Boxmeyer co-investigator on grant studying psychological effects of tornado


Caroline Boxmeyer, PhD

The College of Community Health Sciences and The University of Alabama Department of Psychology have received a grant to examine the effects of the 2011 Tuscaloosa tornado on the long-term functioning of participants in a preventive intervention trial already underway.

The grant, titled “Natural Disaster Effects on Aggressive Children and their Caretakers: Outcomes Across Time,” is  funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse, the Office of Behavioral and Social Science Research and the Office of Disease Prevention, all subsidiaries of the National Institutes of Health.

John Lochman, PhD, professor and chair of Clinical Psychology in the Department of Psychology, is serving as the primary investigator. Caroline Boxmeyer, PhD, associate professor in the College’s Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Medicine, is a co-investigator.

Prior to the tornado in Tuscaloosa on April 27, 2011, Lochman, Boxmeyer and colleagues were implementing a study of the Coping Power preventive intervention for aggressive, at-risk elementary students and their families. They had gathered pre-tornado data on the social, emotional and family functioning of study participants, as well as on physiological measures of children’s stress reactivity. 

“This grant will provide valuable information on how the tornado exposure affected the long-term functioning of the study participants and will examine whether the preventive intervention had protective effects on participants’ ability to cope with the trauma of the tornado,” Boxmeyer says.

Boxmeyer, a clinical psychologist, provides psychological services to adults, children and families in the College’s Betty Shirley Clinic and also provides training in mental health assessment and intervention to medical students and residents.

The 2011 tornado in Tuscaloosa was a large and violent EF4 tornado that devastated portions of Tuscaloosa before moving on to Birmingham and the smaller communities and rural areas between the two cities. It was one of the 358 tornadoes in the nation’s largest tornado outbreak in history. The tornado left a path of destruction 80.7 miles long, killing 64 people in Alabama, including six University of Alabama students.


College leading UA campus-wide flu shot campaign

The College of Community Health Sciences is leading a University of Alabama campus-wide effort to vaccinate students, faculty and staff against the flu this year.

A student receives his flu shot on the Quad, one of the several locations the College has hosted across campus.

A student receives his flu shot on the Quad, which is one of the several locations where the College has distributed flu shots during the UA campus-wide campaign it is leading.

September 10 marked the kick-off of the campaign when nurses from the College’s University Medical Center and Student Health Center, as well as from the University’s Capstone College of Nursing, began providing flu shots at various sites across campus. The shots are free to students, faculty and staff, and University insurance is not required. The goal is to make getting a flu shot as easy and convenient as possible.

The campaign, lasting through the end of October, has planned to visit numerous sites such as The Quad, Capstone Village and several residence halls just to name a few. The University has purchased enough injections for approximately 10,000 people.

Vaccinations will also be offered at University Medical Center’s Faculty-Staff Clinic while supplies last, and at the UA Employee Health Fair at the Coleman Coliseum and the UA Student Health Fair at the Ferguson Student Center. Both health fairs are on October 9.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that everyone aged six months and older get a flu vaccine each year. The seasonal flu vaccine protects against three influenza viruses that research indicates will be most common during the upcoming flu season. Risks associated with receiving a flu shot are extremely small, and the viruses in the flu shot are inactivated so they cannot cause the flu.

The CDC says a flu vaccine is needed every year because flu viruses are constantly changing and it is not unusual for new flu viruses to appear each year. The flu vaccine is formulated each year to keep up with flu viruses as they change.

According to the CDC, getting a flu shot is especially important for people who are at high risk of developing serious complications if they get sick with the flu, including: people with asthma, diabetes and chronic lung disease; pregnant women; and people aged 65 and older. The CDC also says people who live with or care for others who are at risk of developing serious complications from the flu should also be vaccinated.

Flu season can begin as early as October. For more information about seasonal flu shots visit the CDC website.

Collegiate Recovery Community hosts recovery conference

Alabama Students About Service (ASAS), a student organization of The University of Alabama Student Health Center’s Collegiate Recovery Community, hosted a conference in partnership with the University of Alabama at Birmingham early this month to educate students about addiction and recovery. The conference was held at The University of Alabama Wesley Foundation in Tuscaloosa.

The conference, titled “Stepping Stones in Recovery,” was the first annual recovery conference for The University of Alabama community.

Speakers from recovery groups such as Alcoholics Anonymous, Narcotics Anonymous, Eating Disorders Anonymous, Al-Anon Family Groups and Celebrate Recovery were among the presenters at the conference. The conference concluded with dinner and a comedy show by recovery comedian, Dan DeCotis.

Alabama Students About Service was founded in 2012 to create an environment in which all students, undergraduate and graduate, can interact socially and can be of maximum service to The University of Alabama and the local, state and national communities. The student members must be willing to support those in recovery or be in recovery themselves.

ASAS meets every Thursday at the Collegiate Recovery Community building on Paul W. Bryant Drive.

The Student Health Center is part of the College of Community Health Sciences.

Medical students revise society to encourage research

With the help of faculty and staff of the College of Community Health Sciences, the 2014 and 2015 classes of medical students have initiated a revision of the Larry Mayes Research Society, a group that helps students cultivate a passion for research.

The College also functions as a regional campus for the University of Alabama School of Medicine, which is headquartered in Birmingham, and provides clinical training for a portion of third- and fourth-year medical students.

The revision of the Larry Mayes Research Society centers around three goals: expose students to the process of research and foster an academic conversation; introduce students to research within the College and the larger University of Alabama campus; and provide students with an opportunity to informally and formally present their research.

For more than 20 years, the Larry Mayes Research Society offered the occasional opportunity for students to present their research to faculty, staff and peers in a formal setting over dinner.

In accordance with the new revisions, the meetings will take place in local restaurants and will be facilitated in a small-group discussion setting.

Membership is available to all medical students, and awards and recognition will be given at the Medical Student Convocation in May to those who meet attendance and presenting requirements. The first meeting of the semester has already taken place and a second meeting and faculty dinner are in the planning stages.

The revisions to the society are supported by the College’s Research Advisory Council.

“While all students are required to do scholarly activity research as part of medical training, it is important to realize that one’s involvement in research as a medical student does not have to begin and end with these eight weeks,” says Brittney Anderson, fourth-year medical student and 2014 class president. “The revised LMRS will serve as a great opportunity for students to learn more about the research process and become actively involved in research within CCHS and the University.”

Larry Mayes was a medical student of the University of Alabama School of Medicine in Tuscaloosa who died unexpectedly while doing a community medicine elective in Zimbabwe, Africa, in 1986. His family established a fund in his honor to support medical student education, which laid the framework for the Larry Mayes Research Society.


College welcomes new faculty in Family Medicine

Jennifer B. Clem, MD, has joined the College of Community Health Sciences as an assistant professor in the Department of Family Medicine.

Jennifer Clem, MD

Jennifer Clem, MD

The College also functions as a regional campus of the University of Alabama School of Medicine, which is headquartered in Birmingham.

Clem earned her medical degree from the University of Alabama School of Medicine in 2006. While a medical student, she was selected by her peers for the Gold Humanism Honor Society, a nationally recognized honor society comprised of individuals recognized for practicing patient-centered medical care by modeling the qualities of integrity, excellence, compassion, altruism, respect and empathy.

Clem completed her residency at the University of Michigan Department of Family Medicine in Ann Arbor. She is board-certified in Family Medicine.

For the past four years, Clem has worked for Indian Health Service in a comprehensive health care facility in Chinle, Arizona, where she provided both inpatient and outpatient care in a rural setting on the Navajo Nation.

Chelley Alexander, MD, chair of the College’s Department of Family Medicine and assistant dean for Graduate Medical Education, says, “Jen comes with a strong background in community services as well as leadership experience. We are pleased to welcome her back home to Alabama, and especially to the Department of Family Medicine.”

Clem will see patients and instruct residents in the College’s Family Medicine Clinic, located in University Medicine Center, which is part of the College.

Free flu shots offered to students, faculty and staff

The University of Alabama will be providing free flu shots for students, faculty, and staff. The shots will be provided by University Medical Center and Student Health Center, both part of the College of Community Health Sciences. See the schedule below for your opportunity to get a free flu shot.

Sept. 10 7:30 am – 11:00 am Alston Hall, 4th Floor Parlor
Sept. 11 9:00 am – 2:00 pm The Quad
Sept. 12 9:00 am – 2:00 pm The Quad
Sept. 17 7:30 am – 11:00 am Reese Phifer Rotunda
Sept. 18 9:00 am – 2:00 pm The Quad
Sept. 19 9:00 am – 2:00 pm The Quad
Sept. 26 6:30 am – 8:30 am
3:00 pm – 4:00 pm
Sept. 26 7:30 am – 9:30 am South Lawn Building
Sept. 26 9:00 am – 2:00 pm Law Center
Oct. 2 9:00 am – 2:00 pm Ferguson Center TV Lounge
Oct. 3 6:30 am – 4:30 pm Facilities Admin. Building (@Loper)
Oct. 9 7:30 am – 1:00 pm UA Employee Health Fair
Oct. 9 10:00 am – 2:00 pm UA Student Health Fair
Oct. 11 12:45 am – 4:00 pm Paty Hall
Oct. 16 12:45 am – 4:00 pm Tutwiler Hall
Oct. 18 12:45 am – 4:00 pm Ridgecrest East
Oct. 22 12:45 am – 4:00 pm Mary Burke West
Oct. 23 12:45 am – 4:00 pm Ferguson Center
Oct. 24 12:45 am – 4:00 pm Tutwiler Hall
Oct. 25 12:45 am – 4:00 pm Presidential Village