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A series of images from the UAB Archives

Office of the Director, University of Alabama Hospital, 1945-2013

Immediate Predecessor:

Hillman Hospital, 1897-1944 (the Hospital of the United Charities 1888-1897), and Jefferson Hospital, 1940-1944

Immediate Successor:


Reporting Hierarchy:

1945-1955: Jefferson-Hillman Hospital, Medical College of Alabama, President of the University of Alabama;
1955-1958: University Hospital and Hillman Clinic, Vice President for Health Affairs, President of the University of Alabama;
1958-1962: University Hospital and Hillman Clinic, Vice President for Health Affairs, Executive Director of University Affairs for the Medical Center, President of the University of Alabama;
1962-1963: University Hospital and Hillman Clinic, Vice President for Health Affairs, President of the University of Alabama;
1963-1966: University of Alabama Hospitals and Clinics, Vice President for Health Affairs, President of the University of Alabama;
1966-1968:  University of Alabama Hospitals and Clinics, Vice President for Birmingham Affairs, President of the University of Alabama;
1968-1969: University of Alabama Hospitals and Clinics, Executive Vice President, President of the University of Alabama;
1969-1973: University of Alabama Hospitals and Clinics, Vice President for Health Affairs, President of UAB;
1973-1985: University of Alabama Hospitals, Vice President for Health Affairs, President of UAB;
1985-1995: University of Alabama Hospital, Vice President for Health Affairs, President UAB;
1995-1996: University of Alabama Hospital, CEO/Director of the UAB Health System, President UAB;
1996-2013: University of Alabama Hospital, CEO/Director of the UAB Health System, UAB Health System Governing Board


James W. MacQueen, 1945-1947
Arthur L. Bailey, 1947-1954
Matthew F. McNulty, 1954-1955


Matthew F. McNulty, 1955-1966
(Interim) Robert W. Holters, 1966-1967
Robert W. Holters, 1967-1969
Keith D. Blayney, 1969-1971
James E. Moon, 1971-1989
L. Clark Taylor, Jr., 1989-1992
(Acting) James A. Lee, 1992-1993

Executive Directors:

Kevin E. Loftin, 1993-1998
(Interim) Martin C. Nowak, 1998-1999
Martin C. Nowak, 1999-2002
Mary G. Nash, 2002-2004

Chief Operating Officer/Chief Executive Officer:

Michael R. Waldrum, 2004-2013


At the end of 1944 Jefferson County deeded the Hillman and Jefferson hospitals to the Board of Trustees of The University of Alabama.  The buildings were deeded in order to serve as teaching and patient care facilities for the University’s newly established four-year medical school.  The Jones Bill, Alabama Act 89, was passed by the state legislature on June 2, 1943, and authorized the establishment of the four-year medical school under the administration of the University of Alabama.  Governor Chauncey Sparks appointed a committee to review the best location for the new school and on February 16, 1944, the Governor’s Building Commission adopted a resolution selecting Birmingham as the future home of the school; the University of Alabama was located just fifty miles away in Tuscaloosa.

The committee selected Birmingham chiefly because of the existence of the Jefferson and Hillman hospitals and of the population living in the state’s largest – and most industrialized – city.  The University acquired the land on which the hospitals were built and on December 20, 1944, signed a 99-year lease for the use of the hospital facilities.  The University merged the two hospitals effective on January 1, 1945, to form the newly named Jefferson-Hillman Hospital, the heart of the new Medical Center in Birmingham.  The hospital provided teaching and clinical facilities for the Medical College of Alabama and operated schools for nurses, nurse anesthetists, medical technologists, and radiological technologists.  Jefferson-Hillman Hospital also treated indigent patients for which it received reimbursement from Jefferson County.  The reimbursement, however, never covered the cost of indigent patient care and created a major and long-lasting financial burden for the medical school.  During this period, the superintendent of the hospital reported to the dean of the Medical College of Alabama; the medical dean in turn reported to the president of the University.

In 1954, the Duckett Jones Committee recommended that the Jefferson-HillmanHospital be made a division within the MedicalCenter on equal standing with the medical and dental schools.  The committee also recommended that the hospital administrator report to a vice president for Health Affairs instead of the dean of the medical school.  These recommendations were implemented on May 28, 1955.  The Jefferson-HillmanHospital was also renamed UniversityHospital and Hillman Clinic and soon became known to many simply as “UniversityHospital.”

In 1961, the hospital underwent a major reorganization in which hospital administration reduced the number of divisions from five to four.  Also that year, the hospital discharged over twenty thousand patients, and the Hillman Emergency Clinic and the University Emergency Clinic together treated over one hundred thousand patients.  Indigent patient care remained a financial problem for the hospital.  The per diem paid by the county to the hospital for patient care had increased since the mid 1940s, but the cost of medical care had risen at a higher rate.  In 1962, medical dean S. Richardson Hill, Jr., and hospital administrator Matthew McNulty reorganized medical and surgical operations within the hospital.  Two chiefs-of-staff were appointed: one for medicine and one for surgery.  They organized hospital clinical services in relation to Medical College of Alabama programs, and as a result, medical department chairpersons served as chiefs-of-service in the various clinical fields in the hospital.  The administrative relationship between the hospital and the medical college remained an issue throughout the 1960s.

In 1963, to emphasize the growth of programs within the MedicalCenter, the University administration renamed the UniversityHospital and Hillman Clinic the University of Alabama Hospitals and Clinics.  As in the city and the state of Alabama, the early 1960s also brought the issue of Civil Rights and integration into the Medical Center and the hospital.  Both white and black patients had always been treated in the two hospitals, but treatment had been provided in wards segregated for the races, even after the University acquired the facilities in 1944.  The passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and several rulings by the federal courts eventually led to the elimination of all segregation policies in any healthcare facility receiving federal funding.  On April 25, 1965, hospital administrator Matthew McNulty certified to the MedicalCenter administration that the hospital had been completely integrated on that date.

Growth in hospital paramedical programs also highlighted the early to mid 1960s.  Hospital administration implemented training programs for cytotechnologists, blood bank technologists, and physical therapists.  A program in hospital administration begun by Matthew McNulty became the School of Health Services Administration in 1965 and offered a master's degree program in hospital administration.  The School of Health Services Administration and most paramedical education programs were removed from the hospital and became part of UAB’s new School of Community and Allied Health Resources in 1969 and 1970.  The hospital-based nursing school was eliminated after the graduation of the class of 1969.  Two years earlier, University President Frank Rose had moved the baccalaureateSchool of Nursing from the Tuscaloosa campus to the MedicalCenter in Birmingham.

Throughout the mid to late 1960s, university officials continued to debate the best way in which to organize and administer the hospital in relation to other MedicalCenter programs.  In 1966, Dr. John Kirklin, newly appointed chair of the Department of Surgery, was given extensive responsibility for hospital operations, and he began the difficult and complex task of transforming the hospital into a quality patient-care and teaching facility.  He also served as chief-of-staff.  In 1969, Medical Center administration, upon the recommendation of Dr. Kirklin, named Dr. J. Durwood Bradley as the first full-time chief-of-staff.  Bradley had previously served under Kirklin as an assistant chief-of-staff.

During the 1960s and early 1970s, the hospital also underwent a major renovation and expansion project.  These projects resulted in the completion of the Spain Rehabilitation Center and a later addition to that center, a new General Services Building, and a renovated and modernized Jefferson Tower.  In September 1972, University Hospital closed its outpatient clinic as Mercy Hospital (renamed Cooper Green in 1975) opened and as Jefferson County became the primary provider of medical care for the county’s indigent patients.  The new University Ambulatory Center later assumed outpatient responsibilities for Medicaid and Medicare patients and outpatients from the Departments of Medicine, Surgery, and Obstetrics and Gynecology.  Therefore, in September 1973, the University of Alabama Board of Trustees approved a change in the name of the hospital from the University of Alabama Hospitals and Clinics to the University of Alabama Hospitals.  Dr. Keith Blayney became administrator of the hospital on July 1, 1969, succeeding acting administrator Robert Holters.  Blayney served until January 1971 and was succeeded by James Moon.

The hospital added the Diabetes Research and EducationHospital in 1973.  Major renovation and construction projects continued to highlight University Hospital's development.  Expansion and/or renovation projects resulted in a Radiation Therapy Unit, the Lurleen B. Wallace Tumor Institute, the Quarterback Tower, the East Base with the Spain Heart and Wallace Cancer Towers, the Diabetes Hospital addition, and a Medical Center Parking Garage.  The hospital provided a range of opportunities for the training of generalists and specialists in medicine, and through affiliations with the Veterans Administration, Children's Hospital, and Eye Foundation Hospital; University Hospital continued to provide additional opportunities for training and research.  In addition to clinical training for medical and nursing students, University Hospital provided opportunities for paramedical students from the School of Community and Allied Health Sciences in a number of fields, including physical therapy, cytotechnology, medical laboratory technology, and dietetics.

In 1985, the University of Alabama Hospitals was (again) renamed to the University of Alabama Hospital in order to reflect a unity among health-care delivery programs at UAB.  The hospital continued to grow during the late 1980s and receive recognition for its programs.  During this period, one source named University Hospital as the third best hospital in the entire nation.  In 1987, UAB began the then-largest single addition in the history of the hospital, the West Pavilion.  This facility was planned to provide 160 replacement beds.  It also included special care units for neurosurgery, orthopedic surgery, heart transplants, and neurology.  The kidney transplant program, which had begun in 1968, ranked as one of the best nationally and by 1988 was the largest in the nation.  In addition to kidney transplants and heart transplants, which the hospital first offered in 1981, the hospital added heart/lung and pancreas/kidney transplants in 1987-1988.

In 1989, James Moon, who had served as administrator since 1971, resigned.  Clark Taylor, Jr., served as the next administrator from July 1, 1989, until January 13, 1992.  During the early 1990s, the hospital was chosen as one of 17 hospitals nationwide to assist the Joint Commission of Healthcare Organizations in teaching “other hospitals about the delivery of high-quality patient care” (Medical Center Magazine, Spring 1991). The hospital also added the Center for Psychiatric Medicine in 1992 and additions to the Spain Rehabilitation Center and the Tumor Institute. Frequently during the early 1990s, the University of Alabama Hospital was referred to as the “UAB Hospital” and by the end of the decade was often known as the “UAB University Hospital” although the official name remained the University of Alabama Hospital.

After Taylor’s resignation in 1992, James Lee briefly served as acting hospital administrator.  Succeeding him was Kevin Lofton, who assumed a new title of executive director of University Hospital on October 4, 1993.  Dr. Durwood Bradley remained as hospital chief-of-staff until November 6, 1995, when Dr. Scott Buchalter succeeded him.  Buchalter’s appointment was made effective October 1, 1995.  Lofton served until his resignation in 1998 and was succeeded by Martin Nowak.  Nowak, who first served in an interim capacity, was appointed the hospital’s second executive director in 1999.

As a new century dawned, ground was broken in July 2000 for a massive nine-story, 850,000 square foot addition to the hospital, the largest construction project in the hospital’s history.  When it is completed in 2004, the North Pavilion will occupy 3/4 of a city block and will house a new emergency room, operating suites, and patient beds.  In 2002 the annual “America’s Best Hospitals” issue of U.S. News and World Reports ranked nine programs at UniversityHospital as among the best in the country; UAB was the only hospital in Alabama to be included in the rankings.

After Martin Nowak became the chief planning and strategy officer for the UAB Health System, Dr. Mary Nash was named the hospital’s third executive director in August 2002.  Nash joined the UAB staff in 1994 and had previously served as University Hospital’s senior associate executive director and as chief operating officer.  With her appointment, Nash became the first female and the first nurse to be named director of the hospital.  She remained in the position until her resignation in September 2004.  CEO of the UAB Health System, David Hoidal, announced at the time that he would “evaluate the administrative structure of the hospital and how it fits within the health system” before recruiting a replacement.

Soon afterward, Dr. Michael R. Waldrum was named the new Chief Operating Officer (COO) – a new title replacing Executive Director – with the responsibility for the day-to-day operations of University Hospital; his appointment was effective on the first of December 2004.  Dr. Waldrum, who held a faculty appointment in the Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine, had served as the hospital’s chief information officer since 1999 and had led the hospital to a ranking as one of the “100 Most Wired” hospitals or health systems in Hospitals and Health Networks Magazine.  Waldrum graduated from the University of Alabama School of Medicine and the UAB School of Public Health.  At the time of the appointment, Hoidal noted that Waldrum “brings to the position the perspective of a physician, as well as an administrator.” During his tenure at the hospital, Dr. Waldrum's title was expanded to that of the CEO (Chief Executive Officer).

When Waldrum left UAB in January 2013, his position at UAB as CEO of University Hospital was essentially eliminated. In lieu of a one CEO or hospital director, the UAB Health System split the administrative duties amongst several high-level administrative professionals, all of whom reported to the COO of the UAB Health System and/ or to the CEO of the UAB Health System. The healthcare environment changed drastically in the United States during this period with the implementation of new Federal requirements and rules, and as a result, the UAB Health System and the School of Medicine integrated much more closely than had been the case in prior decades. The UAB Health System, through its component University Hospital, also took over daily management and control of The Kirklin Clinic, the major outpatient clinic that had previously operated mostly separate from the University by the independent corporation, the University of Alabama Health Services Foundation (UAHSF).

University Hospital no longer operates under one administrative professional who oversees all aspects of the vast hospital complex. These duties are now held by various individuals within the UAB Health System.

This page created 2003 and last updated by Tim L. Pennycuff on 28 January 2015.

Copyright:  The University of Alabama Board of Trustees.

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