Rural Health Administrative Fellowship

Fellowship overview

Alabama Rural Health Collaborative (ARHC) logo

The Alabama Rural Health Collaborative (ARHC) is the first rural hospital resource center in Alabama and was created to help nonprofit and rural community hospitals across Alabama. The goal is to increase access to quality care for rural Alabamians and improve their health, at little or no cost to participating hospitals.

The Rural Health Fellowship hires two administrative fellowship leaders: operations-focused or finance-focused. Fellows will be hired at one of the four potential hospital sites, with the hospital’s CEO serving as the fellow’s preceptor. The Rural Health Fellowship is a rotation-based, paid, one-year program designed to offer hands-on experience with senior executive leaders of their respective organizations through comprehensive, multidisciplinary rotations and a diverse set of projects. The fellow will develop an understanding of the competencies needed in community health care leadership and the challenges facing community hospitals.

In addition to a competitive salary, benefits package, and living stipend, the fellowship provides reimbursement for one health care conference. Relocation assistance may be available.

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Important dates

Exact dates will be provided at a later time. Please check back for updates.

Educational requirements
  • Graduate of a master’s program and an interest in practicing in health care administration
  • In lieu of a master’s degree, applicants may be considered if they’ve completed all on-campus didactic requirements of a master’s program in health care administration or equivalent.
  • Master’s degree in health care or business is preferred
Application materials

Email the following items in one combined PDF file to

  • Current resume
  • Personal statement that introduces yourself and addresses the following questions (maximum one page):
    • What interests you about the administrative fellowship at UAB Medicine?
    • What makes you the ideal candidate for the administrative fellowship at UAB Medicine?
    • What are your goals and expected outcomes for the fellowship?
  • Three letters of recommendation:
    • Academic
    • Professional
    • Other
  • Official graduate school transcript (may be sent separately)
Meet the executive team
Dawson Smith
Vice President, Network Development & Affiliate Operations, UAB Health System

Dawson Smith, MSHA, FACHE, is vice president of Network Development and Affiliate Operations. He has served in this role since 2018. His primary responsibilities include overseeing the operations of the managed hospitals, developing new relationships with hospitals across the state, and integrating hospitals into the health system. The hospitals in Greenville, Camden, and Winfield report to him directly, and he also serves on their boards of directors. Smith is hands-on in the day-to-day operations of hospitals and in supporting their financial and operational improvement efforts. During his time at UAB Health System, he launched the Alabama Rural Health Collaborative, a resource center for rural hospitals.

Preceding his current role, he worked as the UAB Hospital administrative fellow until 2017. Prior to his time at UAB Health System, he held senior leadership roles over finance and operations of Shanghai United Family Hospitals and Clinics in Shanghai China. He holds an undergraduate degree in finance/economics from Lipscomb University, as well as a graduate degree in health care administration from the University of Alabama at Birmingham. He is a fellow of the American College of Healthcare Executives.

A member of the 2023 class of the Birmingham Business Journal’s Top 40 Under 40, Smith has been recognized for his contributions to the Birmingham community and the health care landscape across Alabama. He is active in the community as a foodie, a frequenter of the Birmingham Brewery Trail, a patron of the Alabama Symphony Orchestra, a member of the Junior Board of the Alabama Symphony Orchestra, and a self-proclaimed Birmingham booster.

DeWayne Bailey
Director, Alabama Rural Health Collaborative, UAB Health System

DeWayne Bailey is a Birmingham native and currently serves as director of the Alabama Rural Health Collaborative at UAB Health System. In this role, he provides technical assistance services and programs to improve operations, quality, and finances of participating rural hospitals across Alabama. Prior to this role, he spent several years in facility operations at the UAB Heersink School of Medicine before completing his administrative fellowship at UAB Callahan Eye. Upon completing his fellowship, he assumed the role of organizational effectiveness manager at UAB Callahan Eye. Bailey earned a B.S. in biology and a Master of Business Administration from the University of Alabama at Birmingham.

Bailey also currently serves as president of the National Association of Health Services Executives’ Alabama Chapter, treasurer of the UAB Minority Health and Health Equity Research Center’s Young Professionals Board, a member of the Benevolent Fund Council, and a member of the Kidney Advocacy Committee for the National Kidney Foundation. He also has served as director of student affiliation and mentoring for the American College of Healthcare Executives (ACHE) of Alabama.

Bailey is a member of the 2024 class of the Birmingham Business Journal’s Top 40 under 40 and a life member of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity Inc. Bailey enjoys running, traveling, and spending time with family and friends.

Meet the fellows
Current fellows
A.J. Jarman
Administrative fellow, Russell Medical

A.J. currently serves as the administrative fellow at Russell Medical in Alexander City, Ala., through the Alabama Rural Health Collaborative. A recent graduate of the UAB Master of Science in Health Administration (MSHA) program (Class 57), he holds a prior bachelor’s degree in health care management from the UAB School of Health Professions.

At Russell Medical, A.J. dives into a wide range of projects spanning operations, strategy, finance, development, construction, and data analytics. This hands-on experience allows him to gain a comprehensive understanding of health care administration, from the ground level to the C suite. He collaborates closely with senior leadership, contributing directly to strategic initiatives and addressing critical operational needs.

Beyond his professional pursuits, A.J. enjoys golfing, fishing, cooking, and exploring the beauty of Lake Martin, Russell Medical’s neighbor.

Troy Nelson
Administrative fellow, Whitfield Regional Hospital

Troy completed his major in biomedical sciences and minor in health care management at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. During his time at UAB, he interned in the departments of Otolaryngology and Microbiology. Upon graduation from UAB, Troy pursued his master’s degree in health care administration at Samford University.

While at Samford, Troy was a student member of the American College of Healthcare Executives (ACHE) and served as a graduate liaison to the Alabama ACHE chapter’s board of directors. He received various scholarships, co-authored a published article, and was inducted into the Upsilon Phi Delta Honor Society. Troy completed an administrative internship at Ascension St. Vincent’s East Hospital during his last semester of graduate school. He has continued serving the ACHE Alabama chapter as a member of the Regent’s Advisory Council and currently is a member of the Informatics Advisory Board within Samford’s Department of Healthcare Administration.

Troy is happy to call Demopolis home, along with his wife, who is a nurse in the ICU at Whitfield Regional Hospital.

Former fellows
  • Charles Dalton (2022) – operation manager, Orthopaedic Surgery, UAB Medicine
  • Lindsey Stephens (2022) – manger of practice operations, Urology, USA Health
  • Tyler Dennis (2021) – compliance and risk management officer, Russell Medical
  • Robert Keel (2021) – regional marketing director, Helena Regional Medical Center
  • Brennen Bowen (2021) – chief operating officer, Mizell Memorial Hospital
  • Jake Pollard (2021) – program director, UAB School of Medicine
Potential sites
  • Russell Medical Center – Alexander City, Ala.
  • Whitfield Regional Hospital – Demopolis, Ala.
  • Regional Medical Center of Central Alabama – Greenville, Ala.
  • Mizell Memorial Hospital – Opp, Ala.

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