Benefits to Postdoctoral Scholars vary according to the type of appointment. Due to IRS restrictions placed on non-taxed fellowships, retirement benefits are not allowed for Postdoc Trainees (Status Code 20). VIVA Health Insurance coverage is provided at no cost to the Postdoc with the option of purchasing the dental and vision portion of the insurance plan. Because of their unique status as “Trainees” who do not receive a salary but rather a stipend, these Postdocs are eligible for student housing.

Postdoc Employees (Status Code 21), because of their employee-employer relationship with the University, receive a salary. They also are provided VIVA Health Insurance coverage paid through the University with the option of purchasing the dental and vision portion of the insurance plan. Status Code 21 postdocs are not eligible for student housing.

Benefits Eligibility Table

Employment Category

Status Code

UAB paid Accidental Death and Dismemberment Insurance

Employee paid Accidental Death and Dismemberment Insurance


Postdoctoral Scholar Trainee





Postdoctoral Scholar Employee











Employment Category

Status Code

TIAA-CREF Retirement

Viva Health Insurance

Dental and Vision Insurance

UAB paid Group Term Life Insurance

Postdoctoral Scholar Trainee






Postdoctoral Scholar Employee



403(b) Plan matched up to 5% of salary




*Individual pays premium

University Paid Benefits

  • Viva Health Insurance - VIVA Health is the health care plan provided for Postdoctoral Trainees (status code 20) and Postdoctoral Employees (status code 21). The premium for either single or family coverage is paid by the University. Coverage under UAB's group health care plan must be elected on either the first day of appointment or the first day of the month following the date of appointment. The Postdoc has 31 days from their starting date to complete hospital insurance forms either by participating in UAB New Hire Orientation or by scheduling an appointment with the Benefits Department. Some form of health insurance coverage is mandatory and proof of insurance is required if the University's health insurance is not elected. VIVA Health also covers medical evacuation and repatriation of remains for International Postdoctoral Scholars.
  • Group Term Life InsuranceProvided at no cost to the employee; varies with salary. (Sponsored)
  • Accidental Death and Dismemberment Insurance - $22,500.00 for accidental death; dismemberment coverage varies. Provided at no cost to the employee. (Sponsored)
  • Long Term Disability Insurance (Salary Continuation) – After a 90-Day waiting period, 66 2/3% monthly salary (not to exceed $10,000.00 per month) for the first 90 days of benefits. After 90 days of continued benefits, plan pays 60% monthly salary (not to exceed $10,000.00 per month). Proved at no cost to the employee. (Sponsored)
  • Retirement Plans Voluntary Retirement Programs
    • 403(b) Plan
    The 403(b) plan is a voluntary, defined-contribution, tax-deferred as well as Roth after-tax plan governed by the Internal Revenue Code 403(b). Eligible employees can choose between both TIAA/CREF and VALIC for investments. Vesting in the 403(b) plan is immediate. The University matches the individual’s contributions up to 5% of gross monthly pay not to exceed the IRS 401(a) annual compensation limit.
    • 457(b) Plan UAB also offers a voluntary, defined-contribution, tax deferred as well as Roth after-tax plan governed by Internal Revenue Code 457(b). Similar to the 403(b) plan, the 457(b) plan offers the same expanded investment options, convenient payroll deductions, pre-tax contributions, and tax-deferred growth through both TIAA-CREF and VALIC. There are no University matching contributions under this plan.

Voluntary Employee Paid Benefits

  • Postdoctoral Met Life Dental Basic Option - Preventive and diagnostic are covered at 90% UCR. Basic services are covered at 90% UCR subject to a $25.00 deductible. The Postdoc will pay a monthly premium for single or family coverage.
  • Postdoctoral Met Life Dental Comprehensive Option - In addition to the basic dental benefits, the comprehensive plan covers major services at 60% UCR subject to the deductible. Orthodontic services are covered at 50% of UCR up to a $1,000.00 per patient lifetime maximum. The Postdoc pays the full monthly premium for single or family coverage.
  • Vision Service Plan (VSP) Vision Plan – The VSP plan offers employees coverage for routine eye exams, lenses and frames, contacts, and discounts for LAKIK eye surgery. The Postdoc pays the full monthly premium for single or for family coverage.
  • Group Universal Life Insurance Coverage - Maximum Coverage – Up to five times your Basic Annual Earnings, not to exceed $1.4 million.Guaranteed Issue - Three (3) times salary, not to exceed $500,000.00 during first 60 days of employment without evidence of insurability. Individual pays full premium. Rates vary based on age.
  • Accidental Death and Dismemberment Insurance - Maximum Coverage – lesser of 10 times your basic annual earnings or $500,000.00. Individual pays full premium. Rates vary based on coverage level.            

Other Benefits

  • Social Security - Taxes and benefits established by the U.S. Government
  • Unemployment Compensation Insurance (paid by the University)
  • On-the-Job Injury/Illness Program(paid by the University)
  • Legacy Community Federal Credit Union Credit Card - The Office of Postdoctoral Education is very happy to announce that the Legacy Community Federal Credit Union will offer the opportunity to obtain a credit card to newly-arrived foreign nationals. A Postdoc should go to either of the locations near UAB – 1400 South 20th Street or 516 South 20th Street to open an account for as little as $25.00. The application requires a social security number, the Letter of Offer showing salary and start date, and another identification such a passport, driver’s license, or US government or military ID.
  • Loan - Another service that the Legacy Community Federal Credit Union can provide for Postdocs is help with unplanned cash flow shortages. A new UAB Postdoc can exhaust their available funds quickly when paying deposits on rent, utilities, etc. and may require a small loan to tide him or her over until they are in the UAB system and receive a paycheck. The Legacy Community Federal Credit Union again can help with this problem. Open an account with them for as little as $25.00, provide an ID as mentioned previously, social security number, Letter of Offer, complete the application and they will begin the process. The Legacy Community Federal Credit Union will not eliminate anyone from their services because of lack of credit history, but will need to know, as all financial institutions do, that an individual’s ability to repay a loan or pay a credit card bill is not hindered from excessive debt. They will need documentation showing salary and have agreed to accept the letter of offer as proof. The application for a loan or credit card will ask about any debt amount owed. After comparison of these two figures, they will determine qualification and notify the applicant about the requested service. For a Foreign National Postdoc acquiring the necessary credit history for a credit card can sometimes take years so we believe that this is a wonderful opportunity for newly arrived Postdocs and are very happy to present this offer to you from the Legacy Community Federal Credit Union.


Vacation Leave- Six months after the effective appointment date, all Postdoctoral Scholars are eligible for ten (10) paid working days per year. Vacation days do not accrue and cannot be carried over from year to year. All requests for vacation leave should be made in writing and must be approved by the direct supervisor. Postdoctoral Scholars and their supervisors are responsible for maintaining appropriate records.

Sick Leave
- Ten (10) paid working days per year. Sick leave should not be used as vacation. Sick days do not accrue and cannot be carried over from year to year.

Maternity/Paternity Leave - Twenty-two (22) paid successive working days immediately following or just prior to birth or adoption of a child. If both spouses are employed as Postdoctoral Scholars, each one is eligible for a consecutive term of maternity/paternity leave. Additional, non-paid leave, following the provisions of the Family Medical Leave Act, must be requested and approved by the supervisor.


Career Counseling - Jami Armbrester, MS, is available by appointment in the OPE office in Shelby 171A to meet with Postdocs and GBS students. Jami is available for one-hour, confidential, one-on-one career counseling. With individualized career counseling, she can help you:

  • Clarify and define your career goals
  • Research and explore career options
  • Identify your strengths and weakness
  • Implement a plan for skills development
  • Develop an effective self-marketing campaign, including job search materials (i.e., CV, resume, cover letter)
  • Prepare for upcoming interviews (academic and industry)

To schedule an appointment with Jami, please contact the UAB Office of Postdoctoral Education, (205) 934-6809 or email .

Health and Wellness Counseling:

The Resource Center – An Employee Assistance/Counseling Service is provided by UAB as a benefit to all employees. All Postdoctoral Scholars are eligible for this confidential service (205) 934-2281.

Campus Counseling - (205) 934-3779, is a non-UAB affiliation, but is open to anyone. It is a non-profit organization that offers front line counseling by appointment. Hours are 8:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. every Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday.

Motorist Assistance Road Services (M.A.R.S.) - Motorist Assistance Road Services “M.A.R.S” is a service provided by Parking Services free of charge. The service is set up to help any employee or student having car trouble on campus.  Services include retrieving keys, jump starting cars, inflating tires, and assisting if you are out of gas.  M.A.R.S. employees are not mechanics, but they will do their very best to assist you and get you on your way. If they are unable to provide assistance then they will help you find someone who can. Telephone number: (205) 975-MARS (975-6277)


OPE Courses

Each year, the UAB Office of Postdoctoral Education sponsors courses in Lab Management (Fall), Grant Writing (Winter), Translational Science (Spring), and Job Skills (Summer). These courses are open to all UAB Postdoctoral Scholars. Please see the OPE website or contact OPE office for more detail about these courses.

Lab Management will introduce every aspect of laboratory management. Throughout the course, participants are expected to write and present a laboratory management plan to the class. This course is open to Postdoctoral Scholars in any discipline. In general, the class meets two hours every week from September to November. Course enrollment is limited to 25 participants.

Grant Writing Course will introduce every aspect of grant writing to Postdoctoral Scholars and will be instructed by successful grant writers. Throughout the course, participants are expected to write a grant application. All grants will be criqued by participating Faculty in a mock study section formal. This course is open to Postdoctoral Scholars in any discipline in which extramural individual fellowship funding is available. In general, the class meets for 2 hours every week over 10 weeks.

Translational Medicine Course for M.D. and Ph.D. Scholars will introduce every aspect of preparing and conducting a clinical and translational science research program, including program design, data analysis, and regulatory requirements. It will be instructed by both physician-scientists and Ph.D. Scientists. Throughout the course, participants will be encouraged to design a pilot clinical and translational project using team-based approach. All projects will be critiqued by participating Faculty. This course is open to M.D. and Ph.D. Postdoctoral Scholars in all disciplines. The class will meet every week for 2 hours a week TBA. Course enrollment is limited to 25 participants.

Job Skills Course will introduce every aspect of preparing for and completing a job search, including career options, preparing CVs and resumes, and interviewing skills. This course is open to Trainees, including Postdoctoral Scholars and senior graduate students, in any discipline. Throughout the course, participants are expected to: 1. Attend each class; 2. Participate in class discussions; and 3. Develop a job search strategy. This class meets for 2 hours each week during the summer TBA. Enrollment is NOT Limited. Class topics will include: Academic and Non-academic Career Options, Preparing CVs and Resumes, and Interviewing and Negotiating Skills.

Professional Development Courses

The Office of Postdoctoral Education encourages Postdoctoral Scholars to take advantage of the many classes and seminars offered through the Professional Development Office. The OPE will pay tuition and fee costs for up to six hours of credit for a Postdoc per year. A complete listing of these courses can be found on the OPE web page at under Career Resources, or by going directly to the Professional Development web page at Regular credit classes as well as additional non-credit classes are available to Postdocs as long as the course will enhance career and professional development for the Postdoc.

All courses to be sponsored by the OPE must be approved prior to registration. Once a course has been decided upon, the Postdoctoral Scholar must contact Linda R. Luck by email at or call (205) 975-7020 for approval. Upon approval to take the course, the Office of Postdoctoral Education will notify the Postdoc of the correct method to register for that particular class

In most cases, OPE will handle your registration. Please send your request with Course Title, Number, and CRN to Linda R. Luck prior to the open registration period to allow time for processing and avoid late fees. ‘

Any request to take addition hours in a calendar year must be approved by OPE prior to registration. Your request, with the rationale for this course as a benefit to your professional development, should be submitted to Dr. Lisa Schwiebert with a copy to Linda R. Luck.

Postdocs in UAB News

  • King crabs threaten Antarctic ecosystem due to warming ocean
    Predators’ arrival could radically alter marine life

    The king crab Paralomis birsteini, photographed on the continental slope off Marguerite Bay, Antarctica, at a depth of 1100 m.King crabs may soon become high-level predators in Antarctic marine ecosystems where they have not played a role in tens of millions of years, according to a new study on which University of Alabama at Birmingham researchers worked in conjunction with the Florida Institute of Technology and other institutions.

    “No Barrier to Emergence of Bathyal King Crabs on the Antarctic Shelf,” published this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, ties the reappearance of these crabs to global warming.

    This study is a continuation of previous work in the field of Antarctic marine ecology done by James McClintock, Ph.D., paper co-author and professor in UAB’s College of Arts and Sciences’ Department of Biology, along with his colleagues.

    “The rising temperature of the ocean west of the Antarctic Peninsula — one of the most rapidly warming places on the planet — should make it possible for king crab populations to move to the shallow continental shelf from their current deep-sea habitat within the next several decades,” said lead author Richard Aronson, Ph.D., professor and head of Florida Tech’s Department of Biological Sciences.

    Researchers found no barriers, such as salinity levels, types of sediments on the seafloor or food resources, to prevent the predatory crustaceans from arriving if the water became warm enough. That arrival would have a huge impact.

    “Because other creatures on the continental shelf have evolved without shell-crushing predators, if the crabs moved in they could radically restructure the ecosystem,” Aronson said.

    Nathaniel B. Palmer in the ice off Marguerite Bay.The study provides initial data and does not by itself prove that crab populations will expand into shallower waters.

    “The only way to test the hypothesis that the crabs are expanding their depth-range is to track their movements through long-term monitoring,” McClintock said.

    In the 2010 to 2011 Antarctic summer, in research funded by the National Science Foundation, the team used an underwater camera sled to document a reproductive population of the crabs for the first time on the continental slope off Marguerite Bay on the western Antarctic Peninsula. That area is only a few hundred meters deeper than the continental shelf where the delicate ecosystem flourishes.

    “The mounting anticipation as the researchers watched the transmissions from the seafloor culminated in a mixture of both satisfaction and unease upon the seeing the first image of a king crab on the Antarctic slope,” said Margaret Amsler, a research assistant and co-author from UAB.

    “The overall effect of the migration of king crabs to shallower waters,” said postdoctoral scientist and study co-author Kathryn Smith of Florida Institute of Technology, “would be to make the unique Antarctic ecosystem much more like ecosystems in other areas of the globe, a process ecologists call biotic homogenization.”

    SeaSled towed vehicle being deployed from the Palmer off Marguerite Bay.Such changes, the researchers concluded, would fundamentally alter the Antarctic seafloor ecosystem and diminish the diversity of marine ecosystems globally.

    The data used in the paper were collected during an expedition to Antarctica run jointly by NSF, the Swedish Polar Research Secretariat and the Swedish Research Council. The expedition included scientists from Florida Tech, UAB, the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, the University of Gothenburg in Sweden and the University of Southampton in the United Kingdom.

    Journalists may access the embargoed paper through EurekAlert. They should register with and request access to PNAS materials. Already registered journalists may request access to PNAS at

    A video version of this news story available by contacting Dena Headlee at or (703) 292-7739.

  • Starting strong in science
    UAB freshman Priya Shah is already a veteran in the lab. In her senior year of high school, she began a tissue-engineering project with UAB researcher Joel Berry, Ph.D., that has led to national honors — and could eventually affect patients worldwide.
    Written by Matt Windsor

    Team science: Shah is working with Joel Berry (left) and Jillian Richter (right) to create a benchtop model of atherosclerosis that could accelerate drug development. Sections of one of the team’s latest bioreactors are visible in the foreground.Priya Shah was looking for a science project. She found much more — an award-winning study, one-on-one mentoring from a veteran researcher and a leading role in a project that could eventually affect millions — all before graduating from high school.

    Shah, now a freshman at UAB and a member of the UAB Honors College’s Science and Technology Honors program, has spent the past year and a half developing a cutting-edge idea in the lab of Joel Berry, Ph.D., an associate professor in the Department of Biomedical Engineering (a joint department of the schools of Engineering and Medicine). Working with Jillian Richter, Ph.D., a postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Anesthesiology and Perioperative Medicine, the team is creating a revolutionary bioreactor — a little black box designed to accelerate the drug development process for treating atherosclerosis, the most common cause of heart disease.

    It’s a rare opportunity for any eager young scientist — one made possible by UAB’s world-class research enterprise, mentoring culture and investment in specialized programs focused on student research. “The opportunities you get here to be part of a research team and to get direct mentoring experience as early as your freshman year are pretty unusual across the country,” said Diane Tucker, Ph.D., director of the SciTech Honors program and a professor in the UAB College of Arts and Sciences Department of Psychology.

    Fearlessness and serendipity

    Last spring, Shah was getting ready for her senior year at the Alabama School of Fine Arts (ASFA). That meant she needed an independent, mentored research project — a graduation requirement for members of ASFA’s math and science track. She knew she wanted to do something in biomedical engineering, but “I also knew from previous experiences that it’s not easy to find someone to take you on,” Shah said. Undaunted, she started looking through the faculty pages on UAB’s Biomedical Engineering department site.

    Berry’s work with vascular stents caught her eye, and she sent him an email. After an initial meeting, Shah asked if he would be willing to mentor her. “He said ‘sure,’ which was shocking,” Shah said with a laugh. “I wasn’t expecting it to go so smoothly.” Berry, who is also associate director of the SciTech Honors program, has extensive experience working with promising young people who are fascinated by science. Impressed with Shah’s intelligence, maturity and “fearlessness” in talking with researchers, he had the perfect project in mind.

    Berry’s research “centers around devices implanted to replace diseased or damaged tissue in the cardiovascular system — vascular stents and tissue-engineered blood vessels,” he explained. He is also working on tissue-engineered models of breast cancer. “These models are developed from established cell lines, but will eventually be developed from cells extracted from individual patients,” Berry said. The cells are grown in a three-dimensional culture and can be kept alive for weeks at a time by a perfusion system, allowing for patient-specific testing to identify the most effective tumor treatments, he says. The engineered breast cancer research is funded by a grant from the Department of Defense. Berry will seek funding from the National Institutes of Health based on Shah’s work with the atherosclerosis project.

    A black box to tackle atherosclerosis

    Berry, who came to UAB from Wake Forest University five years ago, had an idea that combined his two research interests. He wanted to develop a tissue-engineered blood vessel — not a pristine vessel, but one filled with fatty, cholesterol-laden plaques. These are the hallmarks of atherosclerosis, “the No. 1 killer of adults in the Western world,” Berry said. An accurate benchtop model of atherosclerosis, derived from human cells, would give scientists searching for new treatments an ideal testing ground compared with the animal models currently used.

    Image of the perfusion bioreactor system used to culture engineered vascular tissue for the atherosclerosis project. A sample of the engineered tissue is seen at center.

    But Berry, occupied with his other research, hadn’t had time to develop the idea. Richter, also a biomedical engineering graduate of Wake Forest University and postdoctoral fellow at UAB, began investigating the idea with a unique imaging method known as bioluminescence. After Berry and Richter spent some time with Shah, they both realized she was up to the challenge. Shah quickly learned the process of growing cells, how to transfect them with luminescent viruses, which are used to monitor inflammation in the model arteries, and how to image them with a special camera. She also molded the tubes for the centerpiece of the project, the bioreactor: a shoebox-sized device containing three perpendicular, hollow tubes to give the cells a structure to grow on.

    Through repeated experiments, Shah and Richter figured out the best ways to induce and measure inflammation in their model system. “You don’t always have to have positive results, but you hope,” Shah said. When she let herself into the lab on a Saturday in December 2014 and saw that their final proof-of-concept experiment was a success, “I was very excited,” she said. “I texted a picture to Jillian and to all my friends. I met my family for lunch and said, ‘Guys, it worked!’”

    Building blocks of success

    Shah’s efforts have already attracted plenty of attention. She took home a first prize in the Central Alabama Regional Science and Engineering Fair (hosted at UAB), followed by a Best in Show award at the statewide Alabama Science and Engineering Fair. Shah also earned a place in the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair, held in Pittsburgh in May, along with students from more than 75 countries. Discussing her work in front of renowned experts “was exciting and terrifying at the same time,” Shah recalled.

    Shah was accepted into schools around the country; but UAB’s Biomedical Engineering and Honors programs, and the connections she had made on campus, clinched the deal for her hometown school. “I had two wonderful mentors, and I’ve been exposed to UAB for the past few years — it made a lot of sense for me,” she said.

    “She’s demonstrated an aptitude for science, and all of the personal attributes you need to succeed in science — independence of thought and behavior, and curiosity,” Berry said. Shah will continue to develop these attributes in the SciTech program, Tucker adds. “We work with the students throughout their time at UAB, so we can systematically introduce skills and ways of thinking and approaching problems,” Tucker said. That includes specialized training in everything from lab skills and oral presentations to submitting actual formatted NIH proposals for their research. The students also work together to develop communication and leadership skills “that will allow them to be part of teams that are solving complex problems,” Tucker said.

    “Prospective students come and talk to our current students, see what we have to offer, including substantial study abroad and service learning options, and they can visualize themselves being successful here,” Tucker added. “They sense this is a place where they will thrive.”

    Investing in ideas — and people

    As she settles in for her freshman year, Shah will continue to work on the atherosclerosis project in Berry’s lab. The team now includes two other undergraduate biomedical engineering students (and SciTech program members): Nathan Wells and Ethan Downs. “We’re continuing to gather data that we think puts us in a good position to secure grant funding,” Berry said.

    The project has also benefited from a $5,000 investment from the Invention to Innovation (i2i) initiative. This joint collaboration between the School of Engineering and the UAB Collat School of Business, led by business professor Molly Wasko, Ph.D., is designed to support just such high-potential projects. “The benchtop model of atherosclerosis is a great example of the creative work we’re trying to support here at the Collat School of Business through programs such as i2i,” Wasko said. “We believe that students can change the world when given the chance to work collaboratively with discovery scientists and business partners to accelerate science from campus to the community.” The funds have allowed the team to purchase a digital flowmeter and a pressure transducer, which will allow them to verify that their model is producing realistic blood flow and pressures.

    “This is a collaboration between multiple departments and schools at UAB — to develop an exciting project, but also to nurture an extremely bright and promising young scientist,” Berry said.

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UAB Research News

  • UAB study looks to improve medication adherence in African-American glaucoma patients
    African-Americans are at increased risk for glaucoma, and a new UAB study looks to find ways to improve medication adherence in that patient group

    Researchers at the University of Alabama at Birmingham are hoping a telemedicine-based health promotion intervention can improve medication adherence rates among older African-Americans with glaucoma. Glaucoma is the leading cause of irreversible blindness among African-Americans, who are more than three times more likely to develop glaucoma than are Caucasians.

    “Not only are African-Americans at increased risk for glaucoma, studies have shown that they are at increased risk for being nonadherent with medications for glaucoma,” said principal investigator Laura Dreer, Ph.D., associate professor in the Department of Ophthalmology. “Reasons for nonadherence include age-related memory loss, finances and barriers to care.”

    Unchecked, glaucoma can have a serious negative impact on an individual’s quality of life, independence and everyday functioning and can potentially lead to blindness. Standard therapy is the use of pressure-reducing eye drops that can significantly delay or prevent the onset of disease.

    Dreer’s study, funded by the National Eye Institute, is recruiting 240 adult African-Americans with glaucoma to determine whether a culturally relevant behavioral health intervention can improve adherence. The multicomponent intervention includes glaucoma education, motivational interviewing and problem-solving training.

    “Part of the objective is to plant a seed and help these individuals to reach a better understanding of their glaucoma and to realize the importance of taking increased responsibility for their own health behaviors,” Dreer said. “We’ve made great strides in getting people to take charge of their health and wellness in areas such as diabetes, cardiovascular health and nutrition. We believe glaucoma is deserving of the same effort.”

    Standard medication therapy is usually one or two eye drops, once or twice a day. The tool measures how many drops are dispensed at any one time, and records the date and time of dispensation. Patients at UAB’s glaucoma clinic who enroll in the study will use the device for one month. A failure rate of 75 percent or greater will transfer the subject into the full study.

    The study subjects will be divided into two sections. One will receive standard glaucoma therapy, which includes medication, laser treatments, conventional surgery or any combination of these. The second section will receive standard therapy and the telemedicine-based behavioral health intervention.

    Participants will have one in-person visit with the research team at the UAB Callahan Eye Hospital, followed by a weekly phone interaction for six weeks.

    Researchers will employ a self-measuring drug dispensing tool to determine whether patients are adherent or nonadherent with medications. Standard medication therapy is usually one or two eye drops, once or twice a day. The tool measures how many drops are dispensed at any one time, and records the date and time of dispensation. Patients at UAB’s glaucoma clinic who enroll in the study will use the device for one month. A failure rate of 75 percent or greater will transfer the subject into the full study.

    Outcomes will be assessed at three-, seven- and 12-month follow-up visits, by seeing whether glaucoma medication adherence improves in the group getting the intervention.

    “The practical question to be addressed is does a culturally relevant health promotion-based intervention improve glaucoma medication adherence among a high-risk segment of the population,” Dreer said. “Information from this project will be particularly useful for African-Americans with glaucoma, their families and eye care providers.”

  • UAB names vice president for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion
    Dilworth will lead efforts to build upon UAB’s longstanding reputation as one of the most diverse college campuses in the nation.

    Paulette Patterson Dilworth, Ph.D., has been named the University of Alabama at Birmingham’s next vice president for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion after a comprehensive needs assessment and national search.

    Dilworth has 38 years of experience in higher education diversity consulting and training, recruitment, retention, and teaching, and she comes to UAB from Auburn University, where she was assistant vice president for Access and Community Initiatives.

    UAB’s student, faculty and staff population represents more than 100 countries and is consistently ranked among the nation’s most diverse campuses. UAB President Ray L. Watts says diversity is a strategic institutional priority.

    “I look forward to what Dr. Dilworth will do to support diversity as one of our core values and strengths; it is a part of UAB’s very fabric and the guiding force behind our involvement in our community, throughout Alabama and around the globe,” Watts said. “We continue to recruit and retain outstanding students, faculty and staff because of our deeply embedded culture of diversity, equity and inclusion — we want to provide equal opportunities for everyone at UAB to thrive and excel.”

    As vice president, Dilworth will report to the president as a member of the senior administrative team. She will have enterprise-wide responsibility for facilitating strategic initiatives to promote diversity excellence as a fundamental institutional and educational value in campus culture, operations, business practices and programming. Dilworth will also nurture collaborative and engaging relationships with internal and external constituents to provide effective leadership in the coordination of diversity-related programs and initiatives, as well as work across the enterprise to optimize UAB’s decision-making capabilities and inspire the highest standards of performance.

    “This is an incredible opportunity to make a positive impact on diversity, equity and inclusion on a campus already well-known for those values,” Dilworth said. “I enjoyed my visits to campus and meeting the leadership team, as well as many students and employees, and I look forward to working closely with the UAB family to capitalize on the exciting momentum that has been building over many years.”

    The national search was led by a 19-member search committee made up of student, faculty, staff and community leaders and co-chaired by School of Medicine Associate Dean Mona Fouad, MD, professor of Preventive Medicine, and Collat School of Business Dean Eric Jack, Ph.D., Wells Fargo Endowed Chair in Business. Their time and dedication to this process yielded great results.

    “Dean Jack and I are excited to have a visionary like Dr. Dilworth join UAB and know she will be an asset to the leadership team and the Birmingham community,” Fouad said. “The search committee was pleased with the caliber of candidates we reviewed, and the process that took place before the search was invaluable.”

    As vice president, Dilworth will report to the president as a member of the senior administrative team. She will have enterprise-wide responsibility for facilitating strategic initiatives to promote diversity excellence as a fundamental institutional and educational value in campus culture, operations, business practices and programming.

    UAB conducted a comprehensive assessment of the roles and functions of the UAB Office of the Vice President for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion before the search began. The assessment involved faculty and staff representatives of groups and programs that advocate for diversity on campus, members of the Faculty Senate, undergraduate and graduate students, alumni, and senior leadership.

    UAB Chief Human Resources Officer Alesia Jones says it was important that all views were considered in laying the foundation to recruit a leader to this important role.

    “More than 100 stakeholders have participated in these discussions,” Jones said. “We have an amazing opportunity to continue to be a frontrunner in terms of diversity and inclusion, and we worked with the UAB community so the diverse needs of this growing campus can be met.”

    At Auburn, Dilworth remained active in professional, civic and higher-education organizations. She led the Access and Community Initiatives unit of the Office of Diversity and Multicultural Affairs and provided leadership for staff engaged in promoting diversity, equity and inclusion in areas including recruitment, retention and civic involvement. She also developed multicultural programs and services, built and strengthened partnerships on and off campus, and advanced academic support services for students.

    Dilworth has also served as an associate professor in the School of Education at Indiana University–Bloomington, where she was also co-director of Project TEAM, supporting underrepresented groups and first-generation college students in STEM disciplines. Prior to that, Dilworth was at Emory University for 12 years, where she was director of Minority Affairs. A Selma, Alabama, native, she started her career in higher education at Florida A&M University, where she earned an undergraduate degree in political science. Dilworth holds a Master of Art degree in educational research and a Ph.D. in educational studies from Emory University.

    When she begins work at UAB on Jan. 15, 2016, Dilworth will be the second person in the position created in 2003, with Louis Dale, Ph.D., having held the position with distinction since its inception and set to retire after 40 years at UAB.

    For more information on UAB’s Diversity Program, visit  

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