Seth LandefeldDr. Seth Landefeld, MD, MACP, Professor and Chair, UAB Department of Medicine

With the first day of spring this year, I felt that we took a step into a new world. A world in which we experience things I did not foresee in 2019. We live with less-lethal but still-threatening COVID, remote and hybrid work are here to stay for many, we witness Russia's brutal invasions of Ukraine. I felt like Rip Van Winkle rubbing my eyes in disbelief! And in this new world, we adapt, learn, and grow: Lisa Willett, M.D., MACM, begins an exciting transition year as Ryan Kraemer, M.D., steps into the role of IM Residency Program directorship this summer!

While we live in a new world, it is wonderful to know that "excellence without ego" is still the hallmark of our residency program.

  • We take bold steps to build an anti-racist community, celebrating the grant that former chiefs KeAndrea Titer, M.D., and Karla Williams, M.D., have landed a UAB Health Services Foundation grant to develop a multimodal, online curriculum for faculty and trainees entitled, "Closing the Divide: Building Trust by Addressing Bias in Medicine."

  • We delight in seeing cardiac arrest survivor Anezi Uzendu, M.D., return to the Department in a tour de force Medical Grand Rounds on out-of-hospital cardiac arrest. He overcame the 3.6% survival odds of recovering to complete his UAB residency training, cardiology fellowship (The Ohio State University), interventional cardiology fellowship (Massachusetts General Hospital) and is now a Cardiovascular Outcomes Research Fellow at St. Luke's Mid-America Heart Institute. 

  • We applaud the hard work of Leah Leisch, M.D., Lisa Willett, M.D., Davis Bradford, M.D., Brandy Freiger and many others who have earned ACGME accreditation for our new addiction medicine fellowship program at UAB.

And this great news is just the tip of the iceberg. The UAB Department of Medicine continues to excel in our tripartite mission of patient care, education, and research. Julie Kanter, M.D., edges ever closer to a cure for Sickle Cell Disease with a new gene-editing Lenti-globin therapy reported in NEJM. Cystic Fibrosis researcher extraordinaire Steve Rowe, M.D., MSPH, has been named CSO for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. Not to mention Jeanne Marrazzo, M.D., MPH, and Nathan Erdmann, M.D., Ph.D., will collaborate with New York University/Langone Health as part of a $470 million NIH grant to understand the long-term effects of COVID infection.

We survived the Omicron surge with grit and resolve, and we retained our humanity, as Anand Iyer, M.D., shared in a recent talk with UAB Honors Program students. More than 60 in the DOM were recognized for their exceptional patient care skills as reported by the best judges, their patients. And our Cardio-Oncology team led by Dr. Carrie Lenneman is breaking ground to bridge cardiovascular and cancer care.

A new oncology teaching service under the leadership of Daryl Outlaw, M.D., promises to transform learning for our residents. Our ACGME re-accredited all 15 training programs with no citations, and we had a third straight year of matching 100% of our residents into their fellowship programs of choice. And all four fellows entering our Gastroenterology/Hepatology fellowship this summer are female, a great step forward in gender diversity.

The Department continues to be a home for academic medical leadership as well. We have recruited three division directors in the past eight months. Mark Dransfield, M.D., is at the helm of our Pulmonary, Allergy, and Critical Care Division; Bassel El-Rayes, M.D., leads our Division of Hematology and Oncology with a dual appointment as Deputy Director of the Cancer Center; and Orlando GutiƩrrez, M.D., MMsc, has stepped up to serve in Nephrology in addition to his role as Deputy Director of the Center for Clinical and Translational Science. We anticipate hiring two more division directors in geriatrics and cardiology in the coming months.

The things we do together continue to amaze me, and I sincerely hope you are thriving wherever you practice medicine. We look forward to travel becoming easier and visits becoming more possible so you can drop in and see us soon. We would love to welcome you back any time.

Until next issue,