Cohen named Chief of UAB Primary Care

Cohen named as first chief of primary care for UAB Medicine

Stuart J. Cohen, M.D.RS31790 Stuart Cohen 20190716 002 7962COPYStuart J. Cohen, M.D., has been named the inaugural Chief of Primary Care for the UAB Health System and UAB Medicine. The position of chief was created in recognition of the central strategic role of primary care medicine within the Health System. Cohen, who is a professor of medicine at UAB, had been medical director for UAB Primary Care.

“Primary care is the foundation of the medical system in this country, and the creation of this position will strengthen that foundation and raise the profile of primary care within our enterprise,” said Tony Jones, M.D., chief physician executive for the UAB Health System. “A strong primary care program complements UAB’s recognized strengths as a tertiary care center and will provide a more seamless linkage to care for patients across the entire healthcare spectrum.”

Cohen takes the reins of a clinical department with 47 physicians, 14 advanced practice practitioners and 140 staff. UAB Primary Care sees adult patients at the Whitaker Clinic of UAB Hospital and UAB Medicine’s primary care clinics in Hoover, and Inverness and adult and pediatric patients at clinics in Gardendale and Leeds. UAB’s Urgent Care facility in Southside is also part of the department. UAB Primary Care has experienced double digit growth in each of the past five years and will see more than 150,000 patient visits in 2019.

Cohen says elevating primary care to the level of a clinical department will pay off for patients in multiple ways.

“This move will enhance UAB’s ability to serve as a patient’s medical home, where we can engage in preventive medicine, manage chronic diseases, refer to specialized care when necessary and conduct the wrap-around services needed to ensure that each patient’s care is comprehensive and complete,” Cohen said. 

Cohen believes the expansion of UAB Primary Care will not only allow for greater access to the healthcare system but also pave the way for improved integrated care between primary and specialty care at UAB. 

“We are forging a system that will enhance value-based care,” said Jones. “We provide value if we can better promote wellness and manage chronic disease, which can reduce the need for hospitalization or specialized services. That is the promise of primary care medicine.”

Cohen earned his medical degree from UAB in 1994. He completed his residency training at the University of Washington Medical Center and served an additional year in Seattle as chief medical resident and clinical instructor before joining the UAB faculty in 1998. He is board certified in Internal Medicine and a Fellow in the American College of Physicians. 

“I’m excited about the creation of the new chief of primary care position, and I’m thrilled that we have a physician/leader such as Dr. Cohen to be our first holder of that position,” Jones said. “He has the vision and the experience to truly transform how we view the field of primary care and how we can continue to build a healthcare system that will serve Alabama well for years to come.” 

Jones says this change will also strengthen our ability to serve as a resource for the hospital’s acute care programs so that patients stepping down from an acute care environment will have an accessible and connected home for rapid follow up for a broad range of clinical conditions.

For more information on UAB primary care services, go to www.uabmedi