Tinsley Harrison, MD*
Born in 1900 near Talladega, Tinsley Harrison can be called the most famous and distinguished healthcare personality Alabama has ever produced. And arguably the most famous internist our nation has produced, this distinction is based largely on his textbook, “Harrison’s Principles of Internal Medicine,” now in its 14th edition and available in 12 languages. It sets the standard for the world. In 1950, Dr. Harrison arrived in Birmingham as Dean of Medicine and the first full-time Chairman of the Department of Medicine at a fledgling medical school that the world knows today as the University of Alabama at Birmingham. From that time forth he set the tone, atmosphere and direction for the development of the UAB Medical Center.
One who possessed a great passion for the subject of medicine, he was above all a teacher, and because he passed along that passion, he was the best teacher most of his students ever encountered. Election to the Presidency of the American Society for Clinical Investigation and recipient of the AMA’s Distinguished Teaching Award are but a few of the many honors given to the gentleman who is revered as UAB’s patron saint.