UAB School of Medicine names new associate dean for Primary Care and Rural Health

Irfan Asif takes on a new role as associate dean for Primary Care and Rural Health in the UAB School of Medicine.
Written by: Jessica Martindale
Media contact: Bob Shepard

rural health.2Irfan Asif, M.D., takes the reins as associate dean for Primary Care and Rural Health in the School of Medicine.Irfan Asif, M.D., has been named associate dean for Primary Care and Rural Health at the University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Medicine. Asif currently serves as chair of the UAB Department of Family and Community Medicine. As a primary care physician with a specialization in sports and exercise medicine, he has developed a local, national and international reputation for teaching and scholarship. 

Asif joined UAB in 2018 from the Greenville Health System and the University of South Carolina School of Medicine Greenville, where he served as the vice chair of academics and research in the Department of Family Medicine and as the sports medicine fellowship director. He earned his medical degree in 2007 at the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine. He completed his family medicine residency at the University of Washington with a concentration in sports medicine.  

He has served in several academic leadership positions, including sports medicine fellowship director at the University of Tennessee, sports medicine fellowship director at USC School of Medicine Greenville, interim director of the family medicine residency program in Greenville, and also as the interim chair for the Department of Family Medicine in Greenville.

“It is an honor to be chosen as the next associate dean for Primary Care and Rural Health,” Asif said. “I look forward to working with dean of the School of Medicine Dr. Vickers, our regional campuses, and other key partners to improve the primary care pipeline and address disparities in health outcomes, particularly in rural communities, through novel health care strategies that can only be developed at an institution like UAB.” 

He has served on the Board of Directors for the American Medical Society for Sports Medicine and is chair of the AMSSM Collaborative Research Network. He is an associate editor for the journals Sports Health and the British Journal of Sports Medicine. Asif’s research explores several domains of sports cardiology and also the prevention and treatment of disease through lifestyle and exercise medicine. Curry, M.D., senior vice president for Population Health, UAB Health System.Asif will be replacing William Curry, M.D., who will be retiring from the School of Medicine but will continue his role with the UAB Health System in population health. Curry joined UAB in 2004 as a professor in the Division of General Internal Medicine and was recruited as associate dean of Rural Programs and Primary Care in 2014. During his tenure, he was involved in numerous noteworthy accomplishments, including the founding and growth of the statewide Alabama Area Health Education Centers, establishment of the Montgomery Regional Medical Campus, the facilitation of continuous increases in state scholarship funding, facilitation of the Blue Cross Scholars Program, the creation of a four-year M.D./MPH program, and serving as a committee chair and task force member for the State Medical Association Primary Care Strategic Plan.

Additionally, he was critical in the creation of the SOM Primary Care Scholars. Over the years, he has served as an advocate for UAB President Ray Watts, M.D., and Selwyn Vickers, M.D., FACS, dean of the School of Medicine, on issues involving advanced practice nurses and their appropriate role in collaborative practice, and other issues of primary care and rural health.

“Dr. Curry left a vast imprint on our institution, and we are honored Dr. Asif will pick up this noble work and continue to advocate for primary care and rural health,” Vickers said. “Dr. Asif is an accomplished physician who brings a wide array of knowledge, expertise and understanding to this role.” 

Asif will assume the role of associate dean for Primary Care and Rural Health on June 1, 2021.