UAB School of Health Professions Current News

Laken is 1st from UAB appointed to state respiratory therapy board

Debra LakenDebra Laken, MAEd, AE-C, RRT, CTTS, named to ASBRTDebra Eddins Laken, MAEd, AE-C, RRT, CTTS, associate professor in the Respiratory Therapy Program in the University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Health Professions, has been appointed to the Alabama State Board of Respiratory Therapy by Alabama Governor Robert Bentley.

Laken is the first UAB faculty member to be appointed to the ASBRT board. She is one of five members on the current board, three of which are respiratory therapists. Her four year term began August 5, 2014.

“It is a great honor and privilege to have been appointed to the Alabama State Board of Respiratory Therapy,” said Laken. “I plan to be a good steward of the taxpayer’s money.”

Laken’s role with the board includes setting licensure fees, approving or denying licenses, conducting hearings on revoking licenses as well as attending legislative hearings and board meetings.

The ASBRT’s mission is to protect Alabamians against “unauthorized, unqualified and improper administration of respiratory therapy and from unprofessional or unethical conduct by persons licensed to practice respiratory therapy.”

The UAB Respiratory Therapy Program is housed in the Department of Clinical and Diagnostic Sciences.

UAB to screen "Twitch," documentary follows 18-year-old's journey testing for Huntington's disease

Twitch Picture Powers2014Kristen Powers, producer & star of documentary "Twitch"“Twitch,” a documentary film chronicling the emotional journey of an 18-year-old as she is tested for a degenerative genetic disease, will be screened on the campus of the University of Alabama at Birmingham at 1 p.m. September 10 at Volker Hall, 1670 University Boulevard.

The producer and star of the film Kristen Powers will be at the screening of her movie, which follows her genetic testing for Huntington’s disease (HD), a neurological brain disorder that led to the death of her mother. Every child of a parent with HD has a 50 percent chance of inheriting the fatal gene, which means Kristen and her younger brothers are at risk of inheriting the disease.

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Dish liquid, rubbing alcohol and UAB instructor help kids see their DNA

McWane Students RobbinsCarol Robbins, Ph.D., (right) with McWane campersDeoxyribonucleic acid – better known as DNA – stores all of the information necessary for life and of course is in every living thing.

One item in every living human is mucus, or as a group of middle schoolers at the McWane Science Center Biotechnology Camp would call it, snot.

“See that stuff in the tube that looks like snot? That is DNA from millions of your cheek cells,” said Carol Robbins, Ph.D., laboratory teacher in the University of Alabama at Birmingham Biotechnology Program, and guest instructor at the McWane Camp.

“As you know, your DNA is what makes you, you; so if you take a picture of yourself holding yourself in a tube then you will be taking the ultimate selfie,” said Tabitha Finch, Ph.D., manager of science education at the McWane Science Center and the student’s camp instructor this week.

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UAB students serve others, win honors

Samantha Layer LaVonda Hildreth Katie HarrisSamantha Layer, LaVonda Hildreth, Katie HarrisUAB Respiratory Therapy students did not clown around this summer at Camp WheezeAway. Samantha Layer, LaVonda Hildreth and Katie Harris joined more than 20 other UAB students at the Asthma Camp for Kids at YMCA Camp Chandler.

“The purpose of this camp is to show the kids that they can do anything other children can do,” said Harris. “We also emphasized the importance of establishing a schedule with their respiratory medications, to recognize the signs of an oncoming asthma attack and what to do if they suffer an attack.”

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UAB alumnae co-author book on mobile health technologies

mHealth CoverDonna Slovensky, Ph.D., professor and associate dean, Academic and Student Affairs, UAB School of Health Professions, and Donna Malvey, Ph.D., a fellow graduate of the UAB Ph.D. Program in Health Services Administration are co-authors of a new book on mobile health technologies. The book, mHealth: Transforming Healthcare, was published this month by Springer and covers the global impact of mobile health technologies.

“The idea that something as small as a mobile phone could revolutionize healthcare is mind boggling yet the devices keep getting smaller, faster, more powerful, and oftentimes less expensive,” said Slovensky, administrative director, Healthcare Quality and Safety Graduate Certificate. “As an industry driving a large segment of our economy, healthcare is an obvious direction for technology business development. Our interest was in looking at mHealth from the perspective of many stakeholders and identifying likely points of leverage and potential roadblocks to the widespread adoption required to achieve population health improvement.”

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New HSA chair talks 1st 100 days and beyond

Christy Lemak, Ph.D., new HSA chairChristy Lemak, Ph.D., new HSA chairChristy Harris Lemak, Ph.D., the newest chair at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, laughed when she was asked to talk about what she plans to accomplish in her first 100 days as head of the nationally ranked Department of Health Services Administration.

Lemak said it is “unrealistic” to think she will come in and start changing things immediately because the department already “has a tremendous reputation and a rich tradition of academic excellence.” So rather than deconstructing something that is not broken, Lemak plans to do some construction – like building bridges.

“We have strong faculty and staff doing tremendous work in teaching and scholarship but I do see room to support their work even more,” said Lemak, who will also serve as a professor for the UAB School of Health Professions. “I firmly believe that together, working across programs, we can take their great work and make it even greater.”

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Physical Therapy students win Lakeshore’s Amazing Race

Crockett Scogin Posid Courtney Lochamy Courtesy Lakeshore FoundationPosid, Crockett, Courtney, Scogin and AMBUCS Executive Director Bog Lochamy
Photo Courtesy: Lakeshore Foundation
Four students from the UAB Doctor of Physical Therapy program, Alisa Courtney, James Crockett, Krysta Posid and Will Scogin, won the 2014 Lakeshore’s Amazing Race. Their team, sponsored by AMBUCS Birmingham, beat 29 teams in a race to complete 13 interactive challenges around the Lakeshore Foundation’s 45-acre campus in Birmingham. And they helped the Lakeshore Foundation raise more than $58,000.

The PT team only learned they were competing in the race two days before the event.

“What set us apart from the other teams was our teamwork,” said James Crockett, a first-year student in the DPT program. “The DPT program really emphasizes collaboration through team-based learning (TBL) and that strengthened our ability to work with each other efficiently and effectively.”

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UAB students green light hope for children with asthma

Gaines Buggs RobinsonUAB students Jennifer Gaines, Quintoya Buggs, Areka Robinson“At first this was just a school assignment,” said Quintoya Buggs, senior Respiratory Therapy student at the University of Alabama at Birmingham.

“But the kids were so energetic and excited to learn, that we just really had a good time,” she added.

Buggs was part of a group of RT students, including Areka Robinson and Jennifer Gaines, from the Department of Clinical and Diagnostic Sciences that spent a few days at the Western Area branch of the YMCA of Greater Birmingham teaching children from the Bessemer area how to better control their asthma.

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Real-world experience without real-life consequences

simulation4 sizedOriginal story by UAB Reporter

One patient is having trouble breathing. A new mom is experiencing bleeding. Another patient is having complications from his diabetes. Labs are being run. The intensive-care unit is buzzing with activity.

Behind the scenes, professors and volunteers are in a control room manipulating manikins and monitors. This isn’t a normal day in the ICU; it’s a simulation designed to test UAB health-care students’ ability to communicate effectively and provide better patient care.

“Simulations such as this provide students an opportunity to both test what they have learned and to collaborate within the health-care team, said Penni Watts, R.N., instructor in nursing and faculty lead for the simulation. “The simulated setting allows students to demonstrate their patient care skills before practicing on real patients.”

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