Child Neurologist, Children's of Alabama

Position:
General Child Neurologist
Specialty:
Neurology - Pediatric, Pediatrics - Neurology
Location:
Birmingham, AL

Position Specifics
The Department of Pediatrics at the University of Alabama Birmingham (UAB) School of Medicine is actively recruiting a general child neurologist to join the rapidly expanding Division of Child Neurology. The incoming child neurologist will treat patients at the new, state-of-the-art Children’s of Alabama, which is now the 3rd largest children’s hospital in the country due to the $400 million facilities expansion that took place in 2012. Ranked among the best children’s hospitals in the nation for the fifth straight year in a row by US News & World Report, Children’s of Alabama is the only tertiary referral center, the only level one trauma center, and the only medical center in the state dedicated solely to the care and treatment of children. As the only medical center in the state dedicated solely to the care and treatment of children, Children’s of Alabama is the destination for some of the most complex and acute child neurology cases in the country. 

Child Neurology Faculty

Leon S Dure, MD

Division Director, Pediatric Neurology

Monisha Goyal, MD

Director, Clinical Neurophysiology & Pediatric Epilepsy

Pongkiat Kankirawatana, MD

Medical Director, Pediatric Epilepsy Surgical Program

Pierre Fequiere, MD

Assistant Professor, Pediatric Neurology

Alyssa Reddy, MD

Director, Pediatric Neuro-Oncology

Katherine Hammond, MD

Assistant Professor, Pediatric Neurology

Tony McGrath, MD

Associate Professor, Pediatric Neurology

Jan Mathisen, MD

Clinical Professor, Pediatric Neurology

Jayne M Ness, MD, PhD

Director, Center for Pediatric Onset Demyelinating Disease Clinic

Alan Percy, MD

Professor, Pediatrics, Neurology, Neurobiology, Genetics, Psychology

Rani Singh, MD

Assistant Professor, Pediatric Neurology

The incoming child neurologist will join a nationally ranked Division of Child Neurology that is comprised of 11 pediatric neurologists with expertise in all aspects of pediatric neurology, including neuro-oncology and epilepsy. The incoming child neurologist will enjoy a clinical schedule that provides great flexibility for one to focus on specific areas of interest and expertise aside from general neurology. The incoming child neurologist should expect a clinical schedule of only 4 half day clinics per week (2 full days), and about 6-8 weeks of inpatient service per year. Thus, providing great flexibility for candidates with a particular research interest or area of subspecialty expertise to devote the rest of their time in other areas that provide complement to the division’s clinical and academic expansion. Fellowship training is not required, but candidates with interest in areas such as movement disorders, neuromuscular diseases, clinical neurophysiology, neurodevelopmental, neuroscience research are encouraged to apply. There will be an opportunity for clinical research and protected time for translational and/or basic science research based on each candidate’s individual qualifications.

Leadership Opportunities for Qualified Candidates
Leadership opportunities exist within the division and the health system for candidates that have interest in an administrative role. For example, there are areas available for an individual to develop certain clinics and to administer these clinics once they’ve been established. The administrative duties could include strategic initiatives such as Quality Improvement, development of a new service line, process standardization, Director of Outpatient Clinics, etc.

Qualifying Requirements
Qualified candidates must be board eligible/certified child neurologists that are qualified for a medical license and certification in the state of Alabama. Fellowship is not a requirement, but candidates with subspecialty interests such as movement disorder, neurodevelopmental, epilepsy, neuromuscular, etc. are encouraged to apply. The position will include a primary faculty appointment with the UAB Department of Pediatrics and a secondary appointment with the Department of Neurology. Candidates with visa needs (J1 or H1B) are encouraged to apply.

UAB Division of Child Neurology
Dr. Leon Dure is the nationally renowned Director of the Division of Child Neurology at UAB. Since 2003, Dr. Dure has overseen the exciting expansion of the program’s facilities, clinical volume, size of faculty, and national prominence. The Neurology program is consistently ranked by US News & World Report as one of the Top 30 Neurology & Neurosurgery Programs in the United States, achieving the highest national rank of all specialties within the Children’s of Alabama organization. The UAB division of child neurology is comprised of 11 FTE attending physicians, including experts in Rhett Syndrome, pediatric epilepsy, and neuro-oncology, to name a few.

Clinical Overview
Pediatric Neurology provides inpatient consultative services at both the Children’s of Alabama and UAB Hospital. In addition, the service administers and directs an 8 bed inpatient Epilepsy Monitoring Unit which provides 24×7 care. Patient diagnoses covers a range of problems including seizure disorders, neurodegenerative diseases, primary muscle diseases, developmental problems and acute encephalopathies, to name a few.

The division provides ambulatory services through general pediatric neurology clinics at Children’s Hospital and sleep clinics.

UAB Child Neurology – Related Programs and Centers
Pediatric Neurology has a number of subspecialty related programs and centers, including:

  • UAB Tuberous Sclerosis Clinic
  • Rett Syndrome Clinic
  • Pediatric Tourette’s Syndrome Clinic
  • Psychomotor Disorders Clinic
  • Children’s Rehabilitation Services (CRS)
  • Neuro-Oncology Clinic
  • Ketogenic Diet Clinic
  • General Neurology Clinic
  • Muscular Dystrophy Association (MDA) Clinic
  • Center for the Pediatric Onset Demyelinating Diseases (CPODD)

*One of six Pediatric MS Centers of Excellence nationwide established by the National Multiple Sclerosis Society

Child Neurology Fellowship
The University of Alabama at Birmingham Child Neurology fellowship is a five year program that is enfolded with the Pediatric Residency Program. Child Neurology adds 1 fellow per year, with a full pipeline of new fellows through the next four years.

Child Neurology Research Overview
An expanding research program is investigating basic and clinical problems related to epilepsy, child development, genetics and biochemical diseases. There is a Departmental Research Coordinator that does IRB’s, protocol reviews, etc.

Research – Civitan International Research Center (CIRC)
The Civitan International Research Center is an interdisciplinary center dedicated to improving lives through neurodevelopmental research and the prevention and treatment of developmental disabilities. Established in 1990, the CIRC now includes over 80 scientists, clinicians and research staff from around the globe. Dr. Harald Sontheimer, Professor of Neurobiology, is the current Director and is joined by Pediatric Neurologist Dr. Alan Percy as Medical Director. Research and clinical activities include autism spectrum disorders, schizophrenia, multiple sclerosis, constraint therapy, Rett syndrome, Alexander’s Disease, Alzheimer’s Disease among others.

The CIRC is home to the Center for Glial Biology in Medicine, the Kennedy Shriver Intellectual Developmental Disabilities Research Center, the Center for Neurodegeneration and Experimental Therapeutics, the Rare Disease Clinical Research Center and the Epilepsy Center.

In approaching the clinical research aspects of the Civitan portfolio, emphasis is being placed in several areas, particularly in relation to our thematic strategy on autism and autism spectrum disorders. In addition to expansion of clinical research in autism including our fMRI initiative we are engaged in a large natural history study of Rett Syndrome together with other investigators in the Angelman/Prader-Willi/Rett Syndromes consortium. The pediatric motorneuron clinic for children with hemiparesis continues to enroll participants.

The importance of translational research – moving novel research ideas to the clinic – has prompted us to expand the membership of Civitan International Research Center Investigators to include clinical and basic researchers from across the UAB campus. This membership allows scientists and clinical faculty many unique opportunities for collaborative research projects and educational opportunities for their students.

Research – CIRC Participates in Rare Disease Network Expansion
The UAB Civitan International Research Center (CIRC) will continue to be a major contributor to new research on treatments and causes of rare diseases which affect children. As one of 22 consortia working with 98 patient advocacy groups, physician scientists at UAB, including CIRC Medical Director Dr. Alan K. Percy, will play a key role in translating new research to benefit children and families challenged by devastating disorders such as Rett syndrome. NIH has provided $29-million in 2014 to expand the Rare Disease Clinical Research Network.

UAB is involved with clinical research in two different projects. The first deals with three disorders of the nervous system: Rett syndrome, MECP2 duplication disorder and RTT-related disorders, under the direction of Alan Percy, M.D., CIRC Medical Director. These conditions strike previously healthy-seeming children — usually girls for RTT and boys for MECP2 duplication disorder — early in their lives and can lead to seizures, difficulty with fine motor control and walking, and intellectual disability. This project, which has been funded by NIH since 2003, is preparing to launch clinical trials in the coming months.

In the second project, UAB will be part of a 10-member group of medical centers headed by Boston Children’s Hospital in studying three rare genetic syndromes, tuberous sclerosis complex, Phelan-McDermid syndrome and PTEN hamartoma tumor syndrome, which often cause autism spectrum disorder and intellectual disability. Martina Bebin, M.D., professor of neurology, is the lead investigator at UAB for the $6 million, five-year study. The ultimate goal is to launch clinical trials of new treatments and develop biomarkers that can be used to monitor treatment effectiveness for the three rare syndromes, and possibly for broader groups of ASD/ID patients.

The Rare Diseases Clinical Research Network’s efforts take the form of a natural history study with three major goals: identify and understand the core clinical features of each disorder, identify factors that can modify the severity of the disorders, and understand the relationship between patients’ symptoms and their brain imaging and electroencephalography alterations.

Research – Center for Neurodegeneration and Experimental Therapeutics (CNET)
Established February 2, 2007, CNET promotes the discovery of novel treatments for neurodegenerative disorders, teaches scientists and clinicians about these diseases, and facilitates the application of these discoveries to clinical care of patients.

These neurodegenerative disorders include Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, Huntington’s disease, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS, known as Lou Gehrig’s disease), and other less common neurodegenerative disorders that occur more frequently with advancing age. A common feature of these diseases is that in each there is selective premature death and malfunction of neurons in specific parts of the brain, which gives rise to the characteristic symptoms. At present there are treatments which can provide some temporary improvement of the symptoms of these diseases, but there are no treatments which can substantially slow the underlying brain degeneration.

Research – CNET Discoveries
Recent discoveries have provided important clues to the causes of neurodegenerative disorders, and have revealed that these diseases, which are distinct in their symptoms, in fact share many common mechanisms. The primary goal of UAB CNET is to accelerate the translational process, and move basic scientific discoveries from the laboratory to clinical use as rapidly and safely as possible, through an integrated, multi-disciplinary approach involving basic scientists, clinical scientists and a variety of supporting disciplines.

Research – Cannabidiol or CBD Oil – Research at UAB
On April 1, 2014 Robert Bentley, the Governor of Alabama, signed into law a bill authorizing the limited use of cannabidiol or CBD oil in children suffering from seizures and epilepsy where prescription medications have failed. The law, has been named ‘Carly’s Law’, after 3 year old Carly Chandler of Birmingham, who has been diagnosed with a rare genetic disease known as CDKL5 that affects approximately 700 people worldwide and only 200 in the United States. Lennox-Gastaut Syndrome and many of medically challenging forms of epilepsy have been identified as being potentially applicable to the study.

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. UAB Child Neurologists (pediatric epileptologists) will be directly involved in the study which is at the early stages of launch. Proposals have been made to the UAB Institutional Review Board and subsequently to the FDA for an open access program for refractory epilepsy. We expect to begin recruiting for refractory epilepsy patients relative to the application of CBD oil by 2015

Department of Pediatrics
The Department of Pediatrics, led by new Chairman, Dr. Mitch Cohen (formerly of the Cincinnati Children’s Hospital) provides a diverse and extensive spectrum of medical expertise from primary care to subspecialty services. There are more than 170 faculty members and 16 subspecialty divisions within the Department. The newly completed expansion facility, the Russell Pediatric Hospital, has allowed for the expansion of a number of programs including a Pediatric Transplant Program, a new state of the art Epilepsy Monitoring Unit, and a Pediatric Cardiovascular Center, to name a few. The Pediatric Emergency Medicine program is the 2nd largest in the country, with more than 65,000 admissions per year.

Since 1968, the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) School of Medicine and Children’s of Alabama have had an affiliation agreement that established Children’s as the primary site for all pediatric educational programs and patient care activities. The successful partnership between UAB and the Children’s organization has led to enormous growth within the Department of Pediatrics over the past decade.


Chair of Pediatrics
Mitch Cohen, MD

New Chair of Pediatrics 
Effective September 1st, Dr. Mitch Cohen was recruited to become the Chair of the Department of Pediatrics at UAB/Children’s of Alabama. Dr. Cohen comes to UAB from the Cincinnati Children’s Hospital where he was the Vice Chair of Clinical Affairs. His goal is to push the academic element of the organization by focusing on the research and educational aspects of the department.


Children's of Alabama

Children’s of Alabama
In August 2012, the Children’s of Alabama completed a 12-story, 760,000 square foot, $400 million expansion project with the addition of the Benjamin Russell Hospital for Children. The construction project marked the largest single medical facility expansion in Alabama state history, and the state’s first LEED-certified health care facility. Collectively, Children’s of Alabama has more than 2 million square feet which makes it the 3rd largest pediatric medical center in the United States (measured by square feet). Children’s of Alabama is also ranked in the Top 10 Pediatric Medical Centers (measured by bed count) due to the increase to 380 beds from 275 beds. The 380 beds include 48 neonatal bassinets.

Children’s of Alabama is a private, not-for-profit hospital that serves as the primary site for pediatric clinical and educational programs for the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) School of Medicine. In 2012, Children’s served more than 670,000 outpatient visits, 52,000 emergency department visits, and performed more than 21,000 surgeries. As the only hospital in Alabama dedicated solely to children, Children’s of Alabama serves patients from every county in the state, 41 other states and 4 foreign countries.

For the fifth consecutive year, Children’s of Alabama is nationally ranked as one of the nation’s best children’s hospitals by US News & World Report. Additionally, six of Children’s of Alabama’s pediatric specialty services are ranked among the top 50 in the 2014-2015 US News & World Report, with the Neurology and Neurosurgery programs ranking the highest amongst all of the hospital’s services.

UAB School of Medicine
The UAB School of Medicine is a nationally ranked and world-class setting where cutting edge research meets boundless collaboration to produce one of the most unique medical educations in the country. The UAB School of Medicine was established over 60 years ago and has a long tradition of interdisciplinary research, which has played a large part in enabling UAB to consistently rank among the leading recipients of the NIH funding. Total research funding exceeds $450 million annually; $250 million in NIH funds can be attributed to the School of Medicine alone. UAB ranks 27th among academic institutions in federal research funding and 20th in funding from NIH.

In the past few years, the School of Medicine has added more than half a million square feet of space for clinical facilities, research laboratories, classrooms, surgical suites, and administrative space. The medical center, now at 1,100 beds, is also undergoing substantial upgrades including new OR suites, ICU’s, catheterization/imaging/interventional suites and an ER department covering almost a full square block. A recently completed expansion project is the 430,000 square feet Women’s and Infant Center and Hazelrig-Salter Radiation Oncology Center. In late 2012, UAB celebrated the grand opening of the Alabama Children’s Hospital occupying more than 700,000 square feet. Together with existing facilities, the net square footage at the UAB School of Medicine exceeds 12 million square feet and 90 city blocks.

Birmingham, AL 
The rolling countryside of the greater Birmingham area provides a beautiful metropolitan city with an excellent quality of life. Birmingham is the largest city in Alabama with a population of approximately 1.3 million people. It is a culturally diverse city that ranks as one of the most important business centers in the Southeastern United States. The Birmingham metropolitan area has consistently been rated as one of America’s best places to work and earn a living based on the area’s competitive salary rates and relatively low living expenses. Birmingham is perfectly suited to young families with superior public and private schools and a low cost of living. It is one of the few places in the United States where a 4 hour drive affords one the access to mountains, beaches or a major metropolitan area.

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 Physician Recruiters. Please contact Gentry Zacheis, the Academic Neurology Recruiter overseeing this search via phone (214.396.5124) or email (gentry@academic-med.com) if you have questions or interest.