Graduates of UAB’s Medical Equipment and Supplies Distribution Program are well positioned on a career track that’s experiencing an explosion of growth. The Health Industry Distributors Association (HIDA) estimates 67 percent growth in the health-care industry during the next decade as the country’s baby boomers age.

__hadley_300“People will continue to need health-care, regardless of the economy,” says Thomas DeCarlo, Ph.D., the Ben S. Weil Endowed Chair of the Patsy and Charles Collat Industrial Distribution Program at UAB’s School of Business. “That means demand for medical supply companies’ products will continue to grow, and those companies will seek qualified professionals,” Dr. DeCarlo says. “Our goal in the UAB School of Business is to produce highly qualified, highly specialized graduates with a practical understanding of the equipment and supplies they distribute to the coun­try’s hospitals and doctors.”

UAB’s Medical Equip­ment and Supplies Distribution Program is unique because students are offered un­precedented access to doctors and medical professionals working in the university’s health system, which is ranked in the top 30 nationally for research funding. “Dr. Mark Hadley, a well-respected neurosur­geon and professor of surgery here at UAB, is also a professor in our Medical Equip­ment and Supplies Distribution Program,” Dr. DeCarlo says. “I’m not aware of any other program that offers  professional medical distribution students access to such highly qualified experts from the industry they’ll be work­ing and specializing in after graduation.”

“Students may not need training from a top-rated medical school to thrive in the field of medical supplies distribution, but it helps,” Dr. Hadley says. “I don’t think there’s any paradigm or training program like UAB’s program in the country. This wedding of the medical school and medical center with an established business school is an educational model that I think is very important.”

The program’s health-care industry fo­cus extends beyond its selection of profes­sors and instructors. Career-appropriate classes, including opportunities to observe firsthand as UAB surgeons perform sur­gery, role-plays with physicians in sales settings, and interactions with top medical sales and distribution business executives provide students with direct, real-world experiences. “The demand for these kinds of jobs is so high that interest in this career track is really taking off,” Dr. DeCar­lo says. “We at UAB are dedicated to lead­ing the way in this field. I think the classes we offer reflect that commitment.”