Dr. Herbert Chen

Welcome to the Department of Surgery at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB). Our department has had a long, illustrious history of making important contributions to clinical care, medical education, ground-breaking research, and surgical leadership. The UAB Department of Surgery has doubled in size over the last 15 years and is now one of the largest surgical departments in the country. There are more than 100 faculty and over 400 advanced practice providers and staff. The Department of Surgery consists of eight divisions: Acute Care Surgery; Cardiothoracic Surgery; Gastrointestinal Surgery; Pediatric Surgery; Plastic Surgery; Surgical Oncology; Transplantation; and Vascular Surgery & Endovascular Therapy.

The Department of Surgery has a national/international reputation for clinical excellence. UAB Hospital is the 3rd largest public hospital in the USA and is the only American College of Surgeons verified Level 1 Trauma Center in the state of Alabama. UAB’s Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation (ECMO) program received a Gold Level Award for Excellence from the Extracorporeal Life Support Organization (ELSO). Children’s of Alabama’s ECMO program has also earned the Award for Excellence in Life Support and is a designated Center of Excellence by ELSO. UAB Women & Infants Center houses the largest neonatal ICU in the southeast. Our principal clinic is The Kirklin Clinicwhich opened for patients in 1992 as a specially designed “super clinic” for outpatient care, houses more than 1,300 physicians in 35 specialties and serves more than 2,000 patients a day. This facility was named after cardiac surgeon John W. Kirklin, who was the third chair of the department and is renowned for the development of the heart-lung perfusion and its incorporation into open procedures in cardiac surgery. More than twenty years later, The Kirklin Clinic is one of the busiest outpatient centers in America focused on compassion, dedication and excellence for patient care. Learn more about the excellent facilities in the UAB Health System. 

The Department of Surgery has a rich history of dedication to academic and clinical research with basic, clinical, and translational approaches to improvements in medical science and patient care. Our dedicated research faculty members and surgeon-scientists strive to make an impact through discoveries that improve patient care. Investigators in the department receive funding from the National Institutes of Health (NIH), Department of Transportation (DOT), Department of Defense (DOD), industry, and other sources for these research programs and for educational curricula for residents and fellows. The department has a strong interest in P50 Specialized Programs of Research Excellence (SPOREs), program project grants, R01 grants, and other forms of research funding that facilitate our mission. Specific areas of research within the department encompass a broad range of interests with direct and indirect medical relevance, including specific disease entities such as cancer, health disparities, diabetes, endstage heart and lung failure, trauma, vascular disease, kidney failure; specific treatments that include mechanically-assisted circulatory support, endovascular/vascular technologies, solid organ transplantation; and health policy/medical delivery issues such as field operational training, outcomes research and surgical methods development. 

The Department of Surgery has a deep commitment to surgical education. Residency programs are offered in general surgery, cardiovascular and thoracic surgery and vascular surgery. The department also offers fellowship programs in transplant surgery, plastic surgery, cardiothoracic surgery, surgical research, trauma, burns & surgical critical care, pediatric surgery, minimally invasive surgery, breast oncology surgery, colorectal surgery, endocrine surgery and vascular surgery. The surgery education program has experienced many notable accomplishments over the last few years. Trainee research is supported through several departmental grants.

Welcome again to the UAB Department of Surgery. I hope you will enjoy browsing the website and learning more about our top-notch clinical programs, cutting-edge research, and modern educational opportunities.

Herbert Chen, M.D., F.A.C.S.
Fay Fletcher Kerner Chair
Department of Surgery