The HudsonAlpha Foundation has received a $100,000 gift from Ray and Nancy Sheppard to support the Smith Family Clinic for Genomic Medicine. To recognize the Sheppard’s generous gift, Exam Room 1 is named in their honor.

“Ray and Nancy are incredible advocates for the Smith Family Clinic,” said Rick Myers, PhD, president and science director of the HudsonAlpha Institute for Biotechnology. “They’re really helping to lead the way in supporting the clinic, not just financially, but by sharing their passion for our work with others.”

The Smith Family Clinic for Genomic Medicine is the first clinic in the world to use whole genome sequencing exclusively to diagnose rare undiagnosed and misdiagnosed disease. Patients are seen by a clinical geneticist who evaluates symptoms, or patient phenotype, and determines whether whole genome sequencing is an appropriate test. The data from the genomic sequence is then interpreted clinically to identify variants, or changes in the DNA, linked to the disease.

“I am incredibly grateful for the Sheppards’ gift,” said David Bick, MD, medical director of the Smith Family Clinic. “Their ongoing enthusiasm for HudsonAlpha and the Smith Family Clinic is very meaningful to us.”

Ray Sheppard, MD, is an OB-GYN surgeon and Nancy Sheppard is a registered nurse. They both have a strong interest in helping to advance the practice of medicine in our region.

“We’re all responsible for giving back in the world,” said Nancy. “Ray and I wanted to find a way to help the medical community and supporting the Smith Family Clinic was a logical choice. It’s win-win.”

“Of all the endeavors Nancy and I have an opportunity to support, we feel fortunate that we can provide this gift to help our community and to help families,” said Ray.

The vision for genomic medicine at the Smith Family Clinic is for whole genome sequencing to become an increasingly valuable tool not only for diagnosis but also for prediction and prevention of disease. This vision is important to the Sheppards.

“Supporting the clinic is personal to me because I just have a feeling deep inside that this is the start of something big,” explained Nancy. “I think we are at the beginning of a new era, much like what happened when Wernher von Braun’s team came to town and transformed Huntsville into the Rocket City. I’m just glad we can be here at the beginning.”

To learn about additional naming opportunities at the Smith Family Clinic, contact the HudsonAlpha Foundation at

The Smith Family Clinic for Genomic Medicine is powered by HudsonAlpha, Children’s of Alabama and UAB Medicine.