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Mel Wilcox is Professor of Medicine and Director of the Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, USA.
Dr Wilcox was born in Chattanooga, Tennessee. His mother was a housewife and his father owned a surgical supply business. He has both an older and younger sister.
Dr Wilcox attended college at Washington and Lee University for two years and finished his education at the University of Georgia. He earned his medical degree from the Medical College of Georgia in Augusta, Georgia. His internship, residency, and chief residency were spent at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB). His gastroenterology fellowship training was at the University of California at San Francisco, where he did a two-year clinical fellowship, followed by an additional year of clinical research training.
Dr Wilcox then joined the faculty at Emory University, where he was the Chief of Gastroenterology and Endoscopy at Grady Memorial Hospital, the large city/county hospital in Atlanta. He was there for five years until moving to the UAB in 1995 as Associate Professor and Director of Clinical Research in the Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology.
Dr Wilcox has received a number of awards for teaching and for clinical excellence.
He is a fellow of the American College of Physicians and the American College of Gastroenterology. In addition, he is on the Editorial Boards of the American Journal of Gastroenterology and Gastrontestinal Endoscopy. He is an active reviewer for many gastroenterology and internal medicine journals.
Dr Wilcox has authored over 200 peer-reviewed publications, book chapters, and miscellaneous articles.
His clinical research interests include gastrointestinal complications of AIDS, gastrointestinal infections, gastrointestinal complications of graft versus host disease, and therapeutic endoscopy, including chronic pancreatitis.
Mel and his wife Kim live in Birmingham, Alabama and have two children, Nicki (age 11) and Mel (age 9).
- What made you decide to become a gastroenterologist?
- My fascination and love for the gastrointestinal tract was born when I took anatomy as a medical student. The gastrointestinal system was big, could be seen and touched, and you could easily relate to it. I took those observations to clinical medicine where I quickly recognized that I gravitated to gastrointestinal diseases. I read more about them and clipped out the GI articles. When I decided to pursue academic medicine, I thought sub-specialization would be important, and gastroenterology seemed ideal.
- Who was the teacher you admired the most?
- Dr Claude Bennett, a rheumatologist, and Bill Dismukes, an infectious disease specialist, were, in retrospect, very influential on my career. I got to know them well during my chief residency here at UAB. They are marvelous clinicians, educators, and people. Dr John Cello was also a wonderful role model for a clinical academician.
- Which research paper influenced you the most?
- I always enjoyed Dr Peterson's randomized trial of endoscopy versus barium series in upper GI bleeding published in the New England Journal of Medicine. Great question, straightforward study, and excellent execution.
- What is the most significant fact that you have discovered?
- Pursuing the gastrointestinal complications of AIDS during the peak of the epidemic was both exciting and fulfilling. The idiopathic esophageal ulcer of AIDS is one area in which I made significant contributions that helped my patients.
- What is the biggest mistake that you have made?
- Others are better judges of our mistakes than ourselves
- How do you relax?
- With my family, or, in their absence, sitting on my back patio enjoying the trees, sunset, and a full glass of young Cabernet, Zin, or Syrah.
- What is your favorite sport?
- I used to love watching professional football, but now do not have the time. I enjoy watching my son play little league activities.
- What is your best place in the world?
- The United States. We have it all.
- What is your favorite film?
- "Dances with Wolves", "It’s a Wonderful Life", and "Cool Hand Luke".
- What car do you drive?
- Volvo station wagon.
- What is your best electronic 'toy'?
- I don’t play much with electronic gizmos.
- What books are you reading at the moment?
- I enjoy American History, especially the Civil War, but don’t get to read much. I am now reading "A History of the American People". I also recently finished Louis and Clark, which was fabulous.
- Why did you get in involved in GastroHep.com?
- It sounded exciting and the product is wonderful.
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