May 16, 2023

Cox named 2023 Dean’s Excellence Award Winner in Service

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daniel cox square webDaniel Cox, M.D., associate professor in the Department of Surgery’s Division of Trauma and Acute Care Surgery, has been awarded the 2023 Dean’s Excellence Award in service.

Dr. Cox serves as UAB’s Trauma Medical Director and Chief of the UAB Trauma Service. He is also a Colonel in the United States Air Force Reserves. He brings expertise and passion to each of his roles and he is dedicated to improving the care of trauma patients and wounded soldiers.

Dr. Cox recently led a redesign of UAB’s trauma service, resulting in improved patient outcomes, a reduced length of stay for patients, and an increase in the amount of trauma patients cared for. Because of this increase in efficiency, the community and state of Alabama can be assured of access to trauma services when they are needed – 24/7/365. In comparison to hospitals with similar trauma volumes and complexity of cases, UAB’s trauma service ranks in the top ten percent of patient outcomes and maintains a 96 percent survival rate.

Last year, Dr. Cox successfully led UAB through the process to receive re-verification from the American College of Surgeons as a Level I Trauma Center. UAB is the only ACS-verified Level I Trauma Center in the state and has met the strenuous verification requirements continuously since 1999.

A UAB Heersink School of Medicine alum, Dr. Cox completed both his general surgery residency and surgical critical care fellowship at UAB and came back as a faculty member in 2018 after completing his active-duty service.

Dr. Cox has served in several deployments, most notably as trauma czar, chief of surgery, and surgical services flight commander at Craig Joint Theater Hospital in Bagram, Afghanistan. He has been awarded the Air Force Meritorious Service Medal three times.

Dr. Cox, now a Colonel in the Air Force Reserves, serves as the Senior Medical Advisor for the Air Force Special Operation Command (AFSOC) Command Surgeon, providing support and guidance in the organizing, training, and equipping of AFSOC medical forces.
AFSOC’s 24th Special Operations Wing, it’s special tactics unit, partners with UAB in two key programs – the Special Operations Surgical Team (SOST), and the Special Operations Center for Medical Integration and Development (SOCMID).

Dr. Cox has played a critical role in the development of SOCMID, the educational hub for Air Force Pararescuemen and medics that allows them to come to UAB for a two-week rotation where they’re clinically integrated, getting hands-on experience in the trauma center to sharpen their medical skills between deployments.

In addition to his extensive experience in the Air Force, Cox is also considered a subject matter expert on military-civilian partnerships. He’s lived both sides of the experience: he was an active-duty surgeon while embedded as an assistant professor of surgery at the University of Cincinnati Medical Center and now works on the civilian side supporting the embedded personnel here at UAB. He’s in regular contact with and gives lectures on trauma management to deployed teams across the globe and provides policy guidance for the Air Force.

Cox also led the UAB Department of Surgery through the response to the COVID-19 pandemic, organizing coverage models and critical services to ensure the needs of patients were being met. He works collaboratively with multiple subspecialty services to coordinate optimal care protocols for trauma patients and is clinically engaged as one of UAB’s busiest trauma surgeons.

Last year Dr. Cox received Brewer-Heslin Endowed Award for Professionalism in Medicine and was named a UAB Emergency Medicine Consultant of the Year.

“Dr. Cox’s service to his country and to our patients is undeniable, and we are proud of him for all that he has accomplished in his career thus far,” says Fay Fletcher Kerner chair of the Department of Surgery Dr. Herbert Chen. “The Dean’s Excellence Award is a phenomenal recognition befitting of Dr. Cox’s contributions as a surgeon-leader.”