Carroll Papajohn, MSHA/MBA programCarroll Papajohn, essay winner, MSHA/MBA programCarroll Papajohn, a graduating senior in the Department of Health Services Administration’s MSHA/MBA program, earns first place and a $1,500 scholarship for his essay titled “Rebuilding Bodies, Restoring Lives.”

READ MORE: Carroll Papajohn's winning essay

The essay contest, sponsored by the UAB School of Health Professions’ Dean’s Office and the Office of Student Success, in conjunction with Mr. Michael E. Stephens, the driving force behind the Lakeshore Foundation, is part of the ongoing “Rebuilding Bodies, Restoring Lives” speaker series.

Anita Smith, veteran journalist and author of ‘Sports Rehabilitation and the Human Spirit’ which captures how Stephens and the Lakeshore Foundation intersected and changed the world of rehabilitation, was chair of the panel that selected the top three finishers.

“I was drawn to Carroll Papajohn’s essay because of the eloquent way he explained how he feels the book will help him in his career as a hospital administrator – inspiring him to, as he himself expressed, ‘focus on patients as a whole, rather than the sum of their illnesses,’” said Smith.

Spencer Hall, 2nd place, MSHA/MBA programSpencer Hall, 2nd place, MSHA/MBA programIn his winning essay, Papajohn also wrote that the book “taught me the necessity of accounting for the spiritual and emotional health of patients, the efficacy of a goal-oriented approach to leadership and motivation, and the importance of evaluating a professional opportunity from an unbiased perspective.”

Second place and a $1,000 scholarship was awarded to Spencer Hall for his essay titled “The Human Spirit." Hall, who is also a graduating senior in the MSHA/MBA program, pointed out in his essay that the Master of Science in Health Administration (MSHA) is the same program Stephens graduated from at UAB.

READ MORE: Spencer Hall's essay

“Michael Stephens was a great example to me of determination. He made the decision to walk despite his neurosurgeon telling him it is likely that he will never walk again,” wrote Hall. “The human spirit truly is a remarkable thing.”

Jason ViceJason Vice, 3rd place, Occupational TherapyJason Vice, a first-year Occupational Therapy student, took third place and a $500 scholarship for his essay titled “Capturing the Spirit of Lakeshore: Five Lessons I’ve Learned Along the Way.”

READ MORE: SHP kicks off books series

Vice’s dad suffered a stroke five years ago and was admitted to Lakeshore Rehabilitation Hospital. That incident led to Vice studying OT and in his essay he refers to Stephens' wondering if he would have found his true calling if not for his accident.

“In the same fashion, I have often questioned where I would be today, if not for my father’s stroke in 2009,” wrote Vice. “I choose to believe that many of us are called to serve others and it often takes a fateful event, such as these, to open our eyes to the paths set before us.”

We give the final word to the winner, Papajohn, who captures a sentiment shared by everyone who submitted an essay for the contest.

“By committing to the principles laid out in this book and allowing the story of Lakeshore to inspire my own actions, I know that I will be a better hospital administrator and - more importantly - person than I otherwise would have become,” wrote Papajohn.

The contest, created by Donna Slovensky, Ph.D., professor and associate dean in the School of Health Professions, was open to UAB students pursuing graduate degrees in Health Administration, Occupational Therapy, Physical Therapy, Physician Assistant Studies, and Rehabilitation Sciences.

They were asked to pen an essay no less than 1,500 words on one of two topics: 1) “The five most important and/or unexpected things you learned from reading ‘Sports Rehabilitation and the Human Spirit’” or 2) “After reading ‘Sports Rehabilitation and the Human Spirit’ I will be a better professional because...”

The “Rebuilding Bodies, Restoring Lives” speaker series kicked off in 2013 with more than 200 students and faculty attending a discussion with Stephens and Smith. Since the opening event, there have been numerous lectures led by faculty and breakout meetings as part of the series.

All participating students received a free copy of the book ‘Sports Rehabilitation and the Human Spirit’ which were generously donated by Stephens.