UAB School of Health Professions Current News

2015 Faculty and Staff Awards

The UAB School of Health Professions held the annual Faculty and Staff Awards Luncheon on Monday, March 2, 2015, at the UAB Alumni House. In addition to highlighting each of the winners, we are including a link to the copy of the introduction made by each presenter. The winners are:

SHP Faculty Staff Award WinnersStanding L/R: Foster, Demark-Wahnefried
Seated L/R: Brown, Graham, Slovensky
Cecilia Graham, Ph.D.: The Joseph F. Volker Award for the regular, full-time faculty member who has demonstrated excellence in and dedication to teaching, distinctive research and other scholarly endeavors, and/or notable service to the School, University and community. She was presented by David Morris, Ph.D.

Wendy Demark-Wahnefried, Ph.D.: The Excellence in Scholarship Award for the faculty member has made significant scholarly contributions resulting in the advancement of knowledge. Contributions include funded research, involvement in research process, publications in peer reviewed journals and more. She was presented by Paula Chandler-Laney, Ph.D.

Donna Slovensky, Ph.D.: The Excellence in Service Award for faculty member who has made significant contributions to the School or their profession including projects and positions that bring national, state or local recognition and more. She was presented by Christy Lemak, Ph.D.

Michelle Brown, MS, MLS(ASCP)SBB: The Excellence in Teaching Award for faculty member who exhibited success in developing effective teaching methods, courses and teaching materials that generate student learning, critical thinking, problem solving, collaboration and research. She was presented by Tino Unlap, Ph.D.

Mary Foster: The Beverly W. Smith Outstanding Employee Award for a non-faculty employee who excels in numerous areas such as professionalism, attitude, productivity, efficiency, creativity, communication and competence. She was presented by Cathy Jones.

Visit our Flickr page ( to see all the photos from the day.

PA student Carl Frizell earns national scholarship

Carl FrizellPA Student Carl Frizell
Nelson Memorial Scholarship Winner
Carl Frizell, a UAB Physician Assistant student, is awarded the Ron Nelson Memorial Scholarship from the Physician Assistant Foundation. The $2,000 award is given annually to students “who plan to advance healthcare delivery in rural areas” and that is a cause that is close to Frizell’s heart.

“Being a resident of Holmes County, Mississippi, one of the poorest counties in the nation and currently the poorest county in the state of Mississippi, has led me to become a future Physician Assistant who plans to become an impactful healthcare provider, especially in rural communities,” said Frizell, who is scheduled to graduate in December 2015.

The PA Foundation, which has awarded more than $1 million in scholarships to students, said they received more than 1,200 applications and only awarded 38 scholarships.


Record 38 teams compete at Health Administration Case Competition

HSA Case 02Eventual winner UNC - Chapel Hill presents at
2015 Case Competition
A record 38 universities, including more than 200 students, from across the United States and Canada competed in the 9th annual Health Administration Case Competition. The winning team, for a record third year in a row, was University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. The UAB team, consisting of Greg Beliles, Sydney Davis and Sarah Hughes who are all students in the UAB Master of Science in Healthcare Administration program, reached the semi-final round.

The event, held at the Hyatt Regency Birmingham Wynfrey Hotel on February 26 - 27, was hosted by the UAB Department of Health Services Administration and UAB Health System.

The Case Competition takes a real-life problem, in this case it was determining the need to build a comprehensive respiratory center, and asks graduate students from programs accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Management Education) (CAHME) to best solve the problem. At the two-day competition, the students present their case to leaders from the healthcare industry in multiple rounds.


AHA president and CEO delivers 11th annual Jordan Lecture

Richard J. Umbdenstock, FACHERichard J. Umbdenstock, FACHE, delivers Jordan LectureRichard J. Umbdenstock, FACHE, president and chief executive officer of the American Hospital Association, delivered the 11th annual L.R. (Rush) Jordan Distinguished Lecture to a crowd of hospital administrators and UAB School of Health Professions alumni and students.

He opened by saying, “Mr. Jordan’s work in integrated healthcare was visionary and his contributions to healthcare leadership education were legendary.”

He then addressed the students from across the country in attendance for the Health Administration Case Competition.

“The passion for collaboration you are showing just by showing up tells me that you are already owning a critical leadership skill,” said Umbdenstock who recently received the American College of Healthcare Executives 2015 Gold Medal Award. “This is so much more of a team sport today than it has ever been, and it will be going forward.”


Changing Environment Calls for Changing Curricula

*This story was written by Jenn Waters and originally appeared in the Combined Sections Meeting of the American Physical Therapy Association 2015 E-DITION - our thanks to everyone for generously allowing us to share.

Cecilia Graham, Ph.D., Cerasoli LecturerCecilia Graham, Ph.D., (center) Cerasoli LecturerA concept-based approach to physical therapy education was the message delivered by Cecilia Graham, PT, PhD, during the 18th annual Pauline Cerasoli Lecture on February 6.

“A picture of the physical therapist of the future is emerging,” Graham said. “We envision movement system experts who are leaders, innovators, collaborators, and entrepreneurs who can synthesize rapidly changing information, integrate advances in technology into practice, and have the flexibility to thrive in an evolving health care environment.”

Her vision results in the creation of an exciting but challenging opportunity for educators to prepare future physical therapists and physical therapist assistants.

“I decided the time was right to begin a dialogue about future curriculum models in physical therapy,” she said. “I want to help stimulate discussion about what education models would be good [for the profession].”

She asked attendees to think about their experiences as students or clinical educators. “What aspects stuck with you the most? What made some experiences more meaningful than others?”

Graham then identified different factors that affect the need for curricular change. One factor is the information explosion.


OT students help Firehouse Shelter clients earn jobs

FirehouseUAB OT helps at The FirehouseIt sounded out of the ordinary. UAB Occupational Therapy students spent a day at the Firehouse Shelter, a men’s homeless shelter in Birmingham, working on client’s resumes.

We’ve seen UAB OT students build chairs for disabled children in Uganda. We’ve seen them create affordable solutions for people suffering from injury. But editing resumes?

“Ultimately Occupational Therapy is about helping people reach independence and reach their goals,” said Sarah Tucker, MS, OTR/L, assistant professor in the UAB School of Health Professions. “So helping with resumes is just another example of what OTs do - we help people with life skills.”


ASCP names Michelle Brown Southeast Region Member of the Year

Michelle BrownMichelle Brown, MS, MLS (ASCP) SBB
ASCP Southeast Member of the Year
University of Alabama at Birmingham assistant professor Michelle Brown, MS, MLS (ASCP) SBB, has been named 2014 Member of the Year, Southeast Region, by the American Society for Clinical Pathology. She is one of only six in the U.S. to be honored by ASCP.

“Ms. Brown’s energy and enthusiasm for the laboratory profession has led her to be called a ‘cheerleader’ of Medical Laboratory Science,” said Lynnette Chakkaphak, MS, MT (ASCP), member of the ASCP Board of Governors. “She shares this enthusiasm with her students, encouraging them to become laboratory leaders and active members of the healthcare team.”

“ASCP is an organization that provides leadership and a strong, cohesive voice for the entire laboratory medicine team,” said Brown who is also the clinical education coordinator in the UAB Clinical Laboratory Science program. “I am honored to be recognized for enhancing the field of Medical Laboratory Science and it is a pleasure to be able to serve the members of ASCP.”


Health Care Management's online program ranked #1

Story originally appeared in UAB News

The online Bachelor of Science in Health Care Management degree program offered by the School of Health Professions at the University of Alabama at Birmingham has been named the best in the nation by, an independent resourcefor campus and online education. ranked programs based on academic excellence, types of available classes, faculty strength, rankings and reputation.

awards“Our mission is to develop leaders to shape tomorrow’s health care, and our excellent undergraduate program is an essential part of achieving that mission,” said Christy Lemak, Ph.D., professor and chair of the Department of Health Services Administration. “We take pride in our ability to provide degree completion for students who began in other health-related professions and offer the online format for individuals seeking health care management education from around the state, nation and world.”

“This ranking is recognition of our program’s strengths and will aid in attracting high-performing students, which in turn will have a profound impact on our efforts to prepare the next generation of health care leaders,” said Pamela Paustian, Ph.D., the program’s director. “Many undergraduate alumni continue their graduate education in the health professions, and ultimately this ranking may enhance the breadth and depth of UAB’s impact on health care locally, nationally and internationally.” 


Weech-Maldonado awarded $1.25 million grant for “high-Medicaid” nursing home research

robert maldonadoRobert Weech-Maldonado, Ph.D.Researchers from the University of Alabama at BirminghamSchool of Health Professions have been awarded $1.25 million by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality to better understand the management and market factors associated with high performance among nursing homes that have a high proportion, 85 percent or greater, of Medicaid residents.

Robert Weech-Maldonado, Ph.D., professor and L.R. Jordan Chair of the Department of Health Services Administration, says this five-year R01 grant is for a mixed-methods analysis — using both quantitative and qualitative studies — to study high-Medicaid-resident nursing homes and identify evidence-based, best management practices.

“Nobody has taken a mixed-methods look at why some high-Medicaid nursing homes perform well and others do not,” Weech-Maldonado said. “This grant will enable us to gather quantitative data, such as surveys of management, and find patterns. Following that, we will use qualitative methods, such as interviewing staff, to reveal the complete story about what is really happening inside nursing homes across the United States.”