Pediatric Epilepsy, Children's of Alabama

Pediatric Epileptologist
Neurology - Epilepsy , Neurology - Pediatric, Pediatrics - Neurology, Neurology - Clinical Neurophysiology, Neurology - Research, Neurology - Pediatric Epilepsy
Birmingham, Alabama

The University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) Division of Child Neurology is seeking a board certified/eligible pediatric neurologist with advanced training in epilepsy and/or clinical neurophysiology to join the rapidly expanding epilepsy program. The incoming epileptologist will provide patient care to a catchment population of more than 5 million people at the Children’s of Alabama (COA), which is now the 3rd largest pediatric hospital in the country. COA is consistently ranked among the Best Children’s Hospital by US News & World Report, one of the few children’s hospitals to receive national recognition for 8 of 10 specialties. 

Pediatric Epilepsy Team

Dr. Monisha Goyal

Director of Clinical Neurophysiology and the Pediatric Epilepsy Program, COA

Pediatric Residency: St. Louis Children’s Hospital – Washington University , St. Louis, 1991-1992
Clinical Neurophysiology and Adult Epilepsy Fellowship, UPMC, 1996-1997
Pediatric Epilepsy Fellowship, Children’s Hospital of Pittsburg, UPMC, 1997-1998

Dr. Pongkiat Kankirawatana

Medical Director of the Pediatric Epilepsy Center, COA

Pediatric Residency, Jersey City Medical Center, 1986
Pediatric Neurology Fellowship, UNC Chapel Hill, 1989
Epilepsy & Clinical Neurophysiology Fellowship, Cleveland Clinic, 1992

Dr. Jan Mathisen

Pediatric Neurologist, COA

Pediatric Residency, UAB, COA, 1983-1985
Adult Neurology Residency, Washington University Medical Center, 1985-1986
Pediatric Neurology Fellowship, Washington University Medical Center, 1986-1988

Dr. Rani Singh

Pediatric Neurologist, UAB and Founder of the Ketogenic Diet Program, UAB

Pediatric Residency, University of Massachusetts Medical Center, 2004-2006
Adult Neurology Residency, George Washington University, 2006-2007
Pediatric Neurology Fellowship, Children’s National Medical Center, 2007-2009
Clinical Neurophysiology Fellowship with specification in Epilepsy, University of Michigan, 2009-2010 

In August 2012, COA completed a $400 million, 12-story, 760,000 square foot expansion project with the addition of the Benjamin Russell Hospital for Children, doubling the size of the Epilepsy Monitoring Unit (EMU) to a dedicated 8-bed, 24/7 unit with flex capabilities to become a dedicated 12-bed unit as the program continues to grow. COA boasts a Level 4 NAEC accredited pediatric epilepsy center that includes a robust epilepsy surgery program currently placing grids at a rate of 1.25 per week. The UAB Pediatric Epilepsy team is comprised of 4 pediatric epileptologists, 3 pediatric neurosurgeons with training in epilepsy surgery, a neuropsychologist with a focus in epilepsy, 6 epilepsy nurses, and 11 EEG techs. Under the leadership of Dr. Leon Dure, Division Chief of Pediatric Neurology at UAB, the epilepsy program has established a clinical infrastructure that enables the epilepsy team to focus primarily on the most complex and acute epilepsy and refractory cases. UAB recently launched two studies of cannabidiol oil, or CBD oil, as a treatment for severe, intractable seizures. The two studies, an adult study at UAB and a pediatric study at Children’s of Alabama, were authorized by the Alabama Legislature in 2014 by legislation known as Carly’s Law. UAB has contracted with a vendor to supply the oil, which is available only in very limited quantities nationwide. The vendor, who is providing the limited supply of oil at no charge, has capped the amount of oil available for use in the UAB studies at enough to treat 100 patients, which would make the UAB studies among the largest in the nation.

In September 2014, Dr. Mitchell Cohen was recruited to become the new Chair of Pediatrics at UAB/COA. Dr. Cohen, a national leader in pediatric medicine and an internationally renowned specialist in children’s digestive disorders, previously served as a professor of pediatrics, vice-chair for clinical affairs and director of the Division of Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center. He has identified pediatric epilepsy as a strategic pillar of growth for the institution, with the objective of creating a Destination Center of Excellence for epilepsy at UAB.



Pediatric Epilepsy Program

With minimal competition, COA and UAB serve as the primary academic referral center for approximately 5 million people, all of the 4 million in Alabama, plus the Florida panhandle and adjacent portions of Mississippi, Georgia, and Tennessee.

COA has recently earned accreditation for its epilepsy monitoring unit from the American Board of Registration of Electroencephalographic Technologists (ABRET), becoming the first and only freestanding pediatric hospital in the United States to achieve that recognition and one of only five hospitals in the nation. The outpatient EEG volume is approximately 2,000 per year and trending upward. As a total, the Epilepsy Program sees about 7,000 visits per year.

The Epilepsy Program is structured so that the epileptologists can focus on only the most complex epilepsy cases, with the general neurologists treating the onset seizure cases. The team of epileptologists places grids at a rate of 1.25 per week with a near term goal of 2 grid placement per week. The epilepsy surgery program continues to expand from its 36 surgeries in 2013 and recently recruited a 3rd pediatric neurosurgeon that specialize in epilepsy surgery.


The program is comprised of four (4) pediatric epileptologists (3.5 FTE), three (2.5 FTE) pediatric neurosurgeons with training in epilepsy surgery, a neuropsychologist, a dietician, an epilepsy coordinator, a neuropathologist six (6) epilepsy nurses, and eleven (11) EEG technicians. The clinical infrastructure of the program consists of:

Epilepsy Monitoring Unit
The EMU at COA is state of the art and can accommodate up to approximately 600 patients per year. The 8-bed, 24/7 EMU is designated Level 4 by the National Association of Epilepsy Centers (NAEC), which is the highest level for units specializing in a continuum of care patients; from seizure evaluation, to seizure treatment plan.

The 4-bed EEG Lab is accredited by the American Board of Registration of Electroencephalographic Technologists (ABRET). There is also a 2-bed outpatient EEG lab situated at the Children’s South location, about 15 minutes south of the main lab. The lab is also recognized as a training site for students pursuing the EEG field as a profession. Services provided in both the inpatient and outpatient settings include:

  • EEG, Routine and Prolonged
  • EEG, Ambulatory
  • EEG, Continuous bedside
  • EP (Evoked Potentials)
  • IOM (Intraoperative Monitoring)
  • Long-term (intensive care) Video/EEG Monitoring


The Epilepsy program boasts a wide array of technologies and treatments that are available to patients. Some of the epilepsy specific technologies include:

  • Blood tests: blood cell count, blood sugar, sodium, calcium, liver function panel, kidney function panel, electrolyte levels and specific genetic testing
  • EEG (electroencephalogram)
  • VEEG: usually performed in the EMU. The EEG is recorded along with continuous closed-circuit video monitoring for several days.
  • MRI
  • PET Scan
  • SISCOM (Substraction Ictal SPECT Coregistered on MRI)
  • Neuropsychological evaluation
  • MEG (Magnetoencephalography)
  • WADA
  • fMRI


Some available treatment options include:

  • Medication Therapy
  • The Ketogenic Diet
  • Epilepsy Surgery:
  • Resective/Resection Procedures:
  • GRID Based Resection
  • Functional hemispherectomy (FH)
  • Lobectomy
  • Lesionectomy
  • Palliative Procedures:
  • Corpus Callosotomy (CC)
  • Vagal Nerve Stimulator (VNS)



UAB launches study of cannabidiol oil for severe seizures
The University of Alabama at Birmingham has launched two studies of cannabidiol oil, or CBD oil, as a treatment for severe, intractable seizures. The two studies, an adult study at UAB and a pediatric study at Children’s of Alabama, were authorized by the Alabama Legislature in 2014 by legislation known as Carly’s Law.

The UAB studies are designed to test the safety and tolerability of CBD oil in patients with intractable seizures. CBD oil, a derivative of the cannabis plant, is delivered orally as an oily liquid. Under the new legislation, UAB’s Departments of Neurology and Pediatrics would be the only entities authorized to prescribe cannabidiol to treat people with epileptic and neurological conditions. The plan also calls for lawmakers to seek $1 million from the Education Trust Fund to help pay for the study that UAB will sponsor.

“We are extremely pleased to launch these exciting studies,” said David Standaert, M.D., Ph.D., chair of the Department of Neurology. “What we learn from these investigations could have a profound impact on the lives of many adults and children with uncontrolled seizures. We are honored to have been entrusted with this effort by the Alabama Legislature, and we look forward to getting the studies underway.”

UAB has contracted with a vendor to supply the oil, which is available only in very limited quantities nationwide. The vendor, who is providing the oil at no charge, has capped the amount of oil available for use in the UAB studies at enough to treat 100 patients, which would make the UAB studies among the largest in the nation. If more than 100 patients qualify for inclusion in the studies, UAB will investigate the possibility of expanding the studies.

UAB Division of Pediatric Neurology

The physicians within the Division of Pediatric Neurology provide services at both the COA and UAB Hospital. Patient diagnoses covers a range of problems including seizure disorders, neurodegenerative diseases, primary muscle diseases, developmental problems and acute encephalopathies. The division provides ambulatory services through general pediatric neurology clinics at Children’s and sleep clinics. An expanding research program is investigating basic and clinical problems related to epilepsy, pediatric development, genetics and biochemical diseases.

Pediatric Neurology Fellowship
The UAB Pediatric Neurology Fellowship is now combined with the Pediatric Residency Program, resulting in a five (5) year program – two (2) years of pediatric residency training, one (1) year of training in clinical adult neurology, one (1) year of training in clinical pediatric neurology, and one year as “flexible.” During this flexible year, residents learn the principals of several neurological subspecialties. The fellowship program currently has four (4) residents, two (2) of whom are on the epilepsy track.


Dr. Leon S. Dure
William Bew White, Jr. Chair in Pediatric Neurology
Director of the Division of Pediatric Neurology, UAB 
Professor of Pediatric Neurology, UAB 


The UAB Division of Pediatric Neurology consists of twelve (12) pediatric neurologists and is currently training 2 pediatric neurology residents. Six (6) of the pediatric neurologists are listed below:

  • Dr. Kankirawatana is an expert at handling epilepsy and reading EEGs.
  • Dr. Dure sees numerous patients with Tourette’s and other movement disorders.
  • Dr. Reddy is a pediatric neuro-oncologist with ample support from the excellent neurosurgeons at Children’s.
  • Dr. Percy specializes in neurodegenerative and developmental disorders such as Rett syndrome.
  • Dr. Fequiere is well versed in Neuromuscular disorders and conducts several EMGs.
  • Dr. Ness runs the Center for Pediatric Onset Demyelinating Disease (CPODD) clinic at Children’s.



UAB Rett Syndrome Clinic:
In 1999, a decade-long search for the genetic basis for RS succeeded in identifying mutations in the MECP2 gene in girls fulfilling the criteria for RS. This discovery allows confirmation of clinical diagnoses and the development of genotype-phenotype correlations. We are now examining the molecular genetics of children who do not meet all diagnostic criteria for RS, but who are near the border zones of clinical involvement. At the present time, more than 80% of females fulfilling the criteria for RS have mutations in MECP2.


Alan K. Percy, MD, PhD
Professor of Pediatric Neurology, UAB
Director of the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology  

Alan K. Percy, MD, PhD:
Dr. Percy has built a nationwide clinical study based at the UAB Rett Syndrome Center. The center has one of the largest Rett Syndrome databases in the country with over 1,100 patients. Presently, UAB has an active clinical trial in Rett Syndrome which includes 55 patients.

Research Consortium for Rett Syndrome, MECP2 Duplications Disorder, CDKL5 Disorder and FOXG1 Syndrome – Director, Alan K. Percy, MD, PhD
National Institute of Health (NIH) announced awards to expand the Office of Rare Diseases Research part of the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (ORDR-NCATS) collaborative Rare Diseases Clinical Research Network (RDCRN). Through the network, physician scientists at 22 consortia will work with 98 patient advocacy groups to advance clinical research and investigate new treatments for patients with rare diseases. The collaborations are made possible by $29 million in fiscal 2014 funding from NIH.

During the past fifteen years, Dr. Percy has focused his research activities primarily on Rett syndrome (RS). Initially, these studies related to understanding the integral clinical components of RS. These included analysis on clinical neurophysiologic aspects related to epilepsy and sleep characteristics, understanding the pattern of and basis for pervasive growth failure, developing population-based prevalence data, and exploring the molecular bases for this unique disorder. With the identification of mutations in MECP2 in the overwhelming majority of individuals with RS, efforts then shifted to understanding phenotype-genotype correlations and exploring the variant clinical expressions of individuals with such mutations but lacking some or all of the characteristic features of RS. These studies are accomplished in close collaboration with Dr. Daniel Glaze and Dr. Huda Zoghbi at the Baylor College of Medicine and with Dr. Carolyn Schanen at the Nemours Institute in Delaware. Very recently, Dr. Percy co-organized and coordinated a placebo-controlled trial of folate and betaine in RS and more recently a systematic study of cerebrospinal fluid folate levels in RS. Both projects represented components of the PPG (Huda Zoghbi, PI) and the recently funded multi-site Rare Disease CRC project (Arthur Beaudet, PI).

UAB Department of Pediatrics 

Mitchel B. Cohen, MD
Katherine Reynolds Ireland Professor, UAB
Chair of the Department of Pediatrics, UAB
Physician-in-Chief, Children's of Alabama 

New Chair of Pediatrics
In September of 2014, Mitchell Cohen, M.D., a national leader in pediatric medicine and an internationally renowned specialist in children’s digestive disorders, was recruited to become the chair of the Department of Pediatrics at the UAB School of Medicine and has been elected physician-in-chief of COA by its board of trustees.

Cohen previously served as a professor of pediatrics, vice-chair for clinical affairs and director of the Division of Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center. He was chosen after a national search considered candidates from some of the country’s most prestigious institutions. Cohen succeeded Sergio Stagno, M.D., who announced in September 2013 his intention to step down as chair and physician-in-chief after serving in those roles since 1988.

The Chair’s Vision for the Future:
Dr. Mitchell Cohen has a profound vision for the Department of Pediatrics, as he brings 30+ years of experience from one of the top pediatric hospitals in the nation, Cincinnati Children’s. He has a goal of expanding the department’s research initiatives, infrastructure and NIH funding while increasing the academic element of the organization. Dr. Cohen sees ample opportunities to create programmatic strengths across the board of pediatrics. One of Dr. Cohen’s critical initiatives is to continue the upward trend of UAB’s U.S. News & World Report Rankings, with short-term goal of breaking into the top 20 in NIH funding. In conjunction with an increase in funding, Dr. Cohen envisions a department that is 30-40% larger than it currently is.

UAB Pediatrics:
The UAB Department of Pediatrics is a comprehensive pediatric care center, with services ranging from hospital medicine, to oncology, to emergency care. Currently, there are over 180 full-time faculty in general pediatrics and 16 subspecialty divisions. The newly completed expansion facility, the Russell Pediatric Hospital, has allowed for the expansion of a number of programs including:

  • The Pediatric Transplant Program: This program has brought all aspects of pediatric organ transplant surgery together in one location, significantly enhancing the patient-centered care that is essential to these patients.
  • The Joseph S. Bruno Heart Center: The pediatric cardiovascular facility provides a single platform of care by placing key areas adjacent to each other. On the same floor are cardiovascular (CV) operating rooms, a hybrid cath/operating room, catheterization laboratories, cardiovascular intensive care unit (CVICU), and a dedicated CV same day and post-anesthesia care unit.
  • The Heart Center has earned accreditation as a Pediatric Heart Failure Institute by The HealthcareColloquium, a national group of hospitals dedicated to improving patient outcomes through expert-to-expert collaboration. The accreditation is the highest level available and makes Children’s the first pediatric facility in Alabama, and one of only nine in the nation, to be awarded this distinction.


The department’s commitment to academics remains as strong as ever. The department is currently training 63 pediatric residents, 2 pediatric neurology residents, 2 pediatric genetics residents, 16 medicine-pediatric residents and 57 pediatric subspecialty residents across 15 subspecialties that include: adolescent medicine, allergy and immunology, critical care, emergency medicine, endocrinology, gastroenterology, hematology/oncology, hospital medicine, infectious disease, neonatology, nephrology, pediatric neurology, pulmonology, rheumatology, and sleep medicine. Their three-year American Board of Pediatrics pass rate is 100%.

In 2014, families made more than 670,000 outpatient and nearly 14,000 inpatient visits and more than 21,000 surgical visits to Children’s from every county in Alabama and from 45 other states and 10 foreign countries. With more than 2 million square feet, the newly expanded Children’s Hospital is the 3rd largest pediatric medical facility in the U.S. and has been ranked among the top children’s hospital programs in the country by US News & World Report. The Pediatric Emergency Medicine program is the 2nd largest in the country, with more than 65,000 admissions per year.

Pediatrics Research
In 2014, the Department of Pediatrics received 113 new grant awards, totaling $19 million, exemplifying their commitment to pediatric discovery. There have been numerous NIH awards received in the Department of Pediatrics, totaling over $52 million.

Infectious Disease Research
The Pediatric Infectious Diseases Division at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) is internationally known for its studies of congenital and perinatal viral infections. For 50 years, the Division has defined the natural history, pathogenesis, diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of congenital cytomegalovirus (CMV) infections and neonatal herpes simplex virus (HSV) disease. These research programs were begun by Dr. Charles Alford in the 1960s, following his return to UAB from training in the laboratory of Nobel Prize winner Dr. Thomas Weller. Applying a critical scientific approach to the emerging field of virology, Dr. Alford established UAB as the national leader in congenital and perinatal viral infections. Work continued by Dr.’s Sergio Stagno and Robert Pass established the extent of disease and sequelae caused by congenital CMV infections. Dr. Bill Britt has explored CMV at a basic level by meticulously examining the role of different viral proteins in the assembly of infectious particles. Dr.’s Suresh Boppana and Karen Fowler have established a scalable molecular diagnostic assay that one day could be used for universal screening for CMV, and also expanded our understanding of the audiologic consequences of congenital infection. Dr. Shannon Ross is investigating the role that viral subpopulations play in congenital CMV disease and its sequelae. Dr.’s Britt, Boppana, and Ross together have applied their individual interests to the question of infection with differing strains of CMV, the consequences of which could impact the feasibility of developing a CMV vaccine in the future.

Gregory Fleming James Cystic Fibrosis Research Center
The center was established as a multi-disciplinary Cystic Fibrosis Center to study CF basic research and therapy in 1981. Also in 1981, the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation began a new program for funding CF research known as the Research Development Program (RDP). The UAB Center was the first to receive RDP support from the Foundation, which now sponsors 11 such Centers in the United States. The Center has maintained continuous external funding from the NIH and CF Foundation since 1981. The CF Research Center includes more than fifty faculty members. Using its resources, as well as University funds and an allotment provided through the State of Alabama, the Center maintains Core facilities available for studies of cell biology, ion transport, and translational aspects of CF research.

In addition to an experienced CF research center, a strong Cystic Fibrosis Care Center is located at the COA and UAB Hospital. This Center provides state-of-the-art care for approximately 400 CF patients. Interactions between the research and care centers provide a direct and creative link between basic scientists and clinicians, and fosters a spirit of cooperation and concern at all levels from the research laboratory to the patients’ bedside.

UAB Department of Neurology 

David G. Standeart, MD, PhD
Chair of Neurology, UAB
John N. Whitaker Professor of Neurology, UAB 

Chair of Neurology
Dr. David Standaert joined the neurology department on July 1, 2006, from the Department of Neurology at Massachusetts General Hospital/Harvard Medical School as the John and Juanelle Strain Professor of Neurology and Director of the newly established Center for Neurodegeneration and Experimental Therapeutics and the Division of Movement Disorders. Dr. Standaert is an internationally renowned physician scientist whose work focuses on understanding the causes of Parkinson’s Disease and other Movement Disorders with the goal of developing new treatments. He is also an outstanding Movement Disorder Neurologist and has a subspecialty practice in UAB’s Kirklin Clinic.

Neurology Overview
The nationally-ranked UAB Department of Neurology is home to eight comprehensive divisions and seven centers offering an array of clinical activities. Over 26,000 patients are cared for annually through state-of-the-art subspecialty care and innovative treatments. Our residents have the opportunity to work in various neurology fields with 50 clinical and research faculty members.

The Department of Neurology at UAB offers an array of clinical activities in hospital and ambulatory care of patients. The department is staffed with individuals who have both clinical and research expertise to present a traditional clinical neurology experience to the students while also demonstrating the expanding treatment options created by the major advancements in clinical and basic neuroscience.

In addition to available general clinical care, specialized services are established in stroke, critical care, epilepsy, dementia and behavioral neurology, movement disorders, headache, clinical neurophysiology, neuroimaging, neuroimmunology, neuro-oncology, neuromuscular disorders, muscle and nerve histopathology, and neuropsychology.

Research, both fundamental and clinical, and therapeutic trials enable the staff to offer patients innovative treatments and students and house staff a caring and scholarly educational approach.

Department of Neurology Statistics:

  • 24,000 outpatients seen annually at The Kirklin Clinic
  • Over 2,000 annual admissions to UAB Hospital
  • $8 million in annual research funds
  • More than 100 ongoing research projects and clinical trials
  • Neurology residents currently in 4-year training program: 24
  • Advanced Fellowship Trainees: 8
  • UAB Neurosciences were ranked among the top programs in the country in 2011 by U.S. News & World Report


Neurology Residency & Fellowships
The UAB Department of Neurology adult neurology residency program, led by Dr. Khurram Bashir, MD, MPH, trains six (6) neurology residents each year. Additionally, the department offers nine (9) advanced fellowship training programs.

  • Epilepsy – Directed by Dr. Monisha Goyal
  • Memory Disorders
  • Movement Disorders
  • Neuroimmunology/Multiple Sclerosis
  • Neuromuscular Medicine
  • Neuro-Oncology
  • Neurophysiology
  • Neuropsychology
  • Vascular Neurology



UAB Epilepsy

UAB has one of the fastest growing epilepsy surgery programs in the country, and the only magnetoencephalography (MEG) laboratory in the Southeast. The UAB Epilepsy Center also supports a portable EEG monitoring service which has grown 7 fold in volume over the past year, and currently has 22 portable EEG units available.

Epilepsy Surgery Specifics
UAB has one of the busiest Epilepsy Surgery programs in the country, with separate specialty physicians and support staff for both adult and pediatric epilepsy. The adult epilepsy surgery program is based at the UAB Hospital, and the pediatric epilepsy surgery program is located at the COA. As the only epilepsy surgery program in the state, UAB is experiencing rapid growth in the number of epilepsy surgeries performed each year. In 2014, the adult epilepsy surgery program performed 41 surgeries with a goal of 50 surgeries by the end of 2015. All types of epilepsy surgery are performed including standard temporal lobectomies, grid placements, depth electrode implantations, stereo EEG, etc. There is significant evidence to support the possibility of the team performing up to 100 epilepsy surgeries per year in the near term. Patient demand is significant and necessitates the need for an additional Epileptologist to assist with the pre and post-surgical patient load.

Stroke Care
UAB has been named a Comprehensive Stroke Center by the Joint Commission and the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association. UAB met the Joint Commission’s standards for Disease-Specific Care Comprehensive Stroke Center Certification. The designation means UAB is part of an elite group of providers recognized as industry leaders and responsible for setting the national agenda in highly specialized stroke care.

UAB, which is the first hospital with Comprehensive Stroke Center certification in Alabama, has eight expert stroke physicians and the most board-certified vascular neurologists in the state, along with 350 nurses specially trained in stroke care. UAB’s Neurosciences Intensive Care Unit is one of the largest in the United States, and UAB Hospital also boasts a dedicated stroke unit. UAB treats over 1,100 strokes a year.

Neurological Research Centers/Programs:

  • Alzheimer’s Disease Center: Established by Dr. Lindy Harrell in 1991, the center has developed into an interdisciplinary research and clinical program devoted to learning about Alzheimer’s disease from a basic biology to clinical response to promising pharmaceutical treatments. Under the guidance of Dr. Daniel Marson, the Center is at the forefront of basic and clinical studies into the diagnosis and treatment of Alzheimer’s disease. The Center’s faculty researchers are conducting state-of-the-art basic science, cognitive, brain imaging and clinical studies to identify the causes and search for better treatments of Alzheimer’s disease in collaboration with researchers throughout the world.
  • Bachman-Strauss Dystonia and Parkinson’s Disease Program of Excellence: Directed by Dr. David Standaert, the mission of the program is to integrate the elements of research and clinical care for patients with Dystonia and Parkinson disease; included in this is community outreach, coordination of care, and facilitation of access to multidisciplinary treatment including movement disorder specialists, physical, occupational and speech therapy, botulinum toxin treatment, neurosurgical treatment, and genetic counseling. Furthermore, the program enhances the access of patients to clinical trials in dystonia and Parkinson disease. The program also facilitates the interactions between clinicians, basic scientists, and members of the community, and promotes cross-culture efforts to translate new discoveries while training the next generation of dystonia and Parkinson disease clinicians and scientists through support of clinical and basic/translational fellowships. UAB joins Beth Israel Hospital, University of California San Francisco and the University of Florida as one of these named programs.
  • UAB Cannabidiol Program: The UAB Epilepsy Center at the University of Alabama at Birmingham will be conducting a study of cannabidiol, or CBD, in children and adults with severe seizure disorders that are not controlled by existing treatments. CBD is a plant-based supplement derived from the cannabis plant. It is a light, oily liquid that will be delivered orally.


Children’s Of Alabama

The US News & World Report nationally ranked Children’s of Alabama completed a $400 million, 12-story, 760,000 square foot expansion project with the addition of the Benjamin Russell Hospital for Children in August 2012. 

Identified in a 1940s newspaper article as “The Place Where Miracles Happen,” Children’s of Alabama has played a critical part in allowing Alabama children to live happy, healthy lives for more than a century. Holy Innocents Hospital for Children, as Children’s was then known, originally operated under the auspices of the Episcopal Church of Alabama. It was founded in 1911 when Rev. Carl Henckell, pastor of All Saints Church of Birmingham, sought a solution to the growing need in his community for quality health care for children, especially those from poor families. Henckell joined Rev. Raimundo de Ovies, rector of St. Andrews Church, and Dr. James E. Dedman, health officer of the City of Birmingham, in founding the organization. The hospital, providing free medical care for all children, opened its doors in 1912 in the All Saints’ small parish house on Birmingham’s Southside.

The growth over the past century of what began as Holy Innocents’ Hospital on Birmingham’s Southside to become one of the nation’s 10 busiest pediatric hospitals in the nation—including Alabama’s only pediatric trauma center and the only pediatric burn center in the Southeast—is only a prelude to the medical accomplishments that lie ahead for Children’s during the next 100 years and beyond. Passion, love, hope—all words that have guided the way for Children’s staff and its legion of volunteers since its founding—continue to make a difference in the lives of children in Alabama. Ahead are new discoveries and new medical advances that will create a new era of medical care for the children of Alabama.

Children’s of Alabama has provided specialized medical care for ill and injured children across the state and throughout the southeastern U.S. since 1911. For the past four years, Children’s has been ranked among the best children’s hospital programs in the nation by US News & World Report. Last year, patients made more than 670,000 outpatient and nearly 14,000 inpatient visits and more than 21,000 surgical visits to Children’s from every county in Alabama and from 45 other states and 10 foreign countries. With more than 2 million square feet, it is the third largest pediatric medical facility in the U.S. Children’s offers inpatient and outpatient services across its Russell Campus on Birmingham’s historic Southside with additional outpatient services provided at Children’s South and Children’s on 3rd. Primary care is provided at more than a dozen medical offices in communities across central Alabama. Children’s of Alabama is the only medical center in Alabama dedicated solely to the care and treatment of children. It is a private, not-for-profit medical center that serves as the primary site of the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) pediatric medicine, surgery, research and residency programs. In 2012, Children’s moved much of its inpatient services into a new building named The Benjamin Russell Hospital for Children.

2014-2015 US News & World Report Rankings
Children’s of Alabama is ranked in the Top 10 Pediatric Medical Centers (measured by bed count) due to the increase to 380 beds from 275 beds with the recent expansion. The 380 beds include 48 neonatal bassinets. COA is also nationally ranked in eight (8) pediatric specialties, including:

  • Cancer – #47
  • Cardiology & Heart Surgery – #43
  • Diabetes & Endocrinology – #32
  • Gastroenterology & GI Surgery – #33
  • Neonatology – #50
  • Nephrology – #26
  • Neurology & Neurosurgery – #34
  • Pulmonology – #34


The Alabama Center for Childhood Cancer and Blood Disorders
The Alabama Center for Childhood Cancer and Blood Disorders is a partnership of local, national and international centers of excellence that provides care of treatment for 90 percent of the pediatric hematology-oncology patients in the state. Each year, about 150 Alabama children are diagnosed with cancer and approximately 2,000 patients receive care from ACCCBD each year.

Pediatric Blood and Marrow Transplantation Program
The Blood and Marrow Transplantation Program at Children’s of Alabama – the state’s only dedicated pediatric bone marrow transplant facility – specializes in therapies to treat leukemia and other forms of cancer, rare genetic conditions, immune deficiencies, bone marrow failure syndromes and sickle cell disease. Single and tandem autologous transplants are performed for certain malignant conditions, including brain tumors. Allogeneic transplants using marrow, peripheral blood stem cells or cord blood from related or unrelated donors are performed for malignant and non-malignant disorders.

Three full-time pediatric physicians are part of a highly experienced multidisciplinary team that transplants 20-30 children each year, having performed more than 330 transplantations in the program’s 13-year history. Support services include an on-site pharmacy, pediatric life services, an occupational/physical therapy team, neuropsychology services, social work support, nutritionists, pastoral care and a certified teacher. The transplant unit consists of eight private inpatient and four outpatient rooms and is HEPA-filtered and self-contained, helping to maintain family integrity.

Children’s Center for Weight Management
Children’s Center for Weight Management is a comprehensive center designed to address the needs of one of Alabama’s most common health issues for children and adolescents, childhood obesity. Although many children and adolescents who are overweight are not physically ill, being overweight puts them at risk for more serious long term health issues, such as diabetes and high blood pressure, as well as psychosocial difficulties (e.g. peer teasing, depression). The Children’s Center for Weight Management can assist children who are overweight and their families establish healthy habits to achieve their overall goals through a variety of services.

University of Alabama, Birmingham 

From its origins as a fledgling medical complex and modest “extension center” of the University of Alabama in the mid-20th century, UAB has evolved into one of the most dynamic and productive universities of the 21st century. In four short decades since becoming an autonomous campus in 1969, the institution has risen to global renown for its intensely collaborative research and patient care, novel academic programs, and robust culture of innovation.

Ray L. Watts, MD
President, UAB 

Central to UAB’s ascent has been the longtime partnership with the community to drive the economic and cultural renaissance of Birmingham, which is now a thriving nexus for research, health care and technology transfer. Once known as the “Magic City” for its booming steel trade, the Birmingham metro area and UAB have now built a boomtown of a different sort, working a different kind of magic, and successfully mining a resource much more precious in the 21st century: The intellectual capital to keep Alabama and the U.S. competitive in today’s global, knowledge economy.

In an effort to make even greater advances in the five pillars of our mission–Education, Research, Patient Care, Service and Economic Development–UAB is currently engaged in the most comprehensive strategic planning process in its history. The Plan establishes top strategic priorities and builds around areas of excellence so that its greatest strengths will be effectively harnessed for the greater good, at home and around the globe.

UAB School of Medicine 

The School of Medicine has approximately 750 students, 900 residents and 1,300 full-time faculty in 25 academic departments. It is the home of The Kirklin Clinic, a multi-disciplinary medical home and the University Hospital, which is one of the largest academic hospitals in the country. The SOM faculty also serve at the new Children’s of Alabama hospital. The School of Medicine is centralized in a large university complex that spans more than 80 city blocks, with much of that space dedicated to clinical facilities, research laboratories, classrooms, and surgical suites. The program also extends to regional campuses in Huntsville, Montgomery and Tuscaloosa to expand its academic reach and responsibilities, helping educate physicians in rural and underserved areas of the state.

Selwyn M. Vickers, MD
Senior Vice President of Medicine
Dean, UAB School of Medicine  

The school was established as the Medical College of Alabama in 1945 and renamed as the University Of Alabama School Of Medicine in 1969. The regional campuses at Tuscaloosa and Huntsville were established in 1972, and the Huntsville campus joined UAB in 1995. The Montgomery regional campus was established in 2012 with classes beginning in 2014, and the Montgomery Internal Medicine Residency program has been affiliated with the school since 1978. The Selma Family Medicine Residency program was established in 1977. In total, the various UAB campuses have trained 2,126 physicians in the last 10 years.


  • Ranked 17th in the nation for Primary Care by U.S. News & World Report
  • Ranked 37th in the nation for Research by U.S. News & World Report
  • Ranked as the Top Hospital in Alabama by U.S. New & World Report
  • “America’s Best Hospitals” – Nine UAB Hospital medical specialties are among the nation’s top 50 in the 16 categories evaluated at U.S. hospitals by U.S. News & World Report.
  • “Best Doctors in America” – The 2013 list recognizes 323 UAB physicians in 65 specialties who are among the top 5 percent of clinicians in the United States, as voted by their peers.
  • “Best Graduate Schools” – U.S. News & World Report ranked 11 programs in the top 25, five in the top 10 in 2013.
  • “Best Places to Work as a Postdoc” – The Scientist ranked UAB No. 1 among all public universities and No. 8 among all institutions in 2013.
  • Research Funding – Ranked No. 21 nationally in funding from the National Institutes of Health and No. 31 in total federal research funding with expenditures of $454 million for FY 2012.


UAB study identifies pathway that may cause seizures and shorten survival for patients with severe brain tumors:
Researchers at UAB have identified a chemical pathway that may be associated with seizures and shorter patient survival in some patients with malignant glioma, the most common and deadly form of brain tumor. In findings published May 27 in Science Translational Medicine, the researchers suggest that a transporter known as SXC is responsible for boosting levels of glutamate in the brains of some glioma patients.

UAB Center for AIDS Research: Ranked 10th Nationally for AIDS Research by U.S. News & World Report
UAB is one of the seven inaugural NIH-designated Centers for AIDS Research established in 1988 and a world leader in HIV/AIDS research and patient care. UAB has been among the first to make the newest, most effective treatments available to patients, including the three-drug combination that today is the standard of care. From the field, a UAB-led team discovered the simian virus linked to all major HIV-1 variants and traced the exact route of HIV’s spread to humans. U.S. News & World Report ranks the AIDS program No. 8 among “America’s Best Graduate Schools,” and the journal Science recently highlighted Birmingham and UAB’s 1917 Clinic among 10 cities nationally excelling in efforts to combat the disease.

Birmingham, Alabama



The astonishing pace of Birmingham’s growth during the period from 1881 through 1920, earned the city its nicknames “The Magic City” and “The Pittsburgh of the South.” Today, Birmingham ranks as one of the most important business and banking centers in the Southeastern U.S. Birmingham is the cultural and entertainment capital of Alabama with its numerous art galleries in the area. Birmingham is also home to the state’s Alabama Ballet, Alabama Symphony Orchestra, Birmingham Ballet, Birmingham Concert Chorale, and Opera Birmingham. Birmingham hosts numerous cultural festivals showcasing music, films, and regional heritage such as the Sidewalk Moving Picture Festival which brings filmmakers from all over the world to Birmingham to have their films viewed and judged.


Culinary Culture
Birmingham chefs Frank Stitt, Chris Hastings and Chris Dupont have helped put Birmingham on the culinary map. From fine dining to local dives, Birmingham has a plethora of restaurants to choose from. Frank Stitt III is the owner and executive chef of Highlands Bar and Grill, Bottega Restaurant, and Chez Fon Fon in Birmingham, Alabama. He was inducted into the James Beard Foundation’s “Who’s Who of Food and Beverage” in 2011. He was also named the “Best Chef in the Southeast” in 2001, and was a 2008 finalist for the national “Outstanding Chef” award. He has also been recognized with a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Southern Foodways Alliance for his elevation of Southern cuisine and his early advocacy of locally-grown food.

Living in Birmingham
With a cost of living below the national average, Forbes has ranked the Birmingham metro as “America’s Most Affordable City” for 2015. Birmingham is primarily recognized for its affordable housing. During the fourth quarter of 2014, the median sales price for a home was $130,000. Also highlighted in by Forbes is the city’s quality of life, its medical research industry and the number of large companies setting up plants nearby – some 70 foreign countries, including Mercedes Benz and Honda, have facilities in and around Birmingham.



Birmingham’s Industry & Economy
As the largest city in Alabama, more than 3,000 new jobs and $370 million in capital investment announced in 2014, the Birmingham region is realizing its potential as a powerhouse in Alabama and the Southeast. In fact, Birmingham’s 3.8% GDP growth from 2011 to 2012 outpaced not only Alabama’s other metros, but also the nation, which averaged growth of 2.5%. Boasting an excellent transportation infrastructure; low cost of living and doing business; unprecedented collaboration and support among local business leaders; a world-class research institution at the University of Alabama at Birmingham; a thriving technology and innovation ecosystem; and a 21st century workforce, the economic development climate in Birmingham has been the recent focus of media across the country. Forbes Magazine recently ranked the Birmingham metro area 6th among large cities experiencing a manufacturing boom, resulting in a growth in employment over recent years. Other recent Birmingham accolades include:

  • “Silicon Valley of the Southeast” by Network World
  • “1 of 15 Up and Coming Downtowns” by Forbes
  • “Hotspot for Digital Crime Fighting” by TechRepublic
  • “Top 30 Best Cities for Young Entrepreneurs” by Under30CEO



With a 2014 Annual Average Employment of 42,300 in the Financial Activities sector, metropolitan Birmingham is a major exporter of banking and insurance processing services. According to Bankography, Birmingham ranks 9th in the nation for bank assets with nearly $200 billion assets. In addition to being the corporate headquarters for Regions Financial Corporation and BBVA Compass, the metropolitan area serves as the regional operations for Fortune 500 financial services companies, including State Farm and Allstate. Birmingham also serves as one of four regional processing centers for the U.S. Social Security Administration and the headquarters for Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Alabama.

Birmingham serves as the location of:

  • 35 major business processing centers, with more than half specializing in finance and insurance processing
  • The corporate headquarters for Regions Financial Corporation, BBVA Compass, Infinity Property & Casualty Corporation, Pro Assurance Corporation, Protective Life Corporation and Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Alabama
  • A top-10 U.S. banking center with nearly $200 billion in assets
  • More than $530 million in data center development over the past five years, creating more than 200 jobs
  • More than a dozen new or expanding back-office operations since 2011, creating more than 2,300 jobs with $40 million in capital investment


Ease of Travel
Birmingham-Shuttlesworth International Airport (BHM) is Alabama’s largest airport serving the Greater Birmingham area and surrounding Southeastern cities. Offering more than 100 daily flights to over 25 cities throughout the United States. Top destination include Orlando, Las Vegas, Baltimore, New York, and Tampa.

Birmingham’s Recreational Opportunities:

  • Beach/Ocean: Birmingham is within a half days drive of the beaches of Gulf Shores.
  • Biking: Oak Mountain State Park’s red trail, a 17-mile loop, attracts mountain bikers not only from the Birmingham area but from as far away as Florida and Louisiana. Designed and built by the Birmingham Urban Mountain Pedalers (BUMP), the trail opened in 1993 and is a combination of single track and an old two-lane fire road. The loop has several access points to park and start the bike trail.
  • Fishing: Sitting smack dab in the middle of the best fishing the South has to offer is Birmingham, the hottest fishing destination in the South. Whether your love is hard-fighting largemouth and spotted bass, monstrous gear-destroying striped bass or just the solitude of fly-fishing for rainbow trout in gently tumbling waters, it can all be found in the Birmingham area. The area boasts several lakes and reservoirs of which to choose from.
  • Golf: Birmingham’s weather is generously comfortable, which is one smart reason golfers come here from around the world. The other reason is the lure of handsome and challenging public golf courses. With the development of the state’s Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail, Alabama became the Godfather of Great Golf. Birmingham has two of the eleven courses along the trail, one of which is the third longest course in the world.
  • Nature: With thousands of acres of national park and forest, Birmingham is within close proximity to five (5) national parks/wilderness areas. This offers ample opportunity for hiking, biking, camping, fishing, and horseback riding.
  • Sports: In professional sports, the Class AA Birmingham Barons have one of the proudest traditions in baseball. The team plays at Regions Field, one of the premier stadiums in minor league baseball. College football dominates sports in Birmingham. UAB (The University of Alabama at Birmingham), which fields a major college basketball and baseball team, also has a Division IA football program. The team plays at Legion Field. College athletics also play an important role on the campuses of Birmingham-Southern College, Samford University, and Miles College. Birmingham also hosts a number of sports museums including the Alabama Sports Hall of Fame, the Barber Vintage Motorsports Museum, and the International Motorsports Hall of Fame.

How to apply

In an overall effort to identify the best potential candidates, UAB and Children’s of Alabama have retained the services of Academic Med. If you have interest or questions please contact Gentry Zacheis, the search consultant overseeing this recruitment, via phone (214.396.5124) or email (