Caroline Boxmeyer, PhD

Boxmeyer to receive award at UA Faculty Research Day

Dr. Caroline Boxmeyer, associate professor in the College’s Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Medicine, will be presented with The University of Alabama President’s Faculty Research Award for the College of Community Health Sciences on April 8 as part of the University’s first Faculty Research Day.

Boxmeyer is among 13 faculty members across campus to be recognized for excellent research and/or scholarship in their fields.

The event is open to all UA faculty and will be held in the Bryant Conference Center’s Sellers Auditorium from 4 p.m. until 5:45 p.m., with a reception following.

Boxmeyer and the other award winners from across campus will be profiled at the event, which is sponsored by the University’s Office of the Vice President for Research and Economic Development.

She is currently conducting several federally-funded research studies, including: a project funded by the Administration of Children and Families to test a social-emotional intervention in Head Start preschools to improve children’s school readiness and family well-being; two projects funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse, one to develop and test the Mindful Coping Power program for elementary students and their parents, and another to develop and test an internet-delivered version of the Coping Power program; and a project funded by the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development to study the short- and long-term effects of tornado exposure on children and families in Tuscaloosa.

And with pilot funding from the College and the University’s Division of Community Affairs, Boxmeyer is collaborating with the Druid City Garden Project to examine the effects of its school garden curriculum on children’s plant knowledge, food choices, physical health, and academic learning and engagement.

“The expansion and enhancement of scholarship within the College, including collaborative efforts with other UA faculty, is one of the four strategic priorities of the College, based upon our 2013 Strategic Plan,” says Dr. Richard Streiffer, dean of the College. “As a result, we’re starting to see more projects from our students and residents, many of them in partnership with our faculty. Dr. Boxmeyer’s skill and experience as a researcher serves as a wonderful model for others starting out along this path.”

Family Medicine Residency announces class of 2018

Sixteen new residents were welcomed into the College of Community Health Sciences’s Family Medicine Residency class of 2018 on March 20 through the National Resident Matching Program.

One of the residents to join the class is Jackie Parks, a fourth-year medical student at the College, which also functions as the Tuscaloosa Regional Campus for the University of Alabama School of Medicine, headquartered in Birmingham.

More than 1,700 candidates applied for the available slots, and 120 were interviewed. The residency, a three-year program and one of the largest of its kind in the country, was able to fill all the positions through the match process.

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 physician workforce in Alabama and the region with a focus on comprehensive family medicine residency training.

To address the growing need for primary care physicians in Alabama and nationwide, the Family Medicine Residency has been undergoing an expansion in recent years. It recently applied for and received additional residency slots, which brought its total approved and funded slots from 36 to 45.

One in seven family physicians practicing in Alabama has graduated from the Family Medicine Residency, and the 230 graduates practicing in Alabama are in 46 of the state’s 67 counties. Of the 436 graduates practicing outside of Alabama, the majority practice in the South or the southeast.


The University of Alabama Family Medicine Residency Class of 2018:

Dakota Acton
University of Alabama School of Medicine at Birmingham

Andrea Boettcher
St. George’s University

Ansley Hairrell
University of Alabama School of Medicine at Birmingham

Bryce Hunt
University of Alabama School of Medicine at Birmingham

Stephen Kelton
Medical University of the Americas

Brianna Kendrick
University of Pikeville

Natalie Kuijpers
St. George’s University

Paul Manhas
Saba University

Brittany McArthur
Saba University

Randi Melton
Edward Via College

Jackie Parks
University of Alabama School of Medicine, Tuscaloosa Regional Campus

Swati Patel
Medical University of the Americas

Efe Sahinoglu
University of Alabama School of Medicine at Birmingham

Lisa Tsugios
Medical University of the Americas

Ashley Wambolt
Saba University

Amy Wambolt
Saba University

Evening Clinic_Updated

University Medical Center expands evening hours

The University Medical Center, which is operated by The University of Alabama College of Community Health Sciences, will expand its evening hours beginning next month in an effort to increase access to health care for West Alabama residents.

Effective April 6, the center will be open from 5:30 to 8 p.m. Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays for scheduled appointments and urgent care for established patients.

Patients are able to schedule appointments during these hours to see doctors for routine health care services, including minor procedures, women’s health care, well-child visits and sports physicals.

Adding Monday evening hours allows even more access to health care for West Alabama residents, which is a mission of the College.

To make an appointment, phone 205/348-1770.

University Medical Center provides comprehensive, patient-centered care to the University and West Alabama community. Patients of all ages can receive care for the full spectrum of needs – from preventive care and wellness exams, to management of chronic conditions, to treatment for acute illness and accidents.

Laboratory and x-ray services are provided on-site. Nutrition counseling and mental health counseling for individuals and families are also available during daytime business hours.

The center accepts BlueCross BlueShield of Alabama and other private insurance plans, Medicare and Medicaid.



Medical students match into residencies

Fourth-year medical students from the University of Alabama School of Medicine Tuscaloosa Regional Campus learned March 20 through the National Resident Matching Program where they will train for the next three to seven years for their graduate medical education.

The 32 students were among the thousands across the country who entered into the Main Residency Match and received residency placements.

These fourth-year medical students have received their clinical education at the College of Community Health Sciences, which also functions as a regional campus for the School of Medicine, headquartered in Birmingham.

One Tuscaloosa campus student—Jackie Parks—matched into the College’s Family Medicine Residency.

Three other students placed in family medicine. Altogether, students were placed at residencies across 13 different states.

Russell Allinder*
Emergency Medicine — Medical University of South Carolina (Charleston, SC)

Jon Tyler Baccus
Internal Medicine — Baptist Health System (Birmingham, AL)

Stevie Bennett
Obstetrics and Gynecology — University of Florida College of Medicine – Jacksonville (Jacksonville, FL)

Arnelya Cade*
Family Medicine — Cahaba Medical Care (Centreville, AL)

Shawn Cecil*
Pediatrics — University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (Little Rock, AR)

Chelsea Cernosek
Plastic Surgery — University of Kentucky Medical Center (Lexington, KY)

Anna Choe
Pediatrics — Virginia Commonwealth University Health System (Richmond, VA)

David Dorn
Pathology — University of Alabama Medical Center – Birmingham (Birmingham, AL)

Henry Ennis
Transitional — St. Vincent’s Medical Center (Bridgeport, CT)
Radiation-Oncology — SUNY Upstate Medical University (Syracuse, NY)

Mikey Graham
Medicine-Psychiatry — Duke University Medical Center (Durham, NC)

Duncan Harmon
Obstetrics and Gynecology — University of Alabama Medical Center – Birmingham (Birmingham, AL)

Cameron Diaz
Pediatrics — LSU School of Medicine at New Orleans (New Orleans, LA)

Richard Martindale
Transitional — Baptist Health System (Birmingham, AL)
Ophthalmology — University of Alabama Medical Center – Birmingham (Birmingham, AL)

Chase Mitchell
Medicine-Preliminary — University of Alabama Medical Center – Birmingham (Birmingham, AL)
Radiology Diagnostic — Medical University of South Carolina (Charleston, SC)

Raymond Oldham
Emergency Medicine — University of Virginia (Charlottesville, VA)

Daniel Osula
General Surgery — University of Alabama Medical Center – Birmingham (Birmingham, AL)
Urology PGY-2 — University of Alabama Medical Center – Birmingham (Birmingham, AL)

Jackie Parks*
Family Medicine — The University of Alabama Family Medicine Residency (Tuscaloosa, AL)

Shweta Patel
Obstetrics and Gynecology — University of Virginia (Charlottesville, VA)

Brad Peden*
Internal Medicine — University of Texas Southwestern Medical School (Dallas, TX)

Jamie Powell
Pediatrics — University of Alabama Medical Center – Birmingham (Birmingham, AL)

Caroline Price*
Family Medicine — St. Vincent’s Medical Center (Jacksonville, FL)

Jimmy Raley*
Surg-Prelim/Non-Desig — Medical College of Georgia (Augusta, GA)

Susanna Raley*
Obstetrics and Gynecology — Medical College of Georgia (Augusta, GA)

Kelly Roszczynialski
Emergency Medicine — University of Alabama Medical Center – Birmingham (Birmingham, AL)

Tiffany Sexton*
Internal Medicine — Virginia Commonwealth University Health System (Richmond, VA)

Neeraj Sriram
Anesthesiology — University of North Carolina Hospitals (Chapel Hill, NC)

Anastasia Trenina
Pediatrics — University of Alabama Medical Center – Birmingham (Birmingham, AL)

Lyndsi Paumen
Pediatrics — Emory University School of Medicine (Atlanta, GA)

Jody Watson
Obstetrics and Gynecology — San Diego Naval Hospital (San Diego, CA)

Nathan Wilbanks
Medicine-Preliminary — Baptist Health System (Birmingham, AL)
Ophthalmology — University of Virginia Medical Center (Charlottesville, VA)

Melanie Wooten
Pathology — Emory University School of Medicine (Atlanta, GA)

Erica Young
Family Medicine — Memorial Health University Medical Center (Savannah, GA)

*Rural Medical Scholar
(The College’s Rural Medical Scholars Program is a five-year track of medical studies that focuses on rural primary care and community medicine and leads to a medical degree. The program is exclusively for Alabama students from rural communities.)


UA’s Rural Health Conference Features Cooking Challenge

Alabama suffers from one of the highest obesity rates in the nation, yet many residents struggle to find healthy food. The University of Alabama’s College of Community Health Sciences and its Institute for Rural Health Research hope to change that during the 16th annual Rural Health Conference April 17.

This year’s event will feature a “cooking challenge,” which is being undertaken by Chef Leah Sarris, program director of the Goldring Center for Culinary Medicine at Tulane University School of Medicine in New Orleans and the first full-time chef ever employed by a medical school.


College to sponsor city’s TEDx event, faculty to present

Two College of Community Health Sciences faculty will present at the first TEDxTuscaloosa event, which will take place on April 11 at Dinah Washington Cultural Arts Center in downtown Tuscaloosa. The College will also be a sponsor of the event.

Dr. Pamela Payne-Foster, associate professor of Community and Rural Medicine and deputy director of the Institute for Rural Health Research, and Dr. Alan Blum, professor and Gerald Leon Wallace Endowed Chair of Family Medicine, will join six other speakers at the event.

Their talks will focus on their respective areas of research. Foster’s research area of interest is the study of HIV/AIDS-related stigma in rural African Americans in Alabama, particularly in faith-based settings in rural Alabama.

Blum is one of the nation’s foremost authorities on the history of smoking and cigarette marketing. Since 1998, he has directed The University of Alabama Center for the Study of Tobacco and Society, which comprises one of the world’s largest collections on the tobacco industry and the anti-smoking movement.

TEDxTuscaloosa will be held from 5 pm to 9 pm, and those interested in attending must apply online at The priority deadline for applying is March 11, though applications will be accepted for another week or until all spots are filled.

TEDx is an offshoot of TED, a nonprofit devoted to the concept of “ideas worth spreading.” TEDx events local, self-organized events that are designed to bring communities together to share in a TED-like experience. At TEDx events, both live speakers and TED Talk videos are incorporated.

photo 1

Burgess, Smith share successes of Asthma Education Program

A school-based asthma education program was launched in DeKalb County in September by the College of Community Health Sciences. The program is being conducted via telemedicine by Dr. Karen Burgess, associate professor and chair of the Department of Pediatrics, and Beth Smith, a nurse practitioner in the Faculty-Staff Clinic at University Medical Center. The two presented on the successes and challenges of the program at the College’s February Academic Conference.

Once a week, for four weeks, a group of students at the Ruhama Junior High School in Fort Payne, along with their parents and school staff and administrators, learn about asthma symptoms, medications and treatments. After a group has completed four sessions, another group participates.

The school was chosen because of its high rate of documented asthma cases, and Burgess and Smith referred to the National Asthma Prevention Program and the Alabama Department of Public Health’s asthma coalition when forming the curriculum.

The first two groups consisted of seven or eight students, parents, and a few staff or administrators from the school. The third group was made up of teachers and school staff. Altogether, 44 learners have been reached by the program.

“It was our goal to reach some parents of children and school staff, so we could kill two birds with one stone,” Burgess said.

The asthma education program is being funded with a $25,000 gift from BlueCross Blue Shield of Alabama.

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, an estimated 137,091 children in Alabama had asthma in 2007, a prevalence rate of 12.3 percent, which compares to the US rate of 9 percent.

So far, about one-third of the gift has been used, and 15 asthma spacers (add-on devices for inhalers that allow for easier and more effective administration of medication) were provided for students. Burgess said parents have also reported improved symptoms of their children.

Burgess said she and Smith found the informal classroom setting (versus a medical examination room setting) to be helpful in engaging the students, even with the occasional “awkwardness” that comes with communicating with video conferencing equipment.

“We provide asthma education every day in the clinic, and we never have had kids ask questions the way they do in the classroom,” she says.

CCHS has provided specialty health care via telemedicine across the state for a number of years, including: telepsychiatry services to the DeKalb County Youth Services; telepsychiatry services to West Alabama Mental Health Care Center, with sites in Marengo, Choctaw, Greene, Hale and Sumter counties; and diabetes education via telemedicine to a number of rural Alabama communities in Sumter, Pickens and Clarke counties.


Vickers commends College’s Longitudinal Curriculum in State of the School address

The Tuscaloosa Longitudinal Community Curriculum (TLC²) received praise from Dr. Selwyn Vickers, vice president and dean of the University of Alabama School of Medicine, during his first State of the School of Medicine address, which he gave from University of Alabama at Birmingham on Jan. 28.

The College of Community Health Sciences’s TLC² is a unique clinical educational opportunity for third-year medical students to live and train in a community under the supervision of experienced primary care physicians.

Students at UASOM receive the first two years of their education in Birmingham, where UASOM is headquartered, and then a cohort of students receives their third and fourth years of clinical training at the College, which also functions as the Tuscaloosa Regional Campus for UASOM.

Traditionally, medical students spend eight weeks in one block clerkship before moving onto the next. But a longitudinal curriculum allows students to learn at a deeper level, applying concepts in multiple settings at once.

Two students are currently participating in the program. Elizabeth Junkin is working in Reform, Ala., under the supervision of Dr. Julia Boothe, at Boothe’s practice, Pickens County Primary Care. Katherine Rainey is working with Dr. Vernon Scott and Dr. Erica Day-Bevel at Alabama Multi-Specialty Group, P.C., in Tuscaloosa.

The College has received a number of applications from students interested in participating in the coming year.

Vickers called the Tuscaloosa Regional Campus innovative for TLC², and commended Dr. Richard Streiffer, dean of the College, for leading the College through its strategic planning process, which yielded the longitudinal curriculum, among other things.

“The longitudinal curriculum allows [medical students] to engage with skilled clinicians who take them through the care of the patient across multiple diseases and multiple specialties,” Vickers said.


Brussels Sprout Challenge premiers at West Alabama Heart Walk

A Brussels Sprout Challenge was a highlight of the American Heart Association’s West Alabama Heart Walk held on February 14 at the Tuscaloosa Amphitheater. The University of Alabama College of Community Health Sciences partnered with Manna Grocery and Deli to roast and serve more than 800 Brussels sprouts during the walk.

The idea originated with Richard Streiffer, MD, dean of the College, as a counter to the Krispy Kreme Challenge – a two-mile race that requires participants to eat a dozen donuts at the mid-point of the race. Streiffer wanted to offer a similar challenge but also promote healthy eating and healthy lifestyles while complementing the American Heart Association’s goal of building healthier lives, free of heart disease and stroke.

To complete the Brussels Sprout Challenge, participants ate four Brussels sprouts during the walk – one at each mile and one at the finish line. Participants who completed the challenge were awarded a t-shirt highlighting the health benefits of the Brussels sprout, which include heart health, cancer protection and cholesterol lowering, among others.

“Lots of people who may have been introduced to the mighty cruciferous vegetable family are happy and healthier,” said Streiffer, who plans to host the challenge again at next year’s Heart Walk.

See more coverage of the Brussels Sprout Challenge here.

AAS Popsicle Party

UMC provides Student of the Month program at Tuscaloosa Magnet Schools

Students at Tuscaloosa Magnet School Elementary and Middle are incentivized regularly for key character traits through University Medical Center’s Student of the Month program. The program is a partnership of The University of Alabama College of Community Health Sciences, which operates University Medical Center, and Tuscaloosa Magnet Schools and is part of the West Alabama Chamber of Commerce’s Adopt-a-School program. This is the seventh consecutive year of the partnership.

The Student of the Month program is based on the International Baccalaureate Attitudes and Learner Profile and rewards students who exemplify a selected characteristic each month. University Medical Center provides a certificate, a pencil and a real-fruit Popsicle to each student at a monthly social.

“The Student of the Month program is a great way for University Medical Center to encourage the students to be lifelong learners and to reward them for intercultural understanding and respect,” says Amy Saxby, marketing and events coordinator at the College and coordinator for the partnership. “We also love the opportunity to encourage healthy eating by offering real-fruit popsicles instead of ice cream.”

In addition to the Student of the Month program, the College also supports the Magnet School by leading a nutrition club for middle school students, by teaching a 10-week course to elementary students on the human body and the job of a doctor and by supporting various school events throughout the year.