After 25 years of exemplary leadership as chair of the Department of Pediatrics in the University of Alabama at Birmingham’s School of Medicine and physician-in-chief of Children’s of Alabama hospital, Sergio Stagno, M.D., has announced that he will step down from those positions upon the appointment of a successor. After a new chair is in place, Stagno will remain at UAB and Children’s of Alabama to continue his work as a dedicated educator and physician, working with students and residents and treating patients.
Stagno made his announcement to the Department of Pediatrics on Sept. 3, 2013. Anupam Agarwal, M.D., interim senior vice president and dean of the UAB School of Medicine, and Selwyn Vickers, M.D., who will succeed Agarwal in October, later announced Stagno’s decision to UAB Medicine leadership.
“Dr. Stagno exemplifies strength as a leader, colleague, mentor and physician. Please join us in thanking him for his outstanding leadership and wishing him well on the next phase of his career,” Agarwal and Vickers wrote in their email. “Dr. Stagno has been a tireless advocate for UAB, our patients, students, residents and staff since he first came here from Chile in 1971 as a perinatal infectious diseases fellow.”
Stagno joined the faculty in 1973 as an assistant professor and in 1980 was promoted to professor. In 1988, he was named chair of the Department of Pediatrics at UAB and Physician-in-Chief of Children’s of Alabama. In 1993 he was appointed to the Katharine Reynolds Ireland Chair of Pediatrics. He also served as interim vice president for Health Affairs in 1995, interim president of the University of Alabama Health Services Foundation in 2008 and as president of HSF from 2010 to 2012.
Stagno has been a world leader in pediatric infectious diseases, serving on the executive committee of the Pediatric Infectious Diseases Society and on several NIH study sections and advisory councils. His research has focused on cytomegalovirus, especially infection acquired during pregnancy and the consequences of the disease for children. Through the Child Health Foundation, a 501c3 organization directed by Stagno, he has provided funding for the establishment of three Centers of Excellence in Chile and promoted the exchange of pediatricians in training between these universities and UAB.
Lou Bridges, M.D., Ph.D., director of the Division of Clinical Immunology and Rheumatology, and James Markert, M.D., who officially becomes chair of the new Department of Neurosurgery on Oct. 1, will co-chair a committee that will immediately begin conducting a national search for a new chair and physician-in-chief. Agarwal and Vickers said, “This is an extremely important role that brings together the faculty expertise of UAB with Children of Alabama’s state-of-the-art care.”