UAB School of Health Professions Current News

UAB students spend Spring Break serving others

Physician Assistant student w/childPhysician Assistant student w/childSo what did you do for Spring Break?

Beach? Check.

Exotic destination? Check.

Provide medical services to those in need? Wait, what?

Ten students from the University of Alabama at Birmingham Physician Assistant program travelled to the Dominican Republic for Spring Break. But they did not relax at Playa Rincon or descend the 27 waterfalls of Damajagua. 

They served a medical mission to Juan Dolio which is an hour-long bus ride outside of Santo Domingo.

“Working with the Dominican people living in these underserved villages touched each of us in a different way than we have ever been touched before,” said Elisa Cruz, a second-year PA student.

“In one village, there was a teenage boy trying to get our translator to sneak him some multivitamins,” said Katie Stone, a second-year PA student who coordinated the mission. “Multivitamins - not Lortab or Percocet or Ativan - multivitamins. Wow! Do we take things for granted or what?! This kid just wanted vitamins.”


Healthcare reform expert is National Symposium for Healthcare Executives keynote

Thomas LeeThomas Lee to keynote National SymposiumThomas H. Lee, M.D., who played a leadership role in Massachusetts’ healthcare reform, will be the keynote speaker at the 34th National Symposium for Healthcare Executives. Lee, the chief medical officer at Press Ganey, is proposing sweeping changes to the current healthcare reform movement.

He has more than three decades experience in healthcare performance improvement and his work at Press Ganey focuses on reducing the suffering of patients as they undergo care and improving the value of that care. Lee’s keynote address is Wednesday, August 6, 2014.

Anton Gunn, former director of external affairs and chief aid to former director Kathleen Sebelius at the Department of Health and Human Services, will highlight the Thursday morning session. He will provide an up-to-the-minute policy report from the White House.

The National Symposium, hosted annually by the University of Alabama at BirminghamCenter for Health Services Continuing Education, is August 6 – 8, 2014, at Sandestin, Fla. The symposium provides leaders with continuing education credit, networking opportunities and a venue to exchange ideas. In all, there will be 15 presenters addressing organizational value and the financial challenges of the current healthcare environment.

To register or learn more visit

UAB graduates 1st class of Saudi Arabian hospital administrators

Graduation CeremonyEMSHA Graduation Ceremony in Saudi ArabiaA joint partnership between the University of Alabama at BirminghamDepartment of Health Services Administration and the King Fahad Specialist Hospital-Dammam graduated its first class of Saudi Arabian hospital administrators on Saturday, December 21, 2013.

Participating in the Executive Master of Science in Health Administration graduation ceremony, held in Dammam, were Saudi physicians and administrators. The event was attended by UAB School of Health Professions Dean Harold P. Jones, Ph.D., S. Robert Hernandez, DrPH, interim-chair of the HSA department; Leandra Celaya, MSc, assistant director, Executive Doctoral Program in Administration – Health Services; and Daniel K. Mueller, Ph.D., associate professor, HSA department.

SEE MORE: the SHP Flickr page has all the photos from this historical day

“To face the major challenges in the health sector we must build health management systems to keep up with the global systems,” said His Excellency, Dr. Mansour Al Hawasi, Deputy Minister for Health Affairs, Ministry of Health, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. “We have prepared and qualified a generation of creative leaders who are able to change the concept of health management and push it towards progress and advancement in the field of health service and hospital administration.”


Delitto, renowned PT researcher, named inaugural Gossman Lecturer

Tony DelittoAnthony Delitto, Ph.D., PT, FAPTAThe University of Alabama at Birmingham Department of Physical Therapy selects Anthony Delitto, Ph.D., PT, FAPTA, as the inaugural lecturer for the Marilyn R. Gossman Endowed Lectureship. Delitto, associate dean for research at the University of Pittsburgh School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences, is recognized around the world for his accomplishments and contributions to the PT profession.

“When I entered the PT profession, Marilyn was already known for having built UAB into an educational force in the PT world so I am honored to be the first Marilyn R. Gossman Endowed lecturer,” said Delitto, an unprecedented six-time winner of the highly regarded Steven J. Rose Award. “I am not one to talk about myself so my lecture will focus on the monumental work of others in research, practice and education.”

The inaugural Gossman Lectureship, sponosored by TherapySouth, will be Friday, May 16, from 5:30 - 7:00 p.m., in Volker Hall, Lecture Room A, located at 1670 University Boulevard. Admission is free and everyone is welcome.


Genetic Counseling students tie for first at GSRD

Rachel ReeseRachel Reese, 2014 UAB GSRD co-winnerRachel Reese and Lauren Beretich, students in the UAB Genetic Counseling program, tied for first place at the UAB Graduate Student Research Days. The GC program, located within the Department of Clinical and Diagnostic Sciences is only four years old and this is the third straight year students have placed at the GSRD. It marks the second time in three years they have won the top honor.

“Being recognized for my research is truly an honor, but I feel that it is even more a reflection of the exceptional mentors I have at UAB,” said Beretich.

“Having my fellow peers and mentors recognize my research has been tremendously gratifying,” said Reese. “It's been wonderful to see this project from the planning stages to the writing of the final manuscript and I hope that this project will have a positive impact on this profession as a whole.”


Unlap wins UAB President's Award

Tino UnlapTino Unlap, 2014 President’s Award for Excellence in TeachingTino Unlap, Ph.D., a professor of biotechnology in the Department of Clinical and Diagnostic Sciences, is one of 11 UAB faculty members to be honored with the President’s Award for Excellence in Teaching during the annual Faculty Awards Convocation.

Unlap is recognized for his "ability to take complex concepts and simplify them in such a way that anyone can understand," according to one UAB School of Health Professions colleague. In addition to biotechnology, Unlap teaches courses for clinical laboratory sciences and nurse anesthesia programs. He is sought after by industry leaders both for his teaching and research talents, including the Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs and the Heritage Center. He has won The Graduate School's Excellence in Mentorship award and SHP's Excellence in Teaching Award. "Students and faculty appreciate that he uses every means at his disposal to give them access to elite individuals, facilities and learning experiences," a colleague said.


Why Food Matters: food, family and eating

Written by Bob Shepard

Birmingham is known for its culinary excellence and diversity. Many of the city’s top chefs are embracing the local food movement — eating locally produced food in season. Proponents suggest it is a healthier way to eat while also supporting the local economy.

In March, UAB hosted a screening of a documentary film called “Eating Alabama.” Produced by local filmmaker Andrew Beck Grace, the film follows Grace’s and his wife’s efforts to eat locally for one year. Subtitled “A story of why food matters,” the film touches on the role food plays in our modern society.

In this video, Beth Kitchin, Ph.D., R.D., an assistant professor in the UAB Department of Nutrition Sciences, talks to Grace about the film, and offers some of her own thoughts about food, relationships and eating locally.


Journey from High School dropout toward Health Administrator

*Editor's Note: Nicholas Colleran delivered this moving address at the SHP Scholarship Luncheon on Friday, March 21, 2014. He was kind enough to allow us to share his story with everyone and we thank him for being so open and inspirational.

Nicholas Colleran Scholarship Luncheon SpeechNicholas Colleran delivers Scholarship Luncheon speechI want to start by thanking everyone for all your contributions and allowing me to be here. It is my pleasure to speak to all of you this afternoon. My name is Nicholas Colleran and I am from Weymouth, Massachusetts which is about 15 minutes south of Boston. I am a student in The Master of Science in Health Administration program at UAB. I want to personally thank the Ryland Family for the scholarship they provided for me and for all those who have made contributions to our program. I’m sure I speak for everyone when I say we are all extremely grateful.

I want to tell you about what the scholarship I received, did for me. To do that I think I should give you a short background on whom I am. My path to graduate school wasn’t like most others. I came from a household in which neither parent had a college degree but constantly preached education. Despite their countless attempts to create a successful young man I ended up dropping out of high school. I started roofing to start a career but after 6 months I knew this was not what I wanted out of my life. After a dermatology appointment, I was hired by the physician to move boxes at the office for a week so the women in the office didn’t have to do any heavy lifting. Six years later I was still there and the women in the office were still making sure I did all the heavy lifting.


Panel led by Garvey sets framework to combat obesity epidemic

Written by Bob Shepard

tim garveyW. Timothy Garvey, M.D.Calling it the most under-reimbursed major disease in America, two endocrinology societies announced an evidence-based, multidimensional, comprehensive framework to combat the nation’s obesity epidemic today. Meeting in Washington, D.C., the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists and the American College of Endocrinology Consensus Conference of Obesity: Building an Evidence Base for Comprehensive Action laid out a plan of attack. The conference featured obesity thought-leaders representing public and private stakeholders, part of a year’s long effort to identify the myriad issues surrounding the epidemic of obesity and the necessary steps for solving it.

“Key findings include the need for an improved definition of obesity, high-quality research that includes evaluation of a complications-centric clinical approach to obesity and better understanding of reimbursement mechanisms,” said conference chair W. Timothy Garvey, M.D., professor and chair of the University of Alabama at BirminghamDepartment of Nutrition Sciences.