Returning to Growth: One Academic Medical Center's Successful Five-Step Approach to Change Management

Academic Article


  • The University of Alabama at Birmingham academic medical center (UAB AMC) had achieved great success and growth during the 50 years since its founding. However, the challenging and more competitive environment of the 2000s left the UAB AMC on a downward trajectory. The UAB AMC had to overcome difficult internal cultural and structural barriers that stood in the way of the transformational change needed to remain competitive. Competition rather than collaborative and strategic financial investment were the primary cultural barriers for the UAB AMC, while people were the primary structural barrier. Leadership identified 5 steps that were critical for the transformation that occurred between 2013 and 2018: alignment of leadership; creating a compelling and credible shared vision; identifying cultural and structural barriers; creating a thoughtful, data-driven intervention; and improved communication and accountability. Following these steps enabled the UAB AMC to transform its institutional structure and culture. As a result, the UAB AMC thrived, returning to substantial growth in research and clinical care. UAB AMC School of Medicine grew by $100 million in National Institutes of Health funding and moved up 10 spots in ranking. In 2018, UAB Hospital had 10 specialties ranked by U.S. News & World Report, 7 more than in 2013. This article outlines the approach taken and provides a conceptual framework for other AMCs eager to transform their structure and culture and position themselves for growth.
  • Published In

  • Academic Medicine  Journal
  • Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Vickers SM; Agarwal A; Patel N; Benveniste EN; Bulgarella D; Fouad MN; Hoesley C; Jones K; Kimberly RP; Rogers DA
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  • 1401
  • End Page

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