Goal IV: Service to Community and State
We will partner with our community and state to improve education, health, quality of life and economic development.
Rationale and Readiness
- In the most recent National Report Card on Higher Education, Alabama received a “D-plus” in both preparing students for college and providing access to higher education.
- 25% of new teachers in high-poverty school districts in Birmingham leave their positions within three years.
- Unemployment among college graduates is 4.6% versus 9.7% for those who only finished high school.
- The U.S. unemployment rate is 9.6%. Of Alabama’s 67 counties, 22 are between 9.2% and 11.6%, and another 22 are at or above 11.7%.
With UAB’s continued record enrollments, 84% of all those enrolled in fall 2010 are from Alabama. UAB is graduating ever more skilled professionals for our state. The university is also partnering with K-12 to better prepare students for college and provide a larger, more qualified workforce. A particular focus is inner city-schools, where drop-out rates are highest. Our Center for Urban Education is equipping inner-city school teachers with innovative strategies and skills geared specifically for urban classrooms. The Center has trained 80 teachers who are now working in high-needs schools in three partnering Birmingham school systems. The Greater Birmingham Math Partnership, a collaboration among UAB, Birmingham-Southern College and seven area school districts, has been awarded some $12 million from NSF since 2004 to provide professional development for middle-school math teachers. To date the program has trained 1,402 area teachers.
- 34% of Americans adults are obese, as are 50% of African-American women. Alabama is the second- most obese state in the country.
- African-American women are more likely than white women to get breast cancer before age 40—and more likely to die from it than white women. African-Americans are more than twice as likely to have a stroke as whites, and in the Southeast’s “Stroke Belt,” the stroke rate is 12% higher than the rest of the nation.
- By 2015 those age 65 and older will number 44.5 million, and by 2025, 60 million, nearly one in five in our population, increasing the need for more medical care aimed at seniors.
- Alabama’s infant mortality is lower than ever (8.2), but most recent rankings still have the state 49th nationally.
UAB is working to reduce health disparities throughout the state with innovative community-based programs. With some $69 million in federal funding, the Minority Health and Health Disparities Research Center has trained more than 500 Community Health Advisors in Birmingham and the Black Belt, provided health screenings to more than 5,600, and significantly reduced health disparities among lower-income women at higher risk for breast cancer. The Center also initiated a fitness campaign that enrolled 1,800 walkers throughout rural Alabama and the Mississippi Delta and a childhood obesity program reaching more than 500 children in eight Birmingham-area schools. The School of Public Health’s Reasons for Geographic and Racial Differences in Stroke (REGARDS) study is investigating ethnic and geographic stroke disparities with a cohort of some 30,200 throughout the United States. Through the School of Medicine’s Equal Access Birmingham program, faculty and students volunteer at Avondale’s M-Power Clinic and treat some 675 indigent patients annually. The schools of Dentistry and Optometry conduct thousands of free screenings annually, and UAB Hospital provides some $300 million each year in uncompensated care.
On its campus, UAB is providing the highest quality healthcare with unique services and technologies: The only NCI-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center in Alabama and a six-state region, the only level 1 adult trauma center and the only burn center in the state, and the only True Beam accelerator in the Southeast. UAB is also home to the state’s only level 3 (highest level) regional neonatal ICU and opened the new Women & Infants Center in early 2010.UAB Hospital is the largest in the state, treating more than 42,000 patients last year, and the only Alabama hospital to be listed 21 straight years in U.S. News “America’s Best Hospitals,” which recognizes only 3% of hospitals nationwide. UAB Health System saw almost 1.2 million patients last year. More than two-thirds of all the Alabama physicians listed in Best Doctors in America practice at UAB. The School of Medicine has produced nearly 75% of Alabama-trained physicians.
UAB is also addressing the growing medical needs of seniors. The School of Medicine’s curriculum change includes a new focus on geriatrics, nursing students hone geriatric training in a simulation lab, optometry students address age-related vision loss issues, and dentistry students do rotations through nursing homes. Our sociology and social work department is conducting a five-year, $1.9 million National Institute on Aging grant to study how computer use and social media networking can enhance the quality of life of seniors.
- “The arts are a key industry in the U.S. economy, creating jobs, contributing to the vitality of our communities, uplifting the spirits of our nation, and helping to develop the creative and innovative workforce needed to remain globally competitive.” Albert Chao, president and CEO, Westlake Chemical, member of the Business Committee of Americans for the Arts.
- America’s nonprofit arts industry generates $166.2 billion in economic activity every year, resulting in $29.6 billion in federal, state, and local tax revenues.
- In Alabama, Jefferson County’s nonprofit arts industry generates $125.4 million in economic activity annually, including more than 3,600 fulltime-equivalent jobs, $4.1 million in local government tax revenues and $4.7 million in state government tax revenues.
UAB’s Alys Stephens Center remains Birmingham’s home for the performing arts, hosting some 330 performances in 2009. The ASC is also home to a theatre department that performs some 140 educational and cultural productions annually at venues state-wide, as well a music department that is Alabama’s first “All-Steinway School” (one of only 100 in the world). In fall 2009 the ASC began expanding its highly successful “Arts Alive” outreach programming with a $5 million gift.
As part of our growing “Cultural District,” we opened in 2008 an intimate, outdoor courtyard for concerts and receptions. Plans are under way for a much-anticipated Institute for the Visual Arts.
By providing arts and humanities programming—and by graduating upwards of 3,500 students per year in all fields—UAB is helping create a more informed, culturally literate, and civically responsible citizenry for Alabama.
- In a survey of global firms planning to build new R&D facilities, 77% say they will build in China or India.
- Alabama is tied for 32nd nationally in venture capital funding, with just seven deals worth $43.1 million, lagging behind North Carolina (33 deals, $337.5 million), Florida (34 deals, $262.3 million) and Georgia (49 deals, $331 million).
- Demand for “critical language” degrees is growing quickly. Employment of interpreters and translators is projected to increase 22% over the 2008–18 decade, which is much faster than the average for all occupations.
UAB’s impact on its community and state is evident not only in improved healthcare, education and quality of life, but in a stronger economy. As Alabama’s largest single employer, UAB has more than 18,000 employees, and based on a 2007 economic impact study, is responsible for over 56,000 jobs and an annual economic impact of $3.6 billion. A new study on 2010 impact will be released later this year.
UAB is incubating start-ups that attract considerable venture capital with the previously mentioned Research Foundation and Innovation Depot, as well as attracting successful businesses to Birmingham with unique resources and services. The recently opened Materials Processing and Development (MPAD) facility is the largest academic research facility of its kind in the country and offers the rare capability of developing both composites and metals under one roof. UAB also is helping struggling businesses to thrive and compete; the Program in Business and Service-Learning partners business students with inner-city businesses to provide needed resources and expertise in marketing, accounting, and business planning.
UAB also is training students for lucrative emerging fields, such as critical languages. An international studies major recently won William Jefferson Clinton Scholarship to study Arabic language and culture at American University in Dubai, and three students won Department of State Critical Language Scholarships for study in the Middle East and India. Another student majoring in finance and minoring in Arabic language won the Rotary Ambassadorial Scholarship (the second UAB student to win this competitive scholarship in three years) to study international finance in Cairo.
Strengthening Our Impact
- Maximize UAB’s economic impact.
- Foster an entrepreneurial climate and a portfolio of faculty expertise that assists in attracting businesses to our region.
- Provide intellectual capital to help our region thrive in a global, knowledge economy.
- Make UAB the preferred academic medical center of the 21st century.
- Improve health in our community and state, especially for the underserved.
- Foster a thriving arts and cultural district for the community
See the Service to Community and State Scorecard.