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UAB’s Dr. Selwyn Vickers joins Ivey’s Coronavirus Task Force Executive Committee

Wednesday, Alabama Governor Kay Ivey (R) announced that Dr. Selwyn Vickers has agreed to join Governor Ivey’s Executive Committee of the Coronavirus Task Force.

The Governor’s Executive Committee is tasked with finding the right balance between economic health and physical health as we continue to battle the COVID-19 pandemic.

“I’m so grateful that Dr. Vickers has agreed to join this small, but dedicated, group of key leaders,” Gov. Ivey said. “This group will bring forward some balanced recommendations as we begin work toward reopening our businesses and reenergizing our economy.”

Dr. Vickers was born in Demopolis in Marengo County. He is a world-renowned surgeon and researcher and is one of our nation’s most respected voices in health disparities.

Selwyn M. Vickers, M.D., became senior vice president for Medicine and dean of the School of Medicine at UAB on Oct. 15, 2013. Dr. Vickers is a member of the Institute of Medicine who has done research into pancreatic as well as in health disparities.

As dean, Dr. Vickers leads the medical school’s main campus in Birmingham and the regional campuses in Montgomery, Huntsville and Tuscaloosa. He also is part of UAB Medicine’s joint operational leadership (JOL) team with UAB Health System Chief Executive Officer Will Ferniany, Ph.D., and James Bonner, M.D., president of the University of Alabama Health Services Foundation, the School of Medicine faculty-physician practice group. The JOL steers operations and finances for all UAB Hospital and ambulatory medical services, including The Kirklin Clinic of UAB Hospital and the UAB Callahan Eye Hospital.

Dr. Vickers continues to see patients and conduct research. His major research interests include gene therapy as an application in the treatment of pancreatobiliary tumors, the role of growth factors and receptors in the oncogenesis of pancreatic cancer, the implications of FAS expressions and Tamoxifen in the growth and treatment of cholangiocarcinoma, assessment of clinical outcomes in the surgical treatment of pancreatobiliary tumors and the role of death receptors in the treatment of pancreatic cancer.

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Dr. Vickers, while at the University of Minnesota, was instrumental in the development of an injectable cancer drug, Minnelide, which entered phase 1 testing in September 2013. Dr. Vickers has a financial interest in the pharmaceutical company licensed to develop the drug, Minneamrita Therapeutics LLC.

Dr. Vickers attended medical school at Johns Hopkins University, where he also did his graduate work and his residency.

The people of the state of Alabama are currently are currently under stay at home orders. Thousands of businesses have been shut down by Gov. Ivey and by county health officers. Alabama’s beaches have been closed just as the tourist season is beginning. Unemployment has sky rocketed. The shutdown and the social distancing was implemented to slow the spread of the coronavirus and save the lives of Alabamians. There is an enormous cost however to this strategy. Many businessmen are eager to reopen their businesses and get the economy moving again on May 1. The fear is that moving too quickly will expose hundreds of thousands of Alabamians to the virus resulting in many deaths. The fear of leaving the Alabama economy locked down for months moving forward is that tens of thousands of businesses will exhaust their cash reserves and we will enter into a deep recession. Balancing public health and economic health is the mission of the Governor’s task force.

As of press time, there were 4,149 cases of COVID-19 in Alabama and 115 Alabamians had died from the virus.

Brandon Moseley is a former reporter at the Alabama Political Reporter.

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