November 19, 2014

Kirby Bland stepping down after 15 years as chair

Written by
Bland-Bachrach-Photos-004After 15 years of influential leadership as chair of the Department of Surgery in the UAB School of Medicine and surgeon-in-chief at UAB Hospital, Kirby I. Bland, M.D. has announced he will step down from those positions effective July 1, 2015. Bland will remain at UAB where he will continue to care for patients, complete his translational research and devote his expertise to the education and training of future surgeons. 

Bland made his announcement to the Department of Surgery on Nov. 4. Selwyn Vickers, M.D., senior vice president for Medicine and dean of the School of Medicine, later announced Bland’s intentions to the UAB Medicine leadership and the School of Medicine faculty and staff.

 “I’m proud of all that the UAB Medicine leadership and surgical faculty have accomplished during my tenure as chair in the Department of Surgery. We built upon the excellent academics already in place, and we recruited heavily to put in place several extramurally-funded investigators, which allowed us to grow in both education and research,” said Bland, the Fay Fletcher Kerner Professor of Surgery.

“Dr. Bland has been a transformative figure in growing and enhancing an academic culture at UAB through his leadership and faculty support that values great clinical care, scholarship and extramural funding,” Vickers said. “He is an outstanding physician, clinician scientist and educator. I sincerely thank him for his leadership in the Department of Surgery and the School of Medicine, and I’m sure he’ll continue to contribute to UAB in the next phase of his distinguished career.”

Bland, a renowned clinician scientist for his research for novel therapies in breast, colon and rectal cancers, plans to focus heavily on his translational research. He’s been the principal investigator for the Specialized Project of Research Excellence (SPORE) in breast cancer research funded by the National Institutes of Health and National Cancer Institute since 2000. He’s also the principal investigator of an NIH-funded training grant, which Bland said exposes young doctors to surgical science in all areas of surgery, as well as gynecologic oncology, neurosurgery and urology.

Bland earned his undergraduate degree from Auburn University and began his medical education at the UAB School of Medicine, graduating in 1968. From 1993 to 1999, he was J. Murray Beardsley Professor and chair at Brown University.  He joined the UAB faculty in October 1999 as chair of the Department of Surgery and as surgeon-in-chief at UAB Hospital and the Kirklin Clinic. He served for nine years as deputy director of the UAB Comprehensive Cancer Center, and has since had a key role in the center as a senior advisor to the director. He was chosen to deliver the 2014 Distinguished Faculty Lecture, the highest honor bestowed by UAB to a faculty member.

Bland is active in multiple professional surgical organizations, serving as president for six national societies to include: the Association of Academic Surgery, the Society of Surgical Oncology, the Society of Surgical Chairs, Southern Surgical Association, Southeastern Surgical Congress and most recently, the American Surgical Association. He served as first president of the American College of Surgeons.  He is a senior director of the American Board of Surgery and the American Board of Colon & Rectal Surgery.

Bland is the author or co-author of nearly 600 journal publications and has had a hand in the publication of 44 textbooks. Currently, he is on the editorial boards of 15 peer-reviewed scientific journals, including The American Journal of Surgery, of which he’s been editor-in-chief since 2005.

C. Seth Landefeld, M.D., chair of the Department of Medicine, and William W. Andrews, M.D., Ph.D., chair of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, will co-chair a committee that will immediately begin conducting the search for a new chair and surgeon-in-chief.