Brooke Uptagrafft, MD

Hometown: Huntsville, AL

Practice Location: Gleneagles Family Medicine, Huntsville, AL – Ambulatory/Inpatient FM

St Vincent's East is a one of a kind residency! Throughout residency I was able to develop my own style of being a physician with the guidance of a diverse and excellent group of attending physicians. I was prepared academically for exceptional patient care.  I had the opportunity to be trained by experts on any procedure I wanted to be able to offer in my private practice. I was able to balance my family and spiritual life with my medical career.  But, what I take with me most every day in my work is the Christ-like attitude displayed 

consistently by the physicians I trained with.  My fellow residents, faculty physicians and specialists that I rotated with were a unique group of people that I am forever thankful. Quality mentorship is one of the MOST important aspects of any resident’s training with this program ensuring it is provided daily in a meaningful way.


Brandon Slagley MD

Hometown: Greenville, AL

Practice Location: Greenville, AL

Traditional Inpatient/Outpatient with procedures Endoscopy and GXT/Nursing home Medical Director

Mission Trips: (1) Honduras (2) Dominican Republic (medical school and residency)

St. Vincent East FP Residency was the perfect place for me to train for my

current practice setting.  High outpatient and inpatient volume throughout training prepared me to jump into a very busy solo practice including lots of ICU/critical care.  I used my elective time to learn extra procedures

like Colonoscopy and Stress Tests that are valuable skills to offer in the small town setting and have been in high demand.  More important than the medical knowledge was the professional, personal and spiritual growth during my three years.  I wouldn't trade this for training anywhere in the country.




Jamie Bell, DO

Hometown: Birmingham, AL

Practice Location: St Vincent's Family Care Moody (Moody, AL) - outpatient care practice

Mission Trips: Gonaives, Haiti

St Vincent's East Family Practice is a very special place where both intellectual and spiritual growth occurs. It was there that I became not only a competent, well trained, equipped, Family Medicine Physician but also a true humanitarian. SVE afforded me the knowledge and skills to provide quality, comprehensive, compassionate medicine. Thus, I consider my time in residency as an absolute blessing revealing to me that physicians are often vessels through which God chooses to work.


Monica Neeley Riggins, MD

Hometown: Sylvania, AL

Practice Location: Hospitalist; Gadsden Regional Medical Center, Gadsden, AL

Mission Trips: Caibarién, Villa Clara, Cuba and Eretria, Euboea, Greece


I could not have asked for better family medicine training.  The faculty and staff at St. Vincent's East are inspiring and attentive, providing individualized mentorship in clinical care, teaching, and personal 

development.  The training I received prepared me well for my career as a hospitalist.  My favorite part of the

program is the people - attendings, staff, and fellow residents made even the most challenging days enjoyable.  The program is like a big family, and the camaraderie amongst residents and faculty is truly unique. The relationships that I developed during residency continue to be both personally and professionally enriching.


Name: Rafael Briceno, M.D.

Hometown: Venezuela

 Private Practice: Hospitalist; Fort Lauderdale, Florida

SVE Family practice is a strong program. This program sees you as a part of the family and will help you achieve success from internship to senior resident. By the end of your residency, you will become an excellent doctor and, most importantly, you will grow in terms of becoming a better person. The sky is the limit after you finish your training; you can pursue any practice type and emphasis you desire.  This program will guide you all the way to achieve your goals and the American dream!


Tom Edwards, MD

Hometown: Fort Lauderdale, FL

Practice Type: Hope Health Center- a Christian non-profit clinic, Birmingham- Fairfield , Alabama

Missions Trips: Abidjan, Ivory Coast, West Africa (long term); Gonaives, Haiti; Nairobi, Kenya


I was already board certified in internal medicine when I entered the family medicine residency program in 1983. I felt called to be a medical missionary overseas and knew that in that context, I would be doing a lot more than just adult medicine.  This residency program did an excellent job of equipping me in pediatrics, OB-GYN, and other areas outside of internal medicine. One year after my graduation, I was in Pakistan doing

C-sections.  I eventually ended up in Ivory Coast, West Africa for 10 years.  My training had me well prepared. I  continue to be thankful for my training now that I am back in the U.S. providing medical care to the underserved in urban Birmingham, AL.  I have continued to maintain a wonderful relationship with many of the doctors at St. Vincent’s East who are a great resource both in knowledge and in helping provide medical care to some of the uninsured patients I see. My partner, Dr. Ben Davidson, is also a graduate from St. Vincent’s East Family Medicine Residency.  I cannot say enough about the excellent physician and person he is.

I continue to lead medical mission trips every year.  I usually have one resident on our team; they are hard workers, team players, and eager to learn.  I find they also are of the same character when I have the opportunity to have one of the residents rotate with me in clinic.  Because of my training and the quality of residents that I continue to work with, I would highly recommend this residency for anyone interested in pursuing a career in Family Medicine

Where Our Graduates are Serving


The full-time faculty members of SVE Family Medicine Residency Program are all board-certified physicians who are committed to maintaining Biblical principles in their relationships with both patients and residents. It is our steadfast intent to foster an atmosphere that cultivates excellence in all arenas of the resident's life and medical education. We are not only dedicated to the whole patient, but to the whole resident.

  • English Gonzalez, MD, MPH, ABFP
  • Nathan Shepard, MD
  • Beverly VonDer Pool, MD, ABFP, FAAFP
  • Marion "Barney" Henry Sims, MD., ABFP, FAAFP

  • M. Shawn Morehead, MD., MPH., ABFP, FAAFP

  • Jessica Skelley, Pharm. D., BCACP
  • Valerie Prince, Pharm.D., BCPS, FAPhA

Name: English Gonzalez, MD, MPH, ABFP
Position: Clinical Faculty
Hometown: Athens, TN
Medical School: UAB School of Medicine
Residency: Georgetown Univ/Providence Hosp Family Medicine Residency Program
Professional Affiliations: Assistant Professor, Volunteer Faculty, UAB School of Medicine; Assistant Professor, Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine; Clinical Faculty member of the Department of Clinical Sciences, Alabama College of Osteopathic Medicine; 
Special Interests: leadership, scholarly activity, community/public health,
geriatrics, dermatology

 My name is English Gonzalez and as my photo might allude, I grew up on a farm in the tiny town of Athens, Tennessee.  While my roots are in the country, family changes and educational opportunities brought me to the big cities of Atlanta, GA for my first two years of college at Agnes Scott and then onto Birmingham, Alabama for completion of my undergrad work at Birmingham Southern College.  Answering God’s call, I deferred medical school for one year to complete my Masters’ in Public Health and served as translator for numerous medical mission trips in Ecuador, Guatemala, Peru, and Cuba.  In 2002 I earned my MD from UASOM and moved to our nation’s capital to start residency training at the Georgetown Univ/Providence Hosp Family Medicine Residency Program.  It was there where I realized my passion for advocacy and teaching, and prayed for a way to combine these loves closer to my family.  Thankfully the renowned St. Vincent’s East FMRP needed a faculty member with my interests and skills and in 2002 I joined this wonderful family!  During my first year on faculty I participated in an academic fellowship at UNC Chapel Hill to better equip myself with the unique and diverse skills needed to be an effective faculty member.  Over the past decade I have been blessed by this work family and also my own nuclear family; most notably my precious daughter who has many special “gifts.”  While I wear many hats, my favorite and most humbling is that of mother.  Currently I also serve as an item writer for the ABFM, member of the Pisacano Leadership Foundation, and work part-time consulting for our hospital, Med-Management LLC, and various law firms and research entities.

Name: Nathan Shepard, MD
Position: Clinical Faculty
Hometown: Johnson City, TN
Medical School: University of Tennessee Health Science Center
Residency: St. Vincent’s East Family Medicine Residency (2009)
Professional Affiliations: Assistant Professor, Volunteer Faculty, UAB School of Medicine; Assistant Professor, Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine; Affiliate Faculty, Kansas City University of Medicine and Biosciences; Clinical Faculty member of the Department of Clinical Sciences, Alabama College of Osteopathic Medicine; Board of Directors, Truth and Love Ministries
Special Interests: Inpatient Medicine, Medical Missions

I was born and raised in a small town in East Tennessee. Through a large extended family, and especially my parents, I learned the importance of serving others. I found my outlet for service on a short term medical mission trip to Nicaragua the summer after I graduated from college. I worked alongside a family physician and was in awe of his ability to relate to young and old, men and women, across language and cultural differences. Through a series of events, God led me to St. Vincent’s East for residency, where I was mentored intellectually, emotionally, and spiritually. My three years at SVE were a time of incredible personal growth in so many areas, and strengthened my desire to pursue a career in academic medicine. Upon completion of residency, I worked for a short period as a locum tenens hospitalist in rural Colorado before returning to Birmingham to join the faculty in February 2010. I was privileged to go on three medical mission trips during residency (twice to Kenya and once to Ivory Coast), which sparked a passion for serving those with the greatest physical and spiritual needs. My wife Kim and I travel one to two times a year on medical mission trips, and one day hope to serve in a long-term capacity internationally. We are in the process of adopting, and recently found out we are expecting our first child in February of 2015. We spend our free time running or hiking one of the many trails in the city, and have really grown to love Birmingham.

Name: Beverly VonDer Pool, MD., ABFP, FAAFP
Position: Clinical Faculty
Hometown: Georgetown, Guyana
Medical School: University of California, San Francisco
Residency: Providence Hospital, University of Washington
Professional Affiliations: Associate Professor, Volunteer Faculty, UAB School of Medicine; Assistant Professor, Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine; Clinical Faculty member of the Department of Clinical Sciences, Alabama College of Osteopathic Medicine; Board of Directors, BirthWell Partners
Special Interests: Obstetrics (ALSO, Centering), Women’s Health, Geriatrics,
Behavioral Health

Since a teenager I was inspired to care for the less fortunate as a health care provider.  An OB/GYN set me on the road to medicine with the simple question “why not be a doctor?” while I worked as a junior nurse’s aide at age sixteen.  As a foreigner, I was offered an opportunity that my parents never had.  I was motivated to work hard and give back to my community just as others had done for me. I went to the University of California at San Francisco for medical school learning from creative, motivated, socially conscious leaders. Scholarship, research, and outstanding patient care were stressed.  My family medicine residency helped me fulfill my dream of giving back to a needy community with an emphasis on women’s care and obstetrics which I have continued today.

My career in Seattle in private practice and as a volunteer clinical instructor was a great preparation for an assistant professor position at the University of Alabama School of Medicine in 1992.  After receiving a grant, I established the UAB Family Centered Maternity Care Division, working with nurse midwives and the Maternal Fetal Division offering women a more natural birthing experience and teaching residents and medical students. In 2003, Dr Sims offered me the best job of my career as a faculty physician at SVE Family Medicine Residency.  With a diverse, spiritually motivated group of colleagues, I have had the honor of touching the lives of medical students and residents who were committed to improving the health of their community.

I am married to a mucosal immunology physician, Phillip Smith and I have three children, Alex, Amy and Jake, a dog and a cat and many orchids in my greenhouse.

Name:  Marion “Barney” Henry Sims, MD., ABFP, FAAFP 
Position: Residency Program Director
Hometown: Talladega, AL
Med school: The University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Medicine
Residency: Lloyd Nolan Medical Center (General Surgery), Medical Center East (Family Medicine)
Professional Affiliations: Associate Professor, Volunteer Faculty, UAB School of Medicine; Assistant Professor, Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine; Board of Directors, Hope Health Center; Birmingham Core Site Director, Alabama College of Osteopathic Medicine; Clinical Faculty member of the Department of Clinical Sciences, Alabama College of Osteopathic Medicine; Board of Directors, Shadowlands Joy; Advisory Board Member, Christian Medical Missions of Alabama
Areas of Interest: Office procedures, ambulatory medicine, mentoring, medicine in the third world.

I initially pursued medicine at the encouragement of my career nurse mother and because of my potential to become a fourth generation general medical doctor. As I prepared for what I thought would be a career as a missionary surgeon, unexpected events led me to a “one year” job as a faculty member in a small family medicine residency program in 1986. However, through God’s direction and the persistent appeal of participating in the development of brand new physicians, I “stayed on” for the next 28 years. During this time I have learned a lot of medicine, been blessed with many rich friendships through medicine, practiced medicine in seven different countries, helped to develop two urban ministry medical practices, been blessed with the privilege to disciple a wonderful group of young physicians, seen our residency grow into a wonderfully practical, consistent, and service oriented entity, and cheered the University of Alabama on to four football national championships. And that has just been my day job! My primary role is as husband to Regina and father to our nine children (which has definitely taught me a lot of really useful stuff) but being at work is like being with my second family and it is very good.

Name: M. Shawn Morehead MD., MPH., ABFP, FAAFP
Position: Associate Director
Hometown: Miami, Florida
Medical School: University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, Miami, FL; MPH in International Health, UAB School of Public Health, Birmingham, AL
Residency: Medical Center East (now St Vincent’s East), Birmingham, AL
Professional Affiliations: Associate Professor, Volunteer Faculty, UAB School of Medicine; Assistant Professor, Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine; Clinical Faculty member of the Department of Clinical Sciences, Alabama College of Osteopathic Medicine
Special Interests: Hospital medicine, International medical/residency education, Disaster relief, Medical ethics

I grew up in Miami, Florida which I consider to be my first, and most important, cross-cultural life experience. Little did I know how much being raised in such diversity would inform the rest of my life. I always wanted to be a doctor, learning a love for medicine and teaching from my parents, my mother a nurse educator and my father a middle school teacher/counselor. This calling was solidified after almost losing my life in a car accident at age 19. In medical school, I found Family Medicine challenging due to its breadth, but also incredibly satisfying with its ongoing relationships and whole person focus. With the unequivocal support of my family, I graduated with my medical degree from the University of Miami, a place that remains dear to my heart (“The U” Go Hurricanes!). I then left the city I love to pursue residency at St Vincent’s East in Birmingham, the city that would become my home. Residency at SVE was one of the most rewarding, maturing, and joyful times of my life as I was encouraged and mentored to become the physician I wanted to be.

Three months after graduating from residency, I went on my first medical service trip to Romania, coaxed by my brother (also a physician) despite my protests. During those weeks, God revealed to me my real purpose in medicine: to be used for His glory and to bring others to relationship with Him through serving, teaching, healing and mentoring. Fifty countries and twenty years later, my passion and calling for serving God has crystallized into the advancement of Family Medicine through medical and residency education in the hard places of the world. There is no greater joy than seeing others learn, grow, and fulfill God’s purposes for their lives. Being a small part of that process is both priceless and humbling. During these years of personal, professional, and spiritual development, I have had the strong and enduring support from the SVE administration, faculty partners, peers, residents, family and friends. My goal has been, and remains, to bring glory to God through my life, my work, and my relationships wherever He may lead. It is, and always has been, a joy to be part of the SVE family.

Name: Jessica Skelley, Pharm.D., BCACP
Position: Faculty, St. Vincent's East Family Medicine Residency Program and Assistant Professor, Samford University McWhorter School of Pharmacy
Hometown: Jacksonville, Florida
Pharmacy school: Samford University McWhorter School of Pharmacy
Residency: Jefferson County Department of Health
Professional Affiliations: Vice Chair, Compensation and Practice Sustainability Advisory Group for the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists; 
Areas of Interest: Anticoagulation management, Pharmacotherapy, Quality Improvement

As a student in pharmacy school, I remember always feeling a calling towards higher education, which I guess is unsurprising given my childhood interest in being an English teacher. I pursued a postgraduate residency program with an academic focus, and had the opportunity to teach within several courses at the McWhorter School of Pharmacy during my time as a resident. I fell in love with the experience of mentoring, developing relationships, and having the opportunity to impact a future generation of practitioners. After completing my residency in primary care, I was blessed with the opportunity to join the practice faculty at the McWhorter School of Pharmacy, and soon after was placed at St. Vincent’s East Family Medicine as my practice site. Having the chance to educate pharmacy students, medical residents, and medical students has been a wonderful experience for me, both personally and professionally. The program has an exceptionally collaborative environment that allows for interprofessional development and innovative practice opportunities. Also important for me is my work “at home”- I am a wife to an anesthesia medical resident at UAB Hospital, and mother to a daughter. My husband and I both regularly participate in international medical missions, and spend our free time on home renovation projects and baking. (I bake, he eats- it’s a perfect partnership.)

Name: Valerie Prince, Pharm.D., BCPS, FAPhA
Position: Faculty St. Vincent's East Family Medicine Residency Program and Associate Professor Samford University McWhorter School of Pharmacy
Hometown: Gadsden Alabama
Pharmacy school: Mercer University Southern School of Pharmacy
Residency: The Regional Medical Center at Memphis
Professional Affiliations: Past President, Phi Lambda Sigma Pharmacy Leadership Society; Past Speaker of the House of the American Pharmacist's Association, founding president of the Alabama Pharmacists Association Research and Education Foundation
Areas of Interest: Leadership Development, Pain Management, Substance Use Disorders

I've had a deep love for learning and teaching my whole life.   My grandmother who raised me always had two big books by her bed - a bible and a dictionary - and she taught me that serving God and others,  character, and learning are the most important things in life.   I worked full time from the age of 15, married at the ripe old age of 19, and finally ten years later answered God's call for my life by taking an academic practitioner position at Samford University after obtaining my degree and completing a residency.   I have practiced in many ambulatory and acute care sites while at Samford but the SVE Residency program is by far my favorite job because of the people with whom I work.  At home I am the mother to 10 and 14 year old daughters, wife of 30 years, Sunday school teacher, Girl Scout leader and caretaker to pets TNTC.

 During pharmacy school I was drawn into organizational leadership positions through my unquenched desire for service to the community and health care professionals and my education was enriched greatly by these experiences.  As a practitioner my perspective has been widened and I have had the opportunity to learn from leaders in many health care disciplines through 18 years of state and national leadership roles such as national president of Phi Lambda Sigma Pharmacy Leadership Society, Speaker of the House of the American Pharmacist's Association, and founding president of the Alabama Pharmacists Association Research and Education Foundation.  No privilege has ever been greater, however, than that of teaching another health care professional something that allows him/her to help patients many times during the course of a career.  I am blessed beyond measure to have the life and career that I love.

Our City

Birmingham has been praised as the city that “hasn’t lost its Southern soul.” Although home to over a million residents including surrounding areas, Birmingham maintains the southern tradition of hospitality and charm while affording all of the comforts of a major metropolitan area. Birmingham is well-known for its excellent temperate climate year-round, while still experiencing a typical four seasons. There are many reasons to consider Birmingham as an attractive place to call home:  an affordable cost of living; outstanding outdoor and sports activities; an excellent educational system; a world-class healthcare system; convenient and central location for travel. Come see us! For more information on all that Birmingham has to offer, please use the following links: