UAB President Ray Watts announces interim UAB Medicine leadership

Accomplished, long-serving UAB leaders will serve in leadership roles as Vickers steps down.

Head shot of Dr. Anupam Agarwal, MD (Professor and Director, Nephrology) in white medical coat, 2018.Anupam Agarwal, M.D., will serve as interim senior vice president of Medicine and interim dean of the School of MedicineUniversity of Alabama at Birmingham President Ray L. Watts, M.D. and Chancellor Finis St. John, in consultation with the UA System Board of Trustees, have announced plans to maintain continuity and positive momentum in UAB Medicine by leveraging the expertise of veteran leaders with the upcoming departure of Selwyn Vickers, M.D, who will become president and CEO of Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center on Sept. 12, 2022. 

Heersink School of Medicine Executive Vice Dean Anupam Agarwal, M.D., will serve as interim senior vice president of Medicine and interim dean of the School of Medicine for a second time, as well as interim chair of the Health Services Foundation Board. He first served in these interim roles in 2013 when Watts vacated them to become president. Agarwal also directed the Division of Nephrology from 2008-2021 and serves as the Program Director of the NIDDK funded O’Brien Center for Acute Kidney Injury Research while maintaining an active role in clinical medicine, teaching, research and administration. 

Dawn Bulgarella will serve as interim CEO of the UAB Health System and continue to serve as president of the UAB Health System and CFO for the UAB/Ascension St. Vincent’s Alliance. Bulgarella spent 15 years in operations before becoming the senior associate dean of Finance and Administration in the UAB Heersink School of Medicine and ultimately the first president and CFO of the UAB Health System.

Reid Jones will continue his role as CEO of UAB Medicine. Jones has been at the center of UAB’s health care administration and operations for more than 30 years and has served in several key positions, including executive vice president for the UA Health Services Foundation, Chief Operations Officer of UAB Medicine and his current role among many others.

Head shot of Dawn Bulgarella (CFO, UAB Health System; Sr. Associate Dean, School of Medicine), 2018.Dawn Bulgarella will serve as interim CEO of the UAB Health System.Jason Alexander, CEO of Ascension St. Vincent’s, also will continue as a key member of the senior leadership team in the UAB/Ascension St. Vincent’s Alliance.

Watts says the stability this leadership group provides will allow for thoughtful, deliberate and strategic planning that will continue UAB Medicine’s upward trajectory.  

“Dawn, Reid and Anupam have been invaluable and visionary leaders for UAB Medicine for decades and comprise a veteran leadership team that provides trusted stability and a dedication to excellence,” Watts said. “They — along with the talented teams they lead — have been central to the tremendous growth we have experienced and preserve our ability to provide world-class health care. Our UAB/Ascension St. Vincent’s Alliance will continue to grow to best serve our community.”

UAB Medicine had almost 1.7 million patient visits last year and UAB Hospital, the eighth-largest hospital in the U.S., discharged more than 90,000 patients. UAB ranks among the top 3 percent of U.S. universities based on all federal research funding awarded. 

“UAB Medicine provides high-quality care to patients in every county in the state, educates future medical professionals at its internationally renowned academic medical center, and is a treasured asset in Alabama,” said UA System Chancellor Finis St. John. “UAB’s deep reservoir of leadership and talent ensures a bright future and continued dedication to our mission to improve the lives of everyone we serve.” 

RS19730 Reid Jones 4 lprReid Jones will continue his role as CEO of UAB Medicine.St. John expressed his support for the interim appointments and commended Vickers for his steady leadership at the helm of the UAB Health System. Vickers will vacate his roles as senior vice president for Medicine, dean of the UAB Heersink School of Medicine, CEO of the UAB Health System and CEO of the UAB/Ascension St. Vincent’s Alliance.  

“The University of Alabama System Board of Trustees is sincerely grateful to Selwyn for his lasting contributions to the UAB Health System and looks forward to the extraordinary things to come from UAB Medicine’s skilled leadership team, anchored by UAB President Dr. Ray Watts, Interim Sr. Vice President of Medicine and Dean of the School of Medicine Dr. Anupam Agarwal, Interim UAB Health System CEO Dawn Bulgarella and UAB Medicine CEO Reid Jones,” said UA System Board of Trustees President Pro Tempore W. Stancil Starnes. “Their significant expertise and proven experience will provide continuity and produce excellent results.” 

Watts, who is chair of the UAB Medicine and UAB/Ascension St. Vincent’s Alliance boards, says Vickers was an important part of a team that built unprecedented momentum. 

“Our community is grateful to Selwyn for his service to UAB since his return to Birmingham almost a decade ago, and I wish him the best,” Watts said. “He helped recruit and retain incredible talent to advance our mission, and that fact is among the many reasons UAB remains in a position of strength to ensure a smooth transition as we continue to grow and thrive and serve the people who count on us.”

The UAB Health System is a $5.8 billion enterprise that includes UAB Hospital, UAB Hospital-Highlands, UAB Callahan Eye Hospital, and management relationships with Medical West, Baptist Health Montgomery, Russell Medical, John Paul Jones, Whitfield Regional, Northwest Regional Health and Regional Medical Center of Central Alabama hospitals. The system also has affiliate relationships with Infirmary Health in Mobile and Northeast Regional Hospital in Anniston. The system also includes Cooper Green Mercy Health Services and the UAB Health System/Ascension St. Vincent’s Alliance.