University of Alabama School of Medicine

University of Alabama School of Medicine

name = University of Alabama School of Medicine

caption =
motto =
established = 1859 [ UAB Archives ] ]
type = Public
dean = Dr. Robert Rich
city = Birmingham
state = Alabama
country = USA
coor = coord|33.500000|-86.807500|type:city_region:US|display=inline
former_names = Medical College of Alabama
website =

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


Founding and Growth

The UA School of Medicine can trace its roots back to the 1859 founding of the Medical College of Alabama in Mobile, Alabama. By the early 1900s, the work of Abraham Flexner led to the move of the medical school to Tuscaloosa to become closer affiliated with the University of Alabama. In 1936, the University of Alabama Extension Center was opened in Birmingham because of the recent population growth there. In 1945, the Medical College of Alabama was moved from Tuscaloosa to Birmingham and the University's Medical Center was founded. Later, 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 Tuscaloosa). 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."

Regional and National Emergence

Dr. Tinsley R. Harrison 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, Dr. John W. Kirklin joined UAB as chairman of the Department of Surgery and Surgeon-In-Chief for University Hospital. Dr. Kirklin brought his knowledge and expertise from the Mayo Clinic down to Alabama. He was most noted for revolutionizing cardiovascular surgery through his development and refinement of the heart-lung machine. [] From his legacy, the UAB School of Medicine and the hospital have continued to be leaders in the healthcare industry.

Other Campuses

The main campus of the University of Alabama School of Medicine is located at UAB in Birmingham. All UASOM 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 two branch campuses.


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


The UA 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.


For the fall of 2005, the average MCAT was 30.1 and the median GPA was a 3.76. [] Of the 160 first-year students, approximately 22% were of minority background. The acceptance rate was 12.3%. []


*In 1960, Dr. Basil Hirschowitz was the first to explore the stomach with his new invention, the fiber optic endoscope, which is now in the Smithsonian Institution.
*UAB heart surgeon, the late John W. Kirklin, developed a computerized intensive care unit that became a model for modern ICUs around the world. They help improve care and reduce complications. Kirklin initially gained fame by improving the safety and usefulness of the heart-lung bypass pump.
*The Diabetes Research and Education Hospital was dedicated in March 1973, as the first public, university-affiliated diabetes hospital in the nation.
*In 1977, Dr. Richard Whitley administered systemic antiviral for the treatment of the deadly HSV (herpes simplex virus) encephalitis, leading to the world’s first effective treatment for a viral disease.
*The first use in the United States of color doppler echocardiography for visualizing internal cardiac structures occurred at UAB Hospital in 1984.
*In 1986, Dr. Thomas N. James, then chairman of UAB's Department of Medicine, presided over the tenth World Congress of Cardiology held in Washington, DC.
*World's first genetically engineered mouse-human monoclonal antibody was used at University Hospital in the treatment of cancer in 1987.
*The first simultaneous heart-kidney transplant in the Southeast was performed at UAB by Drs. David C. McGiffin and David Laskow in 1995.
*The journal "Science" named three UAB faculty, Drs. Michael Saag, George Shaw, and Beatrice Hahn, among the top 10 AIDS researchers in the country, and highlighted the AIDS research program at UAB in 1996.
*The AIDS Vaccine Evaluation Unit (AVEU) became the first evaluation unit to enter a Phase III trail of an AIDS vaccine in 1999.
*UAB’s Kidney Transplantation Program is the world’s leading transplant program, with more than 5,000 transplants being performed since 1968. In each of the last seven years, more kidney transplants have been performed at UAB than at any other institution in the world. UAB is also a national leader in other organ transplants.
*The UAB AIDS Center was the first to perform clinical trails of the protease inhibitor Indinavir (Crixivan), one of the first protease inhibitors used in the [triple drug cocktail] to fight HIV.
*UAB researchers were the first to discover the protein that led to the development of the now well-known drug Viagra, causing what some have called the second sexual revolution. [] []


*In the 2007 edition of US News and World Report, the University of Alabama School of Medicine was ranked #22 nationally in research [] and #28 nationally in primary care [] .
*Five medical specialties at UAB are ranked in the top 20 nationally by the magazine: AIDS, 4th (up one ranking); women’s health, 8th; internal medicine 18th (up one ranking); geriatrics, 19th; and pediatrics, 19th. The school’s primary care program was ranked 34th, up four spots. []
*In funding from the National Institutes of Health (NIH), eight departments within the School of Medicine ranked in the top 10; Anatomy/Cell Biology (No.1). Other departments in the top five are Surgery (No. 2), Obstetrics/Gynecology (No. 3) and Physical Medicine (No. 4). []

Interesting Facts

Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine, which has been used by many physicians for decades was originally edited by Dr Tinsley R. Harrison, who served as dean of the Medical School and chair of the Department of Medicine.


External links

* [ University of Alabama School of Medicine]

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