gillihan_kerry1After working 18 years for Kentucky’s largest post acute health care system, Kerry Gillihan retired from his job as the president and CEO of the Cardinal Hill Healthcare System in January. He may be retired from Cardinal Hill, but after spending 32 years in the field he says he’s not done quite yet.

"I would like to move back to the general acute care side of medicine, and help the country meet the challenges of healthcare reform," said Kerry. "Armed with new knowledge from my doctoral studies, I hope to continue  making a difference in healthcare services delivery."

Kerry’s even going back to school. He is currently enrolled in the UAB executive doctoral program in health services administration. He earned his master’s degree from UAB’s health administration.

“UAB has developed an outstanding reputation of health care services administration, and has produced some of the country’s most influential CEOs,” said Kerry. “Their continued commitment to graduate and post graduate education with innovative programs is impressive. For example, the executive doctoral program, and the number of other distance learning initiatives serve as a great indicator of UAB’s creativity and passion for higher and more convenient education.”

While Kerry is just beginning his new chapter in his life, he’ll certainly be remembered for his mark on the health care industry working in the general acute care sector and also the post acute care space. He helped build a new regional medical center in Appalachian Kentucky, along with a RN school, with much needed technology and services. Kerry also took a small entity and developed the largest, most diverse physical medicine and rehabilitation network in Kentucky encompassing five facilities in four locations across the state.

Kerry knows his decisions over the years have an impact on the community and hopes students keep that in mind.

“You are a student today, but later you will be the leadership of the health care profession, and we will all be depending on you to make good decisions.”

Betty_DentonBetty Denton has seen a lot of changes in UAB’s department of physical therapy in the last 40 years. When she was going through the program, physical therapy was fairly new with a class size of nine and a bachelor’s degree. Today there are more than 110 students in the doctoral program. At the time she graduated in 1969, the degrees were granted from the University of Alabama since UAB didn’t exist yet; however, her last two years were taught in Birmingham at was then known as the UA Medical Center.

In 1973, Betty received her master’s degree in education from UAB. She became a clinical faculty member in PT and retired as a full-time faculty member in November 2005. Since then she has continued to consult with a federally-funded training grant through the U.S. Department of Education. Working with the UAB faculty in the school of education and department of occupational therapy, they are providing training for students in a variety of disciplines who work with infants and young children with special needs and their family.

Over the years, Betty has seen the industry change from a new concept to a universal discipline. Betty says there are now eight recognized areas of specialty certification within the profession. Thanks to her contributions to the program, Betty received the”Department of PT Distinguished Alumni” award in December. She says she’s proud to be associated with the program and has a word of advice to those soon-to-be graduates.

“The program at UAB has had a long history of highly qualified professionals who are recognized leaders in the field,” said Betty. “You have a responsibility to uphold that quality in all that you do. Be generous in giving of yourselves to your patients, your community, your profession, and to your alma mater. Be a guide and mentor for those who are interested in the field.”