ASCLS Oliveira 03Oliveira at ASCLS ConferenceAna Oliveira, DrPH, assistant professor in the Clinical Laboratory Sciences program, has been honored by the American Society for Clinical Laboratory Science as a National Key to the Future honoree. The award is given to newer ASCLS members who are establishing themselves as leaders in their own organization.

"It is a great honor to receive this award. Many people do not know the crucial work clinical laboratory professionals do every day, and how integral they are to the health care team," said Oliveira. "It is invigorating to actively participate in a professional society such as ASCLS whose mission is to assure excellence in the practice of laboratory medicine."

(Pictured L/R: CLS Program Director Floyd Josephat, 2014 National Key winner Tera Webb, Oliveira, student Jason Frasier, CDS Chair Janelle Chiasera)

OT Pi Theta Epsilon 2015 01UAB OT Pi Theta Epsilon Class of 2015The UAB Department of Occupational Therapy inducted 16 students into the Alpha Beta Chapter of Pi Theta Epsilon. The Class of 2015 is the largest inducted by UAB OT and includes Anne Abernathy, Olivia Collette, Katie Crumpler, Haley Dean, Renee Harris, Alexandra Hollis, Morgan Hutto, Erin Killen, Dunrey LaRose, Casey Latham, Omar Mohiuddin, Allison Riley, Savannah Shores, Shea Spicher, Tara Weaver and Abbey White.

In their inaugural meeting, the students discussed their vision for the 2015 – 2016 academic year. Among the ideas they hope to accomplish are communication with student scholars at other institutions, scholarly contributions to the field and life-long learning.

“Pi Theta Epsilon is known for recognizing students that have demonstrated academic excellence, scholarly contributions, and service so it is an honor to be counted among an exceptional group of students being inducted,” said one OT student. “It is humbling to know that I meet the requirements to belong to an organization charged with advancing occupational therapy through research, scholarship and the empowerment of fellow students.”  

Brooks Wingo TeleHealthBrooks Wingo (pictured, right) works with telehealth systemA new study from the University of Alabama at Birmingham could provide the first known data about the impact of dietary patterns on dietary adherence and cardiometabolic risk factors (CMRF) in adults with spinal cord injury (SCI). Brooks Wingo, Ph.D., an assistant professor in the Department of Occupational Therapy, received a K01 grant for $115,093 from the NIH Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development to determine if a reduced carbohydrate diet will help adults with SCI stick to their diet and improve their body composition.

“We know there is a lot of emerging evidence to support the benefits of low carb diets, but this will be the first study to directly test the benefits from both a behavioral and physiological standpoint in adults with SCI,” said Wingo, who also holds a research position in the UAB Nutrition Obesity Research Center.

Wingo’s study, titled “Diet Composition and Cardiometabolic Risk Reduction,” will study 70 overweight and obese adults with SCI for six months. Participants will be randomized into two groups with the first following a reduced carbohydrate diet that is higher in fat and the second following a standard diet that has a higher percentage of carbohydrates versus fat.

Jessica Williams PhDJessica Williams, Ph.D.Jessica Williams, PhD, an assistant professor in the UAB Department of Health Services Administration, received a $100,000 grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation through the New Connections program. The grant will allow Williams to look at factors that influence perceptions of discrimination in health care settings, the management of hypertension in African-Americans, and how these perceptions influence medication adherence.

“The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation is deeply committed to improving health for all communities so I am honored to receive this grant and this incredible opportunity that will establish me as an independent investigator and move me toward my research vision of communities where health care outcomes are independent of race and class,” said Williams. “I believe that the only way we can begin to improve the quality of healthcare encounters is to understand patient perceptions and in many ways, I feel this is a missing piece to the disparities puzzle.”

Kara CaruthersKara Caruthers with her WOW! AwardKara Caruthers, MSPAS, PA-C, co-director of the UAB Biomedical and Health Sciences program, was honored by the Metro Birmingham Chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People with their Wonderful Outstanding Woman award. Caruthers received the award at the NAACP’s 15th annual Salute to Wonderful Outstanding Women ceremony.

Caruthers, who is also an assistant professor in the UAB Physician Assistant Studies program, says the award means more than you would imagine at first glance. As a 10th grader in Omaha, she won the Nebraska NAACP’s ACT-SO (Afro-Academic, Cultural, Technological and Scientific Olympics) competition and then went on to compete at the NAACP national ACT-SO.

“That was my first real introduction into the cool, scientific nerd world,” said Caruthers. “To be honored 20 years later by the NAACP, again in relation to my scientific work, proves to me that I am doing what I was meant to be doing with my life. It is an honor to come full circle with the NAACP.”

Written by Bob Shepard, UAB News

Jose FernandezJosé Fernández, Ph.D.José Fernández, Ph.D., professor and vice chair for Education in the Department of Nutrition Sciences at the University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Health Professions, has been named the inaugural winner of the Shiriki Kumanyida Diversity Leadership Award from the Obesity Society. The award recognizes an investigator whose research has made a significant difference in the field of obesity disparities.

The prevalence of obesity has significantly increased among the population of the United States over the past 30 years, with nearly one-third of adults now considered obese. Obesity is a known risk factor for many diseases, including diabetes, heart disease, stroke and cancer. Significant racial/ethnic disparities continue to exist in the occurrence of obesity.

Ceren Yarar FisherCeren Yarar-Fisher, Ph.D.Ceren Yarar-Fisher, Ph.D., instructor in the Department of Nutrition Sciences, Hui-Ju Young, Ph.D., postdoctoral fellow with the UAB / Lakeshore Research Collaboration and Sarah Katherine Sweatt, a Ph.D. student in Nutrition Sciences, were each honored with “Creativity is a Decision Awards.”

The competition, hosted annually by the UAB Nutrition Obesity Research Center, rewards researchers for “the most creative ideas for grant proposals in obesity-related research.”

JanelleChiasera lowresChiasera named to ASCLS BoardJanelle Chiasera, Ph.D., chair of the UAB Department of Clinical and Diagnostic Sciences, has been named American Society for Clinical Laboratory Science Region III director. The appointment is a Board of Director position for ASCLS whose mission is “to make a positive impact in health care through leadership.”

“It is not only exciting to have been elected to this board, but it is an incredible honor to have been nominated for this position by my peers,” said Chiasera. “Knowing that my professional peers trust me to represent their views to the national board is an honor and a responsibility I am excited to fulfill.”

Playground 01A University of Alabama at Birmingham study, conducted by students in the Department of Occupational Therapy, investigating the quality of park play spaces between affluent and non-affluent communities has been published by the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. The study, titled “Disparities in Quality of Park Play Spaces between Two Cities with Diverse Income and Race/Ethnicity Composition: A Pilot Study,” found “significant disparity in Play Value in parks” between the two communities.

“The children that were actively using the Mountain Brook play spaces appeared to have all needs available such as clean restrooms, accessibility to play structures and spaces and cleared walking surfaces,” said Amy Maher, OTS. “There was also a noticeable sense of safety as police or maintenance was present while the children engaged with other children in their play environments.”

Maher, along with fellow students Emily Rose, Kristina C. Gregory and Megan Cotton, studied six parks in Mountain Brook, Alabama and five parks in Irondale, Alabama. According to the most recent United States Census Bureau American Community Survey (ACS), the median annual income for Mountain Brook ($131,281) is more than double that of Irondale ($50,157) which is below the U.S. average.