UA President Bell kicks off 2015 UA Flu Blast at CCHS

University of Alabama President Stuart Bell kicked off UA’s annual campus-wide flu shot campaign last week by being the first to get his flu vaccination.

“I am excited to be doing this,” he said as he received the shot at CCHS. “Your College provides excellent health care to our community.”

Just prior to getting the vaccination, Bell spoke to CCHS staff. “A lot has changed at The University of Alabama – we have more students and new, beautiful buildings. What hasn’t changed is the dedication of our faculty and staff to our students. Thank you for what you do every day.”

The University-wide campaign to vaccinate faculty, staff and students against the flu is led by CCHS. Nurses from the College’s University Medical Center, and the University’s Student Health Center and Capstone College of Nursing, travel to sites across campus during September and October, including the Quad, University buildings and student dormitories, to provide the free flu shots. WellBAMA is also participating in the flu shot campaign.

The shots are provided at no charge and insurance is not required. The goal of the campaign is to make getting a flu shot as easy and convenient as possible.

This is the fourth year the College has led the University’s efforts to protect employees and students against the flu. Last year, more than 8,000 vaccinations were given.

Meanwhile, Bell spoke earlier in August to CCHS faculty about two key focus areas for the University – retention of undergraduate students and increased research.

“We have a good undergraduate student body, and we need to retain these students,” he said, adding that of the nearly 7,000 freshmen, 2,400 are part of the Honors College, with an average grade-point-average of 4.0 and average ACT scores of 30. Grades and family and financial issues are among the reasons some students don’t return after their freshman year. “If we can provide support – scholarships and counseling – we can keep these students.”

Bell also said UA needs to increase research to the level of a flagship university, and one way is by increasing graduate student enrollment. “We are in the $40 million to $50 million range in external funding and we should be at two to three times that. We can do that through PhD enrollment.”

The president said the University has seen state funding drop in recent years, from $200 million in 2008 to $150 million this year.

“This College can better than anyone message the value of what this University can do for the state,” Bells said. “We can have an immediate impact on health. You are preparing students for careers that will impact Alabama in a positive way.”