Bringing to Life Birmingham’s Iron Age
By Charles Buchanan
For nearly 90 years, Sloss Furnaces helped fuel Birmingham’s booming growth, drawing hundreds of families to live and work in the shadow of the massive iron plant. Today Sloss curator—and UAB history instructor—Karen Utz is learning about this vanished way of life and sharing it with her students. In the process, she is shedding new light on a key, but often overlooked, era in the city’s past.
In this slideshow, Utz describes how she uses oral histories and even recipes to preserve the stories of Birmingham ironworkers.
Stories from UAB’s Accelerated Master’s in Nursing Pathway
Bryan Combs left a career as an athletic trainer to pursue a nursing degree.
By Doug Gillett
One student was headed toward a career in hospital administration until she heard the call of nursing. Another spent several years in UAB’s research labs but decided she wanted a health-care career with more one-on-one contact. Yet another left a successful career in athletic training, working with some of the Southeast’s most prestigious college-football programs, to forge a new path in nursing.
All of these students joined the first class of the UAB School of Nursing’s Accelerated Master’s in Nursing Pathway for Second Degree Students. The program offers college graduates with bachelor’s degrees—even degrees unrelated to health care—a “fast track” to a master’s degree in nursing and an opportunity to sit for the nursing board exams.
From the moment they joined the program in May 2008 until they receive their master’s degrees in August 2010, this first group of students will experience some of the most in-depth training available to nurses anywhere. In this series of audiocasts, the students explain what prompted them to seek out new opportunities in nursing; they also discuss the challenges they’ve faced in the program and talk about the rewards they’ve already found in their new field.
UAB Researchers Focus On New Clues to Macular Degeneration
By Bob Shepard
Christine Curcio has studied age-related eye diseases throughout her 28-year career as an eye researcher.
Oversized phone dials. Magnifiers. Little tricks with peripheral vision. There are many ways to cope with age-related macular degeneration (ARMD). Unfortunately, one of the most popular is denial.
“Half of my new patients at the UAB Center for Low Vision Rehabilitation want me to make them a new pair of glasses so they can go home and have everything the way it was before,” says UAB optometrist Dawn DeCarlo, O.D., the center’s director. “Many patients have no idea what ARMD really means.”
For a long time, even researchers didn’t know a great deal about this devastating condition. And even though they’ve made progress in recent years, they still face some maddening blind spots. The disease, as its name implies, is associated with aging, and it gradually destroys sharp, central vision. ARMD comes in two forms: wet and dry. The wet form, which affects about 15 percent of those with ARMD, leads to more severe vision loss, but its cause is reasonably well understood. In a process called neovascularization, abnormal blood vessels behind the retina grow into the macula, the center of the retina. These blood vessels can rupture and leak, damaging the macula by separating it from the rest of the retina. The good news is that there are new medications, called anti-VEGF drugs, that are extremely effective in treating the wet form of the disease.