The September edition of the American Academy of Physician Assistants Student Academy newsletter featured a first-hand story about the volunteer efforts of some UAB Physician Assistant students. The article, written by second year PA student Amy McCormick, highlights the work done and the lessons learned. Our thanks to Amy for letting us reproduce her article for the SHP website. Here is their story:

McCormick SAAAPA 03Photo Courtesy: Amy McCormickThis summer, the University of Alabama at Birmingham’s Physician Assistant Class of 2014 shifted their focus outside the classroom and into the community by donating time to the Jimmie Hale Mission’s Shepura Men’s Center in Birmingham, AL. The class served six meals to homeless men living at the mission, many recovering from drug and alcohol addiction.

Jones Hiett Shmerling webL/R Dean Jones, Tee Hiett, Debbie and Jim ShmerlingThe University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) School of Health Professions dedicated the Debbie and Jim Shmerling Endowed Scholarship in Honor of Tee Hiett at a special ceremony on Friday, Sept. 20, 2013. The Shmerling’s $25,000 gift created the permanent endowment scholarship which will assist deserving students entering or enrolled in the Master of Science in Health Administration (MSHA) Program with preference shown to applicants formally enrolled in the MSHA/MSHI (Master of Science in Health Informatics) dual degree option.

"Debbie and I have discussed how do we want to give back to the people that helped us the most and Tee was the most influential person on me not only when I was in graduate school but also in my career," said Mr. Shmerling, UAB MSHA alumnus (Class 14) and president and CEO of Children’s Hospital Colorado. "He was one of the most demanding faculty members I had at UAB. It didn't feel so good at the time, but it was a good thing because it was important in terms of discipline."

NMT Cyclotron 2013.09webNMT Class of 2014The Nuclear Medicine Technology class of 2014 was recently given a rare, personal tour of the University of Alabama at BirminghamComprehensive Cancer Center’s newly installed cyclotron.

“There are not that many people that will ever see the cyclotron because once the door is shut it will not open again unless it needs maintenance,” said Breona Thurman, senior NMT student, (pictured right, bottom row, 2nd from right). “I feel very fortunate.”

Sean TinneySean Tinney, alumnus of the UAB Master of Science in Health Administration (MSHA Class 33) program, has been named Medical West's new senior vice president and chief operating officer. He was previously president of rural hospital operations for St. Vincent's Blount, St. Vincent's St. Clair and St. Vincent's East.

Tinney was one of the Birmingham Business Journal's Top 40 under 40 in 2013. The Birmingham native replaces Keith Pennington, who in April was named Medical West president and CEO.

Medical West is an affiliate of the University of Alabama at Birmingham Health System.
WendyDemark WahnefriedWendy Demark-Wahnefried, Ph.D., R.D., professor and Webb Endowed Chair of the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) Department of Nutrition Sciences, is awarded the Distinguished Practice Award by the Oncology Nutrition Dietetic Practice Group (ON DPG) of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. The ON DPG, a national organization with more than 2000 members, does not award this honor each year—only when a nominee exemplifies their mission.

“Dr. Demark-Wahnefried has done wonderful work in the field of prostate cancer and oncology; her presentations, research and speaking engagements made it an easy decision to select her for this award,” said Tricia Cox, R.D., awards chair, ON DPG. “Dr. Demark-Wahnefried has done an excellent job promoting dietitians in oncology and came with the highest of recommendations. She is an asset to our group and we are pleased to have her.”

AOM Weech-Maldonado OConnor FottlerStephen J. O’Connor, Ph.D., a professor in the UAB School of Health Professions Department of Health Services Administration (HSA), was awarded the Myron D. Fottler Exceptional Service Award by the Health Care Management (HCM) Division of the Academy of Management (AOM). This award, considered by many to be the most distinguished award given by the HCM Division, is not an annual award and is given only when a suitable nominee is presented. O’Connor was nominated by HSA colleague Robert Weech-Maldonado, Ph.D.

(pictured left to right: Weech-Maldonado, O'Connor, Fottler)

“Steve is dedicated to service. He is active in teaching and mentoring students, participating in more than 20 doctoral dissertations and nearly 40 master thesis committees,” said Weech-Maldonado, who is the L.R. Jordan Endowed Chair and a professor in HSA. “During my tenure at UAB I have been able to observe first-hand Steve’s collegiality, dedication and pursuit of excellence in everything he does.”

Kilgore Wilson Award webJames R. “Rick” Kilgore, Ph.D., PA-C, director of the Physician Assistant Program in the UAB School of Health Professions, was recently awarded the Gill Rob Wilson Award by the Civil Air Patrol (CAP), the official auxiliary of the United States Air Force. The Wilson Award is presented to senior officers who have dedicated themselves to leadership and personal development in the CAP and have completed Level V training requirements.

Kilgore (pictured right, on the left) is a major in CAP and chief of staff of the Alabama Wing Headquarters based at Maxwell Air Force Base (AFB). As a member of the Alabama Wing staff he is a search and rescue and counter-drug pilot, as well as a health service officer. He has served in senior command or leadership positions for the past five years and recently completed the CAP’s capstone course, the National Staff College, which qualified him for this prestigious award.

Lauren Ashley Mandy OwenThe assignment was simple. Okay, maybe not simple, but definitely basic. Students in the UAB School of Health Profession’s Department of Occupational Therapy class OT 673 were asked to make an assistive device that would help people with an injury or disability.

But there was a catch – the students could only spend five dollars and it had to be constructed from scratch within five minutes. But if the names of their teams were any indication, then The Lollipop Guild, The Pirates of the Health Profession, The Lucky Seven, OTech, WCF+1 and Gandalf’s Gang would find creative ways to beat the clock and potentially help someone beat a challenge they face in life.

GSRD 2013 Johnson HollenbeckJessica Johnson and Dana Hollenbeck, 2013 graduates of the UAB Genetic Counseling Program, took home 2nd and 3rd place honors respectively at the 2013 UAB Graduate Research Day. The two School of Health Professions alumni placed in the category Public Health and Engineering.

Johnson, (pictured on the left) from Homewood, Ala., presented research titled “How to Develop an Educational Tool on Hereditary Breast Cancer for Minorities.” The objective of her work was to discover an effective educational strategy to disseminate hereditary breast cancer information to the African American community. Johnson’s study recommends educators use a personal, interactive approach that conveys the message through established community groups and programs.

Hollenbeck, (pictured on the right) from Decatur, Ala., presented research titled “Contribution of Family History on the Incidence of Spina Bifida.” Her study evaluated the current impact of family history on incidence of spina bifida and found a higher incidence of family history, particularly paternal family history, than what had previously been reported.

The UAB Genetic Counseling Program, located within the Department of Clinical and Diagnostic Sciences, is only three years old and this is the second year in a row that a student placed at the event. Last year, Jamison Beek won first place in the category of Public Health and Social & Behavioral Sciences.