The Wire

  • New tunnel, premium RV section at Talladega Superspeedway on schedule despite weather


    Construction of a new oversized vehicle tunnel and premium RV infield parking section at Talladega Superspeedway is still on schedule to be completed in time for the April NASCAR race, despite large amounts of rainfall and unusual groundwater conditions underneath the track.

    Track Chairman Grant Lynch, during a news conference Wednesday at the track, said he’s amazed the general contractor, Taylor Corporation of Oxford, has been able to keep the project on schedule.

    “The amount of water they have pumped out of that and the extra engineering they did from the original design, basically to keep that tunnel from floating up out of the earth, was remarkable,” Lynch said.

  • Alabama workers built 1.6M engines in 2018 to add auto horsepower


    Alabama’s auto workers built nearly 1.6 million engines last year, as the state industry continues to carve out a place in global markets with innovative, high-performance parts, systems and finished vehicles.

    Last year also saw major new developments in engine manufacturing among the state’s key players, and more advanced infrastructure is on the way in the coming year.

    Hyundai expects to complete a key addition to its engine operations in Montgomery during the first half of 2019, while Honda continues to reap the benefits of a cutting-edge Alabama engine line installed several years ago.

  • Groundbreaking on Alabama’s newest aerospace plant made possible through key partnerships


    Political and business leaders gathered for a groundbreaking at Alabama’s newest aerospace plant gave credit to the formation of the many key partnerships that made it possible.

    Governor Kay Ivey and several other federal, state and local officials attended the event which celebrated the construction of rocket engine builder Blue Origin’s facility in Huntsville.

6 months ago

Samford University’s Ida Moffett School of Nursing receives $3.5M Nurse Practitioner Residency Grant

(Samford University/Contributed)

Samford University’s Ida Moffett School of Nursing will receive $3.5 million over four years to place nurse practitioner graduates in rural, underserved areas for primary-care residency. The grant is the largest in Samford University’s history.

The Advanced Nursing Education – Nurse Practitioner Residency Program Grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Health Resources and Services Administration is designed to prepare new nurse practitioners to deliver high-quality primary care in community-based settings. During the year-long program, nurse practitioner residents will complete academic coursework and clinical hours in underserved population locations.


“For nearly 100 years, Ida Moffett School of Nursing has prepared well-equipped, compassionate nurses to serve the underserved,” said Nena Sanders, vice provost of Samford’s College of Health Sciences and nursing school dean. “This grant affords us the opportunity to enhance the knowledge and skill sets of our graduates and intentionally place caring, competent nurse practitioners where the needs are greatest.”

The grant will facilitate the launch of the first residency program housed within the nursing school.

The program will focus on developing new family nurse practitioners with the knowledge, skills and attitudes necessary to improve the quality and safety of rural health care systems. According to professor and grant manager Stephanie Wynn, the program will place a special priority on addressing value-based care, telehealth, obesity and mental health issues.

“This residency program will distinctively position new nurse practitioners to face the complexities which occur when providing care to rural and underserved populations,” said Wynn. “Ninety-eight percent of Alabama’s counties are designated, either all or in part, as a Medically Underserved Area or a Health Professional Shortage Area. This program will transform communities by increasing the quality and quantity of primary-care providers who are trained to provide innovative, compassionate care.”

Fifty-five of Alabama’s 67 counties are considered rural, and only two of those 55 are considered to have the minimum number of providers available. According to Wynn, the state’s population-per-physician ratio well exceeds 3,000 to 1 in many rural areas. “Nearly 44% of Alabama’s population is living in rural areas, yet 70% of primary care physicians practice within Alabama’s five largest counties,” said Wynn. “Health care must shift to better meet the needs of today’s population.”

During their rotations, residents will receive training in vital telehealth technology reducing accessibility issues for patients who would otherwise need to travel long distances to seek care. “By providing residents with telehealth training, rural communities will gain direct access to specialists in the urban areas,” said Jill Cunningham, nurse practitioner department chair.

Cunningham and Wynn are leading the residency and curriculum development with the support of an interprofessional team of educators. The first cohort of 10 nurse practitioners will begin their rotations July 1, 2020.

“More than 20 years ago we launched a nurse practitioner program to fill a need within the health care system, and that vision hasn’t changed,” said Jane Martin, senior associate dean for Ida Moffett School of Nursing. “We are producing well-trained, compassionate nurse practitioners who are breaking health care accessibility barriers.”

Ida Moffett School of Nursing offers nurse practitioner coursework that is aligned with the needs of today’s heath care environment. Students choose from specialty areas such as family, emergency or psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner, and entry points are available for associate, bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degree holders. Advanced practice registered nurse, nurse practitioner certificates are also available.
(Courtesy of Alabama NewsCenter)

1 year ago

Samford’s annual economic impact $424.8 million, study says

(Samford University)

Samford University’s estimated annual economic impact on the state of Alabama is more than $424.8 million, according to a study released Wednesday.

The independent study was conducted by Samuel Addy and Ahmad Ijaz with the Center for Business and Economic Research at the University of Alabama.

For 2016-17, the most recent year for which complete data was available, Samford’s economic and fiscal impact was $424.8 million, 2,424 jobs and $16.1 million in state and local income and sales taxes.


Betsy Bugg Holloway, Samford’s vice president for marketing and communication, said the report affirms the ways the university contributes to economic development through teaching, research and service.

The majority of Samford’s impact – $384.1 million, 2,172 jobs and $5.2 million in local sales tax revenue – is in the Birmingham-Hoover metropolitan area. This includes an annual economic impact of $18.5 million from visitors to the university’s campus in Homewood. The university regularly hosts visitors from around the state, country and world to attend its athletics, arts and educational events.

“Samford University is an attractive investment for its graduates and clearly contributes to the state of Alabama and the Birmingham-Hoover metro area economies,” the report states. “In addition, Samford provides many other public and private benefits that, while difficult to quantify, clearly make it a great asset for the state and the metro area.”

The report also found that the state gains indirectly because Samford graduates pay higher taxes than they would have without their Samford degrees. “Over the working life of the 2016-17 graduating class, the Samford education will provide higher income that enables generation of $258.7 million additional income and sales taxes – $181.5 million in state sales and income tax collections and $77.2 million local sales taxes,” the report states.

According to the study, “a Samford education is a very high-yielding investment for students.” The real annual rate of return on some college attendance is 7.1 percent over a high school graduate. The bachelor’s degree has a 9.2 percent real annual rate of return over some college attendance, and the master’s degree yields a 15.7 percent return over a bachelor’s degree. The doctorate provides a 12.2 percent marginal return over the master’s degree. About 39 percent of Samford students are enrolled in graduate and professional programs, Holloway said.

The university has lasting impact on graduates and the general public through service and outreach programs. Through job creation, generation of tax revenues, promotion of innovation, assisting in business creation and growth and facilitation of economic development, Samford is making the metro area and the state “attractive for the startup, location and expansion of business and industry,” the study says. These benefits lead to improvement of workforce skills and the general quality of life, it says.

In recent years, Samford has placed particular emphasis on developing new programs designed to meet the needs of today’s workforce. According to Holloway, new programs in the College of Health Sciences and an emphasis on data analytics throughout Samford’s Brock School of Business are equipping graduates to succeed in some of the fastest-growing and most in-demand career fields.

“Samford’s commitment to developing new programs and evolving existing programs to meet the needs of our students, and the communities we serve, is undoubtedly a factor in Samford’s increasing economic impact,” Holloway said. An independent study conducted in 2014 found Samford’s impact for 2012-13 to be more than $335 million.

A link to the full 2016-17 report is available on the Samford website.

(Courtesy of Alabama NewsCenter)