Vickers takes the reins of the UAB healthcare system


Dr. Selwyn Vickers, Senior Vice President for Medicine and Dean of Heersink School of Medicine to University of Alabama at Birmingham, assumed the role of CEO of the UAB Health System and the UAB/Ascension St. Vincent Alliance, while continuing as Dean. Vickers replaces retired Will Ferniany, Ph.D., who led the healthcare system for nearly 13 years.

Additionally, Dawn Bulgarella, formerly Chief Financial Officer of Health System, assumed the role of Senior Operating Officer and President of UAB Health System. She is also the Chief Financial Officer of UAB/Ascension St. Vincent’s Alliance and is responsible for combined annual budgets of over $5 billion. She is a graduate of the University of Alabama and holds a master’s degree in health administration from UAB.

Reid Jones continues in his role as CEO of UAB Medicine, completing the management team with Dr Tony Jones, Chief Medical Officer.

Vickers, a fellow of the prestigious National Academy of Sciences Institute of Medicine, is a world-renowned surgeon, pancreatic cancer researcher, pioneer in health disparities research, and a native of Demopolis, Alabama. He became Dean of the Heersink School of Medicine in 2013. He was also a member of the UAB Faculty of Surgery from 1994 to 2006.

“The selection of Dr. Vickers as CEO of the Health System and the Alliance will ensure a seamless transition of executive leadership and an uninterrupted commitment to excellence,” said UAB President Dr. Ray Watts. . “We are proud to have this team of extraordinarily talented leaders, who will elevate our ability to provide the best patient care for our community, state, region and nation.”

“A key aspect of my new role is to synergize the pathways of academic research, patient care, education and training,” Vickers said. “Continuous alignment is achieved through our ability to focus on creating excellence in our individual pathways and then come together in unity for the common goal of improving quality and outcomes for our patients. .”

Vickers says aligning the health system with the leadership of the School of Medicine is an organizational structure used in many academic medical centers. The CEO/Dean model is an operationalized strategy that has been successful in all institutions that have instituted it.

“The structural change in the direction of our clinical business from two roles to one stems from the significant growth we have experienced over the past few years,” he said. “As many of our peer institutions have done, it made sense for UAB to consolidate the roles of CEO of UAB Health System and Dean of the Heersink School of Medicine into one person. A singular leader can merge the interests of all groups in our company and take a thoughtful approach to the finances, operations and results of both worlds.

Alabamians have some of the toughest health disparity statistics of any state in the United States. One of Vickers’ priorities is to continue to develop and expand UAB’s clinical excellence programs for residents of Alabama, the Deep South and America. Additionally, Vickers says tackling socio-economic barriers to health care and education is a key goal. Building on UAB’s efforts to provide affordable health care to all people and all areas of Alabama will be a hallmark of his leadership.

“From an early age, I knew I wanted to practice medicine; but more than that, I wanted to make a difference in the lives of others,” Vickers said. “Throughout my career, I have been passionate about clinical care, research and education. I have been a medical student, intern, researcher, doctor, teacher and administrative manager. As we move forward into 2022 and the years beyond, UAB will continue to pursue high quality patient care and the best possible patient outcomes, and will continue to grow our nationally recognized programs to transform this part of the country into a healthier place to live and work.”

by BOB SHEPHARD, UAB University Relations

January 24, 2022



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