July 9, 2021

Dr. Pamela Payne-Foster, professor of community medicine and population health at The University of Alabama College of Community Health Sciences, was interviewed for a June article published by the Journal of the American Medical Association. Payne-Foster is also deputy director of the College’s Institute for Rural Health Research. The JAMA article, titled Community-Based Organizations Step Up to Confront HIV in Southern States, looks at HIV/AIDS in the South, a region that has been hard hit by the disease for decades. In the article, Payne-Foster highlighted some of her ongoing HIV/AIDS research, which includes development of a curriculum about HIV to improve pastors’ and church members’ knowledge about the disease and considers ways to reduce stigmatizing perceptions of people with HIV. Payne-Foster and her colleagues have made the curriculum available through a website and are conducting outreach to encourage churches and church leaders to use it. She has said that stigma often keeps people with HIV from seeking treatment.

Members of the Southeastern Conferences Return to Activity and Medical Guidance Task Force, which includes Dr. Jimmy Robinson, a sports medicine physician at University Medical Center, received the Michael L. Slive Distinguished Service Award.

The task force is a group of volunteer medical professionals appointed by each of the SEC’s member universities that helped provide continuing guidance as the SEC conducted intercollegiate athletics competition during the 2020-21 academic year.

In addition to caring for patients, Robinson holds the Endowed Chair of Sports Medicine for The University of Alabama College of Community Health Sciences, which operates UMC, and he directs the College’s Sports Medicine Fellowship. He serves as the head team physician for UA and works with high school, collegiate, professional and international athletes.

“We are so thankful for Dr. Robinson and all he does leading the sports medicine efforts at Alabama,” said Greg Byrne, UA’s director of Athletics. “He and the rest of the SEC Medical Guidance Task Force are very deserving of this award and were especially instrumental in navigating the institutions and the league collectively through this season.”

As the SEC Office began to monitor and learn about COVID-19, the task force was formed in early April 2020 to provide guidance for decision making related to the return to athletic activities for SEC student athletes, and to assist in supporting the safe and healthy conduct of athletics competition.

Task force members met by videoconference to review and discuss information associated with the COVID-19 pandemic, identify protocols for on-campus meetings and workouts and other practice activities for student athletes and coaches, and identify opportunities for a healthy return to competition.

“Each contributed an incredible amount of time and effort to lend his or her expertise as we worked to meet the many challenges associated with developing policies and protocols supporting the healthy return to competition throughout the COVID-19 pandemic,” said SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey. “Because of their efforts, thousands of SEC student athletes have been able to participate in their chosen sports, compete for championships and create lifelong memories with their teammates that otherwise may have never been possible without the contributions of these talented individuals.”

The Michael L. Slive Distinguished Service Award is named for Mike Slive, commissioner of the SEC from 202-14.

Members of the SEC’s Return to Activity and Medical Guidance Task Force: