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Students/Faculty News Kevin Storr March 13, 2023

Brenda Bertrand, Ph.D., RDN, program director, UAB M.S. in Nutrition Sciences, has been selected for the 2023 Association of Schools Advancing Health Professions Leadership Development program. She is the first faculty member from UAB to be chosen by ASAHP for this program.

Allied health professions comprise nearly 60 percent of the health care workforce. However, ASAHP sees a large gap in how these positions are recognized in health care compared to nurses and physicians. This leadership program is designed to close that gap.

Bertrand says her interest in the ASAHP Leadership Development Program is consistent with their mission – particularly to expand interprofessional collaboration, leadership, and innovation in health professional education.

“Around 2017, a mentor suggested I attend the ASAHP annual conference, and I left there inspired by the strong visionary leadership, professionalism, and passion for advancing collaborative interprofessional health professions education and training that I witnessed,” said Bertrand. “Through this program I hope to enhance my leadership skills and confidence to lead through change, and to better understand how to support training of students across health professional programs for advancing healthcare delivery for the future.”

Bertrand received strong support to pursue this development program from Barbara Gower, Ph.D., interim chair for the UAB Department of Nutrition Sciences.

“Brenda has been an innovative leader here having created three distinct tracks for our M.S. in Nutrition Sciences degree and developed creative curriculum to meet the demand,” said Gower. “Of course, adding tracks also means adding instructors and Brenda has been an invaluable asset in the development and mentorship of faculty across the department.”

Her nomination was also promoted by UAB School of Health Professions Dean Andrew J. Butler, Ph.D., who was a member of this program a decade ago when he was an associate dean at Georgia State University.

“ASAHP has long taken the lead in promoting the value and the vitality of allied health professions and a big part of that is developing leaders and advocates across the academic world in these fields,” said Butler. “Brenda’s recent leadership in further developing the Education Pillar for our school’s Strategic Growth Plan has been outstanding. This is the perfect next step and I am excited for her – and all of us in allied health professions – as she moves forward in her development.”

Created in 2005, this is the ninth iteration of their leadership development program. The programming is separated into two sessions – one April 20 – 21, and the next October 17 – 19, coinciding with the 2023 ASAHP Annual Conference. Each part will have extensive leadership training and interdisciplinary project-based learning.

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