UAB salutes Women Who Lead

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During Women’s History Month, we plan to briefly highlight one woman each weekday who have the reins of some of our most important missions. Some may be familiar, and others may be new to you. All of them set an example of excellence. 

Visit here March 13-17 to meet them.

Anna ThreadcraftAnna Threadcraft, director of Employee Wellness  Anna Threadcraft
Making moves

Hit the ground running is a fairly literal description of the way Anna Threadcraft entered UAB in July 2016.

The Employee Wellness director spent her first week championing UAB competitors in the Birmingham Corporate Challenge, an event that pits city workers against each other in friendly competition. And by November she had led UAB to a repeat win in the citywide Choose Healthy Challenge, which encouraged employees on a daily path to health, secured bragging rights for another year and generated a $2,000 donation to promote fitness and nutrition in elementary schools.

See that giant inflatable colon on the Campus Green this month? That was her doing. Then she went to Egypt to support UAB colon cancer research. Now she’s elbow-deep in free screenings (register by April 14) that give employees a snapshot of their health status, and she is planning events focusing on diabetes, heart health and weight-management for those whose results suggest lifestyle changes are needed.

Most people want to make healthy choices, she said; often they don’t know where to start or feel too busy to begin.

“We want employees to feel supported in the workplace to be their healthiest — mentally, physically and emotionally — and have a little fun in the process,” she said.

“True wellness means also leaving room for dessert.”

Melissa ManciniMelissa Mancini, senior director of strategy and business development for UAB Medicine 
Melissa Mancini
Creating care for your convenience

Melissa Mancini has a lot of irons in the fire — and all of them focus on one thing: finding solutions for the needs of UAB patients and their families and those of the Birmingham community.

Mancini, senior director of strategy and business development for UAB Medicine and a course instructor for the School of Health Professions, has spearheaded innovative initiatives on campus. She played an integral role in the launch of UAB eMedicine in 2014 and facilitated UAB Medicine’s strategic planning and developing key clinical service lines.

She also helped design the business case for the Health Services Foundation’s newest initiative, a primary care and family care medical office building in Gardendale, modeled after the Medical West Hospital freestanding emergency department in Hoover.

“It’s fun to work with cutting-edge initiatives and help UAB students, faculty and staff advance their ideas,” Mancini said. “That’s what makes UAB unique — you can see a project through from inception to user experience and see it become available to patients and their families.”

Anita ClemonAnita Clemon, assistant vice president for Institutional Equity  Anita Clemon
Woman on a mission

Chances are nearly two in three that the next person you encounter on campus is a woman. Women comprise 65 percent of the total UAB workforce and 61 percent of the student body. For Anita Clemon, a UAB alumna and employee of 25 years, that’s good news on a number of levels.

Clemon is chair of the Commission on the Status of Women,  created 12 years ago (by UAB’s second woman president), to help create and maintain an environment in which all women are viewed and treated equitably. “Our efforts build on UAB’s commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion,” she said.

Clemon, who recently moved from her longtime role as director for HR Compliance to assistant vice president for Institutional Equity, hopes to broaden her efforts. “I’d like my legacy here to be linked to inclusion and equitable treatment for all faculty, staff and students, even though I have a special place in my heart for women,” she said.

Sarah Nafziger 492Sarah Nafziger, director of UAB Office of Emergency Medical Services and assistant EMS medical director for the Alabama Department of Public Health  Sarah Nafziger
Preparing for the worst

Sarah Nafziger, M.D., was in a conference on emergency medicine in New York when a plane flew into the World Trade Center. She and her UAB colleagues headed to Manhattan and put their emergency medical training to work treating the walking wounded. Nafziger, who was moved by “an outpouring of neighborly love between complete strangers in this massive city,” enlisted as a medical officer for both the United States Army Reserve and the Alabama Air National Guard to support Operation Enduring Freedom for eight years.  

On that day in 2001 was also born a new emphasis on disaster preparedness — planning to avoid or mitigate any mass casualty event — from terror attacks to tornados and viral outbreaks. And Nafziger, now director of UAB’s Office of Emergency Medical Services and assistant state EMS medical director for the Alabama Department of Public Health, has been on the front lines of that movement in Alabama, responding to disasters and training the first responders.

“Everyone who practices emergency medicine has the opportunity to treat the sickest of the sick,” she said. “That’s what the field is really about. No one goes into EMS for the money. They have to have a passion for it.”

Patricia Martinez 492Patricia Martinez, assistant vice president in Student Affairs  Patricia Martinez
A world in her hands

Taking charge of the student experience is no easy task, especially when there are more than 18,000 of them, hailing from all corners of the state, the nation and the globe. It’s that last component — that hundreds of international students choose UAB — that initially caught the attention of Patricia Martinez, assistant vice president for student services in the division of Student Affairs.

Martinez is co-director-elect of the Roelf Visser South African Student Housing Training Institute for the Association of College & University Housing Officers-International, which provides annual professional development experience for university housing professionals in South Africa, and she will be traveling there this month to serve as a faculty member. UAB’s concentration of international students played a big role in her decision to come to here in 2016.

“I feel very fortunate to be a part of UAB’s unique international component, knowledge creation for the world and its impact regionally and globally,” she said.

Her list of responsibilities is long and includes ultimate oversight for student services that provide care, feeding, housing and the infrastructure that contains them.

“As I look at where the Division of Student Affairs is going, we are rebuilding a division aimed at excellence and service to our students, not just for today but for the future,” Martinez said. 

In case you missed it, read about Women Who Discover and Women Who Serve