New Roles for College of Community Health Sciences Faculty

May 30, 2019

Dr. Martha Crowther

Crowther was named associate dean of Research and Health Policy for CCHS. She has been serving in the position in an interim role. Crowther is professor of community medicine and population health, and family, internal, and rural medicine. She is also an investigator with the College’s Institute for Rural Health Research.

Crowther received her PhD in clinical psychology from Duke University. She received a master’s in public health degree with a focus on chronic disease epidemiology from Yale University, and earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology from The University of California-Berkley.

Crowther has built a solid research portfolio on aging and racial diversity in urban and rural populations. Her research has focused primarily on the elimination of mental and physical health disparities in older adults, as well as the assessment of caregiving-related stressors and outcomes at local, state and national levels. Her work has considered the reduction of health disparities through community-engaged research. She has been awarded research funding from federal, state, foundations and industry, and has published journal articles and book chapters on topics that include mental health, sexuality, aging and psychology. Crowther is a member of several professional associations including the Gerontological Society of America and the American Psychological Association.

Dr. Grier Stewart

Stewart, associate professor of family, internal, and rural medicine, was named assistant dean for Medical Student Education for CCHS. He has been an integral part of the design, development and implementation of the College’s longitudinal curriculum for medical student education. CCHS also functions as a regional campus of the University of Alabama School of Medicine and in that role provides the clinical years of medical education (third and fourth years) to a portion of School of Medicine students.

Stewart joined the volunteer faculty for CCHS shortly after going into private practice in Tuscaloosa. He attended on the Internal Medicine Service and served as a preceptor for the fourth-year elective for medical students. He joined CCHS full time in 2008 and became Internal Medicine Clerkship director in 2014.

Stewart works with medical students learning at University Medical Center, which the College operates, and DCH Regional Medical Center in Tuscaloosa. He serves on the School of Medicine Admissions Committee and is involved with the College’s Primary Care Track that is currently admitting its second class of medical students. The track, the only four-year MD program in the School of Medicine system, is for students interested in primary care careers and provides a strong foundation in clinical medicine focused on primary care.

Stewart’s interests also include geriatrics and nursing home care and he serves as a medical director for a Tuscaloosa nursing home. He is past president of the Alabama Medical Directors Association and currently serves as vice president of Medical Staff at DCH and as chair of the Professional Activities Committee at DCH.

Dr. Drake Lavender

Lavender, assistant professor of family, internal, and rural medicine, was named director of Rural Programs for CCHS. He was one of the College’s first Rural Medical Scholars, a program created in 1996 to address the shortage of primary care physicians in Alabama’s rural communities.

Lavender was raised in a small, rural Alabama community and earned a bachelor’s degree in microbiology from The University of Alabama. He completed the Rural Medical Scholars Program before going on to the University of Alabama School of Medicine, where he earned his MD in 2001. The Rural Medical Scholars Program includes a year of study, after students receive their undergraduate degree that leads to a master’s degree in rural community health and early admission to the School of Medicine. Lavender completed his residency training at the UA Family Medicine Residency, which is operated by the College, serving as a chief resident.

He went into private practice in Gordo, Alabama, before joining the College in 2014. He has been actively involved with the College’s longitudinal curriculum for medical students, and also teaches endoscopy to resident physicians. In addition, Lavender cares for patients in Pickens County in need of endoscopy services. He is active both regionally and nationally in the advocacy of family medicine and rural medicine training.