and analyzing new knowledge both in basic and in clinical sciences, and understanding and addressing the socioeconomic factors involved in providing medical care. The school and its faculty must also provide patient care, not only for the benefit of clinical education, but also to help meet the medical care needs of the region.

In the predoctoral medical education program, the first two basic science years are taught on the main campus in Birmingham, while the last two clinical years are divided among the main campus and the three branch campuses in Huntsville, Montgomery, and Tuscaloosa. The four units are accredited as the University of Alabama School of Medicine by the Liaison Committee on Medical Education, the accrediting body for M.D.-granting medical schools in the U.S. and Canada.

In 2021, a transformational $95 million lead gift from longtime UAB supporter Marnix E. Heersink, M.D., named the school the UAB Marnix E. Heersink School of Medicine. UAB enhanced the philanthropic support with a generous contribution of $5 million from Triton Health Systems, bringing the total support for the school to $100 million.

Today, UAB is a comprehensive urban university with a nationally recognized academic health center. UAB is the largest research institution in the state of Alabama as well as the largest single employer in the state.

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