Is this an effort to mask the blatant discrimination medical trainees from India have experienced at UAB? While striking deals with business and political leaders from India, does UAB mention that it has treated international medical graduates (IMGs) from India in a shameful fashion? Does UAB mention that a federal jury recently found that it had discriminated against Dr. Seema Gupta, an IMG from India, because of her Hindu faith?
UAB seems to have no qualms about mistreating its own trainees from India. But when the university has an opportunity to make money off India--or to score PR points with a "feel good" story about a sports hero from India--hey, it's full speed ahead.
What have we learned in recent days? UAB announced that it and Birmingham-based Southern Research Institute have entered into a drug-discovery joint venture with an Indian firm called Jubilant Organosys. Richard Marchase, UAB's vice president for research, says the deal could be extremely lucrative. "If we can get a steady stream of millions of dollars a year, we'd count it as a success."
Marchase apparently can't wait. He notes that a blockbuster drug at Emory University had a payoff price of $500 million and hints that the Indian firm could help UAB achieve such a payday. "The upside potential is almost unlimited," Marchase said.
Ah yes, the sweet smell of money. UAB always likes that.
UAB also likes the sweet taste of "feel good" PR connected to India. That came yesterday in the form of a front-page news article about Baljit Singh, a goalie for India's national field-hockey team. Singh, considered one of the top goalies in his sport, recently received treatment at UAB for a possible career-ending eye injury. The story featured a photo of Singh wearing a UAB cap.
What's not so cute is UAB's established record of discriminating against its own trainees from India. And the university has done it while exhibiting breath-taking arrogance and hypocrisy. Get a load of this quote from Marchase, the research director who hopes the Jubilant deal will help UAB recruit against other top research universities: "We hope it will be an important recruitment tool and a potential retention tool."
Speaking of arrogance, UAB continues to wine and dine prominent Indian leaders while trying its best to sweep the jury verdict in the Seema Gupta case under the proverbial carpet.
A number of UAB folks, including Provost Eli Capilouto, recently attended a reception that was part of a three-day visit in Alabama from Dr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, former president of India.
Kalam was here to help announce that an Indian software company, Congruent Solutions Inc., plans to establish headquarters in Birmingham. News reports stated that the law firm of Haskell Slaughter Young & Rediker, and the University of Alabama System, helped arrange the trip.
Someone evidently has done a splendid job of pulling the wool over Kalam's eyes. Consider this from The Birmingham News: