College welcomes new faculty, providers

New faculty and providers have joined the College of Community Health Sciences in different departments:

Dr. John Burkhardt is a clinical psychologist and provides psychotherapy and related care at University Medical Center-Northport.

He received his doctoral degree in clinical psychology from the Illinois School of Professional Psychology in Scaumburg, Ill. He completed two fellowships, one at VR Behavioral Health Services in Oakland Park, Ill., and another at St. James Hospital in Olympia Fields, Ill. Burkhardt has worked in private practice and as a clinical health psychologist at hospitals and long-term care facilities in Illinois and Tennessee. At UMC-Northport, Burkhardt will be practicing alongside clinic director Dr. H. Joseph Fritz, Drs. Ray Brignac, Jennifer Clem, Catherine Skinner and nurse practitioner Lisa Brashier.



Dr. Cecily Collins is assistant professor in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology.

Collins attended medical school at the University of Alabama School of Medicine, headquartered in Birmingham, and she received her third and fourth years of clinical education at the College, which also functions as the School of Medicine’s Tuscaloosa Regional Campus. She completed her residency at Florida State University Obstetrics and Gynecology Residency in Pensacola, Fla., where she was administrative chief resident.

Collins has a special interest in group prenatal care as a mechanism to improve perinatal outcomes. She presented on this topic in August at the College’s monthly Grand Rounds lecture at DCH Regional Medical Center.


Dr. Brooke Taylor Haynes
is assistant professor in the Department of Pediatrics.

Haynes attended medical school at the University of Alabama School of Medicine, headquartered in Birmingham, and completed her residency at the Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center Pediatric Residency Program. Before joining the College, she worked in private practice at Pediatric Clinic, LLC, in Opelika, Ala., where she also had a hospital appointment at East Alabama Medical Center.

Faculty receives Fulbright grant to visit Morocco

Dr. Pamela Payne-Foster, deputy director of the College of Community Health Sciences’s Institute for Rural Health Research, is the recipient of a Fulbright Specialist Project grant to work at the Cadi Ayyad University in Marrakech, Morocco, in May-June 2016.

Payne-Foster, who is also an associate professor in the College’s Department of Community and Rural Medicine, says she will be lecturing and meeting with the Cadi Ayyad University faculty to learn about the Moroccan healthcare system and contribute to its development. She will be working closely with the university’s vice dean for cooperation and research.

Payne-Foster was first placed on a Specialist Roster after applying for the Fulbright Specialist Project grant. Once on the list, Cadi Ayyad University invited Payne-Foster to the institution when its needs matched her career focus and past research on preventive medicine and public health.

The university noted one of Payne-Foster’s research studies examining the role that African-American churches and congregations can play in reducing HIV-AIDS related stigma in rural Alabama. She was the principal investigator of the $540,368 grant from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Payne-Foster says she worked closely with Beverly Hawk with the University of Alabama’s Center for Community-Based Partnerships in applying for the Fulbright.

“Although I am considered the expert and will be imparting knowledge based on my experiences, I hope to learn so much from the experience, including cultural and content areas, to assist me in being a better academician, including teaching, service and research,” she says.

Nearly 4,000 vaccines given in Flu Shot Campaign

Nearly 4,000 flu shots have been given in less than a month to University of Alabama students, faculty and staff as part of the University’s annual campus-wide effort to vaccinate against the flu. The College is leading the effort to vaccinate the UA community for the fourth year in a row.

The campaign, which started in early September, will continue into November. Last year, more than 8,000 vaccinations were given. The shots are provided at no charge, and insurance is not required. Students and employees need to provide their Campus Wide Identification.

Flu shots are being provided at sites across campus, including the Quad, University buildings, student residence halls and the University’s Student Health Fair and Employee Health Fair. Vaccines are being administered by nurses from the College’s University Medical Center, the University’s Student Health Center and the Capstone College of Nursing. WellBAMA is also participating in the campaign.

A list of dates, times and locations can be found at

Flu shots are being provided at University Medical Center and its Faculty-Staff Clinic.

Spouses of employees can get the free flu vaccines at the flu shot stations or at the Faculty-Staff Clinic at University Medical Center; insurance is not required. Children of all employees can also receive flu vaccinations.

The flu remains a serious threat, says Dr. Richard Streiffer, dean of the College.

“Tens of thousands of people in the country who are unprotected by the vaccine will become ill, miss work, have complications or even require hospitalization,” Streiffer says. “And for those at the greatest risk — the elderly and those with chronic medical conditions — the stakes are even higher. Thousands of deaths occur from the flu some years. We can all do our part to lower the risk for ourselves and for others. Get protected. Get your flu shot.”

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends everyone aged 6 months and older get a flu vaccine annually. According to the CDC, a flu vaccine is needed every year because flu viruses are constantly changing, and it is not unusual for new flu viruses to appear. The flu vaccine is formulated each year to keep up with the flu viruses as they change.

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, according to the CDC. For more information, visit

College to host 40th Anniversary Reunion Weekend for Family Medicine Residency

The College of Community Health Sciences is hosting a reunion weekend Nov. 13-15, 2015, to celebrate 40 years of its Family Medicine Residency.

The weekend will include social events, such as a cocktail party on Nov. 13 and a gala on Nov. 14, as well CME opportunities, to allow Residency alumni to reconnect with their classmates and the College.

The weekend will start with a casual social event on Friday, Nov. 13, at the Tuscaloosa Museum of Art. Hor d’oeuvres and cocktails will be served, and guided tours of the museum’s Westervelt Collection will be provided.

The morning of Saturday, Nov. 14, a CME lecture series will be offered at the College and will cover a variety of topics. The series will include a two-part presentation by John B. Sullivan, MD, MBA, a 1978 Residency alumnus well known for his work in toxicology, including the development of rattlesnake bite anti-venom serum.

A gala will then be held Saturday evening at the North Zone of Bryant-Denny Stadium. The event will include dinner and dancing and will feature guest speaker Glen Stream, MD, FACCFP, President of Family Medicine for America’s Health and former AAFP President.

A farewell brunch will be held on Sunday, Nov. 15, at Sweet Home Food Bar in Downtown Tuscaloosa.

Tickets for the weekend are $35 per person. More information about the weekend’s agenda, where to find accommodations and how to RSVP can be found at

The Residency was founded in 1974 and has graduated 450 family medicine physicians. More than half of those graduates are practicing in 46 of Alabama’s 67 counties, and 48 percent are practicing in a rural area of the state.

One in seven family physicians in Alabama graduated from the College’s Family Medicine Residency. Seventy-seven percent of the Residency’s alumni practice in a primary care physician shortage area.

The College’s mission is to improve and promote the health of individuals and communities in Alabama and the region, and part of how it accomplishes that mission is by addressing the physician workforce needs of Alabama and the region with a focus on comprehensive Family Medicine Residency training.

Four students elected to honor medical society

Four University of Alabama School of Medicine students who are receiving their clinical education at The University of Alabama College of Community Health Sciences were elected into the Alpha Omega Alpha Honor Medical Society.

The students, who are in their third-year of medical school, are Melissa Jordan, Missy Ma, Mathew May and Kay Rainey. 

Matthew May

Matthew May

Missy Ma

Missy Ma

Kay Rainey

Kay Rainey

Melissa Jordan

Melissa Jordan

Alpha Omega Alpha is a professional medical organization that recognizes excellence in scholarship as well as an 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 selected.

“These students have worked hard to earn membership in Alpha Omega Alpha,” says Brook Hubner, program director of Medical Student Education at the College. “They have bright futures ahead as physician leaders dedicated to the art of healing.”

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 Regional Campus in the departments of Family Medicine, Pediatrics, Internal Medicine, Obstetrics and Gynecology, Neurology, Psychiatry and Surgery.

Medical students learning under community physicians across Alabama as part of longitudinal curriculum

Medical students participating in the Tuscaloosa Longitudinal Community Curriculum, or TLC², are now seeing patients alongside community physicians throughout the state.

The seven third-year medical students at the University of Alabama School of Medicine’s Tuscaloosa Regional Campus, located at the College of Community Health Sciences, comprise the second class of TLC², an innovative medical education program that promotes deeper connections with patients and stronger student-teacher relationships.

As part of the program, students work with preceptors at the College’s University Medical Center and at practices in rural and urban communities across Alabama, developing a panel of patients that they follow and care for over nine months through various disciplines and in all settings, including primary care and specialty clinics, hospitals, emergency rooms and nursing homes.

This year’s TLC² students and where they are learning:

    • Chase Childers is learning from Dr. Jennifer Burdette at Taylorville Family Medicine in Tuscaloosa, Ala.
    • Danielle Fincher is learning from Dr. Catherine Skinner at University Medical Center-Northport in Northport, Ala.
    • Maria Gulas is learning from Dr. Carline Day at Family Practice at the Falls in Tuscaloosa, Ala.
    • Courtney Newsome is learning from Dr. Scott Boyken at Northside Medical Center in Pell City, Ala.
    • Jessica Powell is learning from Dr. Julia Boothe at Pickens County Primary Care in Reform, Ala.
    • Amanda Shaw is learning from Dr. Scott Davidson at Columbiana Clinic in Columbiana, Ala.
    • Caitlin Tidwell is learning from Dr. J.D. Shugrue at Baptist Health Center – Calera in Calera, Ala.
Chase Childers

Chase Childers

Amanda Shaw

Amanda Shaw


Maria Gulas

Jessica Powell

Jessica Powell

Danielle Fincher

Danielle Fincher

Courtney Newsome

Courtney Newsome

Caitlin Tidwell

Caitlin Tidwell


Under the traditional model of medical education, all third-year medical students receive clinical education in the areas of pediatrics, internal medicine, surgery, family medicine, psychiatry, neurology and obstetrics/gynecology by working with physicians in clinic settings, and traditional rotation schedules consist of weeks-long rotations through each specialty.

But TLC² students spend most of their third-year working with a community physician and following patients throughout the diagnosis or disease, and covering the specialty areas continuously and often simultaneously.

For example, a student may gain competency in obstetrics during a pregnant patient’s visit, help deliver the patient’s baby, and then follow the newborn through well-baby checks. Or the student may see an adult patient at an initial visit, accompany him or her to specialty consults, assist in surgery on the patient, then see the patient back in the primary care doctor’s office for follow-up visits.

TLC² is the only program following a LIC model that is offered by the University of Alabama School of Medicine, which is headquartered in Birmingham. The program is modeled after other well-established LICs, including those at the University of Minnesota and Harvard Medical School, where research demonstrates that LIC students are more satisfied with their experience, become attractive residency candidates, perform as well or better on standardized tests of knowledge and skills, yet have deeper connections with patients and attain and sustain higher levels of patient-centered attitudes.

All students at the University of Alabama School of Medicine receive their first two years of medical education at the school’s main campus in Birmingham. Students then receive their third and fourth years of clinical education at either the Birmingham campus or at branch campuses. One of the functions of the College of Community Health Sciences is to serve as the Tuscaloosa Regional Campus for the University of Alabama School of Medicine.

Art and Healing

Walking along a vast, airy hallway lined with art, Deborah Hughes stopped to admire “Queen of the Night Blossoms,” a painting by Bethany Windham Engle. “There’s an immense amount of detail, but an immense amount of detail doesn’t necessarily make a really big, beautiful painting. You’ve got to be in charge and have an overview of what the whole thing is,” Hughes said.

UA Campus-Wide Flu Shot Campaign Kicks Off this Week

The University of Alabama is seeking to vaccinate students, faculty and staff against the flu with its annual campus-wide flu shot campaign, which starts this week and continues into November.

The vaccination effort is being led by the University’s College of Community Health Sciences.

This is the fourth year the College has led the campaign to protect University students and employees against the flu. The goal of the campaign is to make getting a flu shot as easy and convenient as possible. Last year, more than 8,000 vaccinations were given.

Flu shots will be provided at sites across campus, including the Quad, University buildings and student residence halls during September and October.

Vaccines will be administered by nurses from the College’s University Medical Center, the University’s Student Health Center and the Capstone College of Nursing. WellBAMA is also participating in the campaign.


UA President Bell kicks off 2015 UA Flu Blast at CCHS

University of Alabama President Stuart Bell kicked off UA’s annual campus-wide flu shot campaign last week by being the first to get his flu vaccination.

“I am excited to be doing this,” he said as he received the shot at CCHS. “Your College provides excellent health care to our community.”

Just prior to getting the vaccination, Bell spoke to CCHS staff. “A lot has changed at The University of Alabama – we have more students and new, beautiful buildings. What hasn’t changed is the dedication of our faculty and staff to our students. Thank you for what you do every day.”

The University-wide campaign to vaccinate faculty, staff and students against the flu is led by CCHS. Nurses from the College’s University Medical Center, and the University’s Student Health Center and Capstone College of Nursing, travel to sites across campus during September and October, including the Quad, University buildings and student dormitories, to provide the free flu shots. WellBAMA is also participating in the flu shot campaign.

The shots are provided at no charge and insurance is not required. The goal of the campaign is to make getting a flu shot as easy and convenient as possible.

This is the fourth year the College has led the University’s efforts to protect employees and students against the flu. Last year, more than 8,000 vaccinations were given.

Meanwhile, Bell spoke earlier in August to CCHS faculty about two key focus areas for the University – retention of undergraduate students and increased research.

“We have a good undergraduate student body, and we need to retain these students,” he said, adding that of the nearly 7,000 freshmen, 2,400 are part of the Honors College, with an average grade-point-average of 4.0 and average ACT scores of 30. Grades and family and financial issues are among the reasons some students don’t return after their freshman year. “If we can provide support – scholarships and counseling – we can keep these students.”

Bell also said UA needs to increase research to the level of a flagship university, and one way is by increasing graduate student enrollment. “We are in the $40 million to $50 million range in external funding and we should be at two to three times that. We can do that through PhD enrollment.”

The president said the University has seen state funding drop in recent years, from $200 million in 2008 to $150 million this year.

“This College can better than anyone message the value of what this University can do for the state,” Bells said. “We can have an immediate impact on health. You are preparing students for careers that will impact Alabama in a positive way.”

Rural Medical Scholars 20th Class attends orientation

The 20th class of the Rural Medical Scholars Program was admitted by The University of Alabama’s College of Community Health Sciences, and a day of orientation was held for them and this year’s class of Rural Community Health Scholars (master’s degree candidates in Rural Community Health) on Aug.18 at Camp Tuscoba Retreat Center in Northport.

The orientation was more than introductions and program expectations—it was the starting point of a year of anticipation and preparation to pursue their goals, says Susan Guin, associate director of the Rural Medical Scholars Program.

“This coming year will be a time of developing lasting relationships with their peers and mentors who will be a source of friendship and support as they continue their education and into their careers,” says Guin. “Through the years, this support has come in many forms and from many sources, so we invite partners from around the state to join us in welcoming the newest class of Scholars.”

The College works to address the shortage of primary care physicians in Alabama through the Rural Medical Scholars Program, which is for rural Alabama students who want to become physicians and practice in rural communities. The program includes a year of study, after students receive their undergraduate degree, that leads to a master’s degree in rural community health and early admission to the University of Alabama School of Medicine. Rural Medical Scholars spend the first two years of medical school at the School of Medicine’s main campus in Birmingham and then return to the College for their final two years of clinical education.

The College will celebrate the program’s milestone with special events throughout the year.

Members of the Rural Medical Scholars 20th class are: Anooshah Ata, from Scottsboro; Helen Cunningham, from Barnwell; Tanner Hallman, of Arab; Storm McWhorter, Prattville; Carson Perrella, Salem; Johnson (John) Pounders, Leighton; Jayla Robinson, Addison; and Harriet Washington, from Carrollton.

The Rural Community Health Scholars Program is for graduate students not enrolled in the Rural Medical Scholars Program who are interested in health care careers. The program prepares students to assume leadership roles in community health in rural areas. The graduates of the program have entered the fields of public health, health administration, nursing and physical therapy, and they have continued their professional training to become nurse practitioners, physician assistants, public health practitioners, physicians, teachers and researchers.

Rural Community Health Scholars this year are: Januar Page Brown, of Enterprise; Amellia Cannon, of Duncanville; Dylan Drinkard, of Thomasville; Caleb Mason, of Guntersville; Johnny Pate, of Moundville; Kristin Pressley, of Harvest; and Jeremy Watson, of Tuscaloosa County.

The orientation agenda included an overview of the health needs of rural communities and the mission of the Rural Health Leaders Pipeline, a series of programs that recruit and support rural Alabama students who want to be health care professionals in rural and underserved communities in the state.

Each of this year’s Scholars added a colored dot to his or her own home county on oversized maps showing the home counties of past Rural Medical Scholars and Rural Community Health Scholars.

Program directors and professors discussed academic expectations and community involvement, which includes recruiting and outreach to rural youth.

Students spent time getting to know one another, and they also were introduced to College faculty and faculty from other UA departments associated with the program. Those who came to welcome them from the College included Dr. Richard Streiffer, dean of the College; Dr. Thaddeus Ulzen, associate dean for Academic Affairs; and Dr. Tom Weida, associate dean for Clinical Affairs.

Other attendees included: Ron Sparks, director of rural development for Gov. Robert Bentley; Gwen Johnson, Tuskegee University Cooperative Extension Agent for Hale and Greene counties; Toice Goodson, Greene County farmer; Regina Knox, Alicia Logan, and Katie Summerville, directors from the West Central Alabama Area Health Education Center; and Joe Anders, president of the Tuscaloosa County Farmers Federation.

Visitors from the South Georgia Medical Education and Research Consortium also attended to learn more about implementing a sequence of programs similar to the Rural Health Leaders Pipeline.