Story by Nicole Wyatt, UAB News

vor labFrom left: Mark Swanson, Katherine Weise, Jennifer Christy, Claudio Busettini in the VORLab.A new research laboratory at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, the first of this kind in Alabama and one of only a few in America, could lead to a better understanding of the effects of concussions.

The Vestibular and Oculomotor Research Laboratory, or VORLab, is conducting research to identify markers of mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI), also known as concussion, in athletes. It is co-directed by Claudio Busettini, Ph.D., associate professor in the Department of Vision Sciences, and Jennifer Christy, Ph.D., P.T., associate professor in the Department of Physical Therapy in the UAB School of Health Professions. Its executive committee includes Katherine Weise, O.D., MBA, FAAO, associate professor in the Department of Optometry, Mark Swanson, O.D., MSPH, professor in the Department of Optometry, and James Johnston, M.D., assistant professor in the Department of Neurosurgery.

Annually, more than 2 million cases of traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) are diagnosed; of those, 75 percent are labeled as mTBI, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Symptoms typically include headache, dizziness and balance problems.

“Dizziness in patients with mTBI often is associated with blurred vision during head movements as well as vomiting and nausea. These symptoms likely are related to altered function of the vestibular system and/or subtle abnormalities in eye movements,” Busettini said. “The Vestibulo-Ocular Reflex (VOR) system works to keep vision clear while the head is in motion, such as during reading from your cellphone while walking or, on the field, throwing a football while avoiding an opposing player.”

McGilvray TaskForce 01Gov. Bentley creates healthcare task forceStephanie McGilvray, MMSc, PA-C, assistant professor in the UAB Department of Clinical and Diagnostic Sciences, is the only Physician Assistant named to the Alabama Health Care Improvement Task Force. The task force, created by Gov. Robert Bentley through Executive Order Number 4, is asked to recommend ways to provide Alabamians “more-accessible and more-affordable health care.”

“I see Physician Assistants being a big part of the overall solution by providing quality care to those living in rural areas of Alabama that have traditionally been underserved,” said McGilvray, clinical coordinator for the UAB Physician Assistant Program. “People do better with their health when their care provider is an active member of their community – knowing they will see their PA any given day at the grocery store or a restaurant or a church directly impacts their mindset and their success.”

Emily KnightonEmily Knighton, HCM programEmily Knighton, a senior in the UAB Health Care Management Program, recently won the FORUM essay contest and a trip to the ACHE Congress in Chicago. She is the first undergraduate to represent UAB at the American College of Healthcare Executives annual event.

“My favorite student seminar was Major General (Ret.) David A. Rubenstein, FACHE, who refused to tell us what to do – which was refreshing,” said Knighton. “He wanted us to understand and explore the ‘whys’ behind everything which is advice I will carry with me my entire career.”

Knighton said the ACHE Congress also included a strong mix of inspiration like the lecture from Grant Korgan, author of “Two Feet Back,” who has overcome a spinal cord injury to continue an active lifestyle and ultimately reach the South Pole.

Story written by Bob Shepard, UAB News

lemak fee for serviceFee-for-value — a physician reimbursement model that maintains the traditional fee-for-service arrangement but includes quality and spending incentives — can reduce spending and improve quality in primary care, according to findings reported in the April issue of Health Affairs.

A new study, led by Christy Harris Lemak, Ph.D., the chair of the University of Alabama at BirminghamDepartment of Health Services Administration, suggests that it is possible to transform reimbursement within a fee-for-service framework to encourage and incentivize physicians to provide high-quality care, while also reducing costs.

“This payment strategy maintains the traditional fee-for-service arrangement but includes quality and spending incentives,” Lemak said. “Our findings contribute to the growing body of evidence about the potential effectiveness of models that align payment with cost and quality performance.”

Original story by Nicole Wyatt, UAB Media Relations

david allisonDavid B. Allison, Ph.D., associate dean for science in the University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Public Health and secondary faculty member in the School of Health Professions, has been awarded the F1000 Faculty Member of the Year Award 2014 for the Diabetes and Endocrinology Faculty.

F1000 comprises more than 10,000 leading biomedical experts who help scientists discover, discuss and publish biology and medicine research worldwide. Each year, they recognize faculty who have made the most significant contribution to the F1000 recommendation service during the past year.

The winners are selected on the basis of several criteria, including how their commentaries have been received by the readership of F1000, the number of recommendations they have made during the course of the year and the editorial quality of the work they have submitted. When all of these criteria were considered, F1000 says, Allison’s contributions were considered to be the most worthy for the Diabetes and Endocrinology Faculty.

*Story written by Bob Shepard, UAB News

Janelle Chiasera 2012Janelle M. Chiasera, Ph.D., professor and chair of the Department of Clinical and Diagnostic Sciences in the School of Health Professions at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, has been selected as one of 47 emerging college and university leaders for the 2015-16 class of the American Council on Education. Established in 1965, the ACE Fellows Program — the longest running leadership-development program in the United States — focuses on identifying and preparing the next generation of senior leadership for the nation's colleges and universities.

Chiasera joined UAB in 2006 as program director for the Clinical Laboratory Science Program. She is a member of the American Association of Clinical Chemistry and the American Society for Clinical Laboratory Science.

The ACE Fellows Program is celebrating its 50th anniversary this academic year. During the past five decades, nearly 2,000 higher education leaders have participated in the fellows Program, with more than 300 fellows having served as chief executive officers of colleges or universities and more than 1,300 having served as provosts, vice presidents and deans. 

“We’re extremely proud of Dr. Chiasera and gratified that one of our rising faculty stars has been recognized by ACE for this honor,” said UAB Provost Linda Lucas, Ph.D. “"The intensive experience of the ACE Fellows Program will help Dr. Chiasera and the other fellows strengthen their leadership skills, expand their networks and prepare to successfully confront the many challenges facing higher education today.”

Mathisen Keith PearsonKeith Pearson, 1st place at ALDASeveral UAB students from the Department of Nutrition Sciences received major honors at the Alabama Dietetic Association’s recent annual meeting in Montgomery.

Keith Pearson, UAB doctoral student and 2013 Early Career Investigator Award winner, took home first place honors for his poster “Dietary Patterns are Associated with Cognitive Function in U.S. Adults.” His research investigated the relationship between dietary patterns and cognitive function in a group of over 15,000 US adults from the REGARDS study.

“We found that a plant-based dietary pattern and a dietary pattern including green leafy vegetables, salad dressing, and alcohol were associated with increased cognitive performance on several cognitive tests,” says Pearson. “Additionally, we found that a dietary pattern including fried food, processed meats, and organ meats typical of a Southern diet was associated with decreased cognitive performance.”

Three students from the Department of Nutrition Sciences and two from the Genetic Counseling program take home honors at the annual UAB Graduate Student Research Days.

SEE MORE: photos from the event on the SHP Flickr page

GSRD NutritionNutrition Sciences: Brewer, Chusyd, SchneiderTaking home first place honors were:

Daniella Chusyd, Nutrition Sciences
“Body Composition and Associated Metabolic Profile of Zoo-Maintained Female African Elephants”

READ MORE: Chusyd's research featured in UAB News

Some female African elephants in zoos exhibit abnormal reproductive cycles. Therefore, we wanted to examine the potential association of body composition (i.e. fat and lean mass) and metabolic and inflammatory parameters on ovarian cycles in zoo-maintained African elephant females.

Lowman President AwardLowman wins UAB President's AwardJohn D. Lowman, PT, Ph.D., CCS, assistant professor in the UAB Department of Physical Therapy, wins the UAB President’s Award for Excellence in Teaching. He is one of 11 UAB faculty members to be honored during the 2015 Faculty Awards Convocation.

“It is the hard work and successes of my students that make me look good. I would much rather that my students and mentors be esteemed more than I; that they be praised for their diligence and dedication, and I go unnoticed,” said Lowman. “It is an honor to employ and develop the gifts I have received, and I hope I will continue to work with prudence and patience, for the benefit of our students, and not waste my talents or rest in vain complacency. I sincerely appreciate all of the people that have encouraged and helped me develop as a teacher and I am sincerely humbled in being nominated for, and especially receiving, this award.”