University of Alabama School of Medicine

University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) School of Medicine
University of Alabama School of Medicine at UAB.jpg
Former names
Medical College of Alabama
DeanSelwyn Vickers, M.D.
Location, ,
33°30′00″N 86°48′27″W / 33°30′00″N 86°48′27″W /
UASOM Seal.png

The University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) School of Medicine is a public medical school located in Birmingham, Alabama, United States with branch campuses in Huntsville, Montgomery, and at the University of Alabama College of Community Health Sciences in Tuscaloosa. Residency programs are also located in Selma, Huntsville and Montgomery.


Founding and growth

The School of Medicine at UAB can trace its roots to the 1859 founding of the Medical College of Alabama in Mobile, Alabama. In the early 1900s, due to the work of Abraham Flexner, the medical school became more closely affiliated with the University of Alabama.[citation needed] The move of the college from Mobile to Tuscaloosa took effect in 1920.[1]

In 1936, the University of Alabama Extension Center was opened in Birmingham.[2] In 1943, Governor Chauncey Sparks created the four-year Medical College of Alabama with the passage of the Jones Bill (Alabama Act 89). In 1944, Roy R. Kracke was named dean of the Medical College of Alabama and began assembling teaching staff.{Robert R. Kracke and William G. Kracke, The University of Alabama Medical Center: the Past, the Present, the Future,” Alabama Lawyer 28(1967):78-88}

In 1945, the Medical College of Alabama was moved from Tuscaloosa to Birmingham and the university's medical center was founded.[1] In November 1966, the Extension Center and the Medical Center were merged to form the "University of Alabama in Birmingham," an organizational component of The University of Alabama. In 1969, UAB became an independent institution, one of three autonomous universities within the newly created University of Alabama System. The university's name was changed in 1984 from the "University of Alabama in Birmingham" to the "University of Alabama at Birmingham."

As of 2019, the School of Medicine has 805 students, 990 residents and 1,483 faculty in 27 academic departments.[3] The UAB School of Medicine is home of The Kirklin Clinic, a multi-disciplinary medical home; University Hospital, one of the largest academic hospitals in the country; and faculty serve the new Children's of Alabama hospital.[4]

Regional and national emergence

Tinsley R. Harrison M.D. became dean of the new medical school and chairman of the Department of Medicine in 1950. Dr. Harrison began a program of recruitment aimed at making the school a major research and health care center.

In 1966, John W. Kirklin, M.D., joined UAB as chairman of the Department of Surgery and Surgeon-In-Chief for University Hospital from Mayo Clinic. He was most noted for revolutionizing cardiovascular surgery through his development and refinement of the heart-lung machine.[5]


Selwyn Vickers, M.D.

On August 15, 2013, UAB announced Selwyn Vickers, M.D., would be the next senior vice president for Medicine and dean of the School of Medicine effective October 15, 2013. Vickers spent his formative years as a young faculty member at UAB, beginning in 1994, and he directed the section of gastrointestinal surgery from 2000 to 2006. He was previously the Jay Phillips Professor and Chair of the Department of Surgery at the University of Minnesota Medical School.[6]

Anupam Agarwal, M.D., served as interim dean of the School of Medicine for eight months from February to October 2013 after Ray Watts, M.D., former dean of the School of Medicine, was named the seventh president of UAB in January 2013. Agarwal returned to his position as director of the Division of Nephrology and vice chair for research in the Department of Medicine on October 15, 2013.


The main campus of the School of Medicine at UAB is located in Birmingham. All students complete their first two years at the main campus in Birmingham. The remaining two years can be completed in Birmingham or at one of three branch campuses in Tuscaloosa, Montgomery or Huntsville.[7]


In 1974 the University of Alabama created the College of Community Health Sciences. This is a college organized under the University of Alabama, and in conjunction with the University of Alabama School of Medicine provides medical education for the 3rd and 4th years of students who choose to study in Tuscaloosa.


The School of Medicine maintains a branch campus in Huntsville affiliated with Huntsville Hospital. The Huntsville campus was originally a part of the University of Alabama in Huntsville; however, in 1974 UAB assumed control over the Huntsville program.


UAB's Montgomery campus is a collaborative effort among UAB, Baptist Health and the city of Montgomery. Beginning in May 2014, 10 third-year medical students began taking classes in Montgomery.