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Established by her family in 2014, the Sara Crews Finley, MD Leadership Scholarship honors the legacy of a pioneer in medical genetics, beloved faculty member and student mentor. The Sara Crews Finley, MD Leadership Scholarship recognizes and supports students demonstrating exceptional leadership abilities both in and outside of their medical training.


Eligibility Requirements

Applicants for the Sara Crews Finley, MD Leadership Scholars Program must be rising full-time third-year students in good standing at the Heersink School of Medicine.

Applicants should demonstrate solid academic achievement and be ranked in the top 25 percent of their class as determined by our school at the time of application.

Applicants for this scholarship must also have demonstrated leadership skills, including activities in and outside of their medical school experience; a commitment to service of others; and the principles of integrity and determination that were the hallmarks of Dr. Finley’s life and work.

This full-tuition scholarship will be awarded at the beginning of the recipient’s third year of medical school and will be renewed for the fourth year, assuming the required class ranking is maintained, the recipient otherwise remains in good standing, and the student continues in medical school during the following school year.

Should a recipient leave the Heersink School of Medicine before completing the year in which the funds are awarded, he or she will be subject to our policies regarding repayment of tuition and potential readmission/resumption of his or her studies.


To apply, click the button below and complete the General Scholarship, the Heersink School of Medicine, and the Sara Crews Finley Scholarship applications.

You will be asked to provide information on your extracurricular activities and interests, along with honors, awards and leadership roles you earned in undergraduate and medical school. You will also be asked to electronically submit two letters of recommendation, with no more than one from a current Heersink School of Medicine faculty member.

By your action of submitting the online application, you are granting permission for this application to be shared with the Finley Scholarship Selection Committee and, if you are selected, for the Heersink School of Medicine to issue a news release and photo of you.

The application period for the 2024 scholarship will open on February 2, 2024, and close on March 29, 2024.
Apply here 

About Sara Crews Finley, MD

Sara Crews Finley, MD, made an indelible mark as a pioneer in medicine at UAB. Along with her husband, Wayne H. Finley, MD, PhD, she co-founded the first medical genetics program in the southeastern United States, and was co-director of the Laboratory of Medical Genetics at UAB for more than 30 years. In recognition of their collective contributions, an endowed chair in medical genetics and the conference center at UAB’s Hugh Kaul Genetics Building bear their names.

finleysSara Crews Finley, M.D. and Wayne H. Finley, M.D., Ph.D.

Born February 26, 1930, Dr. Finley was the daughter of Jessie Mathews Crews and J.B. Crews of Lineville, Alabama. She graduated from Lineville High School, the University of Alabama, and the Medical College of Alabama. Postgraduate training included an internship at Lloyd Noland Hospital, a three-year pediatric research fellowship at the Medical College of Alabama, and a traineeship at the Institute for Medical Genetics at the University of Uppsala, Sweden.

In 1960, she joined the faculty of the Medical College of Alabama, now the Heersink School of Medicine. The Finleys guided the medical genetics research, training and service program for 35 years, providing genetics services and developing specialized diagnostic laboratories for detectable genetic disorders.

Dr. Finley also left a legacy that, while perhaps less visible, is no less powerful and enduring, for not only was she a visionary leader in her field, she was also a wise, kind and generous mentor to countless students who aspired to succeed in and outside of the medical profession. As a member of the medical school admissions committee for 20 years, Dr. Finley guided and advised hundreds of applicants seeking careers in medicine.

Dr. Finley served as the first female president of the University of Alabama Medical Alumni Association and the Jefferson County Medical Society. She was the first female member of the Rotary Club of Birmingham and the first woman to serve on the board of Compass Bank. She received numerous professional and academic awards, including the American Medical Women’s Association/National Library of Medicine Legends Award; the National Outstanding Alumna Award of Zeta Tau Alpha; the Birmingham Business Journal’s Lifetime Achievement Award; and the Brother Bryan Humanitarian Award of the Women’s Committee of 100 for Birmingham.

In each of these roles, Dr. Finley possessed a rare combination of political acumen, business savvy, scientific knowledge, and the desire to help others achieve their potential.

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