The Birmingham Business Journal’s award recognizes UAB’s next generation of leaders for their efforts in health care policy and strategic planning.
Melissa Mancini, left, and Henna BudhwaniThe Birmingham Business Journal has recognized the University of Alabama at Birmingham’s School of Public Health Assistant Professor Henna Budhwani, Ph.D., and UAB Medicine’s Director of Strategy and Business Development Melissa Mancini as in its Top 40 Under 40 Class of 2016.
Each year, the BBJ recognizes talented professionals under 40 who contribute to Birmingham’s economic development, community advancement and the success of the company for which they work.
Budhwani, assistant professor in the Department of Health Care Organization and Policy and deputy director of the Sparkman Center for Global Health, works nationally and internationally to improve health outcomes in vulnerable populations through research and public health practice.
Budhwani’s research agenda focuses on health disparities with an emphasis on vulnerable populations – specifically immigrants and minorities in the United States, as well as women and youth abroad. She has active projects in Jamaica and the Dominican Republic in the area of HIV reduction in adolescents and youth. Over the past decade, Budhwani has worked or volunteered in Syria, Nepal, UAE, India, Tanzania and Kenya. She has supported research studies and implementation projects in Tajikistan, Pakistan and Afghanistan.
Budhwani is heavily engaged in the local community. She served as a panelist during Birmingham’s Empowerment Week in 2014 on the topic of persistent discrimination against racial and ethnic minorities, and she spoke about the experience of American-born ethnic minorities at the White House-sponsored Asian American Pacific Islander Youth Summit in 2015. Budhwani is a member of the March of Dimes Chapter NICU Action Committee, was on the Board of Trustees for the Alabama Waldorf School, is a patron of the Birmingham Museum of Art Indian Cultural Society, worked as a crisis-helpline volunteer, is a contributor to The Huffington Post and has been active in the media speaking on challenges affecting the global community.
Prior to joining UAB in 2012, Budhwani worked at BlueCross BlueShield of Alabama and its subsidiary Cahaba Safeguard Administrators as senior statistician, evaluating health outcomes and program effectiveness, as well as identifying fraud, waste and abuse for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. She was also the chief operations officer of elixir international, a technology firm dedicated to providing custom software solutions to enterprise clients.
Melissa Mancini has been involved with a number of initiatives at UAB Health System, including providing vision and leadership in conjunction with the launch of UAB eMedicine in 2014. She played an integral role in the facilitation of UAB Medicine’s internal strategic planning process and in the identification and development of key clinical service lines.
Mancini has also been an instrumental part of UAB Medicine’s innovation landscape, helping to lead the development of the UAB Medicine Innovation Board, which serves as an internal venture capital platform for employee ideas and has supported more than 50 projects since its inception.
Mancini earned her Master of Science in Health Administration degree from the University of Alabama at Birmingham and a Bachelor of Music degree in music therapy from Florida State University. She continues to work closely with the UAB School of Health Professions as both a course instructor and an interviewer/alumni member of the admissions board for the Master of Science in Health Administration program. She also serves as a mentor to health administration graduate students and was selected as the MSHA Alumnus of the Year in 2013.
Mancini has a passion for Birmingham, serving the community as a Board member for the American Heart Association, president of the local AHA Young Leaders Board, National Scholarship Committee chair for the Phi Mu Foundation and Executive Committee member for the Feast of St Mark Italian Festival. She has also served as a community running buddy for Girls on the Run, was a founding volunteer for the Greater Birmingham Humane Society Pet Pantry and was a performing member in local community wind ensembles.