3 meaningful careers you never knew existed at Children’s of Alabama—IT is one

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Childrens Hospital IT 6 3 meaningful careers you never knew existed at Children’s of Alabama—IT is one
Some of the mighty IT team at Children’s of Alabama. Photo via Matthew Niblett for Bham Now

If you’re rethinking your life right now, Children’s of Alabama has three unique career opportunities for you to consider: IT, food services and environmental services. Keep reading for a behind-the-scenes look at how these roles help Children’s of Alabama remain a nationally-recognized leader in pediatric healthcare. Hop over here if you’re ready to explore new career possibilities.

1. Information Technology at Children’s

If you’ve got IT skills, you know you’ve got career options. But did you know one of those options could include supporting children’s health through technology?

The IT Department at Children’s is a diverse team of engineers, architects, project managers and others who work together to make Children’s of Alabama a leader in healthcare and technology. They do this in four key ways:

  1. Keep the critical systems throughout the hospital up and running.
  2. Support improving healthcare delivery.
  3. Provide data analysis.
  4. Help Children’s comply with requirements and regulations.

Meet the people

Childrens Hospital IT 4 3 meaningful careers you never knew existed at Children’s of Alabama—IT is one
Maked up and ready for business. Photo via Matthew Niblett for Bham Now

We asked four people in the IT Department to find out what they love about working at Children’s of Alabama. Here’s what they said:

Dorothy McKinney: “Voice of the Help Desk”

collaboration 3 meaningful careers you never knew existed at Children’s of Alabama—IT is one
Kent Sproggins and Dorothy McKinney in the IT Department at Children’s of Alabama. Photo via Sharron Swain for Bham Now

When people call for help at Children’s of Alabama, they’re hoping that Dorothy McKinney will be the one that takes their call—in fact, some of them ask for her directly.

Notes like this one are a pretty regular occurrence for McKinney:

“I just wanted to send KUDOS to you about Dorothy McKinney.  Each time I have had an interaction with her, she just makes the day brighter. She is patient, kind, smart and easy to work with. In my eyes, she is truly a blessing! Kudos to Dorothy!  😊”

Before Children’s, she was working at a hospital in a small Georgia town as a Hardware / Software technician. Back in 2007, big city life was calling and she applied to a listing she found online. It was a happy day when she got the job, and she’s never looked back.

McKinney started as a Customer Support Analyst, and has been promoted through the years to the point where now she manages the Customer Support Desk and was recently assigned to manage the Provisioning Team.

“What I love about my job is that I get the opportunity to provide indirect patient care to our most important customers (the kids). I’m proud to be the FACE of my IT Department!!”

Dorothy McKinney
The culture

When I asked what the culture was like, McKinney said “it’s one that promotes personal growth and well-being. Management is respectful and fair. We work as a team and pull in resources as needed to resolve customer needs in a timely manner.”

Does this sound like the kind of place you’d love to work? Check out Children’s of Alabama’s career page now.

Kent Sproggins, Integration Team

agile 3 meaningful careers you never knew existed at Children’s of Alabama—IT is one
The 12 agile principles. Photo via Sharron Swain for Bham Now

Kent Sproggins was working for a large life insurance company in Birmingham before he decided he wanted to work in a healthcare setting where his work would benefit the patients.

Currently, Sproggins works as an Integration Engineer III. He sends patient data from the registration system to all the hospital’s ancillary systems, such as Laboratory, Radiation, Pharmacy, etc.

“I feel like what I am doing is, in a small way, helping our children.”

Kent Sproggins

When we provide accurate and efficient information to the clinicians, they can concentrate solely on providing the best care to the patient.    

The culture

“It is all about the kids! Everything we do is to make the patient visit better. This is accomplished by the Executive Leadership listening to staff and providing the tools needed to perform your duties. This includes modern facilities, equipment and training. Children’s also offers a great work/life balance as well as very competitive benefits.”

Eric Brown, Development Team Lead

collab 3 meaningful careers you never knew existed at Children’s of Alabama—IT is one
Eric Brown and a colleague chatting in the IT department. Photo via Sharron Swain for Bham Now

Eric Brown was doing software development for another company in town before moving to Children’s of Alabama. He’s grateful for the rich tech ecosystem in Birmingham and the opportunities that helped him get where he is today.

In 2013, he joined Children’s because of the mission.

“I can’t think of a better mission than what Children’s of Alabama represents. That is something I wanted to be a part of.”

Eric Brown

As Director of Software Development and Data, Brown’s team builds solutions that help improve patient care and hospital operations.

Translation for COVID times? Telehealth.

“When COVID hit, our team was essentially ‘locked in our basements,’ working around-the-clock to provide an enterprise telehealth solution for the hospital. It’s been very successful and took a lot of hard work from our developers, clinical staff and IT staff. I’ve been so proud of how our team, IT, and the hospital responded when needed.”

Eric Brown

Russell Gann, Instructional Systems Design + Tech

russell 3 meaningful careers you never knew existed at Children’s of Alabama—IT is one
Russell Gann plays Tele-Santa each year. Photo via Sharron Swain for Bham Now

After 10 years in Higher Education, Russell Gann was looking for a new opportunity when he came to Children’s of Alabama. He currently serves as Senior Instructional Designer for Instructional Systems and Technology.

In this role, he partners with different departments and teams who need training developed. Their audience? Medical staff and employees of Children’s of Alabama.

They work with a subject matter expert who provides the content, and craft the multimedia training into an interactive learning activity.

The whole team has these skills and more:

  • on-air radio talent
  • video production
  • graphic design
  • web development
  • 3D modeling
  • game design
  • application development
Tele-Santa and Star Wars…for the kids, of course

The coolest parts of Gann’s job? Playing Tele-Santa and hosting a live Star Wars event for the kids.

The idea was for bed-bound patients to experience a personal visit from Santa to their hospital room.

When you work in IT, you just happen to have things lying around at home like the following, which they used to make it happen:

  • green screen
  • portable studio lighting
  • lapel mic
  • video camera

The hospital provided a studio space, and corporate sponsors provided teleconference hardware which IT converted into a portable unit.

“We broadcast a live feed, and as the portable unit moved from hospital room to room, each child had a video conference call with Santa Claus live from the North Pole. This event proved so successful that Children’s of Alabama has now provided a permanent studio space—with professional lighting, green screen, and all the necessary audio and video technologies necessary to carry out Tele-Santa annually.”

“Our work is busy and, at times, very demanding, but the rewards are great, as has been my experience playing Santa Claus to our children the past two years. The value we are blessed to provide for those who care for each child is immeasurable. ”

Russell Gann

2. Food Services

Let’s face it: nobody likes staying in the hospital. But when the food’s good, it sure does make it better. Food service staff at Children’s of Alabama work alongside patients, families, RNs, MDs and other professionals to serve the community in healthy and tasty ways.

3. Environmental Services

There’s just something about a clean hospital that makes it feel like a safer, more welcoming place to be. Environmental Services (EVS) staff members play a key role in helping the health care team at Children’s of Alabama fulfill the patients’ expectations. Like everybody else in the hospital, these roles support the goal of helping to take care of patients.

Want to work at Children’s of Alabama? Follow them on social at Instagram or Facebook or visit their website to apply for a job today.


Sharron Swain
Sharron Swain

Writer, Interviewer + Adventurer | Telling stories to make a difference

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