St. Vincent's East Family Medicine Residency

The St. Vincent East Family Medicine Residency (SVEMFR) was established in 1977 and is co-lead by Christ Health Center and the St. Vincent Health System. SVEFMR is a Biblically-centered, community-based, solo-program, dedicated to a strong tradition of excellence in patient care, service, and medical education.

The program is affiliated with Ascension Health, one of the nation’s largest faith-based healthcare entities, is fully accredited by the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) and attained 5-year accreditation status (highest level) for its 3 most recent reviews.

Dr. Sims
Dr. Sims

Director's Welcome

In over 40 years, more than 170 physicians have been trained in Family Medicine earning the respect of medical staff, patients, and communities across many states. Our graduates practice in a wide variety of clinical settings: rural and urban, solo and group, inpatient and outpatient, academic and community-based. It is our steadfast intent to foster an atmosphere that cultivates excellence in all areas of the resident’s life and education. We are dedicated to serving both the whole patient and the WHOLE resident.

Who We Are


Shawn Morehead

Associate Director

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.


First Year Residents

Klayton Barrows, DO

Byron Berry, DO

Ann Collins, DO

Phillip Higginbotham, MD

Gary Hodge, MD

Jeff Jackson, MD

Giuseppe La Spina, MD

Andrew Wilkins, DO

Second Year Residents

Tyler Covington, MD

Kaitlyn Littleton, MD

Elissa Tyson, MD

Paul Ward, MD

Third Year Residents

Adam Johnston, MD

Matthew Mabery, DO

Jack Vibbert, DO

Ashley Walker, MD

Anna Worth, MD

Alumni Spotlight

Brandon Slagley photo

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.

Brooke Uptagrafft photo

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.


The residency clinic patient base is diverse in many respects, including age, social and economic strata, race, and ethnicity. Such a multiplicity of patients adds depth and further value to an already outstanding clinical situation.

Christ Health Center:

The Christ Health Center Chalkville clinic is at the heart of the SVEFMR training program. Each resident works on a team of highly trained and caring allied health colleagues to provide continuity care to a panel of patients.


The M-POWER Ministries Health Center provides FREE primary care services to adult patients without access to health insurance, helping to alleviate chronic illnesses.

The St. Vincent East Family Residency has a long history of residents serving through medical missions all over the world. Photos from recent and upcoming trips abroad are highlighted in the image gallery HERE

There are many reasons to consider Birmingham an attractive place to call home: an affordable cost of living; world-class healthcare system; outstanding outdoor and sports activities; convenient and central location for travel; renowned food-scene and an excellent educational system.

Read more about all that Birmingham has to offer at and

Program Information

Our program is fully accredited by the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) and attained 5 –year accreditation status (highest level) for our most recent 3 reviews.

The St. Vincent East family medicine residency curriculum includes:

  • Family Medicine Clinic
  • Adult Medicine Inpatient
  • Pediatrics
  • Obstetrics
  • Geriatrics
  • Surgery/Surgical Subspecialties
  • Behavioral Medicine
  • Orthopedic Surgery
  • Community Medicine/Public Health/Population Medicine
  • Longitudinal Leadership Development
  • Required Medical Subspecialties
  • Electives

Click to View Current Curriculum Details

SVEFMR offers competitive benefits packages to all residents. To view current benefits packages and read a sample contract, please download the links below.

Resident Benefits

Sample Residency Contract

Residents will have access to unique learning opportunities in areas like urban ministries and service, international/disaster relief, clinical outcomes research, sports medicine and pharmacotherapy.

View Current Opportunities


To apply for a Clerkship, submit answers to the questions below. Then, if accepted, a full application form must be completed and returned along with a letter of good standing from the Dean or other official, proof of liability insurance and an official medical school transcript.

Visiting students must complete the application process no later than six weeks prior to beginning of the rotation. Verbal or written notification of cancellation of the elective must be received no later than two weeks prior to the beginning of the course. Clerkships are considered on a first-come, first-served basis as we have many MD and DO clerkship students and have limited available space for elective rotations.

Current U.S. medical students: please email the answers to the following questions to (residency coordinator):

  • Your full name and address
  • Requested Clerkship beginning and ending dates
  • Medical school name with city/state
  • Expected graduation month/year
  • Phone number
  • Email address
  • Your score(s) on each Step of the boards you’ve completed and number of attempts needed to pass
  • If you are an M.D. student, are you registering for the M.D. match? If you are a D.O. student, would you consider only doing the M.D. match?
  • How did you hear about St Vincent’s East Family Medicine Residency?

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