Faculty to be honored by National Alumni Association

Dr. Heather Taylor, associate professor of Pediatrics and Director of Undergraduate Medical Education at the College, is being recognized by The University of Alabama National Alumni Association with the “Outstanding Commitment to Teaching” award.

Each year, four UA faculty members are honored based on their commitment to teaching and the impact they have had on students throughout their time as faculty.

“Teaching is my favorite part of my job by far,” said Taylor. “So, it is exciting to be honored for doing something I love.”

Alumni, faculty, and students are open to submit nominations.

“I had such fabulous teachers along that helped me along the way. I see teaching as my way of paying my mentors back in some way.”

The Spectrum of Heat-Related Illness


It’s a very common thing to hear about in the news. Heat-related illnesses are seen often in the summer months and athletes are not the only ones subject to this. People who participate in recreational activities outdoors are exposed to heat related illness as well.

“It’s not just athletes,” said Dr. Brett Bentley, assistant professor of Sports Medicine for the College of Community Health Sciences, during his September 14 presentation as part of the Mini Medical School Program hosted by the College and UA’s OLLI program.

Bentley’s presentation “The Spectrum of Heat-Related Illness” taught the signs and prevention of many common illness that are caused by heat.

The spectrum of illnesses ranges from minor illness, such as cramps and rashes, to the more serious, like heatexhaustion or heat stroke.

While more common in the summer, heat-related illnesses can occur throughout the year.

“You’re at a higher risk when its warmer because you’re sweating more and losing more salt through sweat,” said Bentley. “But you can absolutely get these in cool weather as well.”


Treatment for the majority of heat-related illnesses is the same. Put the person afflicted in a cool area, elevate their legs, remove excess clothing and ice them. Cool them down by pouring ice-cold water, or placing ice towels on the person. It’s also important to hydrate the person, so give them fluids orally if they can drink and only IV if necessary.


After addressing and treating symptoms of heat-related illnesses, it is important to monitor the person because they can slip back into suffering from the heat-related illness quickly.


Preventing heat-related illnesses are the most important part. Some ways to prevent heat-related illnesses include: acclimatize, be educated, wear proper clothing, be well rested, the timing of event, and being hydrated.

College leading UA’s United Way fundraising campaign

The College of Community Health Sciences is leading this year’s United Way of West Alabama fundraising campaign for The University of Alabama.

UA has set a goal of raising $375,000, just a little more than last year’s goal, which was exceeded.

“This University is very special,” Sarah Patterson, former head coach for UA women’s gymnastics, told University employee volunteers assisting with the fundraising effort during a meeting at CCHS earlier this month. “If it weren’t for you, this campaign wouldn’t be successful.”

Patterson is heading the overall United Way of West Alabama fundraising campaign, which has set a goal of raising $3.8 million.

United Way of West Alabama covers nine counties and has 26 partner agencies, including Good Samaritan Clinic, Big Brothers Big Sisters, the Phoenix House and Temporary Emergency Services.

Patterson said another of her goals is to make people more aware of the services provided by United Way’s partner agencies. “There are things about United Way agencies that if you let people know about, you can make a difference in their lives.”

Longtime College supporter honored for contributions to community

Madeleine Hill, a longtime supporter of the College of Community Health Sciences and an alumna of UA’s School of Social Work, was honored at the 2017 Central Alabama Women of Distinction Awards Luncheon earlier this month.

Hill received the Karen LaMaoreaux Bryan Lifetime Achievement Award during the luncheon, held at the Harbert Center in Birmingham. The Women of Distinction Awards are presented to honor women who have made special contributions to their communities through civic, academic or professional efforts and who are exemplary role models for girls and young women.

Hill and her husband, Dr. William Winternitz, an internist and longtime CCHS faculty member, provided a significant gift to the College for a Geriatrics initiative that provided the initiative for establishing a Geriatric Fellowship at CCHS.

“There is an acute need for any viable medical school to address the surge in (the aging) population that we are experiencing,” Hill said at the time. She and her husband said they hoped their contribution would help the College create awareness about the need for the study of Geriatrics to deal with the distinct issues of older adults, and to promote care of their health. They also expressed hope that their efforts would help the College, which also functions as a regional campus of the University of Alabama School of Medicine, attract future medical students and resident physicians interested in practicing Geriatrics.

Hill has a degree from Huntingdon College and a Master’s in Policy and Planning from The University of Alabama School of Social Work. She has served as a consultant to United Way of West Alabama and Tuscaloosa City Schools.

She helped establish Hospice of West Alabama, one of the first hospices in the state. She also served as the executive director of West Alabama AIDS outreach.

Hill was the founding president of the board of directors for Habitat for Humanity and was a founding member of Tuscaloosa’s One Place board of directors. She was named a Pillar of West Alabama by the Community Foundation of West Alabama, and she received the Howard Gundy Award for Exceptional Service to the School of Social Work by The University of Alabama.

UMC offering transitional care to discharged hospital patients

When some patients are discharged from the hospital after being treated for an acute condition, they need help transitioning back into their everyday life—and making sure they are not readmitted.

University Medical Center, which is operated by The University of Alabama’s College of Community Health Sciences, is now helping these types of patients on a weekly basis with its new Transitional Care Clinic located in the Department of Family Medicine. The clinic is held every Thursday morning and is currently seeing about five to eight patients every week.

The clinic was developed through an interprofessional collaboration among the Family Medicine, Pharmacy and Social Work departments along with a partnership with DCH Regional Medical Center. The efforts have been spearheaded by Dr. Tamer Elsayed, assistant professor in the Department of Family Medicine.

Elsayed, who is a recent graduate of the College’s Family Medicine Residency, says the aim of the clinic is to provide services to patients who face medical or social issues that require special attention in the transition. He says the clinic addresses barriers patients face when obtaining health care, such as transportation or the cost of medication.

“Our target is to provide the patients with the means to maintain health and avoid complications of chronic health problems,” he says.

From left, Amy Yarbrough, LPN, Dr. Tamer Elsayed, assistant professor in Family Medicine, and Kim McMillian, LPN

From left, Amy Yarbrough, LPN, Dr. Tamer Elsayed, assistant professor in Family Medicine, and Kim McMillian, LPN

Kim McMillian, LPN, a nurse in family medicine and a primary care patient advocate for University Medical Center, works with DCH to identify UMC patients who have been treated at DCH for chronic conditions, such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, congestive heart failure, diabetes. The patients are contacted within two days, McMillian says.

“We’ll contact them to make an appointment, and make sure they have what they need at home,” she says. “We try to reconcile their medications and make sure they can get to their appointment.” The biggest issues facing patients are coping with their diagnosis as well as transportation, McMillian says.

An appointment must take place within seven to 14 days, and the patient will meet with Elsayed as well as a pharmacist or social worker. Also working the clinic are: Dana Carroll, PharmD, assistant professor in Family Medicine and the Pharmacy departments; Robert McKinney, LCSW, and Cynthia Tyler, MSW, both social workers for University Medical Center; and Amy Yarbrough, LPN, a nurse in Family Medicine. Suzanne Henson, a nutritionist and dietician for the College, and Calia Torres, a fellow in Behavioral Health, also assist.

The patient then must go 30 days without being readmitted to the hospital for the treatment to qualify as transitional care. The goal is for them to assimilate into their community setting and back to regular care with a primary care physician. The clinic will follow up with the patient and provide health education, a 24-hour answering service, a dedicated nurse, and walk-in care at UMC. McMillian also works to schedule an appointment with the patient’s primary care physician within two weeks.

“The clinic will serve patients as part of their patient-centered medical home,” Elsayed says. “It will provide patients with excellent care and avoid hospital readmissions at the same time.”


What’s On Your Plate?

Remember the Food Guide Pyramid from the 1990’s?  It was released by the USDA in 1992 as a tool to help us plan a healthy diet.  The Food Guide Pyramid divided foods into food groups and recommended the number of servings to eat daily.  While it was a great way to help us learn about the food groups, it didn’t show us how to plan each meal.  To remedy this, the Food Guide Pyramid was replaced with MyPlate in 2011.

What is MyPlate?

MyPlate focuses on one meal at a time and helps you build a healthy plate.  Again, it divides your plate into food groups, with your dairy on the side.  As you can see, half of your plate should be fruits and vegetables.  The other half of your plate should be proteins and grains.  Don’t forget to include dairy at each meal.

Here are some basic tips:

  • Make half your plate fruits and vegetables.
  • Make at least half of your grains whole grains.
  • Choose low fat dairy.
  • Choose lean meats.

Which foods fall into each food group? 

Check out the following link: http://www.choosemyplate.gov/food-groups

Here you can find information on each of the food groups, along with tips on making healthy choices from each group.

But what about my budget?

Many people want to eat healthier, but feel that healthy food just costs too much money.  Not to worry!  With a little planning, you can make healthy foods fit into your grocery budget.  Check out the following tool from the USDA, called ‘Meeting Your MyPlate Goals On A Budget’:  http://www.choosemyplate.gov/budget/downloads/MeetingYourMyPlateGoalsOnABudget.pdf

This booklet provides you with great ideas for healthy foods that are inexpensive and gives you tasty recipes on how to create the perfect plate!

For more information and meal planning tips, visit www.choosemyplate.gov.

-Joy Douglas, MS, RD, LD

A Strategy for the Future

The College of Community Health Sciences began a strategic planning process in fall 2012 to develop a five-year plan that builds on the College’s deep roots in primary care and family medicine education while responding to the changing health care needs of communities.   

A plan was developed during an intensive nine-month process, in consultation with the firm CFAR Inc. and guided by a Core Team and Steering Committee that included College faculty, clinical staff, administrators, alumni, community leaders and others.

The goal was to create a shared vision of how best to achieve the College’s mission of primary care, education and research in a health care environment that is shifting from reactive and illness care to prevention, and to develop a road map for how the College can achieve that vision.

Now the College is transitioning the work ostrategic planning into the work oimplementation.

“This is the beginning of a journey,” says Dean Richard Streiffer, MD.

The College’s previous mission statement focused on providing “the physicians and expertise needed for accessible, high-quality and compassionate health care for the citizens oAlabama … with a special emphasis on rural areas.” Since its founding in 1972, more than 400 family physicians have completed the College’s residency, with 50 percent
practicing in Alabama and halfofthose in rural areas. The College’s medical student program steers graduates into primary care specialties at a rate more than twice the national average, and its award-winning rural pipeline program has placed nearly 50 doctors into rural practice.    

Today, the mission is not just producing doctors but improving the health ofAlabama’s population, coupled with community engagement and social accountability.

“The strategic plan is intended to be a living, breathing document that guides the work of the College,” Streiffer says. “The strategic plan, and the initiatives that comprise it, will ultimately be integrated into the everyday work of the College.” 

The strategic planning process began with individual interviews ofCollege faculty, staffand alumni, and stakeholders across The University ofAlabama and the community. Focus groups were conducted with residents and medical students. Based on the results, a survey was developed and administered to College faculty and staff, select faculty of UA and the University of Alabama School of Medicine, residents, medical students, alumni and community members.  

More than 350 respondents completed the survey, including all College faculty. Survey results, coupled with an in-depth analysis of the College, were used to create strategic options that were the centerpiece of a strategic planning retreat and used to shape the College’s strategic plan. The all-day retreat was held in March 2013, and the 100 plus attendees hashed through various strategic planning options.   

“Engaging as many people and their thinking as possible, and really welcoming their input, was vital to developing a meaningful strategic plan,” Streiffer says.

The planning process was undertaken with the expert assistance ofCFAR consultants Jessica Geiben Lynn and Christopher Hugill. From offices in Philadelphia and Boston, CFAR serves clients across a range of industries worldwide, including health care, life sciences, higher education, nonprofits and family and closely held enterprises. The firm’s approach combines an understanding of business with insights into the human systems that make up organizations.

The College’s plan contains four strategic priorities: build on the strong foundation of the Family Medicine Residency; provide an innovative and community-oriented undergraduate medical education experience; transform the clinical enterprise to deliver exceptional patient-centered care; and foster a passion for scholarly pursuit in line with the College’s mission. Four Strategic Action Teams, or StATs, were formed and charged with implementing each priority. Here are highlights of work completed by the StATs in 2013:

The Residency StAT created a curriculum committee and a marketing plan to improve residency recruiting. A clinical rotation in emergency medicine was added, and an emergency medicine fellowship for primary care physicians is under consideration. Work is underway to add community medicine, dermatology and practice management experience for residents. The College’s Department of Family Medicine added five new faculty who are working closely with residents.

The Medical Student StAT is implementing the Tuscaloosa Longitudinal Community Curriculum, which will give third-year medical students an opportunity to live and train in communities under the supervision of practicing primary care physicians, be involved in the comprehensive care of patients over time and to have long-term relationships with patients’ physicians.

The Clinical StAT is advancing a patient-centered medical home (PCMH) model of care within University Medical Center, which the College operates. A PCMH provides a team-based approach to comprehensive patient care. Led by a physician and including such health professionals as nurses, social workers, psychiatrists, nutritionists and pharmacists, the PCMH organizes primary care to emphasize coordination and preventive care.

The Scholarship StAT is working to create a passion for research at the College. A monthly lecture series began in February 2014 featuring College and University faculty who present their research. The College participates in a research breakfast program with other colleges on campus to share research and find ways to collaborate. A Summer Scientific Writing Workshop is planned for College faculty. 

Tuscaloosa Family Medicine Residency

Learn more about the second largest family medicine residency in the nation. TFMR prepares physicians to provide excellent care in family medicine.

Medical Student Education

The College, which also functions as a regional campus of the University of Alabama School of Medicine, offers third and fourth year medical students hands-on experience with patients, dedication of faculty and staff and a vibrant student life. 

Community and Rural Medicine

The College’s Department of Community and Rural Medicine seeks to understand the unique issues rural communities face, how those issues affect the quality of health of rural residents and what can be done to improve health and health outcomes.