Mark CopeMark Cope, Ph.D., was six months into his Postdoctoral Fellowship in Nutrition and Biostatistics at UAB when Solae, a DuPont Nutrition and Health Company, approached him about a job opening. Unfortunately, they didn’t end up filling the position.

The Warrior, Ala. native continued his fellowship developing animal models of obesity through an F32 National Institute of Health Training Award. He worked closely under David Allison, Ph.D., and Tim Nagy, Ph.D., in the Department of Nutrition Sciences which is where Cope received his doctoral in 2001.

Three years later, Solae called again and this time offered a job. Cope accepted a position as Clinical Nutrition Scientist overseeing weight management and sports nutrition products.

dave BledsoeDavid Bledsoe did what a lot of children do; follow in the footsteps of their parent. In 1986, he became an accountant, just like his Dad, even though he had no passion for it. Then a year later, a life-changing experience happened.

“My sister was badly burned in a house fire and had a lengthy hospital stay in the UAB burn unit,” said Bledsoe. “It was there I met a certified occupational therapy assistant who told me about a developing area of occupational therapy called industrial rehabilitation.”

The seed was planted and he decided not too long after the incident to quit his accounting job to start a career in occupational therapy. However, he never assumed he wouldn’t be accepted into the program at UAB.

Johanna GilstrapAs far as respiratory therapists goes, Johanna Gilstrap has a pretty impressive resume. She is a Lieutenant Commander in the U.S. Public Health Services (USPHS) stationed at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta. In fact, she’s the first respiratory therapist to be commissioned. She serves as the Respiratory Therapy Program Manager within the Office of Safety, Health and Environment.

“Anyone who is required to wear a respirator to protect from airborne contaminants on the job must come through the program for training and fit testing of the respirator(s) prior to initial use and annually thereafter,” said Gilstrap.

Jennifer PerryIn 2000, Jennifer Perry was working as a receptionist/transcriptionist in the Urology Department of Norwood Clinic in Birmingham when she decided she wanted to move into the administration side. Fortunately, she discovered our Health Care Management program offered night and online classes to allow her to continue to work.

“I was able to apply practical knowledge I had learned on my job to my studies at UAB and apply the knowledge I gained at UAB to my work,” said Perry.

Fran WedgeA physical therapist since 1978, Fran Wedge of Joliet, Illinois has always wanted to pursue a higher degree. But family obligations and even self confidence held her back. After staying on her mind for years, she decided to take the plunge getting her master’s degree from the University of Greenwich in London.

“There comes a time when you reflect on what you are doing and you realize that you could be doing more, not only on a personal level, but for your clinical practice and most importantly the patients that you treat,” said Wedge.

She quickly learned how much school had changed over the years.

Kristi CroweA famous quote by Hippocrates fueled Kristi Crowe’s passion to understand the role of bioactive food compounds in maintaining health and mitigating chronic disease. 

“Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food” ― Hippocrates. 

“With my research focus, I am always in pursuit of a better understanding of the truth within this ancient quote,” said Crowe, Ph.D., RD, LD.

Crowe earned her Dietetic Internship in the Department of Nutrition Sciences at UAB in 2010. She has an interesting dual research background in food chemistry and nutrition.

Diane ColemanDiane Coleman had her 15 minutes of fame. The occupational therapist from UAB Highlands Hand Therapy Clinic was on NBC’s Today Show last October. Her patient, Cary Ramey, became a media sensation after a groundbreaking, twelve hour toe-thumb transplant at UAB.  He lost his thumb and half his index finger after a car crash two years prior.

“Meeting someone who refused to give into his disabilities and wanting to move forward to face his challenges to attain independence in all areas of self-care, work and leisure was an inspiration,” said Coleman, a UAB Occupational Therapy alumnus.

Michel Statler headshotIn her field, Michel Statler has done it all. She spent 14 years as a surgical physician assistant working in cardiovascular surgery, ENT and neurosurgery. Then she worked in academia as a faculty member with Physician Assistant (PA) programs at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas and Midwestern University in Glendale, Arizona. She’s now the director of professional affairs and education for the Physician Assistant Education Association.

“I am the first PA and PA educator that they have on staff with the association,” said Statler.