UAB Medicine News


Employee Spotlights: GABRIEL AGBALI

UAB Callahan Eye Hospital and Clinics are proud of our diverse, highly skilled work force. These professionals form a close-knit community dedicated to advancing patient care. The following informal interviews provide some insight, both professional and personal, about a few staff members who exemplify our mission to provide innovative, award-winning eye care and vision restoration.

What Gabe’s colleagues are saying about him:

“Gabe is always available and ready to help at any moment. He has mentored and trained PCA staff in his years here at Callahan, imparting little bits of all his knowledge. His infectious “can-do” attitude is noticed and felt by surgery staff and our patients. On the rare occasion he does decide to take a day off, he is greatly missed. Callahan Eye Hospital has been blessed over the years to have such a dedicated employee.” Brandye Leigh Maddox, RN, Surgical Services Manager

“Gabe is the kind of employee who exemplifies the compassion that we show our patients. He’s also the kind of health care worker who takes pride in everything we do here. Gabe puts total effort into every task, no matter how big or small.” Brian Spraberry, CEO, UAB Callahan Eye Hospital

Tell us about where you are from and your past experience.

I am from Abuja, Nigeria. I came to the United States in March 1978 on a school visa. A very nice lady named Mrs. Drake provided me with a place to live, then she helped me find a job at the Eye Hospital. I first worked in the cafeteria serving patients. When it closed, I took the position as a PCA, and the rest is history.

What’s the most rewarding aspect of your work at Callahan Eye Hospital?

Working with patients, talking and praying with them to help them feel at ease and to know that everything will be alright. Some ask me my name, and when I tell them it’s Gabriel they say, “Oh, like the angel.” Then they say they know they will be okay! I also love my co-workers. I look forward to coming to work every day here.

What’s on your iPod (or other device) right now?

Bob Marley and other reggae music

Favorite sports team:

I know you are expecting me to choose the Alabama Crimson Tide or the Auburn Tigers, but I like soccer.

Do you have a memorable travel experience and/or a favorite vacation destination?

I went back to Nigeria to visit my mother, Rachael, in Nigeria. I was so happy to see her. To hug her, to talk with her, and to see her face brought joy to my heart. Then to see my brothers and sisters, I tell you, I cried. I had not been home in 20 years. I did not get to see my dad before he died, but I did see my mom. This was such a blessing to me.

What do you like to do in Birmingham when you are not working?

I exercise at the gym. I love walking my dog, Woo Woo. She’s a Great Pyrenees, so I really enjoy the attention we get when we are on our walks. I also like to watch wrestling, and reading my bible.

In the health care profession, there are those moments when it seems like everything’s going south. What gets you through the day when that happens?

First, I pray about it, then I talk to my wife about these things. She can make me laugh, which always eases any tension. She often tells me to treat others the way I would like to be treated, because any of us might be in the same situation one day.

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