Ever since serving as Associate Director of the DRTC at Indiana University (1989-1994) as an Assistant Professor, it has been a long-term career goal of mine to establish a new DRTC at an institution where the NIH funding will have optimal impact to enhance diabetes research among an outstanding investigator base. In fact, that is one reason why I was recruited and decided to move to UAB in 2003.

I began writing our application for a new DRTC at UAB in late 2006, and I can remember trying to simultaneously write and listen to the audiocast of the World Series, won that year by my team the St. Louis Cardinals. It was extremely gratifying to be able to successfully launch our new DRTC in April 2008. In less than 4 years, we wrote the competitive renewal application for our center as we complied with the directives of becoming a DRC. I took great comfort in the fact that the St. Louis Cardinals again won the World Series in 2011 and I took it as a good omen. The serious point here is that I view my role as the Director of the UAB DRC as the culmination of my professional life, and a role that will merit my full commitment in achieving our stated goals and specific aims.

I am a physician-scientist and diabetologist who has engaged in clinical and basic research, and I can relate to all components of the DRC investigator base. I have put much effort into training medical students, endocrinology fellows, graduate students, post-docs, and junior faculty with the understanding that it is our responsibility to provide for the next generation of academic clinicians and researchers in diabetes. There is no question in my mind as to the potential of a DRC to create an environment where research and training can be enhanced exponentially.

Together with my colleagues, this is the goal that I have embraced at UAB. We have been successful in galvanizing our research community around the study of diabetes, and have captured the imagination of our administrators and academic leaders resulting in a greater allocation of resources for diabetes research. The increments in the number of center members, diabetes-related publications, and extramural diabetes research grant support since initiation of the DRTC speak for themselves, and attest to the impact of the DRTC/DRC at UAB  

The research and training is not an end unto itself. I consider that the benefits that accrue to patients with diabetes, and our society through improved public health, constitute the ultimate focus of my efforts and that of the DRC. These are the thoughts that guide my conduct as an academician. During the occasional rigors of academic life, it is the focus on patients that I find sustaining. This same focus is the ultimate rationale for my efforts as a DRC director, improving the lives of diabetes patients through research and the training of clinicians and investigators.

 

W. Timothy Garvey, MD
Director of the UAB DRC