Golden Toilet Group webOT students wearing simulation glassesThe UAB Department of Occupational Therapy faculty are renowned for creative lessons designed to prepare students for their career upon graduation.

The idea they had for the OT 677: Foundations in Low Vision Rehabilitation course was to have students design and build restroom signs. The catch though, was that both signs had to be reliably read by people at a distance of 10 feet with 20/200 visual acuity, which is the visual acuity of someone with cataracts. The students wore special simulation glasses so they would understand how difficult it is for people with cataracts to read signs on a daily basis.

“Through creative learning activities, our students are asked to apply concepts from lecture and lab to real life therapy situations," said Beth Barstow, Ph.D., OTR/L, SCLV, FAOTA an OT associate professor.

Occupational Therapy StudentsOccupational Therapy Second Year StudentsThe annual UAB Department of Occupational Therapy Service Learning and Research Poster Day was held at the UAB Edge of Chaos on Tuesday, April 14, 2015.

“This is a way for them to emulate what is a very common venue for presentations at professional association meetings, but most importantly, it is a way for them and our department to give back to the Birmingham community,” said Christopher Eidson, MS, OTR\L, Assistant Professor for UAB OT. “Students provide invaluable services to our partners, most of which are non-profits, and this event provides the OT community Continuing Education which our practitioners have to do to maintain their license.”

AAHIM Student ForumAAHIM Student ForumMore than 65 students from three universities attended the Alabama Association of Health Information Management Student Forum at the UAB School of Health Professions’ Executive Learning Center. The day-long session covered a variety of topics to prepare the HIM students for the next steps beyond graduation. Lectures included “Compliance: An Alternative to the Traditional HIM Setting,” “Professionalism and Social Media” and “Planning Your Professional HIM Career.”

SEE MORE: see photos from the meeting on the SHP Flickr page

The three institutions, all accredited Health Information Technology and Health Information Administration programs, were Alabama State University, UAB Health Information Management and Wallace State Community College – Hanceville (HIT). The undergraduate students also learned about the Master’s level courses they would qualify for at UAB: Healthcare Quality and Safety (Master’s Degree and Graduate Certificate) and Health Informatics.

InnoHack Courtesy Jesse Parks 02Seth Bynum (left) presenting at #InnoHack2015
(Photo courtesy Jesse Parks)
The #InnoHack2015 asked the question: What can be done to improve health outcomes in Alabama? Ten groups competed for the winning solution, but in the end the real answer may just be to have more events like this.

#InnoHack2015, sponsored by the Baptist Health System and the UAB Department of Health Services Administration, brought together everyone from software developers to engineers to health administrators to students like Seth Bynum, a senior in the UAB Health Care Management program. His team, Community H.U.B. (Health Utilization Base) had never met before they were teamed up at #InnoHack2015.

“It is truly amazing to think that four strangers could come together and in such a short amount of time, propose a solution to one of Alabama’s healthcare barriers that is not only creative and innovative, but also able to be implemented,” said Bynum, who grew up in Fayette, Alabama with a population of around 4,600. “Our idea was to establish a Community H.U.B. that would address the geographic barrier, which is a huge obstacle to Alabama’s many rural residents, through the use of telemedicine with hospital-based specialties.”

Walker Newcomer AwardsBrooke Walker, Bradley Newcomer with Student Excellence awardsTwo members of the new UAB Biomedical Sciences program won major Student Excellence Awards during an event held at the UAB National Alumni Society House on April 14, 2015.

Bradley R. Newcomer, Ph.D., program director and assistant dean in the UAB School of Health Professions, received the Faculty of Character Award. Brooke Walker, student counselor for the BMD program, was named Adviser of the Year.

“This is only the first year of our Biomedical Sciences program and these honors exemplify what an immediate and positive impact that Brad, Brooke and the entire BMD team have already had across the UAB campus,” said Janelle Chiasera, Ph.D., chair, Department of Clinical and Diagnostic Sciences. “This is a wonderful honor for their program and our department, but this is so much more for the BMD students because it means they are learning from and working with the best UAB has to offer.”

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.”