Sonia Kumari Makhija

July 17, 1974October 6, 2020

Dr. Sonia Makhija, DDS, MPH, Professor in the Department of Clinical and Community Sciences at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, passed away at 7:37AM on October 6 th , 2020 . Sonia was born in Montgomery, AL on July 17, 1974 as the youngest daughter of Dr. Suraj Makhija and Nina Makhija. Sonia’s parents instilled in her at a very early age the value of a good education and the importance of striving for success. Throughout her life she consistently developed life long friendships and impacted numerous lives all the while achieving the highest level of success in any academic or professional endeavor she undertook. Sonia graduated from LAMP High School in Montgomery, AL in 1992. She then attended the University of Missouri - Kansas City with a BA degree in Biology and DDS degree from the School of Dentistry in 1998. Following a period in private practice of general dentistry in Montgomery, AL, Sonia moved to UAB and earned her MPH degree from the School of Public Health and completed a three-year research fellowship. In 2002 she joined the faculty at the UAB School of Dentistry and quickly rose through the ranks and was recently promoted to Full Professor. Always helpful and kind, Dr. Mak, as she was sometimes lovingly known, was active in numerous committees within UAB, as well as at the national and international levels, including being elected in 2019 as Director of the Behavioral Sciences, Epidemiology, and Health Services Research Group of the International Association for Dental Research. She also served as Director of Communications and Dissemination for the National Dental Practice-Based Research Network. Having obtained international recognition for her clinical research and academic expertise, she was named a Fellow of the International College of Dentists in 2019. Sonia was widely loved for her collegial attitude and immensely respected for her expertise in clinical, research, teaching, and administrative matters, yet she always considered her proudest achievement and success to be her twins, Maks and Bella, whom she loves immeasurably and eternally. Sonia is survived by her loving husband, Grant Briggs, two beloved children, Bella and Maks, as well as her mother, Nina Makhija, her sister, Dr. Sharmila Makhija, her brother, Dr. Ajay Makhija, her sister-in-law Dr. Laura Tuttle, nieces Emily and Kate, mother-in-law Marlene Mitchell and many dear friends. She was preceded in death by her father, Dr. Suraj Makhija. In lieu of flowers or donations, the family kindly asks that you honor Sonia’s memory by living life to its fullest potential, letting those you cherish know how much you love them and by bringing more good into the world than you take away from it.


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Sonia Kumari Makhija

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Mary Mitchem

October 15, 2020

Sonia was such a kind, generous, funny, and warm friend. We attended junior high and high school together, and a few years ago we served on our 25-year high school reunion committee together. Sonia was the kind of classmate you always wanted on your group project - she was also so organized, articulate, and thoughtful - and it was so wonderful to reconnect with her to plan one more class project together. Like all of her classmates in the LAMP Class of 1992 as well as our friends from junior high, I am so heartbroken to hear of her loss. My thoughts and prayers are with Grant, Maks, Bella, and the Makhija family.

Nancy Benson

October 15, 2020

Thinking of the family and praying for moments of peace and comfort as the family remembers Sonia who you all loved so dearly. I will continue to be prayerful for the family for God to give you strength through this difficult time.

Andrea Eiring

October 15, 2020

I was deeply saddened to hear of Sonia's passing. I was privileged to have worked for her on the X-act clinical trial and to travel with her to Portland, San Antonio, and Chapel Hill for the study. We had a wonderful time splitting an English "high tea" at the Carolina Inn! After leaving UAB, we kept in touch through our annual "holiday updates" emails, and I was able to see Maks and Bella changing through the years in their Christmas photos. My heart goes out to her family and all those she touched with her kind and generous spirit. Sonia, you will be missed and never forgotten.

Doe Knight

October 14, 2020

With loving thoughts and comfort to all her Family during this time of sorrow.
I was truly blessed to have crossed Sonia’s path. Her positive spirit and smile was so contagious, so many wonderful memories. What a beautiful soul and Friend.

Sonia will be in my heart and memories forever. Rest in peace Angel.

Gloria E. Cantu

October 14, 2020

As a Social Worker, I was blessed to have worked alongside (Dr.) Sonia on the NHANES project (Westat) !! My mind's eye can still see her lovely kind face & smile.
My deepest condolences to all her family for their loss. May your heart and soul find peace and comfort.

I offer a prayer of comfort:
Oh Lord, in our grief and shock, embrace us with your love,
give us hope in our confusion and grace to let go into new life,
in Jesus Christ's name - Amen

Falguni Sanghani

October 14, 2020

"The Comfort of having a friend may be taken away but not that of having had one".
I am heartbroken and devastated to learn that Sonia is no longer with us. Words seem so feeble in moments like these.
The world has just lost a wonderful, kind person. Her smile brightened up a room. I will never forget all the wonderful times we spent together.
She was one of the kindest and gentlest people I have ever had the privilege to know. I have lost a great and dear friend.
I will say a special prayer each day in her memory in thanks for having had the opportunity to know her and count my Blessings for the times I was able to cherish with her.
Sonia will be missed terribly. Sending you and your families my deepest condolences and sympathies. May God give you all the strength to go through these difficult times.
Om Shanti.. Om Shanti.. Om Shanti...

Maria Fernanda Tamburri

October 12, 2020

Sonia was a sweet , smart, funny and generous friend. We shared so many moments together traveling all over the country with the NHANES project. We explored different places, food, lots of beverages, and music. We also shared the not so great times. I always admired Sonia for the way she set goals and accomplished them. She was always trying to better herself and the ones around her. I am going to share one of the many pictures I have with her. I also found a sweet note from her and I am so happy that I kept it. I am so sad and devastated, but at the same time, I know that Sonia touched so many lives and made everything better. I am always going to miss her dearly. Te quiero mucho amiga!


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