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Selwyn M. Vickers, M.D.

The following biographical sketch was compiled at the time of induction into the Academy in 2021.

Selwyn M. Vickers, M.D., was born in Demopolis, Alabama, and grew up in Tuscaloosa and Huntsville. He earned baccalaureate and medical degrees and completed his surgical training (including a chief residency and surgical oncology fellowship) at John Hopkins University. Vickers completed two post-graduate research fellowships with the National Institutes of Health and international surgical training at John Radcliffe Hospital of Oxford University, England. 


In 1994, he joined the faculty of the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) as an assistant professor in the Department of Surgery. In 2006, Dr. Vickers left UAB to become the Jay Phillips Professor and chair of the Department of Surgery at the University of Minnesota Medical School, one of the oldest and most storied departments of surgery in the country. 


Vickers’ lab in Minnesota was instrumental in the development of an injectable cancer drug, Minnelide, which is licensed and entered phase II trials for the treatment of pancreatic and gastrointestinal cancer testing in 2019. Vickers is a patent holder and has a limited financial interest in Minneamrita Therapeutics, LLC, the pharmaceutical company licensed to develop the drug.


Since 2013, he has served as Senior Vice President of Medicine and Dean of the UAB Marnix E. Heersink School of Medicine, which, along with the UAB Health System, comprise UAB Medicine, one of the five largest public academic medical centers in the United States. As dean and senior vice president, Vickers has led the medical school’s main campus in Birmingham, as well as its regional campuses in Montgomery, Huntsville, and Tuscaloosa. He also serves as chair of UAB Medicine’s Joint Operating Leadership Committee, as well as the University of Alabama Health Services Foundation Board. On January 1, 2022, he will become CEO of the UAB Health System and the UAB/Ascension St. Vincent’s Alliance. 


Vickers is an internationally recognized pancreatic cancer surgeon, pancreatic cancer researcher, and pioneer in health disparities research. He is also a member of the National Academy of Medicine and of the Johns Hopkins Society of Scholars. He has served on the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine board of trustees and Johns Hopkins University board of trustees. Additionally, he has served as president of the Society for Surgery of the Alimentary Tract, Southern Surgical Association. Vickers is currently president of the American Surgical Association, the nation’s oldest and most prestigious surgical organization. Vickers continues to see patients and has had continuous National Institutes of Health extramural funding (over $50 million) for the last 25 years. 


Vickers and his wife, Janice, who is also from Alabama, have been married since 1988. They have four children: Lauren, Adrienne, Lydia, and Benjamin.