UAB Magazine Online Archive
Teaching Medical Students to Keep Their Eyes Open
By Matt Windsor
As patients go, the African “power figure” on the second floor of the Birmingham Museum of Art is a lost cause. No innovative procedure or sophisticated new test can bring him to life. But the UAB medical students staring hard at the sculpture one afternoon last fall were still hoping to learn something. So one by one, they got out their pencils and started to draw.
The students were taking part in a weeklong course called Art in Medicine, developed by UAB internist Stephen Russell, M.D., as part of the School of Medicine’s Special Topics series. Russell, who practices internal medicine and pediatrics at UAB Health Center Moody outside Birmingham, was conducting something of an experiment: Could learning to appreciate art make his students better doctors?
UAB Alumnus Helps Break Down Barriers
By Jo Lynn Orr
UAB Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation. For thousands of Americans, it’s impossible to enter buildings without curb cuts and ramps or read a restaurant menu unless it’s printed in Braille.Imagine going to a restaurant. When you get to the entrance, you look through the glass door and see others enjoying their dining experience. You reach for the door to enter, but there’s no handle. This is the emotional reality for many people with disabilities, says Phil Klebine, assistant director of research services in the
For decades, people with and without disabilities have worked to promote equal access and advocated for disability rights through public awareness activities, says Klebine, who earned his bachelor’s degree in communications in 1992 and his master’s degree in counseling in 2000, both from UAB.
Klebine, who lives with a spinal cord injury, has spent decades advocating for disability rights. He currently serves on the Governor’s Office on Disability State Advisory Council and is a board member for Disability Rights and Resources (formerly Independent Living Resources of Greater Birmingham).
"Disability Rights and Resources is a nonprofit organization that provides people with disabilities with services such as advocacy, peer support, independent living skills training, home modifications, nursing home transition, computer training, work incentives, and referrals to community resources,” Klebine says. The organization also helps with employment by assisting people with job searches and teaching resume-writing skills, he explains.
Alumna Cooks Up a Career
By Caperton Gillett
How do you begin a career running a restaurant that has been hailed as one of the best in Birmingham—and the nation? If you’re Idie Hastings, you study criminal justice and psychology at UAB.
The Cleveland, Ohio, native had intended to pursue a career as a therapist and even began working as a legal assistant, but on the side, she was becoming known for her cooking. Hastings indulged her hobby by hosting small parties and Sunday night dinners for friends and roommates. Before long, she was working part-time in restaurants and facing a choice about her future after she graduated in 1986. “I had two paths,” she says. “I was either going to culinary school and go the food route, or I was going to get my graduate degree in psychology.”
Hastings moved to San Francisco to attend the California Culinary Academy. While there, she worked at Jeremiah Towers’s Stars Café and Wolfgang Puck’s Postrio, and she put her baking skills to the test at Patisserie Francaise. She also met a promising young chef named Chris Hastings, who became her husband.
Degree Leads Alumnus to a World of Opportunity
By Grant Martin
George Little, a 1981 graduate of the UAB School of Engineering, was inducted into the Alabama Engineering Hall of Fame in 2010 and was named one of UAB’s “40 Engineers Making a Difference” in 2011.
When George Little accepted his first job in electrical engineering, he never expected that his career would take him around the world and to the highest levels of leadership. “Being the CEO of an international company was not on my radar,” says the 1981 graduate of the UAB School of Engineering.
That’s just what happened recently when Little was promoted to CEO of HDR, an engineering and design firm based in Omaha, Nebraska, with 7,800 employees in 185 offices and a roster of construction projects in more than 60 countries. The firm currently has five projects in China, including designing the world’s first “medical city” in Beijing. “This will be the first fully integrated health community in the world,” says Little. “We’re working on a master plan that will include 10 hospitals with 1,000 beds apiece. To put that in perspective, consider the growth of UAB’s medical center over the last few years, then multiply its size by 10.” When completed, the Beijing complex will cover 4.7 square miles—equal to two-thirds the size of Manhattan—and is expected to cost $7 billion.
Little says he developed an interest in electricity in high school when he participated in an Explorer’s post sponsored by Alabama Power. A resident of Hueytown, Alabama, he began working for the company while he was an undergraduate at UAB, and he stayed at Alabama Power for eight years after graduation. Then he took a job with HDR’s office in Minneapolis—a move that opened up a new world of experiences and opportunities. “The electrical work was a very small part of what we were doing, so I was exposed to a wide range of disciplines,” Little says. “I got experience with wastewater engineering, highways and bridges, and the whole variety of construction and design projects HDR handles. As my confidence grew, I realized that I enjoyed working with clients and the business development aspects of being in management.”
He also got the opportunity to cross other boundaries. “I had never done much traveling outside Alabama before I took the job with HDR,” Little says. The position took him to project sites across the country, and after managing the Minneapolis office for several years, he moved to Omaha to take over the company’s engineering division in 1998.