Talley, Patel named Outstanding Mentors

Photo of Talley & Patel

By Pareasa Rahimi

The Albert Schweitzer Fellowship of Alabama has named University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Nursing Associate Professor and Interim Associate Dean for Clinical and Global Partnerships Michele Talley, PhD, CRNP, ACNP-BC, FAANP, FNAP, FAAN (MSN 2005, PhD 2015), and Instructor Bela Patel, DNP, MSN, CRNP, NP-C (MSN 2014, DNP 2019), as 2023 Outstanding Community Site Mentors. Talley and Patel were recognized for providing exemplary mentorship to UAB Heersink School of Medicine student and Albert Schweitzer Fellow Jamie Davison at the UAB School of Nursing’s nurse-led PATH Clinic on the UAB campus, which serves vulnerable adults with uncontrolled diabetes.

Davison’s year-long fellowship project, “PATH Across the Digital Divide,” focused on helping underserved populations affected by diabetes through health-technology education. She was inspired to get involved with the PATH Clinic after learning about Talley’s Behavioral Health Integration grant that provided the clinic with 60 smartphones for patient and provider use. Half of the smartphones were distributed to the PATH Clinic and the other half to the School’s other nurse-led clinic, the HRTSA Heart Failure Clinic at UAB to improve access to specialty care and behavioral health care during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Davison’s work at the clinic involved teaching patients how to use smartphones to help them manage their diabetes. She worked one-on-one with patients to identify digital health literacy goals and used mHealth tools and applications, including Bluetooth glucometers, calorie-counting and meditation apps, to help them meet their self-identified goals.

As mentors, Talley, Director of the PATH Clinic, and Patel, the clinic’s Lead Nurse Practitioner, oriented Davison to the clinic and helped in identifying and shaping the project for the Fellowship program that aligned with the PATH Clinic’s mission and vision. Talley and Patel mentored Davison on the project implementation phase, including how to set a realistic timeline, recruit participants and evaluate outcomes.

Talley was humbled to receive this award and encouraged by Davison’s passion for improving access to care in innovative ways.

“As we live out our own personal mission, it is refreshing to see the future health care workforce embracing a similar personal mission and operationalizing it,” Talley said. “Jamie’s dedication to helping underserved populations was apparent at our first meeting as was her passion for improving the digital literacy of patients. She possesses a desire to leave things better than when she arrived, and she did just that.”

Patel said it was an honor to be recognized and expressed admiration for Davison.

“Mentoring Jamie became a two-way street where we both inspired each other to maximize our potential,” Patel said. “Her motivation and perseverance to complete this project was inspirational and encouraging to support future health care leaders in their endeavors.”

Davison said Talley and Patel have helped her develop a deeper understanding of the importance of each medical professional that makes up the care team. She’s also cultivated a newfound respect for the resilience and resourcefulness that goes into world-class academic and clinical team-based medicine.

“As a student in the UAB Heersink School of Medicine, I feel incredibly lucky to have spent the year learning from these educational leaders in the UAB School of Nursing,” Davison said. “They've offered flexible, meaningful support connecting to the clinic’s patients and helped me reflect and grow through the process. They've given me literal and figurative space to experiment, adjust and find the best way forward with the project.”

More than just helping with the logistics of the project, Davison said her mentors have helped her understand how she wants to build service into her career for life.

“By both modeling the behavior and making it explicit, they've helped me understand that passion for service will always rise to the surface of an otherwise underwater schedule,” Davison said. “I know because of them, that like them, I will make service a core component of my career.”

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