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Students/Faculty News Rylan Gray November 08, 2023

Written by Rylan Gray

jenny gaoJenny Gao, Ph.D., MLS(ASCP)CM, assistant professor in the M.S. in Medical Laboratory Science program, was awarded a $30,000 research grant from the Association of Schools Advancing Health Professions (ASAHP) for her research, “Effects of a park visitation program for low-income seniors.”

ASAHP’s grant program sets out to support innovative research projects that possess the greatest possibilities to create new knowledge and ideals regarding success in interprofessional collaboration.

The ASAHP is a national professional organization of 120 universities and employers with a focus on critical issues that affect health professions education. The organization’s mission is “to advance health professions education and discovery through interprofessional collaboration, leadership, excellence, and innovation.”

“The rising number of older adults with suboptimal health in low-income senior housing creates a need to develop low-cost health promotion strategies and support healthy aging of the residents. The positive impacts of urban park visitation on individuals’ health and wellness have potential to improve the residents’ physical and mental function. This interprofessional research project will address this healthcare need and evaluate the effects of a park visitation program on the mental health of residents living in low-income senior communities.”
~Jenny Gao

Seniors Park BenchGao has been an assistant professor with the UAB School of Health Professions since 2018 and an associate scientist with the Center for Clinical and Translational Science since 2021.

An advocate for active learning, Gao has developed a reputation as a motivator to her students, encouraging them to translate knowledge into clinical practices. Gao teaches many courses in the MLS program including molecular diagnostics, clinical chemistry, and theoretical and computational chemistry.

“Our school’s core values include compassion, service, and social responsibility – these are at the heart of Dr. Gao’s work with our senior communities and their mental health,” said UAB School of Health Professions Dean Andrew J. Butler, Ph.D. “We are proud of Dr. Gao’s efforts and look forward to expanding this research and service that positively supports the fastest growing population in the U.S.”

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