UAB launches health care faculty mentoring program

UAB creates a new program to enhance faculty development in the health professions through mentoring and innovative teaching resources.
Written by: Brit Blalock
Media contact: Bob Shepard

Healthcare1The inaugural class of the Healthcare Educators Academy, a professional development initiative for faculty in the health professions.The University of Alabama at Birmingham recently launched the pilot class of the UAB Healthcare Educators Academy. The mission of the HEA is to advance the development of faculty in the health professions throughout UAB by strengthening educators through mentorship, fostering a culture of excellence in teaching, developing innovative teaching resources across disciplines and advancing a collaborative teaching environment.

The HEA was made possible thanks to funding provided by the Health Services Foundation General Endowment Fund.

The HEA will feature 12 faculty mentors and 12 mentees from various schools and departments throughout UAB, along with a steering committee. Eight School of Medicine departments and four other health-related schools are participating in the pilot term, which kicked off at an opening ceremony and reception Sept. 17. The School of Medicine departments include Cell, Developmental and Integrative Biology, Emergency Medicine, Medicine, Neurology, Obstetrics and Gynecology, Pediatrics, Radiology, and Surgery. The other schools include the School of Dentistry, the School of Health Professions, the School of Public Health and the School of Nursing. Mentees will complete a two-year membership, and mentors will serve one-year terms. 

Lisa Willett, M.D., program director of the Tinsley Harrison Internal Medicine Residency Program, and Caroline Harada, M.D., assistant dean for Community-Engaged Scholarship will co-chair the HEA.

“We are thrilled to launch the academy after many years of planning,” Willett said. “The HEA will have an enormous impact for the mentees and a wide ripple effect across the institution. With the many competing demands in an academic medical center, the Academy will ensure education remains a priority at UAB for our faculty as well as for our learners. We are excited to be able to promote, develop and celebrate education across the health profession disciplines.”

The three pillars

The HEA will operate within three pillars: teaching excellence, career advancement and professional meaning. HEA members will be charged with offering faculty development in a variety of settings and venues, including mentoring of junior faculty, teaching workshops, and developing educational materials such as videos and podcasts. They will oversee Research and Innovations in Medical Education Week, UAB’s annual medical education week. The HEA will provide mentees with training and tools to ensure future promotion and advancement. The HEA will also support professional well-being and professionalism, including work-life balance and role modeling. 

The UAB Healthcare Educators Academy is a member of The Academies Collaborative, a national forum for health professions teaching academies and similar organizations. The Academies Collaborative fosters and champions teaching academies and similar organizations to develop and recognize educators’ excellence in the health professions.

“I’m extremely excited about the impact that the Healthcare Educators Academy will have across the university,” said Selwyn Vickers, M.D., senior vice president for Medicine and dean of the School of Medicine. “We have so many outstanding educators in the School of Medicine and in the other health-related schools. By providing in-depth mentorship to other faculty members, our schools will be strengthened, and our students will reap the benefits of an even more enhanced education.”

The pilot class of mentors is:

  • Caroline Harada, M.D.
  • Kenneth Kim, M.D.
  • Dawn Taylor Peterson, Ph.D.
  • David Rogers, M.D.
  • Laurel Hitchcock, Ph.D.
  • Jason Morris, M.D.
  • James Willig, M.D.
  • Tino Unlap, Ph.D.
  • Robin Lanzi, Ph.D.
  • Cathy Roche, Ph.D.
  • Lisa Willett, M.D.
  • Jessica H. Williams, Ph.D.

The pilot class of mentees is:

  • Heather Austin, Ph.D.
  • Andrew J. Gunn, M.D.
  • Maninder Kaur, BDS
  • Brenessa Lindeman, M.D.
  • April Love, MSN
  • Will Meador, M.D.
  • Gregory Pavela, Ph.D.
  • David Resuehr, Ph.D.
  • Carleton Rivers, M.S.
  • Audra Williams, M.D.
  • Maxwell Thompson, M.D.
  • Rebekah Weil, M.D.

For more information about the UAB Healthcare Educators Academy, visit