The Department of Pathology congratulates Ona Marie Faye-Petersen, M.D., on her retirement after nearly three decades of diagnostic service, clinically-based research, and teaching in the UAB Department of Pathology.

RS8679 ona faye petersen 1Ona Faye-Petersen, M.D., Professor Emeritus

Dr. Faye-Petersen’s career at UAB began in January 1, 1992 when she joined the Department of Pathology as an assistant professor specializing in Perinatal-Pediatric Pathology. Over the next 30 years, she became a world-renowned expert in perinatal-pediatric pathology.

Teaching has been a part of Faye-Petersen’s work since she started at UAB, leading laboratory modules and lecturing courses in the University of Alabama School of Medicine, covering a range of in topics including from “freshman fundamentals” in genetic disorders, cardiovascular malformations, and gynecologic, genitourinary, and endocrine pathology, to participating in autopsy electives, as well as leading mentorships in perinatal pathology. Faye-Petersen also lectured in the UAB Schools of Dentistry and Optometry, taught courses to pathology residents and faculty, and gave presentations to trainees in medical genetics, cardiology and cardiothoracic surgery as well as monthly lectures to fellows in Neonatology and Maternal Fetal Medicine. She has won multiple Argus honors teaching awards from the UAB School of Medicine, and was nominated multiple times for the UAB President’s Award for Excellence in Teaching from the Joint Health Sciences.

On the clinical side, Faye-Petersen has been Group Leader for perinatal pathology at the UAB SOM since the early 1990s. In May 1995, in conjunction with UAB Hospital, she established the Microdissection Laboratory for diagnosis and research in adverse perinatal outcomes and served as its head until July 2020. In 1997 she established a research and teaching cardiovascular registry of over 600 specimens to support intra- and extra-institutional multidisciplinary tissue research and education in cardiovascular malformations. She was a consulting pathologist with Children’s Hospital of Alabama for 15 years, and is an associate scientist with the Center for Metabolic Bone Disease. From 1991 until 2018 she served as the only pathology member of the UAB Perinatal Morbidity and Mortality Committee.

Throughout her career Faye-Petersen has been a key figure in the Society for Pediatric Pathology, establishing the Perinatal Section, annual Perinatal Pathology Symposia, and a free standing 3-day course in Perinatal Pathology, and serving as Chair of the education and as member of multiple committees, a platform presentation moderator. In 2016, she was SPP President. During her year at the helm, the group revised its bylaws and committees, installed a board of directors, and held a search for a new editor-in-chief for the society journal, Pediatric and Developmental Pathology, on which she was an editorial board member. She was the North American Councilor for the International Pediatric Pathology Association (2015-2018), the educational organization for specialty training in pediatric pathology in countries outside the US, and traveled as a lecturer in 5 of its Courses.  She also gave short courses in the International Academy of Pathology, USCAP, and NeoPrep, a board review course for neonatologists.

Faye-Petersen has published 80 manuscripts in addition to a textbook on placental pathology, 4 book chapters and some 60 abstracts. She is the lead author on a new placenta book with correlative prenatal ultrasound images for Obstetricians, for release in 2022. She has been an invited lecturer at numerous local, regional, national and international meetings, and has delivered 33 perinatal grand rounds lectures at UAB in 19 years. The awards she has received are too numerous to mention but include being named as a “Best Doctor in America” every year from 1996 to present, and ranking among the top 1% of physicians in the United States according to U.S. News and World Report, from 2012 to present.

Before joining UAB, Faye-Petersen was a clinical assistant professor at the University of Utah, and an associate pathologist at Primary Children’s Medical Center, Salt Lake City, Utah. She completed two fellowships in New York, one in surgical pathology at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center and another in pediatric pathology at the Mount Sinai Medical Center, prior to her academic tenure.
Dr. Faye-Petersen’s legacy continues in the establishment of two funds in support of education. The first, set up in 2012, is a multidisciplinary teaching award for UAB Pathology residents and fellows who demonstrate an outstanding commitment to educating fellow trainees, trainees in other medical disciplines, and UAB medical students about pathology and its many important roles in improving patient care and outcomes. The second, established in 2019, is an endowed fund to support trainees’ attendance of workshops and symposia at national and international pathology and multidisciplinary medical meetings.

Additionally, Faye-Petersen spearheaded the very successful Suits for Success program at UAB, a clothing drive for disadvantaged women in need of professional attire for job interviews and work. This campus-wide event run by the UAB Commission on the Status of Women is a weeklong event each spring. In the 14 years since its inception, it has resulted in the donation of countless work-appropriate outfits for My Sister’s Closet in the YWCA Downtown, as well as its shelters in North and Central Alabama.

Faye-Petersen was named Professor Emeritus in August 2020, and an endowed professorship was created by the Department of Pathology in her name in March 2021.

OFP Endowment

Outside of work, she enjoys outdoor activities such as hiking and canoeing, as well as dancing contra, Cajun and zydeco. She says she hopes to travel, and volunteer with art and dance therapy programs for Autistic children and adults. Faye-Petersen, never one to rest on her laurels, aspires to learn to play the keyboard in retirement, read non-medical books, and write children’s stories.