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UAB Professor Remembered for Genetic Contributions
Sara Will Crews Finley, M.D., professor emeritus at the UAB, passed away on February 20, 2013. Finley, along with her husband, Wayne H. Finley, M.D., Ph.D., co-founded the first medical genetics program in the southeastern United States. She was co-director of the Laboratory of Medical Genetics at UAB for 30 years.
Finley held the Wayne H. and Sara Crews Finley Chair in Medical Genetics at the time of her retirement from UAB in 1996.
The Finleys founded the first chromosome laboratory in the Southeast and began what was to become one of the country’s largest university prenatal genetics laboratories.
“Sara Finley was a true pioneer in medicine,” said Bruce Korf, M.D., Ph.D., chair of UAB’s Department of Genetics and current holder of the Finley Chair in Medical Genetics. “She and her husband, Wayne, were among the first physicians to recognize the importance of the new field of medical genetics, and they were among the first to implement new technologies for culturing cells and analyzing chromosomes. These technologies helped untold numbers of families by providing new approaches to the diagnosis and classification of birth defects and genetic disorders, as well as enabling genetic counseling for families.”
In 2001, UAB honored them by establishing the Finley-Compass Bank Genetics Conference Center located on the UAB campus.
Finley served for 20 years on the admissions committee of the UAB School of Medicine and authored or co-authored more than 150 papers, abstracts and book chapters in major professional publications.
Finley was the first female president of the University of Alabama Medical Alumni Association and the Jefferson County Medical Society.
She is survived by her husband of more than 60 years, Wayne H. Finley; a son, Dr. Randall W. Finley, his wife Amy and son Christopher of Birmingham; a daughter, Sara J. Finley of Nashville; a sister, Janice Crews Proctor and her husband Lister of Sylacauga.
A memorial service will be held at 3 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 23 at Dawson Memorial Baptist Church in Birmingham, followed by a reception in the fellowship hall at the church.