September 26, 2023

Hopson named 2023 Dean’s Excellence Award for Staff winner

Written by

Betsy Hopson webBetsy Hopson, MSHA, director of the UAB Staging Transition for Every Patient (STEP) Program in the Division of General Internal Medicine, has been selected as a recipient of the inaugural Heersink Dean’s Excellence Award for Staff.

In 2020, Hopson collaborated with leaders to develop the UAB STEP Program, which aims to help all young adults with complex and chronic health conditions transition from pediatric care to adult care.

Hopson was selected to serve as the UAB STEP program’s director, where she continues to contribute to its growth. To date, the program has assisted 500 patients with transitional medical care by providing multidisciplinary services, including physicians, social workers, and physical therapists.

Nominators Jeffrey Blount, M.D., MPH, professor and chair in the Department of Neurosurgery, and Carlie Stein, M.D., assistant professor in the UAB Division of General Internal Medicine, proclaim, “There is no one we know more deserving of the Dean’s Excellence Award for Staff. What sets her apart is that every single person who works with her is directly impacted by her palpable passion, advocacy, and heart for improving care and inclusivity for all our most vulnerable patients.”

Hopson joined UAB in 2006, where she served as the program director of the UAB and Children’s of Alabama Spina Bifida (SB) Program for over 16 years. Hopson developed teaching tools, transition guidelines, and patient-centered clinical operations.

Among her many accomplishments, Hopson established the Individualized Transition Plan Model to address the unique needs of spina bifida patients during their transition from pediatric to adult healthcare. This plan later became the foundation of the STEP Program. Hopson’s innovative problem solving, team building, and focus on patient care catapulted the SB Program to national recognition.

Hopson is committed to scholarly excellence and mentorship. She has led numerous projects funded by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention and the National Institute of Health, resulting in the curation of 30 abstracts, 14 oral presentations, 39 publications, and 50 national program lectures.

Hopson has co-chaired a community-based educational conference, “Transitioning with a Disability,” in partnership with local non-profits for patients, caregivers, and healthcare workers; acted as the Alabama president of the Spina Bifida Association; and serves on the national professional advisory committee.

In addition to her ongoing advocacy for transition care, Hopson is a 2025 Ph.D. candidate for Rehabilitation Science at UAB.

“I am surrounded by so many talented people who inspire me daily. To be recognized among them for the 2023 Dean’s Excellence Award for Staff is so incredibly humbling,” concludes Hopson.

The Heersink School of Medicine Dean’s Excellence Awards for Staff recognize and honor individual Heersink staff members who have demonstrated outstanding accomplishments and significantly supported Heersink’s core mission areas of education, clinical care, and research.