The Wire

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

    Excerpt:

    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

    Excerpt:

    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

    Excerpt:

    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.

3 days ago

Bootsy Collins, Randy Owens, and Sara Evans to perform at the 2022 World Games in Birmingham

(Alabama NewsCenter/Contributed)

If you’ve headed North on Birmingham’s US-31 in the last year, then you’ve probably seen the countdown to the once-in-a-lifetime World Games event. That countdown has finally reached its “365 days-to-go” mark as the international sports event is one year away and tickets are officially on sale.

What makes The World Games 2022 a “once-in-a-lifetime” event?
It will never be held in Birmingham again. In fact, this year is The World Games’ first return to the United States since its 1981 premiere in Santa Clara, California. Birmingham is proud to welcome the world to the city and to the 25+ venues where events are being held. Spread across historical landmarks and brand-new stadiums, fans will experience the first major sporting event on American soil since the pandemic. Opening ceremony presented by Alabama Power will begin on July 7, 2022, and the Closing Ceremony will take place at Protective Stadium on July 17, 2022.

What is The World Games?

Every four years, in the years following the Summer Olympics, the world’s best athletes in sports and disciplines that are not a part of the Olympic Games unite in their common search for excellence during The World Games. This 11-day sports celebration represents the highest level of competition for more than 3,600 international athletes and 30+ unique sports from flag football and lacrosse to martial arts, waterski and many more. The Birmingham Organizing Committee also announced several musical artists that will perform at The World Games 2022, including Bootsy Collins, Randy Owen and Sara Evans. Not only will the event generate an estimated $256 million in economic impact for the city of Birmingham, but it will also be a historical moment for all Alabamians.

Where can you get tickets?

Tickets can be purchased for each individual sport, as well as the Opening and Closing Ceremonies and in select packages. To purchase tickets to The World Games 2022, visit TWG2022.com. “We want to encourage everyone to jump on the opportunity to purchase their tickets now,” CEO Nick Sellers said. “We expect many venues to sell out quickly, and we don’t want anyone to miss out on their chance to witness history.”

Stay up to date by finding The World Games on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter.

1
1 week ago

Tickets now on sale for Birmingham’s 2022 World Games

(Wikicommons, YHN)

If you’ve headed North on Birmingham’s US-31 in the last year, then you’ve probably seen the countdown to the once-in-a-lifetime World Games event. That countdown has finally reached its “365 days-to-go” mark as the international sports event is one-year away and tickets are officially on sale.

What makes The World Games 2022 a “once-in-a-lifetime” event?
It will never be held in Birmingham again. In fact, this year is The World Games’ first return to the United States since its 1981 premiere in Santa Clara, California. Birmingham is proud to welcome the world to the city and to the 25+ venues where events are being held. Spread across historical landmarks and brand-new stadiums, fans will experience the first major sporting event on American soil since the pandemic. Opening ceremony presented by Alabama Power will begin on July 7, 2022 and the Closing Ceremony will take place at Protective Stadium on July 17, 2022.

What is The World Games?

Every four years, in the years following the Summer Olympics, the world’s best athletes in sports and disciplines that are not a part of the Olympic Games unite in their common search for excellence during The World Games. This 11-day sports celebration represents the highest level of competition for more than 3,600 international athletes and 30+ unique sports from flag football and lacrosse to martial arts, waterski and many more. The Birmingham Organizing Committee also announced several musical artists that will perform at The World Games 2022, including Bootsy Collins, Randy Owen and Sara Evans. Not only will the event generate an estimated $256 Million in economic impact for the city of Birmingham, but it will also be a historical moment for all Alabamians.

Where can you get tickets?

Tickets can be purchased for each individual sport, as well as the Opening and Closing Ceremonies and in select packages. To purchase tickets to The World Games 2022, visit TWG2022.com. “We want to encourage everyone to jump on the opportunity to purchase their tickets now,” CEO Nick Sellers said. “We expect many venues to sell out quickly, and we don’t want anyone to miss out on their chance to witness history.” Stay up to date by finding The World Games on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter.

1
2 weeks ago

Tickets now on sale for Birmingham’s 2022 World Games

(Wikicommons, YHN)

If you’ve headed North on Birmingham’s US-31 in the last year, then you’ve probably seen the countdown to the once-in-a-lifetime World Games event. That countdown has finally reached its “365 days-to-go” mark as the international sports event is one-year away and tickets are officially on sale.

What makes The World Games 2022 a “once-in-a-lifetime” event?
It will never be held in Birmingham again. In fact, this year is The World Games’ first return to the United States since its 1981 premiere in Santa Clara, California. Birmingham is proud to welcome the world to the city and to the 25+ venues where events are being held. Spread across historical landmarks and brand-new stadiums, fans will experience the first major sporting event on American soil since the pandemic. Opening ceremony presented by Alabama Power will begin on July 7, 2022 and the Closing Ceremony will take place at Protective Stadium on July 17, 2022.

What is The World Games?

Every four years, in the years following the Summer Olympics, the world’s best athletes in sports and disciplines that are not a part of the Olympic Games unite in their common search for excellence during The World Games. This 11-day sports celebration represents the highest level of competition for more than 3,600 international athletes and 30+ unique sports from flag football and lacrosse to martial arts, waterski and many more. The Birmingham Organizing Committee also announced several musical artists that will perform at The World Games 2022, including Bootsy Collins, Randy Owen and Sara Evans. Not only will the event generate an estimated $256 Million in economic impact for the city of Birmingham, but it will also be a historical moment for all Alabamians.

Where can you get tickets?

Tickets can be purchased for each individual sport, as well as the Opening and Closing Ceremonies and in select packages. To purchase tickets to The World Games 2022, visit TWG2022.com. “We want to encourage everyone to jump on the opportunity to purchase their tickets now,” CEO Nick Sellers said. “We expect many venues to sell out quickly, and we don’t want anyone to miss out on their chance to witness history.” Stay up to date by finding The World Games on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter.

1
2 weeks ago

Tickets now on sale for Birmingham’s 2022 World Games  

(Wikicommons, YHN)

If you’ve headed North on Birmingham’s US-31 in the last year, then you’ve probably seen the countdown to the once-in-a-lifetime World Games event. That countdown has finally reached its “365 days-to-go” mark as the international sports event is one-year away and tickets are officially on sale.

What makes The World Games 2022 a “once-in-a-lifetime” event?
It will never be held in Birmingham again. In fact, this year is The World Games’ first return to the United States since its 1981 premiere in Santa Clara, California. Birmingham is proud to welcome the world to the city and to the 25+ venues where events are being held. Spread across historical landmarks and brand-new stadiums, fans will experience the first major sporting event on American soil since the pandemic. Opening ceremony presented by Alabama Power will begin on July 7, 2022, and the Closing Ceremony will take place at Protective Stadium on July 17, 2022.

What is The World Games?

Every four years, in the years following the Summer Olympics, the world’s best athletes in sports and disciplines that are not a part of the Olympic Games unite in their common search for excellence during The World Games. This 11-day sports celebration represents the highest level of competition for more than 3,600 international athletes and 30+ unique sports from flag football and lacrosse to martial arts, waterski and many more. The Birmingham Organizing Committee also announced several musical artists that will perform at The World Games 2022, including Bootsy Collins, Randy Owen and Sara Evans. Not only will the event generate an estimated $256 Million in economic impact for the city of Birmingham, but it will also be a historical moment for all Alabamians.

Where can you get tickets?

Tickets can be purchased for each individual sport, as well as the Opening and Closing Ceremonies and in select packages. To purchase tickets to The World Games 2022, visit TWG2022.com. “We want to encourage everyone to jump on the opportunity to purchase their tickets now,” CEO Nick Sellers said. “We expect many venues to sell out quickly, and we don’t want anyone to miss out on their chance to witness history.” Stay up to date by finding The World Games on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter.

1
3 weeks ago

Real estate essential to Alabama’s economic health

(Alabama Realtors Association/Contributed)

Real estate is more than an industry, a profession or a service. In Alabama, the real estate industry is essential to the state’s economic wellness and growth, and the numbers prove it. The real estate industry accounted for $33.8 billion – or 15% – of Alabama’s gross state product in 2020, according to a study by the National Association of Realtors® (NAR).

“The housing market is a driving force in our economy,” says the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation (Freddie Mac). “It’s the thread that runs through all aspects of our local and national economies, from construction to manufacturing. Homeowners also tend to buy more goods and use more services in their communities, further benefiting the economy.”

Economic impact is clearly seen in the industry’s direct contributions to the state’s economy in key areas:

273

• Home construction
• Real estate brokerage fees and commissions
• Mortgage lending
• Title insurance
• Rental and Leasing
• Home appraisal
• Home inspection
• Moving services

Consumer spending on real estate transactions generates related economic impact through:

• Remodeling expenses
• Furniture purchases
• Appliance purchases

Home sales also lead to new home construction. “Typically, one new home is constructed for every six existing home sales. Thus, for every existing home sale, 1/6 of a new home’s value is added to the economy,” according to NAR.

Less visible, but vitally important, is the impact of the “multiplier effect” – income earned in other sectors of the economy as a result of a home sale that is then re‐circulated into the economy. Restaurants, retailers, and service providers all benefit from real estate sales as more income allows customers to spend more.

Real estate sales also create a ripple effect for local communities, according to personal finance website The Balance. Higher sales prices increase the value of all homes – even those not on the market. In turn, more home equity is available to owners allowing consumer spending to rise. Consumer spending contributes to economic growth, employment and income.

The bottom line: A healthy real estate industry in Alabama significantly contributes to healthy overall state and local economies where businesses thrive and neighbors enjoy and contribute to their communities.

Here’s a snapshot of the economic impact made by a typical home sale in Alabama:

Total Economic Impact: $72,900

Income Generated from Real Estate Industries: $19,800 (27.1%)

Expenditures Related to Home Purchase: $4,700 (6.4%)

Multiplier of Housing Related Expenditures: $11,800 (16.1%)

New Home Construction: $36,700 (50.2%)

Downloadable Resources:

Download Infographic – PNG Image

Download Infographic – PDF

4 weeks ago

Real estate essential to Alabama’s economic health

(Alabama Realtors Association/Contributed)

Real estate is more than an industry, a profession or a service. In Alabama, the real estate industry is essential to the state’s economic wellness and growth, and the numbers prove it. The real estate industry accounted for $33.8 billion – or 15% – of Alabama’s gross state product in 2020, according to a study by the National Association of Realtors® (NAR).

“The housing market is a driving force in our economy,” says the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation (Freddie Mac). “It’s the thread that runs through all aspects of our local and national economies, from construction to manufacturing. Homeowners also tend to buy more goods and use more services in their communities, further benefiting the economy.”

Economic impact is clearly seen in the industry’s direct contributions to the state’s economy in key areas:

273

• Home construction
• Real estate brokerage fees and commissions
• Mortgage lending
• Title insurance
• Rental and Leasing
• Home appraisal
• Home inspection
• Moving services

Consumer spending on real estate transactions generates related economic impact through:

• Remodeling expenses
• Furniture purchases
• Appliance purchases

Home sales also lead to new home construction. “Typically, one new home is constructed for every six existing home sales. Thus, for every existing home sale, 1/6 of a new home’s value is added to the economy,” according to NAR.

Less visible, but vitally important, is the impact of the “multiplier effect” – income earned in other sectors of the economy as a result of a home sale that is then re‐circulated into the economy. Restaurants, retailers, and service providers all benefit from real estate sales as more income allows customers to spend more.

Real estate sales also create a ripple effect for local communities, according to personal finance website The Balance. Higher sales prices increase the value of all homes – even those not on the market. In turn, more home equity is available to owners allowing consumer spending to rise. Consumer spending contributes to economic growth, employment and income.

The bottom line: A healthy real estate industry in Alabama significantly contributes to healthy overall state and local economies where businesses thrive and neighbors enjoy and contribute to their communities.

Here’s a snapshot of the economic impact made by a typical home sale in Alabama:

Total Economic Impact: $72,900

Income Generated from Real Estate Industries: $19,800 (27.1%)

Expenditures Related to Home Purchase: $4,700 (6.4%)

Multiplier of Housing Related Expenditures: $11,800 (16.1%)

New Home Construction: $36,700 (50.2%)

Downloadable Resources:

Download Infographic – PNG Image

Download Infographic – PDF

Real estate essential to Alabama’s economic health

(Alabama Realtors Association/Contributed)

Real estate is more than an industry, a profession or a service. In Alabama, the real estate industry is essential to the state’s economic wellness and growth, and the numbers prove it. The real estate industry accounted for $33.8 billion – or 15% – of Alabama’s gross state product in 2020, according to a study by the National Association of Realtors® (NAR).

“The housing market is a driving force in our economy,” says the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation (Freddie Mac). “It’s the thread that runs through all aspects of our local and national economies, from construction to manufacturing. Homeowners also tend to buy more goods and use more services in their communities, further benefiting the economy.”

Economic impact is clearly seen in the industry’s direct contributions to the state’s economy in key areas:

273

• Home construction
• Real estate brokerage fees and commissions
• Mortgage lending
• Title insurance
• Rental and Leasing
• Home appraisal
• Home inspection
• Moving services

Consumer spending on real estate transactions generates related economic impact through:

• Remodeling expenses
• Furniture purchases
• Appliance purchases

Home sales also lead to new home construction. “Typically, one new home is constructed for every six existing home sales. Thus, for every existing home sale, 1/6 of a new home’s value is added to the economy,” according to NAR.

Less visible, but vitally important, is the impact of the “multiplier effect” – income earned in other sectors of the economy as a result of a home sale that is then re‐circulated into the economy. Restaurants, retailers, and service providers all benefit from real estate sales as more income allows customers to spend more.

Real estate sales also create a ripple effect for local communities, according to personal finance website The Balance. Higher sales prices increase the value of all homes – even those not on the market. In turn, more home equity is available to owners allowing consumer spending to rise. Consumer spending contributes to economic growth, employment and income.

The bottom line: A healthy real estate industry in Alabama significantly contributes to healthy overall state and local economies where businesses thrive and neighbors enjoy and contribute to their communities.

Here’s a snapshot of the economic impact made by a typical home sale in Alabama:

Total Economic Impact: $72,900

Income Generated from Real Estate Industries: $19,800 (27.1%)

Expenditures Related to Home Purchase: $4,700 (6.4%)

Multiplier of Housing Related Expenditures: $11,800 (16.1%)

New Home Construction: $36,700 (50.2%)

Downloadable Resources:

Download Infographic – PNG Image

Download Infographic – PDF

1 month ago

How will Biden’s American Families Plan affect 2021 business and personal tax planning?

(Kassouf/Contributed)

Join Birmingham-based Kassouf & Co., PC Business Services Group for a review of President Biden’s American Families Plan, American Jobs Plan, and a mid-year tax update for both individuals and businesses. The experts will explain complicated developments to make sure your 2021 tax planning is on track for success.

The webinar will be held Wednesday, June 16th from 2 – 4 pm via Zoom.  Register Here

29

Kassouf & Co., PC is a full service accounting and advisory firm with locations in Birmingham, Orange Beach, Auburn and Baton Rouge, LA.  Learn more by visiting www.Kassouf.com.

 

Head to Back Forty Beer Co. on June 26 to celebrate the Shamrock Shindig

(Shamrock Shindig/Contributed, YHN)

Hosted by The Arc of Central Alabama’s Junior Board, this year’s “Not So” Shamrock Shindig will be held later than normal but still consist of all the fun guests enjoy. All proceeds will benefit the mission of #inclusionforall people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

The event will have food catered by Back Forty Beer Co., drinks, great live music from The Divines, a balloon drop, and much more. Ticket purchase includes a chance to win the grand prize drawing for a seven-day Orange Beach getaway donated by Phoenix Rentals LLC, with additional purchases available.

82

Purchase tickets today and join the fun Saturday, June 26 from 4:00 – 8:00 p.m. Don’t forget to show up in green (of course) and bring your luck!

The Arc of Central Alabama serves people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD) and their families through comprehensive and quality programming, advocacy efforts, education, and awareness, all in an effort to ensure each person affected by IDD has the opportunity to reach his or her fullest potential for the most independent life possible.

1 month ago

How will Biden’s American Families Plan affect 2021 business and personal tax planning?

(Kassouf/Contributed)

Join Birmingham-based Kassouf & Co., PC Business Services Group for a review of President Biden’s American Families Plan, American Jobs Plan, and a mid-year tax update for both individuals and businesses. The experts will explain complicated developments to make sure your 2021 tax planning is on track for success.

The webinar will be held Wednesday, June 16th from 2 – 4 pm via Zoom.  Register Here

29

Kassouf & Co., PC is a full service accounting and advisory firm with locations in Birmingham, Orange Beach, Auburn and Baton Rouge, LA.  Learn more by visiting www.Kassouf.com.

 

UAB meets needs of campus, community, state and beyond during pandemic

(UAB/Contributed)

A day after the World Health Organization declared COVID-19 a global pandemic, the University of Alabama System made immediate plans to transition to online or alternative instruction and remote work at all three campuses. Gov. Kay Ivey declared a state of emergency, and UAB Hospital prepared patient surge plans and implemented visitor restrictions.

At the very onset of the pandemic, it was clear that historic levels of planning, preparation and collaboration would be critical to success, says UA System Chancellor Finis St. John. The UA System Office swiftly created an internal Health & Safety Task Force dedicated to ensuring the safe fulfillment of the System’s core mission of teaching, research and service. The Task Force, led by UAB medical experts, ultimately developed an operational return plan that became a national model for colleges, universities, corporations and nonprofit organizations.

“Our three campus communities and the employees of the UAB Health System proved throughout this challenging period that, while we are individually distinct, we are altogether stronger,” St. John said. “I am grateful for each person in the UA System and the guidance provided by our Board of Trustees, led by President pro tempore Stan Starnes and his predecessor, Ron Gray.”

2037

While uncertainty became the norm in 2020, one thing is certain: The University of Alabama at Birmingham and UAB Medicine were uniquely prepared to help their students, employees and patients, as well as the city, state, nation and beyond, get through the pandemic.

UAB — and its people — responded quickly, strategically and emphatically. The result: During the worst pandemic in more than a century, Alabama’s largest single employer expanded each area of its mission to advance education, research, innovation and economic development, patient care, and community service. UAB also set a record high for enrollment, improved its S&P financial outlook, and became Forbes’ Best Large Employer in the United States, topping the list of more than 500 public and private corporations, hospitals, universities and Fortune 500 companies across dozens of industries and ahead of the likes of Amazon, Google, Mayo Clinic, Microsoft, NASA, Netflix and Yale University.

What made Forbes’ recognition so meaningful, says UAB President Ray L. Watts, is that it is based largely on whether UAB employees would recommend UAB to friends and family. Forbes honored UAB again in April by naming the university and UAB Medicine No. 4 among America’s Best Employers for Diversity and did so a third time in May with its selection as the No. 4 Best Employer for New Graduates 2021, which made it the top ranking institution in education.

“More than a year ago, we didn’t know what impact the COVID pandemic would have on each of us and the many people we serve,” Watts said. “Those were frightening times, but we rolled up our sleeves and adapted. Throughout a difficult year, the perseverance of our people and their dedication to our vision, mission and values — with the unwavering leadership and support from University of Alabama System Chancellor St. John, the System Office team and the UA System Board of Trustees — have been extraordinary. And the results — what we have been able to do for the UAB community and our city, state and beyond — speak for themselves.”

Fulfilling the mission

The pandemic put UAB’s commitment to its mission and the communities it serves on full display.

“UAB has been an international leader in keeping the public safe and informed throughout the pandemic,” said School of Medicine Dean and Senior Vice President Selwyn Vickers. “We answered the call when our institution’s collective knowledge and expertise was needed more than ever. I can’t thank our people enough for working together so selflessly and demonstrating just how outstanding UAB is as an academic medical center and institution of higher learning.”

UAB launched the state’s first appointment-based mass community COVID testing site in conjunction with the Jefferson County Department of Health. Student and employees from across UAB helped the Alabama Department of Public Health with contact tracing, calling upward of 4,000 cases a month by December 2020.

UAB vaccinated its first person on Dec. 18, 2020, and eventually opened five community-based, mass vaccination sites. By May 2021, UAB had administered approximately 200,000 doses of the vaccine to residents in 62 of Alabama’s 67 counties.

.

 

“Every time a site is opened [and I’ve been there] it is this moment of realization that I am a part of hope in the big picture… We’re all in this together, and it’s very very meaningful that I get to be a part of the solution. ”
– Alex Morton

UAB’s Minority Health & Health Disparities Research Center worked with community leaders to reach out to educate underserved populations about the safety and efficacy of vaccinations. Those efforts, along with investing roughly $1.4 million a month to operate five community vaccine sites, including at Parker High School in downtown Birmingham, Cathedral of the Cross AOH church in Center Point and at the Hoover Met, enabled UAB to provide vaccines to racially diverse groups of Alabamians, far exceeding the national average of underserved populations vaccinated — bolstering Alabama’s effort.

The School of Medicine’s Fungal Reference Lab in the Department of Pathology has been a focal point for testing for the entire state throughout the pandemic. Because of the lab’s efforts, UAB was among the first academic medical centers in the country to offer in-house COVID-19 testing after it launched its own, extremely accurate laboratory-developed test in March 2020.

The lab, directed by Sixto M. Leal Jr., M.D., Ph.D., has been analyzing 100 COVID-positive samples a week for the Alabama Department of Public Health to help identify which variants are in Alabama. Leal’s lab also worked closely with UAB Hospital labs and private-sector biomedical companies to scale up and support the GuideSafe™ Entry Testing program in 2020. Free COVID-19 testing was made available to students at all Alabama colleges and universities in advance of the 2020 fall semester, resulting in the largest-scale higher-education testing initiative in the nation.

UAB research also played an important role. Remdesivir — widely used to treat COVID-19 — was developed through research conducted within the Antiviral Drug Discovery and Development Center, anchored at UAB. UAB was among the first U.S. sites chosen to conduct preclinical testing of an inhaled monoclonal antibody for COVID-19 that showed therapeutic efficacy in October. Monoclonal antibodies have been widely heralded for keeping high-risk patients out of the hospital and saving lives.

UAB researchers, led by Fran Lund, Ph.D., in collaboration with Altimmune, have found that a single intranasal dose of the COVID-19 vaccine candidate AdCOVID provides sterilizing immunity in the lungs of vaccinated animals. AdCOVID is currently in a Phase 1 clinical trial to test safety and immunogenicity in people, and Altimmune expects to report topline data in June.

  • Sixto Leal directs the UAB Department of Pathology Fungal Reference Lab which worked closely with UAB Hospital labs and private-sector biomedical companies to scale up and support the GuideSafe™ Entry Testing program. More than 75,000 students were tested, making it the largest-scale higher-education testing initiative in the nation. Leal’s lab also analyzes 100 random COVID samples a week for the ADPH and has identified all known variants in Alabama.

UAB offered testing, patient care, and administrative expertise and support to hospitals and health systems across the state, improving outcomes for many Alabamians struck by COVID-19. UAB experts also collaborated with and provided critical public health and infectious disease insights to local and state officials, and also took a lead role in an aggressive public information campaign to increase knowledge and safety. UAB experts kept a high public profile throughout the pandemic, as they were featured in constant local media coverage and thousands of appearances in national and international outlets.

UAB COVID-19 by the numbers

  • As of May 27, 2021, UAB has administered more than 207,000 vaccinations to residents in 62 of Alabama’s 67 counties.
  • To date, UAB has cared for 4,439 COVID patients in UAB Hospital.
  • UAB hosted 5 Vaccination sites.

The patient care demands of UAB Medicine have been significant. UAB Hospital admitted its first COVID-positive patient in March 2020, starting multiple waves of patient surges that continued to stress the system and its clinical care and support teams. Early in 2021, more than 30 percent of patients in UAB Hospital — one of the largest hospitals in the nation — were people with an active case of COVID-19 or those who had recovered from COVID-19 but were still too sick from complications to leave the hospital.

“Our employees overcame great challenges and pushed through personal and professional anxiety and exhaustion to provide world-class care to thousands of patients throughout the pandemic,” said UAB Medicine CEO Reid Jones. “We continued to innovate to best serve patients and really demonstrated why UAB is so vital to all Alabamians.”

A new multidisciplinary Post COVID Treatment Program was developed to help evaluate patients still experiencing COVID-19 symptoms more than three weeks after a positive test to help them find appropriate specialized care.

A team led by Sue Feldman, Ph.D., professor in UAB’s schools of Health Professions and Medicine, developed the daily Healthcheck tool and worked with Google and Apple to develop the GuideSafe exposure notification app made available to all Alabamians. The anonymous app was designed to alert users if they had been exposed to someone diagnosed with COVID-19.

“With the great challenges we were facing as a university and health system, it would have been easy to turn inward and just try to solve our own problems,” Watts said. “But that’s not who UAB is. Improving outcomes for all Alabamians is our mission and responsibility, and the pandemic showed just how much that’s in our DNA with the high-impact programs we undertook.”

Meeting the needs of students, faculty and staff

A key tenet of UAB’s positive momentum before the pandemic was a shared commitment to shared governance, which only strengthened as the university shifted to remote learning in March 2020.

Students, faculty and staff — from the undergraduate and graduate student government associations to the faculty senate and staff council — were invited at the request of President Watts and Provost Pam Benoit to share important insights in key committees and workgroups.

The dialogue led to new and enhanced resources that helped members of the campus community safely continue their education and jobs — from a robust e-learning platform to guide remote learning to processing grants and other crucial university business.

Prior to the pandemic, UAB’s eLearning and Professional Studies office supported faculty and staff with instructional design services, media production services, academic technology tools and training, and continuing education/professional studies offerings. In March 2020, when UAB courses moved online in response to the pandemic, the eLearning team assisted faculty with course design and technology through online workshops and one-on-one assistance.

“Our eLearning and Professional Studies team developed a dynamic approach to helping students and faculty in the online learning environment. In partnership with talented faculty, this team designed quality face-to-face, hybrid and online courses and programs. The effort of the eLearning and Professional Studies team — and its collaboration with our dedicated faculty — was indicative of UAB’s efforts as a whole across our entire enterprise.”

– UAB Provost, Pam Benoit

“Our eLearning and Professional Studies team developed a dynamic approach to helping students and faculty in the online learning environment,” Benoit said. “In partnership with talented faculty, this team designed quality face-to-face, hybrid and online courses and programs. The effort of the eLearning and Professional Studies team — and its collaboration with our dedicated faculty — was indicative of UAB’s efforts as a whole across our entire enterprise.”

“We are fortunate to work with a faculty body so adept and creative,” said Pam Paustian, Ph.D., associate provost for Academic and Learning Technologies. “It was an incredible team effort based on a shared commitment to our students.”

In July, an Incident Command Committee was established to monitor data and how effective UAB was in implementing operational and safety strategies. “The idea was to bring together campus leaders with access to resources and people to address any areas where additional support may be needed,” said Katie Crenshaw, J.D., UAB chief risk and compliance officer, who chairs that committee.

UAB increased and promoted mental health resources, provided free personal protective equipment, made childcare options available to employees and subsidized it, made vaccines available to employees and the community within Alabama Department of Public Health guidelines, and made COVID-19 testing free and conveniently available to employees. The UAB-developed sentinel testing program developed with GuideSafe was also made available to other institutions across the state.

Ultimately, Watts says, UAB’s efforts saved lives and livelihoods.

“We have worked tirelessly to leverage our resources, expertise and talent and made a big difference in safeguarding the health of people and our economy,” Watts said. “It is incredibly humbling and gratifying to talk to people who continue to thank me for all UAB has done. It is equally gratifying to know the UAB family is proud of what we have all been able to do together for each other and our community.”


Our COVID year from UAB on Vimeo.

Photography and videography: Andrea Reiber, Laura Gasque, Jeff Myers, Carson Young, Andrea Mabry, Steve Wood, Lexi Coon and Amanda Chambers

Head to Back Forty Beer Co. on June 26 to celebrate the Shamrock Shindig

(Shamrock Shindig/Contributed, YHN)

Hosted by The Arc of Central Alabama’s Junior Board, this year’s “Not So” Shamrock Shindig will be held later than normal but still consist of all the fun guests enjoy. All proceeds will benefit the mission of #inclusionforall people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

The event will have food catered by Back Forty Beer Co., drinks, great live music from The Divines, a balloon drop, and much more. Ticket purchase includes a chance to win the grand prize drawing for a seven-day Orange Beach getaway donated by Phoenix Rentals LLC, with additional purchases available.

82

Purchase tickets today and join the fun Saturday, June 26 from 4:00 – 8:00 p.m. Don’t forget to show up in green (of course) and bring your luck!

The Arc of Central Alabama serves people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD) and their families through comprehensive and quality programming, advocacy efforts, education, and awareness, all in an effort to ensure each person affected by IDD has the opportunity to reach his or her fullest potential for the most independent life possible.

UAB meets needs of campus, community, state and beyond during pandemic

(UAB/Contributed)

A day after the World Health Organization declared COVID-19 a global pandemic, the University of Alabama System made immediate plans to transition to online or alternative instruction and remote work at all three campuses. Gov. Kay Ivey declared a state of emergency, and UAB Hospital prepared patient surge plans and implemented visitor restrictions.

At the very onset of the pandemic, it was clear that historic levels of planning, preparation and collaboration would be critical to success, says UA System Chancellor Finis St. John. The UA System Office swiftly created an internal Health & Safety Task Force dedicated to ensuring the safe fulfillment of the System’s core mission of teaching, research and service. The Task Force, led by UAB medical experts, ultimately developed an operational return plan that became a national model for colleges, universities, corporations and nonprofit organizations.

“Our three campus communities and the employees of the UAB Health System proved throughout this challenging period that, while we are individually distinct, we are altogether stronger,” St. John said. “I am grateful for each person in the UA System and the guidance provided by our Board of Trustees, led by President pro tempore Stan Starnes and his predecessor, Ron Gray.”

2037

While uncertainty became the norm in 2020, one thing is certain: The University of Alabama at Birmingham and UAB Medicine were uniquely prepared to help their students, employees and patients, as well as the city, state, nation and beyond, get through the pandemic.

UAB — and its people — responded quickly, strategically and emphatically. The result: During the worst pandemic in more than a century, Alabama’s largest single employer expanded each area of its mission to advance education, research, innovation and economic development, patient care, and community service. UAB also set a record high for enrollment, improved its S&P financial outlook, and became Forbes’ Best Large Employer in the United States, topping the list of more than 500 public and private corporations, hospitals, universities and Fortune 500 companies across dozens of industries and ahead of the likes of Amazon, Google, Mayo Clinic, Microsoft, NASA, Netflix and Yale University.

What made Forbes’ recognition so meaningful, says UAB President Ray L. Watts, is that it is based largely on whether UAB employees would recommend UAB to friends and family. Forbes honored UAB again in April by naming the university and UAB Medicine No. 4 among America’s Best Employers for Diversity and did so a third time in May with its selection as the No. 4 Best Employer for New Graduates 2021, which made it the top ranking institution in education.

“More than a year ago, we didn’t know what impact the COVID pandemic would have on each of us and the many people we serve,” Watts said. “Those were frightening times, but we rolled up our sleeves and adapted. Throughout a difficult year, the perseverance of our people and their dedication to our vision, mission and values — with the unwavering leadership and support from University of Alabama System Chancellor St. John, the System Office team and the UA System Board of Trustees — have been extraordinary. And the results — what we have been able to do for the UAB community and our city, state and beyond — speak for themselves.”

Fulfilling the mission

The pandemic put UAB’s commitment to its mission and the communities it serves on full display.

“UAB has been an international leader in keeping the public safe and informed throughout the pandemic,” said School of Medicine Dean and Senior Vice President Selwyn Vickers. “We answered the call when our institution’s collective knowledge and expertise was needed more than ever. I can’t thank our people enough for working together so selflessly and demonstrating just how outstanding UAB is as an academic medical center and institution of higher learning.”

UAB launched the state’s first appointment-based mass community COVID testing site in conjunction with the Jefferson County Department of Health. Student and employees from across UAB helped the Alabama Department of Public Health with contact tracing, calling upward of 4,000 cases a month by December 2020.

UAB vaccinated its first person on Dec. 18, 2020, and eventually opened five community-based, mass vaccination sites. By May 2021, UAB had administered approximately 200,000 doses of the vaccine to residents in 62 of Alabama’s 67 counties.

.

 

“Every time a site is opened [and I’ve been there] it is this moment of realization that I am a part of hope in the big picture… We’re all in this together, and it’s very very meaningful that I get to be a part of the solution. ”
– Alex Morton

UAB’s Minority Health & Health Disparities Research Center worked with community leaders to reach out to educate underserved populations about the safety and efficacy of vaccinations. Those efforts, along with investing roughly $1.4 million a month to operate five community vaccine sites, including at Parker High School in downtown Birmingham, Cathedral of the Cross AOH church in Center Point and at the Hoover Met, enabled UAB to provide vaccines to racially diverse groups of Alabamians, far exceeding the national average of underserved populations vaccinated — bolstering Alabama’s effort.

The School of Medicine’s Fungal Reference Lab in the Department of Pathology has been a focal point for testing for the entire state throughout the pandemic. Because of the lab’s efforts, UAB was among the first academic medical centers in the country to offer in-house COVID-19 testing after it launched its own, extremely accurate laboratory-developed test in March 2020.

The lab, directed by Sixto M. Leal Jr., M.D., Ph.D., has been analyzing 100 COVID-positive samples a week for the Alabama Department of Public Health to help identify which variants are in Alabama. Leal’s lab also worked closely with UAB Hospital labs and private-sector biomedical companies to scale up and support the GuideSafe™ Entry Testing program in 2020. Free COVID-19 testing was made available to students at all Alabama colleges and universities in advance of the 2020 fall semester, resulting in the largest-scale higher-education testing initiative in the nation.

UAB research also played an important role. Remdesivir — widely used to treat COVID-19 — was developed through research conducted within the Antiviral Drug Discovery and Development Center, anchored at UAB. UAB was among the first U.S. sites chosen to conduct preclinical testing of an inhaled monoclonal antibody for COVID-19 that showed therapeutic efficacy in October. Monoclonal antibodies have been widely heralded for keeping high-risk patients out of the hospital and saving lives.

UAB researchers, led by Fran Lund, Ph.D., in collaboration with Altimmune, have found that a single intranasal dose of the COVID-19 vaccine candidate AdCOVID provides sterilizing immunity in the lungs of vaccinated animals. AdCOVID is currently in a Phase 1 clinical trial to test safety and immunogenicity in people, and Altimmune expects to report topline data in June.

  • Sixto Leal directs the UAB Department of Pathology Fungal Reference Lab which worked closely with UAB Hospital labs and private-sector biomedical companies to scale up and support the GuideSafe™ Entry Testing program. More than 75,000 students were tested, making it the largest-scale higher-education testing initiative in the nation. Leal’s lab also analyzes 100 random COVID samples a week for the ADPH and has identified all known variants in Alabama.

UAB offered testing, patient care, and administrative expertise and support to hospitals and health systems across the state, improving outcomes for many Alabamians struck by COVID-19. UAB experts also collaborated with and provided critical public health and infectious disease insights to local and state officials, and also took a lead role in an aggressive public information campaign to increase knowledge and safety. UAB experts kept a high public profile throughout the pandemic, as they were featured in constant local media coverage and thousands of appearances in national and international outlets.

UAB COVID-19 by the numbers

  • As of May 27, 2021, UAB has administered more than 207,000 vaccinations to residents in 62 of Alabama’s 67 counties.
  • To date, UAB has cared for 4,439 COVID patients in UAB Hospital.
  • UAB hosted 5 Vaccination sites.

The patient care demands of UAB Medicine have been significant. UAB Hospital admitted its first COVID-positive patient in March 2020, starting multiple waves of patient surges that continued to stress the system and its clinical care and support teams. Early in 2021, more than 30 percent of patients in UAB Hospital — one of the largest hospitals in the nation — were people with an active case of COVID-19 or those who had recovered from COVID-19 but were still too sick from complications to leave the hospital.

“Our employees overcame great challenges and pushed through personal and professional anxiety and exhaustion to provide world-class care to thousands of patients throughout the pandemic,” said UAB Medicine CEO Reid Jones. “We continued to innovate to best serve patients and really demonstrated why UAB is so vital to all Alabamians.”

A new multidisciplinary Post COVID Treatment Program was developed to help evaluate patients still experiencing COVID-19 symptoms more than three weeks after a positive test to help them find appropriate specialized care.

A team led by Sue Feldman, Ph.D., professor in UAB’s schools of Health Professions and Medicine, developed the daily Healthcheck tool and worked with Google and Apple to develop the GuideSafe exposure notification app made available to all Alabamians. The anonymous app was designed to alert users if they had been exposed to someone diagnosed with COVID-19.

“With the great challenges we were facing as a university and health system, it would have been easy to turn inward and just try to solve our own problems,” Watts said. “But that’s not who UAB is. Improving outcomes for all Alabamians is our mission and responsibility, and the pandemic showed just how much that’s in our DNA with the high-impact programs we undertook.”

Meeting the needs of students, faculty and staff

A key tenet of UAB’s positive momentum before the pandemic was a shared commitment to shared governance, which only strengthened as the university shifted to remote learning in March 2020.

Students, faculty and staff — from the undergraduate and graduate student government associations to the faculty senate and staff council — were invited at the request of President Watts and Provost Pam Benoit to share important insights in key committees and workgroups.

The dialogue led to new and enhanced resources that helped members of the campus community safely continue their education and jobs — from a robust e-learning platform to guide remote learning to processing grants and other crucial university business.

Prior to the pandemic, UAB’s eLearning and Professional Studies office supported faculty and staff with instructional design services, media production services, academic technology tools and training, and continuing education/professional studies offerings. In March 2020, when UAB courses moved online in response to the pandemic, the eLearning team assisted faculty with course design and technology through online workshops and one-on-one assistance.

“Our eLearning and Professional Studies team developed a dynamic approach to helping students and faculty in the online learning environment. In partnership with talented faculty, this team designed quality face-to-face, hybrid and online courses and programs. The effort of the eLearning and Professional Studies team — and its collaboration with our dedicated faculty — was indicative of UAB’s efforts as a whole across our entire enterprise.”

– UAB Provost, Pam Benoit

“Our eLearning and Professional Studies team developed a dynamic approach to helping students and faculty in the online learning environment,” Benoit said. “In partnership with talented faculty, this team designed quality face-to-face, hybrid and online courses and programs. The effort of the eLearning and Professional Studies team — and its collaboration with our dedicated faculty — was indicative of UAB’s efforts as a whole across our entire enterprise.”

“We are fortunate to work with a faculty body so adept and creative,” said Pam Paustian, Ph.D., associate provost for Academic and Learning Technologies. “It was an incredible team effort based on a shared commitment to our students.”

In July, an Incident Command Committee was established to monitor data and how effective UAB was in implementing operational and safety strategies. “The idea was to bring together campus leaders with access to resources and people to address any areas where additional support may be needed,” said Katie Crenshaw, J.D., UAB chief risk and compliance officer, who chairs that committee.

UAB increased and promoted mental health resources, provided free personal protective equipment, made childcare options available to employees and subsidized it, made vaccines available to employees and the community within Alabama Department of Public Health guidelines, and made COVID-19 testing free and conveniently available to employees. The UAB-developed sentinel testing program developed with GuideSafe was also made available to other institutions across the state.

Ultimately, Watts says, UAB’s efforts saved lives and livelihoods.

“We have worked tirelessly to leverage our resources, expertise and talent and made a big difference in safeguarding the health of people and our economy,” Watts said. “It is incredibly humbling and gratifying to talk to people who continue to thank me for all UAB has done. It is equally gratifying to know the UAB family is proud of what we have all been able to do together for each other and our community.”


Our COVID year from UAB on Vimeo.

Photography and videography: Andrea Reiber, Laura Gasque, Jeff Myers, Carson Young, Andrea Mabry, Steve Wood, Lexi Coon and Amanda Chambers

UAB meets needs of campus, community, state and beyond during pandemic

(UAB/Contributed)

A day after the World Health Organization declared COVID-19 a global pandemic, the University of Alabama System made immediate plans to transition to online or alternative instruction and remote work at all three campuses. Gov. Kay Ivey declared a state of emergency, and UAB Hospital prepared patient surge plans and implemented visitor restrictions.

At the very onset of the pandemic, it was clear that historic levels of planning, preparation and collaboration would be critical to success, says UA System Chancellor Finis St. John. The UA System Office swiftly created an internal Health & Safety Task Force dedicated to ensuring the safe fulfillment of the System’s core mission of teaching, research and service. The Task Force, led by UAB medical experts, ultimately developed an operational return plan that became a national model for colleges, universities, corporations and nonprofit organizations.

“Our three campus communities and the employees of the UAB Health System proved throughout this challenging period that, while we are individually distinct, we are altogether stronger,” St. John said. “I am grateful for each person in the UA System and the guidance provided by our Board of Trustees, led by President pro tempore Stan Starnes and his predecessor, Ron Gray.”

2037

While uncertainty became the norm in 2020, one thing is certain: The University of Alabama at Birmingham and UAB Medicine were uniquely prepared to help their students, employees and patients, as well as the city, state, nation and beyond, get through the pandemic.

UAB — and its people — responded quickly, strategically and emphatically. The result: During the worst pandemic in more than a century, Alabama’s largest single employer expanded each area of its mission to advance education, research, innovation and economic development, patient care, and community service. UAB also set a record high for enrollment, improved its S&P financial outlook, and became Forbes’ Best Large Employer in the United States, topping the list of more than 500 public and private corporations, hospitals, universities and Fortune 500 companies across dozens of industries and ahead of the likes of Amazon, Google, Mayo Clinic, Microsoft, NASA, Netflix and Yale University.

What made Forbes’ recognition so meaningful, says UAB President Ray L. Watts, is that it is based largely on whether UAB employees would recommend UAB to friends and family. Forbes honored UAB again in April by naming the university and UAB Medicine No. 4 among America’s Best Employers for Diversity and did so a third time in May with its selection as the No. 4 Best Employer for New Graduates 2021, which made it the top ranking institution in education.

“More than a year ago, we didn’t know what impact the COVID pandemic would have on each of us and the many people we serve,” Watts said. “Those were frightening times, but we rolled up our sleeves and adapted. Throughout a difficult year, the perseverance of our people and their dedication to our vision, mission and values — with the unwavering leadership and support from University of Alabama System Chancellor St. John, the System Office team and the UA System Board of Trustees — have been extraordinary. And the results — what we have been able to do for the UAB community and our city, state and beyond — speak for themselves.”

Fulfilling the mission

The pandemic put UAB’s commitment to its mission and the communities it serves on full display.

“UAB has been an international leader in keeping the public safe and informed throughout the pandemic,” said School of Medicine Dean and Senior Vice President Selwyn Vickers. “We answered the call when our institution’s collective knowledge and expertise was needed more than ever. I can’t thank our people enough for working together so selflessly and demonstrating just how outstanding UAB is as an academic medical center and institution of higher learning.”

UAB launched the state’s first appointment-based mass community COVID testing site in conjunction with the Jefferson County Department of Health. Student and employees from across UAB helped the Alabama Department of Public Health with contact tracing, calling upward of 4,000 cases a month by December 2020.

UAB vaccinated its first person on Dec. 18, 2020, and eventually opened five community-based, mass vaccination sites. By May 2021, UAB had administered approximately 200,000 doses of the vaccine to residents in 62 of Alabama’s 67 counties.

.

 

“Every time a site is opened [and I’ve been there] it is this moment of realization that I am a part of hope in the big picture… We’re all in this together, and it’s very very meaningful that I get to be a part of the solution. ”
– Alex Morton

UAB’s Minority Health & Health Disparities Research Center worked with community leaders to reach out to educate underserved populations about the safety and efficacy of vaccinations. Those efforts, along with investing roughly $1.4 million a month to operate five community vaccine sites, including at Parker High School in downtown Birmingham, Cathedral of the Cross AOH church in Center Point and at the Hoover Met, enabled UAB to provide vaccines to racially diverse groups of Alabamians, far exceeding the national average of underserved populations vaccinated — bolstering Alabama’s effort.

The School of Medicine’s Fungal Reference Lab in the Department of Pathology has been a focal point for testing for the entire state throughout the pandemic. Because of the lab’s efforts, UAB was among the first academic medical centers in the country to offer in-house COVID-19 testing after it launched its own, extremely accurate laboratory-developed test in March 2020.

The lab, directed by Sixto M. Leal Jr., M.D., Ph.D., has been analyzing 100 COVID-positive samples a week for the Alabama Department of Public Health to help identify which variants are in Alabama. Leal’s lab also worked closely with UAB Hospital labs and private-sector biomedical companies to scale up and support the GuideSafe™ Entry Testing program in 2020. Free COVID-19 testing was made available to students at all Alabama colleges and universities in advance of the 2020 fall semester, resulting in the largest-scale higher-education testing initiative in the nation.

UAB research also played an important role. Remdesivir — widely used to treat COVID-19 — was developed through research conducted within the Antiviral Drug Discovery and Development Center, anchored at UAB. UAB was among the first U.S. sites chosen to conduct preclinical testing of an inhaled monoclonal antibody for COVID-19 that showed therapeutic efficacy in October. Monoclonal antibodies have been widely heralded for keeping high-risk patients out of the hospital and saving lives.

UAB researchers, led by Fran Lund, Ph.D., in collaboration with Altimmune, have found that a single intranasal dose of the COVID-19 vaccine candidate AdCOVID provides sterilizing immunity in the lungs of vaccinated animals. AdCOVID is currently in a Phase 1 clinical trial to test safety and immunogenicity in people, and Altimmune expects to report topline data in June.

  • Sixto Leal directs the UAB Department of Pathology Fungal Reference Lab which worked closely with UAB Hospital labs and private-sector biomedical companies to scale up and support the GuideSafe™ Entry Testing program. More than 75,000 students were tested, making it the largest-scale higher-education testing initiative in the nation. Leal’s lab also analyzes 100 random COVID samples a week for the ADPH and has identified all known variants in Alabama.

UAB offered testing, patient care, and administrative expertise and support to hospitals and health systems across the state, improving outcomes for many Alabamians struck by COVID-19. UAB experts also collaborated with and provided critical public health and infectious disease insights to local and state officials, and also took a lead role in an aggressive public information campaign to increase knowledge and safety. UAB experts kept a high public profile throughout the pandemic, as they were featured in constant local media coverage and thousands of appearances in national and international outlets.

UAB COVID-19 by the numbers

  • As of May 27, 2021, UAB has administered more than 207,000 vaccinations to residents in 62 of Alabama’s 67 counties.
  • To date, UAB has cared for 4,439 COVID patients in UAB Hospital.
  • UAB hosted 5 Vaccination sites.

The patient care demands of UAB Medicine have been significant. UAB Hospital admitted its first COVID-positive patient in March 2020, starting multiple waves of patient surges that continued to stress the system and its clinical care and support teams. Early in 2021, more than 30 percent of patients in UAB Hospital — one of the largest hospitals in the nation — were people with an active case of COVID-19 or those who had recovered from COVID-19 but were still too sick from complications to leave the hospital.

“Our employees overcame great challenges and pushed through personal and professional anxiety and exhaustion to provide world-class care to thousands of patients throughout the pandemic,” said UAB Medicine CEO Reid Jones. “We continued to innovate to best serve patients and really demonstrated why UAB is so vital to all Alabamians.”

A new multidisciplinary Post COVID Treatment Program was developed to help evaluate patients still experiencing COVID-19 symptoms more than three weeks after a positive test to help them find appropriate specialized care.

A team led by Sue Feldman, Ph.D., professor in UAB’s schools of Health Professions and Medicine, developed the daily Healthcheck tool and worked with Google and Apple to develop the GuideSafe exposure notification app made available to all Alabamians. The anonymous app was designed to alert users if they had been exposed to someone diagnosed with COVID-19.

“With the great challenges we were facing as a university and health system, it would have been easy to turn inward and just try to solve our own problems,” Watts said. “But that’s not who UAB is. Improving outcomes for all Alabamians is our mission and responsibility, and the pandemic showed just how much that’s in our DNA with the high-impact programs we undertook.”

Meeting the needs of students, faculty and staff

A key tenet of UAB’s positive momentum before the pandemic was a shared commitment to shared governance, which only strengthened as the university shifted to remote learning in March 2020.

Students, faculty and staff — from the undergraduate and graduate student government associations to the faculty senate and staff council — were invited at the request of President Watts and Provost Pam Benoit to share important insights in key committees and workgroups.

The dialogue led to new and enhanced resources that helped members of the campus community safely continue their education and jobs — from a robust e-learning platform to guide remote learning to processing grants and other crucial university business.

Prior to the pandemic, UAB’s eLearning and Professional Studies office supported faculty and staff with instructional design services, media production services, academic technology tools and training, and continuing education/professional studies offerings. In March 2020, when UAB courses moved online in response to the pandemic, the eLearning team assisted faculty with course design and technology through online workshops and one-on-one assistance.

“Our eLearning and Professional Studies team developed a dynamic approach to helping students and faculty in the online learning environment. In partnership with talented faculty, this team designed quality face-to-face, hybrid and online courses and programs. The effort of the eLearning and Professional Studies team — and its collaboration with our dedicated faculty — was indicative of UAB’s efforts as a whole across our entire enterprise.”

– UAB Provost, Pam Benoit

“Our eLearning and Professional Studies team developed a dynamic approach to helping students and faculty in the online learning environment,” Benoit said. “In partnership with talented faculty, this team designed quality face-to-face, hybrid and online courses and programs. The effort of the eLearning and Professional Studies team — and its collaboration with our dedicated faculty — was indicative of UAB’s efforts as a whole across our entire enterprise.”

“We are fortunate to work with a faculty body so adept and creative,” said Pam Paustian, Ph.D., associate provost for Academic and Learning Technologies. “It was an incredible team effort based on a shared commitment to our students.”

In July, an Incident Command Committee was established to monitor data and how effective UAB was in implementing operational and safety strategies. “The idea was to bring together campus leaders with access to resources and people to address any areas where additional support may be needed,” said Katie Crenshaw, J.D., UAB chief risk and compliance officer, who chairs that committee.

UAB increased and promoted mental health resources, provided free personal protective equipment, made childcare options available to employees and subsidized it, made vaccines available to employees and the community within Alabama Department of Public Health guidelines, and made COVID-19 testing free and conveniently available to employees. The UAB-developed sentinel testing program developed with GuideSafe was also made available to other institutions across the state.

Ultimately, Watts says, UAB’s efforts saved lives and livelihoods.

“We have worked tirelessly to leverage our resources, expertise and talent and made a big difference in safeguarding the health of people and our economy,” Watts said. “It is incredibly humbling and gratifying to talk to people who continue to thank me for all UAB has done. It is equally gratifying to know the UAB family is proud of what we have all been able to do together for each other and our community.”


Our COVID year from UAB on Vimeo.

Photography and videography: Andrea Reiber, Laura Gasque, Jeff Myers, Carson Young, Andrea Mabry, Steve Wood, Lexi Coon and Amanda Chambers

UAB meets needs of campus, community, state and beyond during pandemic

(UAB/Contributed)

A day after the World Health Organization declared COVID-19 a global pandemic, the University of Alabama System made immediate plans to transition to online or alternative instruction and remote work at all three campuses. Gov. Kay Ivey declared a state of emergency, and UAB Hospital prepared patient surge plans and implemented visitor restrictions.

At the very onset of the pandemic, it was clear that historic levels of planning, preparation and collaboration would be critical to success, says UA System Chancellor Finis St. John. The UA System Office swiftly created an internal Health & Safety Task Force dedicated to ensuring the safe fulfillment of the System’s core mission of teaching, research and service. The Task Force, led by UAB medical experts, ultimately developed an operational return plan that became a national model for colleges, universities, corporations and nonprofit organizations.

“Our three campus communities and the employees of the UAB Health System proved throughout this challenging period that, while we are individually distinct, we are altogether stronger,” St. John said. “I am grateful for each person in the UA System and the guidance provided by our Board of Trustees, led by President pro tempore Stan Starnes and his predecessor, Ron Gray.”

2037

While uncertainty became the norm in 2020, one thing is certain: The University of Alabama at Birmingham and UAB Medicine were uniquely prepared to help their students, employees and patients, as well as the city, state, nation and beyond, get through the pandemic.

UAB — and its people — responded quickly, strategically and emphatically. The result: During the worst pandemic in more than a century, Alabama’s largest single employer expanded each area of its mission to advance education, research, innovation and economic development, patient care, and community service. UAB also set a record high for enrollment, improved its S&P financial outlook, and became Forbes’ Best Large Employer in the United States, topping the list of more than 500 public and private corporations, hospitals, universities and Fortune 500 companies across dozens of industries and ahead of the likes of Amazon, Google, Mayo Clinic, Microsoft, NASA, Netflix and Yale University.

What made Forbes’ recognition so meaningful, says UAB President Ray L. Watts, is that it is based largely on whether UAB employees would recommend UAB to friends and family. Forbes honored UAB again in April by naming the university and UAB Medicine No. 4 among America’s Best Employers for Diversity and did so a third time in May with its selection as the No. 4 Best Employer for New Graduates 2021, which made it the top ranking institution in education.

“More than a year ago, we didn’t know what impact the COVID pandemic would have on each of us and the many people we serve,” Watts said. “Those were frightening times, but we rolled up our sleeves and adapted. Throughout a difficult year, the perseverance of our people and their dedication to our vision, mission and values — with the unwavering leadership and support from University of Alabama System Chancellor St. John, the System Office team and the UA System Board of Trustees — have been extraordinary. And the results — what we have been able to do for the UAB community and our city, state and beyond — speak for themselves.”

Fulfilling the mission

The pandemic put UAB’s commitment to its mission and the communities it serves on full display.

“UAB has been an international leader in keeping the public safe and informed throughout the pandemic,” said School of Medicine Dean and Senior Vice President Selwyn Vickers. “We answered the call when our institution’s collective knowledge and expertise was needed more than ever. I can’t thank our people enough for working together so selflessly and demonstrating just how outstanding UAB is as an academic medical center and institution of higher learning.”

UAB launched the state’s first appointment-based mass community COVID testing site in conjunction with the Jefferson County Department of Health. Student and employees from across UAB helped the Alabama Department of Public Health with contact tracing, calling upward of 4,000 cases a month by December 2020.

UAB vaccinated its first person on Dec. 18, 2020, and eventually opened five community-based, mass vaccination sites. By May 2021, UAB had administered approximately 200,000 doses of the vaccine to residents in 62 of Alabama’s 67 counties.

.

 

“Every time a site is opened [and I’ve been there] it is this moment of realization that I am a part of hope in the big picture… We’re all in this together, and it’s very very meaningful that I get to be a part of the solution. ”
– Alex Morton

UAB’s Minority Health & Health Disparities Research Center worked with community leaders to reach out to educate underserved populations about the safety and efficacy of vaccinations. Those efforts, along with investing roughly $1.4 million a month to operate five community vaccine sites, including at Parker High School in downtown Birmingham, Cathedral of the Cross AOH church in Center Point and at the Hoover Met, enabled UAB to provide vaccines to racially diverse groups of Alabamians, far exceeding the national average of underserved populations vaccinated — bolstering Alabama’s effort.

The School of Medicine’s Fungal Reference Lab in the Department of Pathology has been a focal point for testing for the entire state throughout the pandemic. Because of the lab’s efforts, UAB was among the first academic medical centers in the country to offer in-house COVID-19 testing after it launched its own, extremely accurate laboratory-developed test in March 2020.

The lab, directed by Sixto M. Leal Jr., M.D., Ph.D., has been analyzing 100 COVID-positive samples a week for the Alabama Department of Public Health to help identify which variants are in Alabama. Leal’s lab also worked closely with UAB Hospital labs and private-sector biomedical companies to scale up and support the GuideSafe™ Entry Testing program in 2020. Free COVID-19 testing was made available to students at all Alabama colleges and universities in advance of the 2020 fall semester, resulting in the largest-scale higher-education testing initiative in the nation.

UAB research also played an important role. Remdesivir — widely used to treat COVID-19 — was developed through research conducted within the Antiviral Drug Discovery and Development Center, anchored at UAB. UAB was among the first U.S. sites chosen to conduct preclinical testing of an inhaled monoclonal antibody for COVID-19 that showed therapeutic efficacy in October. Monoclonal antibodies have been widely heralded for keeping high-risk patients out of the hospital and saving lives.

UAB researchers, led by Fran Lund, Ph.D., in collaboration with Altimmune, have found that a single intranasal dose of the COVID-19 vaccine candidate AdCOVID provides sterilizing immunity in the lungs of vaccinated animals. AdCOVID is currently in a Phase 1 clinical trial to test safety and immunogenicity in people, and Altimmune expects to report topline data in June.

  • Sixto Leal directs the UAB Department of Pathology Fungal Reference Lab which worked closely with UAB Hospital labs and private-sector biomedical companies to scale up and support the GuideSafe™ Entry Testing program. More than 75,000 students were tested, making it the largest-scale higher-education testing initiative in the nation. Leal’s lab also analyzes 100 random COVID samples a week for the ADPH and has identified all known variants in Alabama.

UAB offered testing, patient care, and administrative expertise and support to hospitals and health systems across the state, improving outcomes for many Alabamians struck by COVID-19. UAB experts also collaborated with and provided critical public health and infectious disease insights to local and state officials, and also took a lead role in an aggressive public information campaign to increase knowledge and safety. UAB experts kept a high public profile throughout the pandemic, as they were featured in constant local media coverage and thousands of appearances in national and international outlets.

UAB COVID-19 by the numbers

  • As of May 27, 2021, UAB has administered more than 207,000 vaccinations to residents in 62 of Alabama’s 67 counties.
  • To date, UAB has cared for 4,439 COVID patients in UAB Hospital.
  • UAB hosted 5 Vaccination sites.

The patient care demands of UAB Medicine have been significant. UAB Hospital admitted its first COVID-positive patient in March 2020, starting multiple waves of patient surges that continued to stress the system and its clinical care and support teams. Early in 2021, more than 30 percent of patients in UAB Hospital — one of the largest hospitals in the nation — were people with an active case of COVID-19 or those who had recovered from COVID-19 but were still too sick from complications to leave the hospital.

“Our employees overcame great challenges and pushed through personal and professional anxiety and exhaustion to provide world-class care to thousands of patients throughout the pandemic,” said UAB Medicine CEO Reid Jones. “We continued to innovate to best serve patients and really demonstrated why UAB is so vital to all Alabamians.”

A new multidisciplinary Post COVID Treatment Program was developed to help evaluate patients still experiencing COVID-19 symptoms more than three weeks after a positive test to help them find appropriate specialized care.

A team led by Sue Feldman, Ph.D., professor in UAB’s schools of Health Professions and Medicine, developed the daily Healthcheck tool and worked with Google and Apple to develop the GuideSafe exposure notification app made available to all Alabamians. The anonymous app was designed to alert users if they had been exposed to someone diagnosed with COVID-19.

“With the great challenges we were facing as a university and health system, it would have been easy to turn inward and just try to solve our own problems,” Watts said. “But that’s not who UAB is. Improving outcomes for all Alabamians is our mission and responsibility, and the pandemic showed just how much that’s in our DNA with the high-impact programs we undertook.”

Meeting the needs of students, faculty and staff

A key tenet of UAB’s positive momentum before the pandemic was a shared commitment to shared governance, which only strengthened as the university shifted to remote learning in March 2020.

Students, faculty and staff — from the undergraduate and graduate student government associations to the faculty senate and staff council — were invited at the request of President Watts and Provost Pam Benoit to share important insights in key committees and workgroups.

The dialogue led to new and enhanced resources that helped members of the campus community safely continue their education and jobs — from a robust e-learning platform to guide remote learning to processing grants and other crucial university business.

Prior to the pandemic, UAB’s eLearning and Professional Studies office supported faculty and staff with instructional design services, media production services, academic technology tools and training, and continuing education/professional studies offerings. In March 2020, when UAB courses moved online in response to the pandemic, the eLearning team assisted faculty with course design and technology through online workshops and one-on-one assistance.

“Our eLearning and Professional Studies team developed a dynamic approach to helping students and faculty in the online learning environment. In partnership with talented faculty, this team designed quality face-to-face, hybrid and online courses and programs. The effort of the eLearning and Professional Studies team — and its collaboration with our dedicated faculty — was indicative of UAB’s efforts as a whole across our entire enterprise.”

– UAB Provost, Pam Benoit

“Our eLearning and Professional Studies team developed a dynamic approach to helping students and faculty in the online learning environment,” Benoit said. “In partnership with talented faculty, this team designed quality face-to-face, hybrid and online courses and programs. The effort of the eLearning and Professional Studies team — and its collaboration with our dedicated faculty — was indicative of UAB’s efforts as a whole across our entire enterprise.”

“We are fortunate to work with a faculty body so adept and creative,” said Pam Paustian, Ph.D., associate provost for Academic and Learning Technologies. “It was an incredible team effort based on a shared commitment to our students.”

In July, an Incident Command Committee was established to monitor data and how effective UAB was in implementing operational and safety strategies. “The idea was to bring together campus leaders with access to resources and people to address any areas where additional support may be needed,” said Katie Crenshaw, J.D., UAB chief risk and compliance officer, who chairs that committee.

UAB increased and promoted mental health resources, provided free personal protective equipment, made childcare options available to employees and subsidized it, made vaccines available to employees and the community within Alabama Department of Public Health guidelines, and made COVID-19 testing free and conveniently available to employees. The UAB-developed sentinel testing program developed with GuideSafe was also made available to other institutions across the state.

Ultimately, Watts says, UAB’s efforts saved lives and livelihoods.

“We have worked tirelessly to leverage our resources, expertise and talent and made a big difference in safeguarding the health of people and our economy,” Watts said. “It is incredibly humbling and gratifying to talk to people who continue to thank me for all UAB has done. It is equally gratifying to know the UAB family is proud of what we have all been able to do together for each other and our community.”


Our COVID year from UAB on Vimeo.

Photography and videography: Andrea Reiber, Laura Gasque, Jeff Myers, Carson Young, Andrea Mabry, Steve Wood, Lexi Coon and Amanda Chambers

2 months ago

Beat the Alabama heat with cool summer décor

(@orlovamaria/Unsplash)

Alabama summers can be brutally hot and humid, but embracing summer décor can be an easy and inexpensive way to beat the heat. The goal is to incorporate nature-inspired colors, fabrics, and textures to either make you feel cooler or to embrace the sun’s vitality.

Here are some soon-to-be favorites to quickly transition your home for summer fun:

878

Color Is Everything

(@sidekix/Unsplash)

Changing colors doesn’t mean totally redoing your home’s color scheme. Your favorites can be moved from darker shades to lighter tints without the expense of replacing everything. A light palette of whites, creams, tans, blues, and greens suggests a cooler vibe. Accessories in these hues can easily cool down the feel of rooms you use most like a family room or bedrooms. White accents create a fresh, airy feel to rooms of almost any color. Think white throws and pillows to instantly lower the color temp.

Blues and greens – and all the tints in between – are both cooling and calming and pair well with today’s trend toward neutral furniture while suggesting a coastal or nautical look. Look for pillows and accessories in navy, sea glass, and seafoam to inspire thoughts of cool, clear water.

If you love the warmth of the summer sun, choose reds, oranges, hot pinks, and bright yellows to instantly brighten your neutral beiges and greys. Combining these sunny colors suggests summer favorites like beach umbrellas, flower gardens, and popsicles.

Textures

(@shop_slo/Unsplash)

The texture of surfaces touching your hands and feet plays a vital role in how you feel. It’s time to put away the faux fur throws and bring out the lightweight cottons, linens, and silks. Less heavy, but just as nap-worthy, a natural fabric throw will dress up your sofa or chair without making it look hot.

The same is true with bedding. Let your heavy comforter or duvet have the summer off and give your beds a minimalist look with a wispy coverlet, a bed runner at the foot of the bed for a color pop, and fewer decorative pillows. RealSimple suggests breathable sheets in linen or crisp percale for style without weight to make your sleeping quarters cool. Seersucker is a summer fabric favorite due to its natural puckering that allows increased air circulation and breathability. Usually available in cool stripes of white with pale blue, pink, or tan, look for seersucker pillow shams and coverlets to top off a summer bed.

Bare feet and summer are a natural combination, so consider natural fiber rugs like sisal, jute, and seagrass to add summer flair to your floors. You can find them in a variety of patterns, weaves, and border colors that are pretty and practical.

Baskets are a summer accessory that never goes out of style and incorporates texture through a wide variety of materials like bamboo, grass, willow, and wicker. On a shelf, tabletop, or hearth, hand-woven natural or painted baskets are both beautiful and useful. Baskets as wall décor – either plain or dressed with faux flowers and greenery – replace wreaths as an easy summer update.

Flowers

(lianamikah/Unsplash)

Take advantage of the bounty of summer with beautiful blooms from your garden or the grocery. Zinnias, coneflowers, and gladiolus grow well in our southern heat and are long-lasting in a pretty vase, decorative pitcher, or simple jar. HGTV suggests other low-maintenance cut flowers, many of which are inexpensive buys from your local supermarket. Alstroemeria is available in a variety of colors from creamy white to deep purple. With all cut flowers, fill a container with fresh water and re-cut the flower stems at a 45-degree angle under running water before arranging them in the container.

Miles away from the beach or lake shore, a clear turquoise vase with white and pale yellow blooms can transform a dark mantle or table into a little seaside retreat. For an ever-changing display, hang a deep basket with fresh flowers in small water-filled jars tucked inside. Keep in mind that smaller water containers will need to be refilled more often, but that’s an opportunity to replace the blooms as well.

Decor

(Hutomo Abrianto/Unsplash)

Changing your décor to reflect the season is easier than you think. Start with artwork. That painting or print that’s hung over the mantle for years needs a vacation, too. A soothing waterscape, dreamy abstract, or bright floral will create a summer look that’s simple to replace when thoughts turn to autumn and your usual artwork is rested.

Close your eyes and imagine walking barefoot across a cool marble floor when it’s sweltering outside. Feel cooler already? Achieve that feeling by replacing dark wood and metal décor with marble and colorful art glass accessories to brighten your tables and dressers. Every time you touch them you’ll feel a little cooler.

Summer is on your doorstep. Welcome it, because it will be gone before you know it!

Alabama REALTORS® is the largest statewide organization of real estate professionals and the official advocate of Alabama’s multifaceted real estate industry. Subscribe to our newsletter and stay up to date on real estate news in Alabama.

2 months ago

Beat the Alabama heat with cool summer décor

(@orlovamaria/Unsplash)

Alabama summers can be brutally hot and humid, but embracing summer décor can be an easy and inexpensive way to beat the heat. The goal is to incorporate nature-inspired colors, fabrics, and textures to either make you feel cooler or to embrace the sun’s vitality.

Here are some soon-to-be favorites to quickly transition your home for summer fun:

878

Color Is Everything

(@sidekix/Unsplash)

Changing colors doesn’t mean totally redoing your home’s color scheme. Your favorites can be moved from darker shades to lighter tints without the expense of replacing everything. A light palette of whites, creams, tans, blues, and greens suggests a cooler vibe. Accessories in these hues can easily cool down the feel of rooms you use most like a family room or bedrooms. White accents create a fresh, airy feel to rooms of almost any color. Think white throws and pillows to instantly lower the color temp.

Blues and greens – and all the tints in between – are both cooling and calming and pair well with today’s trend toward neutral furniture while suggesting a coastal or nautical look. Look for pillows and accessories in navy, sea glass, and seafoam to inspire thoughts of cool, clear water.

If you love the warmth of the summer sun, choose reds, oranges, hot pinks, and bright yellows to instantly brighten your neutral beiges and greys. Combining these sunny colors suggests summer favorites like beach umbrellas, flower gardens, and popsicles.

Textures

(@shop_slo/Unsplash)

The texture of surfaces touching your hands and feet plays a vital role in how you feel. It’s time to put away the faux fur throws and bring out the lightweight cottons, linens, and silks. Less heavy, but just as nap-worthy, a natural fabric throw will dress up your sofa or chair without making it look hot.

The same is true with bedding. Let your heavy comforter or duvet have the summer off and give your beds a minimalist look with a wispy coverlet, a bed runner at the foot of the bed for a color pop, and fewer decorative pillows. RealSimple suggests breathable sheets in linen or crisp percale for style without weight to make your sleeping quarters cool. Seersucker is a summer fabric favorite due to its natural puckering that allows increased air circulation and breathability. Usually available in cool stripes of white with pale blue, pink, or tan, look for seersucker pillow shams and coverlets to top off a summer bed.

Bare feet and summer are a natural combination, so consider natural fiber rugs like sisal, jute, and seagrass to add summer flair to your floors. You can find them in a variety of patterns, weaves, and border colors that are pretty and practical.

Baskets are a summer accessory that never goes out of style and incorporates texture through a wide variety of materials like bamboo, grass, willow, and wicker. On a shelf, tabletop, or hearth, hand-woven natural or painted baskets are both beautiful and useful. Baskets as wall décor – either plain or dressed with faux flowers and greenery – replace wreaths as an easy summer update.

Flowers

(lianamikah/Unsplash)

Take advantage of the bounty of summer with beautiful blooms from your garden or the grocery. Zinnias, coneflowers, and gladiolus grow well in our southern heat and are long-lasting in a pretty vase, decorative pitcher, or simple jar. HGTV suggests other low-maintenance cut flowers, many of which are inexpensive buys from your local supermarket. Alstroemeria is available in a variety of colors from creamy white to deep purple. With all cut flowers, fill a container with fresh water and re-cut the flower stems at a 45-degree angle under running water before arranging them in the container.

Miles away from the beach or lake shore, a clear turquoise vase with white and pale yellow blooms can transform a dark mantle or table into a little seaside retreat. For an ever-changing display, hang a deep basket with fresh flowers in small water-filled jars tucked inside. Keep in mind that smaller water containers will need to be refilled more often, but that’s an opportunity to replace the blooms as well.

Decor

(Hutomo Abrianto/Unsplash)

Changing your décor to reflect the season is easier than you think. Start with artwork. That painting or print that’s hung over the mantle for years needs a vacation, too. A soothing waterscape, dreamy abstract, or bright floral will create a summer look that’s simple to replace when thoughts turn to autumn and your usual artwork is rested.

Close your eyes and imagine walking barefoot across a cool marble floor when it’s sweltering outside. Feel cooler already? Achieve that feeling by replacing dark wood and metal décor with marble and colorful art glass accessories to brighten your tables and dressers. Every time you touch them you’ll feel a little cooler.

Summer is on your doorstep. Welcome it, because it will be gone before you know it!

Alabama REALTORS® is the largest statewide organization of real estate professionals and the official advocate of Alabama’s multifaceted real estate industry. Subscribe to our newsletter and stay up to date on real estate news in Alabama.

2 months ago

Beat the Alabama heat with cool summer décor

(@orlovamaria/Unsplash)

Alabama summers can be brutally hot and humid, but embracing summer décor can be an easy and inexpensive way to beat the heat. The goal is to incorporate nature-inspired colors, fabrics and textures to either make you feel cooler or to embrace the sun’s vitality.

Here are some soon-to-be favorites to quickly transition your home for summer fun:

889

Color Is Everything

(@sidekix/Unsplash)

Changing colors doesn’t mean totally redoing your home’s color scheme. Your favorites can be moved from darker shades to lighter tints without the expense of replacing everything. A light palette of whites, creams, tans, blues and greens suggests a cooler vibe. Accessories in these hues can easily cool down the feel of rooms you use most like a family room or bedrooms. White accents create a fresh, airy feel to rooms of almost any color. Think white throws and pillows to instantly lower the color temp.

Blues and greens – and all the tints in between – are both cooling and calming and pair well with today’s trend toward neutral furniture while suggesting a coastal or nautical look. Look for pillows and accessories in navy, sea glass and seafoam to inspire thoughts of cool, clear water.

If you love the warmth of the summer sun, choose reds, oranges, hot pinks and bright yellows to instantly brighten your neutral beiges and greys. Combining these sunny colors suggests summer favorites like beach umbrellas, flower gardens and popsicles.

Textures

(@shop_slo/Unsplash)

The texture of surfaces touching your hands and feet plays a vital role in how you feel. It’s time to put away the faux fur throws and bring out the lightweight cottons, linens and silks. Less heavy, but just as nap-worthy, a natural fabric throw will dress up your sofa or chair without making it look hot.

The same is true with bedding. Let your heavy comforter or duvet have the summer off and give your beds a minimalist look with a wispy coverlet, a bed runner at the foot of the bed for a color pop, and fewer decorative pillows. RealSimple suggests breathable sheets in linen or crisp percale for style without weight to make your sleeping quarters cool. Seersucker is a summer fabric favorite due to its natural puckering that allows increased air circulation and breathability. Usually available in cool stripes of white with pale blue, pink, or tan, look for seersucker pillow shams and coverlets to top off a summer bed.

Bare feet and summer are a natural combination, so consider natural fiber rugs like sisal, jute and seagrass to add summer flair to your floors. You can find them in a variety of patterns, weaves and border colors that are pretty and practical.

Baskets are a summer accessory that never goes out of style and incorporates texture through a wide variety of materials like bamboo, grass, willow and wicker. On a shelf, tabletop, or hearth, hand-woven natural or painted baskets are both beautiful and useful. Baskets as wall décor – either plain or dressed with faux flowers and greenery – replace wreaths as an easy summer update.

Flowers

(lianamikah/Unsplash)

Take advantage of the bounty of summer with beautiful blooms from your garden or the grocery. Zinnias, coneflowers and gladiolus grow well in our southern heat and are long-lasting in a pretty vase, decorative pitcher, or simple jar. HGTV suggests other low-maintenance cut flowers, many of which are inexpensive buys from your local supermarket. Alstroemeria is available in a variety of colors from creamy white to deep purple. With all cut flowers, fill a container with fresh water and re-cut the flower stems at a 45-degree angle under running water before arranging them in the container.

Miles away from the beach or lake shore, a clear turquoise vase with white and pale yellow blooms can transform a dark mantle or table into a little seaside retreat. For an ever-changing display, hang a deep basket with fresh flowers in small water-filled jars tucked inside. Keep in mind that smaller water containers will need to be refilled more often, but that’s an opportunity to replace the blooms as well.

Decor

(Hutomo Abrianto/Unsplash)

Changing your décor to reflect the season is easier than you think. Start with artwork. That painting or print that’s hung over the mantle for years needs a vacation, too. A soothing waterscape, dreamy abstract, or bright floral will create a summer look that’s simple to replace when thoughts turn to autumn and your usual artwork is rested.

Close your eyes and imagine walking barefoot across a cool marble floor when it’s sweltering outside. Feel cooler already? Achieve that feeling by replacing dark wood and metal décor with marble and colorful art glass accessories to brighten your tables and dressers. Every time you touch them you’ll feel a little cooler.

Summer is on your doorstep. Welcome it, because it will be gone before you know it!

Alabama REALTORS® is the largest statewide organization of real estate professionals and the official advocate of Alabama’s multifaceted real estate industry. Subscribe to our newsletter and stay up to date on real estate news in Alabama.

3 months ago

5 things to consider when upsizing your home

(Pixabay, YHN)

The past year has taught us a lot about how multi-faceted our homes can be. From housing our personal classrooms, offices, gyms, and our very own entertainment districts – there is a lot that can be happening at one time under our roof. When space starts to feel tight, the desire to upsize typically follows. Take into account these five things to ensure your next home remains a happy one.

Needs vs. wants
Start the upsizing journey by knowing the difference between needs and wants. A need is something that you really must-have, the aspects of a home that are essential to your family. Factors such as minimum bedrooms, bathrooms or square footage. Perhaps location is essential for work or school proximity. Make a list of what your next home must-have. Then consider the wants, or things that you might find beneficial. Being deliberate about your priorities will lay the foundation for your upsizing journey.

362


Take it slow

When it comes to homeownership, impulse buys are ill-advised. In Alabama’s real estate market, low inventory levels can create great urgency for buyers eager to pounce. Urgency doesn’t have to be a problem once potential buyers have taken the time to prioritize needs over wants and thoughtfully consider what the best next step in their home journey should include. As in most aspects of life, preparation is key to making the most of opportunities when they present themselves.

Size does matter, but why?
Often when the desire to upsize begins to move homeowners to consider larger options, size can be the only thing people focus on. Size does matter, but the purpose behind the upsizing matters more. Think through what exact types of spaces your current home is lacking, and more importantly, the purpose behind those spaces.  Is there a need for greater storage, more personal space, more room to gather, more room to work, more room to entertain? Start with the functional space you’re seeking, then make a list of exactly what you need more of and why.

Do the math
Larger home size typically equates to increased expenses. The most obvious is the associated mortgage payment, but homeowners should also gather information on a handful of other expenses to avoid surprises and ensure a larger home stays a happy home. Costs such as increased property tax payments, homeowners insurance, utilities, home repairs and upkeep, lawn maintenance and added costs of furnishings can all be estimated accurately and conservatively before upsizing options are considered.

Don’t neglect what you already have
Be sure to protect your current investment even when you’re focused on finding your dream home. Upsizing usually includes using the equity in the home you own now, so be sure to stay on top of routine maintenance and repairs. Keep your home in good condition to ensure top value for your sale.

Learn more about upsizing opportunities in your real estate market by contacting a REALTOR® today.

Alabama REALTORS® is the largest statewide organization of real estate professionals and the official advocate of Alabama’s multifaceted real estate industry. Subscribe to our newsletter and stay up to date on real estate news in Alabama.

3 months ago

5 things to consider when upsizing your home

(Pixabay, YHN)

The past year has taught us a lot about how multi-faceted our homes can be. From housing our personal classrooms, offices, gyms, and our very own entertainment districts – there is a lot that can be happening at one time under our roof. When space starts to feel tight, the desire to upsize typically follows. Take into account these five things to ensure your next home remains a happy one.

Needs vs. wants
Start the upsizing journey by knowing the difference between needs and wants. A need is something that you really must-have, the aspects of a home that are essential to your family. Factors such as minimum bedrooms, bathrooms or square footage. Perhaps location is essential for work or school proximity. Make a list of what your next home must-have. Then consider the wants, or things that you might find beneficial. Being deliberate about your priorities will lay the foundation for your upsizing journey.

362


Take it slow

When it comes to homeownership, impulse buys are ill-advised. In Alabama’s real estate market, low inventory levels can create great urgency for buyers eager to pounce. Urgency doesn’t have to be a problem once potential buyers have taken the time to prioritize needs over wants and thoughtfully consider what the best next step in their home journey should include. As in most aspects of life, preparation is key to making the most of opportunities when they present themselves.

Size does matter, but why?
Often when the desire to upsize begins to move homeowners to consider larger options, size can be the only thing people focus on. Size does matter, but the purpose behind the upsizing matters more. Think through what exact types of spaces your current home is lacking, and more importantly, the purpose behind those spaces.  Is there a need for greater storage, more personal space, more room to gather, more room to work, more room to entertain? Start with the functional space you’re seeking, then make a list of exactly what you need more of and why.

Do the math
Larger home size typically equates to increased expenses. The most obvious is the associated mortgage payment, but homeowners should also gather information on a handful of other expenses to avoid surprises and ensure a larger home stays a happy home. Costs such as increased property tax payments, homeowners insurance, utilities, home repairs and upkeep, lawn maintenance and added costs of furnishings can all be estimated accurately and conservatively before upsizing options are considered.

Don’t neglect what you already have
Be sure to protect your current investment even when you’re focused on finding your dream home. Upsizing usually includes using the equity in the home you own now, so be sure to stay on top of routine maintenance and repairs. Keep your home in good condition to ensure top value for your sale.

Learn more about upsizing opportunities in your real estate market by contacting a REALTOR® today.

Alabama REALTORS® is the largest statewide organization of real estate professionals and the official advocate of Alabama’s multifaceted real estate industry. Subscribe to our newsletter and stay up to date on real estate news in Alabama.

3 months ago

5 things to consider when upsizing your home

(Pixabay, YHN)

The past year has taught us a lot about how multi-faceted our homes can be. From housing our personal classrooms, offices, gyms, and our very own entertainment districts – there is a lot that can be happening at one time under our roof. When space starts to feel tight, the desire to upsize typically follows. Take into account these five things to ensure your next home remains a happy one.

Needs vs. wants
Start the upsizing journey by knowing the difference between needs and wants. A need is something that you really must-have, the aspects of a home that are essential to your family. Factors such as minimum bedrooms, bathrooms or square footage. Perhaps location is essential for work or school proximity. Make a list of what your next home must-have. Then consider the wants, or things that you might find beneficial. Being deliberate about your priorities will lay the foundation for your upsizing journey.

362


Take it slow

When it comes to homeownership, impulse buys are ill-advised. In Alabama’s real estate market, low inventory levels can create great urgency for buyers eager to pounce. Urgency doesn’t have to be a problem once potential buyers have taken the time to prioritize needs over wants and thoughtfully consider what the best next step in their home journey should include. As in most aspects of life, preparation is key to making the most of opportunities when they present themselves.

Size does matter, but why?
Often when the desire to upsize begins to move homeowners to consider larger options, size can be the only thing people focus on. Size does matter, but the purpose behind the upsizing matters more. Think through what exact types of spaces your current home is lacking, and more importantly, the purpose behind those spaces.  Is there a need for greater storage, more personal space, more room to gather, more room to work, more room to entertain? Start with the functional space you’re seeking, then make a list of exactly what you need more of and why.

Do the math
Larger home size typically equates to increased expenses. The most obvious is the associated mortgage payment, but homeowners should also gather information on a handful of other expenses to avoid surprises and ensure a larger home stays a happy home. Costs such as increased property tax payments, homeowners insurance, utilities, home repairs and upkeep, lawn maintenance and added costs of furnishings can all be estimated accurately and conservatively before upsizing options are considered.

Don’t neglect what you already have
Be sure to protect your current investment even when you’re focused on finding your dream home. Upsizing usually includes using the equity in the home you own now, so be sure to stay on top of routine maintenance and repairs. Keep your home in good condition to ensure top value for your sale.

Learn more about upsizing opportunities in your real estate market by contacting a REALTOR® today.

Alabama REALTORS® is the largest statewide organization of real estate professionals and the official advocate of Alabama’s multifaceted real estate industry. Subscribe to our newsletter and stay up to date on real estate news in Alabama.

Economic optimism on the rise as Alabama’s business community bounces back

(YHN)

Not only is light at the end of the tunnel, but the sun is shining on Alabama’s business community.

Alabama businesses are actively hiring as the unemployment rate continues to drop and economic optimism rebounds. Our state is poised for a robust recovery from the pandemic — with the best days ahead.

The state’s unemployment rate has fallen each month this year and is quickly approaching the historic lows enjoyed before the COVID-19 pandemic shook the nation last spring.

“Not only is the unemployment rate dropping, but businesses are actively hiring,” said Business Council of Alabama President and CEO Katie Boyd Britt.  “Alabama truly is open for business, and we have a lot of reason for optimism moving forward.”

263

According to the latest data, both metropolitan and micropolitan areas have seen significant declines in joblessness in recent months. For many employers, the task now is finding qualified, willing workers for vacant positions.

Currently, there are over 66,500 job openings in Alabama, and many employers predict their workforce needs to continue to increase.

“Chamber of commerce members throughout the state have indicated immediate hiring needs as well as planned employment increases throughout the remainder of 2021,” stated Chamber of Commerce Association of Alabama (CCAA) President and CEO Paige Hutto. “CCAA represents our “boots on the ground” local chambers and through them we know that their members are actively looking for qualified workers. Through our partnership with the Business Council of Alabama, we are working with state and local leaders to assist our members with the resources they need for continued growth.”

“BCA is proud to continue offering unparalleled support and resources for our member businesses as they look to put the pandemic in the rear view mirror,” added Britt. “From advocating for pro-jobs policies to delivering innovative tools, the forward-thinking team at BCA is thrilled to help foster a climate in which businesses of all sizes and sectors can thrive far into the future.”

BCA is firmly committed to continuing to offer unmatched expertise and assistance to Alabama businesses. Visit our website to learn more about what BCA can do for you.

The Business Council of Alabama is the state’s largest business association representing nearly one million working Alabamians to ensure that businesses of all sizes can grow and flourish in our state.

As workforce demands surge, ACCS delivers solutions to meet business needs

(YHN)

With the lowest unemployment in the Southeast, Alabama’s workforce demands continue to grow. Job creators all over the state are working diligently to hire and train new employees as their workforce needs surge.

What is great news for the booming Alabama economy also creates new challenges for employers seeking skilled job applicants.

The Alabama Community College System has successfully created a program to meet this challenge.

398

“Across Alabama, the demand for short-term, customized, non-credit training for business and industry continues to exceed the state’s current training capacity,” said Alabama Community College System Chancellor Jimmy H. Baker. “Alabama’s community colleges across the state are at the table with business and industry leaders to identify solutions to the state’s workforce needs.”

Alabama’s community colleges have served hundreds of companies with non-credit training programs and job attainment skill delivery. But there is more work to be done when it comes to fulfilling Alabama industry’s workforce preparedness needs.

That’s why ACCS has developed Regional Rapid Training Centers (RRTCs) in strategic locations across the state.

RRTCs will focus on rapid, industry-required, non-credit training determined by the region’s workforce needs.

Expanding this needed training will also help the state more easily meet its attainment goal of adding 500,000 newly credentialed employees to the workforce by 2025.

Successfully meeting a need
To find an example of a solution-based approach, look no further than the Heavy Equipment Operator program at Jefferson State Community College.

Conversations with industry leaders identified that often new equipment operators took up to two weeks of on-the-job training to learn basic operations before being able to learn company-specific skills.  With industry leaders at the table helping to design curriculum, the Heavy Equipment Operator program was customized to ensure students completing the program would enter the job market with mastery of basic safety and operation skills in addition to 8 hours of ‘seat time’ or actual operation time with the equipment.

“The Heavy Equipment Operator program at Jefferson State is a prime example of identifying a need and working with industry to address it in a timely manner through a short-term training solution yielding qualified, certified students who are ready to work on day one,” said Baker.

Demand for more
Job-seeking Alabamians have a myriad of options when searching for a well-paying career, but industry-recognized credentials are often necessary for high-demand occupations.  Short-term, trade-specific training can open employment options for job seekers in a matter of weeks.

Rapid, customizable training can be used to up-skill Alabamians as well as re-train those who have lost their jobs.  The workforce demands of business and industry are dependent upon the future growth of training solutions that work.

Alabama’s community colleges will continue to partner with private sector employers to ensure Alabama can meet its workforce goals. Funding and support for short-term, industry-specific training is vital for the current and future growth of Alabama’s economy.

As workforce demands surge, ACCS delivers solutions to meet business needs

(YHN)

With the lowest unemployment in the Southeast, Alabama’s workforce demands continue to grow. Job creators all over the state are working diligently to hire and train new employees as their workforce needs surge.

What is great news for the booming Alabama economy also creates new challenges for employers seeking skilled job applicants.

The Alabama Community College System has successfully created a program to meet this challenge.

398

“Across Alabama, the demand for short-term, customized, non-credit training for business and industry continues to exceed the state’s current training capacity,” said Alabama Community College System Chancellor Jimmy H. Baker. “Alabama’s community colleges across the state are at the table with business and industry leaders to identify solutions to the state’s workforce needs.”

Alabama’s community colleges have served hundreds of companies with non-credit training programs and job attainment skill delivery. But there is more work to be done when it comes to fulfilling Alabama industry’s workforce preparedness needs.

That’s why ACCS has developed Regional Rapid Training Centers (RRTCs) in strategic locations across the state.

RRTCs will focus on rapid, industry-required, non-credit training determined by the region’s workforce needs.

Expanding this needed training will also help the state more easily meet its attainment goal of adding 500,000 newly credentialed employees to the workforce by 2025.

Successfully meeting a need
To find an example of a solution-based approach, look no further than the Heavy Equipment Operator program at Jefferson State Community College.

Conversations with industry leaders identified that often new equipment operators took up to two weeks of on-the-job training to learn basic operations before being able to learn company-specific skills.  With industry leaders at the table helping to design curriculum, the Heavy Equipment Operator program was customized to ensure students completing the program would enter the job market with mastery of basic safety and operation skills in addition to 8 hours of ‘seat time’ or actual operation time with the equipment.

“The Heavy Equipment Operator program at Jefferson State is a prime example of identifying a need and working with industry to address it in a timely manner through a short-term training solution yielding qualified, certified students who are ready to work on day one,” said Baker.

Demand for more
Job-seeking Alabamians have a myriad of options when searching for a well-paying career, but industry-recognized credentials are often necessary for high-demand occupations.  Short-term, trade-specific training can open employment options for job seekers in a matter of weeks.

Rapid, customizable training can be used to up-skill Alabamians as well as re-train those who have lost their jobs.  The workforce demands of business and industry are dependent upon the future growth of training solutions that work.

Alabama’s community colleges will continue to partner with private sector employers to ensure Alabama can meet its workforce goals. Funding and support for short-term, industry-specific training is vital for the current and future growth of Alabama’s economy.