Mission Moment: Boxmeyer receives UA Faculty Research Award

130124_JH_Caroline_BoxmeyerDr. Caroline Boxmeyer, associate professor in the College’s Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Medicine, has been selected as the 2015 recipient of The University of Alabama President’s Faculty Research Award for the College of Community Health Sciences. These awards recognize select UA faculty whose research and/or scholarship represents excellence in their field.

Boxmeyer is currently conducting several federally-funded research studies. These include: 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.

With pilot funding from the College and the University’s Division of Community Affairs, Boxmeyer is also 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.”

Recipients of this award from colleges across the University will be recognized at Faculty Research Day on April 8, 2015.

Leeper honored for leadership by American Public Health Association

Dr. Jim Leeper, a professor in Community and Rural Medicine at the College of Community Health Sciences, was honored by the American Public Health Association Intersectional Council at the 142nd annual meeting of the APHA in New Orleans in November. He is past chair of the council and has served in leadership roles on its steering committee for the past four years.

The Intersectional Council (ISC) presented Leeper with its Making the Difference award, thanking him for outstanding contributions toward its goals and recognizing him for his dedication and commitment.

The ISC brings together representatives of the 31 sections of APHA, which serve as the primary professional units of the APHA and represent major public health disciplines or public health programs. The council serves as the collective voice of the sections, officially interacting with the Governing Council, Executive Committee and professional staff of the 25,000-member APHA, which works to improve population health by placing an emphasis on prevention, advocacy and public education.

Leeper has been a member of the APHA since 1977 and has been especially active in the Statistics Section, serving as section chair, program planning chair, governing councilor and section councilor. He has also served as secretary and newsletter editor for the Statistics Section.

In addition to serving on and chairing the Steering Committee of the ISC, Leeper has taken on other leadership roles at the association level as a member of the Executive Board, Science Board, Education Board, Continuing Education Committee, Program Development Board, Joint Policy Committee and liaison to the Taskforce on Community Preventive Services. He is currently chair of the APHA Membership Committee.

Fall 2014 scholarship recipients announced


Daniel Seale


Arnelya Cade


Jacob Guin

Three medical students who are receiving their clinical training at the College of Community Health Sciences were awarded tuition scholarships last fall. Daniel Seale, in his third-year of medical school, received the Frank Fitts, Jr., Endowed Scholarship; Arnelya Cade, a fourth-year student, received the Dr. Sandral Hullett Endowed Scholarship; and Jacob Guin, a first-year student, received the Alfa Rural Medical Scholars Endowed Loan.

All three students are a part of the College’s Rural Medical Scholars Program, a selective five-year medical education program with a mission of producing physicians for rural Alabama who are leaders in developing healthy communities.

“These three Rural Medical Scholars are great examples of the kind of rural student we seek in this program, who are committed to returning to rural Alabama to provide health care,” said Dr. John Brandon, medical director of the Rural Medical Scholars Program. “The faculty, staff and student peers of the program would like to congratulate these students, and we especially thank the respective donors who honor all medical students at the College with their ongoing support.”

Cynthia Ford (Fitts) Thomas established the Frank Fitts, Jr., Endowed Scholarship to show her support of the University and meet the financial needs of medical students who bear a high-debt load. This $5,000 annual scholarship honors her late husband, Frank Fitts, Jr., great grandson of J.H. Fitts, who established the first endowed scholarship at The University of Alabama in 1903.

The Dr. Sandral Hullett Endowed Scholarship, a $1,000 annual scholarship, was established in 1991 to promote the education of minority medical students. The scholarship honors Dr. Sandral Hullett, who, after graduating from the College’s family medicine residency in 1979, moved to Eutaw, Ala., to practice medicine and become director of West Alabama Health Services. In 2001, Hullett moved to Cooper Green Hospital where she became the chief executive officer before retiring in 2013.

The Alfa Rural Medical Scholars Endowed Loan, a full-tuition loan, is given to an outstanding Rural Medical Scholar each year to further encourage practice in rural Alabama. The interest-free loan will be fully forgiven if the recipient practices medicine in a rural setting for at least five years after residency.

In its role as a regional campus to the University of Alabama School of Medicine, the College provides clinical training to a cohort of third- and fourth-year medical students. The students spend the first two years of medical education in Birmingham.

Chief residents announced

Three chief residents of The University of Alabama Family Medicine Residency were named this month: Drs. Katie Gates, Tim Eckford and Bhavika Patel. All three physicians are in their second year of residency.

The University of Alabama Family Medicine Residency is a three-year post-graduate medical education program of the College of Community Health Sciences that leads to board certification in Family Medicine.

“Drs. Gates, Eckford and Patel are very dedicated and professional individuals,” said Dr. Ricky Friend, residency director. “I am confident that they will be excellent chief residents. They are very deserving of this honor.”

Gates is a graduate of the University of Alabama School of Medicine in Birmingham. She completed her clinical training at the College before entering the residency program. Gates plans to work in an outpatient clinic upon graduating from residency and is also considering the College’s sports medicine fellowship.

A graduate of Saba University in the Caribbean, Eckford hopes to practice medicine all over the world upon graduating from the residency.

Patel graduated from Kasturba Medical College at Manipal University in India. After residency, she plans to get her Master’s of Public Health degree and practice rural and community medicine.

The three chief residents replace Drs. Sarah Mauthe, Kelly Shoemake and Hunter Russell.


Dr. Katie Gates


Dr. Tim Eckford


Dr. Bhavika Patel


Students elected to membership in honor medical society

Four University of Alabama School of Medicine students who are receiving their clinical education at the College of Community Health Sciences were elected members of the Alpha Omega Alpha Honor Medical Society. The students, all in their third-year of medical school, are Joshua Gautney, John Killian, Margaret Marks and Bud Sauer.

Alpha Om­­ega Alpha is a professional medical organization that recognizes excellence in scholarship as well as outstanding commitment and dedication to caring for others. The top 25 percent of a medical school class is eligible for nomination to the honor society, and up to 16 percent may be elected.

“Only a select group of medical students are elected to membership in Alpha Omega Alpha and only a few are elected as juniors,” says Brook Hubner, director of medical education at the College. “We are proud that of the six UASOM students elected to the society as juniors, four came from our campus.”

About 3,000 students, alumni and faculty are elected to Alpha Omega Alpha each year. The society has 120 chapters in medical schools throughout the United States and has elected more than 150,000 members since its founding in 1902.

In its role as a regional campus of the University of Alabama School of Medicine, the College provides clinical education to a subset of third- and fourth-year medical students. The students complete the first two years of basic science courses at the School of Medicine’s main campus in Birmingham, and then complete clinical rotations on the Tuscaloosa campus in the departments of Family Medicine, Pediatrics, Internal Medicine, Obstetrics and Gynecology, Neurology, Psychiatry and Surgery.

Josh Gautney

Josh Gautney

John Killian

John Killian

Margaret Marks

Margaret Marks

Bud Sauer

Bud Sauer

Two UA Professors Selected for Research Leadership Roles

Two University of Alabama professors will soon add research leadership responsibilities to their campus roles.

Drs. John C. Higginbotham and Allen S. Parrish have been named associate vice presidents for research, effective Feb. 1, said Dr. Carl A Pinkert, vice president for research and economic development.

College co-sponsors evening of African films

The 3rd Annual Tuscaloosa Evening of African Films will be held Saturday, Feb. 7, at the Bama Theatre in downtown Tuscaloosa.

The program begins at 6 pm and includes the showing of four films, including three award-winning short films and one feature-length film. African art, crafts and other products will be available for purchase at the theatre beginning at 5 pm and will be available for purchase during breaks throughout the evening.

The event is presented by the Edward A. Ulzen Memorial Foundation (EAUMF) and Afram South Inc., two non-profit organizations that support education and public health initiatives in Ghana, West Africa, and West Alabama, respectively. The event is also co-sponsored by The University of Alabama College of Community Health Sciences and Tuscaloosa’s sister city of Sunyani-Techiman in Ghana.

The short films are Beleh, Soko Sonko and Curse of an Addict from Cameroon, Kenya and Zanzibar, respectively.

Beleh, set in a small village in Cameroon, examines the relationship between Ekema and his pregnant wife, Joffi. The difficulty she faces in her pregnancy is made worse by the demands of her selfish husband, but when their roles mysteriously switch, Ekma gains a new perspective on his wife’s situation.

Soko Sonko is a hilarious journey of a well-intended father who must take his daughter, when her mother gets sick, to the market to get her hair braided before school begins. In Curse of an Addict, Seif, a young Muslim and heroin addict, believes he is cursed and seeks help from a spiritual leader, who conducts and exorcism and summons the curse.

The feature-length film, Finding Fela, is a 2014 documentary on the life of controversial Nigerian musician and political activist, Fela Anikulapo-Kuti.

Tickets are $10 for general admission and $6 for students and children. Tickets are available online at Brown Paper Tickets, http://brownpapertickets.com/event/1197870, and on the day of the event at the Bama Theatre box office.

For more information, contact eaumfoundation@gmail.com or call Bill Foster at (334) 322-0824 or Thad Ulzen at (331) 444-2262.

TNews: University of Alabama, Pickens County explore health partnership

The University of Alabama, Pickens County and its medical center are in the early stages of planning for a partnership meant to provide sustainable health care for the rural county and “real world” training for UA students from a variety of colleges.

Students in medicine, nursing, social work, nutrition, psychology and health education — and potentially students from other colleges — would gain practical experience from internships and other learning opportunities in Pickens County, said Richard Streiffer, dean of UA’s College of Community and Health Sciences. The rural county would gain additional health care resources.

“A Sense of Place” art exhibit on display at UMC

The Wellness Walls for Art program at University Medical Center is opening the 2015 year with an exhibit that features 17 artists and is entitled “A Sense of Place.”

“A Sense of Place” brings together work that is evocative of an observed, remembered or imagined scene. The show primarily represents the work of The Tuscaloosa and University Painters and many are executed in the plein air tradition, painting outside on location. Meridian, Miss., based artist Cooper French has been invited as a special guest artist.

Other artists represented are Sue Blackshear, Elizabeth Hagwood, Matt Daugherty, Chris Metzger, Karen Jacobs, Diana Francko, Emily Mitchell, Anne Stickney, Lorie Layden, Jack Kidd, Jane Evers, Sandra Ray, Pamela Copeland, Lisa Godwin, Sharon Long and Deborah Hughes.

In 2013, local artist Deborah Hughes began coordinating the hanging of the art at the center, and in January 2014, she became the official curator of the program called Wellness Walls for Art. Last year’s shows included: “A Brush With Art,” paintings by The Tuscaloosa and University Painters; “The Many Faces of Art in Adult Continuing Education;” “About People;” and “Quilting and Carving,” featuring the prints of Isadora Bullock and quilts by the West Alabama Quilters Guild.

University Medical Center, the largest multi-specialty clinic in West Alabama, is operated by The University of Alabama College of Community Health Sciences.

The public is invited to an artists’ reception Friday, January 16, from 5:30 pm to 7:00 pm at University Medical Center located at 850 5th Avenue East in Tuscaloosa. For information, contact Deborah Hughes at (205) 310-5939.Place compFF