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Meet the wonderful Bruno Foundation Board that helps to make JBMA a wonderful place to learn and grow.


Robert Sprain Jr.

Robert Sprain Jr. is an attorney with the firm Friedman, Dazzio, Zulanas, and Bowling. He is the only son of Theresa Sprain, the co-founder of Joseph Bruno Montessori Academy. Robert and his family are Birmingham natives.


Dr. Joe LaRussa

Dr. Joe LaRussa is a Clinical Associate Professor at the University of Alabama at Birmingham in the Allergy and Immunology Department. With extensive experience in both pediatric and adult fields of Asthma, Allergy and Immunology, he brings a vast knowledge of medicine to students at UAB. He graduated from the University of the South with a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology and Biology, and received his doctorate from the University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Medicine. He did his Internship, Residency and a Chief Resident year at U.A.B. before doing a Pediatric and Adult Allergy/Immunology Fellowship at the University of Virginia.

Dr. LaRussa is married with three children, and is extensively involved with his church community. He is a member of the American Lung Association, and has formerly served as the president of both the Alabama Society of Asthma, Allergy, and Immunology and the Asthma & Allergy Foundation of America-Alabama Chapter. He recently helped  edit and wrote the forward to :Tinsley Harrison, M.D.: Teacher of Medicine, Dr. James A. Pittman Jr.  2014.


Jay Waters

Jay Waters is an instructor at the University of Alabama  in the Advertising and Public Relations Department, teaching classes in media, strategic thinking and agency management.  Jay has a B.S in Management and a Masters in Business Administration from the University of Alabama in Birmingham. Campaigns that Jay has planned have won both of the media industry’s leading awards, winning a Media Lion at the Cannes International Ad Festival for his work with Alabama Tobacco Free Families, and a Media Plan of the Year award for his planning work with Regions Bank.  On the brand planning side, Jay’s consumer insights and research have provided the foundation for numerous Addy and Telly award-winning creative campaigns.


Hina Patel

Hina Patel is currently a hotel operator/developer in the Birmingham area.  Her company, AUM Enterprise, develops and operates several Hilton and Marriott affiliated hotels in and around Birmingham, AL.  Ms. Patel received her Master’s degree in Business Administration and Venture Management (Entrepreneurship) and General Management from the University of Southern California. She has written several marketing manuals including Marketing for the Next Millennium to help hotel operators understand the intricacies of hotel sales and marketing.  She co-founded her company in 1998 with her husband, Rakesh after moving to Birmingham, AL. Hina is currently a member of the Greater Shelby County and Hoover Chambers of Commerce as well as the Birmingham Convention and Visitor’s Bureau.


Dr. Robert Palazzo

Dr. Palazzo is an Italian-born naturalized American scholar and academic leader serving as the Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB). A biologist, he received his B.S. and Ph.D. degrees from Wayne State University in Detroit, Michigan. After conducting four years of postdoctoral research at the University of Virginia, he received appointment as independent scientist at the Marine Biological Laboratory in Woods Hole, Massachusetts.

An active contributor to his field, Palazzo is a member of the Scientific Advisory Board for Scientific American Magazine and is a member and Co-Chair of the Board of Directors for The Alliance for Science and Technology Research in America (ASTRA). He has been active in the recent development of the Alliance for the Arts in Research Universities (a2ru) now serving on the Executive Committee, and was a founding member of the Education Advisory Board (EAB) in Washington D.C. Palazzo’s honors include a Junior Faculty Research Award from the American Cancer Society, a National Research Service Award from the NIH, and a number of fellowships.

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