Thursday, January 12, 2017

USA Community Health Advocates Build Garden for Local Residents

Frewin Osteen, (fourth from left) poses for a photo with Ridge Manor Apartments residents (from left) Gene Mosley, Annie Watkins, Paul Roberson, Judy Johnson, Sherman Coleman and Ned Thomas. As community health advocates for the University of South Alabama Center for Healthy Communities, Osteen and Johnson created a community garden at the apartment complex.
Frewin Osteen and Judy Johnson, community health advocates (CHAs) for the University of South Alabama Center for Healthy Communities (CHC), are the creators of a community garden at Ridge Manor Apartments located in Whistler, Ala.

CHAs assist their communities by bringing awareness and education to specific health issues. They are volunteers who work with the USA Center for Healthy Communities to support the fight against health disparity and promote a healthy lifestyle to those in need.

Osteen, a social worker in Prichard, Ala., and Johnson, a resident of Ridge Manor, wanted to give the elderly and disabled population a chance to participate in a community garden. “Improving the health and well-being of local residents was one of the aims when building the community garden,” Osteen said. “Gardening was something many of the residents expressed an interest in, but they simply did not have access to any of the tools or space to do so.”

Ten raised garden beds were built with the help of residents and volunteers in the community. “The gardens get residents doing something they enjoy, and as a result they are becoming more active," Osteen said. "The gardens are just the right size as to not overwhelm the residents participating."

After applying with the garden committee and signing a contract stating that they will respect and maintain their assigned space, residents who work in the garden are each assigned a bed of their own.

Osteen hopes that by growing and learning about vegetables in their gardens, residents will also learn the importance of nutrition and consume healthier foods. “If we show residents how to grow vegetables, plus how to prepare and eat them, then I think we benefit the community and their health,” Osteen said.

Osteen and Johnson have served for eight months as CHAs. “My philosophy is that people have given a lot to me, and so it is important that I give back to my community,” he said.

Johnson enjoys working with others and in the garden. “Working on the community gardens gives me the opportunity to do both,” she said.

Osteen encourages others to get involved with the health and well-being of their communities. “There is so much to be gained from imparting knowledge to people as a CHA, and also by learning from those around you,” Osteen said.

The Center for Healthy Communities has been designated as the lead entity within USA for coordinating community education, research, public service and health activities to help eliminate health disparities, fostering access to health care for underserved populations, and enhancing the capacity of individuals to better participate in decision making about their health.

For more information about becoming a CHA, click here. For more information about the CHC, click here.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Mark Your Calendar: Upcoming Grand Rounds Lectures

Pediatrics Grand Rounds lecture - Jan. 20, 2017

Dr. Fernando Stein, president of the American Academy of Pediatrics and professor of pediatrics at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, will present “The Contribution of the General Pediatrician to the Reduction of Mortality in ICU” for January’s pediatric grand rounds.

The lecture will take place Friday, Jan. 20, 2017, from 8 a.m. to 9 a.m. in the Strada Patient Care Center conference room  located adjacent to USA Children’s & Women’s Hospital and USA Mitchell Cancer Institute.

Dr. Stein will discuss how to identify the three signs of potentially fatal illness in children under five years of age.

A native of Guatemala, Dr. Stein earned his medical degree from Univ de San Carlos de Guatemala and completed his specialty and subspecialty training at Baylor College of Medicine affiliated institutions. He is a founding member of the Section of Critical Care, the Council of Sections Management Committee and the Committee on Membership of the AAP. Dr. Stein is a leader in the area of chronically ill children as survivors of intensive care.

Surgery Grand Rounds lecture - Jan. 20, 2017

The University of South Alabama Department of Surgery is hosting a lecture featuring Dr. Ronald Brooks, assistant professor of surgery at the USA College of Medicine and plastic surgeon with USA Physicians Group.

Dr. Brooks will present the Surgery Grand Rounds lecture on Jan. 20, 2017, at 7 a.m. in the USA Medical Center second floor conference center. The topic of discussion will be lower extremity and facial reconstruction.

Dr. Brooks earned his medical degree from Indiana University in Indianapolis. He completed his surgery residency at New York Presbyterian Hospital in New York. He then completed a plastic surgery fellowship at the University of Louisville and Affiliated Hospitals, located in Louisville, Ky. In addition, he completed surgical research at Weill Cornel Medical College in New York. He is a member of the American College of Surgeons, Alpha Omega Alpha and is a candidate for membership of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons.


Both lectures are open to faculty, staff and students at USA.

USA Health Represented in Mobile Bay’s 40 Under 40

Five employees at USA Health were included in the 2016 class of the Mobile Bay 40 Under 40. The annual Mobile Bay 40 Under 40 awards identify 40 of the area’s young professionals who will benefit the community for years to come with their leadership, professional excellence and community service.

Steven Kahn, M.D.
Burn and Trauma Surgeon/ Director, Arnold Luterman Regional, USA Medical Center

"One of the youngest burn center directors in America, Steven is known nationally for his research related to firefighter safety, resuscitation of burn patients and the use of artificial skin."

Margie Friedman, RN, BSN, MSN
NICU Nurse, USA Children’s and Women’s Hospital

"For almost five years, Margie has worked in the neonatal intensive care unit, which cares for more than 80 babies a day, every day of the year."

Aishwarya Prakash, Ph.D
Assistant Professor of Oncologic Sciences, Mitchell Cancer Institute

"Aishwarya joined the team at MCI in 2016, and she’s already contributed heavily to the research center."

Marcus Tan, MBBS, FACS
Surgical Oncologist and Program Leader Liver-Biliary-Pancreas Cancer Program, Mitchell Cancer Institute

"As one of only two board-certified cancer surgeons in the Mobile area, Marcus approaches the fight against cancer as his life’s mission."

Kari Kirk Benson, Pharm D.
Pharmacist, USA Medical Center and USA Mitchell Cancer Institute
Owner, Frios Gourmet Pops


"As both a practicing pharmacist and the owner of a favorite local popsicle business, Kari has become the Bay area’s go-to source for a cure."

Learn more about each young leader listed above and view the entire 2016 Class of 40 Under Forty in the magazine’s January 2017 edition.

Monday, January 9, 2017

USA Physician Honored By the American College of Gastroenterology

Dr. Brooks Cash, professor of internal medicine at the University of South Alabama College of Medicine and chief of the division of gastroenterology at USA, recently was awarded the William D. Carey Award from the American College of Gastroenterology (ACG) for his outstanding leadership and work in gastroenterology.

Dr. Cash has been involved with the ACG since he was a gastroenterology fellow, first serving as chair of the Fellows in Training subcommittee. He has since served the ACG in a wide variety of capacities during the last two decades, including as ACG Governor for the Military prior to his retirement from active duty in 2013. “The ACG is one of the primary professional societies with a mission to advance gastroenterological care and promote advances in the practice of our field of medicine for the benefit of our patients,” Dr. Cash said. “I truly believe that those involved in the organization do that on a daily basis.”

In his current position within the ACG as Chair of the ACG Digital Communications and Publications Committee, Dr. Cash helps develop and curate communications that come from the ACG. He also helps organize events such as the ACG Annual Scientific meeting, where cutting edge research is presented.

“All of these efforts help drive the evolution and refinement of our medical care delivery, while also allowing me opportunities to involve junior faculty from USA in the process via mentorship and highlighting their research and clinical care expertise,” Dr. Cash said.

Dr. Cash said he is very grateful for the recognition he has received, and he sees the award as a chance to highlight the important work that the USA medical community is producing. “While recognition and accolades are not a motivation for serving, it is very humbling and affirming to be selected by my peers at the ACG for this award,” Dr. Cash said. “This award, just like those received by others throughout the USA community who receive recognition for service, academic achievement, education, and patient care, helps highlight the quality and caliber of the staff at USA.”

The annual award is the most prestigious award presented by ACG Board of Governors, a group of clinician leaders in the field of gastroenterology who are elected by their peers to represent their state ACG membership. Nominees must show clear demonstration of outstanding contributions to the ACG such as service within leadership positions, participation in educational efforts, committee service or participation in research-related activities. Governors who have completed service are eligible to receive the award.

For more information about the ACG, click here.

Thursday, January 5, 2017

USA Medical Student Receives Gerber Scholarship in Pediatrics

Dr. Masheika James, a second-year medical student at the University of South Alabama College of Medicine, recently was awarded the National Medical Fellowships Gerber Scholarship in Pediatrics.

The annual $5,000 scholarship is awarded to two underrepresented minority medical students who have a passion for pediatrics with an emphasis in nutrition, as demonstrated through leadership and volunteer activities.

Dr. James credits her participation in the Ronald E. McNair Summer Research Program at the University of Alabama at Birmingham for igniting her interest in both pediatrics and nutrition. Under the mentorship of two UAB neonatologists, Dr. James said she garnered a passion not only for pediatric research, but also for an academic career in pediatric medicine.

She gained additional experience in the field of pediatrics and nutrition while working as a data analyst at the Newborn Follow-Up (NBFU) clinic in Birmingham, Ala. “Interacting with these sick infants, who had a range of issues from underdeveloped lungs to motor development delays, sparked an interest that I have pursued throughout my graduate career and now in my determination to become a pediatrician,” she said.

Dr. James earned her undergraduate degree in biology at UAB, where she also completed her master’s degree and Ph.D. She is a member of the American Medical Association, Medical Society of Mobile, and has prior memberships with the American Thoracic Society, Society for Free Radical Biology and Medicine, Association for Women in Science and the Southern Society of Pediatric Research.

Dr. James serves as co-chair of the community and volunteer service student organization for the sophomore class at the USA College of Medicine and is an active member of the Junior League of Mobile.

Dr. James said the scholarship will provide the support she needs to achieve her ultimate goal of pursuing an academic career in pediatrics with continued participation in translational research.

The Gerber Foundation has been funding scholarships with National Medical Fellowships since 1991. Learn more about NMF here.