Hernandez Distinguished AwardLemak, Hernandez with Distinguished Service Professor proclamationS. Robert Hernandez, DrPH, has been appointed Distinguished Service Professor in the University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Health Professions. The position of Distinguished Service Professor is appointed by the University of Alabama System Board of Trustees and recognizes a professor’s academic service to UAB and their international accomplishments.

“Bob was an early adopter of extending UAB’s reach beyond the United States and his dedication to improving healthcare around the world has helped place UAB on the international academic map,” said UAB School of Health Professions Dean Harold P. Jones, Ph.D. “Today, he continues to have an unstinting dedication to UAB’s standards of excellence in all of his endeavors and he is a tremendous addition to this prestigious rank.”

Hernandez, an alumni of the UAB Master of Science in Health Administration program (Class 5), serves as director of the Doctoral Programs in Administration-Health Services, senior associate chair for Global Health in the Department of Health Services Administration and director of International Education for the School of Health Professions. He is also the founding director of the UAB Doctor of Science in Administration-Health Services program.

“I have been fortunate to have had wonderful colleagues here at UAB who have shared my interest in improving healthcare delivery not only in Alabama but throughout the world,” said Hernandez. “We have all benefitted from our work with international colleagues as we address complex problems that all healthcare systems face.”

Dedicating more than 40 years of his career to UAB, Hernandez has mentored countless students who went on to become major leaders in the healthcare industry. He has chaired more than 20 doctoral dissertation committees and served on more than 40 doctoral committees.

“I can’t think of anyone at UAB who has had more of an impact on international healthcare education than Bob,” said Christy Harris Lemak, Ph.D., chair, UAB Department of Health Services Administration. “Over the years he has led hundreds of U.S.-based healthcare executives to study health systems in other countries and that not only broadens worldviews, but it also encourages a “global citizen” outlook for healthcare policy, management and care delivery.”

Hernandez also has cultivated university partnerships in countries such as the Ukraine, Armenia, China, the Netherlands, and Saudi Arabia to build sustainable capacity by developing local Health Administration faculty members and providing educational opportunities for clinicians and administrators who are responsible for leading care delivery organizations in their home countries.

In 2009, he provided the visionary leadership to develop an international track of the Executive Master of Science in Health Administration (EMSHA) program and he led the effort to form a partnership between UAB and the King Fahad Specialist Hospital-Dammam in Saudi Arabia. On December 21, 2013, UAB saw Hernandez’ vision come to life when it graduated the first class of Saudi Arabian hospital administrators.

Currently, Hernandez is the only American representative on the 31-member European Academy of Management (EURAM) Board.