SHP Annual Report 2015ICYMI The School of Health Professions Annual Report for 2015 is available online. Below is the Dean's Letter that appears in the report and tells you more about what is inside. Enjoy!


Hello everyone,

The UAB School of Health Professions is a hands-on place. Whether Physician Assistants or Occupational Therapists or Nutrition Scientists or one of the other 20+ programs we offer – our students, our faculty and our staff like to get our hands dirty. And that’s what sets us apart.

Plato once said, “People are like dirt. They can either nourish you and help you grow as a person or they can stunt your growth and make you wilt and die.”

In 2014, our student population grew 17 percent. In 2015, the student total jumped another 15 percent. This phenomenal growth spurt, occurring as UAB’s total enrollment decreased over the same two year period, can be credited to the rich nutrients we offer to those sowing their seeds with us.

Within this Annual Report you will see we have UAB’s top ranked program and top graduate certificate. You will learn about unique new programs not offered anywhere else in the Southeast. You will be surprised by student accomplishments and faculty discoveries.

So I invite you to open this report – come “get your hands dirty” with us – and see why more students are choosing the School of Health Professions to help them flourish.

Harold P. Jones, Ph.D.

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.