Welcome to SHP Justin Kirk No SignHometown: Jacksonville, Alabama
Program: Doctor of Physical Therapy

SHP: What attracted you to your program?

Justin: I was attracted to the Physical Therapy program because it gives meaning and purpose to my interests and skills. It takes who I am and makes it less about me, and more about bettering others. I think it’s attractive and unique that Physical Therapists get to spend a lot of time with our patients and are given the opportunity to build relationships with them.

SHP: Why did you choose UAB?

Justin: I came to UAB for undergrad because I knew I wanted to be a physical therapist, and my ultimate goal was to go to UAB’s Physical Therapy program. I chose UAB due to its stellar reputation. Now an alumnus and graduate student, I can say I thoroughly love UAB and Birmingham, and I would choose this university and this city over and over again. Both have provided countless opportunities for personal growth and professional development.

SHP: Who inspires you?

Justin: My parents inspire me to work hard and care deeply. My dad has a steadfast work ethic and a humble wisdom. My mom is the most caring, sacrificing person I know. Together they inspire me to be the best I can be, and all I want out of life is to make them proud. I owe everything to my mom and dad.

Welcome to SHP Joshua Rocha No SignHometown: Mobile, Alabama
Program: Master of Science in Occupational Therapy

SHP: What attracted you to your program?

Joshua: The primary thing that attracted me to this field is the unique holistic approach OTs take toward healing. They focus on making individuals functional mentally and physically. These health care professionals use creative thinking to solve problems and improve functionality. They are only limited by their minds.

SHP: Why did you choose UAB?

Joshua: I chose to attend UAB due to the outstanding reputation credited to the health care professionals that have come from this institution.

SHP: Who inspires you?

Joshua: I draw inspiration from my family, and the fact that I am the first person in my family to receive a college degree and pursue a professional degree. I have goals that I have set for myself which motivate me to get up every day and continue to work toward bettering myself.

Welcome to SHP Gigi CarterHometown: Cleveland, Ohio
Program: Master of Science in Nutrition Sciences, Lifestyle Management and Disease Prevention Track


SHP: What attracted you to your program?

Gigi: It was both the Lifestyle/Disease Prevention track as well as being online.

SHP: Why did you choose UAB?

Gigi: UAB has a good reputation in the region.

SHP: Who inspires you?

Gigi: Anyone who practices and spreads a message of kindness. Gandhi and the Dalai Lama are two of my favorites.

SHP: What has been your greatest challenge?

Gigi: Making the decision to give up my six-figure salary to go back to school full-time and pursue my passion.

Welcome to SHP Whitehead No SignDresden Whitehead, Nutrition Sciences LMDP TrackHometown: Born in Heidelberg, Germany; raised in Granite City, Illinois; currently in Argo, Alabama
Program: Master of Science in Nutrition Sciences, Lifestyle Management and Disease Prevention Track

SHP: What attracted you to your program?

Dresden: I first observed the impact food had on disease state after working with the Gastrointestinal Eosinophilic Disease Program (GEDP), a multidisciplinary team at Children’s Hospital of Colorado that treats eosinophilic GI diseases. After seeing what a profound difference diet made in the quality of life of some of the kids treated I knew I wanted to study nutrition more in depth. After researching various programs, this program was the best fit for the background I have and where I hope to take my career in the future.

SHP: Why did you choose UAB?

Dresden: In addition to feeling like this program was a perfect fit for me, majority of my family now lives in Alabama and making the move down here to Alabama was best for both my personal and professional life.

Welcome to SHP Andrew Dees No SignAndrew Dees, Dual MSHA / MSHI programHometown: Hueytown, Alabama
Program: Dual Program Master of Science in Health Administration / Master of Science in Health Informatics

SHP: What attracted you to your program?

Andrew: The MSHA Program is one of the oldest and is consistently ranked as a top 5 program in the country. It is currently ranked 2nd by US News & World Report. The Faculty and staff are truly committed to advancing the next wave of healthcare champions and the alumni network is proof that this program equips healthcare leaders.

SHP:Why did you choose UAB?

Andrew: UAB has a proven record of equipping leaders to positively affect change in healthcare for over 50 years. Its commitment to excellence and a developing the next generation of healthcare professionals is truly a one of a kind experience.

Welcome to SHP Alexis AndersonAlexis Anderson, MSBHSHometown: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Program: Master of Biomedical and Health Sciences

SHP: What attracted you to the MSBHS program?

Alexis: It is my long-term goal to become a physician and I needed a program that would assist in preparing me for the medical school admissions process. My program has just the right tools to do this: a preparatory course for the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT), mock interviews, rigorous courses designed to mimic the demands of the medical school curriculum and a nurturing environment with dedicated leaders who are passionate about my success. These are the main foci that attracted me to my program.

SHP: Why did you choose UAB?

Alexis: While completing the application for my program, I read so much about the institution. I delved into its history and realized that UAB has always been committed to making advances in the STEM field, as we know it today. I decided that here is where I need to be! Also, after visiting UAB for the first time for my interview, I fell in love! Everyone was extremely friendly and welcoming; this definitely solidified my decision.

ashley cannonAshley Cannon, Ph.D.Ashley Cannon, Ph.D., alumna of the UAB School of Health Professions' Genetic Counseling program, and member of the UAB Department of Genetics has been named the 2016 recipient of the prestigious Francis S. Collins Scholars Program Award. 

She was accepted into the Francis S. Collins Scholars Program in Neurofibromatosis Clinical and Translational Research, sponsored by the neurofibromatosis therapeutic acceleration program at Johns Hopkins University.

“Because Ashley Cannon trained in and serves as both a genetic counselor and a neuroscientist, her work embodies the clinician-scientist role typified by Dr. Collins, for whom the program is named in recognition of his contributions to NF research,” said Bruce Korf, M.D., professor and Wayne H. and Sara Crews Finley Chair in Medical Genetics in the Department of Genetics.

Cannon is the first individual in the UAB neurofibromatosis program to have received this significant honor, which is designed to attract the highest level of talent to the field of NF by providing salary and research support to advance rigorous clinical translational research that will lead to improved treatment options for patients. NF is a genetic disorder that affects one in 3,000 people. The disorder can cause tumors to grow on nerves throughout the body. NF can lead to blindness, bone abnormalities, cancer, deafness, disfigurement, learning disabilities and disabling pain. 

There is no cure and no effective treatment for NF. However, UAB’s role as an international leader in research for all forms of NF has led to pioneering advances in understanding the genetic mechanisms involved, providing patients with access to progressive therapies and leading-edge information.

Nancy White Courtesy Arlington Free ClinicNancy White, PT, DPT, Photo Courtesy Arlington Free ClinicNancy White, PT, DPT, alumna of UAB Physical Therapy in the School of Health Professions, has been named to the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute advisory panel on Assessment of Prevention, Diagnosis and Treatment Options. The PCORI panel identifies and prioritizes critical research questions for possible funding plus provides feedback and advice on evaluating and disseminating the research that is conducted.

Service to physical therapy is nothing new for White. Since 2015, she has served as executive director of the Arlington Free Clinic whose mission is to provide exemplary health care for those in need across Arlington, Virginia. Established in 1994, the Arlington Free Clinic serves about 1,600 patients every year.

Prior to that, White served the American Physical Therapy Association for six years in several roles. She started as associate director for the Department of Practice, then moved to senior director for Practice and Research and last served as executive vice president of Professional Affairs. Before joining APTA in 2009, White was in direct clinical practice and management for 30 years.
On Monday, September 26, 2016, the UAB Department of Occupational Therapy inducted 17 students into the Alpha Beta Chapter of Pi Theta Epsilon. This is the largest Pi Theta class inducted by UAB OT. New members include:

  • 2016 Pi Theta Epsilon ClassUAB OT 2016 Pi Theta Epsilon ClassMandy Arnette
  • Lauren Atkins
  • Leah Baumgartner
  • Kaitlyn Bennett
  • Sarah Brooke
  • Shelby Builta
  • Kristen Crain
  • Elyse Dickens
  • Bailee Ellis
  • Jennie Hood
  • Bailee King
  • Lauren Lambert
  • Bartlee Linton
  • Lauren Malicote
  • Mary McIntyre
  • Jessica Varnadore
  • Lori Williamson