Explore UAB

Students/Faculty News Kevin Storr March 07, 2024

AAFA Gilford Dickson Clayton EventM. Tosi Gilford and Jewell J. Dickson-ClaytonJewell J. Dickson-Clayton, OTD, MPH, OTR/L, ATP, FAOTA, and M. Tosi Gilford, MD, PA-C, each received a First Award from the UAB African American Faculty Association (AAFA) at an event on February 22, 2024.

Dickson-Clayton, program director of the Entry-Level Occupational Therapy Doctoral (OTD) program, and Gilford, program director of the Physician Assistant Studies program, are each the first African American directors of their respective programs.

Dickson-Clayton and OTD

This has been a season of moments for Dickson-Clayton and the Entry-Level OTD program. Most recently they received full accreditation by the Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education (ACOTE) of the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA). They will be accredited for seven years - the maximum period awarded to new programs. And in December, they graduated their first cohort of entry-level OTD students.

"When reflecting on this recognition by the UAB African American Faculty Association, I am reminded of a Yoruba proverb that states, 'When we stand tall, it is because we stand on the backs of those who came before us!' I recognize that I am standing tall today because of the many African Americans who have been integral to the history and success of this amazing institution. I am grateful to be a part of that legacy of excellence."

Gilford and PA

It has been a historical year for Gilford and the PA program. For the first time in history, they entered the Top 10 rankings of U.S. News & World Report "Best Physician Assistant Programs" rankings.

They made a leap of 29 spots all the way up to #8. That is the highest ranking in the PA program history.

"It was such an honor being recognized as an AAFA First by the UAB African American Faculty Association. Having our accomplishments archived in the UAB Stern Library, with all of the pioneers that came before us, was a bit emotional! I am forever grateful for my parents and so many mentors that have helped me along my journey in academia. Those who have helped to ground me in a sense of grit, determination, and perseverance."

The African American Faculty Association (AAFA) has been in existence informally on the UAB campus for nearly 20 years and as an official organization for the past sixteen years. In addition to faculty, they support numerous groups in the community, including the Birmingham Housing Authority, the Black Graduate Student Association, Blazer Women Mentoring Excellence Network (BWOMEN), and Blazer Male Excellence Network (BMEN).

More News

  • Trending news and stories in the disability community

  • Dr. Chris Ballmann

    Collaborative environment fosters Dr. Ballmann’s melding of music and exercise

    Read more