In the midst of all this interconnected activity, fellows are always encouraged to participate and present about their own scholarly activities. Matthew B. Mullen, MD, currently a second-year fellow, can attest to the inclusiveness of senior faculty. In fact, that was one of the deciding factors for his choice to train at UAB. He had interviewed at seven other programs. “What really cemented [my decision] was that all the faculty members, who are nationally respected experts in the top of their field, were extremely approachable.”
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Explore This IssueJune 2016
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All new fellows are invited to the Lowe Conference, an annual fall retreat started by Dr. Holley and now in its 61st year, held at a lodge in Nauvoo, Ala. There, trainees meet former fellows and become acquainted with the division’s history. At such events, Dr. Mullen notes, “You realize that you are part of something bigger.”
Among his other projects, Dr. Mullen is currently collaborating with Dr. Chatham and Dr. Martin Trojanowski on assembling a retrospective cohort of cases of macrophage activation syndrome in adult inpatients to compare survival rates, laboratory parameters and treatments.
Dr. Saag is director of the Center for Education & Research on Therapeutics of Musculoskeletal Disorders (CERTS) and the Center for Outcomes Effectiveness Research and Education (COERE). The latter is funded by AHRQ. Dr. Saag notes that these endeavors have blossomed through collaborations with other UAB divisions, such as the School of Public Health, and outside groups in managed care and the private sector.
Dr. Saag also co-directs, with Dr. Bridges, the UAB Center of Research Translation (CORT), which is focusing on gout in the predisposing state of hyperuricemia, a disease state that has particular relevance to the African American population in the Southeast. With funding from NIAMS, three projects at the Center are focused on the theme, Gout and Hyperuricemia: From Bench to Bedside to Backyard. “We are situated in an area of the country with a minority population,” says Dr. Bridges. “Minority health disparities and health research are very important to us.”
The division also holds a NIAMS-funded Multidisciplinary Clinical Research Center grant (led by Drs. Bridges and Saag) and a NIAMS-funded Rheumatic Diseases Core Center (led by Dr. John Mountz).
Graciela S. Alarcón, MD, MPH, emeritus professor of medicine, UAB School of Medicine, arrived in 1980, accompanying her husband who had joined the UAB Department of Psychiatry. She had trained and served as a rheumatology faculty member at the Universidad Peruana Cayetano Heredia in her native Peru and had already completed a clinical fellowship at Johns Hopkins. Dr. Bennett, then division director, invited her to stay as a research fellow.