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UAB launches crowdfunding platform

posted Nov 12, 2014, 12:55 AM by J Shaw   [ updated Nov 12, 2014, 12:57 AM ]
The University of Alabama at Birmingham has launched a new crowdfunding platform to help faculty, staff and students secure financial support for special projects.

“There has been growing interest across the university for special projects and for ways to generate support needed to further fuel efforts to change lives in a variety of ways,” said Randy Kinder, senior director of annual giving and project manager. Crowdfunding at UAB is a vehicle that allows project creators and those with a desire to give to have a collective impact on our community.”

Anyone with a solution to a genuine need or problem can apply for a crowdfunding project. The team will launch a project page explaining their goals, and project leaders can raise funds through a large number of donors who each give a small amount of money. Supporters can give through the project page, and 100 percent of the gift will go directly to the project.

“Crowdfunding at UAB is a step toward innovation for The Campaign for UAB, making it easier for donors to give directly to something about which they are passionate,” said Senior Vice President of Development, Alumni and External Relations Shirley Salloway Kahn. “Crowdfunding is a remarkable tool for making big ideas a reality. Everyone can play a role in making history at UAB in ways big and small. With just a click, you can give something and change everything.”

The first three projects to launch through Crowdfunding at UAB are open for support.
Only a small number of patients can be cared for in the ACE unit. Through Crowdfunding at UAB, the team hopes to replicate the ACE model and implement it across all hospital units by making the program 
available virtually.The ACE (Acute Care for the Elderly) Unit at UAB Highlands trains hospital staff on the specialized needs of elders and uses common items such as Uno cards, earplugs and even an activity apron to reduce delirium in patients. Addressing these challenges results in fewer unplanned readmissions to the hospital and helps prevent decline in a patient’s ability to perform basic activities. UAB is a leader in this new health care model, generating attention across the nation.

Richard C. Shelton, M.D., director of the Mood Disorders Program for the Department of Psychiatry, and Marcas Bamman, Ph.D., director of the Center for Exercise Medicine, created a Crowdfunding at UAB project to generate funding for their NexMed Program, which will investigate the benefit of prescriptive exercise as a way to combat depression.

Equal Access Birmingham, a free clinic run by the medical students from the School of Medicine with oversight from UAB faculty, is also using the crowdfunding site to solve a problem discovered while providing medical care to the underserved in Birmingham: Free lab tests are provided through UAB Hospital, but results take about a week to process and — due to the nature of their population — many of the patients do not have access to a telephone or a permanent address. If there is a critical or dangerous lab value, many of their patients are unreachable until the next clinic day, which causes a delay in treatment.

The group hopes to raise enough funds to purchase an i-STAT system, which will enable the students to perform lab work at the clinic and receive immediate results.

The projects will remain open for support for 30-60 days.

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