EACC celebrates 40th anniversary and a commitment to helping Blazers stay well

By Brooke Carbo

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The UAB Employee Assistance and Counseling Center is located at 2112 11th Ave. S, Ste. 330. ANDREA MABRY / University Relations

tami long inside“When you think about UAB, you think about cutting-edge innovators in research and medical care."
— Tami Long, Ph.D., EACC director
When the UAB Faculty and Staff Assistance Program opened its doors in July 1982, there were only three staff members — including the program’s first director, Walter Cox, Ed.D.

Four decades and a few name changes later, the UAB Employee Assistance and Counseling Center has grown exponentially, both in staff numbers and in provided services. Today, the EACC boasts 13 clinical team members and a case manager and offers a variety of counseling options, including traditional and telehealth or distance counseling, life-coaching, critical incident stress management and one-at-a-time therapy. The center also offers support groups, workshops and seminars, yoga classes, stress management resources, suicide prevention training courses and more.

These expanded services reflect UAB’s innovative spirit as outlined in its strategic plan, Forging the Future, says EACC Director Tami Long, Ph.D., who has worked with the center for 18 years.

“When you think about UAB, you think about cutting-edge innovators in research and medical care,” she explained.

Programs like art therapy, the Hopeful Healing support group and guided yoga classes are some of the center’s more recent additions, beginning first in 2006 as part of the EACC’s Live Well, Be Well initiative, a precursor to UAB Employee Wellness, and continuing with support from former director Anne Hilbers, Ph.D., and the onboarding of specialized staff like Carrie May, Ph.D., art therapist and EACC clinical administrator.

Art therapy, support groups and educational workshops are forms of therapeutic intervention that provide alternatives for those worrying about stigmas surrounding traditional counseling, Long says.

“Mental health programs like art therapy meet the needs of clients by offering a non-traditional environment that brings out their creative side while stimulating conversation. Groups and educational workshops are the foundation of good therapy and provide a supportive atmosphere for healing.” she explained.

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A spotlight on EACC services

UAB, UAB Medicine and VIVA Health employees are eligible for up to 15 free counseling and/or life-coaching sessions per year. Visit uab.edu/eacc to learn more and make an appointment.

oaat therapy inside

One-at-a-Time Therapy
Develop strategies for moving forward in a single, goal-oriented therapy session; available for clients seeking individual, couples and family counseling.


life coaching inside

Identify goals for work performance, weight loss, time management or organization, then make a plan and move forward through skill-building and personal development.


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Code Blaze
Find online and community resources to achieve work-life balance, plus stress management and mindfulness resources for managing and coping with difficult emotions.

Making a difference

While the EACC continues to expand its offerings, the center’s individual, couples’ and family counseling options continue to be its most frequented services. UAB, UAB Medicine and VIVA Health employees are eligible for up to 15 free and confidential counseling sessions per year with the EACC. 

amy atkisson insideAmy AtkissonAmy Atkisson, director of Honors Advising and Retention in the UAB Honors College, has utilized EACC services since becoming a UAB employee more than 20 years ago, counting her sessions with EACC counselor Alesia Adams as among the most beneficial.

“Alesia has literally and figuratively saved my life,” Atkisson explained. “She has helped and supported me through not only managing my longstanding mental health diagnoses but also dealing with work issues, handling two major physical diagnoses, coming out as LGBTQ, going back to school and completing a master’s degree, and regular life stuff.”

Atkisson also quit smoking five years ago, an achievement she also credits to her work with Adams and the EACC. The center offers group and one-on-one coaching as part of its Tobacco Cessation programming. More recently, Atkisson began attending Self-Care Studio virtual sessions during UAB’s limited-business operations required by the COVID-19 pandemic. A partnership between the EACC and UAB Arts in Medicine, Self-Care Studio encourages a focus on wellness through personal creativity. The twice-monthly virtual sessions enabled her to “connect with other humans and kept me from losing my mind,” she explained.

Switching gears

Virtual Self-Care Studio sessions are just one example of how the EACC pivoted to offer telehealth options during the COVID pandemic. Many of the EACC staff were already trained to provide distance-counseling services, which had long been an available resource for UAB Medicine employees who work in off-campus affiliated clinics and became the care standard during limited-business operations.

UAB, UAB Medicine and VIVA Health employees are eligible for up to 15 free counseling and/or life-coaching sessions per year. Visit uab.edu/eacc to learn more.

“It was a smooth transition for us,” Long said. “Of course, with anything new, there was that anxiety that comes with it; but I will say we made a swift transition.”

Even after employees returned to work on campus, Long says many chose to continue with virtual counseling sessions rather than pivot to in-person meetings.

“Clients shared with us 'it’s more convenient, appointment availability is far more flexible, and I don’t have to leave work,'” she explained. “So I think that, even when the pandemic is over, distance counseling is here to stay. We’ve had to change with the times — it’s been really interesting.”

Find the EACC on the Campus Calendar.

Visit the Employee Assistance and Counseling Center page on the UAB Campus Calendar to see a complete list of upcoming workshops, seminars, trainings, support group meetings and more.  


All event listings contain an “I’m Interested” button. Sign in with your BlazerID using the green person icon at the top right, then click that button to get email updates for the event. Remember: The “I’m Interested” button isn’t the same thing as sending an RSVP or registering for an event; events that require a formal registration also will display a “Register” or “Buy Ticket” button.

You also can receive a personalized Digest email in your inbox weekly featuring Campus Calendar events you're interested in. Select the weekday you prefer to receive the email and items that interest you — groups, departments campus places, event types, topics and more — to receive a weekly email to help keep you informed and engaged. You also can subscribe to the EACC newsletter online via the UAB Subscription Center.