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Students/Faculty News Kevin Storr September 10, 2019

Monica Aswani, DrPH, assistant professor in the UAB School of Health Professions’ Department of Health Services Administration, will receive a UAB National Alumni Society (NAS) Young Alumni Rising Star Award at a ceremony on September 19, 2019, at the UAB Alumni House.

Aswani earned her M.S. in Public Health from UAB in 2010 and her Doctor of Public Health in 2018.

“Words cannot impress how grateful I am for the institutional commitment that has been invested in my career development,” said Aswani, who was nominated for the award by Lori McMahon, Ph.D., dean, UAB Graduate School. “I always endeavor to represent UAB with distinction and this recognition not only reflects my sweat equity, but also the training and support the UAB community, including faculty, staff and peers, provided.”

When she returned to UAB from Johns Hopkins University, after completing the UAB Lister Hill Health Policy Fellowship, she began work on her doctoral degree. During the first three years of her DrPH, Aswani was awarded a predoctoral slot on an institutional training grant from the UAB Center for Outcomes and Effectiveness Research and Education. She subsequently submitted and was awarded a pre-doctoral grant from the National Institute on Aging, which received a perfect score on its initial submission.

Aswani credits Meredith L. Kilgore, Ph.D., who passed away in October 2018, just one month before her dissertation defense. He was her primary mentor and the chair of her dissertation committee.

“Through my health policy research, I aim to produce rigorous, empirical evidence that can substantively inform health care reform efforts,” said Aswani. “As attempts to bend the cost curve in health care intensify, the potential to exacerbate disparities may be heightened, especially in vulnerable populations of older adults."

It has been a year of awards for Aswani. She won the 2019 International Health Economics Association (iHEA) Student Prize for her paper titled “Differential Impact of Hospital and Community Factors on Medicare Readmission Penalties”; was named the School of Public Health Outstanding DrPH Student; earned the American Society of Health Economists (ASHEcon) Diversity Scholarship; and received a scholarship to attend the RAND Summer Institute for those addressing critical issues facing an aging population.

Looking forward, Aswani was just named to the UAB Center for Clinical and Translational Science’s Learn Enhance Advance Drive (LEAD) 2019-20 cohort. In January 2020, she begins the National Center for Faculty Development & Diversity’s 12-week Boot Camp program. The program is designed to improve research productivity and Aswani’s participation is supported by the UAB Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion – Faculty Success Program Grant.

This is the third year UAB has named Young Alumni Rising Stars and Aswani is the second connected to the School of Health Professions to be recognized. In 2018, Michelle Cardel, Ph.D., M.S., R.D., F.T.O.S., alumna of our PhD in Nutrition Sciences program (2012) and M.S. in Nutrition Sciences program (2009) earned the honor.

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