Accolades August 2020

September 9, 2020

The work and materials of Dr. Alan Blum, professor and Gerald Leon Wallace, MD, Endowed Chair of Family Medicine for the College of Community Health Sciences, was included in a recent article in the business magazine Fast Company to mark the 50th anniversary of the television cigarette advertising ban. Blum is also founder and director of The University of Alabama Center for the Study of Tobacco and Society, which is housed within CCHS. Prior to 1970, the tobacco industry was among the biggest product advertisers on television, spending about $150 million (approximately $1 billion in today’s dollars) on television commercials. In April 1970, Congress passed the Public Health Cigarette Smoking Act banning cigarette advertising on TV and radio, but the struggle continued, according to the article. Immediately after 1970, the tobacco industry moved to professional sports, including sponsorship of NASCAR racing and billboards at major league baseball stadiums, to advertise cigarettes. More recently, Juul, maker of E-cigarettes, which aren’t covered by the advertising ban, invested heavily in social media to promote its product. Today, it is estimated that 28% of young people vape.

Dr. Pamela Payne-Foster, professor of community medicine and population health at the College of Community Health Sciences, was recognized by the American Association for the Advancement of Science in its series of profiles about scientists engaging with religious communities in their research. The AAAS series is part of a broader effort by AAAS Dialogue on Science, Ethics, and Religion program and the AAAS Center for Public Engagement with Science and Technology to support scientists who engage with people of faith through thoughtful and mutually beneficial interactions. Data show that reaching religious communities is an important component of public science engagement. Payne-Foster, a preventive medicine physician, began her career studying HIV/AIDS in New York, Atlanta and other big cities where advocacy about the epidemic was prominent. When she moved to the rural South in 2004, however, she encountered a widespread stigma stemming from what she called a lack of public knowledge about the virus. “We did one study where we asked people living with AIDS where they felt most stigmatized, and the answer was the church,” Payne-Foster said. In 2011, she was awarded a grant from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to develop a faith-based, anti-stigma intervention. Pre- and post-intervention tests show that the project has worked in decreasing negative attitudes toward those living with AIDS. Robert O’Malley, director of the Engaging Scientists in the Science and Religion Dialogue project, said the profiles are intended to provide real-world examples of impactful engagement with faith communities. “These profiles show how scientists can engage with diverse communities in ways that are enriching to the scientists and to the communities themselves,” he said.

Dr. Anne Halli-Tierney, assistant professor of family, internal, and rural medicine at the College of Community Health Sciences, was accepted into the University of California San Francisco Tideswell Emerging Leaders in Aging program. Halli-Tierney also directs the CCHS Geriatrics Fellowship and is a practicing geriatrician at University Medical Center, which the College operates. The year-long Emerging Leaders in Aging program is focused on the unique needs of leaders in aging-specific environments and seeks to enhance existing leadership skills for clinical, research, policy and educational initiatives in aging. Participants work in small groups throughout the program, each led by a prominent academic advisor with expertise in geriatrics and leadership, followed by a series of individual and small group coaching and mentoring sessions via videoconference. The program culminates with a final two-day meeting prior to the American Geriatric Society Annual Meeting.