5 faculty elevated to Distinguished, University professorships

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Five faculty were honored for exceptional achievement and contributions by The University of Alabama System Board of Trustees during its meeting June 4.

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Louise Chow, Ph.D., was named Distinguished Professor in the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Genetics in the School of Medicine. Chow joined UAB in 1993 as professor and is known for major contributions to the areas of genetics and biochemistry, specifically her research on bacteriophages, human DNA tumor viruses and human papilloma viruses. Her 1977 work identifying and explaining the concept of RNA splicing remains one of the key discoveries in the history of molecular biology and led to a Nobel Prize in Physiology/Medicine in 1993.

Chow, the recipient of numerous National Institutes of Health (NIH) and industry grants, has published approximately 210 peer-reviewed articles, served as a reviewer for more than 20 journals and is the associate editor of Molecular Carcinogenesis. She also is the program advisor for the Johns Hopkins University/UAB Specialized Programs of Research Excellence (SPORE) in Cervical Cancer. Chow has received recognitions from many organizations around the globe and has been invited to present more than 46 times on her scientific research.
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George Howard, DrPH, was named Distinguished Professor in the Department of Biostatistics in the School of Public Health. He joined the department in 1999 as professor and chair, a position in which he served until 2011. He has published 19 book chapters, 475 articles, eight letters to journals and two training programs. Howard has acquired more than $114 million in extramural research grants, including the NIH-funded "REasons for Geographic And Racial Differences in Stroke" (REGARDS), a national study focused on learning about the factors that increase stroke risk that has continuously been funded since 2003 for more than $98 million through at least 2022. Data from REGARDS has been used by scientists from UAB and institutions around the nation in more than 100 ancillary studies.

Howard has received numerous awards, including the 2011 UAB President’s Award for Excellence in Teaching, the 2013 Science Unbound Best Paper Award and the 2015 Ernest Everett Just Award in Medical and Public Health Research on African American Health and Quality of Life.
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Virginia Howard, Ph.D., was named Distinguished Professor in the Department of Epidemiology in the School of Public Health. She joined UAB in 1999 as assistant professor of epidemiology and was promoted to associate professor in 2008 and full professor in 2011. Howard has published 15 book chapters, 284 journal articles, 53 invited presentations and various invited editorials and miscellaneous publications.

She has acquired more than $15 million in extramural research grants, has served as a co-principal investigator or investigator on the REGARDS study with George Howard, DrPH, and received a number of UAB and national awards, including the 2018 Highly Cited Researcher Award by Web of Science, the 2015 National Forum Commitment Award by the National Forum for Heart Disease and Stroke Prevention and the 2017 Graduate Dean’s Excellence in Mentoring Award.
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Eta S. Berner, Ed.D., was named University Professor in the Department of Health Services Administration in the School of Health Professions. Berner became a fellow of the American College of Medical Informatics in 1999, the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society in 2006 and the International Academy of Health Sciences Informatics in 2019 and has published articles in leading journals such as the New England Journal of Medicine, Academic Medicine and the Journal of the American Medical Informatics Association.

Berner, who was the first School of Health Professions faculty member to have an online course certified by nationally recognized Quality Matters, is the editor of the book “Informatics Education in Healthcare: Lessons Learned,” now in its second edition, and “Clinical Decision Support Systems: Theory and Practice,” now in its third edition. She has served on advisory committees and study sections for both the NIH and the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality and is a member of the editorial boards of the JAMIA and the Journal of Healthcare Information Management. Howard also is the recipient of the 2008 Harriet Werley Award from the American Medical Informatics Association, the 2015 School of Health Professions Excellence in Scholarship Award and the 2019 Joseph F. Volker Award, the highest honor given by the school for demonstrated excellence and dedication to teaching.

Nancy Borkowski, DBA, was named Distinguished Professor in the Department of Health Services Administration in the School of Health Professions. A certified public accountant who is board-certified in health management and has more than 20 years’ experience in health care industry, Borkowski joined UAB in 2014 and is a fellow of both the American College of Healthcare Executives and the Healthcare Financial Management Association. She is the author of four books, including “Organizational Behavior in Health Care,” which was named 2005 Book of the Year for nursing leadership and management by The American Journal of Nursing. 

Borkowski, who also holds a visiting professor appointment in the School of Health Services and Management at Southern Medical University in Guangzhou, China, has been published in the Journal of Ambulatory Care Management, Health Care Management Review, Journal of Health and Human Services Administration and International Journal of Public Administration. She was named a Quality Matters Certified Peer Reviewer in 2015 and a Certified Master Reviewer in 2016 and is a past recipient of the American College of Healthcare Executives’ Excellence in Teaching Award, given to faculty who further academic excellence and professional development of health management students, and the 2012 Exemplary Service Award from the American College of Health Care Executives, the 2013 Jessie Trice Hero Award, the 2016 School of Health Professions Excellence in Service Award and the 2017 Frederick T. Muncie Gold Award from the Healthcare Financial Management Association. Borkowski also has held leadership roles in the Academic of Management’s Health Care Management Division, the American College of Healthcare Executive’s Southern Florida Regent’s Advisory Council, the South Florida Healthcare Executive Forum, the Alabama Healthcare Executive Forum and others.