UAB Magazine Online Features
Selling UAB in the 21st Century
By Matt Windsor
It’s just another day at one of America's largest hospitals. On the ground floor, in an emergency room the size of a football field, staff are treating everything from household accidents to severe trauma. In the floors above, patients are in the middle of life-saving surgeries and other treatments, while new lives are entering the world in the adjacent Women and Infants Center. But right now, in the second-floor atrium, a grandmother is calling out for help, while a camera crew looks on.
How do you summarize UAB in 60 seconds? For a new TV ad, filmmakers traveled from UAB Hospital to Sterne Library to the Comprehensive Cancer Center and beyond, with sequences in Washington, D.C., the Egyptian desert, and outer space. The creators of this minute-long commercial faced a unique challenge: unifying the academic and medical sides of UAB’s campus for the first time under a single branding campaign with a common tagline—“UAB: Knowledge that will change your world.”
Touring UAB’s New Faculty Art Studios
By Matt Windsor
Last fall, UAB art faculty packed up their paintbrushes, cameras, and power tools and cruised across campus to new digs—in a former car dealership on UAB’s eastern edge.
The building’s former life as a showroom brings an added wrinkle: Most of the new faculty studios feature massive glass windows facing the street. Many of the artists say they had some hesitancy about being so visible, but the abundant natural light and outdoor views quickly won them over. They also love the fact that their see-through studios help connect them with the surrounding community.
Here, members of the Department of Art and Art History explain how their new studios influence and inspire their work.
High-Tech Devices Enhance Patient Care
By Tara Hulen
Some of the most important medical treatment advances in recent years have been quiet ones—high-tech devices that transmit crucial information from patient bedsides, recording a wealth of data to improve care. Nurses spend less time entering data and more time with patients. The potential for errors is lower. Care-team members can see new records right away instead of tracking down paper charts. And patients enjoy peace of mind knowing that everyone treating them is on the same page—or accessing the same computer file.
Electronic medical records (EMRs) are becoming commonplace in physicians’ offices and hospitals around the country, in part because new federal rules require their adoption. UAB adopted electronic records technology early, beginning in 2008; since then, the medical center has rolled out sophisticated systems that can quickly enter patients’ vital signs directly into their EMRs, monitor drug delivery, and instantly notify health-care teams of important changes in patients’ conditions, among other tasks.
“The goal is to create a complete and fully integrated EMR with immediate electronic synching of all patient data, available to everyone on the health-care teams at the same time,” says Joan Hicks, UAB Health System chief information officer. The benefits from systems already in place, Hicks says, are a return on investment that is “more than compelling.”
Take a closer look at a few of the new technologies connecting patients, caregivers, and treatments:
Zombies Inspire Student’s Disease Research
By Charles Buchanan
Virginia Chu admits that she was a bad zombie.
During her undergraduate years at Georgia Tech, the Atlanta native participated in the campuswide “Humans vs. Zombies” game. Players begin as humans, except for one student zombie with a mission to “infect” the others by touching them. Once tagged, the new zombies seek their own prey, setting in motion a weeklong race to survive the apocalypse.
Players wear bandanas identifying them as human or zombie, so “it’s hard to be sneaky and infect somebody”—always her downfall, recalls Chu, now an epidemiology student in the UAB School of Public Health. But her attempts to hunt human victims helped her to discover the science within the game—and translate it into a tool for modeling the spread of infectious diseases.
“The textbook case for disease modeling is cruise ships—figuring out how fast a disease can spread depending on the size of the ship, and whether quarantine or treatment is the best solution,” explains Chu, who has had a longstanding interest in infectious diseases. The zombie game, however, provides a living, breathing case study that researchers can follow as it progresses in a real-world setting.