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A Lasting Legacy through Art

In March 2017, UAB Callahan Eye Hospital expanded its operating room capacity from nine to 16 operating rooms, making it one of the nation’s largest eye facilities. With this expansion came more efficient operating room workflow for doctors, nurses, staff, and patients, along with improved integration of care with the Callahan Eye Hospital clinics.

As patients and visitors enter this newly renovated space, they will notice a small replica of the kinetic sculpture that adorns the side of the hospital that faces University Boulevard. “Complex Vision” was created by Yaacov Agam for UAB Callahan Eye Hospital. Alston Callahan, MD, the founder of the hospital, was the primary force behind acquiring “Complex Vision,” as he had a passion for art and helping people with eye disease.

The “Complex Vision” replica is dedicated in memory of Miles Callahan, the grandson of Alston Callahan, MD, and the son of Michael Callahan, MD. Miles passed away on July 4, 2015, at the age of 37.

Miles was born on April 24, 1978, the first of five children for Michael. He recalls the time they would spend together in the hospital in the early 1980s.

“I would operate on Fridays and come back on Saturday morning for rounds, and Miles would come with me,” Michael Callahan says. “He was such a bright, outgoing child who would really only sit still when you gave him chocolate milk and sat him in front of cartoons. The nurses all knew him, so they would pile him up on a hospital bed with cartoons and milk. He was a bit of a staple during Saturday mornings at the hospital.”

Miles attended Brevard College in North Carolina and moved back home to Birmingham to become a banker. He married Mandy, and together they had two beautiful daughters: Koco, age 11, and Coley, 9.

“After Miles passed away, gifts and donations in his memory just started coming into the hospital,” Michael says. “Witnessing this type of generosity and seeing the impact he had on people just blew me away. We started to discuss ways to honor his memory and what he meant to our family and the hospital, and we came up with the idea of the ‘Complex Vision’ replica. He was such an integral part of my experience here at the hospital, as he spent so many hours here as a child. My father, and Miles’ grandfather, was the reason we have ‘Complex Vision’ outside the building, so it only made sense that we continued this family legacy of vision restoration depicted through art.”

Patients and visitors will notice the replica with a commemorative plaque that reads:

Miles Alston Callahan
The kinetic sculpture to your right is a smaller replica of the Yaacov Agam sculpture “Complex Vision” that decorates the front of the UAB Callahan Eye Hospital. This new piece was given in memory of Miles Alston Callahan, the grandson of Callahan Eye Hospital founder Alston Callahan and son of distinguished ophthalmologist Dr. Michael Callahan and his wife Teresa. Miles passed away in 2015 at the age of 37.

Miles was a wonderful father and known for his passionate love and devotion to daughters; and he was known for his undying love, loyalty, and service to his family and friends. Once a friend of Miles, you were his friend for life. His open heart accepted all people and his faith remained strong throughout his life. Miles touched the lives of everyone he knew, and leaves a lasting legacy with his friends, family, and colleagues.

Mr. Agam, often called the father of Kinetic art, created “Complex Vision” in 1976 and supervised the creation of this new piece for Callahan Eye Hospital. As the primary force behind the hospital acquiring the original sculpture, Alston Callahan’s love for art and commitment to helping people with blinding eye disease is a fitting memorial for Miles.

Michael Callahan, MD, operates his own private practice, Callahan Eye Clinic PC, and is the Director of the UAB Oculoplastics Division as a member of UAB Faculty.