PA Barner 03Jordan Barner, AASPA Scholarship WinnerJordan Barner, a second year UAB Physician Assistant Studies student, is the 2015-2016 winner of the Susan and Tom Lusty Memorial Scholarship from the AASPA (American Association of Surgical Physician Assistant Students). The $1,000 award is given annually to at least one outstanding student working to be a Surgical PA.

In the AASPA newsletter SutureLine, Barner provided this personal statement about the honor and her dreams:

I have often found myself traveling to impoverished countries others dare not go to, studying topics most find too difficult, and working in positions where I interact with people who are in extreme mental and physical anguish.

Many people question why I willingly subject myself to this kind of lifestyle. To me, the answer is simple: I have an insatiable desire to serve those in need and look forward to the day when I can help those that have a surgical need. There is nothing more satisfying or rewarding in life than the giving of one’s self to serve and better the lives of others.

OT Firehouse 01Mention volunteering at a shelter and most people think about serving food. But what about the rest of the day-to-day operations? Or what about the holidays?

After countless hours of volunteering, students in the UAB Department of Occupational Therapy understand that The Firehouse Shelter is much more than a place for people in need to eat. So the students spent a recent day off taking care of little things, like cleaning, and big things, like decorating for the holidays.


“We have a special group of students that recognize there are needs beyond the basics and they want to do more for others,” said Sarah Tucker, MS, OTR/L, assistant professor in the Master of Science in Occupational Therapy program. “Our students are heading home to spend time with families in warm, festive homes and they wanted to provide as similar an atmosphere as possible for the people they have helped all year long.”

UAB SHP Graduation 01On Friday, December 11, 2015, the inaugural UAB School of Health Professions Graduate Professional Programs Hooding Ceremony welcomed 210 students to the UAB alumni family. More than 1,500 family and friends attended the event held at the Sheraton Birmingham Ballroom.


The ceremony included UAB President Ray L. Watts, M.D., UAB Provost Linda Lucas, Ph.D. and UAB Graduate School Dean Lori McMahon, Ph.D. In addition to School of Health Professions Dean Harold P. Jones, Ph.D., the School’s platform party included Macebearer Donna Slovensky, Ph.D., Katie Adams, Peter Anderson, DVM, Ph.D., Janelle Chiasera, Ph.D., Gavin Jenkins, Ph.D., Christy Harris Lemak, Ph.D., Patrick McNees, Ph.D., David Morris, Ph.D., Midge Ray, Ph.D., Tracee Synco, Ph.D., and Melanie Talbot.


In his address to the graduates, President Watts talked about their future and the future of health care.

BBJThe Birmingham Business Journal released it’s “Who’s Who in Health Care for 2015” and nearly 1 in 3 who earned a spot on the list are connected to the UAB School of Health Professions.

The School’s Dean Harold P. Jones, Ph.D., heads a list of 17 people with SHP ties including:

Each year the BBJ recognizes “dozens of the top names in Birmingham’s health care field.” This year, 17 of the 61 entries – 28 percent – have ties to the UAB School of Health Professions.
The UAB School of Health Professions launches a new tradition on Friday, December 11, 2015. The School will confer degrees to graduates of the SHP professional graduate programs at an intimate ceremony one day prior to the university ceremony.


There will be more than 1,500 family and friends in attendance to celebrate with our graduates. However, with students from many different states and many different countries, we understand not everyone can attend in person. To make sure everyone can witness this historic day we are live streaming the ceremony. To watch the SHP Graduate Program Hooding Ceremony live click on this link:


Melissa StockwellMelissa Stockwell, SHP Commencement SpeakerThe private ceremony is open to family and friends of graduates from the School’s Doctor of Physical Therapy, Master of Science in Biotechnology, Master of Science in Health Administration (Residential MSHA and Executive MSHA), Master of Science in Health Informatics, Master of Science in Nutrition Sciences, Master of Science in Occupational Therapy and Master of Science in Physician Assistant Studies.

The new SHP graduate ceremony follows a UAB tradition of honoring select graduate programs in advance of the university ceremonies that traditionally confer degrees to more than 2,000 undergraduates at Bartow Arena. For more information on the SHP Graduate Commencement Ceremony please visit

The 2014 ALS Ice Bucket Challenge was a worldwide phenomenon raising more than $115 million. However, in 2015, the challenge did not go viral and in the month of August the ALS Association only raised a little over $500,000.

Many Occupational Therapists work with people who have ALS so when the UAB Department of Occupational Therapy noticed this drop off they decided to help. On Friday, October 23rd, more than 50 students in the Master of Science in Occupational Therapy program participated in a massive Ice Bucket Challenge. The class placed one letter on each bucket and then spelled out "UAB Occupational Therapy Living Life to its Fullest!"

Donna Slovensky, Ph.D., interim department chair, made a donation for every bucket that was used and then challenged their sister program at the University of South Alabama. UAB is sending the buckets to USA and asking them to accept the challenge and subsequently challenge another school. The hope is that the challenge and the buckets will travel around the country for the rest of 2015 raising more awareness and more money as the fight to cure ALS continues.

James RimmerJames Rimmer, Ph.D.The University of Alabama at Birmingham’s James Rimmer, Ph.D., the Lakeshore Foundation Endowed Chair in Health Promotion and Rehabilitation Sciences, has been named Chair of the President’s Council on Fitness, Sports and Nutrition Science Board. His one-year term begins January 1, 2016.

When he was initially named to the Board in late 2014, Rimmer had this to say:

“There is a lack of representation of people with disabilities across the spectrum of health, wellness, exercise and nutrition and I believe society is starting to recognize the value that exercise and good nutrition have on improving the health of every member of society, including those with the least access to it,” said Rimmer, a professor in the UAB School of Health ProfessionsDepartment of Occupational Therapy. “This administration has a tremendous interest in physical activity, sports, recreation and obesity reduction so this is a good time for people with disabilities to get on board the train.”

PA Class of 2017UAB PA Class of 2017The white coat ceremony is a ritual of initiation, Assistant Professor Kristopher Maday told an assembly of 700 Physician Assistant students, family members, and friends on Sunday—not of culmination.

“The short white coat is a symbol that you’ve made it, but it’s also a reminder that you will never stop traveling,” Maday told the 80 first-year PA students. “Understand that this is just the beginning of your journey, not the end.”

The Class of 2017 White Coat Ceremony took place at the Alys Stephens Center on October 11th. Program Director Rick Kilgore, Ph.D., coated each student, marking their readiness to progress into the practice of medicine as a physician assistant. Students then recited the Pledge of Professionalism in Medicine, promising to “practice [their] profession with conscience and dignity.”

Ward Kilgore Sultan webPA student, Miranda Ward, PA Program Director, Rick Kilgore, Ph.D., PA student Shairoz SultanTen students from the School of Health Professions were honored at the UAB National Alumni Society's annual Scholarship Reception.

The Dean's Scholarship winners were Dominique Forte, a Doctoral of Physical Therapy student in the Department of Physical Therapy, and Shairoz Sultan, a Physician Assistant Studies student in the Department of Clinical and Diagnostic Sciences.

The W. Sanders Murell Legacy Scholarship, given to the child of a UAB graduate, was awarded to Kyle Fuller, a Biomedical Sciences student in the CDS Department. Fuller also earned a License to Learn Scholarship.

The Student Alumni Society Scholarship was earned by Chirag Patel, another Biomedical Sciences student.

The William M. Voigt Endowed Scholarship, given in honor of the UAB National Alumni Society’s first president, went to Josiah Holsey, also in Biomedical Sciences.

Five students earned License to Learn Scholarships which are awarded to students who are State of Alabama residents. Those winners were Heather Boyle, a Biomedical Sciences and Physical Therapy student; Matthew Dehart, a Biomedical Sciences student; Travis Stringfellow, a Biomedical Sciences student; Miranda Ward, a Physician Assistant student; and Biomedical Sciences' Fuller.