By Ally Morrison
Each year, the American Cancer Society carefully selects winners of the St. George National Award based on continuous leadership, commitment and dedication to the society’s mission.
This year, the society plans to present 13 awards across the country. Among the recipients is Dr. Warner K. Huh, chair and medical director at the University of Alabama at Birmingham’s Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology.
A statement from ACS Alabama said Huh’s involvement with the society has been significant. For more than 23 years, Huh has actively served as a speaker, presenter, researcher and volunteer for the society.
“Dr. Huh is very deserving of this award,” Kristi Lovell, senior manager of strategic partnerships for the society, said in the statement. “This is a tremendous accomplishment, and we are thrilled to present it to him. It is an honor to work with him.”
During his time with UAB, Huh has served in many leadership roles. He has been vice-chair of gynecology as well as a professor in the Department of Epidemiology at the UAB School of Public Health. Additionally, Huh acted as director and senior scientist of UAB’s O’Neal Comprehensive Ovarian Cancer Program, along with being medical director of the O’Neal Cancer Service Line.
A reception was held for Huh’s award presentation March 15 in the cancer center’s atrium, where Huh was surprised by friends, family and colleagues.
Before awarding Huh with a plaque, Barry Sleckman, director of the center, spoke about Huh’s dedication to science and to patients.
“Warner has really committed his career to preventing, understanding and treating women’s cancers,” Sleckman said. “He is an amazing physician, and I have experienced that firsthand.
“I had been with UAB for only a month when I had a terrible bike accident. The only cell phone number I had was Warner’s. I told him I was in the emergency room, and he replied with, ‘I’ll be right there.’ He took me home to my apartment that day and picked me up for surgery the next. Warner provides that care to all of his patients.”
Sleckman continued by unfolding a piece of paper from his jacket pocket.
“I brought with me a license plate Dr. Huh was given about a year ago by one of his patients that reads I0HUH1 – I owe Huh one,” Sleckman said. “It was from a woman he treated awhile ago to thank him for his wonderful care. He truly is a wonderful physician, colleague and friend.”
Jeff Fehlis, executive vice president of ACS South Region, also sang Birmingham’s praises as he handed the award to Huh.
“It gives me great pleasure to recognize you,” Fehlis said. “This is the top award we give to a volunteer for the impact they have. It says a lot that there have been so many winners in Birmingham.”
After Huh received the award, he thanked the ACS for the impact the organization has had on his career.
“I have very much enjoyed working with the American Cancer Society,” Huh said. “The ACS helped me launch my research career with a research scholar grant. I credit the ACS for that. I’ve always enjoyed volunteering for this organization, and I’m deeply grateful for this award.”