Rick Kilgore PA White Coat CeremonyRick Kilgore at the
UAB PA White Coat Ceremony
University of Alabama at Birmingham’s James “Rick” Kilgore, Ph.D., PA-C, is 1 of only 16 people in the U.S. to be named to the first cohort of the PA (Physician Assistant) Foundation’s Mental Health Outreach Fellows. The program is designed to connect UAB PA’s clinical expertise with their compassion for their community.

“In light of the recent and devastating deaths in schools and businesses it is clear that we have a mental health issue and that many people do not know how to assist those who are in need of help,” said Kilgore, an assistant professor in the UAB School of Health Professions Department of Clinical and Diagnostic Sciences who has been practicing clinical medicine for more than 35 years. “I see this as a great opportunity to address the needs of those who have a mental disorder in our communities but even more so, this will allow us to ensure that there are more people in Birmingham who are better prepared to help and act.”

“I applaud Rick for this honor and his desire to help others because so much can come from this fellowship with its special focus of education in the area of mental health,” said Janelle Chiasera, Ph.D., senior executive associate dean, UAB School of Health Professions, and chair, Department of Clinical and Diagnostic Sciences. “This is an excellent example of how we listen to our community and seek opportunities to pair our strengths with community needs to create timely and innovative solutions to real-world problems.”

Katlyn NorrisKatlyn NorrisKatlyn Norris, a student in the UAB School of Health Professions’ Honors Program and a senior in the B.S. in Biomedical Sciences program (BMD), was one of only five recipients of an AAI Undergraduate Award at the 2017 Autumn Immunology Conference in Chicago, IL.

The award, sponsored by the American Association of Immunologists, is a merit award delivered to the first authors of the top five undergraduate abstracts at the annual conference. Norris earned the honor for her project “Understanding the effects of obesity on immune responses in renal cell carcinoma.”

“As a BMD undergraduate student and SHP Research Honors student, I have had the opportunity to gain phenomenal research experience under Dr. Norian and her mentorship. After becoming a student in Dr. Norian’s lab, I was given the opportunity to collaborate and present on the current clear cell renal cell carcinoma (ccRCC) human subject study in which we sought to investigate the systemic and local effects of obesity on immune populations and specific proteins on ccRCC tumors,” said Norris, who has been accepted to the UAB Physician Assistant Studies program and begins classes in Fall 2018. “Surprisingly, we found that obesity is not driving substantial immunosuppressive changes in subjects with ccRCC tumors as we had hypothesized. After investing in this type of cancer, the obesogenic environment, and the immunologic responses involved in cancer, I plan to continue my research in cancer, and hope to gain future experience in the clinical practice of oncology. I look forward to future career interests in oncology, pediatrics, surgery, and immunology.”

Modern Healthcare GraphicIn crafting Modern Healthcare’s cover story “Racism still a problem in healthcare’s C-suite”, reporter Shelby Livingston spent almost two hours speaking with a diverse group of students from the UAB School of Health ProfessionsExecutive Master of Science in Health Administration program.

The conversation between Livingston and the students who are working as clinicians and leaders in health care from around the country was open and lively, but most of all – it was honest. The students spoke without fear about their personal experiences, in part because they have spent time together in UAB’s cohort model of executive graduate education in health administration and have been learning about leadership together.

“Diversity and inclusion – in particular, assessing our biases and having difficult, often uncomfortable conversations about topics such as race are essential for leaders in health care today,” said Christy Harris Lemak, Ph.D., chair of the Department of Health Services Administration and instructor for the leadership course the students were taking when the Modern Healthcare reporter visited. “This year, the conversation was particularly emotional - for the students of color and other students who realized for the first time the barriers some of their classmates face every day.”

Doctoral DirectorsCurrent and past HSA doctoral program directors:
Top Row L/R - Hearld, Hernandez
Bottom Row L/R - Duncan, Fottler, Thompson
On Tuesday, February 13, 2018, the UAB School of Health ProfessionsDepartment of Health Services Administration celebrated 40 years of doctoral education. Together, the PhD in Administration-Health Services program and the Executive Doctor of Science in Administration-Health Services program have graduated 166 researchers, scholars, teachers, and leaders.

“In the early days of this program we created a culture where the students were encouraged to work with one another on their academic papers and that wasn’t being done on a regular basis by many others,” said Myron Fottler, Ph.D., former director of the PhD in Administration-Health Services program. “When I looked at the student poster presentations today I noticed that strategy continues. The program directors that have come in since I left have done a great job and a great service to UAB students and alumni.”

The 40th anniversary event saw almost every program director return to campus to celebrate the numerous achievements by students, faculty and alumni over the years. The directors, as well as the many alumni who returned, toured the new learning spaces in the School of Health Professions Building (SHPB) where the current doctoral students learn and conduct research.Everyone in attendance also received a glimpse of the future – a look at what the next 40 years of doctoral education may bring.

CAHME AccreditedThe University of Alabama at Birmingham Master of Science in Health Administration (MSHA) program has been chosen as a recipient of the 2018 CAHME/Cerner Award for Excellence in Healthcare Management Systems Education. The annual award delivered by the Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Management Education , the premier accreditator  in their field, in partnership with Cerner, one of the nation’s leaders in health care technology, recognizes outstanding education in the use of information technology and management systems in healthcare.

“We are honored by this award, especially because it recognizes how we integrate the important areas of leadership and health informatics in our graduate programs at UAB,” said Christy Harris Lemak, Ph.D., chair, Department of Health Services Administration. “It also highlights the ways we work closely with the UAB Health System and our many alumni partners in the field to develop future leaders.”

BG HealthcareMgmt2016The MSHA program, ranked second in the nation according to U.S. News & World Report, is the highest ranked program at UAB and is located in the School of Health Professions’ Department of Health Services Administration.

(Reuters Health) - - For cancer survivors, three seasons of home vegetable gardening may increase physical activity, fruits and vegetables in the diet and also enhance feelings of self-worth, researchers say.

Gardening may help cancer survivorsPossibly as a result of these healthy behaviors, gardeners in the small study also tended to gain less weight around their waists compared to their counterparts on a waiting list for the gardening intervention, the study team reports.

It’s estimated there are more than 15 million cancer survivors in the U.S., over two thirds of whom are over age 60, they note in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

“For cancer survivors, especially those who are older, we look for lifestyle changes that can help them get healthier but are also holistic and have meaning,” said lead author Wendy Demark-Wahnefried, chair of nutrition sciences at the University of Alabama at Birmingham’s Comprehensive Cancer Center.

“We can send people to the gym, but that isn’t meaningful, and we can counsel them to eat better, but we want it to be more rewarding, and we want it to be long-term,” Demark-Wahnefried told Reuters Health in a telephone interview. “With gardening, we’ve hit the ball out of the ballpark.”

You are when you eat.

A growing number of researchers say limiting the hours during the day when you eat, focusing more on the timing of meals instead of calories, can help dieters burn more fat, improve their health and lose weight.

Lorna Shelton, 58, was not very lively this time last year. The Centralia, Washington native weighed nearly 250 pounds and had trouble walking.

"I had to have both knees replaced, I was walking with a cane," said Shelton.

A traditional approach to losing weight, including substituting fast food for cooked meals and moderate intensity exercise, helped her to lose weight — but not enough.

"After I had gotten 40 pounds off, the next ten pounds seemed to take forever, I needed to do something different," said Shelton.

On Friday, December 15, 2017, the UAB School of Health Professions held their Graduate Professional Programs Hooding Ceremony. More than 2,000 friends and family witnessed 183 of the school’s 224 graduates join the UAB alumni family. The event was held at the Sheraton Birmingham Ballroom.

Click to See Graduation Photos


The commencement speaker was Christopher M. Brainard, MSHA, FACHE. In addition to being an alumnus of our Master of Science in Health Administration – Executive Format and a member of our Dean’s Advisory Board, Brainard is senior director of Patient Experience and Engagement for the UAB Health System. This is a system, which sees more than 1.35 million patients in Kirklin Clinic and their outreach clinics every year.

Brainard told the Class of 2017 – which included graduates from Biotechnology, Clinical Laboratory Sciences, Healthcare Quality and Safety, Nuclear Medicine Technology, Nutrition Sciences, Occupational Therapy, Physical Therapy and Physician Assistant Studies – “we will all play the role of the patient, one day.”

Valley McCurry Ann Cosby AwardChris Eidson and Valley McCurryValley McCurry, MBA, OTR/L, assistant professor in the UAB School of Health ProfessionsDepartment of Occupational Therapy, received the Ann Cosby Service Award from the Alabama Occupational Therapy Association (ALOTA).

The award is given annually to an advocate “who has made contributions to the advancement of occupational therapy and/or health care” over their career.

“I am truly honored and humbled to receive this award from an organization that I care deeply about,” said McCurry. “I had the pleasure of being able to serve on the board with a group of fantastic, caring volunteers who love OT and our state, and it was really that group of individuals who allowed us to move the profession forward in Alabama.”

McCurry, who has worked as an OT since 1998, is a former president of ALOTA (serving from 2007 – 2014) and is currently the co-chair of their Government Affairs. She served as vice chair of the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA) Affiliated State Association Presidents Council from 2014-2017.

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