Category: People

UA Professor Receives Distinguished Educator Award from National Rural Health Association

May 2007

Dr. John R. Wheat, professor of community and rural medicine at The University of Alabama College of Community Health Sciences and School of Medicine, recently received the Distinguished Educator Award from the National Rural Health Association.

Wheat was selected for this award because he designed, implemented and directs UA's Rural Health Leaders Pipeline. This pipeline is a multi-faceted sequence of programs that enrolls students from rural Alabama into studies that prepare them to become rural physicians or other health professionals.

The pipeline includes the Rural Health Scholars, the Rural Medical Scholars and the Minority Rural Health Scholars programs. These programs recruit students from among underserved rural populations, including a focus on minority populations in Alabama's Black Belt region; provide enrichment activities during high school and college, and administer a special track of entry and education in medical school, emphasizing agricultural and rural health leadership and family practice.

Each year about 25 high school Rural Health Scholars, 15 college-level Minority Rural Health Scholars, and 10 Rural Medical Scholars are added to these programs.

In support of the nomination, Gov. Bob Riley said in his letter of recommendation: "Dr. Wheat's leadership and expertise have helped the Commission to make a real difference in the lives of citizens in Alabama's Black Belt. From grassroots initiatives to health policy issues, Dr. Wheat is a true leader in our state and is a great spokesman for all rural citizens."

Wheat remains active in clinical practice and teaching in pre-professional, professional and postgraduate interdisciplinary health profession education in psychology, social work, nursing and medicine.

Wheat's academic interests revolve around vulnerable and underserved rural populations, e.g. preventive and agricultural medicine for the farming community; insurance and health care systems for uninsured rural children; and educational and community developments needed for rural practice.

The University of Alabama, a student-centered research university, is in the midst of planned, steady enrollment growth with a goal of reaching 28,000 students by 2010. This growth, which is positively impacting the campus and the state’s economy, is in keeping with UA’s vision to be the university of choice for the best and brightest students. UA, the
state’s flagship university, is an academic community united in its commitment to enhancing the quality of life for all Alabamians.

Ed Mullins Receives Special Achievement in Journalism Award from Auburn University

April 6, 2007

Retired UA Journalism professor, Ed Mullins, received Auburn University's Distinguished Special Achievement in Journalism Award in April 2007.
Retired UA Journalism professor, Ed Mullins, received Auburn University’s Distinguished Special Achievement in Journalism Award in April 2007.

Dr. Ed Mullins, retired journalism professor and volunteer associate at the Center for Community-Based Partnerships, received the 2007 Distinguished Special Achievement in Journalism Award from Auburn University’s Journalism Advisory Council at an awards luncheon at the AU Conference Center on April 6.

Mullins is a former dean of the College of Communication and Information Sciences, which he led to national prominence from 1983-2006. He continues to serve the University as an instructor in the Knight Fellows Teaching Newspaper program at The Anniston Star and as a volunteer for various community projects.

The award cites Mullins’ work in community journalism at both the UA campus and at The Star and his work as a founder of Alabama Center for Open Government. He was also recognized for more than 30 years as a journalism educator and administrator.

Carrollton native Roy Bain, former journalist at the St. Petersburg Times and former adjunct journalism faculty member at the University when Mullins was chair of the department, is chair of the AU Advisory Council’s Honors Committee which presents the annual awards.

“Dr. Mullins fully represents what the Distinguished Special Achievement in Journalism award intends to recognize: a distinguished career that supports, enhances and beneficially influences the practice of journalism in Alabama,” said Bain. “He has been a force in Alabama journalism for 30 years, and in particular in Community journalism and in statewide journalism leadership. He has been a trend setter for our state. He richly deserves this award and his recognition raises the bar by which future recipients will be evaluated.”

“I am honored to be recognized by Auburn’s journalism program,” Mullins said. “My father, one of my brothers and many of my nieces and nephews are graduates of Auburn, and over the years I have worked with many AU journalism faculty ““ taught a few of them, in fact ““ in the press association and in open government work.”

As a volunteer with the Center for Community-Based Partnerships, Mullins works with students who extend their classroom experience by conducting research and working as community journalists in Alabama’s Black Belt.