UAB Medical School Renamed After $95 Million Donation

 1540665317 
1632923583
Dr. Marnix Heersink

UAB Media Relations

The UAB School of Medicine has been renamed the UAB Marnix E. Heersink School of Medicine after a Dothan eye surgeon donated a record-breaking $95 million to the school.

UAB also will establish the Marnix E. Heersink Institute of Biomedical Innovation, which will focus on entrepreneurial health care innovation initiatives. The primary location of the institute will be at UAB, with a prominent physical presence in Dothan.

The gift also will fund the Mary Heersink Institute for Global Health, named for Heersink’s wife.

Heersink is an eye surgeon, innovator and entrepreneur. He co-owns Eye Center South, which he and Dr. John Fortin established in Dothan. It now has 12 offices in Alabama, Florida and Georgia.

Mary Heersink serves on the UAB School of Medicine board of visitors and the advisory board of the Master of Global Health Program, a joint initiative among McMaster University in Canada, Maastricht University in the Netherlands, Manipal University in India and Thomassat University in Thailand. She wrote the book “E. coli 0157: The True Story of a Mother’s Battle with a Killer Microbe” after one of her sons nearly died from an E. coli infection.

According to a statement from UAB, Heersink wants his donation to inspire more contributions. UAB stepped up with a $5 million donation from Triton Health Systems, bringing the total support for the school to $100 million.

“On behalf of the School of Medicine and all the people we serve across Alabama, the nation and the world … I sincerely thank Dr. Heersink,” said Dr. Selwyn Vickers, UAB Senior Vice President of Medicine and Dean of the School of Medicine.

Vickers said that, among other things, Heersink wanted to invest in a school with growing opportunities for transformative change in scientific discovery, training and clinical care, as well as attract the brightest scientists and physicians to the hospital.

“This gift will build on the school’s tremendous momentum and enhance its ability to innovate and deliver on the three E’s (excellence, expansive, encompassing) in a very strategic way,” Heersink said.

UAB President Ray L. Watts said: “Having the Heersink name on the school is a powerful testament to its competitiveness among the very best academic medical centers in the world … Dr. Heersink’s transformative support is critical to building on our global prominence and impact, and his humility and commitment to making the world a better place are inspiring.”

This is not the first donation the Heersink family has made to UAB. It also has donated to renovate the atrium in Volker Hall and to establish the Heersink Family Active Learning Resource Center there, and to the Heersink Family Endowed Glaucoma Fellowship and the Heersink Family Foundation Scholarship Endowment in Optometry, among others.

UAB holds WBHM’s broadcast license, but our news and business departments operate independently. This story was written by our media parter Birmingham Watch.

News from WBHM will never be behind a paywall. Ever. We need your help to keep our coverage free for everyone. Please consider supporting the news you rely on with a donation today. You can support our journalism for as little as $5. Every contribution, no matter the size, propels our vital coverage. Thank you.

 

Why nearly $910 million meant to prevent evictions in Gulf States has been left unspent

New data shows about $910 million meant to prevent evictions had yet to be used by the end of September in Mississippi, Alabama and Louisiana.

Montgomery, Ala., drops Confederate street name to honor famed civil rights attorney

Despite a threat from Alabama's attorney general, Jefferson Davis Avenue in Montgomery will be no more. The street once named for the Confederate figure will now honor civil rights attorney Fred Gray.

3 things to watch for in the new Birmingham school board

With over half of its members new and millions of dollars in federal pandemic relief funding, the new Birmingham City school board is ready to tackle education with a fresh perspective. WBHM talked to incoming, outgoing and returning members about what Birmingham teachers, students and residents can expect.

Women will hold the majority on the Birmingham City Council over the next four years

Starting this Tuesday, the makeup of the Birmingham City Council changes when it swears in three new members.

Community leaders call for ‘fair maps’ ahead of special session on reapportionment

State legislators will meet Thursday for their second special session of the year. This time they'll vote on new legislative maps following the 2020 census.

WBHM selected to be part of America Amplified initiative

WBHM has been chosen as one of only 20 stations nationwide to be part of national initiative called America Amplified that prioritizes meaningful in-person and online engagement in order to build trust, expand audiences and deepen the impact of public media journalism.

More Education Coverage