Dr. Marnix and Mary Heersink have donated $95 million to the UAB School of Medicine. When combined with a $5 million from Triton Health Systems, the total support to the school is $100 million.
In appreciation for the Heersink's gift, the school of medicine has been renamed the UAB Marnix E. Heersink School of Medicine, and UAB has established the Mary Heersink Institute for Global Health and the Marnix E. Heersink Institute of Biomedical Innovation, a first-of-its-kind biomedical institute that will focus on entrepreneurial healthcare innovation initiatives that foster healthcare and socioeconomic transformation. The primary location of the institute will be at UAB, with a prominent physical presence in Dothan, the Heersink family's hometown.
"UAB's history of achievements and aggressive pursuit of excellence motivated me to partner with the school to advance our shared priorities," Dr. Heersink said. "This gift will build on the school's tremendous momentum and enhance its ability to innovate and deliver."
In just five years, the UAB School of Medicine grew its National Institutes of Health research portfolio by $100 million, making it one of only eight schools in the country to do so. This growth catapulted the School of Medicine's NIH ranking from No. 31 in 2014 to No. 21 among all schools and the top 10 for public medical schools. In addition, 12 departments ranked among the top 20.
Dr. Heersink is a cataract and laser refractive surgeon and co-owner and chairman of Eye Center South in Dothan, a practice he and John Fortin, MD opened in 1980 which now has 12 offices in Alabama, Florida and Georgia. Heersink and his family opened Health Center South, a 140,000-square-foot medical complex for doctors of all specialties in Dothan. Heersink is also an owner or agent of many other companies, including real estate holdings and manufacturing entities in the United States and abroad.