Williams serving in Key WestWilliams serving in Key WestRodgerick Williams, alumnus of the Department of Health Services Administration’s Bachelor of Science in Health Care Management program and Master of Science in Health Administration (Executive), is the winner of the 2017 UAB School of Health Professions’ Alumni Service Award.

The award is given annually to SHP alumni who demonstrate continuing extraordinary service. Williams has done this regularly to UAB as well as the local, state and national level.

“Service is essential to health care leadership and Rodgerick exemplifies service in everything he does,” said Christy Harris Lemak, Ph.D., chair, Department of Health Services Administration. “He is a great role model for current and future students.”


Harold Jones Donna Martin Carleton RiversDonna S. Martin, a 1977 graduate of what was then the UAB Master of Science in Clinical Nutrition/Dietetics program, is the UAB School of Health Professions’ 2017 Distinguished Alumni Award winner. Martin becomes only the 48th person to earn the highest honor awarded to our alumni – a number that is even more impressive when you consider we have more than 18,000 graduates in our history.

“I am so humbled to receive this award, from such a prestigious institution, one that has given me the knowledge and skills to allow me to do something I love,” said Martin, director, Burke County (Georgia) School Nutrition Program and president, Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (AND). “I am so grateful to have a job where I am able to make a difference in the lives of children every day.”

Two School of Health Professions’ faculty members were honored with the UAB Graduate Dean’s Excellence in Mentorship Award. Paula Chandler-Laney, Ph.D., assistant professor in the Department of Nutrition Sciences, and Ferhat Zengul, Ph.D., assistant professor in the Department of Health Services Administration, earned the honor for exceptional work with graduate students and postdoctoral fellows during a ceremony April 2, 2018.

Each was asked what makes mentoring graduate students and postdocs special as well as what they learned.

For Chandler-Laney – the lesson was to keep it upbeat.

“Lead your group with a positive and optimistic attitude. Help your students rephrase their weaknesses and disappointments as opportunities to grow. Model this for them; be honest about the challenges of choosing an academic path, but teach them how to find the training and support they need to overcome any challenges they face.”

CarletonRivers NutritionAwardThe Alabama Dietetic Association (ALDA), an affiliate of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, has named Carleton Rivers, MS, RDN, program director of the UAB School of Health ProfessionsMaster of Science in Nutrition Sciences – Clinical Track – Dietetic Internship program, the Recognized Young Dietitian of the Year. Each year, affiliates of the Academy name a Recognized Young Dietitian to recognize the excellence of dietitians age 35 or younger.

“I am honored to receive the Recognized Young Dietitian of the Year Award from the Alabama Dietetic Association. To be honest, the past two years working as a Dietetic Internship Director at UAB have been the hardest of my life but also the most fulfilling,” said Rivers. “I am grateful that the Lord has entrusted me with the responsibility of training new dietitians and surrounded me with such an amazing team in the Department of Nutrition Sciences. I could not be where I am today without my faith in the Lord and the support of my family and colleagues. I love what I do, so to receive an award for my work is the cherry on top of the cake.”

University of Alabama at BirminghamLaura Q Rogers Professor Laura Q. Rogers, M.D., FACP, FACSM, has been elected to the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) board of trustees in the area of Medicine. Rogers is a faculty member in the School of Health ProfessionsDepartment of Nutrition Sciences.

“ACSM is a remarkable and vibrant organization that is committed to high-quality research, excellent clinical care, and impactful public health strategies focused on improving the health of individuals and populations through exercise,” said Rogers, who in addition to being an ACSM Fellow, is a fellow of the American College of Physicians and is certified as an American Board of Obesity Medicine Diplomat. “My vision for ACSM is to facilitate and advance these aspects of our organization while also focusing on increasing the diversity of our membership and mentoring opportunities.”

Katie Norton Neal SHP Young Alumni Achievement AwardKatie Norton Neal receives SHP Young Alumni Achievement Award from Dr. JonesOn Thursday, March 1, 2018, Katie Norton Neal, alumna of the UAB Master of Science in Occupational Therapy program, received the UAB School of Health Professions’ Young Alumni Achievement Award. The 2014 graduate is the first from the Department of Occupational Therapy to earn the honor.

Less than two years after graduating, Katie, along with her husband Brandon, opened Alabama Pediatric Therapy Services, LLC, to provide occupational, speech and physical therapy to children from birth to 18 years old in Oneonta, Alabama. One year later, they opened a second location in Gadsden. Today, their clinic employs a team of six full-time therapists, three part-time therapists, four PRN therapists, an office manager, two office assistants, a billing coordinator, and a translator to provide high quality therapy services to both communities.

“Being able to provide quality care to children that may otherwise not be able to receive services is a dream come true,” said Neal. “My position allows me to witness the positive impact our services have on the children, as well as the positive impact these children have on us.”

“It is extraordinary to see someone her age that has the vision as well as the skills to see a need for pediatric occupational therapy and then be able to successfully fill that void with a business that is thriving and expanding,” said UAB School of Health Professions Dean Harold P. Jones, Ph.D. “Katie’s passion for children will help her achieve so much for herself, but more importantly, for the families she serves. We all look forward to seeing her grow throughout her occupational therapy career.”

Rick Kilgore PA White Coat CeremonyRick Kilgore at the
UAB PA White Coat Ceremony
University of Alabama at Birmingham’s James “Rick” Kilgore, Ph.D., PA-C, is 1 of only 16 people in the U.S. to be named to the first cohort of the PA (Physician Assistant) Foundation’s Mental Health Outreach Fellows. The program is designed to connect UAB PA’s clinical expertise with their compassion for their community.

“In light of the recent and devastating deaths in schools and businesses it is clear that we have a mental health issue and that many people do not know how to assist those who are in need of help,” said Kilgore, an assistant professor in the UAB School of Health Professions Department of Clinical and Diagnostic Sciences who has been practicing clinical medicine for more than 35 years. “I see this as a great opportunity to address the needs of those who have a mental disorder in our communities but even more so, this will allow us to ensure that there are more people in Birmingham who are better prepared to help and act.”

“I applaud Rick for this honor and his desire to help others because so much can come from this fellowship with its special focus of education in the area of mental health,” said Janelle Chiasera, Ph.D., senior executive associate dean, UAB School of Health Professions, and chair, Department of Clinical and Diagnostic Sciences. “This is an excellent example of how we listen to our community and seek opportunities to pair our strengths with community needs to create timely and innovative solutions to real-world problems.”

Katlyn NorrisKatlyn NorrisKatlyn Norris, a student in the UAB School of Health Professions’ Honors Program and a senior in the B.S. in Biomedical Sciences program (BMD), was one of only five recipients of an AAI Undergraduate Award at the 2017 Autumn Immunology Conference in Chicago, IL.

The award, sponsored by the American Association of Immunologists, is a merit award delivered to the first authors of the top five undergraduate abstracts at the annual conference. Norris earned the honor for her project “Understanding the effects of obesity on immune responses in renal cell carcinoma.”

“As a BMD undergraduate student and SHP Research Honors student, I have had the opportunity to gain phenomenal research experience under Dr. Norian and her mentorship. After becoming a student in Dr. Norian’s lab, I was given the opportunity to collaborate and present on the current clear cell renal cell carcinoma (ccRCC) human subject study in which we sought to investigate the systemic and local effects of obesity on immune populations and specific proteins on ccRCC tumors,” said Norris, who has been accepted to the UAB Physician Assistant Studies program and begins classes in Fall 2018. “Surprisingly, we found that obesity is not driving substantial immunosuppressive changes in subjects with ccRCC tumors as we had hypothesized. After investing in this type of cancer, the obesogenic environment, and the immunologic responses involved in cancer, I plan to continue my research in cancer, and hope to gain future experience in the clinical practice of oncology. I look forward to future career interests in oncology, pediatrics, surgery, and immunology.”

Modern Healthcare GraphicIn crafting Modern Healthcare’s cover story “Racism still a problem in healthcare’s C-suite”, reporter Shelby Livingston spent almost two hours speaking with a diverse group of students from the UAB School of Health ProfessionsExecutive Master of Science in Health Administration program.

The conversation between Livingston and the students who are working as clinicians and leaders in health care from around the country was open and lively, but most of all – it was honest. The students spoke without fear about their personal experiences, in part because they have spent time together in UAB’s cohort model of executive graduate education in health administration and have been learning about leadership together.

“Diversity and inclusion – in particular, assessing our biases and having difficult, often uncomfortable conversations about topics such as race are essential for leaders in health care today,” said Christy Harris Lemak, Ph.D., chair of the Department of Health Services Administration and instructor for the leadership course the students were taking when the Modern Healthcare reporter visited. “This year, the conversation was particularly emotional - for the students of color and other students who realized for the first time the barriers some of their classmates face every day.”