Residency Alumna Receives Prestigious School of Medicine Award, College faculty & Departments Honored with Argus Awards, and Publications

Residency Alumna Receives Prestigious School of Medicine Award

Dr. Beverly Jordan, an alumna of The University of Alabama Family Medicine Residency, which is operated by the College of Community Health Sciences, received the Martha Myers Role Model Award from the University of Alabama School of Medicine.

Jordan, who practices family and sports medicine in Enterprise, Alabama, was recognized for her contributions to medicine and patient care.

Jordan earned an undergraduate degree in Athletic Training from UA. She received her medical degree from the University of Alabama School of Medicine as part of the College’s Rural Medical Scholars Program. In addition to her residency training, Jordan also completed a sports medicine fellowship under the instruction of Drs. James Andrews and Larry Lemak at the American Sports Medicine Institute in Birmingham.

She joined Professional Medical Associates in Enterprise and also accepted Clinical Assistant Professorship status at the School of Medicine so that she could continue to work with medical students and residents. She serves as the team physician for Enterprise High School and on the Medical Center Enterprise board of directors.

Jordan has continued to serve in leadership roles in the medical profession. In 2009, she was elected president of the Alabama Academy of Family Physicians and currently serves on its board. She was elected vice speaker of the Medical Association of the State of Alabama in 2012 and went on to serve as speaker of the House of Delegates and College of Counselors until 2016. She served on Alabama’s delegation to the American Medical Association from 2013 until this year. She currently serves on the Alabama Joint Committee for Collaborative Practice and the Alabama State Committee of Public Health.

In 2014, Jordan received the University of Alabama School of Medicine Young Alumnus of the Year Award, and in 2015 received The University of Alabama Jack Davis Professional Achievement Award.

College faculty, departments honored with Argus Awards

Students from the University of Alabama School of Medicine have named faculty and clinical departments on the Tuscaloosa Regional Campus winners of the 2018 Argus Awards.

The College of Community Health Sciences, which operates The University of Alabama Family Medicine Residency and University Medical Center, also serves as the School of Medicine’s Tuscaloosa Regional Campus and provides clinical education for a portion of third- and fourth-year medical students.

Drs. Charles Gross, Catherine Ikard and Heather Taylor received best Clinical Educator Awards. Their respective departments – Surgery, Neurology and Pediatrics – received Best Clinical Department Awards.

The Argus Awards give medical student the chance to honor their mentors, professors, courses and course directors for outstanding service to medical education.


Dr. Anne Halli-Tierney, assistant professor of Family, Internal, and Rural Medicine for the College of Community Health Sciences and a practicing geriatrician at University Medical Center, published a book chapter, “Ethical issues in palliative and end-of-life care,” with co-authors Amy Albright, Deanna Dragan, Megal Lippe and Rebecca Allen in Palliative and End of Life Care: Disease, Social and Cultural Context, edited by Rebecca Allen, Brian Carpenter and Morgan Eichorst.

Dr. Pamela Payne-Foster, a professor of Community Medicine and Population Health for the College of Community Health Sciences, authored “Preparation and Planning for Future Care in the Deep South: Adapting a Validated Tool for Cultural Sensitivity, with Rebecca Allen, JoAnn Oliver, Morgan Eichorst, Lisa Mieskowski and Silvia Sorensen, to be published in The Gerontologist.

First-year medical students honored at annual White Coat Ceremony

The University of Alabama School of Medicine on August 12 welcomed 186 students in the entering class of 2018 and presented them with their first white coats at the annual White Coat Ceremony.Rachel Rainey, Paris Malensek, Kara Kishler, Jane Hampton, Adriana Green

A portion of those students will complete their third- and fourth-years of medical school at the College of Community Health Sciences, which, in its role as a medical educator, also serves as the School of Medicine’s Tuscaloosa Regional Campus.

The presentation of white coats included the signing of the oath of commitment to patient care, reminding the incoming students of the dedication necessary to complete a medical education and of compassion necessary to practice medicine.

“Today marks a significant milestone in the journey toward becoming a physician,” Dr. Selwyn Vickers, senior vice president for medicine and dean of the School of Medicine, told the new

students. “It is the day when you achieve your first white coat, which symbolizes your entrance into the medical profession.”

This year’s incoming class represents students from 56 colleges and universities. The admissions committee review more than 4,630 applications to select the 186 individuals for the entering class of 2018.




CCHS’s TEACH Table at the Gordo High School versus Aliceville High School Football Game

The University of Alabama-Pickens County Partnership, led by UA’s College of Community Health Sciences, brought its TEACH Table to the Gordo High School versus Aliceville High School football game August 31. The TEACH Table is an outreach effort that seeks to engage with the community about various health topics, including nutrition, heart health, exercise and sleep. Informational handouts are provided and, if needed, community members can be referred to one of the primary care clinics in Pickens County or to the Pickens County Medical Center.

Rural Medical Scholars Orientation

Ten University of Alabama students studying to become physicians and planning to practice in rural Alabama attended an orientation session August 21 hosted by the College of Community Health Sciences.

The students are participating in the College’s Rural Medical Scholars Program, a five-year medical education program that leads to early admission to the University of Alabama School of Medicine and a medical degree.

The orientation at Moundville Archeological Park in Moundville, Alabama, included an overview of program expectations and faculty and staff introductions. Students also had a chance to meet more College faculty at a meet-and-greet later in the day.

The Rural Medical Scholars Program 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, and leads to a master’s degree in Rural Community Health and early admission to the University of Alabama School of Medicine.

The Rural Medical Scholars Program is part of the College’s efforts to address the shortage of primary care physicians in Alabama, particularly in rural areas.

Also attending the orientation were seven students who are Rural Community Health Scholars, graduate students not enrolled in the Rural Medical Scholars Program but who are interested in health-care careers. The Rural Community Health Scholars Program prepares students for leadership roles in community health in rural areas. Graduates of the program have entered the fields of public health, health administration, nursing and physical therapy.

Bertha Hidalgo

Preview: Scholarship Conference – Latinos and Cardiometabolic Disease

Dr. Bertha Hidalgo, an associate scientist at the UAB Nutrition Obesity Research Center and Faculty Scholar at the UAB Center for the Study of Community Health, will provide the September 25 Scholarship Conference lecture hosted by the College of Community Health Sciences.

Her lecture will focus on innovative research on Latinos and cardiometabolic diseases – obesity, cardiovascular disease and type-2 diabetes – and implications for medical practice.

The lecture by Hidalgo, who is also an assistant professor of Epidemiology at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, comes during The University of Alabama’s Hispanic/Latino Heritage Month.

Hidalgo has degrees from Stanford University, the University of Southern California and UAB. Her research interests include cardiometabolic diseases, genetic epidemiology, health disparities and Latino Health.

She has received funding from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation New Connections Program to investigate whether genetic and epigenetic differences exist between subgroups of Latinos for cardiometabolic diseases. She recently became principal investigator of Epigenomics of Cardiometabolic Disease in Mexican Americans, a K01 award focused on better understanding of the genetic and environmental contributors to cardiometabolic diseases in a cohort of Mexican Americans.

Hidalgo is an active member of several epidemiology and public health professional societies, including chair of the Minority Affairs Committee for the American College of Epidemiology.

Resident recognized with School of Medicine award

Dr. Russ Guin, a resident with The University of Alabama Family Medicine Residency, received the 2018 Argus Award for Best Resident Educator from the UA School of Medicine.


Argus Awards are presented annually to faculty, programs and departments of the School of Medicine. Medical students nominate and vote for professors, courses and course directors who they believe represent the highest standards in excellent education and clinical training.


The UA Family Medicine Residency, a three-year program that trains physicians in the specialty of family medicine, is operated by UA’s College of Community Health Sciences. The College also functions as the Tuscaloosa Regional Campus of the School of Medicine in providing clinical education to a portion of third- and fourth-year School of Medicine students.


Guin is currently in his third year with the residency.


Last year, the Best Resident Educator Award was presented to Dr. Blake DeWitt, who graduated from the UA Family Medicine Residency last year.


An awards ceremony will be held Sept. 7 at the UAB Alumni House in Birmingham to honor all 2018 Argus Award winners.



All of Us Bus

All of Us Research Program at UA Enrolling Participants

Participating sites in the national All of Us Research Program, including The University of Alabama College of Community Health Sciences, have received another round of funding for work on the landmark effort to advance individualized care, prevention and treatment for people of all backgrounds.


The All of Us program is part of the National Institutes of Health’s efforts to expand research into what is known as precision medicine – an emerging approach to disease treatment and prevention that considers differences in people’s lifestyles, environments and biological makeup. The goal is to be able to tell people the best way to stay healthy and, if someone gets sick, help health-care teams find the most effective treatments.


“I believe the All of Us Research Program will truly change the way medicine is practiced for future generations, and I am proud that The University of Alabama is a partner in this nationwide, landmark research study,” said Dr. John C. Higginbotham, principle investigator and lead researcher for the College’s efforts in All of Us. Higginbotham is also associate dean for Research and Health Policy for the College and interim vice president for Research and Economic Development for UA.


The new $600,000 in funding awarded to the College’s Institute for Rural Health Research runs until 2023. The College participates in the Southern All of Us Network, which is led by The University of Alabama at Birmingham.


The Institute for Rural Health Research’s initial enrollment efforts have focused on patients from University Medical Center, a multi-specialty medical practice operated by the College, but outside participants are also welcome. Those 19 and older, regardless of health status, are eligible to enroll through


Participants will be asked, through online surveys, to share information about their personal health, family, home and work. Upon completion of the surveys, participants will be contacted by researchers from the Institute for Rural Health Research and might be asked to share their electronic medical records and give samples, like blood or urine. Once they complete the process, they receive a $25 gift card.


“The All of Us Research Program was important for me to participate in so that I can assist in improving the future of medical diagnosis and treatment,” said Kendra Powell, a UA employee who was among the first to enroll. “I recently learned a potentially life-threatening medical issue may run in my family, and if I can provide assistance to more effectively catch, diagnosis and treat this or any medical condition, I want to help.”


Data from the program will be broadly accessible for research purposes, but individual participant information will be protected and kept private and confidential.


The goal of the All of Us Program is to enroll 1 million individuals nationwide. Information will be collected over the program’s 10-year course.


The NIH has funded more than 100 organizations throughout the U.S. to be partners in the All of Us Research Program. More than 25,000 participants nationwide have enrolled in the program.

College of Community Health Sciences Kicks Off 2018 UA Flu Shot Campaign

The annual University of Alabama flu shot campaign kicks off September 12, 2018, and continues through late November with free flu shots provided at locations across campus, including the Quad, university buildings and student residence halls.


The goal of the campaign, led by UA’s College of Community Health Sciences and now in its seventh year, is to make getting a flu shot as easy and convenient as possible. The shots are free and no insurance is required, although students and employees will need to provide their campus-wide identification number, or CWID.


Vaccination to prevent influenza is particularly important for people who are at high risk of serious complications from influenza. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, persons at high risk for flu-related complications are children younger than 5, but especially children younger than 2 years old, adults 65 years of age and older, pregnant women and women up to two weeks postpartum, and residents of nursing homes and other long-term care facilities.


Herd Immunity

Wyndy Looney, Director of Nursing for CCHS, informs that, with rare exception, the CDC recommends an annual flu vaccine for everyone 6 months of age or older, including pregnant women and individuals with medical conditions.


“Getting vaccinated yourself also protects those around you, including those who are more vulnerable to serious flu illness; for example, babies and young children, older people, and people with certain chronic health conditions,” says Looney. “This concept is called community immunity, or herd immunity. When enough people are vaccinated against a certain disease, it is more difficult for germs to easily spread from person to person, meaning everyone becomes less likely to get the disease.”


Vaccination Campaign

The shots will be administered by nurses from University Medical Center, which CCHS operates, and the University’s Student Health Center and Capstone College of Nursing.


Spouses of employees can receive the free flu vaccines at the campus flu shot stations or at the UA Faculty-Staff Clinic in University Medical Center, and insurance is not required. Children of employees with UA health insurance can receive flu vaccinations at University Medical Center, and children of employees with non-UA health insurance can receive flu shots at the UA Faculty-Staff Clinic if their insurance has previously approved nurse practitioner coverage.


In addition to the flu shot stations, vaccinations will be provided at University Medical Center and its Faculty-Staff Clinic.


Flu Shot Schedule


First-Year Medical Students from The University of Alabama School of Medicine

A cohort of first-year medical students from the University of Alabama School of Medicine spent July 26 at the College of Community Health Sciences, where they will complete their third and fourth years of medical school. The students met CCHS faculty members and participated in team building at a local bowling alley. CCHS also functions as the School of Medicine’s Tuscaloosa Regional Campus.

Obstetrics-trained family physicians help reduce infant mortality rates in rural areas

Family medicine physicians trained in obstetrics can have a profound impact on infant mortality rates in rural areas, according to research conducted by College of Community Health Sciences physicians and faculty.

Their research shows obstetrics services provided by family medicine physicians in rural Pickens County, Alabama, resulted in an improved infant mortality rate for the county, and that the availability of local prenatal care was also associated with a lower infant mortality rate.

The results were published in The Journal of the American Board of Family Medicine, July-August 2018 issue. Drs. Jessica Powell, Catherine Skinner, Drake Lavender, Daniel Avery and James Leeper authored the article and conducted the research.

The results are especially impactful for Alabama, a largely rural state. Despite a declining national infant mortality rate, the state’s rate has shown less improvement. In 2013, Alabama ranked 49th in the nation for infant mortality. The College, meanwhile, continues to work to reverse those numbers, particularly through its Obstetrics Fellowship, which trains family medicine physicians in obstetrics care.

According to the journal article, Pickens County had no obstetrics services, including prenatal care, from 1986 to 1991, and the infant mortality rate was 17.9. The rate is defined as the number of deaths among infants less than one year of age per 1,000 live births.

From 1993 to 2002, full obstetrics services, including prenatal care and delivery, were available in the county and the infant mortality rate dropped by 60 percent, resulting in a rate lower than both the state and national rates during that period.

Unfortunately, Pickens County lost local labor delivery services in 2002 when the Pickens County Medical Center closed its labor and delivery unit, and from 2005 to 2013 only prenatal care was available – provided by one family medicine physician trained through an obstetrics fellowship. While the infant mortality rate increased during this period, the rate was less than the period when no obstetrics care – prenatal or delivery services – was available locally.