UAB School of Medicine Fall 2018

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A Magazine for Alumni and Friends of the School of Medicine

Volume 44 • Number 2 • Fall 2018


HEALERS UAB Medicine steps forward to address physician burnout and promote wellness among faculty and staff

Sandra Frazier, M.D., and David Rogers, M.D., are leaders in UAB’s faculty wellness programs



edicine has always been a profession characterized by change. Scientific discoveries bring advances in treatment, and long-held assumptions are constantly being challenged by new data. That’s partly what makes being a physician so rewarding. But navigating the ever-shifting landscape of the health care system is another story. The manner and environment in which physicians and medical staff work are being radically transformed by policy debates, regulatory changes, technological developments, and economic pressures. As the maelstrom swirls around us, it’s easy to lose sight of what drew most of us to a career in medicine in the first place—the desire to connect with and help people. That is why I’m so pleased that the cover story of this issue explores the many ways in which UAB Medicine is working to combat physician burnout and help our faculty, staff, and trainees develop strategies to improve their well-being and sustain their passion for medicine. We highlight programs across UAB Medicine geared toward faculty, residents, and medical students, and the innovative leaders who are guiding those efforts. These figures include David Rogers, M.D., MHPE, who this year became UAB Medicine’s first chief wellness officer. He is among the first leaders of his kind at any academic medical center in the country, and we are proud to be on the front lines of addressing this increasingly important issue. In addition to a feature in which I reflect on my first five years as dean, this issue includes an exploration of how UAB’s advanced multimodal imaging capabilities are making diagnosis and treatment more effective and precise; a look at the ways in which our school is preparing medical students for residency success; a glimpse of our incoming class’ Orientation Week; and much more. As always, I am very proud of the incredible work that’s happening in our school and across our missions in medical education, research, and clinical care. I hope you find something in the following pages that informs, inspires, and engages you. Sincerely,

Selwyn Vickers, M.D., FACS Senior Vice President for Medicine and Dean James C. Lee Jr. Endowed Chair UAB School of Medicine



Helping the Healers UAB Medicine steps forward to address physician burnout and promote wellness among faculty and staff


Turning Points

Dr. Selwyn Vickers reflects on five years as dean of the UAB School of Medicine

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Now You See It

Multimodal radiological imaging spurs new perspectives on diagnosis and treatment

Residency Ready

How the School of Medicine prepares students for residency success


Using Your Brain Neurology medical education training gets revamped

On the cover: David Rogers, M.D., MHPE, and Sandra Frazier, M.D., are leaders in UAB Medicine’s efforts to prevent and alleviate burnout and promote wellness among faculty and staff. Photo by Nik Layman. Special thanks to Lucy’s Coffee and Tea for allowing us to photograph there.

A Magazine for Alumni and Friends of the School of Medicine Volume 44, Issue 2, Fall 2018 SCHOOL LEADERSHIP




DEPARTMENTS IN BRIEF 3 Major Type 1 diabetes treatment breakthrough discovered; UAB joins NIH in launching All of Us Research Program; understanding brain cancer cell communication; and more.

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Follow the incoming class through their first days on campus with an Orientation Week diary, and learn some vital stats about the class.


Remembering former Medical Alumni Association President Albert Tully Jr., M.D.; alumna’s love for Bollywood films sparks successful side project as a writer.






Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Alabama support primary care scholarships; Burleson Foundation funds record number of medical scholarships and new endowed professorship in internal medicine; new urology chair drives patient care and research; and more.

New bioinformatics degree launches; medical students host Camp Cardiac for local high schoolers; 5K run benefits student-run free clinic; and more.


Snapshots from the history of the UAB Department of Radiology.

Contributing Writers Brett Bralley, Ryan Broussard, Cary Estes, Brianna Farley, Rosalind Fournier, Gail Short, and Sarah Williams Contributing Photographers Nik Layman, Andrea Mabry, Dustin Massey, and Steve Wood




Published twice a year by UAB School of Medicine Communications. UAB is an EEO/AA/Disability/Veteran Employer. © 2018 by the Board of Trustees of University of Alabama System for the University of Alabama at Birmingham.

Senior Vice President for Medicine and Dean Selwyn M. Vickers, M.D., FACS Executive Vice Dean Anupam Agarwal, M.D.

DEVELOPMENT AND COMMUNITY RELATIONS Vice President for Development and Alumni Affairs Thomas I. Brannan Comprehensive Cancer Center Lisa E. Roth Comprehensive Diabetes Center Christian Smith Department of Anesthesiology Jennifer J. Foster Department of Dermatology Erica L. Hollins Department of Medicine Megann B. Cain, Christian Smith, Christopher Williamson Department of Neurology Katye Fuglaar Department of Neurosurgery Katye Fuglaar Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology Erica L. Hollins Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences; Callahan Eye Hospital Morgan Quarles Department of Otolaryngology Rachel Fornest Department of Pediatrics Andrea Martin Department of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation; Spain Rehab Rachel Fornest Department of Radiology Jennifer J. Foster Department of Surgery Jennifer J. Foster Medical Student Scholarships; Primary Care Jessica Brooks Lane Friends and Family Program Ivy Watson Cardwell Contact Information (205) 975-5659 •

ALUMNI ASSOCIATION BOARD OF DIRECTORS President Timothy P. Hecker, M.D. ’04 President-Elect John R. Wheat, M.D. ’76 Secretary/Treasurer Rebecca R. Byrd, M.D. ’95 Immediate Past President Pink Lowe Folmar, Jr., M.D. ’72 District Representatives First - J. Donald Kirby, M.D. ’72 Second - James H. Alford, M.D. ’63 Third - George C. Smith, Sr., M.D. ’65 Fourth - Alice H. Morgan, M.D. ’82 Fifth - P. Michael Caruso, M.D. ’76 Sixth - Kirby I. Bland, M.D. ’68 Seventh - Michael A. Callahan, M.D. ’71 At Large V. Michael Bivins, M.D. ’96 Julia L. Boothe, M.D. ’02 Theodis Buggs, Jr., M.D. ’80 Mark H. LeQuire, M.D. ’82 Wick J. Many, Jr., M.D. ’73 J. Terrell Spencer, M.D. ’68 Ex-Officio Richard Champion, M.D. ’69 Executive Director Meredith Burns Assistant Director Brenda Joseph Program Coordinator Beth Eddings Contact Information (205) 934-4463 •

UAB MEDICINE STAFF Executive Director of Communications, UAB School of Medicine Paige Dorman Editor Jane Longshore Art Director Kristin Farmer Associate Editor Emily Henagan Multimedia & Graphic Design Kristin Farmer Contact Information (205) 934-0256 •


IN BRIEF News and highlights from across the School of Medicine


CHANGER To help young investigators meet a National Institutes of Health policy requiring formal training in scientific rigor and reproducibility, the UAB Center for Clinical and Translational Science (CCTS) has launched a web-based quiz game called R2T, short for Rigor, Reproducibility, and Transparency. Developed by CCTS Biostatistics, Epidemiology, and Research Design, the game leverages Kaizen, an innovative gaming platform developed by CCTS Informatics. The game is open to investigators across the CCTS Partner Network, which spans research institutions across Alabama, Mississippi, and Louisiana and includes UAB, which serves as the CCTS Hub.

DIABETES BREAKTHROUGH Researchers at the UAB Comprehensive Diabetes Center (UCDC) have discovered a safe and effective novel therapy to reduce insulin requirements and hypoglycemic episodes in adult patients with recent onset Type 1 diabetes by promoting the patient’s own beta cell function and insulin production—the first such discovery to target diabetes in this manner and a groundbreaking finding in the field of diabetes research. The findings, published in Nature Medicine, reveal that regular oral administration of verapamil, a common blood pressure medication first approved for medical use in 1981, enabled patients to produce higher levels of their own insulin, limiting their need for injected insulin to balance out their blood sugar levels. The randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled human trial identified verapamil as a safe, effective, and promising therapy. “The data collected from our clinical trial gives us every indication to believe that individuals with Type 1 diabetes have the promise of a treatment approach that would reduce their external insulin requirements and improve their blood sugar control and quality of life, thanks to the effects that verapamil has in promoting the body’s own beta cell function,” says UCDC Director Anath Shalev, M.D., principal investigator of the trial and holder of the Nancy R. and Eugene C. Gwaltney Family Endowed Chair in Juvenile Diabetes Research. “While this research is not an end-all cure for Type 1 diabetes, these findings are getting us closer to disease-altering therapies that can enable individuals with Type 1 diabetes to have more control over their disease and maintain some of their body’s own insulin production.”

IMMUNE CELL CULPRITS In preclinical experiments, Laurie Harrington, Ph.D., associate professor in the Department of Cell, Developmental and Integrative Biology, first author Boyoung Shin, and colleagues have discovered a subset of immune cells that creates and sustains chronic inflammatory bowel disease. These cells could become potential therapeutic targets for Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis. Moreover, if this subset of CD4 T cells plays a similar role in other autoimmune diseases, such as Type 1 diabetes or rheumatoid arthritis, they could also be targets for therapy. “We think these cells could be in a number of auto-inflammatory diseases,” says Harrington. “Our hope is, if we could treat these cells, it could be curative.”





A surprising form of cell-to-cell communication in glioblastoma promotes global changes in the receiving cells, including aggressiveness, motility, and resistance to radiation or chemotherapy. The sending cells in this process are glioblastoma cells that are undergoing programmed cell death, or apoptosis, according to an international study published in Cancer Cell. The dying cancer cells send their signals by means of extracellular vesicles that are induced and released during apoptosis. These vesicles—small, fluid-filled sacs—carry components that alter RNA splicing in the recipient glioblastoma cells, and this altered splicing promotes therapy resistance and aggressive migration. “Clinically, our data may provide the rationale to the molecular targeting of RNA splicing events or specific splicing factors for novel cancer therapies,” says Ichiro Nakano, M.D., Ph.D., professor of neurosurgery and leader of the study that included researchers in the U.S., Russia, and South Korea. “This may lead to decreased acquisition of therapy resistance, as well as reduction in the migration of cancer cells.” Glioblastoma is the most lethal form of brain cancer in adults. It spreads into other parts of the brain very quickly and is not surgically curable, although surgery combined with chemotherapy and radiation are the most common treatments. Ninety-five percent of patients die within five years of diagnosis, with more than half dying within the first 15 months after diagnosis.

DIVINELY INSPIRED Frances Lund, Ph.D., the Charles H. McCauley Chair of Microbiology, spoke about chronic inflammatory disease and the striking correlation between location and disease incidence at the Fourth International Vatican Conference, “Unite to Cure,” in April. Lund explained how chronic inflammatory diseases such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, obesity, cancer, and lupus have their highest U.S. concentrations in the Southeast, including Alabama. Yet, she noted, the majority of clinical trials to test possible new treatments for these diseases occur outside of the Southeast. “We need to do more trials in the epidemic center of disease,” Lund said. The conference, which included an audience with Pope Francis, focused on how science, technology, and 21st century medicine can impact culture and society.


UAB Medicine Fall 2018

UAB researchers have shown for the first time that established lung fibrosis in an animal model of lung injury can be reversed using a drug treatment that targets cell metabolism. The drug, metformin, is a safe and widely used drug for non-insulin-dependent diabetes. This novel finding, reported in Nature Medicine, is especially important because of the lack of effective treatment options. Pulmonary fibrosis can develop after lung injuries like infections, radiation, or chemotherapy, or it can have an unknown cause, as in idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF). IPF is a progressive and ultimately fatal lung disorder that strikes more than 150,000 patients a year in the U.S. and more than 5 million worldwide. The team was led by Jaroslaw Zmijewski, Ph.D., associate professor in the Department of Medicine, and Victor Thannickal, M.D., holder of the Ben Vaughan Branscomb Chair of Medicine in Respiratory Disease and director of the Division of Pulmonary, Allergy and Critical Care Medicine. Their experiments using lung tissues from patients with IPF, mouse lung fibroblasts, and a mouse model of lung fibrosis showed the reversal of lung fibrosis and the underlying cellular mechanisms of the therapeutic effect of the drug.


MULTIVITAMINS AND HEART HEALTH A new study led by UAB researchers published in Circulation: Cardiovascular Quality and Outcomes shows that taking multivitamin and mineral supplements does not prevent strokes, heart attacks, or deaths related to cardiovascular disease. The research team performed a meta-analysis, analyzing the results from 18 individual published studies, including randomized controlled trials and prospective cohort studies. The data set totaled more than 2 million participants with an average of 12 years of follow-up contact. Researchers found no association between taking multivitamin and mineral supplements and a lower risk of death from cardiovascular diseases. “I hope our study findings help decrease the hype around multivitamin and mineral supplements and encourage people to use proven methods to reduce their risk of cardiovascular diseases—such as eating more fruits and vegetables, exercising, and avoiding tobacco,” says lead author Joonseok Kim, M.D., assistant professor of cardiology in the Department of Medicine.

REVOLUTIONARY REHAB TECHNIQUE A rehabilitation technique originally developed for stroke by UAB neuroscientist Edward Taub, Ph.D., has been shown to improve function for people with multiple sclerosis (MS). According to findings in a new study by Victor Mark, M.D., associate professor of the Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation and the primary investigator, which were published in Neurorehabilitation and Neural Repair, constraint-induced movement therapy produced marked improvement in activities of daily living for patients with MS, and the improvement persisted for at least one year. In a second paper published in the same journal, the authors report improved white matter structure within the brains of MS patients following CI therapy, indicating the therapy produced measurable changes in the brain at the end of the treatment. “These are momentous findings, which could be game-changing for patients with MS,” says Mark. CI therapy works on the theory of learned non-use, which asserts that following stroke or other motor deficit when a limb is impaired, patients learn to not use it for daily activities. They therefore switch to using the less-affected limb for all daily activities. That learned non-use continues, even after the acute phase of injury has passed. Taub postulated that, after effective therapy, the brain could rewire itself following injury, and that movement of an affected arm or leg could be improved. CI therapy involves restraining the less-affected limb combined with intensive training of the more-affected limb on movements and activities of daily living.

COGNITIVE IMPAIRMENT IN CANCER SURVIVORS Hematologic cancer patients treated with allogeneic blood or marrow transplantation (BMT) are at a significantly higher risk of cognitive impairment in the years post-transplantation, according to a study published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology. The study, established by Smita Bhatia, M.D., MPH, director of UAB’s Institute for Cancer Outcomes and Survivorship (ICOS), and published by Noha Sharafeldin, M.D., M.Sc., Ph.D., instructor in the ICOS and Division of Hematology and Oncology, adds a missing piece to a long-unsolved puzzle about post-transplant effects on recipients. “With this research from our longitudinal prospective assessment, we are able to deduce that a significant population of allogeneic BMT survivors will experience cognitive impairment that can and will impact different aspects of their lives moving forward,” Sharafeldin says. “And it’s critical that we develop interventions for these patients. This research is just the beginning of our figuring out how we can best care for BMT survivors and enable them to live healthy lives.”





Image courtesy of the National Institutes of Health. Photo by Quez Shipman.

CLINICAL TRIALS FINDER Research shows that lack of awareness of appropriate clinical trials is one of the biggest hurdles to patient participation. The negative impacts of low participation are numerous: participants in trials that do not meet enrollment goals are put at unnecessary risk; discoveries may not affect people the same depending on their background; patients miss out on opportunities to improve their health; important therapies fail to enter clinical practice; and fewer studies are funded down the road. To help connect patients with appropriate clinical trial opportunities, the UAB Center for Clinical and Translational Science (CCTS) is piloting a new clinical trials search engine developed by Birmingham-based company XpertDox. For the first time, patients can type in a specific diagnosis code and find all relevant recruiting clinical trials at UAB Medicine. Visit the CCTS website home page for links to XpertTrial—look for “Find a Clinical Trial.”


UAB Medicine Fall 2018

Blood clots affect nearly 1 million Americans each year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and determining the correct type and dosage of an anticoagulant to treat them can be challenging. A new app designed by a multidisciplinary team, including Marisa Marques, M.D., professor in the Department of Pathology’s Division of Lab Medicine, aims to guide the user in lab testing and the administration of anticoagulant drugs. The Anticoagulation Manager App is a free mobile app that assists clinicians in determining the correct dosage and frequency of the appropriate drug for patients with various thrombotic risks or diagnoses. The app walks users through possible patient scenarios, such as “start a patient on anticoagulation” or “reverse a patient’s anticoagulation,” then prompts a selection of the patient’s condition and provides options based on specific traits of each individual, such as age, comorbidities, and other medications he or she is taking. Marques is one of two pathologists who created the app along with researchers at the Georgia Institute of Technology and with the CDC’s technical assistance. “We are excited to be a part of the team designing apps specifically for clinicians, which aim to reduce the rate of errors by assisting with decision-making,” Marques says. “They are easy to incorporate in a physician’s existing workflow, while building user confidence.”

Contributing writers: Christina Crowe, Jeff Hansen, Savannah Koplon, Adam Pope, and Bob Shepard

In July, UAB received a $48 million, five-year funding award from the National Institutes of Health to support the Southern All of Us Network, part of the All of Us Research Program—a nationwide effort to advance individualized prevention, treatment, and care for people of all backgrounds. The UAB program is led by Bruce Korf, M.D., Ph.D., the School of Medicine’s chief genomics officer and Cora Lewis, M.D., chair of the Department of Epidemiology in the School of Public Health. Other UAB leaders involved in the effort include Mona Fouad, M.D., professor and director of UAB’s Minority Health & Health Disparities Research Center; James Cimino, M.D., professor and director of the UAB Informatics Institute; and Sara Knight, Ph.D., professor in the UAB Division of Preventive Medicine. As the leader for the Southern All of Us Network, UAB will direct the efforts of 11 universities and medical facilities in Alabama, Mississippi, and Louisiana. The Southern All of Us Network is working to recruit 93,000 participants from Alabama, Louisiana, and Mississippi. The national All of Us recruitment goal is 1 million people. “We are honored to be a part of building one of the largest databases of its kind for health research, and we are excited that the data will reflect the diversity of our region and nation,” Korf says. “All of Us will use the most advanced informatics and genomics approaches available to accelerate discoveries to benefit people from all backgrounds. It is our hope that, with the help of volunteers from Alabama, Mississippi, and Louisiana, we will open new doors in the prevention and treatment of a host of diseases, some of which have plagued our population for decades.” All of Us participants are asked to share different types of health and lifestyle information, including through online surveys and electronic health records, which will continue to be collected over the course of the program. Alabamians age 19 or older, regardless of health status, are eligible to enroll in the program by visiting

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HELPING THE HE ALERS UAB Medicine steps forward to address physician burnout and promote wellness among faculty and staff By Cary Estes


UCH HAS BEEN WRITTEN ABOUT the ongoing upheaval in the health care system. From passage of the Affordable Care Act to changes in reimbursement rates to implementation of electronic medical records (EMRs), wave after wave of innovation and disruption have brought sometimes painful changes to the medical profession. The entire health care industry is becoming increasingly complex. The workload grows, while the number of hours in the day remains the same, constricting time for vital physician-patient interaction. Insurance and payment methods vary greatly from person to person, further complicating the system. Office work regularly carries over to home life, and the pressure of the daily grind follows right along with it. In the midst of this transformation and turmoil, a worrisome trend has become more noticeable. Surveys indicate that burnout and depression have increased substantially within the medical community in recent years. Commonly recognized symptoms of burnout include emotional exhaustion, in which a physician feels drained after the work day and is unable to recover with time off; depersonalization, which typically presents as cynicism or an excessively detached response to patients (also known as “compassion fatigue”); and a loss of a sense of personal accomplishment.


David Rogers (left) is UAB Medicine’s first chief wellness officer and the inaugural holder of the ProAssurance Endowed Chair for Physician Wellness in the School of Medicine. He and Sandra Frazier (right), medical director and assistant dean of professional development, are working to understand and address burnout and improve wellness among faculty, staff, and trainees. Photo by Nik Layman.

Researchers at the Stanford University School of Medicine found that 54.3 percent of physicians in active practice reported symptoms of burnout, 32.8 percent reported excessive fatigue, and 6.5 percent had even considered suicide. In severe cases, this is a problem that affects patients as well as physicians. Approximately 10 percent of physicians reported making a major medical error in the three months before the survey, with half those errors being fatal. “We’re not in a full-blown crisis yet, but we have a problem that needs to be attended to,” says David Rogers, M.D., MHPE, who was named to the new position of UAB Medicine’s chief wellness officer in January. “We have to go in a different direction if we expect people to continue to have great experiences in this profession. We have to get this sorted out for the next generation, or it’s going to continue to escalate.” Rogers, a pediatric surgeon, speaks from personal experience. He says there have been times when he was so exhausted from working long stretches that he could

not perform simple math while doing the calculations for parenteral nutrition in a child. Eventually, his colleagues noticed that his weariness was sapping his passion for the job. “A good friend came to me who said, ‘You’re not well. You’re not impaired, but we don’t see the enthusiasm in you that we’ve seen in the past. You’re not excited about the things that have always excited you before,’” Rogers recalls. “Part of burnout is becoming emotionally exhausted. You just don’t have the energy, and you feel like that’s your fault somehow so you withdraw.” UAB is addressing the myriad challenges to physician wellness thanks in part to the ProAssurance Endowed Chair for Physician Wellness, the first academic chair of its kind in the U.S. Established with a $1.5 million gift from Birminghambased ProAssurance Corporation, the chair is tasked with researching physician wellness and developing programs to promote a sustainable culture of wellness and provide both faculty and staff with tools and resources to manage stress and avoid burnout.

Understanding the Problem While long hours, lack of personal time, and stressful scenarios are nothing new in the health care field, recent changes in the profession seemingly have made matters

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UAB Medicine Fall 2018

One answer to burnout is team-based care. It is neither best for us nor our patients to function in siloes. Every member of the health care team should take ownership of our patients and work effectively and collaboratively as a team to provide the best care. When we do this, I think we will all enjoy what we do more and look forward to coming to work.” — SANDRA FRAZIER more difficult. Rogers says one of the leading factors is the introduction of electronic medical records, which has added a new layer of time-consuming responsibility. “On a national level, physicians didn’t realize how burdensome these systems were going to be,” Rogers says. “They can see the value of the EMR and the long-term benefit, but right now it feels like a hindrance. They are dealing with the EMR at night and on weekends. Nurse practitioners are often heavily in the system after hours, too, which speaks to this tool being more problematic than it was promised to be. “In addition, we are in a period where health care is being radically reformed and some would say disrupted. So you’re seeing the coalescing of health groups into large-scale systems, and physicians feel like we’re giving up a lot of autonomy. There is a sense that you’re just a widget and not performing the traditional role of a physician.” One of the initial ways Rogers hopes to address burnout is through the use of the Well-Being Index, a nine-question survey created by the Mayo Clinic to measure a person’s level of stress and depression.

“This tool gives you immediate feedback regarding where you are in your well-being compared to your national peers,” Rogers says. “That’s important, because physicians are really poor at self-care. We are the world’s worst patients. This program gives you anonymous, confidential information. And it allows you to track your score over time, so you can see if there is a negative trend developing.” The new Endowed Chair for Physician Wellness is only the latest example of UAB’s commitment to improving conditions for our faculty and trainees. Sandra Frazier, M.D., has been overseeing the School of Medicine’s Professional Development Office for 12 years. She provides free and confidential coaching, counseling, and consultation for health care professionals—M.D./D.O. and Ph.D. faculty, fellows, residents, and medical students. “I started the office because I know that our patients only receive the best care when we as providers are paying attention to our own well-being. In other words, I want to provide care for caregivers—those on the front line taking care of patients. We need to foster a culture where it’s not only OK to ask for help but also encouraged. As a primary care physician, I understand the rigors and challenges of medical school, residency, and being a faculty member. This office is my way of giving back to my profession.”

Working Together Frazier says some of the biggest contributors to burnout are the increase in the overall workload, reduced autonomy, and complex systemic issues. She says the key moving forward is for the entire medical community to adopt a more unified approach to providing care. “One answer to burnout is team-based care,” Frazier says. “It is neither best for us nor our patients to function in siloes. Every member of the health care team should take ownership of our patients and work effectively and collaboratively as a team to provide the best care. When we do this, I think we will all enjoy what we do more and look forward to coming to work.”

Signs of Physician Burnout • Emotional exhaustion: feeling drained after the workday and unable to recover with time off • Depersonalization: feelings of cynicism and/ or an excessively detached response to patients; also known as “compassion fatigue” • Loss of a sense of personal accomplishment

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Left to right: Vineeta Kumar is the lead facilitator of the Schwartz Rounds at UAB, which offers health care providers a regular forum to discuss the social and emotional issues they face in caring for patients; UAB’s residency programs are tackling the issues around physician wellness in individual and creative ways. Photos by Andrea Mabry.

Since 2009, UAB has also worked to support physician wellness by taking part in the national Schwartz Rounds program, which offers health care providers a monthly meeting where they can openly discuss the social and emotional challenges they encounter. “This is a program that allows dialogue,” says Vineeta Kumar, M.D., professor of medicine and the lead facilitator of Schwartz Rounds at UAB. “We talk about the nonclinical aspects of care and the emotional content of medicine. It’s a place where people are willing to share their vulnerabilities and question themselves. It’s a dialogue that doesn’t happen anywhere else in the hospital. “It reduces stress and feelings of isolation, and lets you know that you’re not the only person going through this,” she continues. “It also provides an understanding and appreciation of each other’s roles. It’s really gratifying for junior physicians when they hear senior physicians talk about these things and realize it’s OK to show the heart behind what we do. We have ups and downs, but working together as a team strengthens us.”

Supporting Trainees Feeling overwhelmed and stressed out has long been considered merely part of the process of learning to become a physician, but UAB is working to change this dynamic by extending its wellness efforts to encompass residents and medical students.

“It’s easy at times to get really focused on meeting goals and having a lot of accomplishments, so something like wellness tends to fall by the wayside,” says Anand Patel, M.D., co-chief resident in the Department of Radiology. “Wellness is not focused on as much, because it’s not something you can set as a concrete goal. Besides, when you’re young, you don’t think you have to take care of yourself that much.” Many residents discover the hard way that ignoring feelings of burnout does not make them go away. UAB is addressing the problem with a variety of resident wellness programs and initiatives, which includes working with Frazier and the Office of Professional Development to provide confidential coaching, counseling, and consultation. Some measures are simple, such as giving residents periodic half-days off in order to take care of personal tasks. Other initiatives involve residents getting together for activities away from the hospital. “We’ve introduced a component of social connectedness,” says Jason Morris, M.D., assistant program director for UAB’s Tinsley Harrison Internal Medicine Residency Program. “We have our residents seek out nonmedical community projects, because the medical tends to become routine to them and they forget the impact they’re having on people. “This helps reinforce the concept that they’re doing something positive for the greater community as a whole. The idea is if you take a step back and remind yourself of the impact you can have, then it’s easier to stay engaged with a positive outlook on the work that you do.” Jessica Zarzour, M.D., program director for the Diagnostic Radiology Residency Program, organized a resident retreat this year that included a visit to an escape room, where the residents were divided into teams and had to solve a series of puzzles and riddles, followed by lunch. “We want to make this an annual retreat that focuses on camaraderie, team-building, and work-life balance,” Zarzour

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Left to right: Nick Van Wagoner, associate dean for students, and Caroline Harada, assistant dean for community engaged scholarship, are implementing programs designed to help medical students cope with the stress of medical school and build resiliency and wellness strategies that will last throughout their careers. Photo by Nik Layman.

says. “This can address the emotional exhaustion and depersonalization aspect of burnout, with the hope that we’re going to build trust and friendship among the residents and build this group of people who can care for each other.” UAB is also trying to make the actual work experience more enjoyable for residents. This includes having healthy food readily available, so residents aren’t just eating snacks or grabbing fast food takeout during their long hours, as well as creating relaxation areas where residents can hang out with family members while on call. “To the credit of our medical school, there has been a huge effort to ensure that physicians remain in touch with the reason they chose medicine as a career in the first place,” says Associate Designated Institutional Official for the Clinical Learning Environment Brenessa Lindeman, M.D. “Because not only do these issues affect the health of our workforce, but ultimately they affect the health of our patients and our ability to care for them.” Medical students have their own special pressures to contend with, according to Nick Van Wagoner, M.D., associate dean for students. He says the number of applicants for residency is increasing faster than the number of available positions, and the rate of change in medicine is so rapid that students are required to learn much more today than they did 10 or 15 years ago. In addition to collaborating with Frazier and the Office of Professional Development to help trainees in distress, the Medical Student Services team aims to help reduce stress through the School of Medicine’s Learning Communities. Each student is assigned to a group of 60-80 students from all four years of medical school, along with a faculty mentor. The Learning Communities meet regularly to discuss a variety of topics, including stress management and wellness, and also have periodic social gatherings.

“We’re working toward a supportive culture, where all our students understand that they are needed and that their success is not contingent on another person’s failure,” Van Wagoner says. “That’s what happens in Learning Communities.” Third- and fourth-year medical students can also take part in Cases and Conversations, a monthly discussion group that allows them to talk about difficult situations they may encounter, such as the death of a patient or conflicts among members of the patient care team. “We get together for dinner, and then the students just talk about their experiences from the past month,” says Caroline Harada, M.D., assistant dean for community engaged scholarship. “It normalizes a lot of the emotional responses they have. It also lets them see the levity in some of the situations that they experienced, which can also be very healing.” The goal of these programs is to ensure that physicians and all members of the health care community are as healthy and happy as they want their patients to be. “This is a cultural change that we need to begin,” Rogers says. “It’s a conversation that will take years to evolve, but we have to be more sophisticated about what we ask people in our profession to do. We need to extend the idea of care to ourselves and our colleagues.”

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UAB Medicine Fall 2018

Turning Points Dr. Selwyn Vickers looks back on five years as dean of the UAB School of Medicine By Jane Longshore Photography by Dustin Massey

hen you learn of the lengths to which previous generations of the family of Selwyn Vickers, M.D., FACS, went in pursuit of an education, it seems inevitable that his career path would lead him to the office of dean of UAB School of Medicine. His parents, John and Clara Vickers, not only earned college degrees—a rarity for African-Americans living in Jim Crow-era Alabama—but they also both earned master’s degrees in education fields. His father went on to become one of the first 15 African-Americans to earn a doctoral degree from the University of Alabama. He later became dean of the School of Education at Alabama A&M University in Huntsville, where Vickers spent most of his formative years. Vickers’ parents’ inherited their reverence for learning from their forebears. His paternal grandfather taught himself to read and write at age 44. His maternal grandmother was a college graduate who worked as a school principal in the 1940s, and her father studied under Booker T. Washington. The influence of family was also key to putting Vickers on the path to a career in medicine. The summer Vickers was 15, he visited his uncle, Leroy Vickers, M.D., in Cincinnati and shadowed him at his internal medicine practice for a week. “To this day I still remember the elderly man with aortic stenosis he took me to see in the hospital,” Vickers says. “His symptoms were he could only walk about a block before becoming really short of breath. My uncle had seen him in the clinic where he was running the practice, and he heard this very distinctive murmur and knew what he had. “He got him into the hospital and got his valve replaced. The man was still recovering when we went by to see him, but he was so thankful because his quality of life was restored. I saw that man’s face when he saw my uncle, who was probably only 29 or 30 at the time, and I knew then that’s what I wanted to do.” Following his uncle’s example, Vickers set his sights on medical school early on in high school. He attended Johns Hopkins University for undergraduate, medical school, and his postdoctoral training, during which time he honed in on his two abiding clinical and research passions: pancreatic cancer and health disparities. Vickers returned to Alabama in 1994 when he joined the UAB Department of Surgery as an assistant professor. He eventually rose to professor of surgery and became the first holder of the John H. Blue Chair of General Surgery, and the co-director of the UAB Minority Health and Research Center. In 2006, he was recruited to the University of Minnesota to become the Jay Phillips Professor and Chair of its Department of Surgery. In 2013, he was recruited back to UAB, this time as senior vice president of medicine and dean of the School of Medicine, and holder of the James C. Lee Jr., Endowed Chair. He continues to perform pancreatic cancer surgeries, and his research has led to the development of important cancer treatments, as well as crucial advances in the understanding of health disparities.

As his fifth year as dean draws to a close, UAB Medicine sat down with Vickers to discuss the progress he has overseen in the school and the improvements still to come, as well as his perspective on the state of health care today and how the system can be strengthened for the future.

WHAT IS THE MOST CRITICAL PROBLEM FACING HEALTH CARE TODAY? The economics of health care are probably the biggest challenge. We can’t continue to have heath care costs rise where it becomes 20 percent of our GDP, and we’re probably at 16 or 17 percent now. The amount of dollars in health care is likely not going to increase, so fundamentally, we’re going to be asked to do our best for less. The reason I use those terms is because now, more than ever, we are going to be measured and judged by metrics that can be quantified and reported. Quality patient satisfaction, complications, unintended deaths, unintended outcomes— all those things are going to be measured, and our charge will be to be better than the rest. At the same time we are going have to do it in the most economical way possible. We’re going to be asked, did you provide care in a way that allowed you to be efficient and thoughtful in how you use resources? While that’s happening, our thirst and aspiration for science and discovery is not going away; it’s getting bigger. The amount of money that’s coming in for health care is not increasing, and one of the most expensive parts of an academic medical center—the research enterprise—is becoming more expensive. It’s true that [National Institutes of Health] funding is increasing, but we know that for every NIH dollar, it takes 50 cents from another source to secure that dollar. Yet those other sources that we have in a state like Alabama, or any place for that matter, are going to be fixed based on how well the clinical enterprise does. Ultimately, I think one of our biggest challenges is the fiduciary responsibility that we have as physician leaders to continually reduce costs, raise the bar of quality, and sustain our vision and aspiration for groundbreaking research to help improve the lives of the people we care for.

WHAT IS THE MOST IMPORTANT QUALITY A PHYSICIAN NEEDS TO BE SUCCESSFUL TODAY? The fundamental characteristics of a good doctor really haven’t changed: You have to love learning science and human physiology, and you have to care about people. But moving forward, the physician workforce is going to have to be reassessed in the context of burnout, and resilience is going to be very important for a person to have a sustainable and successful career in medicine. We know that burnout is a legitimate issue for this generation of doctors who, by expectation and experience,

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UAB Medicine Fall 2018

desire and demand different things out of their lives than many of their predecessors did. While doctors will work as hard as they always have, they may not work as intensely over as long hours as they did in the past. I also think physicians of the future won’t be as much the lone warrior. More and more, they will be part of a larger multidisciplinary group as employed physicians, and they’re going to need multiple team players to help them. Being successful will mean not only being judged by how you interact with your patients, which used to be the only criteria for being a good doctor, but it’s also going to be how you interact with the team around you. Physician extenders, advanced practice providers, pharmacists, physical therapists, occupational therapists—those individuals play a huge role in delivering care in the models that have been shown to reduce costs and provide higher levels of preventive and extended care.

WHAT HAS CHANGED MOST ABOUT MEDICAL EDUCATION SINCE YOUR DAYS IN TRAINING? Four years is just not enough time to get all the knowledge, and the new knowledge that’s being generated, into students’ minds. You could make medical school six years on top of a bachelor’s degree because of the explosion of knowledge. There’s one report that says 90 percent of the data in health care has been created the past two years. That’s the biggest difference—the accumulation of information and data and the speed at which it occurs. In other ways, things haven’t changed much. You’re still required to work hard; you’re still required to push yourself to a level you’ve never had to before, especially in the first two

years of medical school. But the rewards are immeasurable; you’re doing something that can really impact a patient’s life.

WHAT DO YOU THINK SURPRISES OUTSIDERS MOST ABOUT THE SCHOOL OF MEDICINE AND UAB MEDICINE? The thing I think is most surprising that we continually overcome is that who we are and what we do is often seen as incongruent with people’s perceptions of Alabama. Our size, our scope, and our aspirations are not consistent with the world’s impression of our state. That’s in some ways advantageous and in other ways unfortunate. We have to bring people here in order to change their fixed, often false beliefs. We grow our reputation capacity for excellence in research and patient care largely on who we can recruit, both students and faculty. Getting the best in the country is what allows us to compete on a national playing field and be an institution that is viewed as a serious competitor.

WHAT DO YOU HOPE PEOPLE WILL REMEMBER MOST ABOUT YOUR TENURE AS DEAN? If not seen as transformative, I hope I will be remembered as someone who added value as a leader, who helped lift our programs, solved problems, and increased opportunities. Laura Coulter contributed to this story.

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Now You See It Multimodal imaging in radiology spurs new perspectives on diagnosis and treatment By Sarah Williams Photography by Steve Wood

n the realm of technology, Moore’s Law states that computers double in power every two years. In radiology, which is driven by advances in imaging technology, there’s a similar principle at work. Every new piece of imaging equipment to hit the market offers faster results and higherresolution radiological scans, as well as new possibilities in diagnosis and treatment. Over the past few years at UAB, new imaging equipment and facilities, a new cyclotron particle accelerator to produce imaging agents, and advances in multimodal molecular imaging have made imaging more powerful than ever before. “Each imaging agent can really be considered part of a toolbox,” says Suzanne Lapi, Ph.D., director of the UAB Radiochemistry Laboratory and Cyclotron Facility. “By combining tools, we’re not only seeing what something looks like, we can actually see the biology and the molecular pathways it’s using at the same time.”

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UAB Medicine Fall 2018

People in the general public typically encounter radiology only for an occasional radiograph or magnetic resonance (MRI) examination, and regard the specialty as providing flat, static snapshots of their insides: a two-dimensional, black-and-white image of a broken wrist or a slipped disc, for example. But, as the field evolves, various imaging technologies—especially when used in combination—are providing more dynamic information for diagnostic purposes and pointing toward precision treatments for disease. “This approach utilizes not just MRI or CT or PET images, but takes different modalities and fuses them together,” says Cheri Canon, M.D., FACR, the Witten-Stanley Endowed Chair of Radiology. “This informs us not only of anatomy but also lets us study the physiology. And we have software that overlays images from two completely different types of equipment to give us collaborative information. In so many cases, there are now new ways to image disease or provide alternative therapies driven by advances in radiology.”

From the Bottom Up In 2013, a crane lowered a new cyclotron—used to create the radioactive isotopes needed for certain types of medical imaging—into the basement of the UAB Comprehensive Cancer Center’s Wallace Tumor Institute. In the five years since, this 60-ton piece of equipment has allowed UAB to start fine-tuning and combining new types of scans. “Ours is one of the most sophisticated cyclotrons in an academic institution in the U.S.,” says Canon. And it’s located just a few steps from UAB’s Advanced Imaging Facility, which holds the latest and most advanced PET CT and PET MRI. Why does the proximity matter? Some of the radioactive materials being generated from scratch at UAB are active for mere minutes; they have to go straight from the cyclotron to being injected into a patient. Each radiotracer used in medical scans must contain a radioactive element as a “beacon,” which is attached to the molecule that tells the material where in the body to go. In some cases, a physician wants to see the location of a tumor. In other cases, he or she may want to visualize the path blood

Left to right: Biomedical engineering student Retta ElSayed (left) walks through the cyclotron vault with Cyclotron Facility Director Suzanne Lapi (right). UAB’s cyclotron particle accelerator is among the most advanced at an academic institution in the U.S., according to Cheri Canon (above), chair of the Department of Radiology. Photos by Steve Wood.

takes through the heart, or see areas where oxygen or sugar are being metabolized differently than usual. “The cyclotron lets us make radiotracers that are much more unique than what’s available commercially,” says Lapi. “We can develop markers of inflammation in the brain, for example, or visualize targets for different types of cancer. This gives the physician insight into how best to treat the patient.” During a PET scan, radiotracers are swallowed, inhaled, or injected into the body. Then, depending on exactly what they’re designed to do, they accumulate in specific areas of the body. A PET scanner lets doctors visualize where the radiotracers end up. Brighter spots indicate that there are more radiotracers, because they bind to a desired target or undergo a desired chemical reaction. On their own, PET scans may look fuzzy or imprecise— large blots of color showing areas of interest. By combining PET scans with simultaneous MRI or CT scans, which show the minute physical details of the body’s organs, physicians can better pinpoint exactly what they are looking at and where it is in the body.

Brain Power According to Jonathan McConathy, M.D., Ph.D., director of UAB’s Advanced Imaging Facility, the cyclotron’s power combined with the strengths of the imaging facility not only give UAB the ability to better treat patients, by providing faster and more detailed imaging, but also help boost the school’s basic research efforts. “We’re using a lot of experimental radiotracers that aren’t being used in many other places,” he says. “And we’re working on developing brand new tracers here at UAB that will eventually be used in people.”

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Among that basic research is the work that Lapi alluded to, which uses PET radiotracers to pinpoint inflammation in the brain. Studies have suggested that levels and locations of brain inflammation are critical to the progression of Parkinson’s disease. UAB researchers are in the early stages of testing whether visualizing brain inflammation using PET scans—with radiotracers highlighting areas of inflammation—can help diagnose or track the progression of Parkinson’s disease. In another project, UAB researchers are combining MRI and PET scans to detect levels of certain proteins in the brains of people with Alzheimer’s disease. In this case, the PET radiotracers are designed to seek out amyloid or tau proteins, which are known to accumulate abnormally in Alzheimer’s disease. Doctors hope the multimodal images will eventually lead to ways to diagnose Alzheimer’s earlier. “This research is really critical if you’re doing studies with patients who you think might have Alzheimer’s but are very early in the disease progression or don’t have typical symptoms,” says McConathy. “Often these people are misdiagnosed, but these scans help us be much more certain of their diagnosis.” While those types of scans can help diagnose Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s, they don’t point toward treatments yet. However, other brain scans are already helping guide surgeries. Philip Chapman, M.D., chief of neuroradiology, says UAB neurosurgeons are relying on two types of scans—functional MRI or fMRI, and diffusion tensor imaging or DTI—to map out the brains of brain cancer and epilepsy patients before their surgeries. In an fMRI, a neuroradiologist might ask a patient to move his or her hand or fingers. The fMRI scan then detects which areas of the brain have increased blood flow, indicating activity. This lets the neuroradiologist pinpoint exactly where the brain’s motor, or movement, areas are. Similarly, an fMRI conducted while a patient is reading or talking might point toward the language area of the brain. In conjunction with fMRI, performing a DTI scan—which tracks the movement of water—lets clinicians see the location of tracts of white matter in the brain. Disrupting these

Left: Jonathan McConathy directs UAB’s Advanced Imaging Facility (photo by Steve Wood). Above: The whole-body PET image (left) of a patient with a neuroendocrine tumor that has spread to the liver shows the tracer Gallium-68-DOTATATE binding to the tumor as dark spots, while the fused PET/CT images of the liver (top right) and lower abdomen (bottom right) show binding as white and orange spots.

superhighways of information during a surgery can interrupt connections among areas of the brain involved in such vital functions as vision, movement, and reasoning. “If you have a brain tumor that’s pushed normal language or motor structures of the brain out of place, it’s important to know where they’re being displaced to,” says Chapman. “This lets the surgeon plan ahead of time how to navigate around those important areas.” With these techniques, surgeons

We’re using a lot of experimental radiotracers that aren’t being used in many other places. And we’re working on developing brand new tracers here at UAB that will eventually be used in people.”

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UAB Medicine Fall 2018


removing a brain tumor or an epileptic lesion can better avoid long-term damage to a patient’s ability to walk or talk. Chapman and other UAB neuroradiologists have also recently ramped up their use of CT perfusion scans in patients admitted to the hospital after a stroke. Traditional CT scans of the brain can reveal where a stroke has already happened. CT perfusion, which images the areas of the brain that have blood supply, can point clinicians toward areas of the brain that are at risk of stroke. “This tells us who might have additional strokes in the hours or days after an initial stroke if they don’t get treatment,” says Chapman. “It’s incredibly useful to be able to target treatment, and is becoming more of a standard here at UAB.”

Heart of the Matter It is not only the brain that is being visualized more clearly than ever before; physicians can also see finer details of the heart, which helps them treat heart disease with greater precision. “The scanners we have now are faster than ever before, so we can scan the heart in the time span of one single breath hold—three or four seconds,” says Satinder Singh, M.D., chief of cardiopulmonary radiology and director of cardiac CT at UAB. “The quality of the images is much better and the radiation dose is much lower than in the past.” To diagnose coronary artery disease—the narrowing of the arteries that carry blood to the heart—doctors often rely on stress tests, which gauge how the heart responds to exercise or other stressors. But in some cases, a patient’s symptoms don’t match the results of their stress test and further testing is required. In the past, calculating the severity of the narrowing of the heart’s arteries involved inserting a thin wire and catheter into the arteries from the groin. Now, UAB radiologists are using CT scans to not only visualize the narrowing of arteries but also to look at the vessel walls to find high-risk plaques noninvasively. They are also turning to CT scans to help plan complex valve replacements. While valves are traditionally replaced in an open-heart surgery, physicians have recently begun turning to a less-invasive procedure for patients who aren’t good candidates for surgery. In a transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR), a hollow tube is guided through a patient’s arteries—from his/her leg or arm—to the heart. Once in place, the tube is used to deploy a replacement valve. “There’s a lot of critical information the surgeon needs to deploy the valve correctly and avoid complications,” says Singh. CT scans ahead of surgery can help determine the best access site, size of the valve needed, and the exact angle for valve deployment. Singh and his colleagues have also started using CT scans after valve replacements to screen patients for complications. In a small segment of valve replacements, the replaced valve develops thrombus—a blood clot—and patients who have this complication often don’t show symptoms. Only a CT scan can confidently detect the valve thrombus, which can then be

easily treated with blood thinners. “We now have about a dozen cases where patients had no symptoms but came in for their follow-up appointments. They were found to have increased pressures across the valve on heart ultrasound, and the CT scan was able to detect thrombus,” says Singh. “So we’re catching these patients much earlier and treating them early.”

Scans to Treat Just as cardiac radiologists are using CT scans to guide the catheter tubes used in TAVR procedures, interventional radiologists at UAB are guiding catheters through arteries to treat conditions elsewhere in the body. “There’s a general interest in moving treatment from invasive to minimally invasive whenever possible,” says Ahmed Kamel, M.D., M.Sc., Ph.D., chief of interventional radiology. The entire field of interventional radiology, in fact, revolves around using imaging to precisely guide treatments. Chemotherapy, for instance, can be loaded on small diameter beads and directly injected into a tumor using X-rays to guide the chemotherapy injection to the spot of the cancer. A procedure called fibroid embolization to treat uterine fibroids offers women a less invasive alternative to total hysterectomy to remove the uterus. Interventional radiologists guide very small beads into the arteries of the uterus and block the blood supply to fibroids. “Women get significant relief of their symptoms but are back to work very quickly and with no incisions in their pelvis,” Kamel says. More recently, interventional radiologists have begun performing prostate artery embolizations, in which very small beads are injected into the prostate using image guidance. The beads block blood flow to the prostate, eventually shrinking it. The procedure—which UAB is the first to offer in the state—is used to treat benign prostate hyperplasia, a condition that is common in older men and can cause frequent or difficult urination. As imaging techniques continue to improve and clinicians find new ways to use and combine scans, radiologists expect that their expertise will only become more critical to diagnosis and treatment. “Imaging is really the hub of diagnosis across many diseases,” says Canon. “And it’s also becoming the prototype for precision medicine.” According to Canon, imaging increasingly helps physicians not only guide the location of a treatment, but select treatments, predict whether a treatment will work, or determine whether an existing course of treatment is currently working. As new radiotracers allow the visualization of particular molecules, for instance, physicians may be able to match molecular markers in a patient’s body to drugs that target those markers. “Health care is rapidly changing, and everyone has to do more with less,” says Canon. “Imaging is specifically challenging because our imaging modalities are so expensive, but UAB has done a fantastic job of keeping on the cuttingedge of radiology, and that has really set us apart and allowed for increased precision in disease diagnosis for our patients.”

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How the School of Medicine prepares students for residency success By Gail Short Photograph by Andrea Mabry

When it comes to snagging a coveted medical residency on Match Day, the competition is hot and getting hotter. That is because the number of residency applicants in the U.S. Match has long outpaced the number of available medical residency spots. In fact, the number of residency registrants reached an all-time high of 43,909 in 2018, for only 30,232 first-year post-graduate (PGY-1) positions. Getting the preferred residency is just the beginning. New interns often find the first few weeks on the job nerve-racking as they begin treating patients on their own. “Certainly all our students have required clinical rotations and clerkships for their specific disciplines, including internal medicine, pediatrics, surgery, neurology, psychiatry, and family medicine,” says Craig Hoesley, M.D., senior associate dean of medical education. “But still, we want to give the students specific skill sets that will help them succeed in every way in their residencies.” To help students, the School of Medicine is using technology and expanding its existing residency preparation coursework. The goal is to boost students’ confidence before and long after Match Day.

Choosing Wisely When it came time for 2017 School of Medicine graduate Riley Camp, M.D., to select residency programs to apply to, he had a dizzying number of factors to consider. The 28-year-old Hoover native is in his second year as a UAB anesthesiology resident, but he recalls spending hours online browsing different residency programs’ websites. He also consulted with his career adviser, Alethia Baldwin Sellers, M.D., associate professor in the UAB Department of Anesthesiology and Perioperative Medicine, and older residents to get their opinions about different programs. “Personally, some factors I prioritized were the quality of the training program and the medical center, where the program was located, the different kinds of academic support staff, and the assistance provided,” says Camp. “And my wife and I wanted to stay in the Southeast.” Most medical students choose a specialty by their third year, at which point they are encouraged to choose a career adviser in that field. In addition to serving as a career adviser and an assistant professor of general internal medicine, Winter Williams, M.D., co-directs the Internal Medicine Clerkship Program. Williams says he advises between 12-15 students every year. He starts by listening to the students, providing

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UAB Medicine Fall 2018

them with information about the reputations and rigor of various residency programs, and finding out what students hope for in terms of lifestyle. “It goes beyond how good an institution is,” says Williams. “It’s important to get the best possible clinical training that you can, but it’s also important to be happy where you are and to find a good match that incorporates some of those things that are going to be very student-specific and can vary from person to person. It’s also really important to match up expectations with reality whenever you’re making a list.”

It goes beyond how good an institution is. It’s important to get the best possible clinical training that you can, but it’s also important to be happy where you are.” — Winter Williams, M.D.

Williams says career advisers are instrumental in helping students determine where they are likely to match based on their step scores and class rankings. “We show them where people with similar scores and similar objective metrics have gone in the past five years,” says Williams. “I think it’s a helpful starting point for crafting a list.” Once students have their lists, they start the application process. Today, students use the Electronic Residency Application Service, or ERAS, where they submit their applications, letters of recommendation, and other necessary documents online. Once the application process began, Camp says Sellers helped him critique his personal statement and curriculum vitae. “She provided valuable advice about programs where I would be competitive and the number of programs I needed to apply to be successful in the Match,” he says. “Then, we met before rank lists were due in February of my fourth year, and she told me about the pros and cons of the programs I was interested in.” In the end, Camp says he applied to 30 anesthesiology programs, received 25 offers for interviews, and went on 11 different interviews before selecting UAB.

Managing Jitters

After graduation, first-year residents often feel both excited and fearful. “Before my intern year, I was terrified,” says School of Medicine graduate Jennifer Anderson, M.D., a 26-year-old PGY-2 pediatrics resident at UAB. “I knew I had learned a lot the prior four years, but I also knew I had so much more to learn. I was mostly scared of making mistakes and hurting patients.”

Associate Dean for Undergraduate Medical Education Kevin Leon, M.D., says anxiety and a lack of self-confidence are common among new residents. “They’re putting in orders on patients, and those orders are being followed through on, and they don’t have to have them co-signed by anyone,” says Leon. “It’s a lot of uncertainty, a lot of self-doubt, and a lot of overthinking things.” To assist students before starting their internships, the School of Medicine offers a “Preparation for Residency” course in April for fourth-year students. Leon says he and Hoesley created the course more than a decade ago as a week-long special topics course where students could review some of the skills and standards they learned earlier in medical school. Over time, the course evolved into a two-week elective. Today, the course includes medical simulations based on case studies. This provides students opportunities to practice teamwork and communication skills, and dealing with difficult patients. Students also practice common procedures like IV placement, airway management, handling crossover emergencies, and disclosing medical errors. “If they didn’t have an opportunity to do a lot of lumbar punctures, for example, or they didn’t manage a lot of ventilators, or if their confidence just isn’t there, this is a way for them to revisit some of these things,” Hoesley says. Starting in 2019, “Preparation for Residency” will become required, Leon says, and will include two different two-week courses. One two-week course will be for medical students going into procedural specialties such as surgery, anesthesiology, or obstetrics and gynecology. The first week of that course will cover topics applicable to all first-year residents. Depending on their interests, the students will be divided up into either a surgical boot camp or an obstetrics and gynecology boot camp in the second week. The other course will be taught the following two weeks for the next half of students who will be going into the primary care medical specialties such as internal medicine, pediatrics, neurology, psychiatry, etc. The first week will cover topics applicable to everyone like cross-cover emergencies, pain management, nutritional support, hand-offs, and product utilization. During the second week, these students will be divided into an internal medicine boot camp and a pediatric boot camp based on their interests. “One of the things UAB prides itself on is its clinical care, and our students are phenomenal in terms of their clinical skills,” Leon says. “I think now this course will make them much more confident, especially as they go out to other institutions.” Despite her early nerves, Anderson says the class—which includes pediatric simulations and assessments and Pediatric Advanced Life Support (PALS) training—gave her an added level of comfort and confidence in her first few weeks on the job as a pediatric intern. “Honestly,” says Anderson, “I found that just pretending to be a resident for a couple weeks, focusing on clinical care of patients and having a resident mindset, was one of the most important benefits of the course.”

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BRAIN Neurology medical education training gets revamped By Emily Henagan



in the UAB Department of Neurology, can help promote the School of Medicine’s neurology medical education because he empathizes with students, even if he attended a different medical school. “I was a neurosciences major as an undergrad, so I always liked studying the brain,” says Sung, who attended the University of Texas Southwestern Medical School in Dallas. “However, my second-year course in that area was poorly organized and poorly rated. I did not do well in the course and had to explain my performance during my neurology residency interviews. I didn’t want anyone else to experience that.” David Standaert, M.D., Ph.D., the John N. Whitaker Chair in the Department of Neurology, wanted to change neurology medical education training, too. When he first became chair in 2011, one of his main goals was to enliven neurology medical education training. “When I took the job, I learned that not one single fourth-year student in that year tried to match into neurology,” says Standaert. “We did a number of things to change neurosciences medical education.” They partnered with Robin Lester, Ph.D., the second-year neurosciences module director. This module comprises neurology, psychiatry (behavior), pharmacology, pathology, and anatomy components. To help with the neurology part of the module, Standaert notes they brought in Sung in 2013, who later brought in Michael Lyerly, M.D. “By bringing in young and fresh perspectives and by making it a joint effort among numerous faculty, we helped contribute to the restructuring of the second-year neurosciences module.” Lester says Vinita Yalamanchili, M.D., and Tobias Martinez, M.D., in psychiatry; Teresa Wilborn, Pharm.D., Ph.D., in pharmacology; Kenneth Fallon, M.D., in neuropathology; and William Brooks, Ph.D., in anatomy all had a hand in reshaping the neurosciences module. “I believe we have integrated all aspects of the broad field of neuroscience into a well-structured 10-week course,” says Robin Lester, Ph.D., professor in the Department of Neurobiology.


The team replaced some lecturers, reorganized the small group lessons to align with the large group content, and made sure the lectures covered material the students would be tested on for their board certification exams. “We found it more beneficial having a faculty member with great oratory skills lecturing about a subject that wasn’t their expertise than having an expert teaching about the subject who didn’t have those same oratory skills,” says Lyerly, associate professor in the Department of Neurology. “We carefully looked over the previous course evaluations and took a lot of the students’ feedback to heart to help guide us in redirecting the course.” “Rebuilding the second-year neurosciences module has been both challenging and rewarding,” adds Lester. “It continues to be a dynamic process, with annual adjustments aimed at providing the preclinical medical class with an enjoyable journey through the brain and leaving them with a comprehensive understanding of the nervous system.” Now the course routinely receives high ratings among second-year students and is the two-time reigning Argus Award winner for Best MS2 Organ Module. Moreover, Sung has been named the Best Educator in Neurosciences three years in a row. He also received the UAB President’s Award for Excellence in Teaching for the School of Medicine in 2018. These accolades are a testament to the positive changes in the course because they recognize outstanding service to medical education through course evaluations, student votes, and faculty nominations.


Standaert, Sung, and Lyerly say their overall goal is to get more students to enter the field of neurology. They’re doing just that. “We were averaging one to two students a year entering into neurology residencies before we helped reorganize the second-year neurosciences module. We recently had eight

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UAB Medicine Fall 2018

students match into adult neurology and two more match into pediatric neurology in a single year,” says Sung. “There’s no other way to see it. It’s four to five times more; it’s a big jump.” The recent group of students who matched into neurology were in the first class to take the revamped neurosciences module. The trend is continuing, as the next class to take the overhauled course has another 10 students who have declared intent to apply for a neurology residency. Standaert says one reason for the turnaround is a simple change in the course calendar. The second-year neurosciences module previously started with the small details and worked up to the big picture. “So they turned it around,” notes Standaert. “They said, ‘Let’s start with the big picture. Let’s talk about the brain as a whole, and then let’s work down to the small details in the other direction.’” According to a recently published article by the American Academy of Neurology (AAN), there are 180 practicing neurologists in Alabama, 55 of whom are at UAB. Based on calculations using age and population numbers, the authors of the AAN article estimate there should be 280 practicing neurologists in the state. “We are about 100 neurologists short for the state, so we are a long way from filling the gap,” admits Standaert. “But it’s really exciting to have more students enthusiastic about neurology. We’re growing that pipeline of having people from Alabama who want to train in neurology and stay here.”


Standaert says another group of faculty is focused on improving the third-year medical students’ experience with neurology. He, along with third-year clerkship director John Rinker II, M.D., assistant clerkship director Marissa Natelson Love, M.D., and other faculty members redesigned how the students were assigned on neurology rotations. Instead of putting four or five third-year medical students on one neurology rotation, the instructors spread them out so there were only one or two students on a rotation. “They get more personal attention this way, which is great,” says Standaert. “We’re getting them excited about neurology and neurosciences. They come out of their second-year neurosciences module thinking of neurology as really fun, interesting, important, and relevant. This makes their third-year neurology experience more positive from the get-go.” There may be another perk in restructuring neurology medical education within the UAB School of Medicine: a decrease in “neurophobia.” “Before medical students even take a course in neurosciences, some of them have an innate fear that learning about the brain is just this complex mystery. They go into it with this pessimistic attitude about how hard it’s going to be,” explains Lyerly. “If the course is not done right, you’re going validate that neurophobia. We’re doing the opposite; we’re turning neurophobia on its head.”

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An Orientation Week diary of the 2018 incoming class’ first days on campus By Brianna Farley

DAY 1 July 23

DAY 2 July 24

DAY 3 July 25

The incoming class has its first day on campus! Day one started with a welcome from Selwyn Vickers, M.D., FACS, senior vice president for medicine and dean of the School of Medicine; a “Sorting Ceremony” during which each student received their Learning Community assignment; and the first lecture of the “Patient, Doctor, and Society” course. To end the day, students received their locker combinations and iPads, and got fitted for their white coats, generously provided by the Medical Alumni Association.

On Tuesday, students were encouraged to wear clothing with the names of their undergraduate schools. The day was filled with sessions about academic success, information about ways to maintain well-being in medical school, and an overview of the curriculum. During lunch, students joined with other students who have similar hobbies to form interest groups led by orientation leaders. Students ended the day by attending an Organization Fair to learn about the different clubs and interest groups available at the School of Medicine.

Day three was spent learning about “Introduction to Clinical Medicine” (ICM). Following a lecture by Stanford Massie Jr., M.D., director of the ICM course, students attended a lunch with Clinical Skills Scholars, faculty who teach the clinical skills curriculum during the first and second years. This was a great time for students to ask the scholars any questions that they might have. Students were also excited to receive their UAB ONE Card student ID cards.

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UAB Medicine Fall 2018


Entering Class Stats

DAY 4 July 26

Students who will spend their third and fourth years at the School of Medicine’s Regional Medical Campuses in either Huntsville, Tuscaloosa, or Montgomery visited their campuses and saw what their future homes have to offer, which included some fun activities like bowling. Students who will stay in Birmingham for their third and fourth years participated in one of a variety of service activities: gardening at Jones Valley Teaching Farm and Urban Ministry, playing games with disabled youth and adults at United Ability, assembling hygiene kits for the homeless at Church of the Reconciler, and packing food bags for children with food insecurity at Food Bank of Central Alabama.

186 students

105 81 men


161 25

Alabama non-residents residents


undergraduate colleges

DAY 5 July 27

Last day of orientation! The students have learned so much and met so many different people this week. On this day, they were introduced to the Office for Diversity and Inclusion. They also learned from the Undergraduate Medical Education staff about setting expectations, and afterward students were fitted for their masks. To finish the week, the Medical Alumni Association treated students to Steel City Pops popsicles.

507.98 MCAT2015 total score


undergraduate total GPA


mean age at application — 27 —


AN HONORABLE MAN Remembering urologist and former Alumni Association President Albert Tully Jr., M.D. BY RYAN BROUSSARD


ver since the death of his father, Albert Tully Jr., M.D., on June 3, Scott Tully Sr., M.D., has received daily condolences from fellow physicians, nurses, and patients. “Everyone who met him has told me, ‘Your dad was a great guy,’” Tully says. “I’m proud of who he was and the legacy he left behind.” Albert Tully died after a nearly 10-year battle with Parkinson’s disease. He was a fixture around Birmingham with his late wife, Antoinette “Toni” Tully, a well-known local artist to whom he was married for 53 years. The younger Tully says his father would jokingly introduce himself as Toni Tully’s husband. A 1964 graduate of the Medical College of Alabama, Albert Tully served as president of the Jefferson County Medical Society in 1989; was a member of the University of Alabama Medical Alumni Association for 30 years, including a term as president from 2005-2007; and received the Distinguished Alumni Award from the UAB National Alumni Society in 2006. His wife’s death in 2010 preceded the Parkinson’s disease diagnosis, but Tully never became bitter about his circumstances. He retired as a practicing urologist following his wife’s death. He enjoyed a 41-year career at Urology Centers of Alabama (formerly Urology Associates), where he was a founding partner and where he mentored generations of School of Medicine graduates and fellow urologists.

Lee Hammontree, M.D., is one of those mentees. Hammontree, a urologist at Urology Centers of Alabama, worked with Albert Tully for more than a decade. He notes the elder Tully was always quick with a kind word or advice, even when they worked for competing practices. “I thought the world of him, and he was a real hero to me in so many ways,” Hammontree says. “Dr. Tully could always be counted on to be one of the hardest-working urologists in our group. He was always willing to do the right thing. He was humble as well as confident.” Hammontree says Albert Tully also made a lasting impression because of his commitment to physical fitness. “There were times when a group of us would go on medical meeting trips. While some of us would sit and have drinks on the beach, he would go swimming parallel to the beach for 30-45 minutes,” Hammontree says. “When other people made the excuse to take the elevator, Dr. Tully would take the stairs.” Tully also made a lasting impression on another fellow urologist and former MAA president, Walter Pittman, M.D., whom he first encountered in 1960. Albert Tully spent two years from 1965-1967 as a doctor in the U.S. Navy at Camp Lejeune, and Pittman says Tully recalled his time in the military fondly. He also describes his friend as a “deep thinker” and “honest and straightforward.” “He was a good man,” Pittman continues. “He was a good family man. He was a good parent. He was a good doctor, and he did a lot for the medical community in Alabama.” Another lasting impact Albert Tully will have on Alabama’s medical community is the Albert J. Tully Jr., M.D., Family Medical Endowed Scholarship he established in 2017. Scott Tully says his father created the scholarship because he remembered what it was like to go through medical school with little-to-no income. “He was always very loyal to the medical school,” Tully adds. “It was a big part of his life.” The endowed scholarship ensures that the Tully family name, which now spans three generations of alumni and aspiring physicians (Albert Tully’s grandson, Albert Scott Tully Jr., is currently in medical school at UAB), will inspire medical students for years to come. “The scholarship came from a man who truly loved the practice of medicine and practiced it in a compassionate way,” Scott Tully says. “He wanted that to be part of his legacy.”

Left to right: The late Albert Tully Jr., is remembered as an outstanding physician and a leader in the medical community. His son Scott is carrying on the family tradition as a practicing urologist, while his son and Albert Tully’s grandson, Albert Scott Tully Jr. (not pictured), is currently a medical student at UAB.

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UAB Medicine Fall 2018


BOLLYWOOD OR BUST Alumna’s love for Indian films sparks interest in writing BY BRIANNA FARLEY


t first glance, Bollywood, medicine, and health and science seem like an odd trio of interests, but for School of Medicine 2013 graduate, Farah Naz Khan, M.D., writing about those topics is a way to unwind after a long day at the hospital. From movie reviews to opinion columns, Khan developed a habit of writing about cultural issues from a South Asian-American perspective during her fourth year of medical school. She continued writing while completing an internal medicine residency at Emory University School of Medicine in Atlanta. “I have a guilty pleasure of watching Bollywood movies, so it was the first thing I started writing about,” says Khan. “It was a great way to begin my writing career, and writing is relaxing for me. It’s how I disconnect and recharge.” Khan says her love affair with Bollywood (the name given to the Indian movie industry) stems from her childhood fascination with the world’s largest film industry. Later, this passion for South Asian arts and culture extended into a keen interest in global health. She started pursuing global health outreach while in medical school at UAB, during which time she went on two medical research trips to India. “UAB was the most supportive environment for me to nurture that interest,” says Khan. “There were so many people who went out of their way to help me get research funding and a travel scholarship that allowed me to go to India not once, but twice in my time at the School of Medicine.” Khan wrote about her travels and global health outreach in a personal blog. She later broadened her focus and began writing about her personal and

professional experiences as a young physician after she began her residency. “I had never thought about publishing my writing until the end of my second year of residency,” says Khan. “I reached out to an editor who was looking for freelance writers for health and science pitches, and it went from there.” She has since written for numerous online outlets, including The Atlantic,, Scientific American, and The Daily Beast. One of her most widely circulated articles is a 2015 article for The Daily Beast titled, “How I Deal with Racist Patients.” In it, Khan shares her encounters with patients who make offensive comments and refuse treatment because of the color of her skin. She says she hopes her writing helps physicians cope with similar situations, and she encourages her colleagues to find an outlet for expressing themselves like she has with writing. “Find something outside of medicine that is a source of energy and positivity, because sometimes we won’t see the light of day,” Khan says. “Whether it’s calling a friend or family member on the way home or checking out the latest Bollywood album, I always try to find interests outside of the hospital to help me stay balanced.”

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Farah Naz Khan shared her love of travel in a personal blog before turning her writing hobby into a successful side career.

For Khan, writing is not the only way to stay grounded. She enjoys spending time with her nieces and nephews, visiting her family in Birmingham, and traveling with her husband. She recently moved from Atlanta and joined her husband in Seattle, where she has started working at the University of Washington as a clinical assistant professor of medicine in the Division of Metabolism, Endocrinology, and Nutrition. Now an academic physician, Khan credits several professors at the School of Medicine as playing key roles in her success during medical school. Two of those were Tinsley Harrison Internal Medicine Residency Program Director Lisa Willett, M.D., MACM, FACP, and Assistant Director Jason Morris, M.D. “Dr. Willett, Dr. Morris, and my research mentor, Dr. Andrea Cherrington, were all amazing sources of guidance,” she says. “They were also supportive of me going to Emory, because they knew I would be carrying UAB’s good name with me to Atlanta.”


THE PRIMARY FOCUS Photo courtesy of Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Alabama

Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Alabama gives scholarships to train primary care physicians BY HOLLY GAINER


he majority of Alabama’s counties do not have enough primary care physicians to meet the needs of their residents. According to the Alabama Department of Public Health, under the federal definition of Health Professional Shortage Areas, 62 of Alabama’s 67 counties have a primary care shortage. To help tackle the issue, the UAB School of Medicine and Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Alabama have created a program to increase the numbers of physicians practicing in rural parts of the state. Blue Cross is giving UAB $3.6 million to train a total of 60 primary care physicians. The physicians will return to practice in a county with a primary care shortage after they complete their residencies. The scholarship will pay the tuition for up to 12 third- and fourth-year students each year for five years. “Every Alabamian should have access to high-quality primary care. Partnering with UAB will provide primary care services to more Alabamians in rural areas,” says Tim Vines, president and CEO of Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Alabama. “Recent studies show having access to primary care results in improved health outcomes and lower health care spending. This investment validates our long-term commitment to providing Alabamians access to the quality health care that they need.” The inaugural 2018-2019 class of scholarship recipients includes Chelsea Clark, Sara Frese, Tanner Hallman, Mary Ingram, Savannah Johnson, Alex Kearns, Clinton Kilcrease, Joshua Price, Zoza Spears, and Hannah Zahedi. They will be required to practice in the counties where they are placed for three years after their residencies, with the hope they will remain in those counties after the end of their commitment. “As someone originally from the small town of Demopolis in Marengo County, I’m especially excited that our expertly trained physicians will soon be serving in communities that need them so desperately,” says Selwyn Vickers, M.D., senior vice president for Medicine and dean of the UAB School of Medicine. “The students in this program will be the ‘boots on the ground’ in the communities where individuals need advocates and knowledgeable medical professionals right now.” Clark, one of the scholarship recipients, agrees with Vickers, noting that supporting medical students in their pursuit of primary care will enable them to better care for underserved populations in the future. She also says this scholarship reflects a trend in medicine toward preventive care. “I think our health care system is back to focusing on preventive rather than interventional care—for example, helping a patient with high cholesterol keep it at bay so it does not turn into a massive stroke,” explains Clark.

Recipients of the new Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Alabama Primary Care Scholarship include (front row left to right) Mary Ingram, Hannah Zahedi, Zoza Spears, and Sara Frese, and (back row left to right) Joshua Price, Clinton Kilcrease, Alex Kearns, Chelsea Clark, and Tanner Hallman (not pictured: Savannah Johnson).

“One of the ways we do this is by investing in training future primary care physicians. They will help ensure patients get this care early on.” The limited number of health care providers in rural parts of the state has resulted in poor health outcomes that are not currently improving with the existing physician workforce. William Curry, M.D., senior vice president for population health for UAB Health System and the associate dean of rural and primary care, notes the lack of access to health care also hurts Alabama’s workforce and limits the state’s ability to attract new businesses and industries. “Placing an additional 60 primary care physicians in areas with shortages will diminish health disparities,” Curry says. “It will lessen the burden of disease and reduce the number of preventable deaths in our state.” The School of Medicine also operates two other educational programs designed to recruit and train primary care physicians specifically for future rural Alabama practice: the Rural Medical Scholars Program and the Rural Medicine Program. The Rural Medical Scholars Program is a joint program of the School of Medicine and the University of Alabama’s College of Community Health Sciences, which serves as the UAB School of Medicine Tuscaloosa Regional Campus. The Rural Medicine Program is conducted by the UAB School of Medicine Huntsville Regional Medical Campus and Auburn University’s College of Sciences and Mathematics.

To learn more about giving to scholarships or primary care, contact Jessica Brooks Lane at 205-975-4452 or

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UAB Medicine Fall 2018


A BOND AMONG STRANGERS Estes and Slive remembered for their giving spirits BY COURTNEY BISHOP AND EMILY HENAGAN


ames Estes and Mike Slive never met in their lifetimes, but the two Alabama natives who passed away this year had much in common. Both powerhouses in Alabama, Estes and Slive redefined their respective industries—Estes in nursing homes and Slive in college athletics. Perhaps their greatest bond can be found in their commitments to end cancer. Estes survived a bout with cancer during his lifetime but lost his first wife, Mary Ellen, to ovarian cancer in 2003. Slive inspired many during his public battle with prostate cancer, to which he succumbed in May 2018. Despite cancer taking so much from both men, they each found a way to help thousands of cancer patients. And their influence continues to reverberate at the UAB Comprehensive Cancer Center. “The commitment of leaders such as James Estes and Mike Slive to our cancer center has significantly contributed to our thriving, exceptional research program and outstanding clinical care,” says UAB Comprehensive Cancer Center Director Michael Birrer, M.D., Ph.D. “I am grateful for their compassion.”


Throughout his 25-year career as president and CEO of Estes Health Care Centers Inc., Estes did more than operate nursing homes—he advocated for better care for the elderly. He shared his passion for the field with his son, Norman, who is currently president and CEO of nursing home facility management company NHS Management LLC. The elder Estes had an affinity for giving back. He made several significant gifts to the UAB Comprehensive Cancer Center to accelerate research aimed at developing new cancer treatments. He funded the James H. Estes Endowed Chair for Lung Cancer Research in 2008 and contributed to the Comprehensive Cancer Center Fund for Excellence in 2017, among other gifts.

Left to right: Norman Estes, Barbara Partridge, James Estes, and Edward Partridge.

Most recently, James and Norman Estes funded the Edward E. Partridge, M.D., Endowed Chair for Cancer Disparity Research and the Barbara and Edward Partridge Atrium. The endowed chair will strengthen faculty recruitment and retention efforts, while supporting efforts to reduce disparities in cancer treatment and outcomes. “This gift is particularly important in a time when federal dollars are limited and philanthropic support is critical to sustain programs that otherwise would not continue or exist,” says Edward Partridge, M.D., former director of the UAB Comprehensive Cancer Center. “James always had giving on his mind,” explains Pat Estes, remembering her husband’s legacy. “It was the most important thing to him, and cancer touched many of his loved ones’ lives. He thought giving to the UAB Comprehensive Cancer Center was a pivotal step to ultimately find a cure for cancer.”


Slive is known for his impact on the world of college sports. As Southeastern Conference (SEC) commissioner from 2002-2015, he helped create the College Football Playoff and build the SEC network. Before serving as SEC commissioner, he was the Conference USA commissioner. Slive may never have From left to right: Abigail Slive Harwood with her grandfather anticipated he would Mike Slive. have such an impact on prostate cancer research. He and his friend Ed Meyerson, former president of the UAB Comprehensive Cancer Center Advisory Board, realized they could create a foundation that makes a difference in men’s lives the way the Breast Cancer Foundation of Alabama has done for women. Thus, they formed the Mike Slive Foundation for Prostate Cancer Research. Created in September 2017, the Mike Slive Foundation raised $150,000 in its first four months to fund three cutting-edge prostate cancer research grants at the UAB Comprehensive Cancer Center. “We have a unique opportunity to utilize the platform of athletics in the fight against prostate cancer,” says Anna Slive Harwood, daughter of Mike Slive and president of the Mike Slive Foundation. “Our relationship with UAB Athletics and the Comprehensive Cancer Center is a perfect example of this. One in seven men will get prostate cancer in his lifetime. I’m doing this for my father. He did this so that no man would have to go through what he went through.” To learn more about the UAB Comprehensive Cancer Center, contact Lisa E. Roth at or 205-934-0930.

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AN ENDURING COMMITMENT Burleson Foundation funds record number of medical scholarships and new endowed professorship BY JANE LONGSHORE


aul W. Burleson, M.D., served the School of Medicine as an internist for 35 years, from his initial appointment as an instructor in medicine in 1951 to his retirement in 1986 after many years as associate professor of clinical medicine. He was active in numerous professional organizations, serving in leadership roles locally and nationally. But perhaps his greatest legacy within the school is the lasting impact of he and his wife Martha’s philanthropic giving, which continues to shape the lives of medical students and internal medicine training at UAB. From his own experience, Burleson was keenly aware of the heavy financial burden medical school debt creates for students. He also wanted to encourage Alabama’s best and brightest students to train in Alabama rather than be lured away by out-of-state medical schools. For those reasons, he and Martha made outright and testamentary gifts to the School of Medicine to establish the Paul W. and Martha R. Burleson Medical Scholarship Endowment and the Paul W. Burleson Scholarship Foundation, which provides medical student scholarship and internal medicine faculty support. To date, the School of Medicine has received nearly $4.7 million in gifts and pledges from the Burlesons and the foundation. Since the foundation’s creation over a decade ago, the Paul W. Burleson, M.D., Medical Scholarship has become one of the most generous and prestigious scholarships in the School of Medicine. The scholarships are awarded to students with high academic standing and financial need, with preference being given to those students who are residents of Alabama and who are interested in practicing internal medicine in the state of Alabama upon completion of their training. This year, the foundation is funding 10 medical students—three at full cost of attendance, and seven at near-full cost of attendance. This is the most students it has supported in a single academic year and the most ever given for medical student scholarships in a given year for awarding outright. The foundation also made a $10,000 gift to the Medical Student Assistance Program, which helps students with severe hardship or who encounter an unexpected emergency. Linda Draughn, Martha Burleson’s daughter and Burleson Foundation director and trustee, shares the Burlesons’ commitment to supporting the future of medicine in Alabama. “Paul knew he wanted to leave something to the field of medicine because it was his livelihood and his driving passion,” she says. “Most desirably, the gift would

help students and professors of medicine, alleviate doctor shortages in Alabama, and sustain a legacy of giving.” “This is my third year of receiving the Burleson Scholarship, and I cannot express how much of a blessing it is for me and my family,” says third-year medical student Luke Bailey. “As a recipient of this scholarship, I have the freedom to choose a specialty based on where my heart leads me rather than the quickest route to repaying medical school loans. I am still very interested in the internal medicine path, and I am committed to staying close to my roots and practicing in Alabama.”

As a recipient of this scholarship, I have the freedom to choose a specialty based on where my heart leads me rather than the quickest route to repaying medical school loans.” — Luke Bailey In tribute to Burleson’s lifelong passion for internal medicine training, at the end of last year the foundation made another gift to the school to establish the Paul W. Burleson, M.D., Endowed Professorship in Internal Medicine, which the foundation aims to grow to an endowed chair as Burleson desired. The endowed professorship will be held by the Department of Medicine faculty leader engaged in a planned UAB medical educators academy. This initiative seeks to help busy clinician-educators carve out more time for teaching and mentoring. The academy will also help faculty members focus on developing the best curricular resources and exploring the most effective means of training. “Dr. Burleson’s service to our school and to medicine in Alabama continues more than a decade after his passing,” says Selwyn Vickers, M.D., FACS, senior vice president for medicine and dean of the UAB School of Medicine. “We are deeply grateful for the Burlesons’ and the Burleson Foundation’s commitment to our students and to our internal medicine programs.”

To give to medical student scholarships, contact Jessica Brooks Lane at 205-975-4452 or; or to give to UAB internal medicine programs, contact Megann Bates Cain at 205-934-7408 or

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UAB Medicine Fall 2018


HEARTFELT GENEROSITY Scholarship is renamed to honor esteemed cardiologist and cardiothoracic surgeon BY ROSALIND FOURNIER


hen the American Pulmonary Medicine Institute (APMI) established the Dr. Orville W. Clayton Endowed Medical Scholarship in 2015, the name was significant. Clayton had been a founding member when the institute—which serves to educate patients and physicians alike, support scholarly research, and provide global humanitarian relief—was formed in 1991. He was also well known as a groundbreaking cardiothoracic surgeon in Birmingham. Therefore, it was no small decision to amend the scholarship’s name. After another beloved and longtime APMI board member, Richard Russell, M.D., passed away earlier this year, the board chose to change the scholarship’s name to honor both men, officially renaming it the O.W. Clayton/Richard O. Russell Endowed Medical Scholarship. Frank Sutton Jr., M.D., a founding APMI board member and current executive director, remembers Clayton’s reaction to the suggestion of adding

Russell’s name. “He told me, ‘Of all the people that you might ask me to share the name on the scholarship, I can think of no one that it would be a higher honor to have on there than Richard,’” Sutton says. Both Clayton and Russell were towering figures in their respective fields. Sutton notes that Clayton (now retired), “probably has more survivors in Alabama who had lung cancer than anybody I can imagine. He did some radical surgeries. He knew what he was doing, and he was a pioneer.” Russell, meanwhile, was honored during his 46-year career in cardiology not only as chairman of the Alabama Chapter of the American College of Cardiology but also as program chairman for the American College of Cardiology, responsible for their annual meetings for several years. He was on the editorial board for both the journal Circulation as well as the Journal of Clinical Cardiology and was widely recognized for his contributions as an educator, researcher, and clinician.

Left to right: Dr. Orville Clayton and Cliff Deerman, the first recipient of the medical scholarship that bears Clayton’s name, in April 2015. The board of the American Pulmonary Medicine Institute voted to rename the scholarship to also honor longtime board member Richard Russell (pictured right) this year.

His widow, Phyllis Hutchison Russell, says she was honored to learn of her husband’s name being added to the scholarship. “He was so interested in medical students and their careers, and was such a server of people,” she says. “I think he would be very pleased that some of the money in his memory would go to helping a medical student; he would be very humbled.” Sutton says the goal is for the Clayton/Russell scholarship to reach an endowment large enough that at least two students every year will receive scholarship funds, while leaving the principal intact so it can continue helping students in perpetuity. He adds the board was particularly excited to learn about Sydney Sheppard, who received the scholarship for the 2017/2018 academic year. “She suffered from a childhood cancer, and she plans to go into pediatric oncology,” Sutton says. “She’s going to take care of children with cancer like she was cared for, so that makes us very happy.” In a letter to the board, Sheppard echoed Clayton’s description of her motivation. “As a survivor,” she wrote, “I feel a duty to serve other cancer survivors as their advocate and educator, dedicated to improving their overall life experience.” That is the spirit Sutton says he believes would mean the most to the two men whose names the scholarship bears. “Our goal is to convince this young group of medical students that they need to pay it forward as it has been given to them,” he says. “I would like to one day see the graduates of UAB who have had a scholarship all give back to a scholarship fund. When you talk about compassion, you have compassion for patients, but another compassionate thing you can do is help train those who come after you.”

To learn more about giving to medical student scholarships, contact Jessica Brooks Lane at 205-975-4452 or

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The clinical skill and innovative research of Keith Lloyd (left), professor in the Department of Urology, has been honored with an endowed chair by Charles Anderson, who expanded his father’s newstand into the company known today as Books-A-Million.

A LEGACY OF GIVING New urology chair drives patient care and research BY BRETT BRALLEY


or Charles Anderson Sr., there is no question that UAB is a worthy investment. Anderson and his family have proof. Together, they have watched their dollars make a difference by supporting the Hilda B. Anderson Endowed Chair in Nephrology and the Anderson Family Chair in Medical Education, Research, and Patient Care in the School of Medicine. “UAB holds a special place in our hearts,” Anderson says. But after receiving expert care and developing a friendship with his physician, Anderson wanted to make an impact in yet another area, so he and his family are now endowing their third chair: the Anderson Family Endowed Chair in Urology.

Giving for Growth

A number of years ago, Anderson began receiving care from Keith Lloyd, M.D., a professor in the Department of Urology. “I found him to be one of the most outstanding doctors,” Anderson says. Anderson, whose family business, Books-A-Million, began with a single newsstand in 1917, adds that he and his relatives feel that Alabama has a big asset in UAB. “To have these outstanding departments and physicians so close to our home in Florence, is a huge blessing,” he says. Members of his family who helped endow the new chair are his brother Joel Anderson; his wife, Hilda Anderson; and his four sons, Charlie, Terry, Clyde, and Harold Anderson. Dean Assimos, M.D., holder of the Anton J. Bueschen, M.D., Endowed Chair in Urologic Surgery and Research, says the generosity of donors like the Andersons has been instrumental to the growth of the young department, which was elevated from the division level to a department in 2012.

“Mr. Anderson and our department wanted to honor Dr. Lloyd for his many years of service to UAB,” says Assimos. Anderson says he hopes the endowed chair will allow Lloyd to accomplish important research, while continuing to attract top-tier faculty to UAB. Lloyd plans to complete studies on long-term management of neurogenic bladder, a bladder control condition. “Bladder dysfunction and its long-term effects on patients have been an area of research and interest for me for most of my career,” he says. “The Anderson family and, in particular, Charles Anderson have long been friends of the university. This endowed chair will greatly assist the Department of Urology in recruiting new faculty, will strengthen our mission to perform valuable research, and will contribute toward the health of the people of the state of Alabama and the country.”

Excellence in Action

Ranked by U.S. News & World Report among the Top 20 urology programs in the nation, the UAB Department of Urology provides the highest-quality comprehensive care for patients with urological disorders. Composed of 22 faculty and a large patient care team, the department provides expertise to evaluate and treat the spectrum of urologic subspecialties. It is equally committed to advancing biomedical science and developing new and better treatments through cutting-edge, high-impact research. The department has established a national reputation for clinical excellence, and treats thousands of adult and pediatric patients from across Alabama and the surrounding region each year. In addition, its residency and fellowship programs are training the next generation of leaders in urologic medicine, helping secure a future of excellence in the field. To learn more about giving to urology at UAB, contact Lisa E. Roth at 205-934-0930 or

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UAB Medicine Fall 2018


INVESTING IN A BETTER FUTURE Planned gift supports needed research BY BRETT BRALLEY


hen Tim and Sharon Vogt were making plans for their living will, they considered the people they had loved and lost— including family members who battled cancer and their good friend, Andrea Donner, who struggled with ALS, the progressive neurodegenerative disorder commonly known as Lou Gehrig’s disease. So the couple decided to include UAB in their estate plans to support research and scholarship in those areas. Their gift will support at least one endowed chair within the School of Medicine, either within the Comprehensive Cancer Center or within the Department of Neurology to

support ALS research. The decision will be left to the school’s dean, because the Vogts want the money to go where it is needed most. “Both areas are key focuses for us and would provide paths for making a tremendous difference in patients’ lives,” says Selwyn Vickers, M.D., FACS, senior vice president for medicine and dean of the UAB School of Medicine. “As we make that decision, we will ensure that the potential of the Vogts’ gift is maximized.”

A Life of Adventure

After more than 25 years living and working in New Orleans—Sharon as an interior designer and Tim as a Crescent River Port Pilot on the Mississippi River—the couple retired to Costa Rica, where they built a home and resided for eight years. Now the Vogts are stateside again and living in Fairhope. At this stage in life, giving back is on the forefront of their minds, they say. They chose to give a planned gift to UAB after learning about ongoing research and experiencing its patient care firsthand when Sharon’s brother

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Tim and Sharon Vogt started out in New Orleans and traveled extensively. They spent eight years living in Costa Rica before returning to the U.S. to live in Fairhope. Their planned gift will support research in the School of Medicine in an area to which they have personal ties.

was treated following a motorcycle accident. “I was so impressed with the care he received,” she says. “We both wanted to give something back to the state of Alabama, and this seemed like the right thing to do.” “Both of us believe in paying it forward,” says Tim. Sharon agrees. “We want to give back to the future.”

To learn more about planned giving at UAB, contact Kimberley Coppock at 205-975-5970 or


ACROSS CAMPUS Events, announcements, and achievements in the academic life of the School of Medicine


BIOINFORMATICS DEGREE LAUNCHES UAB launched a new Bachelor of Science degree in bioinformatics this fall, the first of its kind in the state. The interdisciplinary program is a collaboration between the Departments of Biology and Computer Science in the College of Arts and Sciences and the Department of Genetics and the UAB Informatics Institute in the School of Medicine. Bioinformatics is the science of collecting and analyzing complex biological data such as genetic codes. The field combines computer science, biology, chemistry, mathematics, genetics, and engineering. The bioinformatics program at UAB will train students in basic concepts and skills to perform computational analysis of biological data, including the human genome, and create a well-trained workforce who can take on future health care challenges in the state of Alabama and beyond. “This program is unique in its leveraging faculty expertise across multiple departments and schools to prepare students for the exciting opportunities in the interdisciplinary field of bioinformatics,” says James Cimino, M.D., director of the UAB Informatics Institute. “Graduates of the program will be in the enviable position of choosing between immediate gainful employment using what they learned in college or seeking further advanced bioinformatics degrees, including ones currently in development here at UAB.”

Equal Access Birmingham (EAB) hosted its fifth annual Heart + Sole 5K Run on Aug. 18. The run raises funds for the School of Medicine’s student-run free clinic, which provides health care and education to Birmingham’s underserved and uninsured populations. The family-friendly event was open to participants of all ages and included a Kids Fun Run. There was also a Sleep-In option for those who wanted to support the cause without attending the run. Teams representing departments within the School of Medicine and UAB Hospital also participated. This year, the run raised more than $25,000 to support EAB’s programs. Following the 5K, food, drinks, and music were provided, along with giveaways from local businesses. EAB was founded in 2005 to improve health care access for underserved populations in the Birmingham area and to offer students service learning experiences. Student volunteers see approximately 400 patients per year at the EAB Clinic.

OUTWARD BOUND A group of UAB medical students volunteered at Ruffner Mountain in Birmingham in May. They culled small trees, weeded honeysuckle and wild carrot, pulled up kudzu vine, and watered new plantings.

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UAB Medicine Fall 2018

ACROSS CAMPUS WELCOMING LEADERS Irfan Asif, M.D., has been named chair of the Department of Family and Community Medicine. He joins UAB from the Greenville Health System and the University of South Irfan Asif Carolina School of Medicine Greenville, where he served as the vice chair of academics and research.

HUNTSVILLE CAMPUS HOSTS SIMULATION INTERNSHIP DAY The UAB School of Medicine Huntsville Regional Medical Campus held its second annual simulation internship day for internal medicine and family medicine interns this summer. The interns were placed in small groups, where they treated simulated patients in urgent or emergent clinical situations. Faculty members voiced and role-played the simulated patients (high-fidelity manikins complete with vital signs), who had chest pain, hypotension, shortness of breath, or mental status changes—all common scenarios the interns will encounter during their early days on the wards in the hospital. The event took place in the state-of-the-art University of Alabama in Huntsville College of Nursing Simulation Center. After practicing these patient simulation exercises in the morning, the interns were joined by UAH nurse practitioner students and Auburn University Harrison School of Pharmacy students to diagnose and treat patients with acute myocardial infarction and adverse drug reactions. “It was a great time of learning and interprofessional collaboration, which will help our new interns feel better prepared for their first day on the job,” says Roger Smalligan, M.D., FACP, regional dean of the UAB School of Medicine Huntsville Regional Medical Campus.

CAMP CARDIAC On June 4-8, a group of first-year medical students hosted a camp for more than a dozen local high school students with an interest in exploring a career in medicine. Camp Cardiac is a nonprofit organization that focuses on education and real-world experience. The students attended hands-on workshops, informational lectures, and a medical student forum, and received CPR training and certification. In addition to learning about careers in all fields of medicine, the participants were exposed to a one-week camp that provided a foundation for heart healthy living with an emphasis on diet and exercise. Upon the completion of the camp, campers received a certificate of graduation from Camp Cardiac.

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Nicholas Van Wagoner

Nicholas Van Wagoner, M.D., Ph.D., has been promoted to associate dean for students. As of August 1, he now leads the Office of Medical Student Services, which offers UAB medical students individualized support.

Brian Samuels, M.D., Ph.D., associate professor in the Department of Ophthalmology, has been named director of the Glaucoma Division and chief of staff of the UAB Callahan Eye Hospital. Brian Samuels He is the primary investigator or co-primary investigator on three NIH grants and was recently awarded the prestigious Research to Prevent Blindness Physician-Scientist Award. Majd Zayzafoon, M.D., Ph.D., MBA, professor in the Departments of Pathology and Medical Education, has been named assistant dean for international medical education in the School of Medicine Majd Zayzafoon and assistant provost for international education in the Office of the Senior Vice Provost.




For UAB School of Medicine Montgomery Regional Medical Campus fourth-year student Michelle Wang, playing the cello is not only a way to relax after a long day but also a way to share a little bit of joy with patients who might be going through a tough time. That is why she was excited to start a “Share the Music” program at Baptist Medical Center South. “I approached (former Montgomery Regional dean) Dr. Wick Many and the Baptist South volunteering department to get permission to play at the hospital and hopefully help people feel better the way music helps me feel better,” says Wang. “They all immediately jumped in to help me.” Wang goes from hospital room to hospital room offering music to any patient who want to listen. For many patients, this is their first time seeing and hearing a cello in person. Wang says the cello’s soothing tones brought tears to a patient’s eyes who was having a particularly difficult day due to complications. After a short performance of selections from Bach’s cello suites, the patient asked Wang to come back the next day. “I think the most rewarding part of the program is the opportunity to remind patients of your human side as a clinician,” says Wang. “It can be easy to lose that connection when we are so focused on their treatment course.”

On June 20-22, the UAB National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) Neuroscience Roadmap Scholars Program hosted the annual National Enhancement of Underrepresented Academic Leaders (NEURAL) conference. This three-day scientific and professional development conference featured sessions and keynotes led by leaders from various organizations including the National Institutes of Health, Southern Research, and Global Blood Therapeutics. Those in attendance could attend a poster session with posters from current Roadmap Scholars and have a professional headshot taken. The objective of the NINDS program is to enhance engagement and retention of underrepresented graduate trainees in the neuroscience workforce. This is accomplished by providing a highly supportive and specialized day-to-day educational and training environment.



William Brooks, Ph.D.

The School of Medicine’s Office for Diversity and Inclusion (ODI) was selected to lead a deep-dive workshop at the annual Association of American Medical Colleges Group on Diversity and Inclusion conference in May. The presentation was titled “Diversity and Inclusion Programming in Academic Medicine: An Interactive Development Model,” and was led by co-presenters Lori Bateman, Ph.D., Laura Heider, MBA, and Evelyn Jones, M.A. The workshop not only explained the historical development and operations of the ODI, but it also shared the most recent research on diversity and inclusion within UAB and highlighted a new initiative for programming for the ODI, a Toolkit for a Healthy Environment entitled “The Common Thread: Find Yourself in Everyone.”

Twelve faculty received the 2018 President’s Award for Excellence in Teaching. Two School of Medicine faculty members were among the honorees: William Brooks, Ph.D., and Victor Sung, M.D. Brooks, director of the Gross Anatomy and Surgical Anatomy labs and associate professor in the Departments of Medical Education and Cell, Developmental, and Integrative Biology, is popular with his students as evidenced by his outstanding teaching evaluations. “Dr. Brooks is awesome. He conveys the main points, explains himself well, speaks clearly, and presents the material with examples that will actually help me remember it. I wish he taught more lectures. He’s seriously the best lecturer I’ve ever had,” one student wrote. Sung, associate professor in the Department of Neurology, wants to help students in the classroom and to guide them into the right program. “Teaching has been the cornerstone of my career thus far,” he says. “He is one of the best lecturers in a classroom setting and is ranked as a top presenter in the neuroscience module,” one colleague remarked.

Victor Sung, M.D.

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UAB Medicine Fall 2018

Contributing writers: Brit Blalock, Laura, Coulter, Brianna Farley, Holly Gainer, Tiffany Westry Womack, Leslie Zganjar

TUSCALOOSA STUDENTS AWARDED NEW PRIMARY CARE SCHOLARSHIPS Five UAB School of Medicine students completing their clinical education at the Tuscaloosa Regional Campus are among the recipients of a new Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Alabama primary care scholarship. The students are Tanner Hallman, Savannah Johnson, Joshua Price, Grace Spears, and Hannah Zahedi. Students selected for the scholarship have indicated their intent to pursue primary care residency training after medical school and then to practice in a medically underserved Alabama county. The hope is they will remain in those counties after their commitment. Blue Cross provided $3.6 million to the School of Medicine for the primary care scholarships to train a total of 60 primary care physicians over five years. After residency, the physicians agree to practice for three years in a county with a primary care shortage. The scholarship pays the tuition of 12 third- and fourth-year medical students each year. “The support provided by Blue Cross to help students interested in primary care careers, by lowering their medical school debt with these scholarships, is very important to the state and underserved communities, as well as to these future physicians,” says Richard Streiffer, M.D., regional dean of the Tuscaloosa Regional Campus and dean of The University of Alabama College of Community Health Sciences. Read more about the gift on page 30.

AWARDS & ACCOLADES Hernando Carter, M.D., assistant professor of internal medicine, was elected as an at-large member of the board of the Medical Association of the State of Alabama. The position will allow him to also serve on the Board of Medical Examiners and the Alabama Department of Health. Jason Daniel, MBA, executive administrator in the Department of Medicine, has been named vice president for the University of Alabama Health Services Foundation, P.C. and senior executive administrator for the School of Medicine. John Dantzler, Ph.D., associate professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Neurobiology, has been appointed vice chair for addiction programs for the department. Deidre Downs Gunn, M.D., assistant professor in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, and Matthew Might, Ph.D., inaugural director of UAB’s Hugh Kaul Precision Medicine Institute, were included in Birmingham Magazine’s “Top Influencers Under 40” list for 2018. Aaron Fobian, Ph.D., assistant professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Neurobiology, has been named the Ronald McDonald House Charities of Alabama Young Professional of the Year. The award is given annually to a young professional volunteer who reflects commitment and exceptional service to the organization. Mona Fouad, M.D., MPH, senior associate dean for diversity and inclusion, has been named co-chair of the Science Committee for the National Institutes of Health’s All of Us Research Program. Robert Gaston, M.D., professor emeritus in the Division of Nephrology, received the distinguished lifetime achievement award from the American Society of Transplantation. Warner Huh, M.D., professor in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology and an internationally respected gynecologic oncologist, was appointed senior medical officer for the cancer service line at the UAB Comprehensive Cancer Center. James Kirklin, M.D., professor in the Division of Cardiovascular Disease, has been named president-elect of the American Heart Association’s Greater Southeast Affiliate board of directors for 2018-19. Brenessa Lindeman, M.D., MEHP, associate director of the General Surgery Residency Program, has been invited to participate in the 2018-2019 American Board of Medical Specialties Visiting Scholars Program. This one-year program provides exposure to the fields of professional assessment, quality improvement, and regulatory policy while promoting research and scholarship in areas related to board certification and continuing certification. Farah Lubin, Ph.D., associate professor and director of the NINDS Neuroscience Roadmap Scholar Program, has been selected to serve as a member of the Clinical Neuroplasticity and Neurotransmitters Study Section for the Center for Scientific Review. Her term began July 1, 2018, and will continue until June 30, 2024. Jason Morris, M.D., associate director of the Tinsley Harrison Internal Medicine Residency Program, has been named the inaugural Gustavo R. Heudebert, M.D., MACP, Endowed Faculty Scholar. Linda Overstreet-Wadiche, Ph.D., associate professor in the Department of Neurobiology, has been named chairperson of the Neurogenesis and Cell Fate Study Section for the Center for Scientific Review. Overstreet-Wadiche’s term began July 1 and will continue until June 30, 2019. Lucas Pozzo-Miller, Ph.D., associate director of the Comprehensive Neuroscience Center, has accepted his nomination to the Neurodifferentiation, Plasticity, Regeneration, and Rhythmicity Study Section. His term began July 1 and will continue until June 30, 2024.



John Durant, M.D., (right) founding director of the UAB Comprehensive Cancer Center, with Birmingham Mayor David Vann (left), 1977. Durant and the mayor inspect a linear accelerator in the new Radiation Therapy and Tumor Institute. The Institute opened in January 1977 as the first phase of the Lurleen B. Wallace Memorial Hospital and Tumor Institute. Virgie Murphee, a student in the hospital’s radiology technology program, 1964. A technician education program was started in 1945 as a paraprofessional certificate course based in the radiology department of University Hospital. In 1966, the program was removed from the hospital to become a program in the new Division of Allied Health Sciences. Four years later, the division was reconstituted as UAB’s new community and allied health resource school, the predecessor of today’s School of Health Professions. Robert Roth, M.D., in University Hospital, circa 1960. Roth was chair of the Department of Radiology from 19591985. The Department of Radiology was divided into two departments in 1969: Therapeutic Radiology and Diagnostic Radiology. Roth remained chair of the new therapeutic radiology department. He remained as chair when the department was renamed again in 1972 as the Department of Radiation Oncology.

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