Houser among seven honored for 40 years of service

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Howard W. Houser started working at UAB so long ago, it wasn’t even UAB. Houser retired from full-time employment in December 2010 after a more-than 40-year career full of personal and professional landmarks.

Howard Houser, hired in 1965, is one of seven to be honored for 40 years of service at the annual Service Awards Program.

He was hired in 1965 as the assistant administrator and director of manpower development for the University of Alabama Hospital and Clinics. The university formally was founded in 1969.

Houser, a former professor in the Department of Health Services Administration and associate dean in the School of Health Professions, is one of seven faculty and staff members celebrating 40 years of employment at UAB this year. The other 40-year honorees include Louis Dale, Ph.D., vice president for Equity and Diversity; Jimmy Harris, grounds; Jeanne S. Hutchison, Ph.D., mathematics; Shin J. Oh, M.D., Neurology Chair Office; Ferdinand Urthaler, M.D., cardiovascular disease; and Charles Watkins, Ph.D., chemistry.

A luncheon honoring more than 260 employees with 20 or more years of service will be held at noon Friday, Feb. 25 in The Doubletree Hotel as part of the annual Service Awards Program. All employees with five or more years of service are invited to a drop-in reception in their honor from 3 to 4:30 p.m. the same day.

“The week I started in February 1965 was coincidental with the federal order to desegregate the hospital,” says Houser of his early days.  “I was the new guy, so the job of monitoring was assigned to me.”

Houser calls that an awesome experience.

A native of Syracuse, N.Y., Houser had been recruited to the hospital by then-Chief Administrator Matthew F. McNulty, Jr., whom he had met while serving in the Air Force in Montgomery. Even then, McNulty had the concept for what would become the School of Health Professions and wanted Houser to help him make it happen. They started planning for what would later be called the School of Community and Allied Health Resources.

After 18 months, Houser left the hospital to earn his doctorate in health administration at the University of Iowa, knowing he had a job in Birmingham when he finished. “We’d meet at professional conferences from time to time and hold faculty planning meetings about the new school in the hotel,” Houser recalls. “When I returned with my doctoral degree, I headed up the new master’s program in health administration that I had helped develop in 1965.”

Keith Blayney had been recruited to be dean of the new school. He and Houser began building programs, hiring faculty and developing the school.

The school’s reputation grew in the late 1970s and early 1980s, and suitors from around the world came knocking, looking to tap into the expertise being assembled on the city’s south side. A UAB delegation went to Finland in 1975 to help start allied health programs. Houser and colleagues consulted with the Peruvian health system in 1980 and built allied health programs in Jamaica between 1983 and 1986.  Then, in 1984, came the call that truly would be Houser’s most meaningful international partnership.

“The Chinese government wanted help with health-

service administration education in 1984, and I was tapped to head our efforts,” he says. “As a Cold War youth, I never would have thought I’d go to China and work with the communist government there, but it truly changed my life.”

His first visit spanned six months in China, working in conjunction with Project Hope, a U.S.-based medical relief organization that hired UAB and Houser to provide services to China.

“We set up a four-year program to educate Chinese students in health administration,” he says. “They’d spend their first two years in China, come to UAB for one year and return to China to finish. We graduated the first class in 1989.”

Since then, Houser has enjoyed a 26-year relationship with China. He’s hosted more than 100 visiting students, scholars and medical delegations and helped establish a state-of-the-art pediatric hospital there. His wife, who also is on the faculty at UAB, is Chinese, and they maintain a home in Beijing.

Through it all, Houser says his greatest joy was being able to see UAB grow. The campus was contained in six blocks in 1965;  it covers more than 80 now. The School of Community and Allied Health Resources started with three faculty members in 1970;  the School of Health Professions now has 98.

The school has enrolled 46 classes in health services administration since its inception. Other than the third and fourth, while he was away at Iowa, Houser has taught every one, a total of more than 1,200 students. Today those former students work at hospitals and medical facilities across the country and the world. Some of those former students have worked to create an endowed professorship in health services administration in his name.

And that, according to Howard W. Houser, is the greatest tribute of his life.

This year’s other honorees are:

Honored 40-year
Louis Dale (Equity and Diversity); Jimmy Harris (Grounds); Howard Houser (Health Services Administration); Jeanne Hutchison (Mathematics); Shin J. Oh (Neurology); Ferdinand Urthaler (Cardiovascular Disease); Charles Watkins (Chemistry)

Honored 35 -Year
Ivan Brezovich (Radiation Oncology); Eli Capilouto (Provost); Addie Duke (Undergraduate Admissions); Philip Fine (Immunology/Rheumatology); Linda Jeff (Clinical Laboratory Sciences); Robert Kim (Radiation Oncology); Joseph Lovetto (Clinical Affairs); Sharon M. Mathews (Telecommunications); Claude McCann (Financial Affairs); Carl McFarland (Psychology); Rodney Nowakowski (Optometry); Michael Raczynski (Student Affairs); Janice Ramsey (Telecommunications); Steven Zehren (Cell Biology)

Honored 30-Year
Vinnia Anderson (Clinical Genetics); Debra Banks (Sterne Library); Serge Bokobza (Foreign Languages); Carolyn Bond (Dental Faculty Practice); Wayne Bradley (Cardiovascular Disease); Robert Brissie (Forensic Pathology); Robert Collins (English); Connie Garrett (Medicine); Deborah Garrett (Telecommunications); Joan Grant (Nursing Adult/Acute Health); Karl Kirkland (Montgomery Internal Medicine); Ian Knowles (Mathematics); Mark LaGory (Sociology & Social Work); Linda Lucas (Engineering); James Martin (Physics); Scott McCallum (Occupational Health & Safety); Lex Oversteegen (Mathematics); Joseph Philips III (Pediatric Neonatology); Pamela Powell (Cardiovascular Disease); Linda Reed (Nursing Adult/Acute Health); Thomas Robinson (Shipping & Receiving); Robert Rutstein (Optometry); Leon Scoggins (Central Utilities); Katherine Sexton (Comprehensive Cancer Center); Jeffrey Smith (Pharmacology/Toxicology); Bonnie Spear (Pediatrics); Charles Turnbough (Microbiology); Karen Upton (Infectious Diseases); Marilyn Windham (Plastic Surgery)

Honored 25-Year
Vickie Barron (Infectious Diseases); Sheila Bright (Radiobiology); Tina Bryant (School of Engineering); Vince Burgett (Design Build Construction); Nickie Burst (Biostatistics); Glenda Capps (Medicine); Yiu-Fai Chen (Cardiovascular Disease); Lee Clemans-Taylor (Huntsville Med-Medical Library); John Coles III (Nursing); Bertina Coley (Student Accounting); Carolyn Conley (History & Anthropology); Marsha Craig (Comprehensive Cancer Center); Lindsey Deckard (Pediatric Hematology/Oncology); Deborah Dixon (OB/GYN); James Edmonson (Pediatrics); Beatrice Engels (Plastic Surgery); Sandra Ervin (Lister Hill Center for Health Policy); Steven Filler (Predoc General Dentistry); Cynthia Flanigan (Preventive Medicine); Sally Fried (Infectious Diseases); Donna Gable (Otolaryngology); Melissa Galvin (Health Behavior); Patricia Garner (Animal Res Prgm); Patricia Griffin (CIRC); Clinton Grubbs (Surgery); Kay Guidry (Physiology & Biophysics); Beatrice Hahn (Hematology & Oncology); Sherry Hale (UAB Police); Charlotte Hammond (Psychiatry); Caroll Hartline (Pediatric Infectious Disease); Ginger Hattaway (Dentistry); Benjamin Hayley II (Financial Affairs); David Henze (Athletics); Julious Hill (Building Services); Thomas Howard (Pediatric Hematology/Oncology); Albertha Jackson (Learning Resource Center); Laura Jones (OB/GYN); Joyce Kanute (Infectious Diseases); Patrice Knight (Huntsville Med-Pediatrics); Michael Kyle (Mervyn H. Sterne Library); Shirley Loraine (Medical Student Services); W. J. Many Jr. (Montgomery Internal Medicine); Debra Martin (Hematology & Oncology); Rick McKee (Grounds); Warren Meeks (Print Plant); Donnie Melvin (Campus Maintenance); Michael Morrisey (Health Care Organization & Policy); Casey Morrow (Cell Biology); Thomas Novack (Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation); James Oliver (Pathology); Sylvan Parker (Health Care Organization & Policy); Edward Phillips (Vision Science Research Center); Thomas Powers (Marketing, Industrial Distribution & Economics); Connie Pruett (Human Resources); James Robbins (Biochemistry & Molecular Genetics); Gloria Robinson (Pharmacology/Toxicology); April Rollins-Kyle (SHP); Paul Sanders (Nephrology); Robbie Scott (Telecommunications); George Shaw (Hematology & Oncology); Sharon Shaw (Physical Therapy); Anthony Smith (Campus Services); Daniel Spencer (Radiation Safety); Connie Steele (HealthFinder); Mae Stewart (Pulmonary/Allergy/Critical Care); Narayana Sthanam (Optometry); Marsha Sumner (Pediatric Neonatology); Tshana Thomas (Hematology & Oncology); Peter Waite (Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery); Tonya Webb (UAB Police)

Honored 20-year
Joe Acker (Trauma Communications); Phillip Alfano (Campus Maintenance); Pamela Alford (Campus Maintenance); Michael Allon (Nephrology); Ronald Alvarez (OB/GYN); Jimmy Anderson (Surgery); William Andrews (OB/GYN); Helen Bahakel (Hospital Maintenance); Doug Bates (University Computer Center); Craig Beard (Mervyn H. Sterne Library); Anita Bonasera (Employee Relations); Carolyn Brannon (Parking & Transportation); Carl Brezausek (Center for Educational Accountability); Ilene Brill (Epidemiology); Donna Bucher Yester (Infectious Diseases); Donald Buchsbaum (Radiation Oncology); Stephanie Byer (Pathology); Pamela Carver (Nursing Community Health, Outcomes, Sys); Michael Chamblin (Hospital Maintenance); Gary Chapman (Art); Phillip Chumley (Nephrology); Marilyn Clay (Accounts Payable); Debra Clisby (Psychology); Tijuana Cole (Comprehensive Cancer Center); Jennifer Coleman (Physiology & Biophysics); Marian Collins (Health Information Management Program); Stanley Collins (Hospital Maintenance); Denise Coston (Medical Student Services); Nathaniel Craig Jr. (Hospital Maintenance); Gloria Crawford (Family & Community Medicine); Jesse Cross III (Sterne Library); Christine Curcio (Ophthalmology); Catherine Danielou (College of Arts and Sciences); Manabendra  Dasgupta (Marketing, Industrial Distribution & Economics); Valisia Davis (CIRC); Charlotte Dismukes (Clinical Genetics); Vicki Dixon (The Resource Center); Alfred Epting (UAB Police); Sharon Ervin (Call Center); Regina Farmer (Dermatology); Jacqueline Feldman (Psychology); R. Jobe Fix (Plastic Surgery); Robin Foley (Materials Science & Engineering); Penny Forsyth (Neurology); Jennifer Gardner (Payroll Services); Robert Gaston (Nephrology); Virginia Goodall (Clinical Pathology); Valerie Gordon (Lister Hill Library of Health Sciences); Denise Goska (Gerontology/Geriatrics/Palliative Care); Randall Grace (Occupational Health & Safety); Dona Grier (General Accounting); Leonard Grimes (English); Mary Grimes (Fleet Operations); Clyde Guidry (Ophthalmology); Kathy Harmon (Surgery-Urology); Michael Harrington (Center for Biophysical Sciences/Engineering); James Hazelwood (Infectious Diseases); Valerie Helms (Pediatric Hematology/Oncology); Mitzie Hogge (OB/GYN); Rita Horton (Print Plant); Cheri Hunt (Environmental Health Sciences); Michael Jablonsky (Chemistry); Gregg Janowski (Materials Science & Engineering); Karen Janowski (Clinical Genetics); Kimberley Jenkins (Preventive Medicine); Isabelle Joffrion (Preventive Medicine); Catrena Johnson (Infectious Diseases); Linda Jones (Building Services); Meza Kelley (Psychology); Norman Keltner (Nursing Community Health, Outcomes, Sys); Martha King (Campus Ride); Maxie Kohler (Human Studies); Melody Lake (Graduate School of Management); Jerry Lawrence (Telecommunications); Shirley Levins (Radiology); Patrick Louis (Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery); Mattie Lowery-Poole (Pediatric Dentistry); Daniel Marson (Neurology); Mark Martin (Student Financial Aid); Jason McCrory (Engineering); Jay McDonald (Pathology); Stephanie Meadows (Medicine); Tonja Meadows (Pulmonary/Allergy/Critical Care); Lawrence Means (Hospital Maintenance); Jeffery Miller (Clinical Laboratory Sciences); Dale Moore (Facilities); Pamela Murray (History & Anthropology); Peter Newman (Grants & Contracts Administration); Laura Newton (Nutrition Sciences); Michele Nichols (Pediatric Emergency Medicine); Thomas Nordlund (Physics); Allison Northen (OB/GYN); Paul Orr (Pediatrics); Edward Partridge (OB/GYN); Sandra Pawlik (Biochemistry & Molecular Genetics); James Pockstaller (University Compliance Office); Sherry Primous-Bennett (Physical Security); Angela Rembert (Clinical Affairs); Francisco Robert (Hematology & Oncology); Jimmie Robinson (Hospital Maintenance); Kim Rodgers (School of Medicine); Anthony Rose (Hospital Maintenance); Karen Rotenberry (Predoc General Dentistry); Chenise Ryan (Undergraduate Admissions); Celia Schardon Keenan (Anesthesiology); James Scott (University Computer Center); Michael Settine (Microbiology); Gene Siegal (Anatomic Pathology); Kenneth Sloan (Computer & Information Science); Nathan Smith (Psychiatry); Eric  Sorscher (Hematology & Oncology); Robin Steele (OB/GYN); Jo Stembridge (Anesthesiology); Cecil Stockard (Comprehensive Cancer Center); Wayne Sullender (Pediatric Infectious Disease); Scott Sweeney (Comprehensive Cancer Center); Edlue Tabengwa (Hematology & Oncology); Vandi Terry (Development & Alumni); Jessie Thomas (Building Services); Stacey Torman (Athletics); Daniel Turner (Print Plant); Donald Twieg (Biomedical Engineering); Tammie Vines (Chemistry); Anita Webb (Preventive Medicine); Rudi Weikard (Mathematics); Tracey White (Accounting and Finance); Yvette White (Alumni Affairs); Carolyn Whitmire (Research & Economic Development); Anderson Williams Jr. (UAB Police); Gwendolyn Williams (Family & Community Medicine); Pamela Williams (Procurement Contracts Group); Mattie R. Woodard (Huntsville Clinic); John Woodward (Telecommunications); Lacon Wright (Office of the Provost); Janet Yother (Microbiology)