Story originally appeared in UAB News

The online Bachelor of Science in Health Care Management degree program offered by the School of Health Professions at the University of Alabama at Birmingham has been named the best in the nation by TheBestSchools.org, an independent resourcefor campus and online education.

TheBestSchools.org ranked programs based on academic excellence, types of available classes, faculty strength, rankings and reputation.

awards“Our mission is to develop leaders to shape tomorrow’s health care, and our excellent undergraduate program is an essential part of achieving that mission,” said Christy Lemak, Ph.D., professor and chair of the Department of Health Services Administration. “We take pride in our ability to provide degree completion for students who began in other health-related professions and offer the online format for individuals seeking health care management education from around the state, nation and world.”

“This ranking is recognition of our program’s strengths and will aid in attracting high-performing students, which in turn will have a profound impact on our efforts to prepare the next generation of health care leaders,” said Pamela Paustian, Ph.D., the program’s director. “Many undergraduate alumni continue their graduate education in the health professions, and ultimately this ranking may enhance the breadth and depth of UAB’s impact on health care locally, nationally and internationally.” 

robert maldonadoRobert Weech-Maldonado, Ph.D.Researchers from the University of Alabama at BirminghamSchool of Health Professions have been awarded $1.25 million by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality to better understand the management and market factors associated with high performance among nursing homes that have a high proportion, 85 percent or greater, of Medicaid residents.

Robert Weech-Maldonado, Ph.D., professor and L.R. Jordan Chair of the Department of Health Services Administration, says this five-year R01 grant is for a mixed-methods analysis — using both quantitative and qualitative studies — to study high-Medicaid-resident nursing homes and identify evidence-based, best management practices.

“Nobody has taken a mixed-methods look at why some high-Medicaid nursing homes perform well and others do not,” Weech-Maldonado said. “This grant will enable us to gather quantitative data, such as surveys of management, and find patterns. Following that, we will use qualitative methods, such as interviewing staff, to reveal the complete story about what is really happening inside nursing homes across the United States.”

Susan Miller MS RD LDSusan Miller, RD, LDSusan Miller, R.D., L.D., assistant professor, in the University of Alabama at BirminghamDepartment of Nutrition Sciences, volunteered to lecture at the William E. Donaldson Correctional Facility on January 20, 2015. Her visit was part of the UAB Donaldson lecture series providing inmates bimonthly college-level lectures each year from September through May.

“It was just like a regular classroom at UAB where you walk in, greet students, make them feel welcome and make sure they are comfortable interjecting and asking questions – which they did and I was pleased with that,” said Miller, director of the UAB Dietetic Internship Program in the UAB School of Health Professions.

The Donaldson lecture series was created in 1988 by Ada Long, Ph.D., former director of the UAB Honors Program, today known as the UAB Honors College. UAB has sent dozens of faculty members to lecture hundreds of prisoners since then. So far this year, the lecture series has featured Pulitzer Prize winner Joey Kennedy discussing “The Rise and Fall of Journalism” and former UAB Honors Program Director Michael Sloane talking about “Altruism: Genetics and Epigenetics.”

“They are hungry for information. Absolutely hungry for it,” said Miller. “Living in a correctional facility should not restrict anyone from continual learning. They should still have the ability, the capability and the right to learn.”

Story credit to Community Hospital Corporation

CHC announces that President and CEO Mike Williams, alumnus of the University of Alabama at Birmingham Master of Science in Health Administration, Class 14, is the 2014 recipient of the Texas Hospital Association’s highest honor, the Earl M. Collier Award for Distinguished Health Care Administration.

The award recognizes distinguished executives’ contributions to, and leadership in, the healthcare industry, as well as their active participation in THA and other industry groups. Williams’ colleagues and clients express how fully he qualifies for the award in the short video you’re about to see.



THA’s bestowal of this award upon Williams indicates how highly he is respected outside the organization, says CHC board chairman Ken Gordon. Williams is a frequent national speaker on the preservation of community hospitals, drawing from his experience growing CHC from a one-employee operation in 1997 to an industry leader with a corporate staff of 60 and hospital clients in 25 states. All told, Williams has 30 years of experience in executive management.
Albin MorrisMaurice Albin, M.D. and David Morris, Ph.D. with Gossman thesisMaurice S. Albin, M.D., professor of anesthesiology in the UAB School of Medicine, presented his copy of a Master’s Thesis, submitted by a young Marilyn Gossman, to the UAB Department of Physical Therapy as a historical archive. Albin was Gossman’s thesis Chair when she was a student at Case Western Reserve in Cleveland, Ohio in 1965, when Albin was an assistant professor at the same institution.

Gossman went on to earn a PhD and became recognized as a national leader in the physical therapy profession. She was also Chair of the UAB Department of Physical Therapy from 1968 to 1998 when she passed away following a battle with Breast Cancer. Albin presented the original copy of the thesis to the UAB Department of Physical Therapy in a ceremony held on Thursday, December 18, 2014, on the 6th floor of the School of Health Professions Building. Gossman's thesis title was "Electrophysiological Evaluation of Experimental Spinal Cord Injury."

Jaime Jennings AcademyHealth Presidential ScholarJ'Aime Jennings AcademyHealth Presidential ScholarJ’Aime Jennings, MPA, a doctoral candidate in the UAB Doctoral Program in Administration-Health Services Doctor of Philosophy program, is one of only five students in the United States to earn the Presidential Scholarship for the AcademyHealth Institute on Advocacy and Public Policy.

This scholarship provides students identified as early career producers and users of health services research with an interest in advocacy and policy with financial support to attend the 2015 National Health Policy Conference. During the NHPC, the Presidential Scholars have a unique opportunity to interact with influential policy and thought leaders in health services research.

“I welcome this opportunity to discover how I can contribute to improving our public health system infrastructure at the national level,” said Jennings who is scheduled to graduate in April 2015. “I am truly honored to have been selected by AcademyHealth as a Presidential Scholar at such an early stage in my career.”

tracee synco phdTracee M. Synco Ph.D.Tracee M. Synco, Ph.D., has been named assistant dean of the UAB School of Health Professions Student Recruitment, Engagement and Success. She comes to SHP from the UAB Office of the Provost where she serves as Executive Director for Retention Initiatives and Academic Engagement. She will join the School of Health Professions on Feb. 1, 2015.

Synco, who will also serve as an assistant professor in the School, currently supervises six co-curricular areas for student success at the university level including Disability Support Services (DSS), Service Learning, Study Away, Undergraduate Research, TRIO Academic Services and the University Academic Success Center (UASC). Since opening last fall, the UASC has hosted more than 3,000 UAB students for tutoring, supplemental instruction, academic skills workshops and academic coaching sessions.

“As we continue to grow the enrollment of our undergraduate and graduate programs, we must ensure that we have a strong, diverse student population that will succeed in the classroom, absorb campus life and positively engage our community,” said School of Health Professions Dean Harold P. Jones, Ph.D. “Dr. Synco already has a proven record in student engagement, retention and success at UAB so we are excited and we see limitless possibilities ahead under her leadership.”

2014 UAB Physician Assistant Graduation2014 UAB Physician Assistant GraduationThe UAB Physician Assistant Class of 2014 graduated 54 students on Friday, December 5, 2014. The annual graduation dinner and hooding ceremony was held at the Harbert Center in Birmingham in front of 400 friends and family members.

Patricia Jennings, Ph.D., the retired UAB PA program director, gave the commencement address and highlighted the “personal statement” of each graduate saying this class represented “heart”.

“I promise you that you are not going to be remembered by patients for that great suturing job you did but by how you treated them and cared for them,” said Rick Kilgore, Ph.D., the current UAB PA program director. “You may be proud that you diagnosed a rare disease that everyone else missed, but the patient will care more you listened to them and showed empathy when no one else did. There is a rare quality that all Physician Assistant seem to have that is a ‘caring and compassionate spirit’ that seems to take precedent over everything else. We hope and pray that this spirit which has for many years separated us out from many other practitioners remains at the core of who and what we are.”

Khaled awarded Fulbright NehruKhaled awarded Fulbright-NehruA nutrition professor at the University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Health Professions is awarded a Fulbright-Nehru Academic and Professional Excellence Award to develop and improve research and teaching efforts in India related to Type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM).

Mohammad Khaled, Ph.D., professor emeritus in the UAB Department of Nutrition Sciences, will collaborate with the Department of Physiology at the University of Calcutta, India, to look at Type 2 diabetes mellitus specifically due to Helecobacter pylori (H. pylori) infections which are highly prevalent among Indian populations. This expands research Khaled conducted while a professor at UAB.

“Type 2 diabetes mellitus is a chronic disease posing great human health threats,” said Khaled. “We see about 50 percent of worldwide populations are infected with H. pylori but more than 85 percent of populations in India have been infected since childhood. So it is of great interest, therefore, to investigate if H. pylori could somehow be linked with T2DM in Indian populations since both of these phenomena are highly prevalent in them.”

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