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Dr. John Holcomb


Areas of Interest
acute care surgery, injury research, trauma surgery


Before joining the UAB Department of Surgery in September 2019 as a professor in the Division of Trauma & Acute Care Surgery, Dr. John B. Holcomb served for 23 years in the Army. Holcomb said he joined the Army to pay for medical school, eventually graduating from the University of Arkansas Medical School in Little Rock in 1985. Holcomb completed his general surgery training in 1991 and then deployed with the Joint Special Operations Command for the next decade.

Holcomb has served in multiple combat deployments, including in Mogadishu, Somalia, where he was a part of the surgical team that delivered 48-hour non-stop care to soldiers during the battle that inspired the book and film Black Hawk Down.

From 2002 to 2008, Colonel Holcomb served as the Commander of the U.S. Army Institute of Surgical Research and Trauma Consultant for the Army Surgeon General. He retired from active duty in 2008.

Holcomb received the Lifetime Achievement Award in Trauma Resuscitation Science from the American Heart Association, the United States Special Operations Command Medal, and the Service award from the American College of Surgery. He is a three time recipient of the Army’s Greatest Invention Award. He has been a member of the Committee on Tactical Combat Casualty Care since 2001. In 2016 he received the Major Jonathan Letterman Medical Excellence Award from the National Museum of Civil War Medicine.

From 2008 to 2019, Holcomb worked at UT Health, Houston as a professor of surgery before joining UAB. Dr. Holcomb is actively involved in clinical medicine, education, research, and entrepreneurship. He is a founder and Co-CEO of a health IT company, Decisio Health. He reviews papers for more than 35 journals, has published more than 690 peer reviewed articles, consults with several companies, and serves on multiple boards.

According to Holcomb, there are no car “accidents.” He believes that very few people who drive safely, while sober and while wearing a seat belt have accidents. “When you look at it that way, ‘accidents’ are really predictable.”


Medical School
University of Arkansas Medical School, Little Rock

William Beaumont Army Medical Center, El Paso, Texas
General Surgery

University of Texas Medical School, Houston
Surgical Critical Care


Campus Address
BDB 627

Patient Appointments and Questions: 205-975-7521
Academic Office: 205-975-3030