Friday, February 27, 2015

March Med School Café – ‘Surgical Treatment of Epilepsy’

The March Med School Café lecture will feature Dr. W. George Rusyniak, associate professor of neurosurgery at the University of South Alabama College of Medicine.

His lecture, titled “Surgical Treatment of Epilepsy,” will take place March 13, 2015, at the USA Faculty Club, located at 6348 Old Shell Road, on USA’s main campus. Lunch will be served at 11:30 a.m., and the presentation begins at noon.

During the talk, Dr. Rusyniak will discuss epilepsy, a brain disorder in which a person has repeated seizures over time. He will also explain available epilepsy treatments, including epilepsy surgery, an operation on the brain that can control seizures and ultimately improve the patient’s quality of life.

Dr. Rusyniak is part of an epilepsy team at USA. The comprehensive epilepsy program provides unique and highly specialized care with state-of-the-art technology for patients with epilepsy and other neurological conditions.

Dr. Rusyniak earned his medical degree from the University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry in Rochester, N.Y., where he also conducted his residency. In addition, he completed a fellowship at The Cleveland Clinic Foundation in Cleveland, Ohio.

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

Med School Café is a free community lecture series sponsored by the USA Physicians Group. Each month, faculty from the USA College of Medicine share their expertise on a specific medical condition, providing insight on the latest treatment available.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

USA Medical Students Recognized for Service to Student-Run Clinic at 15 Place

University of South Alabama College of Medicine students (from left) Jelaina Scott, Sarita Wagle, Sarah Boyd, Emily Spurlin, Schilling Nechtman, and Brian McGrath pose for a picture with their awards during the awards ceremony for the Student-Run Free Clinic Feb 20, 2015.
Several medical students at the University of South Alabama College of Medicine recently were recognized for their leadership and exemplary dedication to the student-run free clinic at 15 Place, a homeless shelter in Mobile, Ala. 

Students at the USA College of Medicine kick-started the volunteer clinic at 15 Place last year. The clinic is operated by an interprofessional staff including both undergraduate and graduate students and is a collaboration between the students and faculty of the USA College of Medicine; College of Nursing; several departments in the College of Allied Health, including physician assistant studies and speech pathology and audiology; as well as the department of social work in the College of Arts and Sciences.

Click here to learn more about the clinic.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Dr. Lisa Moreno Walton Presents Internal Medicine Grand Rounds

Dr. Lisa Moreno Walton speaks during her Grand Rounds lecture on diversity and inclusion at the University of South Alabama Medical Center Feb. 12, 2015.
The University of South Alabama College of Medicine’s Office of Diversity and Inclusion recently hosted three lectures featuring Dr. Lisa Moreno Walton, professor of clinical emergency medicine at Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center New Orleans.

As part of Internal Medicine Grand Rounds, Dr. Walton presented "Addressing Diversity in Clinical Care," at the USA Medical Center Conference Center. Dr. Walton also presented "HIV/AIDS Courageous Conversation" and "University Hospital Healthcare: Partnering with the Community" during her visit.

Dr. Walton earned her bachelor of science degree and her master of social work degree from New York University. She earned her medical degree at Albert Einstein College of Medicine in Bronx, N.Y.

Click here to view more photos from her visit.

Dr. Di Palma Recognized with ACG Master Award

Dr. Jack A. Di Palma, director of the University of South Alabama Digestive Health Center and professor of internal medicine at the USA College of Medicine, was awarded a Master of the American College of Gastroenterology (ACG).

Dr. Di Palma has been an active member in the American College of Gastroenterology for nearly two decades. He began his role as an ACG trustee in 1996, and continued to move up through various leadership roles by serving as a member of the ACG executive committee from 2001 to 2007. From 2005 to 2006 Dr. Di Palma served as ACG president. Most recently, in 2013, Dr. Di Palma was an honoree of the Samuel S. Weiss Award. The Weiss award is given to those who have provided outstanding service to the college.

"I am humbled by the recognition. Involvement with national professional associations has helped me grow as a physician and investigator,” said Dr. Di Palma.

The American College of Gastroenterology designated Dr. Di Palma as a Master of the American College of Gastroenterology due to his stature, achievement, and commitment in clinical gastroenterology through clinical practice, education, research, leadership, and service to the College.

Dr. Di Palma earned his medical degree at New York Medical College in Valhalla, N.Y., and completed his residency in internal medicine at U.S. Air Force Medical Center at Keesler Air Force Base in Biloxi, Miss. Dr. Di Palma completed a gastroenterology fellowship at Wilford Hall U.S. Air Force Medical Center at Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio. He went on to establish the Division of Gastroenterology at USA, a program in which he continues to direct.

Dr. Di Palma’s scholarly interests range in areas of digestive disorders and physiology. He has contributed to more than 350 published articles, reviews, book chapters and abstracts. Continuing the tradition of service, he has an abundance of experience as an editor and reviewer of others’ works that have been published in medical journals.

Dr. Di Palma also directs the gastroenterology fellowship training program, which is well-known for providing educational leadership to medical students, residents, physician’s assistants and nurse practitioners. Among his many honors, Dr. Di Palma was previously recognized as “Best Clinical Teacher” by the USA College of Medicine’s Class of 1996, as well as “Best Doctor” in Mobile and Baldwin counties, Alabama, and America.

The ACG was founded in 1932 and holds yearly meetings and regional postgraduate training courses. The ACG establishes research grants and also publishes The American Journal of Gastroenterology. More than 12,000 physicians from 82 countries are members of the ACG. Through annual scientific meetings, regional postgraduate training courses and research grants, the ACG provides its members with the most accurate and up-to-date scientific information on digestive health and the etiology, symptomatology and treatment of GI disorders.

Graduate Student Awarded Grant for Lung Research

Ningyong Xu, a graduate student at the University of South Alabama College of Medicine, recently was awarded a grant for her research on lung endothelial cells. The award, totaling $52,000 for two years of research, is funded by the American Heart Association.

According to Xu, the grant aims to resolve the molecular basis of calcium entry and reveal a novel anti-inflammatory therapy for inflammatory lung disease. Inflammation contributes to lung edema, which makes it difficult to get oxygen into the blood.

“This award allows me to test if two calcium entry channels interact to regulate how much calcium enters the endothelium - as an initiating signal for development of pulmonary edema,” said Xu.

Dr. Troy Stevens, Lenoir Louise Locke Chair of Physiology and Cell Biology, is Xu’s mentor. "It is a privilege to mentor talented students, helping them to have a lasting impact in the biomedical sciences and to prepare for an independent scientific career," Dr. Stevens said.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

USA Gold Humanism Honor Society Members Participate in 'Tell Me More' Solidarity Day

Members of the University of South Alabama College of Medicine Gold Humanism Honor Society (front left to right) Angela King, Jane Marie Freeman, Brian Buning and (back left to right) Alonso Heudebert, Dale Shamburger and Griffin Collins, pose for a picture on their way to USA Medical Center to hand out candy as part of Solidarity Day Feb. 13, 2015.
The Gold Humanism in Medicine Honor Society's (GHHS) Solidarity Day for Compassionate Patient Care was held on Feb. 13, 2015. The University of South Alabama College of Medicine chapter of GHHS participated in several activities to remind students and employees of the importance of compassion in medicine.

“Compassion is a huge part of caring for patients because it opens doors of communication between patients and providers,” said Angela King, a fourth-year medical student and GHHS member at the USA College of Medicine.

This year’s Solidarity Day/Week was entitled “Tell Me More.” After obtaining consent, GHHS members spent time learning about hospital patients’ personal lives in order to craft signs for display over their beds.

GHHS members agree that when providers are compassionate towards their patients, it allows the patients to feel comfortable and to express their concerns without any fear. “Knowing a patient on a personal level is essential to addressing their illness,” said Dale Shamburger, another fourth-year medical student and GHHS member at the USA College of Medicine.

Solidarity Day gives students and staff the chance to stop and remember that every patient has a story and that compassionate care is important.  “It is so easy to get caught up in the medical treatment of patients. It was refreshing to have an event to remind us that the care of our patients extends far beyond their illness or injury,” said JaneMarie Freeman, a fourth-year medical student and GHHS member at the USA College of Medicine.

“The most memorable part of the day was seeing the reactions of the patients and their families when they realized we wanted to learn more about their lives outside of the hospital,” said King. “One of the biggest lessons I have learned from my patients is to count my blessings and never take a single day for granted.”

GHHS members hope that Solidarity Day will inspire healthcare providers to spend a few extra minutes getting to know their patients every day, rather than just once a year. Solidarity Day serves as a reminder of compassionate care that carries on throughout the year between patients and the hospital staff.

The GHHS Solidarity Day for Compassionate Patient Care was initiated after the 2011 shootings in Tucson, Ariz., to honor the humanistic actions of Dr. Randall Friese, the trauma surgeon who first treated Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords. The “Tell Me More” project was developed in 2014 by GHHS chapter members at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mt. Sinai.

Click here to view more photos from USA's Solidarity Day.

To learn more about Solidarity Day, visit