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A Note from Ray Watts, President of the University of Alabama at Birmingham


UAB community, I am pleased to share important leadership updates for the Heersink School of Medicine and the UAB Health System. The University of Alabama System Board of Trustees unanimously named Dawn Bulgarella CEO of the UAB Health System and CEO of the UAB/Ascension St. Vincent’s Alliance at the recommendation of UA System Chancellor Finis St. John in consultation with me. This appointment is effective immediately. Also, effective immediately, I am proud to name Anupam Agarwal, M.D., dean of the UAB Marnix E. Heersink School of Medicine, senior vice president of Medicine and chair of the Health Services Foundation Board. Dawn and Anupam have filled these respective roles in an interim capacity since June. Dawn first joined UAB in 1993 in the Health Services Foundation. Anupam joined the School of Medicine in 2003, and also served as interim dean and SVP of Medicine in 2013. Dawn and Anupam proved to be extremely effective throughout their long careers at UAB and in these critical interim roles. They both clearly exhibited the knowledge, talent and leadership required to ensure UAB Medicine’s continued ascent as a national leader in health care. Dawn is an innovative thinker and mentor who serves on numerous health care boards throughout Alabama and is active in multiple professional and community associations. She is a certified public accountant — formerly with Ernst & Young — and her 35-year career is highlighted by accomplishments in academic medical center administration, financial management and strategic planning. She spent 15 years in operations before becoming the senior associate dean of Finance and Administration in the Heersink School of Medicine and ultimately the first president and CFO of the UAB Health System. Most recently, she served as president of the UAB Health System and CFO for the UAB/Ascension St. Vincent’s Alliance. Anupam served as executive vice dean from 2014-2022 and directed the Division of Nephrology from 2008-2021. He serves as the program director of the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases-funded O’Brien Center for Acute Kidney Injury Research, and his contributions providing critical insights regarding acute kidney injury have been recognized through honors including election to the American Society for Clinical Investigation, the Association of American Physicians, and the American Clinical and Climatological Association. He served as president of the American Society of Nephrology. I thank the search committee co-chaired by Department of Neurology Chair David Standaert, M.D., Ph.D., and Senior Vice President of Finance and Administration Brian Burnett, Ph.D., for supporting the national dean search. Importantly, both Dawn and Anupam are collaborative, thoughtful leaders who are deeply invested in the success of our institution as a whole. They have played invaluable roles in our unprecedented success, and the continuity of their leadership will propel UAB even further. Please join me in congratulating Dawn and Anupam and thanking them for their continued leadership and service to our students, faculty, staff, patients and community. Sincerely, Ray Watts, President University of Alabama at Birmingham

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