July 27, 2023

Regional Campuses: Visits, EJI collaboration, and the inaugural Montgomery Health Policy Meeting

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During his first six months as dean of the Heersink School of Medicine, Dr. Anupam Agarwal has been consistently active in the school's regional campuses. Early in his new appointment, Agarwal visited each campus and met with leadership to discuss student and faculty needs. Additionally, our Montgomery Regional Medical Campus hosted the inaugural Montgomery Health Policy Meeting and is looking at ways to collaborate with the Equal Justice Initative (EJI) in the future.

Regional Campus Visits

One of Dr. Anupam Agarwal’s first initiatives upon being named dean was to visit each of the Heersink School of Medicine's regional campuses and meet with leadership, faculty, and students to discuss current challenges, concerns, and opportuniScreenshot 2023 07 27 at 1.52.52 PMDr. Lambiase speaks at the Montgomery Health Policy Meetingties for growth.

Our regional campuses in Montgomery, Huntsville, and Tuscaloosa expand our academic reach and responsibilities in addition to educating physicians in rural and underserved areas of the state.

“The training our students experience at these campuses is invaluable, so it is critical that we communicate regarding the needs of our students and faculty at these campuses while looking towards the future,” says Agarwal.

While onsite at the campuses, some essential items discussed included student needs, such as travel expenses, elective opportunities, and increased student-specific communications; faculty recruitment; and additional funding and spots for students.

Following Agarwal’s visit to all regional campuses, he and Heersink School of Medicine leadership met to consider these needs and potential solutions, including ideas for possible support, increased flexibility within training schedules, and enhanced accommodations. Additionally, leadership is looking into partnering with local non-profit organizations to offer electives, allowing our students a unique opportunity to engage with the community and groups of people with specific needs. Agarwal and the school’s leadership team are looking at outlining a strategic plan to grow available spots for medical students and funding each year, with a consistent increase for the foreseeable future.

UAB and the Equal Justice Initiative: Collaboration and 2024 commencement announcement

The UAB Heersink School of Medicine and the Equal Justice Initiative have been collaborating in various ways.

Bryan Stevenson, founder and executive director of the Equal Justice Initiative (EJI) in Montgomery, was officially announced as the 2024 Heersink School of Medicine Commencement speaker. Agarwal had the opportunity to meet Stevenson prior to the inaugural Montgomery Health Policy Meeting hosted by the UAB Montgomery Regional Campus, during which Stevenson was a speaker.

Additionally, our Montgomery Regional Campus is looking into further collaboration with the EJI. Margaret Hayden, M.D., and Sanjay Kishore, M.D., clinical assistant professors with the Montgomery Internal Medicine department, are lead physicians on a new health clinic that was launched by the EJI this year. This clinic provides free health screenings and services to formerly incarcerated people, which is a particularly vulnerable group with unique health challenges.

Hayden, Kishore, and our Montgomery Regional Campus have been discussing ways that our school can collaborate with the EJI on future exciting programs for our medical students around this clinic and other areas. Agarwal and the Heersink School of Medicine are hopeful to share more information soon as these efforts take shape and we identify more opportunities to support the EJI Clinic and its important work.

Inaugural Montgomery Health Policy Meeting

The Montgomery Health Policy Meeting, sponsored by UAB Heersink School of Medicine Montgomery Regional Medical Campus, held its inaugural event on April 13, 2023. The objective of this meeting was to bring together prominent individuals from the fields of medicine, public health, public policy, and government to discuss urgent issues affecting the state. The attendance of over 200 people highlighted the significance of this meeting to the community.

The esteemed Kennamer Distinguished Lecturer, Dr. David Whitcomb, delivered the keynote address. Since its establishment in 1978, the Kennamer Distinguished Lecture series has been inviting renowned leaders in the health care field to Montgomery, facilitating interactions with the local medical, business, and political community and providing a platform for discussions on significant medical issues.

Key highlights from the event included discussions on how Montgomery can unite as the state's capital to effectively prepare for future generations of patients, strategies to inspire and train current students to pursue careers in medicine and patient care, and innovative ways to leverage technology to enhance physician accessibility for patients while optimizing their time and responsibilities.

Louis Lambiase, dean of the Montgomery Regional Medical Campus at the UAB Heersink School of Medicine, has been actively working on collaborations to lessen the burden of health care disparities in the area as well as make the area as attractive as possible for young professionals to live and work. The inaugural Montgomery Health Policy Meeting was a huge step towards these goals by showcasing the campus and what it has to offer–excellent education, health care, and involvement in the community and beyond.