PA Students MLK 02More than a dozen Physician Assistant Studiesstudents from the University of Alabama at Birmingham spent Monday, Jan. 18, at the Ronald McDonald House in Birmingham. It was a day of service to honor the late civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr.

Often, the UAB PA students donate health related services to help people in underserved areas. However, on this occasion they put aside the stethoscopes and thermometers to grab brooms, mops, dust cloths and more.

The PA students chose the Ronald McDonald House because they provide a home away from home for families whose children are seeking life-saving treatment at UAB Hospital or Children’s of Alabama. These are families that many of the PA students see every day.

Valley McCurry Christopher EidsonValley McCurry, Christopher Eidson
2015 ALOTA Award of Excellence
Christopher Eidson, MS, OTR/L and Valley McCurry, MBA, OTR/L, assistant professors in the UAB Department of Occupational Therapy, shared the Alabama Occupational Therapy Association’s 2015 Award of Excellence.

McCurry, who served as ALOTA president from 2007 – 2014, and Eidson, who served as ALOTA government affairs co-chair from 2007 – present, each believe the award was given for their cumulative efforts over the years. During their time in leadership roles, the ALOTA has grown from around 50 members to more than 300. During the same stretch, the chapter’s board grew from five to 16.

“The ALOTA was struggling when we first joined, but together, with help from a lot of good friends, we were able to build a sustainable model, make the group fiscally viable and help others see the true value of membership,” said McCurry. “Every year we are adding new, active members and it has been wonderful to be part of ALOTA’s growth into a group that is impacting our profession.”

Chris Wyatt Olivia Kight Kayla Thompson1st BMD Graduates: Chris Wyatt, Olivia Kight, Kayla ThompsonHistory was made on December, 12, 2015, as the UAB Bachelor of Science in Biomedical Sciences (BMD) program graduated its first three graduates. Olivia Kight, Kayla Thompson and Chris Wyatt were the first from the BMD Program to have their Bachelor of Science degrees conferred at the University of Alabama at Birmingham’s Fall Commencement Ceremony.

“This is a historic day for us and for our students as it is not very often in life you get to be the first at something and we are all proud that they are our inaugural graduates,” said Ted Bertrand, Ph.D., interim BMD program director and associate professor, Department of Clinical and Diagnostic Sciences.

The BMD program was implemented in 2013 to prepare students for health-related graduate and professional study or for entry into the healthcare industry. In only three years, the program has nearly 300 students and is one of the fastest growing majors at UAB. 
Slovensky MacebearerDr. Slovensky, Macebearer at inaugural SHP Hooding CeremonyDonna J. Slovensky, Ph.D., Senior Associate Dean for Academic and Faculty Affairs in the UAB School of Health Professions, has been chosen to receive the 2016 Girl Scouts of North-Central Alabama Woman of Distinction Award.

The award honors “women who have made special contributions to their community through civic, academic or professional involvement and are exemplary role models for today’s girls.” This year the focus was on women in areas related to the Girls Scouts’ core initiatives: financial literacy, STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) and healthy living.

In the notification letter to Slovensky, Tonya S. Mines, MPA, Director of Development for the Girls Scouts of North-Central Alabama, said, “For many years, Girl Scouts have sought to recognize women who have made a significant, positive impact upon their communities and are exemplary role models for Girl Scouts. We are thrilled to honor you!”

Amy Miskimon GossAmy Miskimon Goss, PhD, RDAmy Miskimon Goss, PhD, RD, postdoctoral fellow in the Nutrition Obesity Research Center (NORC) and Department of Nutrition Sciences, is the recipient of a Thrasher Research Fund Early Career Award.

The award will fund her research titled "Carbohydrate Restricted Diet to Reverse Fatty Liver in Adolescents with Obesity." The objective of the Fund is “to provide grants for clinical, hypothesis-driven research that offers substantial promise for meaningful advances in the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of children’s diseases, particularly research that offers broad-based applications.”

The Thrasher Research Fund Early Career Award Program is especially interested in supporting the work of such young investigators as Goss who demonstrate excellent potential to achieve advances in improving children’s health.

PA Barner 03Jordan Barner, AASPA Scholarship WinnerJordan Barner, a second year UAB Physician Assistant Studies student, is the 2015-2016 winner of the Susan and Tom Lusty Memorial Scholarship from the AASPA (American Association of Surgical Physician Assistant Students). The $1,000 award is given annually to at least one outstanding student working to be a Surgical PA.

In the AASPA newsletter SutureLine, Barner provided this personal statement about the honor and her dreams:

I have often found myself traveling to impoverished countries others dare not go to, studying topics most find too difficult, and working in positions where I interact with people who are in extreme mental and physical anguish.

Many people question why I willingly subject myself to this kind of lifestyle. To me, the answer is simple: I have an insatiable desire to serve those in need and look forward to the day when I can help those that have a surgical need. There is nothing more satisfying or rewarding in life than the giving of one’s self to serve and better the lives of others.

OT Firehouse 01Mention volunteering at a shelter and most people think about serving food. But what about the rest of the day-to-day operations? Or what about the holidays?

After countless hours of volunteering, students in the UAB Department of Occupational Therapy understand that The Firehouse Shelter is much more than a place for people in need to eat. So the students spent a recent day off taking care of little things, like cleaning, and big things, like decorating for the holidays.


“We have a special group of students that recognize there are needs beyond the basics and they want to do more for others,” said Sarah Tucker, MS, OTR/L, assistant professor in the Master of Science in Occupational Therapy program. “Our students are heading home to spend time with families in warm, festive homes and they wanted to provide as similar an atmosphere as possible for the people they have helped all year long.”

UAB SHP Graduation 01On Friday, December 11, 2015, the inaugural UAB School of Health Professions Graduate Professional Programs Hooding Ceremony welcomed 210 students to the UAB alumni family. More than 1,500 family and friends attended the event held at the Sheraton Birmingham Ballroom.


The ceremony included UAB President Ray L. Watts, M.D., UAB Provost Linda Lucas, Ph.D. and UAB Graduate School Dean Lori McMahon, Ph.D. In addition to School of Health Professions Dean Harold P. Jones, Ph.D., the School’s platform party included Macebearer Donna Slovensky, Ph.D., Katie Adams, Peter Anderson, DVM, Ph.D., Janelle Chiasera, Ph.D., Gavin Jenkins, Ph.D., Christy Harris Lemak, Ph.D., Patrick McNees, Ph.D., David Morris, Ph.D., Midge Ray, Ph.D., Tracee Synco, Ph.D., and Melanie Talbot.


In his address to the graduates, President Watts talked about their future and the future of health care.

BBJThe Birmingham Business Journal released it’s “Who’s Who in Health Care for 2015” and nearly 1 in 3 who earned a spot on the list are connected to the UAB School of Health Professions.

The School’s Dean Harold P. Jones, Ph.D., heads a list of 17 people with SHP ties including:

Each year the BBJ recognizes “dozens of the top names in Birmingham’s health care field.” This year, 17 of the 61 entries – 28 percent – have ties to the UAB School of Health Professions.