• Children's of Alabama



Child Safety





Despite numerous public awareness campaigns on properly restraining children in motor vehicles and thousands of newly certified child passenger safety technicians nationwide, many children still ride unrestrained. Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of unintentional injury-related death among children age 19 and younger. Children’s of Alabama and its Safe Kids Alabama program offer a toll-free number that lists upcoming local child passenger checkup events in English and Spanish. When calling 1-800-441-1888, parents and caregivers can find out when and where a car seat checkup event is planned in their area. Parents and caregivers can also order a free video and brochure containing lifesaving child passenger safety information. Other Children’s-led initiatives include:

Car Seat Clinic: Children’s hosts a bi-weekly Car Seat Clinic to educate the general public. Attendees are educated about their personal car seat. Car seats are distributed to low-income families and checked for correct installation, weight and age limits, recall information and more.

Children’s is a presence at various health fairs and community events where staff provides child passenger safety education and information. Children’s provides booster seats at select events for appropriate age and weight children as grants allow.

Speaker Presentations: Speaker presentations are available by request, typically for the Department of Human Resources (transporters/foster parents), Head Start programs, elementary schools and other agencies that care for or transport children.

Special thanks to Alabama Department of Public Health, Alabama Department of Transportation, Kohl’s Cares




The Safe Kids Alabama Teen Driving Program includes events such as UR KEYS 2 DRV, which hosted one-day seminars in Cullman, Orange Beach, York and Dothan in 2018. The keynote speaker at each event was Mike Lutzenkirchen, executive director of the Lutzie 43 Foundation, an organization he established in honor of his son. Philip Lutzenkirchen, a former Auburn University football player, was a passenger in a fatal car crash in which alcohol played a role. Students also attended breakout sessions focused on helping teens become safer drivers and passengers.


Children’s also hosts an annual one-day teen driving education event at Trussville Playstation, where a select group of high school students learn about teen driving safety via go-carts, driving simulators, games and lectures. Lunch is provided for students, and Children’s reimburses each participating school for a teacher, bus driver and gas money for bus transportation.


Special thanks to the Alabama Civil Justice Foundation, the Alabama Department of Public Health, the Alabama Department of Transportation, the Alabama Sports Festival Foundation, Drive Safe Alabama, Honda Manufacturing of Alabama, the Injury Free Coalition for Kids, Mothers Against Drunk Driving and State Farm




Every public middle, junior and senior high school in Alabama is now equipped with at least one automated external defibrillator (AED) thanks in large part to Alabama LifeStart and Children’s of Alabama. Nationwide, thousands of high school age children die from sudden cardiac arrest each year and only 5 to 10 percent survive without immediate treatment. An AED can increase the survival rate to 50 percent. A grant from Children’s of Alabama funded the pilot program that was conducted in the Black Belt, where there was a high concentration of schools lacking AEDs. Cris Brown, alongside Yung Lau, M.D., and Barbara Mostella of the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) and Children’s have managed the program since its inception. The program has also awarded schools the title of “Heart-Safe School” for having successfully incorporated AED training into their student health or physical education curriculum.


Special thanks to Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Alabama




The Trauma Prevention Program is a one-day educational experience for adolescents with minor driving offenses or who have committed a misdemeanor offense, such as reckless driving or driving under the influence. A joint effort between Children’s Trauma Services and the Jefferson County District Court, the program illustrates the consequences of risky behavior and educates participants about avoiding such risks in the future via better decision-making. Participants receive information about the effects of drugs and alcohol on their physical and mental capabilities, as well as the most common injuries from motor vehicle accidents. Participants also witness a “trauma code” demonstration by Children’s Pediatric Simulation Center.




ThinkFirst is a National Injury Prevention Foundation dedicated to preventing brain, spinal cord and other traumatic injuries through the education of individuals, community leaders and creators of public policy. ThinkFirst presents programs to people of all ages of how risk-taking behavior and poor decisions can lead to devastating consequences. A key component of the program is Voices of Injury Prevention (VIPs). VIPs are brain and spinal cord injury survivors who share their motivating stories about how their injury has affected their lives.


Special thanks to Kohl’s Cares




Each year, Birmingham City Schools students participate in a “walking school bus” in celebration of National Walk to School Day in October. The event, which is one of over 5,000 events to take place nationwide, emphasizes the importance of safe routes to school and routine physical activity. The coalition of groups participating in Walk to School Day included Hemphill Elementary School, United Way of Central Alabama, Children’s of Alabama and Alabama Partners for Clean Air.







In 1984, the state of Alabama mandated all public school students in fifth through ninth grades (ages 10 to 14) be screened for scoliosis for early detection and treatment. Children’s of Alabama offers a Scoliosis School Screening Program coordinated by Angela Doctor, BSN, RN, CPN. The program screens 35,000 to 40,000 students annually in 17 counties. With early detection and proper treatment, people with scoliosis can lead healthy, active lives.




The Pediatric Asthma Program at Children’s of Alabama provides ongoing asthma education to the community at large to help manage care and treatment of children with the inflammatory lung disease. There is no cure for asthma, and it is the most common chronic disease of childhood, affecting over 7 million children (one in 11) in the U.S. It is also a leading cause of missed school days, hospitalizations and emergency room visits.

The Asthma Team at Children’s works to limit the effects of the disease and ensure it is well controlled in patients. Education to childcare centers, individual families, the Alabama Department of Human Resources, and community health and wellness fairs focus on asthma basics, triggers and medicines. Thousands of Children’s “Guide to Asthma” booklets in both English and Spanish have been distributed in recent years and include an asthma action plan and additional educational materials to help doctors and families work together to control flare-ups.

In addition, tens of thousands of paper fans containing asthma education information have been distributed at dozens of community events and health and wellness fairs. The Asthma Team also participates annually in the City of Birmingham’s Take a Child to the Doctor Day at the start of each school year, providing free asthma spacers to children in need thanks to generous hospital medical providers, as well as vital educational information to parents and guardians.




Representatives from Children’s of Alabama, the Alabama Department of Public Health, the Jefferson County Department of Health and Jefferson County Schools observe National Kick Butts Day, a day of activism that exists to encourage children to live tobacco-free lives and encourage the community to protect children from tobacco. “In my practice, I see children hospitalized with diseases such as asthma, RSV, bronchiolitis and pneumonia that are caused and worsened by tobacco use and secondhand smoke exposure. I talk to parents on a daily basis who want to quit smoking to improve their child’s health. At Children’s, we support parents who want to quit, but even more importantly, we want to prevent youth in Alabama from starting to use tobacco products, including electronic cigarettes,” said Dr. Susan Walley, associate professor of pediatrics at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) and pediatric hospitalist at Children’s. “That’s why we are working with partners in the community and public health advocates. Effective ways local and state officials have protected young people from tobacco include the funding of tobacco prevention programs, the increase of tobacco taxes and passage of comprehensive smoke-free laws to reduce exposure to secondhand smoke.”




Body Trek is an interactive educational program provided by Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Alabama and Children’s of Alabama. It is a freestanding mobile unit that travels to elementary schools within a 55-mile radius of downtown Birmingham. Body Trek’s mission is to provide children a learning experience that will help them to make positive health choices now and in the future. The program uses interactive hands-on activities that make learning about good health and making healthy choices interesting and fun. There is no cost for the program.




2018 saw the continued growth of Girlology and Guyology programming at Children’s of Alabama. These nationally recognized programs offer medically accurate, age-appropriate puberty education for children and parents delivered with cringe-free candor. Children’s believes these conversations create a foundation that keeps lines of communication open between parents, guardians and kids as adolescents grow into young adults. New courses were added to the curriculum and featured pediatricians Stephenie Wallace, M.D., Amy McCollum, M.D., and Jeff Stone, M,D. More than 100 adolescent boys and girls attended programs with a parent or guardian. Topics range from self-confidence, body image and social media to risk-taking, relationships and decision-making. Girlology was founded by Melisa Holmes, M.D., an obstetrician-gynecologist and mom of three, and Trish Hutchison, M.D., FAAP, a pediatrician and mom of two, out of a belief that kids need information, and parents need help starting conversations about puberty.




Thanks to the support of the United Way of Central Alabama, the community and client donations, the Amelia Center at Children’s of Alabama provides grief counseling services to families at no cost. The Amelia Center staff has grown from two part-time employees to five full-time therapists, two full-time office personnel and two interns. Approximately 1,100 individuals representing 400 families seek counseling at the Amelia Center each year.




The Children’s Hospital Intervention and Prevention Services (CHIPS) Center promotes health and healing for those affected by suspected child abuse and neglect. An outpatient center at Children’s of Alabama since 1995, CHIPS is staffed by team of specially trained licensed professional counselors, doctors, social workers and sexual assault nurse examiners (SANE). CHIPS provides forensic medical evaluations, social work support services, counseling services and prevention education services.


Special thanks to Jane Comer, Log-A-Load For Kids - Alabama Forestry Association, Russ and Cam Still




Children’s of Alabama and the Anne B. LaRussa Foundation of Hope established the Psychiatric Intake Response Center (PIRC) in March 2018. The PIRC, one of three services of its kind in the U.S., aims to help patients, families and providers better navigate the mental health care system. Licensed mental health clinicians, via telephone or in person, assess a child or adolescent’s mental, emotional and behavioral needs, and match patients and their families with mental health services and providers. Anyone with a mental health question or concern regarding a child of adolescent is encouraged to contact the PIRC at (205) 638-PIRC (7472). The PIRC is open seven days a week, year-round from 8 a.m. to 11 p.m.




In coordination with the City of Birmingham Division of Youth Services, Children’s takes part in Take a Child to the Doctor Day at the YMCA Youth Center in downtown Birmingham each fall. Various screenings, booths and injury and illness topics are presented to hundreds of youth and families in attendance.




Children’s attends and presents at numerous health and wellness fairs throughout the year, ranging from church-sponsored fairs to large events such as Babypalooza, Party with a Purpose, Fiesta and the Special Needs Expo. A variety of topics are covered at these events, and Children’s offers thousands of giveaways, among them storm safety bags, booster seats, asthma management devices and small healthcare items.




Children’s supplies athletic trainers for all Birmingham City high school football teams and conducts sports screenings as well.







More than 600 school nurses from across Alabama attended four summer workshops hosted by Children’s. The workshops are designed to help nurses prepare for new advancements in the care of illnesses, injuries and other health challenges they encounter among students. Children’s partners with the Alabama Board of Nursing and the Alabama Department of Education to ensure that the topics and skills are relevant and essential to the nurses in the state. Vaping, concussion, diabetes, and allergies and epi pens were among the various topics discussed in 2018. In addition to summer workshops, Children’s has co-hosted two high acuity skills workshops at Auburn University at Montgomery and at the University of Alabama at Huntsville. Both workshops provided education and skills practice to nurses who take care of students with specific needs. Fifty nurses attended each workshop, where Children’s clinical experts provided individual instruction and practice time. Future plans include two offsite skills workshops a year.




Children’s Communication Healthcare Education Simulation (COACHES) program trains community healthcare providers treating pediatric patients at their respective hospitals. A pediatric simulation outreach team comprised of Chrystal Rutledge, M.D.; Kristen Waddell, CRNP; Stacy Gaither, RN, BSN; and Adria Whitfield, AA, travel to hospitals across the state using state-of-the-art simulation mannequins and equipment to train hospital staffs.


Special thanks to Dr. Joseph B. and Cornelia B. LaRussa




Children’s of Alabama Sports Medicine and UAB hosted its fifth annual Concussion Summit in 2018. The day-long conference is open to the public and includes presentations of interest to healthcare providers, school system leadership and staff, professional and recreational coaches, athletic trainers and parents. This year’s keynote speaker was Christina L. Master, M.D., CAQSM, professor of clinical pediatrics at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. Her session was titled, “Minds Matter: Seeing Concussion Through New Eyes.” Additional topics discussed included concussion detection and care, impact of concussions on the family from diagnosis to recovery, Alabama law on concussion and head injury in youth sports and how to implement a return-to-learn protocol. Motion Medical, Encore Rehab and NeuroEdge Technologies were the event sponsors.







The Lutzie 43 Foundation is the 2018 recipient of the Dearth Advocacy Award, an initiative established by Children’s of Alabama in the early 2000s to honor the memory and advocacy work of former Children’s president and CEO Jim Dearth, M.D. The Lutzie 43 Foundation, founded in 2014 in memory of the late Auburn University football player Philip Lutzenkirchen, encourages and empowers young people to be positive ambassadors for safe driving through character development, mentorship and real-world application. Lutzenkirchen was killed as a passenger in a single-vehicle accident that involved drunk driving, excessive speeding and lack of seatbelts. In his honor, the Lutzie 43 Foundation launched its 43 Key Seconds initiative to inspire everyone, especially young people, to stop and prioritize both their safety and the safety of others before driving. Past recipients of the Dearth Advocacy Award include AlaQuest Collaborative for Education, VOICES for Alabama’s Children, Reach Out and Read, Jones Valley Teaching Farm, Alabama LifeStart, Girls on the Run and Teen Trauma.

Medical & Allied Health Professional Training



  • A child’s care doesn’t solely depend on skilled nurses and physicians. It is also dependent on a team of professionals who are dedicated to providing the excellent care that every patient deserves. Children’s is committed to providing the highest quality health professional training and education in the region. Training allows all Children’s physicians, nursing and medical professional staff to learn about the current advances in their respective field, new innovations in medical research and treatment, and the latest in best practices for patient care and satisfaction. In addition, the Children’s Hospitals Graduate Medical Education program provides direct financial support to children’s hospitals to train medical residents and fellows. Children’s employs many types of allied health and other healthcare professionals, including pharmacists, physical therapists, occupational therapists, speech and hearing therapists, and social workers.