Dr Lisa WillettDr. Ryan Kraemer, Associate Professor and Program Director, Tinsley Harrison Internal Medicine Program

On the flight home from Charlotte, I took a few moments to pause and reflect on how fortunate I am. I was in Charlotte in early April for the Association of Program Directors in Internal Medicine (APDIM) national meeting. I met with other program directors and associate program directors from across the country. As you might imagine, Dr. Lisa Willett knew just about everyone there! As she introduced me as the new program director of the Tinsley Harrison Internal Medicine Residency program starting in 2023, there was one universal response: "Congratulations...followed by Ryan, you will be great...you have an excellent program and great mentors at UAB."

As Willett outlined in the last Letters to Tinsley, our residency program has been wildly successful with a 100% ABIM pass rate for the last three years, outstanding ACGME resident surveys, and consistent success in the fellowship match and positions in primary care and hospitalist practices, all while weathering the tumultuous waters of the past few years of COVID. This excellence is recognized on a national level, along with our reputation for innovative teaching. Multiple program directors mentioned how helpful they found our MedEd Moments videos, just one of our many educational innovations.

So, while I am fortunate to take over as program director, I have been more fortunate to learn from Willett and Dr. Jason Morris as they have guided our residency program over the last 10 years with tremendous skill. And I realize that they too followed in the footsteps of giants, with Dr. Gustavo Heudebert and Dr. Bill Dismukes leading our residency for 10 and 20 years prior, respectively. While some of the challenges are different (the ACGME residency program requirements started at 2 pages and are now 71 pages), I am fortunate that the founding values of our residency program are alive and well.

When this with this years’ residency applicants asked me what I considered my most important job as the new program director, my answer was to ensure that the values that led UAB to greatness live on. Tinsley Harrison taught us the equation E=hH2 where the small “h” represents the head or knowledge, and the large “H” represents the heart. Willett carried on these values by coining our residency motto, “Excellence without Ego.” I am privileged to work with a team of educators that hold these values dear and residents who live by these values in all that they do.

You will be happy to know that in March we matched an amazing class of 39 new residents who are excited to carry on these traditions and build new ones. They will be led by four talented Chief Medical Residents, Dr. Joseph Granade, Dr. Aditi Jani, Dr. John Locke, and Dr. Courtney Wagner, who all attended the APDIM chief residents meeting in Charlotte. Based on our conversations at the meeting, I can assure you that they have a plethora of ideas to ensure that our residents continue to receive the best possible training.

So, as the sun set across the Charlotte sky and the captain announced that takeoff to Birmingham was imminent, I was filled with a sense of warmth. I don’t know what challenges the next 10 years will bring, but I do know that I am privileged to walk in the footsteps of giants with outstanding mentors alongside me. These role models have created a culture of excellence while not forgetting the patient is at the center of it all. With the unwavering support of our Chair, Dr. Seth Landefeld, I have an amazing team of associate and assistant program directors, chief medical residents, and the best program coordinator in the country, Tammy Pickens. We have the privilege of working hard each day for our talented residents who are dedicated to developing into healers and leaders.

I hope each of you are well and share my pride in our residency program. If you have any ideas or want to contribute in some way to the residency program, please let me know. And if you are visiting Birmingham from afar or after a while, please stop by and say, “Hello.”

With Warmest Regards,

Ryan R. Kraemer, M.D., FACP