UABMedicine Fall18 CoverIn this issue's cover feature, read about how UAB Medicine is stepping forward to address physician burnout and promote wellness among faculty and staff. You’ll also read reflections from Selwyn Vickers, M.D., FACS, as he looks back on five years as senior vice president for medicine and dean of the School of Medicine; learn about our newest multimodal radiological imaging advances; read about how the School of Medicine is preparing students for residency success; follow the newest class of medical students through Orientation Week; and more.

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Volume 44, Number 2

Helping Healers graphicUAB Medicine is stepping forward to address physician burnout and promote wellness among faculty and staff.

Much has been written about the ongoing upheaval in the health care system. From passage of the Affordable Care Act to changes in reimbursement rates to implementation of electronic medical records (EMRs), wave after wave of innovation and disruption have brought sometimes painful changes to the medical profession.

The entire health care industry is becoming increasingly complex. The workload grows, while the number of hours in the day remains the same, constricting time for vital physician-patient interaction. Insurance and payment methods vary greatly from person to person, further complicating the system. Office work regularly carries over to home life, and the pressure of the daily grind follows right along with it.

SMV Five Year 275x275Dr. Selwyn Vickers reflects on five years as dean of the UAB School of Medicine.When you learn of the lengths to which previous generations of the family of Selwyn Vickers, M.D., FACS, went in pursuit of an education, it seems inevitable that his career path would lead him to the office of dean of UAB School of Medicine. His parents, John and Clara Vickers, not only earned college degrees—a rarity for African-Americans living in Jim Crow-era Alabama—but they also both earned master’s degrees in education fields. His father went on to become one of the first 15 African-Americans to earn a doctoral degree from the University of Alabama. He later became dean of the School of Education at Alabama A&M University in Huntsville, where Vickers spent most of his formative years.

Vickers’ parents inherited their reverence for learning from their forebears. His paternal grandfather taught himself to read and write at age 44. His maternal grandmother was a college graduate who worked as a school principal in the 1940s, and her father studied under Booker T. Washington.

Cardiac TAVR 275x275Multimodal imaging in radiology spurs new perspectives on diagnosis and treatment.In the realm of technology, Moore’s Law states that computers double in power every two years. In radiology, which is driven by advances in imaging technology, there’s a similar principle at work. Every new piece of imaging equipment to hit the market offers faster results and higher-resolution radiological scans, as well as new possibilities in diagnosis and treatment.

Over the past few years at UAB, new imaging equipment and facilities, a new cyclotron particle accelerator to produce imaging agents, and advances in multimodal molecular imaging have made imaging more powerful than ever before.

Residency Ready 275x275The School of Medicine prepares students for residency success.When it comes to snagging a coveted medical residency on Match Day, the competition is hot and getting hotter. That is because the number of residency applicants in the U.S. Match has long outpaced the number of available medical residency spots. In fact, the number of residency registrants reached an all-time high of 43,909 in 2018, for only 30,232 first-year post-graduate (PGY-1) positions.

Getting the preferred residency is just the beginning. New interns often find the first few weeks on the job nerve-racking as they begin treating patients on their own.

“Certainly all our students have required clinical rotations and clerkships for their specific disciplines, including internal medicine, pediatrics, surgery, neurology, psychiatry, and family medicine,” says Craig Hoesley, M.D., senior associate dean of medical education. “But still, we want to give the students specific skill sets that will help them succeed in every way in their residencies.”

Using Your Brain 275x275Neurology medical education training gets revamped.Victor Sung, M.D., associate professor in the UAB Department of Neurology, can help promote the School of Medicine’s neurology medical education because he empathizes with students, even if he attended a different medical school.

“I was a neurosciences major as an undergrad, so I always liked studying the brain,” says Sung, who attended the University of Texas Southwestern Medical School in Dallas. “However, my second-year course in that area was poorly organized and poorly rated. I did not do well in the course and had to explain my performance during my neurology residency interviews. I didn’t want anyone else to experience that.”

Orientation Diary 275x275Follow the incoming medical students through their first days on campus.Day 1, July 23

The incoming class has its first day on campus! Day one started with a welcome from Selwyn Vickers, M.D., FACS, senior vice president for medicine and dean of the School of Medicine; a “Sorting Ceremony” during which each student received their Learning Community assignment; and the first lecture of the “Patient, Doctor, and Society” course. To end the day, students received their locker combinations and iPads, and got fitted for their white coats, generously provided by the Medical Alumni Association.

Tully 275x275Remembering urologist and former Medical Alumni Association President Albert Tully Jr., M.D.Ever since the death of his father, Albert Tully Jr., M.D., on June 3, Scott Tully Sr., M.D., has received daily condolences from fellow physicians, nurses, and patients. “Everyone who met him has told me, ‘Your dad was a great guy,’” Tully says. “I’m proud of who he was and the legacy he left behind.”

Albert Tully died after a nearly 10-year battle with Parkinson’s disease. He was a fixture around Birmingham with his late wife, Antoinette “Toni” Tully, a well-known local artist to whom he was married for 53 years. The younger Tully says his father would jokingly introduce himself as Toni Tully’s husband.

Farah Khan 275x275Alumna’s love for Indian films sparks interest in writing.At first glance, Bollywood, medicine, and health and science seem like an odd trio of interests, but for School of Medicine 2013 graduate, Farah Naz Khan, M.D., writing about those topics is a way to unwind after a long day at the hospital.

From movie reviews to opinion columns, Khan developed a habit of writing about cultural issues from a South Asian-American perspective during her fourth year of medical school. She continued writing while completing an internal medicine residency at Emory University School of Medicine in Atlanta.

BCBS Primary Care 275x275Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Alabama gives scholarships to train primary care physicians.The majority of Alabama’s counties do not have enough primary care physicians to meet the needs of their residents. According to the Alabama Department of Public Health, under the federal definition of Health Professional Shortage Areas, 62 of Alabama’s 67 counties have a primary care shortage. To help tackle the issue, the UAB School of Medicine and Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Alabama have created a program to increase the number of physicians practicing in rural parts of the state.

Blue Cross is giving UAB $3.6 million to train a total of 60 primary care physicians. The physicians will return to practice in a county with a primary care shortage after they complete their residencies. The scholarship will pay the tuition for up to 12 third- and fourth-year students each year for five years.

CCC 275x275James Estes and Mike Slive made generous gifts to the UAB Comprehensive Cancer Center during their lifetimes. James Estes and Mike Slive never met in their lifetimes, but the two Alabama natives who passed away this year had much in common. Both powerhouses in Alabama, Estes and Slive redefined their respective industries—Estes in nursing homes and Slive in college athletics. Perhaps their greatest bond can be found in their commitments to end cancer.

Estes survived a bout with cancer during his lifetime but lost his first wife, Mary Ellen, to ovarian cancer in 2003. Slive inspired many during his public battle with prostate cancer, to which he succumbed in May 2018. Despite cancer taking so much from both men, they each found a way to help thousands of cancer patients. And their influence continues to reverberate at the UAB Comprehensive Cancer Center.

Burleson 275x275The Burleson Foundation funds record number of medical scholarships and new endowed professorship.Paul W. Burleson, M.D., served the School of Medicine as an internist for 35 years, from his initial appointment as an instructor in medicine in 1951 to his retirement in 1986 after many years as associate professor of clinical medicine. He was active in numerous professional organizations, serving in leadership roles locally and nationally. But perhaps his greatest legacy within the school is the lasting impact of he and his wife Martha’s philanthropic giving, which continues to shape the lives of medical students and internal medicine training at UAB.

From his own experience, Burleson was keenly aware of the heavy financial burden medical school debt creates for students. He also wanted to encourage Alabama’s best and brightest students to train in Alabama rather than be lured away by out-of-state medical schools. For those reasons, he and Martha made outright and testamentary gifts to the School of Medicine to establish the Paul W. and Martha R. Burleson Medical Scholarship Endowment and the Paul W. Burleson Scholarship Foundation, which provides medical student scholarship and internal medicine faculty support. To date, the School of Medicine has received nearly $4.7 million in gifts and pledges from the Burlesons and the foundation.

Clayton Russell 275x275Scholarship is renamed to honor esteemed cardiologist and cardiothoracic surgeon.When the American Pulmonary Medicine Institute (APMI) established the Dr. Orville W. Clayton Endowed Medical Scholarship in 2015, the name was significant. Clayton had been a founding member when the institute—which serves to educate patients and physicians alike, support scholarly research, and provide global humanitarian relief—was formed in 1991. He was also well known as a groundbreaking cardiothoracic surgeon in Birmingham.

Therefore, it was no small decision to amend the scholarship’s name. After another beloved and longtime APMI board member, Richard Russell, M.D., passed away earlier this year, the board chose to change the scholarship’s name to honor both men, officially renaming it the O.W. Clayton/Richard O. Russell Endowed Medical Scholarship.

Anderson Urology 275x275New urology chair drives patient care and research.For Charles Anderson Sr., there is no question that UAB is a worthy investment. Anderson and his family have proof. Together, they have watched their dollars make a difference by supporting the Hilda B. Anderson Endowed Chair in Nephrology and the Anderson Family Chair in Medical Education, Research, and Patient Care in the School of Medicine. “UAB holds a special place in our hearts,” Anderson says.

But after receiving expert care and developing a friendship with his physician, Anderson wanted to make an impact in yet another area, so he and his family are now endowing their third chair: the Anderson Family Endowed Chair in Urology.

Vogt 275x275Tim and Sharon Vogt's planned gift will support research in the School of Medicine in an area to which they have personal ties.When Tim and Sharon Vogt were making plans for their living will, they considered the people they had loved and lost—including family members who battled cancer and their good friend, Andrea Donner, who struggled with ALS, the progressive neurodegenerative disorder commonly known as Lou Gehrig’s disease.

So the couple decided to include UAB in their estate plans to support research and scholarship in those areas. Their gift will support at least one endowed chair within the School of Medicine, either within the Comprehensive Cancer Center or within the Department of Neurology to support ALS research. The decision will be left to the school’s dean, because the Vogts want the money to go where it is needed most.

From Archives 275x275newoneLearn more about the history of UAB Radiology. Snapshots from the history of UAB Radiology.