UAB doctor formed patient relationships that extend generations

Erin DeLaney is now treating the third generation of the Scogin family as she built trust and mutual respect — somethingthat is critical to providing quality health care.

Written by: Tehreem Khan and Kenia Hernandez
Media contact: Anna Jones

DeLaneyErin DeLaney is now treating the third generation of the Scogin family as she built trust and mutual respect — something that is critical to providing quality health care.Debbie and Johnny Scogin have received primary care from the University of Alabama at Birmingham Department of Family and Community Medicine since the mid-1980s. 

The Scogins were patients of Robert E. Kynerd, M.D., for 20 years. Upon retirement, he referred them to Erin DeLaney, M.D., a family medicine physician, vice chair for Clinical Affairs and Quality, assistant professor, and medical director at UAB Family and Community Medicine-Highlands. DeLaney has been treating them ever since.

DeLaney has established and maintained strong relationships with the family to provide customized, quality health care for three generations.   

“We never feel rushed or hurried when we have an appointment with her,” Debbie Scogin said. “She is someone that we can be honest and open with about anything and everything.” 

She recalled several instances when DeLaney went out of her way to make the family feel comfortable and welcome, including after Debbie Scogin had unexpected back surgery in August 2019.

“The day after my surgery, the phone in my room rang, and it was Dr. DeLaney herself calling me to check on me,” Debbie Scogin said.

DeLaney has become family to the Scogins. Her mother is a patient of DeLaney, and her 16-year-old daughter is considering switching to her too.

“She is patient with us, she takes the time to listen to what we have to say or ask her,” Scogin said. “She is very caring and listens to everything you have to say. She engages with us by working together to come up with a care plan that will work for me as a patient and her as a doctor.”

The generational impact highlights the importance of choosing the right primary care physician. Primary care physicians are a frontline resource for a strong, healthy life and have a significant impact on the health of their patients and communities as they become familiar with a patient’s medical history, lifestyle and everyday needs.

DeLaney says stronger relationships help doctors identify patients’ needs, goals, determinants and preferences as they become more aware of their family dynamics and culture.

“Over time, as we hear our patients’ stories, we become a part of their lives and start to understand them better, which allows us to provide the right care at the right time,” DeLaney said. “This is precision medicine at its most basic level.” 

Relationships with patients matter, and patients are more willing to follow care guidelines if they have a welcoming provider. Two-way communication is crucial for a strong, long-lasting patient relationship.

“A strong patient-physician relationship, built on mutual trust and respect, is critical to being able to provide good primary care,” DeLaney said.

To find a primary care provider at UAB, visit