Seth LandefeldSeth Landefeld, M.D., MACP, Professor and Chair, UAB Department of Medicine

It has been an incredibly busy spring at UAB, and a time of tremendous transition for our residency. After 22 wonderful years, Dr. Lisa Willett will officially conclude her service to our Residency Training Program—10 years as Program Director, 10 years as Associate Program Director, and two years as Assistant Program Director. It is the end of a brilliant era.

2021-2022 Chief Medical Residents2022-2023 Chief Medical Residents Pictured L to R: Drs. Joseph Granade, Aditi Jani, Courtney Wagner, and John Lockeby the Chief Medical Residents

For the first time in years as we walk the halls of the hospital, we see the bright, familiar faces of residents, attendings, nurses, and, perhaps most importantly, our patients and their families. No longer are they hidden away behind those pesky blue masks. It feels so freeing and yet also a bit strange at the same time. For better or worse, the COVID pandemic shaped us as individuals, physicians, and as a program. While its shadow was still looming, we began the year cautiously hopeful. But stepping out of that shadow, we resolved to work not only to get back to “normal,” but instead to something better than the old normal. With that mentality as our guide, we set out to take on the challenge of improving the academic curriculum, boosting attendance at our educational conferences far beyond pre-pandemic numbers, creating a central digital repository for resident information, and resurrecting our most beloved residency traditions that had been affected by COVID.

2021-2022 Chief Medical ResidentsTinsley R. Harrison, Dr. Thomas Ruli, Jr., PGY-1

Toward the end of my medical school career, I was given a paper by Dr. Tinsley Harrison from one of my mentors, Dr. George Karam (former graduate and chief resident for UAB’s internal medicine residency program). The paper was published in the Annals of Internal Medicine and highlights what Harrison described as the “three roots” of internal medicine: the science, the art, and the priesthood of medicine. The “science” is the knowledge base, the “art” is the bedside skill, and the “priesthood” refers to the idea that the “physician him/herself is the treatment”. I remember reflecting on the passage in preparation for the beginning of my intern year at UAB. I had spent the last four years in medical school trying to cram as much knowledge into my head as possible, and I had done my best to become as proficient at physical exam skills as I could at that stage in my career. However, not once during medical school did it cross my mind on how the “physician himself” could be the treatment. What did that mean?

2021-2022 Chief Medical ResidentsDr. Bria Carrithers, PGY-2by Dr. Bria Carrithers, PGY-2

Since beginning residency, I’ve always admired those resident and attending physicians who consistently display the art of humanistic care in their care of patients and I’ve strived to find ways to incorporate those principles into my practice as well. The clinical responsibilities we have set before us as physicians can often feel enormous, perhaps most noticeably during intern year. Under the weight of responsibility that comes with being a physician and the pressures of caring for patients, it is all too easy to lose sight of what is important. Have you ever wondered how the greatest physicians continue to demonstrate the person-centric ideals of humanism each day despite the humdrum routines of working in healthcare today? Are there ways to incorporate discussions on the imperative value of humanism in medicine within our busy workdays and, specifically and perhaps most crucially, in our role as educators training the physicians of the future?

2021-2022 Chief Medical Residentsby Dr. Alexander Yang, PGY-1

"I forgot how much I loved singing."

I was going through my usual pre-round routine: checking out from the night team, printing out pre-rounding reports, reviewing vitals, labs, and consultant’s notes, when this line from a music therapy note broke my usual auto-pilot routine. “I forgot how much I loved singing.” I was struck by the patient’s picture buried in the small box in the corner of the chart. She was unrecognizable from the patient I met during this admission. Gone was the healthy, jubilant, smiling figure in the picture, replaced by a gaunt, cachexic shell of a body that remained after multiple rounds of chemotherapy.

2021-2022 Chief Medical ResidentsDr. Bella Kalayilparampil, PGY-2by Dr. Bella Kalayilparampil, PGY-2

A stranger’s hand is clutched in mine. We walk slowly, dreading every step. The fluorescent lights blind us. The hospital is, in some ways, like a casino— you can never tell what time of day it is. We’re fast approaching the room. I give his hand a final squeeze and release. I can only watch for a few seconds before I feel like I’ve interrupted something sacred. I see the man I walked with collapse onto the bed that has safely tucked away his first-born, his best friend, and the son he’ll never see again. The man’s body shakes violently as he hugs the body of what once was and what will never become. The blanket slips off the pale shoulder of the young man who had been my patient and in perfect contrast I see the words “Life is Beautiful” imprinted on his skin. I want to run far away from this place. This casino where the dice of fate roll to determine if you survive or die. Where you can’t tell whether it’s night or day. If you’re alive or if a part of you has died too.

2021-2022 Chief Medical ResidentsDr. Julie England, PGY-3, in the Panama Canal Museum. The sign behind her explains Dr. Gorgas's work to combat mosquito borne Dr. Julie England, PGY-3

The Gorgas Global Health Clinical Scholarship Award is a co-sponsored activity by the Gorgas Memorial Institute and the UAB Internal Medicine Residency Program, Health Disparities Track. It is offered to a rising PGY-3 resident interested in global health and tropical medicine. The Gorgas Memorial Institute (GMI) was established in 1921 as a joint initiative between the U.S and Panamanian governments to study and control diseases of the tropical Americas. GMI was named in honor of Dr. William C. Gorgas, a native Alabamian and U.S. Surgeon General. In the early 1900s, Dr. Gorgas worked to control yellow fever and malaria in the Panama Canal Zone, helping protect Panama Canal workers from mosquito-borne illnesses. Dr. Gorgas became a prominent figure in public health and tropical medicine. Over one hundred years later, UAB continues to work closely with GMI. Julie England was the 2022 Gorgas Clinical Scholarship Recipient. During the month of March 2023, she studied tropical medicine with the Department of Infectious Disease at Hospital Santo Tomás in Panama City, Panama.

2021-2022 Chief Medical ResidentsDavis Bradford, M.D., Assistant Professor, Division of General Internal Medicineby Dr. Natasha Mehra, PGY-3

Originally from Muscle Shoals, Alabama, Assistant Professor in the Division of General Internal Medicine David Bradford, M.D., completed his undergraduate schooling at Auburn University before coming to Birmingham for medical school at UAB. During that time he volunteered with Equal Access Birmingham, a student-run free clinic, to care for vulnerable and marginalized communities. “They’re a population I most enjoy serving,” he says. After moving northeast for residency training at Boston University, he worked with different demographics of patients, especially those patients struggling with addiction. During training, he cared for many patients with opiate use disorder and frequently started them on methadone. “I felt very prepared due to a lot of exposure but also because my mentors were generalists who took on addiction care. I saw role models who were doing it every day,” he says. The major difference in his training came from BU Addiction Medicine and Addiction Psychiatry being housed in the Department of Medicine.