Thursday, March 22, 2018

University of South Alabama Celebrates Giving Day

The University of South Alabama is celebrating USA Giving Day – a 24-hour fundraising challenge – today, March 22, 2018.

The goal of USA Giving Day is to rally alumni, faculty, staff and the community to support the University’s students, athletic programs, USA Health and the USA National Alumni Association.

Donors can choose to have their gifts go toward athletics, the MacQueen Alumni Center, excellence in health care or student success. For those donating to excellence in health care, the USA Medical Alumni Association will match the donation up to $10,000, and USA Mitchell Cancer Institute will match the donation up to $100,000.

Click here to participate in USA Giving Day

Register Now: Oncology Outlook 2018

The USA Mitchell Cancer Institute will host Oncology Outlook 2018 on April 13-15 at the Perdido Beach Resort in Orange Beach, Ala. The topic of this year’s event is “Controversies in Women’s Cancers.”

The CME event is an interdisciplinary conference for physicians, advanced care providers, nurses, social workers and radiation therapists throughout the Gulf Coast region. All health care providers interested in increasing knowledge, addressing performance and addressing patient outcomes are welcome.

Featured guest speakers are Dr. Keith Swetz, associate professor of medicine at the University of Alabama School of Medicine; Dr. Neelima Denduluri, medical oncologist at Virginia Cancer Specialists; Tamika Felder, founder of Cervivor; and Dr. Janet Bouknight, reproductive endocrinologist at Alabama Fertility Clinic.

In addition, the event will feature USA Faculty speakers Drs. Lynn Dyess, Michael Finan, Nathaniel Jones, Spencer Liles, Elesyia Outlaw, Jennifer Young Pierce, Rodney Rocconi and Jennifer Scalici.

Advanced registration is requested. For more information about Oncology Outlook 2018, click here. Click here to register.

April Med School Café – 'Medicine in Art'

April's Med School Café lecture will feature Dr. Charles B. Rodning, professor of surgery at the USA College of Medicine.

His lecture, titled “Medicine in Art,” will be held on Friday, April 13, 2018, at the Strada Patient Care Center Conference Room. Lunch will be served at 11:30 a.m., and the presentation will begin at noon.

A longstanding member of the USA College of Medicine faculty, Dr. Rodning will discuss the validity of integrating the scientific, humanistic, and artistic domains of intellectual endeavor into the patient-physician relationship to achieve patient healing. Eight classic, timeless, and iconic Occidental frescoes, etchings, or paintings will be discussed vis-á-vis how each informs human nature, the human condition, the philosophy of the artist  and the culture from which each emerged.

Dr. Rodning earned his medical degree from the University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry in Rochester, N.Y., and a Ph.D. in anatomy from the University of Minnesota Health Sciences Center in Minneapolis. He also completed his residency training in general surgery at the University of Minnesota.

He served as a Commander in the United States Navy Medical Corps and was assigned to United States Naval Regional Medical Center in Okinawa, Japan. He is also past president of the Medical Society of Mobile County and of the Alabama Chapter of the American College of Surgeons.

The Med School Café lecture and lunch are provided free of charge, but reservations are required. For more information or to make reservations, please contact Kim Partridge at (251) 460-7770 or

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

USA Residents Visit Theodore High School, Participate in Community Outreach Project

A group of pediatric resident physicians at USA talk to a group of high school students at Theodore High School Tuesday, March 6, 2018.
Several University of South Alabama pediatric resident physicians recently participated in a community outreach project at Theodore High School, exchanging motivational letters and hosting a question and answer session during lunch.

In collaboration with Kyle Harper – a teacher at Theodore High School – second- and third-year residents received a photo of a student and were encouraged to write them a motivational letter. The residents then presented the letters to each student, followed by a problem-solving ‘breakout’ activity and question and answer session.

According to Dr. Bryce Willen, chief resident of pediatrics, the purpose of the activity was to give back to the community, while focusing on resident wellness and burnout prevention. “The project originated because we thought an outreach activity would provide our residents with an added sense of community,” he said. “Overall, the activity was a tremendous success; both the students and residents got more out of the experience than they anticipated.”

Dr. Willen said having an opportunity to interact with engaged and inspired youth was refreshing. "The students asked tough questions about our jobs, including dealing with death, what to do with debt, how much caffeine we drink, having a family and everything in between,” he said.“Our residents are very diverse and have unique stories to tell. This experience allowed them to connect with the students, and they used that connection to share positive and motivating stories.”

Friday, March 16, 2018

USA Medical Students Open Next Chapter of Their Lives at Match Day

University of South Alabama fourth-year medical student Alex Wiles celebrates after opening his envelope containing his residency training assignment at this year's Match Day ceremony. Wiles matched in internal medicine at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, Tenn.
“This is a bigger deal than when we matched. Back then it was just a small event for students. We got our envelopes and that was it. Today is a much bigger deal for all of the students in this room,” said Dr. Catherine Huettemann, mother of a fourth-year medical student  at the University of South Alabama College of Medicine. Her son, Richard Huettemann, matched this morning in general surgery at the Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston, S.C.

At 10:55 a.m., excitement filled the air as 73 USA medical students scattered throughout the ballroom of the Mobile Convention Center to collect an envelope containing results that they had been working toward over the last four years – the specialty and program where they will spend the next  years training as a physician. Dr. Susan LeDoux, associate dean for medical education and student affairs at the USA College of Medicine, reminded anxious Match Day participants to not open their envelopes until she had rung the bell signaling it was time to open them at 11 a.m.

The National Residency Matching Program (NRMP), or Match Day, is the annual event in which thousands of doctors across North America learn where they will be doing their residency training. The graduating medical students simultaneously opened their envelopes containing their assigned matches at 11 a.m. CST. After celebrating the results with their families in Mobile, each student announced their Match Day results on stage and marked the location of their residency training program on a map.

“It is my pleasure to celebrate the accomplishments of our medical students and their transition into the next phase of their medical education- their residency training. With Match Day results known and as medical school comes to an end for these students, in reality it is the beginning of a lifelong commitment to learning in order to best care for their patients,” said Dr. John Marymont, vice-president of medical affairs and dean of the USA College of Medicine.

“As medical students match in residency programs across the country, it is with pride that we send them into their next steps as physicians serving patients, the medical profession and their communities,” Dr. LeDoux said.

Huettemann, along with his parents and wife, has been waiting anxiously for this day for the past four years.  The Huettemann’s view Match Day as a family tradition, as both of his parents are pediatricians practicing in Mobile and participated in their Match Day ceremony in the early 1990s.

“Both of my parents being physicians definitely had an influence on my decision to pursue medicine as a career,” he said.“I grew up watching my parents enjoy what they did so much while still challenging them enough to keep them engaged with their work all of the time. Being able to have those experiences while growing up and sorting out my own interests put medicine at the top of potential careers for me.”

The Mobile native decided to study close to his roots after earning his bachelor of science degree in biology from the University of Louisiana in Baton Rouge, La. Huettemann credits his upbringing for setting a positive example of how to be a physician. “From a young age, my understanding of being a physician had everything to do with helping sick people,” he said. “All of the extraneous things about being a doctor seemed to take a backseat when I would ask my parents about their job and what drew them to become physicians. It has been my motivation to try my hardest through medical school to do everything I can to help heal sick people in my future medical career. It was the first thing I understood about being a physician, and I will continue to use this background throughout my career.”

“I know graduation is when we are officially physicians, but Match Day is when you find out where the hard work of medical school has taken you next,” Huettemann said. “My wife and I were so excited about my match that we were jumping up and down."

Huettemann said that he is prepared for his residency because of hands-on training and volunteer service he experienced at USA.

“USA gives medical students the opportunity to get involved at an early stage in their medical education, which is crucial to a well-rounded physician-in-training,” Huettemann said.

Olivia Means, another fourth-year medical student at the USA College of Medicine, volunteers as a Sunday school teacher in her community. “Teaching Sunday school and building my own faith has set the foundation for how I approach my academics and clinical duties,” she said.

Means has been interested in science and medicine since childhood. From a young age, she participated in science fairs and other extracurricular activities that reinforced her love of the subject. “My mother pushed me to participate in activities like this, and I thank her and others in my life for encouraging my love of science and medicine,” Means said.

While earning her bachelor of science degree at the University of South Florida in Tampa, Fla., Means was introduced to plastic surgery and conducted research in mental health and pediatrics while volunteering her time as a Sunday school teacher. “Different experiences helped shaped my care of others and led me to a career in medicine,” Means said.

Means matched in integrated plastic surgery at Michigan State University in Grand Rapids, Mich.

“Plastic surgery was the first specialty that I shadowed in. I am interested in working with children and adults in a variety of cases to give them the best level of care,” Means said.

“Working with wonderful advisors and instructors at USA helped reinforce to me that this is my passion,” she said. Brimming with excitement after her match, she gushed, “I want to give a shout-out to Dr. Brooks and Dr. Simmons, who, among many other wonderful advisors, helped me get where I am now."

During her time at the USA College of Medicine, Means said she also has matured as a leader through her volunteer work and by serving nationally with the Association of American Medical Colleges.

Means is thankful for all of her experiences and the mentorship she received during her time at the USA College of Medicine. “I was challenged, encouraged and supported in ways I did not expect,” she said.

Daniel Johnson, a fourth-year student who matched earlier this year into the military match, was excited to spend the morning celebrating the successes of his classmates. “Since I already knew where I was going, seeing my friends and their families being excited was the best part of this morning for me.”

Johnson serves in the U.S. Navy. In December he matched in orthopaedic surgery at Fort Smith Medical Center in Portsmouth, Va.

“I made a short video of myself opening the envelope and finding out my match then,” Johnson said. “I was so excited to match into my first choice and later sent the video to my mom."

Adam Powell, another fourth-year medical student at USA, earned his bachelor of science degree in biochemistry from the University of Alabama in Huntsville, Ala. He also earned an emergency medical technician certificate from Calhoun College in Huntsville, Ala.

Powell has donated his time to many student organizations, including serving as vice-president of his class and serving with the Christian Medical Ministry of South Alabama. Recently, he embarked on a trip to Rwanda, Africa, to care for local residents.

While serving as vice-president of his class, Powell said that he grew as a physician-in-training while listening to classmates’ needs and communicating them to the class and administrators. “I hope to continue to follow Christ’s example as a physician by leading through service and by putting others’ needs before my own,” Powell said.

Powell learned about compassionate care through his activities and plans to continue to practice it throughout his career. “Through these activities, I learned that compassionate care requires engaging the whole patient-body, soul, mind and spirit,” he said.

Powell matched in pediatrics at the University of Alabama at Birmingham in Birmingham, Ala. He said he is most excited to learn how best to serve pediatric patients. “In medical school, we learn so much, and pediatrics is just a small portion,” he said. “I want to fully learn how to love my pediatric patients and their families.”

Powell said that through his father, who is also a pediatrician, and experiences watching foster siblings receiving excellent pediatric care, he was moved to serve younger patients. While studying at USA, he said that he knew pediatrics was for him as he saw pediatricians come in to work every day. “You could just tell they were excited to be in the hospital and clinics every day,” he said.

Fourth-year medical student Alexandria Sims, did not initially plan to go to medical school. It was not until her junior year at the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa, Ala., that she decided to pursue a career in medicine while earning her bachelor of science degree in chemistry.

“I was drawn to the idea of a career that could combine the science that I love with a chance to directly impact patients’ lives every day,” Sims said. “Plus,” she laughed, “I had always enjoyed school and figured another four years might be fun!”

Sims matched in anesthesiology at the University of Carolina School of Medicine in Chapel Hill, N.C. She said she is thrilled to be attending her first choice of residency and to be the first physician in her family.

“Finally being able to be fully responsible for patients is one of the most fulfilling and also one of the most frightening parts of starting my residency,” Sims said. “USA has prepared us all for the level of responsibility we will have over the care of our patients.”

Sims is grateful for the time she has spent honing her skills at the USA College of Medicine. “The past four years have been the toughest and yet most fun of my life. I’ve made incredible friendships that will last a lifetime and learned more than I could have ever imagined,” she said.

Click here to view more photos from the event.

Complete Match Day results can be found here.