Dr. Selwyn M. Vickers

Senior Vice President of Medicine, UAB
Dean and James C. Lee Jr. Endowed Chair, UAB Heersink School of Medicine

Areas of Interest
gastrointestinal surgery, pancreatic cancer, hepatobiliary tumors, health dispartities, hernia surgery


Selwyn M. Vickers, M.D., FACS, has been Senior Vice President of Medicine and Dean of the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) Heersink School of Medicine since October 2013. As dean, Dr. Vickers leads the UAB Heersink School of Medicine’s main campus in Birmingham as well as the school’s regional campuses in Montgomery, Huntsville, and Tuscaloosa. UAB Heersink School of Medicine is part of UAB Medicine, one of the 10 largest public academic medical centers and the third largest public hospital in the U.S. Dr. Vickers holds the James C. Lee Jr. Endowed Chair at the  Heersink School of Medicine and is board chair of the University of Alabama Health Services Foundation, a faculty practice plan with over $1.4 billion in revenue. He also serves as chair of UAB Medicine’s Joint Operating Leadership Committee (JOLC).

A world-renowned surgeon, pancreatic cancer researcher, and pioneer in health disparities research, Dr. Vickers is a member of the National Academy of Medicine (Institute of Medicine) and the Johns Hopkins Society of Scholars. He has served on the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine Board of Trustees and Johns Hopkins University Board of Trustees. In addition, he has served as president of the Society for Surgery of the Alimentary Tract and the Southern Surgical Association, and is President-Elect of the American Surgical Association, the oldest and most prestigious surgical society.

Dr. Vickers has played an important advisory role since the onset of the COVID-19 (SARS-CoV-2) pandemic in 2020. He serves on the Executive Committee of Alabama Governor Kay Ivey’s Coronavirus Task Force and as co-chair of The University of Alabama (UA) System Campus Health and Safety Task Force, which was charged with developing reentry plans for the System’s three campuses in Tuscaloosa, Birmingham, and Huntsville and other participating higher education institutions. To that end, he sponsored development of and was the contact PI for the $37 million federal grant for GuideSafeTM, a higher education reentry platform and testing program developed by a group of experts at UAB—working in partnership with entities that included Apple and Google—and made available first to all colleges and universities in Alabama, and later to any interested institution.

Dr. Vickers earned baccalaureate and medical degrees from Johns Hopkins University and completed surgical training there, including a chief residency and surgical oncology fellowship. He completed two post-graduate research fellowships with the National Institutes of Health and training at John Radcliffe Hospital of Oxford University, England, and was an instructor of surgery at Johns Hopkins for one year. In 1994 he joined the UAB faculty as an assistant professor in the Department of Surgery. From 1995-1999, he was a Robert Wood Johnson Research Fellow. From 2000-2006, he directed the Section of Gastrointestinal Surgery. During his first tenure at UAB, Dr. Vickers received numerous honors, including numerous Argus Awards for Excellence in Teaching, the Best Clinical Professor award, and the President’s Award for Excellence in Teaching. In 2000, he became the first faculty member chosen by students as commencement speaker.

In 2006, Dr. Vickers left Alabama to become the Jay Phillips Professor and Chair of the Department of Surgery at the University of Minnesota Medical School, one of the oldest, most prestigious departments in the country. He was the fourth chair in the department’s 115-year history. While at Minnesota, Dr. Vickers’ lab was instrumental in the development of an injectable cancer drug, Minnelide, which entered phase II for the treatment of pancreatic & GI Cancer testing in September 2013. Dr. Vickers has a financial interest in the pharmaceutical company licensed to develop the drug, Minneamrita Therapeutics LLC.

Dr. Vickers continues to see patients and conduct research. He has had continuous NIH extramural funding for the past 25 years. His major research interests include gene therapy as an application in the treatment of pancreatobiliary tumors, the role of growth factors and receptors in the oncogenesis of pancreatic cancer, the implications of FAS expressions and Tamoxifen in the growth and treatment of cholangiocarcinoma, assessment of clinical outcomes in the surgical treatment of pancreatobiliary tumors, and the role of death receptors in the treatment of pancreatic cancer.

Dr. Vickers was born in Demopolis, Alabama, and grew up in Tuscaloosa and Huntsville. He and his wife, Janice, who also is from Alabama, have been married since 1988. They have four children: Lauren, Adrienne, Lydia, and Benjamin.


Medical School
Johns Hopkins University

Johns Hopkins University
Surgical Internship

Johns Hopkins University
General Surgery Residency

Johns Hopkins University


Campus Address
FOT 1203