Neeysa BiddleNeeysa Biddle is the first female
to endow an HSA scholarship
Neeysa Biddle, longtime healthcare leader of Ascension and St. Vincent’s Health Services, becomes the first female to endow a scholarship in the UAB School of Health ProfessionsDepartment of Health Services Administration with the establishment of the Neeysa Davis Biddle Endowed Scholarship in Health Administration.

Biddle is a double alumna having earned a B.S. in Allied Health (currently Health Care Management) and an M.S. in Health Administration (MSHA Class 26).

“I have been incredibly fortunate throughout my career to have worked for really great organizations, and one reason for that was the foundation of quality knowledge to navigate and succeed in the healthcare industry that I received at UAB,” said Biddle. “I am delighted to give back to the programs that helped me, and even more so, I feel strongly about helping future generations of health administration students.”

Biddle is a member of the UAB School of Health Professions “Fab 40 Alumni” which recognized the School’s Top 40 alumni in conjunction with the School’s 40th anniversary in 2011. And is an ex-officio member of the SHP Dean’s Advisory Board. She has regularly earned placement in the Birmingham Business Journal’s “Who’s Who in Health Care” list as well as their “Most Influential Executives List.” She previously was also honored as a “Woman of Distinction” by the Girl Scouts of North-Central Alabama.

“Neeysa is a nationally recognized leader in health care and we have been fortunate to have her as a close, trusted advisor for years – well before I arrived here in 2001,” said UAB School of Health Professions Dean Harold P. Jones, Ph.D. “I am not surprised that in retirement she is taking the lead once again and endowing a scholarship that will continue to have a direct impact on our students and in turn a direct impact on the future of health care.”

Biddle is a pioneer and a legend in Birmingham healthcare who served in multiple executive roles for healthcare systems in Birmingham and surrounding communities for more than 25 years, ending her career at STVHS and Ascension in 2011. She retired after serving for nearly seven years as St. Vincent’s executive vice president and chief operating officer and was subsequently named the first director of Ascension’s national Leadership Academy.

She was lured out of retirement to be named CEO of STVHS in 2014 and, at the same time, was named senior vice president for Ascension Health and Birmingham Ministry Market Executive. After completing the restructuring of STVHS, Biddle retired from that position in June 2017, but has not completely stepped away from her role as a healthcare leader.

Biddle believes the biggest challenge facing the next generation of healthcare leaders is to design a new way to deliver health care. She believes the current system is not sustainable and she wants to be an integral part of the new solution. That is why she helped create the Ascension Leadership Academy for the future of that system. And that is why she created the Neeysa Davis Biddle Endowed Scholarship in Health Administration for future UAB students.

“The way health care is delivered and provided today is not sustainable and that is the biggest challenge everyone is facing today,” said Biddle. “The next generation of leaders need to learn how to navigate an ever-changing landscape and how to lead teams in the adoption of new, innovative systems. I know they will receive the educational foundation to do all that at UAB just like I did.”

“Neeysa has always been a supporter of our students and our programs – as a mentor and a preceptor and, importantly, as a role model for future leaders,” said Christy Harris Lemak, Ph.D., chair, Department of Health Services Administration. “She has demonstrated how a first generation college student can reach the highest levels of leadership in our field. Her generosity will provide opportunities like this for future students who have ‘fire in the belly’ motivation and determination to succeed like Neeysa. This gift will make a lasting and influential difference on our ability to develop leaders to shape tomorrow’s health care.”

Biddle’s healthcare career began in high school at the age of 16 when she transcribed X-ray reports at the local hospital after school. She continued her career and the long hours that go with working and studying while she attended UAB. Because of her dedication, passion and commitment, Biddle became the first female in her immediate family to earn a college degree.

The scholarship is an annual award delivered to students who may otherwise be unable to attend the UAB MSHA program. Biddle, who was a non-traditionally older student in the MSHA program, remembers when a professor first talked to her class about endowed scholarships that were available to assist students and that is part of what inspired her to give back today.

“I will never forget how difficult it was to work a job while working on a degree – the pressure on your time, grades and money are only the beginning,” said Biddle. “I am in a position to help alleviate some of that pressure from future students and that is why I created this endowed scholarship. I look forward to meeting the students who earn this award and to watching their careers to witness how they are able to impact the healthcare field.”

She fully understands the importance of higher education, especially with the demands and the uncertainty facing today’s healthcare professionals. Biddle, through her work and her endowed scholarship, is dedicated to supporting future healthcare leaders and their efforts to discover solutions that will ultimately help those who deliver and those who will need health care today and in the future.