Dr. Selwyn Vickers, senior vice president for medicine and dean of the Heersink School of Medicine at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, has assumed the role of CEO of both the UAB Health System and the UAB/Ascension St. Vincent’s Alliance, while continuing as dean. He succeeds the retiring Will Ferniany, who led the Health System for nearly 13 years.
Vickers is a member of the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences, a world-renowned surgeon, pancreatic cancer researcher, pioneer in health disparities research and a native of Demopolis. He became dean of the Heersink School of Medicine in 2013.
“The selection of Dr. Vickers as CEO of both the Health System and the Alliance will ensure a seamless transition of executive leadership and an uninterrupted commitment to excellence,” said UAB President Ray Watts, M.D.
Additionally, Dawn Bulgarella, previously chief financial officer for the Health System, has taken on the role of senior operational leader and president of the UAB Health System. She is also the chief financial officer for the UAB/Ascension St. Vincent’s Alliance and is responsible for combined annual budgets in excess of $5 billion.
Reid Jones will continue in his role as CEO of UAB Medicine, rounding out the executive management team along with Tony Jones, chief physician executive.
“A key facet of my new role is ascertaining synergy between the lanes of academic research, patient care and education and training,” said Vickers. He adds that the alignment of the Health System with the leadership of the School of Medicine is an organizational structure used at several academic medical centers, where it has been successful.
“The structural change of our clinical enterprise’s leadership from two roles to one comes from the significant growth we have experienced in the past few years,” Vickers said. “As many of our peer institutions have done, it made sense for UAB to consolidate the roles of CEO of the UAB Health System and dean of the Heersink School of Medicine to one person. A singular leader can fuse the interests of all groups at our enterprise and take a thoughtful approach to finances, operations and outcomes of both worlds.”
Vickers earned his undergraduate and medical degrees from Johns Hopkins University and completed a surgical residency there. He joined the faculty at UAB as an assistant professor in the Department of Surgery, where he was later appointed to professor, division director and the John H. Blue Chair of General Surgery. He was a founder of the UAB Minority Health and Health Disparities Research Center and was principal investigator of UAB’s first pancreatic cancer SPORE.
In 2006, Vickers left UAB to become chair of the Department of Surgery at the University of Minnesota Medical School but returned to UAB in 2013 as senior vice president of medicine and dean of the Heersink School of Medicine.
He was inducted into the Alabama Academy of Honor for the class of 2021, which recognizes living Alabamians for their efforts and accomplishments in serving the state and country.