Sorrentino appointed as new Faculty Athletics Representative

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erep dr sorrentino 550pxAnnalise Sorrentino, M.D., FAAP, FACEP, professor in the Department of Pediatrics Division of Emergency Medicine, has been named as the institution’s new Faculty Athletics Representative as of Oct. 1, 2024. She succeeds Frank Messina, Ph.D., CPA, Endowed Alumni and Friends Professor of Accounting in the Collat School of Business, who has served as UAB’s FAR since 2008. Messina will retire from UAB at the end of September.

The FAR is a full-time faculty member who consults with and advises the administration of the UAB Athletics programs and plays a strategic role to ensure athletic integrity, institutional control of intercollegiate athletics, and enhancement of the student-athlete experience and well-being. This includes periodic reviews of appropriate records to ensure that decisions related to admissions, academic advising, evaluation of academic performance and the extent of academic support services are made in ways that are consistent with the primary academic mission of UAB.

“UAB Athletics is in a great place, competing well in our first year in the American Athletic Conference, with Men’s Basketball reaching the NCAA Tournament in March,” said UAB President Ray Watts, M.D. “In our last year in Conference USA, our student-athletes had the highest cumulative GPA and the most community service hours in the conference, and Athletics’ graduation rate has increased from 75 percent in 2015 to 94 percent. I am grateful for the passion and commitment that Dr. Messina has dedicated to UAB and the FAR role, and I look forward to working closely with Dr. Sorrentino to ensure that UAB Athletics continues to reach new levels of success.”

The FAR provides advice to the president, senior vice president and provost that reflects the traditional values of the faculty, and which is rooted in the academic ethics of UAB. The duties of the position also include annual reports to the Faculty Senate regarding matters of academic integrity, academic preparation and other matters related to the intercollegiate athletics program. The FAR represents UAB at American Athletic Conference and NCAA meetings and promotes a balance between academics, athletics and the social lives of student-athletes.

After completing her medical degree and an internship in internal medicine and pediatrics at the University of Missouri at Kansas City, Sorrentino came to UAB for her residency in pediatrics in 1997, followed by a fellowship in pediatric emergency medicine that she completed in 2003. She joined the faculty that year and was appointed as a full professor in 2014. Sorrentino served as assistant dean for Students at the UAB Heersink School of Medicine from 2013 to 2015. She has received numerous teaching awards in the Department of Pediatrics and has served on several national committees of the American College of Emergency Physicians.

Sorrentino’s appointment runs through Sept. 30, 2029. “I think the best part of this opportunity will be the interaction with the student-athletes and getting to know them and the journey that led them to UAB,” Sorrentino said. “Every student-athlete has a distinctive background and unique goals for the future. I hope to be able to be a person that is visible and accessible to help them navigate the stressful waters they find themselves in every day.” In her letter of interest for the position, Sorrentino shared one of her favorite quotes — from the TV show “Ted Lasso,” about an American coach who winds up leading an English soccer team. “Success is not about wins and losses,” Lasso says, but about helping the members of his team “be the best versions of themselves on and off the field.” That is not always easy, Lasso continues, “but neither is growing up without someone believing in you.”

Sorrentino, who was born and raised in Kansas City, Missouri, to avid supporters of the Kansas City Chiefs, is herself a passionate sports fan and a board member of the UAB Athletics Foundation. “Since I moved here, I have been a fan of UAB Athletics and love working on a campus that promotes their Athletics programs and student-athletes,” she said. “Having a career in medicine has also afforded me the chance to work with students in a support role, which has resulted in some of my most rewarding experiences,” she said. “To have the opportunity where these two worlds collide with such an impactful role is very exciting, and I am honored to be able to get the chance.”

Sorrentino is “especially grateful to be able to learn from Dr. Messina in the coming months before his retirement is official,” she said. “He has been such an influential figure for the programs for the past several years, and we have been able to celebrate his many successes. I know this position will have a very steep learning curve, but I am excited to get started.”