Deidre Downs, Miss America 2005
There she is, Miss america ...
On September 18, 2004, Deidre walked the runway in Atlantic City, New Jersey after being crowned Miss America 2005. She represented Alabama in the competition, and is the third (and most recent) Miss Alabama to win the title of Miss America.
Because of a change in television contract, Deidre was the last Miss America crowned in Atlantic City prior to the pageant's change of venue to Las Vegas in 2006. As a result, she was the longest-reigning Miss America since the Great Depression, serving in this role nearly a year and a half. The pageant has since moved back to New Jersey, and Deidre had the honor of serving on the celebrity judges' panel in September 2013 (in which Miss America 2014 Nina Davuluri was crowned), the year of the pageant's homecoming in Atlantic City.
Her community service platform in the area of childhood cancer led her to create the Curing Childhood Cancer specialty license plate in Alabama, partnering with the Janie Sims Children's Foundation to establish this statewide car tag in 2005. With $41.25 of each $50 license plate earmarked for pediatric cancer research, this project has raised millions of dollars to fund ongoing research efforts at the Children's Hospital of Alabama.
During her 16-month tenure as Miss America, Deidre served as the national spokesperson for CureSearch National Childhood Cancer Foundation. In addition to raising awareness of childhood cancer as an advocate and public speaker, she traveled to Children's Hospitals across the country and also lobbied on Capitol Hill for increased federal funding for pediatric cancer research. She also participated in marketing efforts and advocacy in conjunction with the Ad Council's campaign on behalf of CureSearch in 2004-2005.
After deferring her admission to medical school for two years to fulfill her obligation as Miss America, she began her medical education at the University of Alabama School of Medicine (UAB) in 2006. She graduated with her M.D. in 2010 and went on to complete a residency in obstetrics and gynecology in 2014, receiving her board certification in 2016. After residency, she pursued additional subspecialty training in reproductive endocrinology and infertility and completed her fellowship in 2017. Her love of clinical medicine, combined with an interest in teaching, drew her to a career in academic medicine. As a faculty member in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at UAB, she currently specializes in reproductive endocrinology and infertility, seeing patients in her clinic in addition to performing in vitro fertilization (IVF) and other surgical procedures.