Harold Ridgeway is a type ‘A’ kind of guy. “I had my first heart attack when I was 50,” recalled the retired businessman.
He is the type who often worked 16 hours a day during a career owning steel fabricating plants. He made a good living; but the heart attacks, bypass surgeries and ultimately chronic obstructive pulmonary disease — or COPD — caused by 45 years of smoking, have taken their toll.
“I was diagnosed with COPD a few years ago,” said Ridgeway, who is now 76. “I end up in UAB Hospital at least once a year. Something will happen where I can’t breathe.”
Most COPD patients experience frequent exacerbations of their disease that may require hospitalization, says Surya Bhatt, M.D., a pulmonologist at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. And about 20 percent of patients — one in five — will find themselves readmitted to a hospital within 30 days with continued symptoms.
“Hospital readmission is a big problem for patients with COPD,” said Bhatt, an assistant professor in the Division of Pulmonary, Allergy and Critical Care Medicine, part of the Department of Medicine. “Their quality of life goes down, their lung function declines, and many times it does not return to their previous baseline. They are left with considerable limitations in their ability to walk or to do things around the house.”
Bhatt says evidence shows that pulmonary rehabilitation — exercises designed to improve lung function — can help reduce that readmission rate. The trick is getting patients to undertake rehab.
“There are a limited number of pulmonary rehabilitation centers in Alabama, and for many patients, the time and expense of going to rehab is prohibitive,” Bhatt said. “We have to remember that many of these patients are quite debilitated. Some of them can barely get from bed to bathroom.”
|Bhatt, along with exercise physiologist Greg Sanders and respiratory therapist Erica Anderson, hit on the idea of taking rehab to the patient. They devised a research study using smartphone technology to link a rehabbing patient at home with a trained medical professional in their office on UAB’s campus. The two-way interaction provided encouragement, incentive and safety.|
So Bhatt, along with exercise physiologist Greg Sanders and respiratory therapist Erica Anderson, hit on the idea of taking rehab to the patient. They devised a research study using smartphone technology to link a rehabbing patient at home with a trained medical professional in their office on UAB’s campus. The two-way interaction provided encouragement, incentive and safety.
“We prepared an exercise prescription based on the patient’s ability and resources,” Sanders said. “Patients were given a smartphone with certain applications that allowed us to use the phone’s camera to observe them as they exercised while we also monitored their health status by measuring parameters such as blood pressure, heart rate and oxygen saturation.”
For some, the level of exercise was as simple as walking in the home using a chair or table for balance while others had a more vigorous workout. Harold Ridgeway, who has a well-appointed workout room, was one of those. He and the other 13 study subjects worked out under Sanders’ watchful gaze for an hour a day, three days a week, for three months. Ridgeway says Sanders was part safety monitor, part task master and part cheerleader.
“I’d call him up and turn on the video function,” he said. “He’d check my heart rate and other factors, and then I’d start in with the workout. He’d ask questions about how I was feeling and whether I was having any problems. And with him watching, you can’t quit like you could if you were doing it on your own.”
Bhatt is encouraged by the results of the study, funded by the UAB Health System. None of the 14 patients required readmission to a hospital within the first 30 days following discharge from hospital, an improvement over the expected rate of 20 percent. All showed significant improvement in their ability to engage in everyday functions. Bhatt hopes to expand the study — known as the COPD: Get With It Program — and enroll more subjects in the future.
“There are about 12 million patients in the United States who have been diagnosed with COPD and another 12 million who are undiagnosed,” Bhatt said. “About two-thirds of the health care costs of COPD result from hospitalizations, so reducing the number of readmissions could produce a tremendous cost savings.”
Ridgeway responded well to the program. He has continued working out since the conclusion of the study and has increased the frequency and intensity of his workouts.
“I can go longer, I can walk longer, I can exercise longer,” he said. “I can do things outside. I’ve got some horses and I can still ride. I just feel better. I probably feel a lot younger than my 76 years.”
When asked what is next for Harold Ridgeway, he just smiles. “I don’t know,” he said. “Maybe I can make 90.”
University of Alabama at Birmingham’s oldest Homecoming traditions.The top 10 finalists have been announced for one of the
The winners of the 34th annual Mr. and Ms. UAB Scholarship Competition will be announced at UAB’s Hoops on the Haasephalt event set for 7 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 8, on the Campus Green.
Sponsored by the UAB National Alumni Society, the competition recognizes outstanding male and female students on campus who have demonstrated scholastic achievement, leadership, campus and community involvement, and overall enthusiasm for UAB.
The winners of the Mr. and Ms. UAB competition will each receive a $2,500 scholarship and serve as ambassadors of UAB in the coming year. The first alternates will each receive a $1,000 scholarship. Finalists are selected through two rounds of interviews and a student vote, which is held during Homecoming Week.
Emilee Anders, 20, is a junior from Owens Cross Roads majoring in neuroscience. She is in the UAB Honors College’s Experiential Learning Scholar Program and is a member of the Fast Track Master of Public Health program. Anders is a UAB Golden Girl, a University Student Government AssociationCollege of Arts and Sciences senator, and a general chemistry teaching assistant. She is the daughter of Tony Anders and Wendy Anders.
Brystin Arnold, 20, is a junior from Mobile majoring in public health with a global health concentration. She is a recipient of the International Baccalaureate Candidate Scholarship. She is a 2015 orientation leader, a 2015-2016 resident assistant and a member of the Iota Phi Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc. She is the daughter of Wanda Arnold and Arthur Reed.
Allie David, 20, is a sophomore from Vestavia majoring in communications studies with a concentration in broadcasting. David is on the Dean’s list and is vice president of Best Buddies at UAB and a student mentor at the University Academic Success Center. David is DJ Allie D on UAB Student Media’s Blaze Radio. She is the daughter of Larry and Lisa David.
Neena John, 20, is a junior from Collierville, Tennessee, majoring in chemistry. She is a recipient of a Blazer Elite Scholarship, is in the UAB Honors College’s Experiential Learning Scholar Program and is in the Chemistry Scholars Program. She is vice president of operations of Alpha Gamma Delta, director of spirit and traditions for the University Programs Board, and is vice president of recruitment for the College Panhellenic Council. She is the daughter of John Oommen and Susan John.
Tiffany Ann Reed, 20, is a junior from Harvest majoring in early childhood and elementary education. She has been on the President’s list each year at UAB, and this year received the UAB School of Education Stewart Teacher Scholarship Award. She is a UAB Trailblazer, a member of the UAB Student Alumni Society Leadership Team and president of Kappa Delta Epsilon Education Honor Society. She is the daughter of Darrell and Lori Reed.
Piyush Borse, 19, is a junior from Ocean Springs, Mississippi, majoring in neuroscience. He is a member of the UAB Honors College’s University Honors Program and the CAS Undergraduate Neuroscience Program. He is a UAB Ambassador, Trailblazer and Goin’ Green Orientation leader. He is the son of Sandesh and Sunita Borse.
Allen Mao, 20, is a junior from Florence majoring in chemistry, with a biochemistry concentration. He is a recipient of UAB’s Presidential Scholarship, is in the UAB Honors College’s Experiential Learning Scholar Program and is a member of Alpha Lambda Delta Honor Society. He is a teaching assistant for the Chemistry Scholars Program, a member of Tau Kappa Epsilon and executive secretary for the Interfraternity Council. He is the son of Vivian Mao.
Chirag Patel, 20, is a junior from Enterprise majoring in biomedical sciences on a pre-med track. He was a Mr. UAB finalist in 2014 and is the recipient of a Student Alumni Society Scholarship. He is executive director of the University Programs Board, president of Pi Kappa Phi and the USGA vice president of finance. Patel is the son of Yogesh and Bharti Patel.
Emmanual Talley, 20, is a junior from Pleasant Grove majoring in accounting. He is vice president of the Iota Nu Chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Inc., which was named 2015 chapter of the year. He was awarded the fraternity’s Education Foundation Scholarship, making him the first person in his chapter’s history to receive this national scholarship. Talley is a student in the UAB Honors College, is a resident assistant and is a brother-at-large for the Eta Beta Chapter of Phi Sigma Pi Honors Fraternity Inc. He is the son of Debra Talley and David Talley III.
Eli Ussery, 19, is a sophomore from Columbus, Georgia, majoring in industrial distribution. He is a pre-med student in the UAB Honors College. He was awarded Orientation Leader of the Year and is a recipient of the Charles and Patsy Collat Endowed Scholarship. Ussery is a member of Phi Gamma Delta Fraternity and the Catholic Student Association. He is the son of Brent and Gina Ussery.
Community Engagement Institute enjoyed an overflow crowd for the daylong education and training event designed to benefit both community and academic partners.The second annual
The event, held Oct. 2 at the Birmingham-Jefferson Convention Complex, was organized by the University of Alabama at Birmingham Center for Clinical and Translational Science’s One Great Community Council and the UAB Center for the Study of Community Health’s Jefferson County Community Participation Board.
Author and physician Sampson Davis, M.D., addressed the more than 250 individuals in attendance about the importance of family and community support in cultivating personal success. Davis returned to his hometown of Newark, New Jersey, after graduating from medical school where he and two of his high school friends — who also became doctors — started an organization called The Three Doctors. Their goal is to spread the word of health, education and youth mentoring, and become “the Michael Jordan of education,” so that learning becomes a glamorized trend throughout all communities.
In the afternoon, Al Richmond, MSW, executive director, Community-Campus Partnerships for Health, shared some of what he has learned in his more than 25 years in a career that uniquely blends social work and public health to address racial and ethnic health disparities.
“This event is setting the stage for enhanced community engagement, for learning about what people can do in their own communities, as well as displaying the diversity of resources available at UAB,” Richmond said.
This year’s CEI event was free to the public, and attendance more than doubled from last year. Attendees represented members of more than 100 Greater Birmingham faith-based organizations, universities, government and nonprofit agencies, local and state health department representatives, community organizers, city and county officials, and representatives from the National Institutes of Health and the Environmental Protection Agency.
|The CEI’s breakout sessions touched on three topics: activism, advocacy and community organizing; structural racism and community health; and ways to fully involve communities in collaborative research.|
The CEI’s breakout sessions touched on three topics: activism, advocacy and community organizing; structural racism and community health; and ways to fully involve communities in collaborative research.
New this year, the CEI poster session featured more than 30 posters on a diverse array of public health topics, including domestic violence and HIV awareness and prevention programs, and other projects dedicated to tackling tough local public health issues. Event attendees were encouraged to network and receive a directory of all attendees’ names to facilitate future collaborations.
Max Michael, M.D., dean of the UAB School of Public Health, emphasized the importance of working to foster collaborations between higher education institutions and their larger communities.
“The momentum for this event continues to grow,” Michael said, “and reflects the desire by our Greater Birmingham community members from a broad range of organizations to have a platform to engage in meaningful conversations about how we can improve our communities’ public health.”
“We continue to be encouraged by the response to this important event, which highlights the deep knowledge, experience and talent in our communities,” said Shauntice Allen, Ph.D., director of One Great Community. “We plan to harness the momentum the CEI generates to work toward achieving, and maintaining, improved health outcomes for our community as a whole.”
Videos of Davis’ and Richmond’s talks, as well as photos of the event, are available on the CEI website, www.uab.edu/ccts/cei.