The University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) School of Health Professions has launched an online, health-focused graduate certificate that prepares physical and occupational therapists to provide expanded services to clients in the rapidly growing areas of prevention, health promotion and wellness.

PT OT CertThe 18-month program, Health Focused Patient/Client Management for Physical and Occupational Therapists, provides physical and occupational therapists with the skills needed to address lifestyle behaviors that underlie many chronic diseases.

Tim GarveyThe University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) Diabetes Research Center (DRC) has received a five-year renewal grant for more than $5 million from the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Disease (NIDDK), one of the National Institutes of Health (NIH). The new funding cycle reflects the center’s accomplishments over the previous five-year period.

“I’m proud to say we were told that the new funding is a reflection of what DRC diabetes investigators have accomplished over the past five years,” said W. Timothy Garvey, M.D., professor and chair of the Department of Nutrition Sciences and principal investigator of the new grant. “This award speaks volumes to our team’s dedication and determination to discovering new methods for treatment and prevention of diabetes.”

Tim GarveyInvestigators at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) are studying the long-term benefits and risks of four widely used diabetes drugs in combination with metformin, the most common first-line medication for treating type 2 diabetes. Recruitment of volunteers for the project, called the Glycemia Reduction Approaches in Diabetes: A Comparative Effectiveness (GRADE) Study, begins in June.

Doctors may add one of several other drugs to lower glucose, blood sugar, if metformin is not enough to manage type 2 diabetes in a person. While short-term studies have shown the efficacy of different drugs when used with metformin, there have been no long-terms studies of which combination works best and has fewer side effects.

Vivian Pijuan-ThompsonVivian Pijuan-Thompson, Ph.D., has been named president of the American Society of Cytotechnology (ASCT). She took over the role at the conclusion of the group’s annual meeting on April 21, 2013.

SPA faculty members Kris Maday and Kara CaruthersKara Caruthers, MSPAS, PA-C, will tell you she did not get to the place in her life right now all by herself. The Physician Assistant Studies assistant professor said she was fortunate to have parents that were very supportive of her going to college, but neither parent finished college.

Wendy Demark WahnefriedWendy Demark-Wahnefried, Ph.D., professor in the UAB Department of Nutrition Sciences and associate director for cancer prevention and control at the UAB Comprehensive Cancer Center, has been elected president of the American Society of Preventive Oncology (ASPO) during its Thirty-Seventh Annual Meeting in Memphis, Tenn. The ASPO is a multi-disciplinary society committed to serving as an advocate for cancer and control research.

Surigcal Physician Assistant optionsBecause of the Affordable Care Act, the University of Alabama at Birmingham’s Physician Assistant (PA) degree program is adding options for students to better prepare them for workforce needs. Currently, all graduates from the SPA program can be employed in any setting; however, the program has a history of adding additional courses and clinical rotations in surgery, allowing students to be better prepared for surgical subspecialty when they graduate. Now the students will have the option to obtain additional clinical rotations in trauma or primary care.

Barbara GowerFor the second year in a row, a UAB School of Health Professions woman is a recipient of the UAB Outstanding Women Awards. Barbara Gower, Ph.D., a professor in the Department of Nutrition Sciences, has been named the receiver of “The Becky Trigg Outstanding Woman Faculty Member” award. A reception to honor Gower and the six other women will be held on Thursday, March 14.

HRSA scholarship recipientsHRSA scholarship recipients Elisa Cruz, Inquashia Shaw and Whitney Covington.Elisa Cruz is a first generation college graduate. Born and raised in Mexico by a single mom, Cruz learned from her responsibility, hard work, endurance and the aspirations to achieve her dreams. She’s following her dreams as a first-year physician assistant student at UAB. While pursuing a graduate degree, Cruz has taken on more loans. Fortunately, she is one of several students in the School of Health Professions to receive a scholarship from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA).