Stuart J. Cohen, MD has been named the inaugural Chief of Primary Care for the UAB Health System and UAB Medicine. Cohen, who is a professor of medicine at UAB, had been medical director for UAB Primary Care.
"Primary care is the foundation of the medical system in this country, and the creation of this position will strengthen that foundation," said Tony Jones, MD, chief physician executive for the UAB Health System.
Cohen takes the reins of a clinical department with 47 physicians, 14 advanced practice practitioners and 140 staff. UAB Primary Care sees adult patients at the Whitaker Clinic of UAB Hospital and UAB Medicine's primary care clinics in Hoover, and Inverness and adult and pediatric patients at clinics in Gardendale and Leeds. UAB's Urgent Care facility in Southside is also part of the department. UAB Primary Care has experienced double digit growth in each of the past five years and will see more than 150,000 patient visits in 2019.
Cohen says elevating primary care to the level of a clinical department will pay off for patients in multiple ways.
"This move will enhance UAB's ability to serve as a patient's medical home, where we can engage in preventive medicine, manage chronic diseases, refer to specialized care when necessary and conduct the wrap-around services needed to ensure that each patient's care is comprehensive," he said.
Cohen believes the expansion of UAB Primary Care will not only allow for greater access to the healthcare system but also pave the way for improved integrated care between primary and specialty care at UAB.
Cohen earned his medical degree from UAB in 1994. He completed his residency training at the University of Washington Medical Center and served an additional year in Seattle as chief medical resident and clinical instructor before joining the UAB faculty in 1998. He is board certified in Internal Medicine and a Fellow in the American College of Physicians.