Monday, August 25, 2014

Clyde Huggins Recipients Announced for 2014 Medical Student Research Day

University of South Alabama College of Medicine student Haylie Reed poses for a picture with biochemistry professor Dr. Richard Honkanen. Reed was one of the winners of the 41st COM Summer Medical Student Research Program Clyde Huggins Award.
University of South Alabama College of Medicine student James White poses for a picture with physiology professor Dr. Michael V. Cohen (left), and retired physiology professor Dr. James Downey (right). White was one of the winners of the 41st COM Summer Medical Student Research Program Clyde Huggins Award.
The University of South Alabama College of Medicine hosted its 41st annual Medical Student Research Day on Aug. 1, 2014. Dr. Arthur Grollman, distinguished professor of pharmacological sciences, Evelyn G. Glick Professor of Experimental Medicine, and director of the Zickler Laboratory of Chemical Biology at the State University of New York at Stony Brook, gave the key note address during the summer research day.

The Clyde G. “Sid” Huggins Medical Student Research Awards, honoring the memory of Dr. Huggins, were presented to James White and Haylie Reed. Clyde G. “Sid” Huggins served as the first dean of students for USA’s College of Medicine.

Reed, an incoming freshman medical student, was recognized for the best oral presentation, titled “Mutation of Human Phosphatases.” Reed was sponsored by Dr. Richard Honkanen, professor of biochemistry and molecular biology.

Reed’s project helped her gain knowledge about cloning, the cas9 CRISPR system, and phosphatases. Not only could information learned during the course of this project lead to future developments in cancer research, but the same technology could potentially be utilized to alter other genes.

“I was originally interested in this project because it dealt with a relatively new technology that I didn’t have any prior experience with, yet it still incorporated some of my previous experience with cell culture work and seemed to tie in some of my biomedical engineering background,” said Reed.

According to Reed, one of the most valuable elements of her research project was the amount of time that Dr. Honkanen, in particular, put in to make sure that she understood concepts addressed in lab work.” It reassured me that the faculty here is dedicated to helping students succeed. This experience primarily benefited me by allowing me to orient myself with this university before the stresses associated with starting medical school set in,” said Reed.

James White, a rising sophomore medical student, was recognized for the best poster presentation, titled “P2Y12 receptor antagonists postcondition the heart through release of sphingosine from platelets.” White was sponsored by Dr. Michael V. Cohen, professor of physiology and internal medicine and mentored by Dr. James M. Downey, professor emeritus in the department of physiology.

White’s project examined the mechanism by which P2Y12 receptor antagonists provide protection against cardiac cell death in hearts subjected to a period of ischemia, or lack of blood flow.

“Over the course of the summer I gained a greater appreciation for medical research and everything that is involved. It requires patience as well as passion, and can be frustrating one day and rewarding the next,” explained White.

The regular interaction with professional mentors can be considered an invaluable component of the 10-week program. “I really enjoyed working with my mentors, Dr. Cohen and Dr. Downey. We talked about the project every day and they taught me a lot about research in general as well as the specific science that was central to the project,” White said.

During the 10-week summer program, first- and second-year medical students participate in research projects with basic science and clinical faculty in the College of Medicine. Students present their research projects either orally or on poster at the culmination of the summer research program where they are judged by COM faculty on the presentations. Winners are given a plaque and a cash award of $100 each.

Haylie Reed from USA Health System on Vimeo.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

USA Children's & Women's Hospital to Host Grand Opening for New Courtyard, Lobby, Gift Shop

The University of South Alabama Children's & Women's Hospital will host a grand opening for its new courtyard, lobby and gift shop on Aug. 28, 2014, from 4-6 p.m.

"The new lobby and courtyard at USA Children's & Women's Hospital were designed to be places of welcome and relaxation for our patients, their families and our community," said Owen Bailey, hospital administrator. "We have lots of local art work, and even a piano, in these areas to enhance the welcoming atmosphere of our hospital. We are also proud of our new, beautiful gift shop, and the many volunteers who work there. Volunteers make a tremendous difference in our hospital. We are proud to serve the healthcare needs of the children and women of our region, and we welcome the community to come see these wonderful new spaces."

At the event, guests can enjoy refreshments while viewing the latest additions to the facility and will hear from families whose lives have been touched by the hospital.

Click here to learn more about the event and to RSVP.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Leading Health Official Holds Local Session to Get Input on Health IT

Dr. Karen DeSalvo speaks during an informal discussion with Alabama stakeholders regarding the current and future outlook of Health IT on a local and national level. Dr. DeSalvo is from the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology, a division of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
A high-ranking official from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services came to Mobile in July with a mission - to listen and learn.

Dr. Karen DeSalvo from the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC), was in town for a session that drew 50 attendees to the Battle House Hotel on July 22.  It was an informal discussion with Alabama stakeholders regarding the current and future outlook of Health IT on a local and national level.

As national coordinator of the ONC, Dr. DeSalvo is leading the nation’s charge to promote, adopt, and meaningfully use health information technology.  In particular, Dr. DeSalvo hopes to utilize electronic health records (EHR), in order to achieve better care, lower costs in health care and improve the overall health of everyone in America.

Dr. DeSalvo visited Mobile because of the ONC-funded Alabama Regional Extension Center (ALREC), a state-wide program through the USA Center for Strategic Health Innovation.  ALREC is the only center in the state of Alabama, and one of only 62 in the United States.  These centers facilitate provider transitions to electronic health record systems.

“Through the REC program, the ONC has taken a boots on the ground approach,” says Dr. Dan Roach, director of the USA Center for Strategic Health Innovation and ALREC. “The ALREC team members sit literally 'at the elbow' of the providers and their staff to assist them through the transition from paper to electronic health record systems.”

While ALREC has already helped more than 1,800 physicians transition to EHRs, the barriers identified at the meeting included high cost to implement an EHR, workflow challenges, and interoperability issues.  General resistance to change was also cited as an obstacle.

Dr. DeSalvo and her team are gathering feedback with the eventual goal of creating a nationwide interoperability roadmap so EHRs can eventually talk to each other and allow information to follow a patient wherever they go.

“We were honored to have an audience with Dr. DeSalvo,” says Dr. Roach. “This is evidence of the ONC’s commitment to the future of Health IT.”

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Retirement Reception Honors Rhonda Bridges Smith

The University of South Alabama College of Medicine recently held a retirement reception honoring Rhonda Bridges Smith, associate registrar in the office  of student affairs, for approximately 32 years of outstanding service to the University. The reception was held Aug. 14, 2014, at the USA Faculty Club.

Smith joined the University in 1982, working with the Academic Opportunity Program, now called Developmental Studies. “My time there and the people I worked with are what instilled my passion for working with students,” Smith said. Her career also included service to the College of Nursing and the College of Allied Health Professions before she joined the College of Medicine in 1999 as an academic records specialist. During her years of service in the College of Medicine, Rhonda took on many additional responsibilities including coordinating signature events such as freshman orientation and convocation.

“We are grateful for Rhonda’s many contributions to the office of student affairs,” said Dr. Susan LeDoux, associate dean of medical education and student affairs. “She will certainly be missed. We wish her well in her retirement.”

Click here to view more photos from the reception.

USA Welcomes Dr. Lightner

Dr. Joel Lightner Jr. was recently appointed assistant professor of radiology at the University of South Alabama College of Medicine and will serve as a radiologist specializing in mammography at the Imaging Center at USA Children’s & Women’s Hospital.

Dr. Lightner earned his medical degree from Mercer University School of Medicine in Macon, Ga. He completed an internship in internal medicine at Tulane School of Medicine in New Orleans and a residency in diagnostic radiology at the University of Vermont in Burlington, Vt. In addition, he conducted a fellowship in breast imaging at Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond, Va.

He is a member of the Radiological Society of North American and the Society of Breast Imagers.

At the University of South Alabama Children’s & Women’s Hospital Imaging Center, women who visit for mammography screenings receive test results before they leave the hospital.

Dr. Lightner will perform the following services: screening and diagnostic mammogram interpretation; terotactically guided biopsy; ultrasound evaluation and interpretation with doppler and elastography capabilities; ultrasound guided biopsy; ultrasound guided cyst aspiration; ultrasound guided and mammographically guided needle localization; evaluation of nipple discharge and ductography; breast MRI interpretation; MRI guided breast biopsy; nuclear medicine sentinel node injection; and diagnosis and treatment of breast infection.

For more information or to schedule a mammogram, call your primary care provider or OB-GYN. You can also call the USA Children’s & Women’s Hospital Imaging Center at (251) 415-1660.