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.The
"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."
Tee Hiett, Ph.D., taught courses related to the use of computers and quantitative methods in health administration at UAB from 1972 until his retirement in 1995. Even after his retirement, Hiett continues to contribute by enhancing the administrative residency matching program as well as the admissions database.
"Graduates always have stories about a couple people who have had a pivotal role in their time as students and Tee is one of the top names you hear around here," said School of Health Professions Dean Harold P. Jones, Ph.D. "He encouraged our students to think about things they would not have thought about otherwise. He was a pioneer in the use of information and data driven decision making in healthcare management."
"The MSHA/MSHI program has been around for nearly 50 years and when I look around at the students and faculty I see a group of people that are at the threshold of jumping into the next 50 years," said Hiett, professor emeritus, Department of Health Services Administration. "And I believe it is contributions like this from Jim and Debbie that will attract and keep good, quality, valuable people for years to come at UAB."
Hiett also served on UAB projects in Saudi Arabia, China, the Republic of Panama, El Salvador and Guatemala. He is a past recipient of a Fulbright Fellowship to work in Buenos Aires, Argentina.
Additional gifts may be added to the scholarship at any time. Contact Katie Adams at firstname.lastname@example.org or 205-996-5469 if you are interested in contributing or would like more information. The scholarship will be awarded annually to a student who demonstrates solid academic accomplishment as well as professional and extracurricular achievement.
The event was held on the 6th floor of the new addition to the School of Health Professions Building. His daughters Lynne Hutton and Deb Hiett Valenti flew in from Los Angeles to attend the ceremony.