Employee of the Month - July 2014

Deborah Dixon Honored as OB/GYN’s July Employee of the Month
With a beautiful smile and a pleasant personality, Deborah Dixon graces the halls of the Maternal-Fetal Medicine (MFM) clinic. The sentiment is that she is a staple in the team - “Like the glue that holds this unit together,” said co-worker Rebecca Ellison. It is therefore no surprise that she was nominated and chosen as the OB/GYN July Employee of the Month.
Dixon, a Clinical Assistant/Phlebotomist, is a 29-year employee of UAB.  She began her employment as a Research Assistant in the Department of Microbiology,a job that she held for 21 years. Interestingly, her connection to OB/GYN ran parallel, as she recruited women from the Obstetrics Complications Clinic (OBCC) for the 15-year, longitudinal study of Gestational Diabetes, which was conducted by Microbiology. Dixon’s work in recruitment and retention “followed” the OBCC from its initial location at the Russell Clinic (basement), to the 1917 Building, Byrd Building, Cooper Green Hospital, and finally to its present location in the 1500 building. Thus, coming to work at the MFM clinic was just a right fit. She absolutely loves her job and co-workers, as well as the patients. The feeling is most definitely mutual.   

UAB awarded $19.31 million to lead national study on chronic hypertension in pregnancy

The University of Alabama at Birmingham Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology and the Department of Biostatistics have been awarded a $19.31 million R01 grant by the National Institutes of Health’s Heart, Lung and Blood Institute to coordinate the most comprehensive study of chronic hypertension in pregnancy ever undertaken.

The Chronic Hypertension and Pregnancy Project (CHAP) is a multicenter, randomized trial which will enroll between 4,700 and 5,700 pregnant women during the next six years with a primary aim to evaluate the benefits and potential harms of pharmacologic treatment of mild chronic hypertension in pregnancy, a decades-old question that has remained unanswered.  Read more ...

How do mom's microbes affect pregnancy outcomes? UAB research aims to find out

As a baby slides out of the birth canal, on the way to its first breath, its body becomes coated in its mother’s microbes. This first interaction with outside organisms could be key to shaping the development of the baby’s immune system.

Our microbes, collectively called the microbiome, most often live in harmony with our bodies. They support the immune system, help to digest food and keep the metabolism on track, and fight off disease-causing bacteria. But researchers suspect that mom’s microbiome could play a role in when her children are born, and what happens to them as they grow.

“Most people know about the microbes that colonize the gut,” says Rodney Edwards, M.D., an associate professor in UAB’s Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology. “But there are bugs in and on us in many other sites—our skin, our mouths, our noses, our genitalia.”

During pregnancy, it turns out, the new needs and demands of a woman’s body change the numbers and types of these microbes. Alterations in how the body divvies up nutrients, stores fat, and produces hormones shift the properties of the microbes’ environments. But exactly how the microbiome changes over this nine-month period varies between pregnancies. And these variations, researchers are discovering, could impact not only the well being of a pregnant women herself, but the likelihood of pregnancy complications and the long-term health of a baby.

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Obstetrics, Gynecology researchers receive prestigious award

The American Urogynecologic Society and the International Urogynecological Association have honored the University of Alabama at Birmingham’s Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology for work in the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development-sponsored Pelvic Floor Disorders Network, with the 2014 Best Paper in Basic Science award.

The award is given annually and was presented at the AUGS/IUGA Scientific Meeting.

“It is a great honor for the PFDN, our division and our department to be selected for producing the best basic science paper at our biggest national meeting, which is combined with one of the international organizations,” said Holly Richter, Ph.D., M.D., the J. Marion Sims Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology and director of the Division of Urogynecology and Pelvic Reconstructive Surgery. “Basic science research is important as it complements findings of clinical research initiatives. Physicians can better optimize treatment approaches if we understand the reasons that these conditions develop, and genetic information can help us more fully understand this.”

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Employee of the Month - June 2014

Luisa Hernandez Honored as OB/GYN’s June Employee of the Month

Luisa Hernandez, a Spanish Interpreter for the Obstetrics Complications Clinic (OBCC), thought that retirement after working in corporate America would be fulfilling, but soon found that she “was not ready.” And, had she remained retired, now realizes that she would have missed a wonderful opportunity to help the Hispanic population that would become more rewarding to her than to them. Hernandez has been honored as the OB/GYN June Employee of the Month.
After 12 years as an AT&T Senior Product Manager, Hernandez decided to retire rather than be relocated to another state after the company merged with BellSouth. She went home with the intention of relaxing, but soon realized that with an empty nest and her husband working days that she needed something to occupy her time. She saw a job announcement for an Office Services Specialist III position at UAB and decided to respond.
At AT&T, Hernandez handled everything related to the billing process for Spanish-speaking customers. Among other things, she developed and prepared mock-ups for the phone bill, worked with IT running tests and prepared the Spanish translations for telephone customer service prompts, instructions and communications. On a daily basis, she helped the Hispanic community - indirectly. Interestingly, she recognizes that her work at UAB is rewarding in a different way. She now helps the Hispanic community - directly. 

Department of OB/GYN Recognized by the UAB Benevolent Fund

The Department of Obstetrics & Gynecology (OB/GYN) was recognized recently by the UAB Benevolent Fund for its fund-raising efforts. The department was awarded the School of Medicine Outstanding Campaign Award for the 2014 campaign. Moreover, Tongia F. Feagins, department campaign coordinator, was awarded an outstanding coordinator award, which consisted of two round-trip airline tickets.
Employee contributions helped raise more than $1,910,000 in pledges to the UAB Benevolent Fund. These funds support programs that provide health care screenings, safe harbor for survivors of domestic violence, nutritious meals for the hungry, cutting edge medical research and assistance for our co-workers in times of need.
Thanks to the employees of OB/GYN for “Delivering Hope” through the Benevolent Fund! You make a difference!

See Benevolent Fund website: http://www.uab.edu/benfund/

UAB enrolls nation’s first patient in Phase III drug trial for preeclampsia

The University of Alabama at Birmingham Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology has enrolled the first patient in the United States in a Phase III clinical trial for a drug to treat preeclampsia in pregnant women that, if successful, would be a significant clinical breakthrough for reducing pre-term births and infant mortality.

“Currently, when patients have preeclampsia, all we have to offer is delivery of the baby as the ultimate treatment,” said Alan Tita, M.D., Ph.D., professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology in UAB’s School of Medicine and a lead investigator for the trial. 

Click on the link below to read the full article.