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Leaving a Legacy in Health Services Administration

Carol and Myron Fottler

Carol and Myron Fottler

It has been 19 years since Myron D. Fottler, Ph.D., served as director for the Doctor of Philosophy Administration-Health Services program with the UAB School of Health Professions’ Department of Health Services of Administration.

But the program still means a great deal to him—so much so, that he and his late wife, Carol A. Fottler, established its first support fund in 2017. The Myron D. and Carol A. Fottler Endowed Support Fund provides assistance to doctorate students with tuition, travel fees associated with professional development and costs associated with publishing as a sole author or first author.

Fottler is well aware that funding opportunities for graduate students don’t always last for the entire time it takes to get a doctorate. For that reason, the couple wanted to offer support that could help close that financial gap for doctoral students toward the end of their research. He also wanted to ensure that students would be able to attend conferences and be able to publish their work.

“There are many costs associated with an education beyond tuition, and we wanted to make sure those costs would not inhibit a student from gaining the foundation that goes with professional development or the confidence that goes with authoring a paper,” Fottler says. “That is why we established the scholarship.”

Fottler notes that another reason he has chosen to give to UAB is the meaningful relationships he has maintained over the years with colleagues and students alike. He has enjoyed being able to see those people develop throughout their careers.

“I think we achieved a lot,” he reflects. “While I was there, I encouraged students in the program to go to professional meetings and academic conferences and also to publish. Many did, and they have continued to do it throughout their lives.”

Shortly after the School of Health Professions’ scholarship luncheon in May 2017, which the couple attended together after establishing the fund, Carol Fottler passed away after a long battle with breast cancer. “She knew the students as well as I did,” Fottler says. “We had an annual Ph.D. student party, and so she hosted the students and was also part of the program.”

Now, Fottler has decided to include UAB in his estate plan to ensure that the fund continues to support the program for years to come.

“UAB gave me my first opportunity as a Ph.D. program director and played such a large role in my career that I wanted to give back to the program that gave me so much,” he says.

Larry Hearld, current director for the doctoral program, says the impact of the Fottlers’ gift is two-fold for the Department of Health Services Administration.

“As the first endowed scholarship for the doctorate program, it underscores the value and commitment our department has to training the next generation of health-care management scholars and how Myron and Carol [Fottler] share that vision,” he says. “We hope the Fottlers’ generosity will be a catalyst and an example for others who share that vision. Second, the scholarship has had an immediate impact on the two initial recipients by recognizing the hard work they have put forth to date on their studies and has allowed them to showcase their work at national conferences.”

The first award recipient was Justin Lord, a candidate whose research focuses on the financial performance of U.S. nursing homes. Lord credits Dr. Fottler with establishing a culture of mentoring students that still exists in the program today. The program has provided Lord with opportunities he couldn’t imagine, and he is grateful to Dr. Fottler for his “vested interest in the success of doctoral students in this program”. 

Randyl Cochran

Randyl Cochran, 2018 recipient of the Myron D. and Carol A. Fottler Endowed Support Fund

Randyl Cochran, a student in the program, is the 2018 recipient of the award. She plans to use the scholarship to pay for travel required for the completion of her dissertation, which focuses on how the exchange of behavioral health information can impact patient outcomes.

“It’s clear that [Fottler] is truly invested in the success of students, and I hope that in the future I am able to follow his example,” she says.

Fottler’s decision to leave UAB in his estate plan will enhance his legacy and allow him to continue to make an impact on the lives of students at UAB in perpetuity.

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