Five-Year Journey

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Dean’s Leadership Team

Selwyn M. Vickers, M.D., FACS

Anupam Agarwal, M.D.

Executive Vice Dean Marie S. Ingalls Endowed Chair in Nephrology Leadership

Etty (Tika) Benveniste, Ph.D.

Senior Vice Dean for Basic Sciences Charlene A. Jones Endowed Chair in Neuroimmunology

S. Dawn Bulgarella, MSHA, CPA

Senior Associate Dean for Administration and Finance, UAB School of Medicine Chief Financial Officer, UAB Health System


Senior Vice President for Medicine and Dean James C. Lee Jr. Endowed Chair

Mona N. Fouad, M.D., MPH

Senior Associate Dean for Diversity and Inclusion

David A. Rogers, M.D., MHPE

Senior Associate Dean for Faculty Affairs and Professional Development Chief Wellness Officer, UAB Medicine

Craig J. Hoesley, M.D.

Senior Associate Dean for Medical Education Chair, Department of Medical Education

Toni Leeth, MPH

Associate Dean for Strategic Planning and Administration

Keith (Tony) Jones, M.D.

Senior Associate Dean for Clinical Affairs UAHSF President Chief Physician Executive, UAB Medicine

Lakisha Mack, MBA

Associate Dean for Administration and Finance

Robert P. Kimberly, M.D.

Senior Associate Dean for Clinical and Translational Research Howard L. Holley Research Chair in Rheumatology

Sarah Andrews, Ed.D., MBA

Assistant Vice President of Development, UAB Medicine

Jean Ann Larson, Ed.D.

Leadership Development Officer

Paige Dorman

Executive Director of Communications

UAB President Ray Watts, M.D.

We attribute this growth to an incredible collaborative effort among University and Health System leadership and the faculty and staff at every level of our institution, who work every day to advance our multipart mission. In the following pages, you’ll read about some of the key decisions, people, and programs that have been central to our progress thus far and pave the way for our future success.


Since Selwyn Vickers, M.D., FACS, returned to UAB in 2013 to become senior vice president for medicine and dean of the UAB School of Medicine, some staggering transformations have taken place. Year after year we have strengthened our status and reputation as a leader in medical training, biomedical discovery and innovation, and patient care. We also continue to implement programs aimed at making UAB Medicine a place where everyone— students, residents, faculty, and staff—feels welcomed, valued, and empowered to make a difference in their workplace and in their community.


Strategic Realignment In 2017, the three entities that comprise UAB Medicine—UAB School of Medicine, UAB Health System, and the University of Alabama Health Services Foundation (UAHSF) physician practice plan—launched a reorganization aimed at improving alignment and integration in order to achieve our strategic goal of becoming the preferred academic medical center of the 21st century. Called Organizing for Success (OFS), this realignment focused on:

Left to right: Selwyn Vickers, M.D., FACS, senior vice president for medicine and dean of the UAB School of Medicine; Will Ferniany, Ph.D., CEO of UAB Health System; and Tony Jones, M.D., and James Bonner, M.D., current and former presidents of the UAHSF.

1) providing a shared mission for the entire organization; 2) establishing governance that reflects the full scope of our efforts in research, education, and clinical care; 3) strengthening trust through transparency and accountability; 4) increasing physician leadership throughout every aspect of UAB Medicine; 5) committing to discovery science from all areas of the institution; and 6) enhancing opportunities to improve our financial stability and accountability for growth.

An audit of the School of Medicine’s senior leadership structure conducted by the Association of American Medical Colleges revealed a staffing shortage of 18-20 full-time employees compared to our peers. In order to achieve its strategic goals, the school needed committed senior-level leaders in place to steer progress across our mission areas. Today, the dean’s leadership team has increased in size and capacity from three-and-a-half to 14 full-time employees, including eight senior leaders. These roles include several new positions ranging from executive vice dean to senior vice dean for basic sciences to senior associate dean for diversity and inclusion.


Building the Team


Physician Leadership As part of OFS, UAB Medicine appointed Keith (Tony) Jones, M.D., as its first chief physician executive in 2017. In this position, Dr. Jones maximizes practice efficiency and productivity. He further improves quality and patient safety by promoting clinical service line integration and developing innovative, value-added care models. Dr. Jones is also senior associate dean for clinical affairs in the School of Medicine and president of the University of Alabama Health Services Foundation physician practice plan.

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Prior to Dr. Vickers becoming dean, UAB was the only academic medical center in the top 35 without a “dean’s tax,” by which the clinical enterprise contributes funds for research and other purposes. The school created the Academic Enrichment Fund (AEF) in 2014 with the support of UAB Medicine’s clinical enterprise, UAB Health System leadership, UAB Hospital, and the clinical chairs. The AEF’s resources, which are contributed by UAB Health System, are earmarked for the dean to designate for pilot studies, seed funding, or recruitment efforts.

The AEF has contributed $42 million toward its $55 million goal and helped fund


in chair packages and department reinvestments

$59.1M in institutes and centers

$56.4M in other programs


Transformational Giving In December 2018, UAB announced that O’Neal Industries Inc. and its shareholders gave $30 million to name our cancer center the O’Neal Comprehensive Cancer Center at UAB. This is the single largest gift in UAB history and helped the university surpass its $1 billion Campaign for UAB fundraising goal. The gift will help recruit talented cancer scientists and clinicians, expand cancer treatment clinical trials, and provide multidisciplinary clinical care teams in every major disease site. All these advances will ultimately help enhance our cancer care programs.

$1B+ Campaign for UAB Total


of Campaign gifts were given to the School of Medicine

The School of Medicine has expanded and formalized its global health programs under the leadership of Michael Saag, M.D., who was appointed to the new associate dean for global health position in 2015. In recent years, the school has forged new international medical education partnerships in places like Cameroon, Taiwan, and Peru and has developed a strategic clinical and research collaboration with the University of Cape Town Faculty of Health Sciences in South Africa. The Gates Foundation has also awarded UAB Grand Challenge grants to address maternal-fetal health in South Africa.


Global Health

Medical Education Milestones PAG E 1 0

■■ Earned LCME re-accreditation in 2014 for the maximum allowable time frame of seven years. ■■ Established 11 Learning Communities to promote students’ personal wellness and professional development, and foster longitudinal relationships among students and faculty mentors in a safe and inclusive environment. ■■ Launched the Montgomery Regional Medical Campus in 2014, which joined our existing regional medical campuses in Huntsville and Tuscaloosa. ■■ Revived the UAB Family Medicine Residency Program in Birmingham in collaboration with Cahaba Medical Care.

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Research Priorities As part of its strategic plan, the School of Medicine identified research focus areas that: ■■ Are cross-cutting rather than disease- or organ-specific ■■ Align with strategic scientific priorities for federal funding

These five research focus areas enable the school to better organize planning and allocate resources: ■■ Precision Medicine and Genomics ■■ Informatics ■■ Basic Science Discovery ■■ Inflammation, Infection, and Immunity (I3) ■■ Population Health, Health Disparities, and Outcomes Effectiveness Research

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■■ Encompass areas where UAB can and should be nationally prominent

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In 2018, the NIH provided a $48 million, five-year award to UAB to lead the Southern Network of the All of Us Research Program, a national effort to encourage and promote genomic medicine. This marks the largest grant in UAB’s history.

New Programs New institutes, centers, and departments established since 2013 include: ■■ Hugh Kaul Precision Medicine Institute ■■ UAB-HudsonAlpha Center for Genomic Medicine ■■ Informatics Institute ■■ Institute for Cancer Outcomes and Survivorship ■■ Department of Neurosurgery ■■ Department of Orthopaedic Surgery ■■ Department of Otolaryngology ■■ Department of Biomedical Engineering (restructured as a joint department of the UAB Schools of Medicine and Engineering in 2014)

Program Renewals

■■ In 2016, the UAB Comprehensive Cancer Center (now the O’Neal Comprehensive Cancer Center at UAB) received a five-year, $29 million Cancer Center Support Grant from the National Cancer Institute. The O’Neal Comprehensive Cancer Center has been continuously funded since 1974.

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■■ In 2015, the NIH awarded the UAB Center for Clinical and Translational Science (CCTS) $33.59 million over four years to continue the center’s programs that advance translational research. Since its initial funding in 2008 through Alabama’s only Center for Translational Science Award to work toward innovative discoveries for better health, the CCTS has nurtured UAB research.

New Funding Programs

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The school has created several new awards and funding opportunities to recognize research success, including: ■■ Multi-PI Program – Fosters collaboration by creating a funding mechanism to encourage faculty to work with researchers in other disciplines on a common goal. Since 2015, 12 projects have been funded with an overall return on investment of 19 to 1. ■■ Awards for Second RO1s – These funds help investigators secure second RO1 grants, as these are the primary funding sources to establish and equip a laboratory. Since 2016, 22 projects have been funded with an overall return on investment of 16 to 1. ■■ Pittman Scholars Awards – Recognizes existing research and potential for future innovative research among junior faculty.

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Since 2015, the School of Medicine has awarded


through new internal research funding programs

Rankings Rise

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The UAB School of Medicine has risen 10 spots in NIH funding—from No. 31 in 2013 to No. 21 in 2018—and is on the cusp of achieving our goal of a top 20 ranking.


















323 303






21 23 23 25 26 31

NIH Research Funding NIH Ranking


THE ELITE EIGHT UAB is part of an elite group of eight academic medical centers that has attained more than $100 million in net NIH funding growth over the past five years. We had the second-highest percentage of growth at 75 percent, behind only Northwestern University.

Northwestern-Feinberg (16)


UAB (21)


Columbia (9)


Mount Sinai-Icahn (13)


Univ. of Southern California (27)


Wisconsin (23)


Washington Univ. St. Louis (4)


New York University (19)

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Distance Traveled UAB is the only school to rise 10 spots in five years.

NIH Ranking Among Our Peers UAB’s and the School of Medicine’s NIH funding continues to grow among our peer institutions in the Southeast and beyond.


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(Top 4%)



(Top 2%)



(Top 8%)




(Top 5%)



(Top 4%)



(Top 16%)

2018 NIH Ranking Among Public SOMs UAB School of Medicine (8) University of North Carolina (7) University of Washington (6) UCLA (5)

UC San Diego (4) Michigan (3) Pittsburgh (2) UC San Francisco (1)

DEPARTMENTS WITH TOP 10 NIH FUNDING RANKING In 2013, UAB had one department (OBGYN) ranked in the top 10 in NIH funding. In 2018, UAB had six departments in the top 10 and another six departments in the top 20.

FY 13

FY 18































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2013-2018 13

Department Chairs




Institute and Center Directors

Senior Associate and Associate Deans

Regional Campus Deans

Established in 2014, the Board of Visitors supports the School of Medicine in achieving its vision of becoming the preferred academic medical center of the 21st century. They serve as advocates and advisers on strategy, philanthropic programs, community engagement, and school initiatives. Today, the 17-member board includes physicians and other health care industry veterans; business leaders; biotech CEOs; prominent activists and philanthropists; lawyers; and experts in academic medicine, global health, and health equity. In addition to providing invaluable insight and expertise, they have given more than $46 million to the School of Medicine.


Altec/Styslinger Foundation Mary Battle, MSHA, & William Battle Thomas Blount Gail Cassell, Ph.D., & Ralph Cassell Sheri Cook, MBA, M.Ac. & Houston Cook William Davenport Nancy Dunlap, M.D., Ph.D., MBA, & John Johns C.T. Fitzpatrick, CFA, & Kelley Fitzpatrick Mike Goodrich, J.D., & Gillian Goodrich Maryam “Mimi” Head Mary & Marnix Heersink, M.D. James “Jimmy” Lee III & Jodi Lee Ted Love, M.D., & Joyce Yee Love George Lundberg, M.D., & Patricia Lundberg Martine Rothblatt, Ph.D., MBA, J.D., & Bina Rothblatt

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Board of Visitors

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The UAB School of Medicine’s culture has always been a vibrant one that values collegiality, collaboration, and innovation. To position our school to confront the unique challenges of 21st-century medicine and research, we have to continually enhance our efforts in certain areas, especially around wellness and diversity.

David Rogers, M.D., MHPE

UAB Medicine has prioritized wellness by creating a chief wellness officer position, which focuses on expanding efforts to reduce system-based stressors that lead to burnout and developing programs to improve wellness. David Rogers, M.D., MHPE, senior associate dean for faculty affairs and professional development in the School of Medicine, became the inaugural chief wellness officer effective Jan. 1, 2018. He was also

named the inaugural holder of the ProAssurance Endowed Chair for Physician Wellness. The academic chair, made possible by a gift from ProAssurance Corp., is the first of its kind in the U.S. Dr. Rogers has since launched many well-being initiatives including the Well-Being Index, a Mayo Clinicdeveloped online self-assessment tool that measures well-being in physicians and others.

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Investing in Wellness

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Diversity Fuels Excellence

As America becomes more diverse, it is incumbent upon academic medical centers like UAB to train a health care and biomedical research workforce that more accurately reflects the population it serves. No one is more aware of this than Mona Fouad, M.D., MPH, who was appointed to the newly created position of senior associate dean for diversity and inclusion.

As such, she heads the school’s Office Mona Fouad, M.D., MPH for Diversity and Inclusion (ODI), which was established in 2013. ODI’s recent major initiatives include unconscious bias training for search and selection committees across the school and The Common Thread training program. The Common Thread is a series of modules designed to help people practically apply diversity and inclusion concepts to their environments. In the school’s history, the number of underrepresented in medicine (URiM) students in an entering class never exceeded 8 percent in a state with a 24 percent minority population. Thanks to our renewed efforts, the 2018 entering class was 16 percent URiM, a number we are confident will continue to grow.

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In his book The Difference: How the Power of Diversity Creates Better Groups, Scott Paige makes a bold assertion: “In problem solving, diversity is powerful stuff. It doesn’t always trump ability, but it does so far more often than we’d expect.” His argument—that more diverse groups reaching decisions based on input from multiple perspectives are more successful in the long run—has gained influence across many fields.

Centers & Institutes Center for AIDS Research Directors: Michael Saag, M.D. Olaf Kutsch, Ph.D. Michael Mugavero, M.D., MHSc

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Center for Clinical and Translational Science Director: Robert Kimberly, M.D. Center for Disability Health and Rehabilitation Science Directors: James Rimmer, Ph.D. Amie McLain, M.D.

Center for Outcomes and Effectiveness Research and Education Directors: Kenneth Saag, M.D., MSc Smita Bhatia, M.D. Meredith Kilgore, Ph.D., R.N. Center for the Study of Community Health Director: Max Michael III, M.D. Civitan International Research Center Director: Craig Powell, M.D.

Center for Exercise Medicine Director: Marcas Bamman, Ph.D.

Comprehensive Arthritis, Musculoskeletal, Bone and Autoimmunity Center Director: S. Louis Bridges Jr., M.D., Ph.D.

Center for Free Radical Biology Director: Rakesh Patel, Ph.D.

Comprehensive Cardiovascular Center Director: Sumanth Prabhu, M.D.

Center for Nanoscale Materials and Biointegration Director: Yogesh Vohra, Ph.D.

Comprehensive Center for Healthy Aging Directors: Cynthia Brown, M.D., MSPH; Steven Austad, Ph.D.; and Erik Roberson, M.D., Ph.D.

Comprehensive Neuroscience Center Director: Lori McMahon, Ph.D.

Nephrology Research and Training Center Director: Paul Sanders, M.D.

Global Center for Craniofacial Oral and Dental Disorders Director: Rosa Serra, Ph.D.

O’Neal Comprehensive Cancer Center at UAB Director: Barry Sleckman, M.D., Ph.D.

Heflin Center for Genomic Science Directors: Bruce Korf, M.D., Ph.D. Michael Crowley, Ph.D. David Crossman, Ph.D. Microbiome Center Director: Hui Wu, Ph.D. Minority Health and Health Disparities Research Center Director: Mona Fouad, M.D., MPH Edward Partridge, M.D.

UAB Nutrition Obesity Research Center Director: James Hill, Ph.D. Vision Science Research Center Directors: Steven Pittler, Ph.D. Paul Gamlin, Ph.D.

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Gregory Fleming James Cystic Fibrosis Research Center Director: Steven Rowe, M.D., MSPH

UAB Comprehensive Diabetes Center Director: Anath Shalev, M.D.

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Departments & Chairs

Department of Anesthesiology Dan Berkowitz, M.D., MBBCh and Perioperative Medicine Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Genetics David Bedwell, Ph.D. Department of Biomedical Engineering Jianyi (Jay) Zhang, M.D., Ph.D. Department of Cell, Developmental, Bradley Yoder, Ph.D. and Integrative Biology Department of Dermatology Boni Elewski, M.D. Department of Emergency Medicine Janyce Sanford, M.D., MBA Department of Family and Community Medicine Irfan Asif, M.D. Department of Genetics Gene Siegal, M.D., Ph.D. (interim) Department of Medicine C. Seth Landefeld, M.D. Department of Microbiology Frances Lund, Ph.D. Department of Neurobiology Craig Powell, M.D., Ph.D. Department of Neurology David Standaert, M.D., Ph.D. Department of Neurosurgery James Markert, M.D., MPH Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology Todd Jenkins, M.D. (interim) Department of Ophthalmology Christopher Girkin, M.D., MSPH, FACS Department of Orthopaedic Surgery Steven Theiss, M.D. Department of Otolaryngology William Carroll, M.D. Department of Pathology George Netto, M.D. Department of Pediatrics Mitchell Cohen, M.D. Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology Mary-Ann Bjornsti, Ph.D. Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Amie McLain, M.D. Department of Psychiatry James Meador-Woodruff, M.D. Department of Radiology Cheri Canon, M.D. Department of Radiation Oncology James Bonner, M.D. Department of Surgery Herbert Chen, M.D. Department of Urology Dean Assimos, M.D.

What Comes Next? Alabama and the Deep South are blessed with vibrant culture, cherished traditions, and warmhearted people. Unfortunately, our state also faces many serious health challenges: Alabama has the highest prevalence of stroke, the thirdhighest rate of diabetes and kidney disease, the fourth-highest incidence of heart disease, and the fifth-highest adult obesity rate.

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The challenges we face may be uniquely profound, but UAB Medicine is uniquely qualified and uniquely called to meet them. Our location in the heart of the Deep South, the immense diversity of the patient population we serve, the deep pool of experts we have assembled at our school, and the strategic partnerships we have cultivated are only a few of the resources we draw on as we confront these issues.

Ultimately we aim for impact, especially in areas where improved outcomes are not merely wished for but are urgently needed. Upholding our responsibilities as Alabama’s premier medical training site, biomedical research hub, and top-ranked health care provider isn’t a burden—it’s an honor, and it’s what drives us every day.

Produced by the UAB School of Medicine Communications Office Executive Director of Communications Paige Dorman Assistant Vice President of Development, UAB Medicine Sarah Andrews, Ed.D. Managing Editor Jane Longshore Art Director Kristin Farmer Associate Editor Emily Henagan

All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any way without written permission. Š 2019 by the Board of Trustees of the University of Alabama System for the University of Alabama at Birmingham. UAB is an EEO/AA/Disability/Veteran Employer

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