wilsons 275x275Lloyd and Sherry Wilson with their daughter Jennifer Wilson Aday. In gratitude for the care Jennifer received from the UAB Department of Neurosurgery, the Wilsons made a gift to fund resident research through the Clinical Research Scholars program. When Birmingham natives Lloyd and Sherry Wilson experienced every parent’s worst nightmare—their child undergoing a serious, life-threatening medical emergency—they had no idea they would find their family’s saving grace right here at home.

“We wouldn’t have been aware of the depth of UAB’s Department of Neurosurgery had it not been for personal events,” says Lloyd Wilson, president of asset management company Lloyd R. Wilson & Associates. “Drs. Mark Hadley and Jim Markert provided life-saving care to our daughter Jennifer during an incredibly difficult situation. We are forever indebted to them and to the talents of the whole department, and we wanted to give back.”

In gratitude, they made a gift to support the future of neurosurgery: the department’s residents. The New York Life Insurance Company Foundation has generously agreed to match the Wilsons’ gift. Trained in scientific inquiry, neurosurgery residents are expected to conduct research and publish their findings in peer-reviewed journals. From the first year through the last day of training, they are schooled in evidence-based practice and clinical outcomes research. This training philosophy produces highly skilled and intellectually curious neurosurgeons prepared to practice in any setting—academia, industry, or community practice.

Falling under the Neurosurgery Resident Education Fund, the Clinical Research Scholars program supports all residents and helps underwrite clinical research projects. These funds also back residents’ travel to scientific conferences and other related activities that contribute to their well-rounded training.

“We are unbelievably blessed to have such incredible talent and resources in Birmingham. That’s why we decided to fund a Clinical Research Scholar in the Department of Neurosurgery,” says Wilson. “We wanted to help keep this talent here for years and years to come.” Research suggests that the Wilsons are on to something: According to several national studies, about 80 percent of doctors settle within 50 miles of where they complete their residencies.

Markert, the James Garber Galbraith Endowed Chair of Neurosurgery, agrees the Wilsons’ gift will help keep talent here in Birmingham. “These gifts are critical to the Department of Neurosurgery to continue to attract and retain the outstanding faculty and residents we are fortunate to have,” says Markert. “In addition to providing superb clinical care, faculty members’ and residents’ career goals include researching novel and improved patient care approaches for the future. Without generous contributions such as these, we would be unable to provide the resources to allow these talented individuals to achieve their goals.”

The Wilsons also made their gift to help future families find their saving grace, and they’re hopeful others will follow suit. “The greatest philanthropy involves giving back to something you feel passionate about. It’s about creating a platform that anticipates the needs of other people, and we hope others feel this same call to action,” says Wilson.

To learn more about giving to the Department of Neurosurgery, contact Katye Fuglaar kfuglaar@uabmc.edu or 205-934-0792. 

By Emily Henagan