Faculty appointed to university professorships

By Pareasa Rahimi

Three University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Nursing faculty have been elevated to the rank of University Professor, a prestigious campuswide appointment that confers an academic rank transcending departmental and disciplinary lines and providing the greatest latitude in teaching, writing and scholarly research.

Marie Bakitas

Associate Dean for Research and Scholarship Marie Bakitas, DNSc, CRNP, NP‐C, AOCN, FPCN, FAAN, joined the School in 2012 as Professor and Marie L. O'Koren Endowed Chair and is recognized as a national leader in pain and palliative care science. Focused on reducing suffering and enhancing quality of life for persons with advanced illness and family caregivers--especially in rural areas--her early tele-health palliative care model ENABLE (Educate, Nurture, Advise, Before Life Ends), has led to practice and policy changes. She is now disseminating ENABLE for cancer and heart failure patients in the southern region and Veteran populations. Bakitas has sustained continuous extramural funding for her program of research, led numerous research teams and served as the principal investigator on federal awards from organizations including the National Institutes of Health, the National Institute of Nursing Research and the National Palliative Care Research Center.

Bakitas has been recognized for her research impact through numerous awards including the Friends of the National Institute of Nursing Research Path Paver Award in 2015. She also received the Distinguished Researcher Award from the Oncology Nursing Society in 2016, the Dean’s Mentor Award from the UAB Graduate School in 2017, and the Charles Barkley Excellence in Mentoring Award by the UAB Minority Health and Health Disparities Research Center in 2016. In 2019, Bakitas was inducted as a Hospice and Palliative Nurses Association Fellow in Palliative Care Nursing.

Mirjam Kempf

Mirjam-Colette Kempf, PhD, MPH, joined the School in 2010 as an Assistant Professor, progressing to the rank of Professor in 2016. She also holds secondary appointments within the UAB Heersink School of Medicine, School of Public Health and several university-wide interdisciplinary research centers, including the Center for the Study of Community Health, Center for Outcomes and Effectiveness Research and Education, the Minority Health and Health Equity Research Center and the Center for Clinical and Translational Sciences.

Kempf is active within the UAB Center for AIDS Research, where she contributes to multiple core facilities to support and promote cutting-edge HIV research and serves as Co-Director of the CFAR Developmental Core. She’s a successful researcher in the field of HIV and socio-behavioral research and is the most highly funded investigator in the School, garnering more than $50 million in extramural funding as a PI or Co-PI and more than $60 million as Co-Investigator. She recently was awarded a $15 million grant from the National Institutes of Health to study HIV vulnerability among cisgender women.

David Vance

David Vance, PhD, MGS, MS, joined the School as Assistant Professor in 2006, progressing to the rank of Professor in 2015. He serves as Director of Research and also holds a dual faculty appointment in the College of Arts and Sciences Department of Psychology.

Vance has made significant contributions to the study of neurocognitive aging and HIV and AIDS care for the aging, bridging multiple disciplines, including healthcare, psychology, gerontology and infectious diseases. He has received more than $4 million in extramural grant funding as a PI and more than $35 million as Co-Investigator from organizations including the National Institutes of Health, the National Institute of Nursing Research, and the National Institute of Aging.

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