UAB Magazine Online Features
The Buzz About Chikungunya
How the emerging virus arrived in America—and how UAB will help fight itBy Charles Buchanan • Illustrations by Ron Gamble and Laura Hannah
Don’t blame chickens for chikungunya, the virus making headlines for its spread in the United States in 2014. Rather, its winged carriers include mosquitoes and a far more effective disease distributor: air passengers.
At the beginning of August 2014, the 50 states were reporting nearly 400 cases of the disease, from Maine to Florida to Hawaii, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (The CDC has not officially counted any suspected cases in Alabama.) Nearly all of those cases were unfortunate souvenirs picked up by visitors to the Caribbean, where the disease jumped from zero cases before October 2013 to an estimated 300,000 today.
Students Discover Birmingham by Writing About ItBy Susannah Felts • Photos by Steve Wood
The city of Birmingham is an open book for students in one UAB English course. It serves as both subject and setting for their work, which hones their skills for writing about place for different public and academic audiences. And they quickly find that Birmingham’s story has plenty of blank pages for them to fill.
Garden of Ideas
UAB Becomes a Creative Proving Ground for SustainabilityBy Charles Buchanan • Photos by Steve Wood and Julie Price • Infographic by Ron Gamble
Julie Price, Ph.D., will admit that her mind has been in the gutter lately. She’s figuring out how to funnel the abundant rain that falls upon UAB and repurpose it for watering campus green spaces.
“It doesn’t make sense to spend time and money to clean water for drinking and then throw it out on the lawn,” says Price (pictured above), appointed UAB’s inaugural sustainability coordinator in 2013. “We’re taking a different stance and treating stormwater like a resource.”
She also intends to maximize UAB’s other natural resources—namely, the bright ideas of its students and employees and the power of its research—to make UAB a greener, more efficient university. The results could ripple out into Birmingham as well, inspiring changes that lead to a more livable community for everyone to enjoy.
UAB Game Turns Smartphones Into Teaching Tools for DoctorsStory and Video by Matt Windsor • Photo by Steve Wood
The day after returning home from a Key West vacation, a 25-year-old man develops malaise, fever, and a headache. The day after that, he comes down with a rash. Which of the following is the most likely diagnosis: enterovirus? measles? rubella? dengue? Rocky Mountain spotted fever?
After they graduate from medical school, new doctors spend the next several years patrolling hospital wards, learning how to answer these kinds of questions as quickly as possible. (In the scenario above, the answer is dengue.) Attending physicians oversee the residents’ work, and are responsible for their continuing education; senior-level residents pass on wisdom on the art of doctoring as well. Gone are the structured exams of medical school. Apart from an occasional pop quiz during daily rounds, the accumulated lessons from one patient encounter have to be stored away in memory until they are needed, perhaps years later.