by Christina Crowe

Kenneth “Ken” Fallon, M.D., Associate Professor, will retire from his position in the Division of Neuropathology at the same institution where he did his fellowship in this unique specialty, effective August 31, 2023.

Fallon’s career was highlighted by his love of teaching trainees, he says.
Fallon Kenneth

“Overall, it has been the opportunity to participate in resident/fellow education that I have found to be the most rewarding experience throughout my time here at UAB,” Fallon says. “I am fortunate to have had the chance to provide teaching sessions to, to exchange ideas with, and most importantly, to listen to all of our residents and fellows throughout the years. Their unfailing collegiality has meant a lot to me, and I am hopeful that all of the teaching has provided some benefit to them.”

Originally from New Orleans, Fallon received his medical degree from the Louisiana State University School of Medicine in New Orleans, followed by a Master of Science degree from LSU’s Health Sciences Center School of Graduate Studies. He completed his residency in anatomical and clinical pathology at LSU, and worked as an instructor at LSU Health Sciences Center-New Orleans for two years before being named assistant professor in 1998. Fallon worked in that role for five years and during that time he came to Birmingham to pursue a fellowship in neuropathology at UAB’s Department of Pathology, at the suggestion of several of his LSU colleagues.

“It seemed that a formal fellowship in neuropathology from UAB would help to refine, and certainly add to, what basic knowledge I did have about central and peripheral nervous system diseases,” Fallon recalls. “I was fortunate that UAB still had an opening in its neuropathology fellowship program for a position that would start in July of 2001. I was even more fortunate to have had the opportunity to work with attending faculty in the Division at that time—the 20 years since have passed so quickly.”

Living and working in New Orleans in 2005 Fallon, like many residents of the area, was impacted by Hurricane Katrina, and temporarily relocated to Birmingham under locum tenens.

“The times following Hurricane Katrina were filled with challenges of a severity that none of us had faced before, mainly the displacement from our family home for an extended period of time and the cleanup,” Fallon recalls. “UAB was always a source of easement and support.  My family and I will always remember the generosity of the UAB community. In the immediate aftermath and in looking back 18 years later, the locum tenens here was an opportunity to stay active in the practice of pathology, to reconnect with colleagues, and, in retrospect, to begin a healing.”

Following his time at UAB, Fallon worked in the Division of Neuropathology for a year, then moved to an assistant professor role at West Virginia University Robert C. Byrd Health Sciences Center, in the Department of Pathology. After three years there, in 2009 Fallon accepted an associate professor position with UAB Pathology’s Division of Neuropathology.

Throughout his time in the department Fallon has held many roles, but teaching remains among his favorite tasks. He first started teaching by serving as medical director of the Pathologists’ Assistant School at West Virginia University, directing their pathology and anatomy courses, and giving lectures for medical students. At UAB, Fallon taught elective courses in neuropathology for third- and fourth-year medical students who rotate in the division, and was co-director of the UAB Neurosciences “Brain” Module course for second-year students.

In fact, Fallon has received several teaching awards throughout his career, starting with “Clinician Teacher of the Year” and “Educator of the Year” at WVU’s Department of Pathology. At UAB he received the Leonard H. Robinson Award for Excellence in Resident Education in Anatomic Pathology in 2018 and again in 2020. He is a repeat winner of the annual Heersink School of Medicine Argus Awards for teaching second-year medical students in the brain module.

“Ken has been a valuable member of our neuropathology team for nearly 15 years, during which time he served as an extremely dedicated diagnostician, an award-winning teacher, and effective leader of the fellowship program,” says C. Ryan Miller, M.D., Ph.D., Translational Research Endowed Professor and Division Director, Neuropathology. “We will miss his valuable contributions to the division, department, school and university.

In retirement, Fallon says he hopes to be able to continue to support resident and fellow education “here at UAB in any way that I can.” He and his wife Rose plan to visit family who, once centered in New Orleans, have moved throughout the country.