A Strong Start for At-Risk Moms and Babies
By Christina Crowe and Matt Windsor
Drummonds recently visited UAB to deliver the 2013 Ann Dial McMillan Endowed Lecture in Family and Child Health in the UAB School of Public Health. He shared lessons from his group's successful efforts to improve the health of mothers and infants in central Harlem. (Learn more about the NMPP's success and Drummond's call to action at UAB in this related article.) "Mom's health," Drummonds says, is "always secondary. Part of our job is to make her health, as well as the overall health of the household, primary."
Maternal and child health is a major challenge in Alabama. "High rates of premature birth, obesity, diabetes, hypertension, and substance abuse plague our state," says Joseph Biggio, M.D., professor of medicine and director of the UAB Division of Maternal and Fetal Medicine. But thanks to a major grant from the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, UAB can now offer intensive help to mothers and babies with the greatest needs.
The goal of the Strong Start for Mothers and Newborns initiative is to identify the best ways to prevent significant, long-term health problems for high-risk pregnant women and newborns enrolled in Medicaid or the Children's Health Insurance Program. In addition to UAB, 26 organizations across the United States are taking part in the Strong Start initiative.
Alabama's Medicaid Maternity Care Program currently does not provide non-medical social services to promote healthy living and reduce poor pregnancy outcomes. UAB's four-year, $730,000 Strong Start grant will address that gap by enhancing services offered at UAB clinics in and around Jefferson County. It includes enhanced screening for substance abuse, including illicit drugs as well as tobacco; social support for women with domestic issues such as income or domestic violence; screening for depression; and nutrition and dietary counseling.
New Research Unit Expands Access to Cutting-Edge Treatments at UAB
By Matt Windsor
In one six-month stretch last year, Lynn and Suzy Holt got enough bad news to last a lifetime. Suzy found out she had breast cancer in June 2012, just after Lynn had left a longtime job as a food distributor to start his own business. Then, as Suzy was in the middle of treatment in early October, Lynn was diagnosed with glioblastoma multiforme, an aggressive form of brain tumor. "I was a stage 4," he says, which means the tumor was spreading quickly. "My doctor said, 'You need to go to UAB. This needs to be handled by the experts.'"
Lynn, who describes himself as a "real online kind of guy," had done his research and knew what he was up against. Glioblastoma multiforme is the deadliest type of brain cancer, with an average survival rate of less than 15 months from diagnosis. "I wanted every hope I could get," he says.
"A More Convenient Season" Shares Birmingham's Story
By Matt Windsor
Alys Stephens Center (ASC) in the world premiere of composer Yotam Haber's "A More Convenient Season."On September 21, Birmingham's past will engage its present in a unique conversation. For 75 minutes, the words of civil rights legends and footsoldiers, FBI agents and Klansmen, will echo through UAB's
The three-movement musical work, commissioned by philanthropist Tom Blount and produced by the ASC, caps Birmingham's commemoration of the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church bombing in September 1963.
Speeches, oral history transcripts, and FBI interviews supply the text of a multi-faceted work that combines the Alabama Symphony Orchestra, a chorus from dozens of local choirs, electronic music, and a documentary film. (The work's title comes from a line in Martin Luther King's famous "Letter from Birmingham Jail.") The ambitious project might best be described as an opera, says Haber. "There are no sets or costumes, but in every other respect, this is an opera."
"A More Convenient Season," Saturday, September 21 - 8 p.m.
Jemison Concert Hall, Alys Stephens Center
Book online or call (205) 975-2787.
Tickets: $10 with promo code "positivepeace"
"A More Convenient Season" is the first world premiere in the ASC's 17-year history—a dramatic gesture that is "UAB's gift to Birmingham," says Theresa Bruno, chair of the ASC's corporate board. For Haber, a project that began as a 15-minute string quartet has been his constant companion for two years, evolving into what he says is "the most meaningful work I have ever made."