College’s magazine honored for excellence

The College’s semi-annual magazine, On Rounds, received an Award of Excellence from the Council for Advancement and Support of Education, earning recognition as one of the best university magazines in the Southeast.

OR-Winter-2016_Reduced-1The award-winning 72-page issue, published in winter 2016, featured a package of articles about the College’s core values and the employees who exemplify them, and the College’s ongoing work to meet its mission of improving health in Alabama and the region. View the winter 2016 issue here. 

Brett Jaillet, assistant director of Communications for the College, is editor of On Rounds and oversaw all aspects of the issue’s production—from conception and development of content, to layout, creative design and publication.

On Rounds is a key component of the College’s communications efforts.

CASE is an international professional association serving educational institutions and the professionals who work on their behalf in communications, alumni relations, development, marketing and advertising and related areas.

Scholarships awarded to medical students, Rural Medical Scholars

Scholarships were recently awarded to four medical students receiving their clinical education at The University of Alabama College of Community Health Sciences. Rural Medical Scholars also received awards.

Faculty members, Pediatrics department honored at Argus Awards ceremony

Two faculty from The University of Alabama’s College of Community Health Sciences were honored at the annual Argus Awards ceremony on Friday, Oct. 7. The awards are given by medical students to faculty and mentors for outstanding service to medical education.

Dr. Heather Taylor, an associate professor ­­­in the Department of Pediatrics, received an Argus Award in the Clinical Awards category for Best Clinical Educator, and Dr. Quinton Matthews, an associate professor in the Department of Surgery and a physician with University Surgical Associates, received an award in the Excellence in Education category for Best Community-Based Physician.

The Department of Pediatrics also received an Argus Award in the category of Best Clinical Department at the Tuscaloosa Campus. Other departments nominated were Obstetrics and Gynecology and Surgery.

“It’s always an honor to be recognized by the students,” says Taylor. “That’s why we have the jobs that we have so that we can work with students and do something valuable that gives back to them.”

Those who received nominations were: Dr. Bradley Bilton, associate professor in the Department of Surgery; Dr. Ashley Evans, associate professor in the Department of Pediatrics; and Dr. Robert Slaughter, hospitalist in the Department of Neurology.

One of the College’s functions is to serve as the Tuscaloosa Regional Campus for the University of Alabama’s School of Medicine, which is headquartered in Birmingham. A cohort of third- and fourth-year medical students receive their clinical education at the College.

The Argus Awards were created in 1996 to recognize faculty members and allow medical students to honor faculty and mentors for their service and dedication to medical education. Faculty are­ nominated based on their course evaluations and students vote to select winners in each category.

—Kimberly Florence

Payne-Foster receives research award for cultural competency training program

Dr. Pamela Payne-Foster recently received the University of Alabama School of Medicine Dean’s Research Award for the “Development of a Culturally Competent Training Program for Medical Students and Residents at the Tuscaloosa Regional Campus.”

Payne-Foster, associate professor of Community and Rural Medicine and deputy director of the Institute for Rural Health Research at the College of Community Health Sciences, won the award for developing a half-day training session for The University of Alabama’s Rural Health Conference, which will be held on March 30 and 31, 2017. The topic for the 18th annual conference, hosted by the College and the Institute, is women’s health.

The training session will be for resident physicians, medical students and faculty at the College on the topic of cultural competency.

“I know that is an important skill that students need in the future, and it is not offered much in their curriculum,” Payne-Foster says. “It also builds on some foundational work that the College has been doing for several years.

Payne-Foster learned of the award in August and received $1,000 of funding.

A planning committee comprised primarily of medical students and residents has started to develop the training session with pre- and post-evaluations that will be held in conjunction with the Rural Health Conference.

Learn more about the annual conference at

Medical students named members of Gold Humanism Honor Society

Four medical students at The University of Alabama College of Community Health Sciences became members of the Gold Humanism Honor Society.

Nathaniel Claborn Sherrer (Class 0f 2017) and Salmaan Zaki Kamal, Koushik Kasanagottu and Elissa Handley Tyson (Class of 2018) are now members of the Gold Humanism Honor Society, a signature program of the Arnold P. Gold Foundation established to recognize medical students, residents and faculty who practice patient-centered medical care by modeling the qualities of integrity, excellence, compassion, altruism, respect and empathy.

The students were nominated by their peers who offered their observations of the students characteristics consistent with humanistic values. A selection committee then evaluated the nominees’ academic eligibility, assessments by their program directors and essays indicating each student’s’ willingness and qualifications to serve, if selected. About 10 to 15 percent of each class is selected to membership. More than 22,0000 Gold Humanism Honor Society members train and practice nationally.

One of the College’s functions is to serve as the Tuscaloosa Regional Campus for the University of Alabama School of Medicine, which is headquartered in Birmingham.


College partner receives UA community engagement award

A Pickens County community organization and partner of the College of Community Health Sciences at The University of Alabama received a community engagement award from UA.

Buddy Kirk, Patti Presley-Fuller and Alan Harper, leaders of Friends of the Hospital in Pickens County, were awarded an Outstanding Community Partner-Initiated Engagement Effort Award last month.

Kirk is a retired attorney appointed by the Pickens County Commission to help the Pickens County Medical Center find a sustainable solution to its challenges. Presley-Fuller is County Extension coordinator for Pickens County. Alan Harper is a state representative whose district includes Pickens County.

Friends of the Hospital was created several years ago when Pickens County Medical Center was on the verge of closing. Like many rural hospitals across the country, the medical center was struggling to survive. Today, Friends of the Hospital and CCHS, as well as other UA colleges and schools, have partnered to create the Health Care Teaching County, a partnership involving Pickens County physicians and health care institutions and UA to address health care concerns in the county now and in the future.

“We recognize the efforts of students, faculty and community partners to move UA to the next level in engagement scholarship, working together as a team to make a difference in our communities and the lives of people living in those communities,” Dr. David Francko, UA’s associate provost and dean of the Graduate School, said during a luncheon to honor community engagement award recipients.

The idea behind the Health Care Teaching County partnership is to bring new energy and human capital to Pickens County, while providing useful training opportunities for students at UA. Students in medicine, nursing, social work, psychology, health education and other disciplines will gain practice from internships and other learning opportunities in Pickens County, and the rural county will gain additional health care and related resources.

Approximately $600,000 was obtained from the Alabama Legislature in 2015 for the project. To date, the funds have been used to hire a coordinator and four fellows for the partnership, and to fund seven UA-Pickens County proposals for health projects in the county. The fellows are receiving one-year paid fellowships that provide them an opportunity to serve in a health-related capacity in Pickens County and spend time in community engagement and leadership development activities.

Organizers of the partnership foresee overall improvement of health in the community and a possible boost in its economy as positive outcomes from the collaboration.

Pickens County is a Medically Underserved Area and a Primary Care, Mental Health and Dental Health Professional Shortage Area. The county ranks 41st in health outcomes among Alabama’s 67 counties.