Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Dr. Stephen Kayes Honored with Retirement Reception

The University of South Alabama College of Medicine recently hosted a retirement reception honoring Dr. Stephen Kayes, professor emeritus of medical education at the USA College of Medicine.

Dr. Kayes joined the USA College of Medicine in 1981 as an assistant professor of anatomy, later being appointed assistant professor of microbiology and immunology. He has served in multiple positions throughout the College of Medicine, eventually becoming professor emeritus in the division of medical education.

“Dr. Kayes was an outstanding faculty member. He was always willing to help students and share his knowledge with them,” said Dr. Susan Ledoux, associate dean of medical education and student affairs at the College of Medicine. “He also was an exemplary role model in service to others through his participation in clubs and organizations across campus.”

Dr. Kayes has served on many committees at the College of Medicine, including the curriculum committee and committees for the DREAM program, a program designed by the College of Medicine to introduce, expose, and encourage disadvantaged and underrepresented students to consider careers in medicine. In addition, he also served with Habitat for Humanity and the Lions Club of Mobile.

He is the recipient of many teaching awards and honors, including the Red Sash Award for outstanding faculty recognition at honors convocation at the College of Medicine for multiple years.

Dr. Kayes’ research in the cellular and molecular mechanisms that cause disease has been published in many academic publications. In addition, his research has been presented at several academic conferences throughout the years.

View more photos from Dr. Kayes’ retirement here.

USA Resident, Faculty and COM Alum Collaborate for 2017 SAGES Annual Meeting

Dr. Andrew Berry, a second-year internal medicine resident at USA, served as project designer and lead author on a poster of distinction presented at the 2017 Society of American Gastrointestinal and Endoscopic Surgeons meeting.
Dr. Kandace Kichler
Dr. Andrew Berry, a second-year internal medicine resident at the University of South Alabama, recently served as project designer and lead author on a poster of distinction presented at the 2017 Society of American Gastrointestinal and Endoscopic Surgeons (SAGES) annual meeting in Houston, Texas.

The project, titled “From Abstract to Publication: Factors Predictive of Gastrointestinal and Endoscopic Surgery Publication Success,” was one of 18 abstracts chosen from more than 1,400 abstracts submitted to the 2017 SAGES annual meeting.

The goal of the study was to determine abstract characteristics associated with successful peer-reviewed publications after presenting at SAGES, and to build a publication prediction model for abstract-to-publication success.

According to Dr. Berry, this topic addresses a major issue faced among medical students, residents, fellows and faculty – the failure of taking a project from the idea phase into publication in a peer-reviewed journal. “Although everyone may have their own definition of scholarly activity, what remains clear is that projects are failing to reach publication in a timely fashion,” he said. “As a result, this hinders clinical guideline committees and affects patient care.”

Through his research, Dr. Berry concluded that only 25 percent of abstracts presented at the SAGES meeting were published in three years. “Numerous analyzed factors are positively or negatively associated with publication rates, acceptance time and journal ranking,” Dr. Berry said. “One must determine whether sheer number of publications, time to publication or journal impact is top priority and design studies predictive of such success.”

His research project included involvement from USA College of Medicine faculty members Dr. Brooks Cash, chief of gastroenterology, and Dr. William Richards, professor and chair of surgery. Dr. Kandace Kichler, USA College of Medicine alum, also participated in the project and presented the poster at the meeting.

“This project helped me realize how many factors can help or hurt your pathway to publication, and which avenues I should explore during future projects,” Dr. Kichler said. “As a former medical student at USA, this was a great demonstration of a lifelong connection and an opportunity to continue my strong relationship with USA.”

Last year, Dr. Berry presented multiple research posters at the national GI American College of Gastroenterology Annual Scientific Meeting and Postgraduate Course in Las Vegas, Nev.  “This is part of a series of projects that I have completed that address this topic,” Dr. Berry said. “We are honored to be selected among many impactful studies from large academic institutions across the world.”

For more information on Dr. Berry’s project, click here to watch a video of his presentation and here to read the abstract.

Medical Students Express Gratitude to Donor Families at Anatomical Gifts Memorial Service

University of South Alabama first-year medical students Ben McCormick and Whitney Smith helped organize this year's  Anatomical Gifts Memorial Service. The service provided an opportunity for families to meet with the medical students impacted by their loved one’s donation.

The University of South Alabama College of Medicine held its Anatomical Gifts Memorial Service on April 21, 2017. The service provided an opportunity for families to meet with the medical students impacted by their loved one’s donation and for the students to express their gratitude.

Bodies donated to the USA Anatomical Gifts Program are not only used to train medical students learning anatomy during their first year of medical school, but also to train practicing physicians learning new medical procedures and to aid in physician research. The bodies are treated respectfully and professionally by students and physicians alike.

The donors are introduced to the medical students as their first patients, allowing them to learn human anatomy in greater detail than learning from a textbook alone. “During the first year we learn the human anatomy from the neck down in roughly four weeks, which is arguably one of the most challenging months in our medical school journey,” said Ben McCormick, a first-year medical student at the USA College of Medicine. “I cannot emphasize enough how educationally enriching the time spent with our donor was. Gross anatomy lab is an integral rite of passage in becoming a physician and a crucial didactic opportunity for medical students.”

McCormick, who also helped organize this year’s memorial service, said the donors provided him with many invaluable first experiences. “I will always remember the first time I held a human heart,” he said. “Working with the donors truly made us consider the transiency of our time in this world.”

Another first-year medical student at the USA College of Medicine, Whitney Smith, also helped organize the memorial service. “I think it is important for students to express their gratitude to the families because the donors have impacted our careers in a way the families may not know,” she said. “The anatomical gifts program allowed me the opportunity to not only learn the anatomy, but to forever have a visual representation of all the organ systems, nerves and vessels in a three-dimensional image.”

Smith said she chose a career in medicine because she wanted to do more for others than she did for herself. “The donors are a prime example of selflessness and giving to further someone’s education,” she said. “I hope to carry that mindset throughout my career with every single patient.”

During the service, second-year medical student Matthew Robson thanked the family members of participants in the Anatomic Gifts Program. The following is a portion of his presentation:

“Not only did the donors teach us anatomy, but they also taught us about respect, compassion and reminded us to give wholeheartedly. We were honored to have your loved ones as teachers. Physically, they taught me about the beauty and fragility of the human body. Educating my classmates and I on the most intricate details and allowing for experiences that no book, computer screens or interactive software will be able to replicate. Experiences that will last a lifetime and make each of us better health care providers.

Through their sacrifice and gift, they taught us skills that will ultimately give others life.


They also taught us a second lesson—a lesson about compassion and serving selflessly. With their donation they gave up their most personal possessions - themselves - hoping that they would be able to make a positive impact on the future. Upon reflection, it is extremely humbling to take part in this experience and be given the trust of our first patient so eagerly and so entirely.

Thank you for lending us your loved ones so that they could teach us. We hope to honor their gift with a lifetime of altruistic and compassionate care.”


The USA Anatomical Gifts Program holds a memorial service every two years to honor the lives of donors. If you are interested in becoming a donor or would like more information, click here.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Students and Faculty to be Honored at Annual Honors Convocation

Each spring, the University of South Alabama College of Medicine recognizes students for their academic achievements at the annual Honors Convocation ceremony.

This year’s College of Medicine Honors Convocation for the Class of 2017 will be held May 5, 2017, at 7 p.m. at the USA Mitchell Center.

“Our Honors Convocation ceremony provides an opportunity to celebrate the academic and leadership accomplishments of our graduating medical students,” said Dr. John Marymont, vice president for medical affairs and dean of the USA College of Medicine. “It also provides an occasion to acknowledge our outstanding faculty for their contributions to student success and achievement.”

Doctoral hoods, along with the student honors, will be awarded to the medical students at Honors Convocation. Faculty will be honored by the students as well. The seniors selected those members of the faculty who had the most meaningful impact on their medical education, and for their positive influence, the faculty selected will wear a red sash over their academic regalia.

Dr. T.J. Hundley, assistant dean for medical education and student affairs and associate professor of internal medicine at the USA College of Medicine, will deliver the address to the class.

A reception for students, guests and faculty will follow.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

USA Health to Offer Free Skin Cancer Screenings

USA Health will offer free skin cancer screenings for all USA Health and Dental Plan members on Monday, May 1, 2017, as part of Melanoma Monday, a national event held annually on the first Monday of May.

Appointments will be available from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. at University Physicians Group, located at the University Commons.

According to Dr. Marcus Tan, assistant professor of surgery at the USA College of Medicine and a surgical oncologist with the USA Mitchell Cancer Institute, the incidence of melanoma in the United States is rising more rapidly than for any other cancer. “In fact, one in every 40 individuals will develop melanoma," he said. "However, if caught early, it is curable in 90 percent of cases.”

There are several risk factors to consider in a melanoma diagnosis including family history of melanoma, prior melanoma, multiple pigmented skin lesions and some rare genetic syndromes. In addition, a history of extensive or severe sun exposure or severe sunburns may also contribute to the development of this potentially fatal cancer.

To schedule your free skin cancer screening, call 660-5787. USA Commons is located at 75 University Blvd. at the intersection of University Boulevard and Old Shell Road.