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School Spotlight


Bottle Rocket Experiment Aims to Encourage Healthcare Careers 

"What do you like best about science?" asked Kara Caruthers, MSPAS, PA-C, an assistant professor with the UAB Physician Assistant program.A group of Birmingham-area middle school students responded immediately.bottlerocket

"Compounds!" said one.

"Chemistry!" said another.

"Blowing up things!" said a third.

Caruthers loves seeing this excitement for science and she wants it to continue. And that is why she is involved with the annual Health Careers Opportunity Program which is designed to increase the number of students from educationally or economically disadvantaged backgrounds who enter medical and health professions.

"I hope they remain excited about science and they see the fun in science," said Caruthers. "We don’t want them to think it’s too boring or it’s too difficult so we are showing them a practical approach to how fun science can really be."

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SHP Programs Rank Top 20 in Best Healthcare Jobs

Top20U.S. News & World Report came out with its 2014 list of "Best Healthcare Jobs" and six programs in the School of Health Professions made the top 20 list. That is one more than made the list in 2013.

The article says "as the youngest baby boomers celebrate their 50th birthdays this year, the need to employ qualified health care personnel to both prevent and treat medical conditions intensifies." Ranked at number five for the second year in a row are physical therapists. The position is expected to grow 36 percent, adding more than 73,500 jobs by 2022, according to U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). The reported median annual wage for a PT was $79,860 in 2012.

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UAB Occupational Therapy Ranked 12th in U.S. Based on Student Reviews

OccupationalTherapyFor the second year in a row, the University of Alabama at Birmingham’s Department of Occupational Therapy ranks among the best in the United States according to student reviews.

GraduatePrograms.com, surveying current and recent graduate students from September 1, 2012 to April 15, 2014, ranks the UAB occupational therapy program at number 12 in the U.S. Rankings are based on "average score for each program based on the 15 ranking categories."

The UAB OT department includes the only Low Vision Rehabilitation graduate certificate offered solely for occupational therapists. The UAB Low Vision program has more alumni with the specialty certification in low-vision rehabilitation (SCLV) than all other universities in the world combined.

The department is part of the UAB School of Health Professions which has five programs ranked among the Top 30 in the U.S. according to U.S. News & World Report and National Research Council rankings.


Majority of Low-Vision Specialists Are UAB Graduates

LowVisionThere are only 39 Occupational Therapists in the world with a Specialty Certification in Low Vision (SCLV) and 21 of them are alumni of the University of Alabama at Birmingham. All but one of those UAB graduates came from the School of Health Professions Low Vision Rehabilitation Graduate Certificate program.

"This tells the world that our graduates are the occupational therapy leaders in low vision rehabilitation," says Mary Warren, Ph.D., OTR, SCLV, FAOTA, director, UAB Low Vision Rehabilitation Graduate Certificate program. "Because of our success, we are working on becoming a pilot program for fast tracking SCLV applicants. This would mean that UAB graduates automatically skip over some of the steps in the credentialing process and would qualify earlier."

To even apply for the SCLV, Occupational Therapists must have a certain number of hours practicing low vision rehabilitation. Once accepted the applicant must create a portfolio to show competency in the six established areas of low vision practice: knowledge, evaluation, intervention, psychosocial, networking and advocacy. And then they must complete in-depth reflective pieces to illustrate their true knowledge of applying the criteria in the field.

Warren calls it "a rigorous and lengthy process."

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PT Program Celebrates 50 Years 

The UAB Physical Therapy program, which began in 1964, graduated the first class of baccalaureate degrees in 1967 before there was a University of Alabama at Birmingham.

On Saturday, May 17, 2014, the School of Health Professions celebrated the UAB PT program's 50th anniversary with a dinner and reception at The Club in Birmingham. In addition to alumni from nearly every class of graduates, many of the founding members were in attendance including Joan Bergman, the first physical therapist hired by University Hospital, who initiated the UAB PT program.

As part of the weekend long festivities, Anthony Delitto, Ph.D., PT, FAPTA, gave the inaugural Marilyn R. Gossman Endowed Lecture on Friday, May 16, 2014, in Volker Hall on the campus of UAB.

Delitto, associate dean for research at the University of Pittsburgh School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences, is recognized around the world for his accomplishments and contributions to the PT profession. His lectureship, titled “Opportunity in the Perfect Storm,” touched on the evolving landscape of Physical Therapy as well as his work with Gossman.

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 UAB Students Spend Spring Break Serving Others

PAs DR Mission 03-springbreakSo what did you do for Spring Break?

Beach? Check.

Exotic destination? Check.

Provide medical services to those in need? Wait, what?

Ten students from the University of Alabama at Birmingham Physician Assistant program travelled to the Dominican Republic for Spring Break. But they did not relax at Playa Rincon or descend the 27 waterfalls of Damajagua. 

They served a medical mission to Juan Dolio which is an hour-long bus ride outside of Santo Domingo.

"Working with the Dominican people living in these underserved villages touched each of us in a different way than we have ever been touched before," said Elisa Cruz, a second-year PA student.

"In one village, there was a teenage boy trying to get our translator to sneak him some multivitamins," said Katie Stone, a second-year PA student who coordinated the mission. "Multivitamins - not Lortab or Percocet or Ativan - multivitamins. Wow! Do we take things for granted or what?! This kid just wanted vitamins."

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UAB Graduates 1st Class of Saudi Arabian Hospital Administrators

Graduation Ceremony-SaudiArabiaA joint partnership between the University of Alabama at Birmingham Department of Health Services Administration and the King Fahad Specialist Hospital-Dammam graduated its first class of Saudi Arabian hospital administrators on Saturday, December 21, 2013.

Participating in the Executive Master of Science in Health Administration graduation ceremony, held in Dammam, were Saudi physicians and administrators. The event was attended by UAB School of Health Professions Dean Harold P. Jones, Ph.D., S. Robert Hernandez, DrPH, interim-chair of the HSA department; Leandra Celaya, MSc, assistant director, Executive Doctoral Program in Administration – Health Services; and Daniel K. Mueller, Ph.D., associate professor, HSA department.

"To face the major challenges in the health sector we must build health management systems to keep up with the global systems," said His Excellency, Dr. Mansour Al Hawasi, Deputy Minister for Health Affairs, Ministry of Health, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. "We have prepared and qualified a generation of creative leaders who are able to change the concept of health management and push it towards progress and advancement in the field of health service and hospital administration."

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Panel Led by Garvey Sets Framework to Combat Obesity Epidemic

tim garvey

Calling it the most under-reimbursed major disease in America, two endocrinology societies announced an evidence-based, multidimensional, comprehensive framework to combat the nation’s obesity epidemic today. Meeting in Washington, D.C., the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists and the American College of Endocrinology Consensus Conference of Obesity: Building an Evidence Base for Comprehensive Action laid out a plan of attack. The conference featured obesity thought-leaders representing public and private stakeholders, part of a year’s long effort to identify the myriad issues surrounding the epidemic of obesity and the necessary steps for solving it.

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Rimmer Honored by AAP for Best Paper of 2013
james rimmer Lakeshore
James H. Rimmer, Ph.D., director of the Lakeshore Foundation / UAB Research Collaborative, has been selected to receive the AAP Excellence in Research Writing Award by the Association of Academic Physiatrists and the editorial board of the American Journal of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation. The award, which is given annually to the lead author of the best paper published in the AJPM&R each year, is for Rimmer’s article titled "Telehealth Weight Management Intervention for Adults with Physical Disabilities: A Randomized Controlled Trial."

The article appeared in the December, 2013, issue of AJPM&R. It examined the results of Rimmer’s study on the effects of a remote, telephone-based weight management program for people with physical disabilities. The subjects were studied for nine months and used a web-based telehealth system that he and his team developed referred to as POWERS - Personalized Online Weight and Exercise Response System.

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