BHM PIONEERS HEADSHOTSLast Thursday, the Department of Pediatrics hosted the inaugural UAB Pioneers in Pediatrics: Celebrating Black History Month. This event was created as a way to celebrate Black History Month and to provide an opportunity to learn about the history of diversity in the department and ways we can improve diversity, equity and inclusion. A few pioneers in the UAB Department of Pediatrics, Paul Amamoo, M.D., Derrol Dawkins, M.D., and Iris Fancher, M.D., participated in a panel discussion facilitated by Brian Sims, M.D., associate professor in the Division of Neonatology, Tamera Coyne-Beasley, M.D., professor in the Division of Adolescent Medicine, and Tina Simpson, M.D., professor in the Division of Adolescent Medicine.

Dr. Paul Amamoo was the first Black resident to graduate from the UAB Pediatric Residency Program. He attended UAB for medical school and completed his residency in 1979. Dr. Amamoo has dedicated his career to providing primary care to children in Alabama and is extremely passionate about research and clinical care for patients with Sickle Cell Disorder. 

Dr. Derrol Dawkins completed his pediatric residency at UAB in 1983 and served as the first Black chief resident for the program. Dr. Dawkins established a primary care practice after completing his chief year and has cared for many children in Birmingham and the surrounding areas. In honor of Dr. Dawkins' commitment and service to caring for the children and adolescents of Birmingham, an endowed chair in Adolescent Medicine was created in his name.

Dr. Iris Fancher was the third Black female resident to enter into the UAB Pediatric Residency Program and graduated in 1988. Dr. Fancher dedicated her entire career to public health and providing care to underserved populations. As part of her care, she was devoted to improving the literacy of her patient and their families and promoted the Reach Out and Read Literacy Program. Dr. Fancher’s son, Brad, is a current resident in the program.

Throughout the panel discussion, they answered questions about their experiences at UAB, the impact of racism they have seen during their careers, and ways to combat health disparities and systemic racism. Click below to watch the full event and to learn about these amazing pioneers!