CCHS 2019 Annual Report

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Family Medicine care Literacy Primary care PreventiveU nInternational Patient care iversity medical center

Faculty Tuscaloosa Commitment to excellence



C o ll eg e of c ommunit y h ealth s cience s

Leadership Knowledge

Resident Growth Nairobi

Community Health Initiative

Sincerity World wide

Univers it y o f Al ab ama


Kenya Clinic

Continuing Medical education

Ghana Health


Education Sustainability




ommunity is central to everything we do at the College of Community Health Sciences. It drives our mission – improving health in your community. It’s in our name. Moreover, it is how we want our alumni to consider us. CCHS is a place where medical students and resident physicians come and carve their paths to careers in family medicine and primary care. But it is more than that. CCHS is a community – it is where our learners form meaningful professional and personal connections that will last throughout their lives. We want our alumni to stay involved with us from the moment they leave the College and enter new communities to practice. We want them to always be part of the CCHS community. The College and its alumni share core values: a commitment to providing compassionate and patient-centered care for people and communities throughout Alabama and the


Southeast; a staunch belief in access to health care for those living in rural and medically underserved communities; and a willingness to teach and prepare future generations of family medicine and primary care physicians through both traditional and innovative methods. In addition, CCHS alumni are a powerful resource for the College. They readily serve our medical students, residents, faculty and staff, as well as patients of our own community medical practice, University Medical Center. A majority of our alumni remain in Alabama to practice, many of those in the state’s rural and medically underserved communities. This gives the College a pool of experts to serve as preceptors for our medical students, peers for our residents and fellows, colleagues for our faculty, and to provide continuing medical education and other lectures on impactful medical and health issues. Our alumni network is incredibly valuable to CCHS.


"I am constantly inspired by what I learn from our alumni in their own efforts to care for their patients and to further the College’s mission." In addition, our alumni hold important leadership positions with state, regional and national medical and educational organizations. They advocate passionately for an increased focus on family medicine and primary care, both in practice and in academic medical education, and for prevention and public health. They push for adequate reimbursement of primary care services and for primary care research. The support we receive from our alumni through their financial gifts and their time enables the College to provide scholarships to assist students with staggering medical school debt, to provide medical students, residents and our faculty with facilities and equipment for teaching, learning and conducting pioneering research, and to help our learners and faculty travel to impoverished regions across the globe to provide basic and essential health care services. I have had the opportunity to interact with many of our alumni and am constantly amazed by their accomplishments, their commitment to their patients, their leadership in their communities and their willingness to support CCHS. I am constantly inspired by what I learn from our alumni in their own efforts to care for their patients and to further the College’s mission.

It is my goal to ensure that CCHS is a vibrant community for our alumni and a place they can return to for advice and support as they progress in their careers and practices, for assistance navigating a challenging and changing health-care landscape and to reconnect with fellow alumni and faculty mentors. Together, we can improve the health of all of Alabama’s communities as we care for and learn from each other.

— DR. RICHARD FRIEND Dean of the College of Community Health Sciences




EDITOR Leslie Zganjar

ASSOCIATE EDITORS Erin Tech Kaylin Bowen


DESIGNERS Kaylin Bowen Erin Tech Jennifer Wright

PHOTOGRAPHERS Greg Randall UA Photography John Turl Laura Kraft Dr. Matthew Gilbert Michelle Maria


TABLE OF CONTENTS Dean's Message CCHS by the Numbers Spotlights International Impact AL Family Practice Rural Health Board and CCHS It's A Match! Development and Alumni Relations Scholarship and Award Recipients Bama Blitz Board of Visitors Friends of CCHS Funded Projects Supporters Give

2 5 8 18 28 32 35 36 39 40 42 43 45








212 $4,156,139






University Medical Center Tuscaloosa



Northeast Alabama Health Services Inc.



IN 2019

University of South Alabama 1 of 3 PCMH Level 3 certified medical practices in Alabama




21 University of Alabama graduate students from programs across campus had paid assistantships with and were mentored by College of Community Health Sciences faculty in 2019:



Interdisciplinary Studies UA Graduate School


Master of Social Work

School of Social Work





• College of Arts and Sciences • College of Communication

Educational Psychology College of Education

and Information Sciences

• School of Social Work • UA Graduate School

12 PhD

Clinical Psychology College of Arts and Sciences



Computer Science College of Engineering



• College of Education • College of Engineering



Social Work School of Social Work


Instructional Leadership College of Education


Master of Fine Arts Book Arts College of Communication and Information Sciences





BREAKDOWN of Patient Visits:

• Visits at all UMC clinic locations: 90,410 • CCHS hospitalist inpatient visits at DCH Regional Medical Center: 57,919 • UMC physician inpatient visits at DCH Regional Medical Center: 13,788 COLLEGE OF COMMUNIT Y HEALTH SCIENCES



SPOTLIGHTS The College of Community Health Sciences is made up of a collection of learners, faculty, staff, alumni, community partners, supporters and friends who work every day to make the College's mission a reality. The following section highlights just a few of many who work to achieve the College's efforts to place physicians in rural and underserved communities. Read on to learn about a CCHS medical student, resident physician, alumna and donor couple who exemplify the College's core values and mission of improving health in Alabama.





edical student Barrie Schmitt will be taking more than a medical degree with her after graduation. Schmitt is finishing her fourth-year clinical rotations at the College of Community Health Sciences and said “being kind” is one of the most important skills she attributes to her time at CCHS. Schmitt is an Alabama native, raised in Birmingham, and a 2011 graduate of John Carroll Catholic High School. Schmitt’s strong interest and inherent abilities in science led her to Danville, Kentucky, where she attended Centre College as a Biology major. It wasn’t until the end of her sophomore year that she seriously considered practicing medicine. A conversation with her advisor and a shadowing experience aided Schmitt in defining her new agenda to become a physician. After graduating from Centre with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Biology in 2015, Schmitt deferred her acceptance to medical school for a year of service with AmeriCorps. She then returned home to attend her first two years of medical school at the University of Alabama School of Medicine in Birmingham. At the School of Medicine, Schmitt served as clinic leader and patient communication coordinator for Equal Access Birmingham, a

2019 ANNUAL REPORT student-run, free clinic located at UAB, and attributes a growing interest in learning how to “teach medicine in a health care setting” to her time spent as a clinical skills teaching associate. Schmitt has continued various leadership roles at CCHS, a regional campus of the School of Medicine, currently serving as director of the Service-Learning Taskforce for the Tuscaloosa campus, and as president of the Gold Humanism Honor Society. Schmitt has also been awarded two scholarships, receiving the College’s Franks Fitts, Jr. Endowed Scholarship and the William W. Winternitz, Sr. Geriatric Scholarship. Schmitt also holds accolades at the national level, having received the President’s Volunteer Service Award and the Congressional Award for her term of service with AmeriCorps National Civilian Community Corps. Schmitt said she will complete her residency training in neurology and sees the field as an extension of primary care. “There is a huge need for neurology … and I think there is a lot of primary care components to neurology. You’re often the quarterback of their (patients') care because you know different organ systems that can be affected by a primary neurologic condition. So, often, you become the primary care provider.” Along with the dire need for neurologists, Schmitt also recognizes that this field offers her something others cannot – time with her patients. “I really love the idea of just sitting down with patients and having time to talk with them about their whole medical history and its intricacies.” Time spent with a patient has defined one of her proudest moments as a medical student at CCHS. “At the beginning of my third year, I was taking care of a patient with a lot of complex problems. I spent some time and really talked about the root of his problems and the help he needed. The following day, he asked for me to explain his treatment plan to him, because I was his doctor. I wasn’t even a doctor yet.” While Schmitt is set to graduate and become a doctor in May 2020, she credits her patient’s response to something beyond what a medical degree can offer – kindness. “In medicine, one of the most important things is to be kind to everyone because you never know what is going on in their life – especially when it comes to patients,” Schmitt said. “Being kind is actively seeking the good of another and really making your actions show that you’re interested in the good of that other person … and I think that is a key component in what makes good physicians great physicians.” COLLEGE OF COMMUNIT Y HEALTH SCIENCES





hird-year resident Dr. Meghan Bonds is a true personification of the College of Community Health Sciences’s primary mission of providing access to health care in underserved communities in Alabama. Although she hails from the majestic Northeast Kingdom area of Vermont, Bonds committed her entire livelihood to family medicine and primary care in rural Alabama when she joined The University of Alabama Family Medicine Residency, which the College operates. Bonds was born and raised in the rural town of St. Johnsbury, Vermont, where she lived with her family in a log cabin her father built in the picturesque woods of the area. She did well in school, excelling in science, dance and theater. Her interest in health care emerged at the early age of 13 after she was diagnosed with scoliosis, which causes a sideways curvature of the spine. Bonds spent three years navigating treatment for her condition, including a corrective spinal fusion surgery at age 17.



“That whole process of learning about the medical system really inspired me. It was actually the nurse practitioner who, as I got older, I realized just how much of an impact she had on me. She was instrumental in helping me through this process and I really wanted to do that for people, too, and thought the best way for me would be to become a physician.” After graduating high school from St. Johnsbury Academy in 2008, Bonds set her eyes on a career in medicine, paired with another of her passions. She earned a Bachelor of Science degree in 2012, as a double major in biology and theater, from Williams College in Williamstown, Massachusetts. In the demanding academic environment of medicine, theater might not seem like the most compatible major, but Bonds suggests otherwise. “It expanded critical thinking skills in a very different way and helped me gain a lot of other management skills – and keep a creative side alive. I found that they were much more complementary,” she said. With her undergraduate degree in tow, Bonds again deviated from the traditional medical education path. She was recruited to rural Greensboro, Alabama, for Project Horseshoe Farm, operated by Dr. John Dorsey, for a gap year before medical school. It was then that Bonds began forging her future in both family medicine and Alabama. Her work with Project Horseshoe included housing programs for elderly women with psychiatric disabilities, and day programs for isolated adults. Bonds was also subconsciously engraining herself in the Greensboro community. “I learned how to be a member of a community and how to go into a new community as an outsider, as well as the philosophy of how to get to know


A view from Vermont's Northeast Kingdom.

people, an important skill for any physician,” she said. During this time, she met her future husband, who would follow her north while she attended medical school over the next four years. Bonds returned to her home state to attend medical school at the University of Vermont in Burlington, where she completed a medical degree in 2017. There was no question about what her focus would be in residency. “I knew I wanted to do family medicine from the beginning of medical school,” she said. Despite others insisting she would change her mind, Bonds was adamant that “having worked at Horseshoe Farm for a year, I knew that the whole bio-psychosocial model and wanting to take care of a person as a whole really fit me best.” When considering her options for residency, Bonds recalled a student rotation with The University of Alabama Family Medicine Residency. “I really got the sense … that they were a big family here. The people really made it for me. I felt like I was a part of it from the start,” she said. Bonds also realized that she would be able to practice in a place similar to where she ultimately wanted to live. “It was really important to me to be in a program with

a rural focus,” she said. “What really prepares us for rural isn’t necessarily being out in rural areas, it’s the attitude our attendings have, when maybe your instinct is to refer to a specialist, they are quick to say ‘No, you can handle this.’” Bonds matched with the UA program and left her Northeast Kingdom for a new home in the South. Bonds graduates in June 2020 with her exemplary mission to serve a rural population already secured. Along with fellow resident Dr. Jessica Powell, Bonds will begin practicing after graduation as a family medicine and primary care physician with Hale County Hospital and Clinic in Greensboro. She will also live in the community with her husband and year-old son. As she prepares to exit the UA Family Medicine Residency, she is optimistic and inspired. “I’m really excited about the direction the program is headed in terms of providing holistic and quality care for patients in underserved populations … to change the curriculum to be more rurally focused, and to really look at that model of care makes me really proud to be a part of it.” COLLEGE OF COMMUNIT Y HEALTH SCIENCES



DR. ANGELA POWELL By Leslie Zganjar


cannot tell you where the interest began. I just always knew that I would be a doctor.” She knew as early as elementary school. “I did not have a life-changing experience or a revelation of great magnitude. I knew what my life’s work was to be and did not consider any other option.” And to be a doctor meant to be a family doctor, one who could take care of a family over the generations of its members and over a broad spectrum of illnesses. The path that Dr. Angela Powell, an alumna of The University of Alabama Family Medicine Residency, has taken began in Gilbertown, Alabama, where she was raised. Powell’s mother owned and operated an auto parts store, and her father worked in construction and real estate. Neither of her parents had the opportunity to go to college, but they encouraged Powell to seek a university education, as well as to respect people, show kindness and to help others whenever possible.



Powell’s undergraduate education began at the former Livingston University, now University of West Alabama, which she attended with the help of a Choctaw County Junior Miss Scholarship. She transferred to The University of Alabama during her junior year, graduating magna cum laude with a bachelor’s degree in Biology and a minor in Chemistry. With a desire to continue her education closer to rather than farther from her family, she limited her medical school applications to the University of Alabama School of Medicine in Birmingham and the University of South Alabama College of Medicine in Mobile. She was accepted to the UA School of Medicine, where she received the Dr. Earle Drennen Scholarship and eventually the Marion J. Sims Obstetrics Award and a clinical excellence award. She was also a member of the Alpha Omega Alpha Honor Medical Society. Powell graduated cum laude from the UA School of Medicine in 1993. In keeping with her goal of practicing family medicine, she completed her residency at the UA Family Medicine Residency, where she also completed an obstetrics fellowship. The residency and fellowship are operated by UA’s College of Community Health Sciences. “I considered several in-state family residency programs. The Tuscaloosa Family Practice Residency, as it was called at the time, had the most rigorous call schedule,” Powell said. “I felt while training for my future, and to be prepared to care for the patients in my practice, that I needed the three years to be an intense training experience. “I loved each clinical rotation, each one,” she continued. “Family medicine gave me the opportunity to practice medicine and continue to learn in all the specialty areas in order to care for patients of all ages, with various conditions and diseases.” There was never any doubt in her mind where she would

2019 ANNUAL REPORT practice. “Raised in a small town, I knew I would practice and raise my children in a rural community. The relationships built, the sense of community, the bonds and love shared in a small town have rewards that are intangible and invaluable.” With her doctor’s bag in hand, she and her family moved to Monroeville, Alabama. In the ensuing years, 22 in all, she has practiced family medicine and obstetrics, raised her children, mentored students ranging from high school to resident physicians, served as a preceptor for students from the UA School of Medicine, the University of South Alabama College of Medicine and the Alabama College of Osteopathic Medicine, and served in various community and state health care administrative and leadership roles. In 2019, Powell received the Martha Myers Role Model Award, which recognizes UA School of Medicine alumni who exemplify professional integrity and commitment to medicine. The award, established in 2007, is intended to inspire physicians to a higher level of service in the communities where they practice. Recipients, including Powell, are honored with a plaque that features their biography and hangs in the Martha Myers Role Model Lounge in Volker Hall on the University of Alabama at Birmingham campus. Powell continues to be a staunch advocate for family medicine.

“Family physicians are so needed across our state. Our state is mostly rural and there are so many places where access to care is needed,” she said. “Family physicians who are well trained can meet the needs of so many patients. I would love to see more students want to practice medicine and care for patients of all ages and (with) various medical problems choose to practice family medicine.” She is also a staunch supporter of the UA Family Medicine Residency. “The commitment of the residency to train physicians who are capable, confident and compassionate in providing medical care separates it from other programs. The residency has always had well-qualified physicians and support staff in each discipline to ensure the training experience is exceptional.” Ultimately, Powell considers it an honor to have been called to the profession of medicine, a privilege to care for families of rural Alabama and “a delight and joy to share the art and science of rural medicine with students.” “I remember as a fourth-year (medical) student on rotations when the attending physicians would ask the students which residency they were interviewing with for the reactions and comments made. One comment (about family medicine) was ‘Jack of all trades, master of none,’ but another was, ‘Family practice, where the best and brightest belong.’ I couldn’t agree more.” COLLEGE OF COMMUNIT Y HEALTH SCIENCES




By Erin Tech


ob and Dorothy Pieroni’s first date was a football game at Boston College, Bob's alma mater. The BC Eagles won, and their relationship blossomed (October 2020 will be their 50th wedding anniversary). Bob was working on vaccine development as a senior bacteriologist at the Massachusetts Department of Public Health. He was in the Army Ready Reserve at that time, having earlier been in training as an enlisted combat medic. Two years later, he received his honorable discharge and was accepted into the pioneer class at Penn State College of Medicine in Hershey, Pennsylvania. He was only one of 10 out-of-state applicants in a class of 40 selected from more than 1,100 applicants. Penn State established the first-ever academic departments of Humanities, Behavioral Health and Family Practice in the U.S. Family practice was the result of a report, “Meeting the Challenge of Family Practice,” published in 1966 by the federal Ad Hoc Committee on Education for Family Practice. The committee was chaired by Dr. William R. Willard, considered the father of Family Medicine and the founding dean of The


University of Alabama College of Community Health Sciences. Even before CCHS was created, Bob had unknowingly begun forging a connection to the College. Bob received scholarships, loans and worked continuously before and during college and medical school, having come from a workingclass family that was unable to assist him financially. Bob and Dorothy knew early on of the important role of financial aid in medical school. He was accepted into an Internal Medicine Residency at Harvardaffiliated Hospitals after graduating from medical school in 1971. In addition to Internal Medicine, he later became certified in Family Medicine, Allergy and Immunology, and Geriatric Medicine and has been awarded fellowship status in all of these disciplines. The Pieronis married in Bob’s senior year of medical school and, shortly after, he received a 10-week U.S. government fellowship to study public health in the former Yugoslavia with nine other students from across the U.S. In 1974, after completing his residency, the new doctor was officially on the hunt for a job. Dorothy fielded calls from all over the country, Bob said. “Back then, new physicians were offered a free ad in a medical journal to help with job placement.”Dorothy organized his interview schedule and, most importantly, helped choose the locations. At this point, the couple had two young children, Michelle and Bobby. After several interviews in Boston and California, Dorothy received a call from Dr. John Packard for Bob to be interviewed for an academic position in the newly founded College of Community Health Sciences. The Pieronis flew from Boston to Alabama and were greeted with warm weather in February and a camellia from Mrs. Packard. It was this simple gesture of hospitality that unknowingly sparked the beginning of the Pieronis more than 40 years of service and dedication to CCHS and the Tuscaloosa community. Before take-off on the flight back to Boston Dorothy was sold. “This is the place,” she said. There were, of course, several reasons for joining the new College. “Number one, they were looking for primary care doctors,” Dorothy said, “and number two, it seemed to be an exciting new program similar in many respects to the novel program Bob had participated


in at Penn State, and third, and most importantly, they were kind and caring people.” Bob joined the College in 1974 as an Internist and as one of its first faculty members. "We were elated. Bob started in July and barely had a full day off until Kentuck weekend in October of that year. We all went as a family,” Dorothy said. Kentuck Festival of the Arts is held annually in October and features more than 250 artists, and it has become a tradition for the Pieronis each year, affirming their love of local artwork and longstanding commitment to the Tuscaloosa arts community. Their home is a testament to this, with walls and shelves adorned with art pieces from near and far. The couple also regularly attend the College’s monthly Art of Medicine events hosted by the CCHS Health Sciences Library. Exploring and identifying the culture of Tuscaloosa has been a priority for Dorothy over the years. While Bob served the community medically, Dorothy focused on ways to socialize and get to know the city and its people. “I decided I had to join and become involved in several organizations in order to meet people.” She joined the University Women’s Club and the Medical Alliance where she became a special friend to a class at Alberta Elementary School. She also had several part-time jobs that enabled her to get to know a host of people. According to Bob, Dorothy “over-volunteered” to ensure the family was engaging the community while he worked diligently with Dr. Packard and Dean Willard to build new student and resident programs at the College. “It was a brand-new College and there

were just two residents and I had to personally recruit medical students from places like the Dakotas and Nevada,” Bob said. “It was exciting because it was a new program, but there was also turbulence.In the early years, a lot of people left, but we stayed.” Despite choppy beginnings, the once fledgling program has continued to evolve and thrive within the Tuscaloosa community and the University, and nationally. Today, The University of Alabama Family Medicine Residency, which the College operates, is one of the oldest and largest family medicine residencies in the country and now also offers seven fellowship programs. In 1981, Bob was approached by an Army recruiter from Birmingham who was in need of physicians and offered a flexible program that would also provide continuing medical education. He re-enlisted in a local Army Medical Reserve program along with three other Tuscaloosa physicians. Bob has treated thousands of American and Allied troops, civilians and enemy prisoners of war from nine countries (including Central and South America, Europe and Southwest Asia). In his 30 years of reserve and active duty, Bob received numerous military awards including the Bronze Star Medal, Army Commendation Medal for Valor, the Humanitarian Service Medal and the Designator A, the highest medical military proficiency award. In 2003, Colonel Pieroni received a second honorable discharge and joined the Retired Reserve. He was joined in service by his son, Bobby, a 1995 graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy. Commander Pieroni, also a highly decorated veteran, had five combat deployments to the Persian Gulf and retired as an F-35 Pilot/instructor in 2014. He is currently COLLEGE OF COMMUNIT Y HEALTH SCIENCES


a pilot for Delta Airlines and resides in Bellevue, Washington, with his wife Samantha. Father and son have served more than 50 years in combined reserve and active duty. The Pieronis daughter, Michelle, graduated from UA Law School and practices law in Birmingham as a Senior Staff Counsel for Travelers Insurance. In addition to her active litigation practice, she performs pro bono work and has served on the Board of Directors of the Birmingham Volunteer Lawyers Program. Prior to Bob receiving Emeritus status in the College in 2005, he was awarded the UA Outstanding Dedication to Teaching Award. Author of more than 300 publications, he has received numerous awards as a clinician, teacher and mentor. He has presented results of his research worldwide, often accompanied by Dorothy, and was selected as the first visiting professor to the Kyoto Medical Education Program in 1990 and asked to return in 1994. Since retirement from CCHS as Emeritus Professor of Internal Medicine and Family Medicine in 2005, Bob has continued to serve the Tuscaloosa community, including offering weekly medical care at the Good Samaritan Clinic, which provides free health care to uninsured residents of Tuscaloosa County. 16

He continues to be involved in medical education and recently received a clinical appointment from Auburn University to also teach pharmacy students at the Good Samaritan Clinic. He has served as a consultant physician to the VA Medical Center, the Alabama Department of Public Health, the FDA, the Department of Defense and as a board member for the West Alabama Red Cross. Dorothy remains active as well, having volunteered with the Medical Alliance Adopt-A-School Program and the Community Soup Kitchen. She is also former president of the Support Group for the 75th Combat Support Hospital during Desert Storm, and a former board member of Theater Tuscaloosa. The couple both regularly attend classes and lectures at UA through the College of Continuing Studies’ Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI) program. Since 2016, the couple has served on the CCHS Board of Visitors, which advises the College on long-range planning, assists in securing financial resources and helps develop opportunities for medical students and resident physicians. In 2001, the Pieronis long history with the College began transitioning into a living legacy. The couple established the Robert E. Pieroni, MD, and Family Endowed Scholarship with award priority given to medical students who show academic merit, financial need and a dedication to primary care. “I remember our financial situation after medical school, however our debts were comparitively low by today's standards. Now the debt is just atrocious coming out of medical school.” Since its introduction at CCHS in 2012, accrued gains from the Pieroni Family Scholarship have resulted in awards to nine different medical students. The Pieronis are planning to expand their scholarship contributions even further this year. They also voiced their hope that others will see fit to help more of the College’s medical students.

endowed lectures

2019 ANNUAL REPORT Each year, the College of Community Health Sciences brings eminent speakers to campus to provide endowed lectures that inform and inspire our faculty, residents and medical students, as well as health professionals in the community. These lectures, which provide attendees with continuing medical education credits at no charge, would not be possible without the generous support of our donors. CCHS provided four annual endowed lectures in 2019:

DAVID AND NATICA BAHAR MEMORIAL LECTURE To promote the quality and practice of internal medicine.

Dr. Robert Osburne

ALICE MCLEAN STEWART ENDOWED LECTURE FOR ADDICTION EDUCATION To develop an understanding, and spread knowledge, of alcoholism and other chemical abuse elements.

Mark Ilgen, PhD

Endocrinologist at University Medical Center Assistant Professor in the Department of Family, Internal, and Rural Medicine at the College of Community Health Sciences

Professor, Department of Psychiatry at the University of Michigan Director, University of Michigan Addiction Treatment Services Associate Director for Adult Research, Addiction Center

"Metabolic Syndrome: Manifestations and Management"

"The Intersection of Pain and Addiction"



To promote the education of treatment for concussions and other athletic injuries in varsity athletes and active individuals.

Dr. Norman E. Waldrop III

Orthopaedic Surgeon Foot and Ankle Specialist Andrews Sports Medicine and Orthopaedic Center

"High Ankle Sprains in Athletes"

To support the teaching of cancer prevention and early detection, particularly as it relates to breast cancer.

Carol DeSantis, MPH

Cancer Epidemiologist and Principal Scientist in the Surveillance and Health Services Research Program at the American Cancer Society

"Evaluating Breast Cancer Trends: Evaluating Progress Towards Achieving Breast Health Equity "






It helps them remember why they went

into medicine –


to take care of people.

By Erin Tech

- Dr. Jane Weida


ealth care has become an international language with a strong dialect in rural health. Rural and underserved communities worldwide share similar health care disparities and challenges and, in turn, need resourceful approaches to treatment and care. The College of Community Health Sciences is translating its rural health mission into global health education and outreach opportunities, creating impact for an array of learners and for international and local communities alike. COLLEGE OF COMMUNIT Y HEALTH SCIENCES

" 19



ne of the College’s commitments to global health education and impact has been the development of the Global Health Curriculum. Introduced to The University of Alabama Family Medicine Residency in 2017, the program is fostered by Dr. Jane Weida, associate professor in the Department of Family, Internal, and Rural Medicine and associate director of the residency, which the College operates. The curriculum is a two-year track for second- and third-year residents and consists of two primary requirements. The first requirement is regular attendance at monthly Global Health lectures hosted by the College. These formal presentations are given by faculty and residents who have practiced medicine abroad. Topics range from common chronic diseases like hypertension and diabetes to more rare conditions like elephantiasis. The second requirement of the program is for residents to spend at least two weeks providing medical care in a developing country. Residents are asked to submit a reflective essay on how the experience “helps them care for the underserved in Alabama, who may not have access to health care or medications,” said Weida. These international experiences often lead to residentdriven research, peer-reviewed articles and other collaborative projects that explore the relationship between health care abroad versus in Alabama. While there is an obvious benefit of academic and clinical enrichment for residents, the care provided also aligns with the College’s mission of improving health outcomes in underserved communities. “It helps the residents learn how to take care of people by listening and touching instead of relying on technology,” Weida said, which is a resource frequently lacking in rural areas. Weida has participated in relief trips to Haiti and understands the impact these trips can have on a person. “While I can’t quantify this, it helps them remember why they went into medicine – to take care of people,” she said.



As part of the cultural experience of the UA Ghana Global Health course , students have the option to visit and tour the Elmina Castle. Built in 1482, it was first used for gold and ivory trade but was later conquered by the Dutch army in 1637 and converted to a slave center.



he Global Health Curriculum has helped enhance the College’s residency curriculum, but international opportunities are not limited to residents. One of the longest-standing global initiatives at CCHS is the UA Global Health in Ghana, West Africa, course, a four-week summer program available to all UA undergraduate and graduate students since 2011. The six-credit track is offered through the UA Capstone International Center’s Study Abroad program and led by CCHS faculty and Ghana native Dr. Thad Ulzen. A professor and chair of the College’s Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Medicine and associate dean for academic affairs for CCHS, Ulzen has been on every trip since the program’s inception. Ulzen personally interviews and selects eight to 10 students to the program each year, with some years including University of Alabama at Birmingham third- and fourth-year medical students. The course work revolves around primary care and public health outreach efforts at the Elmina Urban Health Center and Polyclinic and outlying rural communities of Elmina, Ghana. Students have also spent time making rounds with students from the University of Cape Coast School of Medicine Sciences at the Ankaful District Hospital – a former leprosarium – and rotating with Dr. Ulzen at the Ankaful Psychiatric Hospital, all in the same district. With strong family history tied to Elmina, Ulzen’s role for each trip goes beyond that of just faculty. He also claims the role of “cultural facilitator,” which “helps them (students) understand how different cultures operate and how medicine is practiced, always within a specific cultural context,” said Ulzen. Ulzen is also able to share his family home with traveling students, which is located in the heart of the city within walking distance of the Elmina Urban Health Center and Polyclinic. This unique accommodation has helped build a framework for the program that ensures students are getting a well-rounded experience, involving



Another cultural excursion offered to Ghana students is a canoe tour of Nzulezo, Ghana. The village is located in the western region of Ghana overlooking Lake Tadane, and is built entirely on stilts and platforms to accommodate the natural water landscape.

both clinical and cultural elements. Amy Schmitt, a student from the 2012 trip, commented on the arrangement saying, “This gave us a sense of home and security while we were in a foreign country, while also allowing us to experience and explore Elmina and feel like we were living among the people.” Leah Nixon, a student from the same trip, spoke to the clinical side saying, “I had many hands-on experiences and was able to completely immerse myself in the daily lives of the nurses and medical staff. I felt like whatever knowledge they possessed was ours as well.” Medical assistance is an obvious focus for the Ghana program and the majority of students are pre-medical or leaning toward a career in health care. Ulzen’s expectation for each pre-medical student is, “By the time they come to medical school, these students already understand not just an 22

international community, but they begin to understand what our rural communities here need, which is the connection to the College’s mission,” he said. Regardless of any expectations of Ulzen or the students themselves, the experiences have proven to be transformative. This was the case for current UA student Maddie Short, a Kinesiology major who attended the trip in summer 2019. Short had no specific expectations prior to her visit. “If anything, this trip confirmed how much I loved being around people and helping them – and that my passion is medicine, and that it’s what I’m supposed to do,” and added that it was “one of the most beneficial things I’ve ever done in my life. I literally look at the photos every day.” Short has since declared a minor in Global and Cultural Perspectives, crediting Ulzen and the Ghana program for the decision. “Dr. Ulzen was able to not


2019 ANNUAL REPORT By the time they come to

medical school, these students already understand


not just an international community, but they begin to understand what our rural communities here need, which is the connection to the College’s mission. - Dr. Thad Ulzen


only teach us about the medical side, but also the history and culture of Ghana. I just want more knowledge of the world as a whole now,” said Short, who plans to work toward becoming a physician’s assistant after graduation. She said the knowledge gained from Ghana will carry into how she practices. “Preventive care and patient compassion are so important. I feel like I learned so much about how to teach patients to take care of themselves.” Short is also set to shadow Ulzen at University Medical Center, which the College operates, in spring 2020. With impact on learners clear and notable, the same can be said for the community of Elmina. Ghana is medically underserved, with a $120 per capita budget health care system – compared to the U.S. average of $7,000 per capita – making the program a mutual exploration of treatment perspectives between students and Elmina providers. “Community settings are always enriched by having learners ... and we, as teachers, always learn a lot from our learners,” Ulzen said. “Our students go there from a completely different cultural framework, which actually helps Ghanians think about problems differently – because our students give them an answer that is not typical of that culture.” The program also provides increased capacity for the medical community, offering local providers a form of relief through additional assistance. Albeit temporary, Ulzen explains that it helps them “catch up.”

From left: Ford Williams, Carly Koenig, Max Bassett and Vivian Poston pose with bandaids from donating blood.

In Ghana, there is a high risk of contracting malaria and other blood-born illnesses that often need to be treated with a blood transfusion. Due to high demand, Ghana regularly experiences blood shortages and requires that in order for patients to receive a blood donation or transfusion, they must bring a family member with them to donate back so the supply can sustain itself. During the 2019 trip, a patient presented with malaria, but was from Lybia – a war-torn country – and had no family connections in Ghana. The situation was dire, but four students (pictured above) from the UA Ghana Global Health course voluntarily donated blood so that the patient could receive the care she desperately needed.





s global health initiatives continue to thrive at the College, a new international opportunity in Kenya, Africa, was added in 2018. The CCHS Kenya Trip is a health experience led by Dr. Jared Ellis, associate professor and associate residency director at the College. Ellis was first approached about coordinating a medical mission trip in 2018 and immediately recognized that its educational potential complemented the College’s mission. He planned a pilot trip, inviting anyone from the College interested in volunteering. From July 25 to August 10 of 2018, Ellis and six CCHS resident physicians and one faculty member provided much-needed health care in rural and urban Kenya, including at six community sites – Seeds Orphanage and School in Kitale, two schools in Nairobi and food stations in Turbo, Kakamaga and Mt. Elgon. Time and energy were focused on providing medical care and other assistance as needed. After 16 exhausting days, the group of eight had treated and aided more than 750 men, women and children while working with substantially limited resources. After returning, Ellis began the process of transitioning the trip into a CCHS global health academic and outreach opportunity. Part of his motivation was the comradery developed by the residents, adding that his favorite part was “seeing the residents work together during adverse conditions to make a big difference for so many.” There was also a strong desire by residents to go back to Kenya. “All who traveled are eager to return as participants, or to lead future trips,” said Ellis. “We fell in love with Kenya and its people.” This sentiment is echoed by third-year resident Dr. Clea Moore. “We worked hard One of the first stops on the trip was to a school located in the Mathare Slum in Nairobi, Kenya. This was just one of the many 24 underserved areas visited.


Dr. Jennifer Clem, assistant professor of family, internal, and rural medicine at the College of Community Health Sciences, sits with children from the Seeds Orphanage and School in Kitale, Kenya, in summer 2019.

as a team, almost flawlessly adapting to the rapidly changing circumstances. And now we have an area that we can return to yearly, or twice a year, and do it all over again.” Dr. Katie Muhammad-Reed’s experience speaks to the kind of impact the College aims to provide its learners through global health. “I want to be a part of something that will help me continue to offset some of the health care disparities within my own and other under-represented communities by striving to improve the lives of as many people as possible,” Muhammad-Reed said. She is now an assistant professor of family and community medicine at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, Texas. Ellis coordinated and led a second trip in July 2019 with a group of seven from the College, including three resident physicians, one obstetrics fellow, one faculty and one staff member. Along

with the advantages of continued Kenyan connections and the newly established CCHS International Travel Fund, the overall structure of the trip has also become more streamlined. Dr. Larab Ahmed, chief resident, attended the trip in 2018 and again last year. In 2018, there “was more organized chaos with the clinics, and we saw patients with more rare pathology, like elephantiasis, where there wasn’t much we could do, ” she said. In 2019, “we were able to better select patients and provide more guidance, especially since we visited the same locations as the year before and saw so many repeat visitors.” The trip was also shortened to 10 days, putting an emphasis on wellness and less burnout for the participants. In her Global Health Curriculum presentation, Ahmed COLLEGE OF COMMUNIT Y HEALTH SCIENCES



STEINER D E L I V E R S We fell in love with Kenya and its people. - Dr. Jared Ellis


highlighted the importance of establishing continuity of patient care so the communities could perpetually benefit from the visits. To really make a difference in these communities, the program now utilizes community centers in Kenya to help identify and prioritize urgent needs patients, which helped with the efficiency of the clinics. The program also works to increase health literacy by teaching patients and local leaders preventive care measures, and has introduced a health record in the form of small notebooks purchased from a local store. The notebooks are given to patients seen by College providers and are used to both inform patients of treatment plans as well as keep a record of care throughout the year. Through these new sustainable and practical longterm treatment plans, Ellis’s group, along with nonCollege volunteers, once again aided hundreds of Kenyans in urban Nairobi slums and rural western Kitale in 2019, including a return to Seeds Orphanage. Clinics were held in Turbo and Kakamega, where “we educated patients about their illness and appropriate lifestyle changes,” said Ellis. “We developed a better plan to improve their health literacy and medical follow up.”


From left: Dr. Ashley Wambolt Steiner sits with a newborn and mother.

Dr. Ashley Wambolt Steiner, assistant professor of family, internal, and rural medicine for the College of Community Health Sciences, was an obstetrics fellow while attending the 2019 Kenya Trip. During her time spent in Kitale, Steiner worked primarily in the obstetrics suite of the county hospital where she provided labor and delivery care, including cesarean sections and tubal ligations. While the facility had less than perfect conditions, Dr. Jared Ellis explains Steiner was "undaunted and had a fantastic experience." Steiner joined the College in fall 2019 and is caring for patients at UMC-Demopolis, and also resides in the area.



ith a steadfast interest and demand for global health programs, the College strives to also make them financially accessible. Already in place is a $1,500 stipend included in residents’ benefits package, the International Travel Experience Fund available to medical students with professional goals that align with the CCHS mission, and the Larry Mayes Endowed Scholarship available to medical students who elect a community medicine experience in a medically underserved setting in the U.S. or abroad. New to the College in 2019 is the CCHS International Travel Fund, developed to support the international travel of resident physicians, faculty and staff, which includes support for the Kenya Trip. To support any of these programs, visit the GIVE.UA.EDU website and search for the desired account by name. The College’s global health initiatives emphasize how the education and practice of rural health in global communities results in better care in rural communities at home. Locations vary worldwide, but the resourcefulness and resilience needed to practice in rural and underserved communities remains common ground, no matter the language. COLLEGE OF COMMUNIT Y HEALTH SCIENCES


Alabama Family Practice Rural Health Board and CCHS: 26 YEARS OF SUCCESS IN RURAL ALABAMA COMMUNITIES

By Kaylin Bowen


he Alabama Family Practice Rural Health Board (AFPRHB) and The University of Alabama College of Community Health Sciences have a long and successful partnership placing family medicine physicians in rural Alabama. The board was created in 1990 by the Alabama Legislature to address the declining number of physicians in rural Alabama. The board began partnering with the College in 1993. In the 26 years of partnership, the board has voted to support numerous programs within the College, including the Rural Medical

Scholars Program and the Obstetrics Fellowship. Through the board's support, the College has been allotted $14.5 million dollars over the course of nearly three decades to continue educating family medicine physicians with an interest in rural medicine. The initial partnership began with the Rural Health Scholars Program to help kickstart its mission to encourage students to return to rural Alabama through the Rural Health Leaders Pipeline. Seeing the success of the Rural Health Scholars Program, the board voted to fund the Rural Medical Scholars Program that was created in 1996. “It’s incremental, it really is a marathon not a sprint to see results,” said Ellen Stone, executive director of the AFPRHB, who facilitates the board’s meetings, records and financing. “A medical career takes time. It’s a long road from the first exposure in middle or high school to when you are ready to open a practice. It’s hard to measure it.”

The College of Community Health Sciences has received $14.5 million in financial support from the Alabama Family Practice Rural Health Board from 1993 to 2019. Among the larger areas of support:

• Rural Health Leaders Pipeline, $11.5 million • Obstetric Fellowships, $899,947 • Preceptor stipends, $600,000 • Resident rural rotations, $600,000 • Behavioral Health Fellowships, $210,000 Source: Alabama Family Practice Rural Health Board 28

2019 ANNUAL REPORT The voting members of the board are nine practicing family medicine physicians and one member of the Alabama House and Senate. The 11 members serve the state of Alabama on a volunteer basis and meet to hear petitions for funding from groups like the College’s Obstetrics Fellowship. The fellowship requires its graduates to complete a contractual year serving in rural Alabama. It is the hope of the fellowship leadership as well as the board that fellows will continue to serve after their one year has passed. When a hospital is suffering financially, obstetrics is often the first area to be cut due to the expensive nature of the care, said Dr.

Daniel Avery, Jr., former director of the Obstetrics Fellowship. The fellowship was created to take family medicine physicians who are already trained in the basics of obstetrics and give them expertise in cesareans and high-risk obstetrics. With that extra year of training in high-risk OB, family medicine physicians can go into rural areas and practice a full spectrum of care in their community. Part of the recruitment process for the fellowship is determining the career goals and practice locations of the applicants. “People from rural areas are more likely to go back to rural

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Cumulative Gains

















Cumulative Cost

A rural family physician generates at minimum $1 million per practice year in their rural community1. This includes revenue from the physician office, other associated health services (lab, radiology, hospital admissions), and allied health fields (pharmacy, physical therapy) that are able to exist in a community with an active physician practice. Data from rural programs outcomes from 2004 through 2017 show that the cumulative economic impact of the College's rural primary care alumni is a total of $462 million. 1

Avery, D. M., Hooper D.E., McDonald, J.T., Love M.W., Tucker, M.T., Parton, J.M. (2014). The Economic Impact of Rural Family Physicians Practicing Obstetrics. The Journal of the American Board of Family Medicine, 27 (5), 602-610.



areas,” Avery said. “We take the best candidates around the country who have an interest in practicing in rural Alabama.” Some programs have proven successful on a long-term basis and are labeled a line item for the board. The College’s Rural Health Leaders Pipeline is one, receiving $11.5 million of the funding from the Legislature through the board over the 26-year partnership. The University of Alabama at Huntsville, Auburn University and the Tuskegee Area Health Education Center also have programs that receive annual funding from AFPRHB through a line item. The rural programs at CCHS are continually striving to hone and enhance their effectiveness. “The data shows that the majority of doctors who go to rural areas are family physicians, and the more that we can do to promote that in our programming the more successful we will be,” said Dr. Drake Lavender, director of Rural Programs for CCHS. “We have changed a few things in our budget this year to further encourage students to go into family medicine.” Rural Medical Scholars, in the summer between their first and second years of medical school, will attend the American Academy of Family Physicians Students and Resident Conference in Kansas City, Missouri, in 2020. Additionally, the pre-matriculation year students will attend the Alabama Academy of Family Physicians annual meeting before entering medical school in 2020. “I’m hoping that exposure to good role models in family medicine and the excitement that permeates the national meeting will have an effect on them and solidify their specialty choice,” Lavender said. The rural high school programs – Rural Health Scholars and Minority Rural Health Scholars – are run entirely from funds received through the board’s direction. The programs work to encourage rural Alabama high school students to choose a health care field as their career. Many of these students progress along the Rural Health Leaders Pipeline into the Rural Medical Scholars Program, and on through The University of Alabama Family Medicine Residency, which the College operates. “It’s hard to measure the successes, but the more we expose 30





- Ellen Stone people to what is out there in rural areas, and the quality of life that you can have, the better,” Stone said. “A doctor in a rural area is akin to a deity almost. People are so grateful to have a doctor in their town.” In addition, the AFPRHB has supported the preceptor physicians who serve as the training ground for medical students completing their clinical training at CCHS, providing stipends that help to offset the cost of having a learner in their practice. The board has also supported the College’s Behavioral Health Fellowship in certain cases where the fellow has concrete plans to return to a rural area to practice. The board’s influence has placed many physicians in rural Alabama, and a few of those have come full circle in their training and have volunteered to serve as members of the board representing their districts. Currently, two CCHS alumni are serving a term on the board, Drs. Lee Carter and Alexis Mason. Carter was a Rural Medical Scholar, earned his Master of Rural Community Health Degree at UA and completed his residency at the UA Family Medicine Residency. Mason was a Rural Medical Scholar, earned her Master of Rural Community Health Degree at UA and completed a Behavioral Health Fellowship at the College. The board’s partnership and belief in the mission of the College is integral to the continued education and placement of Alabama’s rural community physicians.


575 1,725 5



The College of Community Health Sciences hosted the fifth annual Brussels Sprout Challenge during the American Heart Association West Alabama Heart Walk on March 2, 2019. The College and its University Medical Center partnered with Manna Grocery and Deli in Tuscaloosa to roast and serve Brussels sprouts at the walk, which began at the Tuscaloosa Amphitheater and continued along the downtown river walk. More than 1,600 Brussels sprouts were distributed at the challenge. To complete the Brussels Sprout Challenge, participants had to eat one roasted Brussels sprout at each mile marker of the 3.1 mile walk. Those who completed the challenge by eating all three Brussels sprouts were awarded a T-shirt at the end of the walk. COLLEGE OF COMMUNIT Y HEALTH SCIENCES




he College of Community Health Sciences filled its 2022 class of residents and celebrated medical students who completed their clinical education at the College and matched with residencies across the U.S. Sixteen residents began the three-year University of Alabama Family Medicine Residency July 1, 2019. Four members of the incoming class completed their third and fourth years of medical school (the clinical years) at the College, which also functions as the Tuscaloosa Regional Campus for the University of Alabama School of Medicine. They are Jacob Guin, Joshua Price, Crystal Skinner and Hannah Zahadi. The largest number of medical students matched into family


uasom medical students





medicine residencies at eight, followed by six in general surgery, five in pediatrics, four in internal medicine, four in neurology, two in obstetrics and gynecology, and one each in emergency medicine, anesthesiology, radiology, thoracic surgery, neurological surgery, orthopaedic surgery and plastic surgery. Altogether, Tuscaloosa campus students placed into residencies across 14 states. The College’s mission is to improve and promote the health of individuals and communities in Alabama and the region, and one of the ways it fulfills that mission is by addressing the primary care physician workforce with comprehensive family medicine residency training and medical student clinical education.


uasom medical students entered the class of 2022

The University of Alabama

Family Medicine Residency





· Anesthesiology · Radiology · emergency medicine · Thoracic surgery · neurological surgery · ortheopaedic surgery · plastic surgery






Obstetrics and Gynecology

4 { EACH

· Internal Medicine · Neurology




General Surgery


8 Family Medicine



Family Medicine




FLU SHOTS The College of Community Health Sciences in 2019 again led The University of Alabama's annual flu shot campaign, administering flu vaccines to thousands of students and employees in an effort to protect them against the flu. Free flu shots were provided at locations across campus – including the Quad, University buildings and student residence halls – beginning in September and continuing through mid-November. The College also took part in the first test of a mass immunization strategy conducted by the University. The POD, or point of distribution, was an exercise to see how prepared UA would be if the University had to quickly inoculate large numbers of people on campus in the event of a health-related epidemic.





I joined the College of Community Health Sciences in April 2019 in the role of advancement. While my educational background is not in the medical profession, I have quickly learned that this field is full of great opportunities, along with great challenges. As I have visited with doctors, directors and friends of the College, one word resonates consistently and easily – COMMUNITY. In 2022, we will celebrate our 50th year of educating primary care physicians, and it is fitting that the name of our College includes the word community. It is incredible to think of how many people have been impacted by the medical students and resident physicians educated right here, in Tuscaloosa, our community. It is also exciting to think about the opportunities that lie ahead in areas such as research, rural health, population health, global health and so much more. Doctors are passionate, courageous, caring and relentless in their mission to provide health care to the people who need it most – in any community. As Dr. Richard Friend, dean of CCHS, puts forth his vision for the College, it is my joy to share stories of success and progress, as well as opportunities for support. It is my hope that you will become engaged with the College in ways that are most meaningful to you. What could your engagement and support look like? It might include joining our Board of Visitors, a volunteer group of alumni, donors, community physicians and business leaders who advise the College. Or becoming a community preceptor and providing medical students with educational opportunities. You may also choose to financially support our students and programs, or perhaps open your home to host alumni events. Support can come in the form of your time, your expertise or your financial generosity. All of these efforts make the work we are doing possible. Ultimately, the growth of CCHS and our programs can be impacted by anyone who has a passion for the work we do. Please feel free to reach out to me with your thoughts and ideas about how we can work together to further the mission of the College. I look forward to helping you connect with the College of Community Health Sciences in an impactful and meaningful way.





Thanks to the generous support of donors, the College of Community Health Sciences annually awards scholarships and awards to medical students and to students in the College’s Rural Health Leaders Pipeline. Here are the recipients of 2019: MEDICAL STUDENT SCHOLARSHIPS In its role as the Tuscaloosa Regional Campus for the University of Alabama School of Medicine, the College provides clinical education for a cohort of third- and fourth-year medical students. Scholarships to medical students are awarded in the fall and spring.

The Dr. Sandral Hullett Endowed Scholarship Recipient: Justin Bailey Amount: $1,000

Frank Fitts, Jr., Endowed Scholarship Recipient: Sarah Fleisher Amount: $5,000

Recipient: Caitlin Thomas Amount: $1,000

Recipient: Taylor Holmes Amount: $5,000

The Dr. Sandral Hullett Endowed Scholarship was established in 1992 with gifts from the Capstone Health Services Foundation and proceeds from the 1991 Fiesta Bowl to honor Dr. Sandral Hullett, one of the first African-American residents to graduate from The University of Alabama Family Medicine Residency, which is operated by the College.

Recipient: Barrie Schmitt Amount: $5,000


The Frank Fitts, Jr., Endowed Scholarship was established by Cynthia Ford (Fitts) Thomas to address the needs of medical students who bear a high debt load upon graduation from medical school. The scholarship is named in honor of her late husband, Frank Fitts, Jr., great-grandson of J.H. Fitts, who established The University of Alabama’s first endowed scholarship in 1903.


MEDICAL STUDENT SENIOR CONVOCATION AWARDS The College and its departments also present monetary awards to medical students.

The Dr. Benjamin Collins Maxwell Endowed Scholarship Recipient: Zeb Akers Amount: $1,000

James H. Akers Memorial Award Recipient: Amy Scott Amount: $1,000

The Dr. Benjamin Collins Maxwell Endowed Scholarship was established by Dr. David H. and Mrs. Regina A. Maxwell to honor the memory of Dr. Benjamin Collins Maxwell. The scholarship is awarded to fourth-year medical students who are Rural Medical Scholars and plan to practice Rural Primary Care in the state of Alabama.

The James H. Akers Memorial Award is funded by the James H. Akers and Teresa Finney Memorial Endowed Scholarship fund. It is presented to a graduating medical student for dedication to the art and science of medicine.

Robert E. Pieroni, MD, and Family Endowed Scholarship Recipient: Taylor Holmes Amount: $1,000

William R. Willard Award Recipient: David Osula Amount: $1,000

Established by Dr. Robert and Mrs. Dorothy Pieroni in 2012, the scholarship supports medical students at the College interested in entering primary care. Dr. Pieroni was a faculty member at the College for many years and still remains active in his support.

Established by the Bank of Moundville, this award is presented to a graduating student selected by CCHS faculty for outstanding contributions to the goals and missions of the College. The award is supported by the William R. Willard Family Practice and Medical Student Endowed Support Fund.

Reese Phifer, Jr., Memorial Foundation Endowed Scholarship Recipient: Crystal Skinner Amount: $1,500

Interprofessional Excellence Award Recipient: Saier William Akers Amount: $1,000

The Reese Phifer Jr. Memorial Foundation Endowed Scholarship is awarded annually to promote the education of medical students at the College. The Reese Phifer, Jr., Memorial Foundation was established by Mr. and Mrs. Reese Phifer in 1967 in memory of their son, J. Reese Phifer, Jr., a student at The University of Alabama who died in 1964. The foundation established the scholarship fund in 2014.

This award recognizes a graduating medical student selected by CCHS staff who has demonstrated excellence in communication skills, respect for staff and patients and a commitment to working as an effective member of a health care team.

Priority is given to current fourth-year medical students who intend to complete their residency at The University of Alabama Family Medicine Residency, which the College operates, and who have an interest in spending part of their residency training in Fayette, Alabama.

William W. Winternitz, Sr. Geriatric Award Recipient: Barrie Schmitt Amount: $500 This award is presented to a medical student who best exemplifies service-based learning in geriatric medicine. The award is supported by the William W. Winternitz Geriatric Gift Fund. COLLEGE OF COMMUNIT Y HEALTH SCIENCES


RESIDENCY GRADUATION AWARDS The College's Family Medicine Residency presents monetary awards to graduating residents.

360 Award Recipient: Dr. Jonathan Russell Guin Amount: $1,000 This award is presented to a graduating resident selected by CCHS staff who demonstrates outstanding work as part of a multidisciplinary team. William R. Willard Family Medicine Award Recipient: Dr. Nate Boles Amount: $1,000 This award is presented to a first-year resident who demonstrates outstanding professional competence and personal characteristics. The award is supported by the William R. Willard Family Practice and Medical Student Endowed Support Fund. William W. Winternitz, Sr. Geriatric Award Recipient: Dr. Soojung Lee Amount: $500

ALUMNI Are you a CCHS alum? Keep in touch with us by visiting or by sending news and updates to :

Erin Tech, Assistant Director of External Relations · 205-348-9103

This award is presented to a graduating resident who demonstrates outstanding work in geriatric medicine. The award is supported by the William W. Winternitz Geriatric Gift Fund.


THE 45






ue to the generosity of faculty and staff of the College of Community Health Sciences and University Medical Center during The University of Alabama’s second annual Bama Blitz online fundraising campaign in 2019, CCHS exceeded its goal of $2,500 and raised a total of $3,110 from 35 gifts. CCHS requested that its Bama Blitz gifts be made to The Grateful Patient Support Fund to benefit the College’s passion project of expanding patient education programs at UMC, as well as to support rural and medically underserved communities in West Alabama. This fund was established by the daughter of a late UMC patient to support programs that focus on primary and geriatric care. Contributions will be used to expand and support such ongoing programs as: Diabetes Self-Management Education; hypertension lifestyle class; nutrition counseling; and social services. Contributions will also support future initiatives in health and wellness coaching, and they will bolster programs associated with primary and geriatric patient care. We thank everyone for their support during the 2019 Bama Blitz. The inspiring, online Bama Blitz fundraising event lasted one day, eight hours and 31 minutes – in honor of the founding in 1831 of The University of Alabama. Bama Blitz is an opportunity for alumni, faculty, staff, students and friends to come together and support UA. Using the power of social media and crowdfunding, donors can give back and pay forward in support of their favorite cause, college or program.


a special

Thank You to our

BAMA BLITZ DONORS Mrs. Alison R. Adams Mrs. Allison H. Arendale Dr. Gregg Bell Mrs. Jennifer H. Booth Ms. Deanna K. Bowen Dr. Caroline Boxmeyer Mrs. Marsha A. Brewer Ms. Alicia R. Browne Mr. Luke M. Cates Dr. Martha R. Crowther Ms. Phyllis Enzor Dr. Mary L. Friend Dr. Richard D. Friend Mrs. Abbey L. Gregg Ms. Angela B. Hammond Mrs. Melani M. Harrell Ms. Elizabeth A. Lary Mrs. Wyndy C. Looney

Dr. Edward J. Markushewski Jr. Dr. Robert E. McKinney Jr. Ms. Marsha D. Morrison Mrs. Carroll C. Phelps Dr. Cecil D. Robinson Dr. James B. Robinson Dr. Catherine Scarbrough Dr. Catherine A. Skinner Dr. Grier Stewart Jr. Dr. Heather M. Taylor Dr. Jane A. Weida Dr. Thomas J. Weida Mrs. Nelle Williams Ms. Jennifer K. Wright Dr. Lea G. Yerby Dr. Charles T. Nevels Dr. Marcus Whitman Jr.




BOARD of VISITORS The CCHS Board of Visitors is made up of 38 volunteers, including alumni, donors, community physicians, business people, community activists and other friends of the College of Community Health Sciences whose purpose is to help the College develop relationships and partnerships with communities in Alabama and organizations at the state and national levels. The Board meets biannually and advises the College on long-range planning, assists the College in securing financial resources and helps to develop opportunities for medical students and residents. 40 40

The past six months have been a time of leadership change for the College of Community Health Sciences. It has been a smooth transition, and I am excited and honored to continue in my role as chair of the CCHS Board of Visitors – and ready to build upon the successes we have already achieved. The College’s recent successes have been marked by important expansions of its medical education, patient care and research programs, and expansion will be a focus as we move forward. Two years ago, the College added a permanent University Medical Center location in Demopolis, Alabama, situated in the medically underserved Black Belt region. Starting with just four patients, a handful of exam rooms and rotating UMC physicians from Tuscaloosa providing family medicine and prenatal care, today UMC-Demopolis has nine exam rooms, three permanent physicians and enhanced care with the addition of pediatric and obstetrics services. The location now averages more than 700 patient visits and approximately 15 newborn deliveries each month. The College has significantly expanded the size of its University Hospitalist Group, physicians who care for hospitalized UMC patients, primarily at DCH Regional Medical Center in Tuscaloosa. Starting a number of years ago with two hospitalists, 23 physicians are now part of the group and they provided more than 57,919 patient care visits in 2019. The College’s Institute for Rural Health Research now has a workforce of nearly 40 faculty researchers, post-docs, graduate students and staff, and grants totaling upward of $4.2 million were awarded in 2019 (a 76% increase from 2018) to study and find solutions for health issues that impact rural communities and populations. Graduate degree programs in population health and rural community health were added, and family medicine physicians seeking additional training can now benefit from the College’s new Pediatrics Fellowship, as well as other fellowships in behavioral health,

2019 ANNUAL REPORT emergency medicine, geriatric medicine, hospital medicine, obstetrics, rural public psychiatry and sports medicine. And, as communities in West Alabama reach out to us to help improve health and access to health care for their citizens, CCHS continues to explore ways to further expand to meet those needs. The College’s expansion plans also call for increasing the size and scope of the CCHS Board of Visitors, a group of volunteers, including alumni, donors, community physicians and business leaders, who help the College develop relationships and partnerships with Alabama communities and with organizations at the state and national levels. We need more people to serve as BOV members, and we are developing proposals that will make it easier for individuals to join or engage with the board – financial incentives for our younger alumni to serve, and the use of technology at BOV meetings and activities so that those who want to participate, but face scheduling and travel challenges, can take part virtually. These are challenging times in health care, particularly in our rural communities, with hospitals closing and the physician workforce facing retirement age, and we need your help to navigate these changes and to better understand the needs in our communities and how to be strategic in our response. The BOV is a terrific group of volunteers who will not only inform you but inspire you. Please consider joining the BOV, or engaging with CCHS in other ways, to support the programs and initiatives that help produce primary care physicians needed to care for people throughout Alabama and the Southeast. I look forward to the opportunities and challenges and, with your support, of facilitating the continued growth and excellence of the College of Community Health Sciences and University Medical Center as we work to fulfill our mission of improving the health of communities.

OUR MEMBERS Mr. Eddie Sherwood, Chair Dr. Thomas Alford Dr. Susan Austin-Warner Dr. Daniel Avery, Jr. Dr. Jennifer Bolton Mr. Brad Cork Mr. James Cowan, Jr. Dr. Leisa DeVenny Dr. Michael DeVenny Dr. Frank Dozier The Honorable Mark Ezell Dr. Craig Fairburn Dr. Roland Ficken Dr. Samuel Gaskins Dr. Guillermo Godoy Mrs. Heike Harris Ms. Madeleine Hill Dr. William Hill, Jr. Dr. Robert Ireland, Jr.

Dr. Beverly Jordan Mrs. Cindy Markushewski Dr. John Markushewski Dr. David Maxwell Mrs. Regina Maxwell Dr. Chris McGee Mrs. Voncile Pearce Mrs. Dorothy Pieroni Dr. Robert Pieroni Dr. Robert Posey Dr. James Robinson Dr. Edgar Shotts Dr. Rodney Snead Dr. Vijaya Sundar Mr. Mike Williams Dr. Mark Williams Dr. Mark Woods Dr. Fred Yerby



Friends of CCHS Annual Fund Project



DONORS TO THE FRIENDS OF CCHS ANNUAL FUND The Friends of CCHS Annual Fund provided support in 2019 for a College of Community Health Sciences project that seeks to improve the health of rural Alabama mothers. The annual fund, comprised of donations and gifts to the College, is designed to support CCHS academic, clinical, scholarly and infrastructure programs, as well as the educational and professional advancement of students, residents, faculty and staff. 42

Empowering Rural Moms:



significant racial disparity exists in infant mortality rates in Alabama, with black infants almost five times as likely to die during childbirth as white infants, said Drs. Joy Bradley and Mercedes Morales-Alemán, researchers with the College of Community Health Sciences. Bradley and Morales-Alemán, both assistant professors in the Department of Community Medicine and Population Health and Institute for Rural Health Research, received funding in 2019 to continue the project that seeks to provide additional care and support for pregnant women in rural areas of West Alabama in an effort to reduce the disparity and improve health outcomes. The researchers’ project, Telemedicine-toward Empowering Rural Moms (TERM), combines evidence-based practices from telemedicine, home visit programs, team-based care and family-focused care to assist and empower rural women through pregnancy and postpartum. TERM will use community health workers and certified medical assistants to provide home visits and remote pregnancy monitoring in an effort to: facilitate access to quality prenatal care for black women in rural and medically underserved areas of Tuscaloosa County; empower women with tailored patient education and recommendations so they can better understand and monitor their health and make informed decisions; increase care coordination through use of a team-based approach and telemedicine; and ultimately improve pregnancy and health outcomes.



Thank you to all of our donors and friends who gave to the College of Community Health Sciences in 2019 through cash donations, in-kind gifts, estate gifts or matching funds. The gifts benefit faculty, residents and medical students—and ultimately communities throughout Alabama—by providing resources for scholarships, classrooms, clinics and research opportunities for future primary care physicians.

Major Gifts Dr. Alan Blum Ms. Madeleine M. Hill Dr. Edward J. Markushewski

Education & Support Fund Honored Contributors - $5,000 or more Dr. Gail H. Cassell Dr. Terrence M. Pugh Dr. Heather M. Taylor BlueCross and BlueShield of Alabama

Benefactor - $1,000 - $4,999 Dr. and Mrs. Stephen T. Ikard Dr. Robert B. Ireland Jr. Dr. Michael A. Taylor

Patron - $500 - $999 Reverend James Carstensen Mr. Billy E. Flurry Ms. Tracy Hughes and Dr. Sakina Kamal Mr. and Mrs. Bryan N. Kindred Ms. Kay B. Sands GBR, LLC | Mr. Gary Ramdeen Snow Sleep Center, PC | Dr. Richard M. Snow

Active - $100 - $499 Dr. Brett C. Bentley Mr. and Mrs. Paul Betz Mrs. Hannah C. Brock Dr. and Mrs. Daniel T. Daly Mr. Jared S. Ellis Eli Lily and Company Mrs. Margaret M. Howell Dr. Tamer Elsayed

Mr. and Mrs. Nick J. Foster Dr. Blake Lovely Dr. John T. McDonald Jr. Dr. Robert C. Osburne Mr. Matthew Thom Dr. Jane A. Weida Dr. Thomas J. Weida Mr. and Mrs. Michael J. Williams Mr. and Mrs. Robin T. Wilson North River Ophthalmology

Supporter - $1 - $99 Fidelity Charitable | Dr. and Mrs. Raymond N. Brignac Dr. Abbey and Mr. Caleb M. Gregg Mrs. Angela Hammond Dr. Lea G. Yerby COLLEGE OF COMMUNIT Y HEALTH SCIENCES


Friends of CCHS Benefactor - $1,000 - $4,999 Mr. David M. Ford Mrs. Anne M. Moman Dr. Richard O. Rutland Jr. Tuscaloosa Newborn Medicine PC

Patron - $500 - $999 Dr. Sarah L. Bisch Elberta Clinic, PC | Dr. Terry A. Kurtts Dr. Nicholas A. Knight Dr. Karen E. Stone

Active - $100 - $499 Alton B. Sturtevant Family Foundation Inc. Dr. Thomas A. Bartlett Dr. William R. Bell III Dr. Alan M. Blum Mr. Rocky R. Bond Dr. Thomas J. Burchett Mr. William H. Cassels Mr. Luke M. Cates Dr. Lisa D. Columbia Dr. William A. Curry Dr. and Mrs. Rod M. Duraski Enzor Management, Inc. | Ms. Phyllis Enzor


Mrs. Gail Fanning Dr. Marc F. Fisher Dr. Gary M. Fowler Dr. H. Joseph Fritz Jr. Mrs. Helene W. Hibbard Mrs. Jean J. Hinton Dr. Russell L. Ingram Dr. Kevin R. Katona Dr. James D. Leeper Dr. Velimir A. Luketic Mrs. Donna R. McAllister Metro Investing, Inc. | Mr. and Mrs. Charles A. Wilson Jr. Dr. Charles T. Nevels Dr. Patrick E. O'Reilly Drs. Lorraine and Barry A. Ripps Mrs. Phyllis H. Scutchfield Dr. John G. Simmons Dr. Catherine A. Skinner Dr. and Mrs. William P. Smith Mrs. Frances Snyder Southlake Orthopaedics | Dr. Michael F. Blum Dr. W. Larry Sullivan Dr. John P. Summerford Dr. Lee Thomas

Dr. Alexandre Todorov Dr. Wilson L. Tucker Dr. Randall W. Weaver Dr. Thomas J. Weida Dr. Marcus Whitman Jr. Dr. Zynnia Zafra Mr. Robert J. Zasa and Mrs. Judy Amiano

Supporter - $1 - $99 Dr. Catherine Alexander Dr. Brent W. Allain Mr. John R. Brown Dr. Elizabeth W. Cleino Dr. R. Mark Kendrick Sr. Dr. Paul D. Lavender Jr. Mrs. Nancy R. McCain Dr. Louis H. McCormick Dr. Denise J. Nakos Dr. Beverly Phifer Dr. Atif H. Raja Mr. Thomas D. Russell Dr. David Zielinski

GIVING PRIORITIES More than ever, philanthropy is vital for our future. The College of Community Health Sciences welcomes your partnership and your generosity in support of our work in shaping medical education, providing high-quality health care, fostering research and expanding our community outreach. Together we can further the College’s mission and significantly improve and promote the health of individuals and communities in Alabama and the region.



Annual Fund for Excellence

With an annual gift to the College of Community Health Sciences, you become our partner in helping to provide exceptional academic, clinical, scholarly and infrastructure programs, as well as educational and professional advancement and opportunities for our medical students, resident physicians, faculty and staff.

Consider a gift to the Friends of CCHS, the College's annual fund, or any of our other initiatives by visiting


We continue to develop and implement a research strategy that promotes the College of Community Health Sciences as a leading hub for scholarly training in medical research, health care, population health and rural community health. Fostering research and scholarship in relevant and innovative community-oriented research is a must to positively influence population health and to improve individual health.

or by sending checks payable to The University of Alabama to: The University of Alabama College of Community Health Sciences ATTN: Erin Tech Box 870326 Tuscaloosa, AL 35487-0326



Creating Healthy Communities

To sustain our mission of improving the health of Alabama’s citizens, we continue to develop health education programs and relevant health services for our patients and the communities we serve. We continuously look for ways to partner with communities, particularly those in rural and underserved areas, to provide high-quality, patient-centered and efficient health care services and education. Your support of our current and future initiatives helps our patients and communities better manage and prevent chronic and other health concerns and improve their overall health and quality of life.

Primary Care Education

Medical student scholarships, post-graduate fellowships, lectureships and other educational initiatives are among the most effective ways to attract outstanding medical students, resident physicians and faculty. These efforts are crucial as we continue to address the physician workforce needs of Alabama and the region, with a focus on comprehensive family medicine and primary care education and training. Your financial gift ensures that we can continue to produce locally relevant, globally capable and culturally competent physicians through learner-centered and community-based medical education and mentoring.

High-Quality Health Care

The College of Community Health Sciences provides comprehensive patient-centered care from three West Alabama locations that together form a community practice that is the base for our clinical teaching program. Under the supervision of skilled and dedicated College clinicians, resident physicians and medical students are trained at University Medical Center locations in family medicine, internal medicine, pediatrics, women’s health, neurology, geriatrics, sports medicine, endocrinology, psychiatry and minor surgery. Help us extend health care to more rural and underserved communities through our growing telemedicine services and the provision of direct health care services.


Box 870326 Tuscaloosa, AL 35487-0326

Nonprofit Organization U.S. Postage PAID The University of Alabama


The University of Alabama College of Community Health Sciences is dedicated to improving and promoting the health of individuals and communities in Alabama and the region through leadership in medical education and primary care; the provision of high quality, accessible health care services; and scholarship.


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