HSA GalaHSA 50th Gala, The ClubThe HSA 50th Anniversary Celebration – a weekend 50 years in the making – attracted more than 200 alumni of the Department of Health Services Administration to The Club on Saturday, April 9, 2016.



This legendary event, which celebrated the Department’s accomplishments of the past 50 years and the plans for the next 50 years, welcomed presidents, CEOs, COOs, CFOs, directors and more from across the United States. All agreed that this was an unprecedented gathering of pioneers who are making a difference, improving health care delivery and inspiring future leaders.

More than 4,000 have graduated from this department since our inception in 1965. That is 50 years of improving the healthcare industry, 50 years of leading in uncertain times, and 50 years of inspiring future leaders.



The 50th Anniversary Celebration would not have been possible without our more than 50 sponsors at various levels. Thanks to their generous support, we were also able to jumpstart the UAB Department of Health Services Administration 50th Anniversary Fund!

All proceeds, after expenses, benefit the 50th Anniversary Fund and will be used to award scholarships to deserving students and create meaningful programming for the development of our students and alumni.



Baylor Scott & White Health Community Hospital Corporation Family Legacy Hospital Corporation of America – Continental Division IASIS Healthcare MSHA Single Digit Club Noland Health Services, Inc. UAB Health System


Children’s Health Hoar Construction Memorial Hermann North Mississippi Medical Center St. Vincent’s Health System Tampa General Hospital Wheless Partners Executive Search


Baptist Health Care, Baptist Health System, BlueCross BlueShield of Alabama, Brasfield & Gorrie, Children’s of Alabama, Christy and Mark Lemak, Cigna HealthSpring, Lifeguard Ambulance Service, OrthoMemphis, PwC 

Wicked Winners 1st Place Matthew BarnesMatthew Barnes, far left, and "Strike the Balance" teamMatthew Barnes, a junior in the Health Care Management program, which is in the Department of Health Services Administration in the UAB School of Health Professions, wins the UAB School of Public Health’s annual Wicked Problem Case Competition as part of the “Strike the Balance” team.

Barnes, along with fellow students Sarah Jassim and Nicole Mubarak in the College of Arts and Sciences and Brian Ogendi in the School of Medicine, solved this problem: Birmingham is hosting World Games 2021 and is directing a lot of funds toward improving game site conditions. A group called “Strike the Match” has taken hostages and demanded the money be used in underprivileged communities.

The Department of Clinical and Diagnostic Sciences honored Morgan Edwards, Roxanne Lockhart, Shanequa Roscoe and Andrea Stacy with the inaugural Outstanding First Year Graduate Student Award. The presentations were held during the 4th annual CDS Professional Networking Mixer at the UAB Hill Center Ballroom.

The criteria for the award said each student must demonstrate the ideals of their chosen profession and possess the highest standard of professionalism. The honor will be given annually to one CDS student in each of the four graduate programs that participate in the UAB Quality Enhancement Plan (QEP) Professional Skills courses.

Caruthers PA CoverKara Caruthers, MSPAS, PA-C, co-director of the UAB Biomedical and Health Sciences program and assistant professor in the UAB Physician Assistant Studies program, has been named to the Board of Directors of the Physician Assistant Education Association (PAEA).

Caruthers, who will serve a two-year term as a Director-at-Large, sees her elected position as having tremendous upside for the entire UAB PA program. She points out there are already 200 PA programs around the country and another 40 to 60 programs set to open over the next five years.

“This is a diverse board from across the U.S. but we are all struggling with the same issues and at the top of everyone’s list is the staggering growth of demand for people to become a PA,” said Caruthers. “Serving on this board will give me access to a broad range of ideas to implement, insight to solutions that work and immediate access to some of the brightest thinkers in the PA profession.”

agrawalGaurav Agrawal and Angelin Ponraj

Original story from Tyler Greer, UAB News

Christlin Ponraj, graduate student in biotechnology, and Angelin Ponraj, sophomore in biomedical sciences, both from Atlanta, along with Gaurav Agrawal, junior in biomedical engineering from Mobile, are seeking a simple, private way to alert Alabama residents about their risk for diabetes.

Their Integrated Latrine Technology for Early Disease Detection project will use a color indication change in toilet water to make users aware of a potential diabetes diagnosis and the need to seek further testing and treatment.

“We hope that this affordable, easy-to-use device will also allow us to advocate for the benefits of preventive medicine,” Angelin Ponraj said. “This project has the potential to expand to other states in the U.S. as well as other nations, promoting health awareness and greater longevity globally.”

DSC 1341UAB OT StudentsIn the latest U.S. News & World Report “America’s Best Graduate Schools” rankings, UAB Occupational Therapy moves up three spots to number 25 while UAB Physical Therapy remains in the Top 20.

The climb by OT means the UAB School of Health Professions now has four programs ranked in the nation’s Top 25.

“When you look closely at the rankings you will notice we are the top ranked OT program in Alabama, the fifth-highest ranked program in the Southeast and #16 nationally for state-funded programs,” said Donna Slovensky, Ph.D., interim-chair, UAB Department of Occupational Therapy. “Our strategic plan outlines a path to become the premier state-funded entry level program and we are well on our way thanks to our quality students, successful alumni and an immense dedication of faculty and staff.”

Martin Donna S Head Shot Academy2755Donna S. Martin, president-elect Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Donna S. Martin, EdS, RDN, LD, SNS, FAND, a double alumna of the University of Alabama at Birmingham’s Department of Nutrition Sciences, has been elected president-elect of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

Martin, a 1977 graduate of what was then the UAB Master of Science in Clinical Nutrition/Dietetics program, is the first UAB graduate to hold this position at the world’s largest organization of food and nutrition professionals.

“I believe that everyone has a right to eat right – and I don’t’ think there is any greater group of people on this earth to make that happen than the members of this association,” said Martin, director, Burke County (Georgia) Board of Education School Nutrition Program. “My vision for our association is one where we collaborate, commit and communicate to every level of membership, and position our members to be advocates and leaders in our community.”

Story and photos by John Matson, Alabama Nursing Home Association

Holland UABFrom the sounds of laughter filling the room, you would have never known seven decades separated the speaker from her audience. That was the scene Thursday night in a University of Alabama at Birmingham lecture hall when Ms. Alabama Nursing Home Sylvia Holland spoke to students in the Health Care Management program.

“I can tell there are a lot of bright young people in this room,” Ms. Holland said as she began her remarks. “You can feel the energy. I can tell you’re going to be good at what you do.”

Ms. Holland’s bright smile and warm personality quickly won over the crowd of about 30 junior and senior students enrolled in the UAB School of Health Professions. She spoke about her life experiences and answered several questions from the students and instructor. The hour went by quickly as the conversation covered a wide range of topics: politics, religion, World War II, marriage and raising a family. However, the 88-year-old’s experience as a nursing home resident is why Adjunct Professor Patrick Nicovich invited her to speak to his Introduction to Long Term Care Administration class.

Volker PaustianPamela Paustian, Joseph F. Volker AwardAt the annual Faculty and Staff Awards Luncheon, the UAB School of Health Professions awarded its top honor, the Joseph F. Volker Award, to Pamela Paustian, Ph.D., RHIA, program director of the Bachelor of Science in Health Care Management program.

In her introduction of Paustian, Christy Harris Lemak, Ph.D., chair of the Department of Health Services Administration, said, “One criterion for this award seems specifically written with Pam in mind as she so clearly shows ‘devotion to guiding students in their intellectual development through the pursuit of truth’ every single day.” Lemak went on to point out that Paustian is a member or chair of more than 25 committees and serves all UAB faculty as secretary of the UAB Faculty Senate.

The Beverly W. Smith Outstanding Employee Award, the top honor for a non-faculty employee, went to Amanda Sherman, MS, alumni affairs coordinator for the entire school. Katie Adams, SHP’s senior director of development, said this in her introduction of Sherman, “Amanda is committed to SHP and more importantly committed to the bettering of lives of others through her work. Amanda embodies the spirit we hope every employee should strive to have and is a true asset to our team.”

SEE MORE: all photos from the SHP Faculty and Staff Awards Luncheon

Teaching MadayKristopher Maday, Excellence in TeachingKristopher Maday, MS, PA-C, CNSC, assistant professor in the Physician Assistant Studies program, earned the Excellence in Teaching Award. The honor was delivered by James R. Kilgore, Ph.D., PA-C, the PA program director, who said this about Maday, “The words you hear often when Kris’ name is mentioned by colleagues are – Facebook, podcasting, blogging and Tweeting – he makes traditional teaching with PowerPoint and lectures sound quite anemic, right? The words you hear about him from students are – awesome, passionate, exceptional and best instructor ever.”

The Excellence in Scholarship Award was awarded to Eta Berner, Ed.D., professor in the Health Informatics program. She is a Fellow in two prestigious organizations – the American College of Medical Informatics (ACMI) and the Health Information Management Systems Society (HIMSS). Amanda Dorsey, the Health Informatics program director talked about how Berner is a rock star in their field because of her scholarship work, “When we go to a conference and walk through a convention hall with thousands of people, she is recognized and stopped every three minutes. It’s like being with a celebrity and I just sit back like her handler and nod politely when she introduces me to the elites of our industry.”

Wendy Demark-Wahnefried, Ph.D., is a professor and the Webb Endowed Chair of Nutrition Sciences and winner of the Excellence in Service Award. In presenting the award, Barbara Gower, Ph.D., professor and vice-chair of research in Nutrition Sciences, said "One of Wendy's most noteworthy accomplishments is helping create and update the American Cancer Society's nutrition guidelines for cancer survivors - they are 'the bible' for diet advice for health professionals and cancer patients." Demark-Wahnefried, who also serves as associate director for cancer prevention and control at the UAB Comprehensive Cancer Center, has done landmark research including how gardens help cancer survivors cope, heal and grow and currently serves as chair-elect for the Obesity Society section on cancer.

LEARN MORE: see all the past award winners and learn about each award

The annual SHP Faculty and Staff Awards Luncheon was held Friday, March 11, 2016, at the UAB National Alumni Society House. The 2015-2016 committee, co-chaired by Joseph Garner, Ph.D. and Amanda Dorsey, included Paula Chandler-Laney, Ph.D., Mary Foster, John Lowman, Ph.D., Amanda Sherman and Sarah Tucker.