Jessica Williams PhDJessica Williams, Ph.D.Jessica Williams, PhD, an assistant professor in the UAB Department of Health Services Administration, received a $100,000 grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation through the New Connections program. The grant will allow Williams to look at factors that influence perceptions of discrimination in health care settings, the management of hypertension in African-Americans, and how these perceptions influence medication adherence.

“The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation is deeply committed to improving health for all communities so I am honored to receive this grant and this incredible opportunity that will establish me as an independent investigator and move me toward my research vision of communities where health care outcomes are independent of race and class,” said Williams. “I believe that the only way we can begin to improve the quality of healthcare encounters is to understand patient perceptions and in many ways, I feel this is a missing piece to the disparities puzzle.”

Kara CaruthersKara Caruthers with her WOW! AwardKara Caruthers, MSPAS, PA-C, co-director of the UAB Biomedical and Health Sciences program, was honored by the Metro Birmingham Chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People with their Wonderful Outstanding Woman award. Caruthers received the award at the NAACP’s 15th annual Salute to Wonderful Outstanding Women ceremony.

Caruthers, who is also an assistant professor in the UAB Physician Assistant Studies program, says the award means more than you would imagine at first glance. As a 10th grader in Omaha, she won the Nebraska NAACP’s ACT-SO (Afro-Academic, Cultural, Technological and Scientific Olympics) competition and then went on to compete at the NAACP national ACT-SO.

“That was my first real introduction into the cool, scientific nerd world,” said Caruthers. “To be honored 20 years later by the NAACP, again in relation to my scientific work, proves to me that I am doing what I was meant to be doing with my life. It is an honor to come full circle with the NAACP.”

Written by Bob Shepard, UAB News

Jose FernandezJosé Fernández, Ph.D.José Fernández, Ph.D., professor and vice chair for Education in the Department of Nutrition Sciences at the University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Health Professions, has been named the inaugural winner of the Shiriki Kumanyida Diversity Leadership Award from the Obesity Society. The award recognizes an investigator whose research has made a significant difference in the field of obesity disparities.

The prevalence of obesity has significantly increased among the population of the United States over the past 30 years, with nearly one-third of adults now considered obese. Obesity is a known risk factor for many diseases, including diabetes, heart disease, stroke and cancer. Significant racial/ethnic disparities continue to exist in the occurrence of obesity.

Ceren Yarar FisherCeren Yarar-Fisher, Ph.D.Ceren Yarar-Fisher, Ph.D., instructor in the Department of Nutrition Sciences, Hui-Ju Young, Ph.D., postdoctoral fellow with the UAB / Lakeshore Research Collaboration and Sarah Katherine Sweatt, a Ph.D. student in Nutrition Sciences, were each honored with “Creativity is a Decision Awards.”

The competition, hosted annually by the UAB Nutrition Obesity Research Center, rewards researchers for “the most creative ideas for grant proposals in obesity-related research.”

JanelleChiasera lowresChiasera named to ASCLS BoardJanelle Chiasera, Ph.D., chair of the UAB Department of Clinical and Diagnostic Sciences, has been named American Society for Clinical Laboratory Science Region III director. The appointment is a Board of Director position for ASCLS whose mission is “to make a positive impact in health care through leadership.”

“It is not only exciting to have been elected to this board, but it is an incredible honor to have been nominated for this position by my peers,” said Chiasera. “Knowing that my professional peers trust me to represent their views to the national board is an honor and a responsibility I am excited to fulfill.”

Playground 01A University of Alabama at Birmingham study, conducted by students in the Department of Occupational Therapy, investigating the quality of park play spaces between affluent and non-affluent communities has been published by the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. The study, titled “Disparities in Quality of Park Play Spaces between Two Cities with Diverse Income and Race/Ethnicity Composition: A Pilot Study,” found “significant disparity in Play Value in parks” between the two communities.

“The children that were actively using the Mountain Brook play spaces appeared to have all needs available such as clean restrooms, accessibility to play structures and spaces and cleared walking surfaces,” said Amy Maher, OTS. “There was also a noticeable sense of safety as police or maintenance was present while the children engaged with other children in their play environments.”

Maher, along with fellow students Emily Rose, Kristina C. Gregory and Megan Cotton, studied six parks in Mountain Brook, Alabama and five parks in Irondale, Alabama. According to the most recent United States Census Bureau American Community Survey (ACS), the median annual income for Mountain Brook ($131,281) is more than double that of Irondale ($50,157) which is below the U.S. average.

PT Students Graham 01DPT students teach Dr. Graham the "Cup Song"Every year, the 2nd year students in the UAB Doctorate of Physical Therapy program are required to study Principles of Teaching and Learning in PT 761. And every year, their professor, Cecilia Graham, Ph.D., the Department of Physical Therapy's Bergman/Pinkston Endowed Professor, requires them to teach her a new skill following the Memletics Learning Styles inventory: Social, Visual, Aural, Logical, Verbal, Physical and Solitary.

This year, the Class of 2016 chose to teach Graham how to perform the "Cup Song" - originally by Anna Kendrick in the movie "Pitch Perfect."

See an edited video version of the UAB learning sessions here:

"This is a great exercise because it makes learning more realistic because teaching in front of a group is like working with patients. The students will learn so much more than if we were just sitting around talking about the various teaching methods and principles," said Graham.

Ashley Haynes MS Top Scholar webAshley Haynes, 2015-16 MS Top ScholarAshley Haynes, a junior in the UAB School of Health Professions Biomedical Sciences Program, is one of only 10 students in the U.S. named a 2015 Top Scholar by the National Multiple Sclerosis Society.

“We are delighted that Ashley, one of our own students has been chosen as a 2015 National MS Society Top Scholar,” said  Ted Bertrand, Ph.D. and  interim director, UAB Bachelor of Science in Biomedical Sciences Program. “I think we all have something to learn from this emerging young leader about how to face adversity with grace and professionalism. We are proud of Ashley and her accomplishments.”

For the 2015-2016 academic year, the National MS Society awarded 595 new scholarships. Their Top Scholars are the highest scoring applicants based on academic performance, leadership and participation in school and community, outside recommendations, work experience, education and career aspirations. Scholars are also scored on a personal essay about the impact of MS in their lives.

“When you grow up with two immediate family members – my mother and grandmother – with MS and you physically witness what this disease can do, you develop a different perspective on life,” said Haynes, who is a member of the UAB School of Health ProfessionsHonor’s Program. “I remember growing up and seeing them fine one day, and then the next unable to move their legs – then the following week they would be walking again.”

READ MORE: see Haynes full Q&A here

Remo George PhDRemo George, Ph.D.
ABSNM Certification
Remo George, Ph.D., assistant professor in the Nuclear Medicine Technology program, is the first among his peers to earn certification from the American Board of Science in Nuclear Medicine. His motivation however, was not the certificate, but rather his incoming students.

“As a faculty member of the first program in the U.S. to rise to a Master’s entry-level status I felt this was a great opportunity to highlight another way our students can set themselves apart from the rest of their field,” said George. “This certification is not required to be an NMT, but our students should know that certification is important to the field and it will open more doors for them upon graduation.”