Three from UAB named Women of Impact in Alabama

Several women from across UAB's campus have been recognized for their dedication and service to the community.

YellowHammerJoomlaThree women from the University of Alabama at Birmingham have been named as recipients of the second annual Women of Impact Awards by Yellowhammer Multimedia.

The UAB honorees are Martina Bebin, M.D., professor in the Department of Neurology in the School of Medicine; Dawn Bulgarella, chief financial officer for the UAB Health System and senior associate dean for Finance and Administration, School of Medicine; and Michele Kong, M.D., associate professor, Department of Pediatrics, School of Medicine.

“The awards are a celebration of strong women who shape and propel Alabama,” according to Yellowhammer Multimedia’s website. “This year’s class of 20 honorees is stacked with respected leaders, advisers and mentors who empower others through the lives they devote and trails they blaze.”

Bebin earned her medical degree from the University of Mississippi and did her internship and residency at the Mayo Clinic, along with a postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Virginia Hospital. She earned a master’s degree from the Harvard Kennedy School of Government and served a Robert Wood Johnson Health Policy Fellowship. Her primary research interests are in tuberous sclerosis complex and the genetics of epilepsy. She was co-primary investigator of UAB’s groundbreaking studies of cannabidiol for intractable epilepsy.

She also holds an appointment in the Department of Pediatrics, along with positions as a scientist in the UAB Comprehensive Neuroscience Center and the Civitan International Research Center.

Bulgarella is a senior leader in health care with more than 25 years of progressive experience in academic medicine. In her uniquely integrated role as chief financial officer of the UAB Health System and senior associate dean of Administration and Finance of the School of Medicine, she is responsible for combined annual budgets in excess of $3 billion. She serves as a member of the UAB Medicine senior leadership team and has a proven record of accomplishment in financial management, administration, organizational strategic planning and senior-level recruitment. 

She earned her bachelor’s degree in accounting from the University of Alabama and her master’s degree in health care administration from UAB. She is a certified public accountant, formerly with a “Big Four” international accounting and consulting firm. Bulgarella is active in the Healthcare Financial Management Association and the Association of American Medical Colleges.

Kong is a graduate of the University of Calgary’s School of Medicine. She completed her pediatric residency at the University of Mississippi Medical Center, and her fellowship in pediatric critical care medicine at UAB. The focus of her research is delineating the role and impact of protease dysregulation in the pathogenesis of acute lung injury and respiratory syncytial virus-induced respiratory failure in children, and critical assessment of the acutely ill non-verbal child. She also developed and leads the Sensory Pathway at Children’s Hospital, which is aimed at improving care delivery and patient experience for children with special needs.

Kong is the founder of an international nonprofit, KultureCity, with her husband, Julian Maha, M.D. KultureCity was founded in 2013 in Birmingham with the mission to increase accessibility and promote inclusion for all individuals with an invisible disability, including those with autism, history of prematurity and PTSD. To date, KultureCity has helped numerous individuals with its toy and tablet programs, as well as the lifeBOKS initiative that helps prevent wandering and wandering-related accidents/deaths in children with autism. The nonprofit has also partnered with more than 280 unique locations, including NBA, NFL, NHL, MLB arenas and stadiums, zoos, museums, restaurants, and more to make these locations sensory-inclusive. Recently, in partnership with the Birmingham Shuttlesworth International Airport, a one-of-its-kind sensory room was built to provide a safe space for travelers with sensory-processing challenges.

The honorees will be recognized at reception April 29 at the Grand Bohemia Mountain Brook.