December Grand Rounds
UAB Professors Named to Endowed Chairs
UAB Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology Holly Richter, Ph.D., M.D., has been named to the James Marion Sims Endowed Chair in Obstetrics and Gynecology in the School of Medicine.

Richter has been a member of the faculty in the UAB Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology since 1996.

UAB Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology Max Austin, Jr., M.D., has been named the Margaret Cameron Spain Endowed Chair in Obstetrics and Gynecology.

Austin earned his bachelor's degree in chemistry from Emory University and his medical degree from the School of Medicine at UAB.

Whitley Chosen to Advise U.S. Infectious Disease Agency
UAB Director of Pediatric Infectious Disease Richard Whitley, M.D., has been tapped to serve on the Advisory Council for the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID).

Whitley is a UAB professor of pediatrics, microbiology, medicine and neurosurgery and serves as vice-chair of the Department of Pediatrics. He also co-directs UAB's Center for Emerging Infections and Emergency Preparedness and is a renowned researcher on the antiviral therapies designed to fight infections in children and adults.

Whitley is president elect of the Infectious Diseases Society of America (IDSA) and an active member of the American Association of Physicians, the Society of Pediatric Research, and the American Pediatric Society.

M. J. Harris Inc. Holds Children's Hospital Toy Drive
Birmingham-based health care contractor M. J. Harris held the second annual Toy Drive to provide gifts for the pediatric oncology and hematology patients undergoing treatment at the Children's hospital. "What started out as a gift for the children actually became more of a gift to us," said Erin Pietrzak of M. J. Harris. "These children represent a world of inspiration, optimism, thoughtfulness and courage when you would least expect it. These kids are absolutely a true blessing and live each day to the fullest."

"With the help from our phenomenal contact Emily Hornak (of the Children's Hospital Foundation), our Company has had the opportunity and privilege to become involved for the second year at the hospital. It truly means the world to us to help put a smile on a child's face for the day."

Baptist Health Foundation Presents Alabama Charity Clays Event
Baptist Health Foundation presented the first Alabama Charity Clays event at Selwood Farm last month. This celebration of the outdoors was designed to benefit Baptist Health System hospitals' healthy moms and babies programs.

Nearly 17% of all babies in Alabama are born premature, which is 9% higher than the national average. To survive, these tiny, fragile newborns need specialized medical care and neonatal intensive care facilities.

The two-day Alabama Charity Clay event, initiated by the Foundation's Board of Directors, along with Baptist Health System's strategic management team and Board of Trustees, was designed to raise funds that will positively impact health care for expectant mothers and their babies. Proceeds will help fund a variety of needs -- from maternity care to neonatal intensive care, specialized well-baby programs, and equipment upgrades.

The charity events included an Annie Oakley Shoot, for ladies, a Sportsman's Social and Auction, and the Alabama Charity Clay Shoot at Selwood Farm.

Children's Hospital's Top Nursing Executive Inducted Into American Academy Of Nursing
Surpora Sparks Thomas, MBA, BSN, RN, FAAN, was recently inducted into the American Academy of Nursing as one of 92 Fellows selected for the honor in 2008. Thomas serves as senior vice president, nursing and chief nurse executive at Children's Hospital of Alabama where she began her pediatric nursing career in 1962 as a staff nurse.

The Academy is constituted to anticipate national and international trends in health care, and address resulting issues of health care knowledge and policy. Its mission is to serve the public and nursing profession by advancing health policy and practice through the generation, synthesis and dissemination of nursing knowledge. The invitation to Fellowship recognizes one's accomplishments within the nursing profession and affords an opportunity to work with other health care leaders in addressing the issues of the day.

Thomas was nominated for the honor by two current Academy Fellows and was selected by the Academy's 15-member Fellow Selection Committee for her outstanding achievements in the nursing profession. Her commitment to excellence and her leadership as a vanguard for exceptional pediatric nursing services were among the many attributes noted in her nomination.

Thomas' professional accomplishments are many. She was named "Most Outstanding Nurse Administrator" by the Alabama State Nurses Association and chosen as one of 15 Outstanding African-American Nurses in Alabama 1962-2003 by Sigma Theta Tau nursing honor society, Gamma Eta chapter, of the Ida V. Moffett School of Nursing at Samford University. She was among several other nursing leaders honored by The Birmingham Black Nurses Association as a "Legend in White." She has been inducted into the Alabama Nursing Hall of Fame, the Alabama Health Care Hall of Fame and was the first inductee into the Children's Health System (CHS) Pediatric Nursing Hall of Fame, the first and only of its kind in the nation. In 2001, executives and the board of trustees of Children's Health System dedicated the Surpora Thomas Nursing Education and Research Center. Most recently she became the first recipient of The Surpora Thomas Award presented by the CHS Pediatric Nursing Hall of Fame. She directed CHS's successful effort to attain American Nurse Credentialing Center Magnet Recognition for excellence in nursing.

UAB Anti-Cancer Research Featured In Scientific American
Scientific American magazine focused on two UAB Comprehensive Cancer Center researchers in a news story on experimental next-generation anti-cancer therapies.

David T. Curiel, M.D., Ph.D., is a UAB professor of medicine and director of the human gene therapy division, and Ronald Alvarez, M.D., is a UAB professor of medicine and director of the gynecologic oncology division.

Both doctors are featured in a Scientific American special cancer edition, and both served as co-authors on the story "Tumor-busting viruses." The editors chose Curiel and Alvarez because of their research into a field call viral gene therapy, or virotherapy.

Curiel and Alvarez have been testing this concept with a virus compound called adenovirus in women with recurrent ovarian or other gynecological cancers. The clinical trial is still in the early stages, yet the compound has shown anti-tumor effects that appear safe to most patients, Curiel said.

UAB and Children's Doctor Wins Life Inspiration Award
Thomas H. Howard, M.D., a UAB childhood cancer doctor and leader in pediatric oncology and blood-cancer care, is the 2008 winner of the American Cancer Society Life Inspiration Award.

Howard is a professor of pediatric hematology and oncology. In his 22 years of service at UAB and at The Children's Hospital of Alabama, he has founded and led advanced care and survivorship programs now considered vital in the Southeast.

Howard is director of the hematology section of the UAB Division of Pediatric Hematology and Oncology, and was division director from 1996 to early 2008.

He is credited with helping to establish UAB's experimental cancer therapeutics program for children, and with expanding the clinical offerings to include a more comprehensive psychosocial support system for patients and caregivers. Also, Howard helped develop a pediatric bone marrow transplant program and a pediatric neuro-oncology program at UAB.

Through all these developments Howard said he remains proudest of the commitment among the pediatric hematology and oncology faculty and staff toward compassionate care for children and openness with their families.

Howard earned his medical degree from The Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore. He came to UAB in the 1980s and in 2002 was named to the Hugh J. Morgan Jr. Endowed Chair for Pediatric Hematology and Oncology.

Thompson Joins MediSYS
MediSYS announced recently that Julie Thompson has joined MediSYS as Practice Management System Implementation Specialist. In this position, Thompson will manage the implementation process for medical practices including on-site training, coordination of data migration as well as on-going client support.

Most recently, Thompson served as Information Systems Manager for Norwood Clinic where she was primarily responsible for managing software and hardware implementations as well as systems training. Prior experience included Operation Coordinator and Medical Assistant/Office Coordinator where she was involved with overseeing daily clinic operations and patient care.

Thompson was awarded a Bachelor of Business Administration Degree from Athens State University with an emphasis on Human Resource Management.

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