Thursday, February 23, 2017

USA Neurology to Host Annual Spring Symposium

The University of South Alabama’s Department of Neurology will host its fourth annual Neuroscience Symposium March 31-April 2, 2017, at the Perdido Beach Resort in Orange Beach, Ala.  The event will cover a broad range of topics including epilepsy, stroke, multiple sclerosis, deep brain stimulation, neuromuscular disease, movement disorders and headaches.

The program is designed as an interdisciplinary conference for neurologists, primary care physicians, nurses and health professionals throughout the Gulf Coast region. This conference is open to all health care providers interested in increasing knowledge, addressing competence or performance, and improving patient outcomes.

USA faculty speakers include Drs. Elias J. Chalhub, Juan Ochoa, Elizabeth Minto, Dean Naritoku, Steve Cordina, Paul Maertens, Daniel Dees, Bassam A. Bassam, and W. Bogan Brooks. Special guest speakers are Dr. David Good, chair of neurology at the Penn State College of Medicine in Hershey, Pa., and Dr. Gregory Holmes, chair of neurology at the University of Vermont in Burlington, Vt. Dr. Good will present “Neurorehabilitation of stroke: What have we learned from science?” and Dr. Holmes will present “Can we prevent epilepsy?”

Advanced registration is requested.  For more information and to register, click here.

USA Welcomes Dr. Supatida Tengsupakul

Dr. Supatida Tengsupakul recently was appointed assistant professor of pediatrics at the University of South Alabama College of Medicine and will serve as a hospitalist and pediatric infectious diseases specialist seeing patients at USA Children’s & Women’s Hospital.

Prior to joining USA, Dr. Tengsupakul served as a pediatric hospitalist at Doctors Hospital at Renaissance in Edinburg, Texas, and Rio Grande Regional Hospital in McAllen, Texas.

She earned her medical degree from Mahidol University in Bangkok, Thailand. She completed her residency training in pediatrics at The Brooklyn Hospital Center in Brooklyn, N.Y., and a fellowship in pediatric infectious diseases at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis, Minn.

She is board-certified in pediatric infectious diseases and general pediatrics.

Dr. Tengsupakul is now accepting referrals. To refer a patient, call the pediatric hospitalist referral line at (251) 300-9767.

Med School Café- Expert Advice for the Community


Dr. Hanes Swingle, director of the University of South Alabama Autism Diagnostic Clinic and professor of pediatrics at the USA College of Medicine, presented the February Med School Cafe lecture titled “What Causes Autism?”

During the talk, Dr. Swingle discussed autism spectrum disorder, a complex developmental disorder that includes the conditions previously known as autistic disorder, Asperger's syndrome and pervasive developmental disorder not otherwise specified.

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. 

Watch the video below to view the lecture in its entirety.

Med School Cafe 2-10-17 from USA Health on Vimeo.

Friday, February 17, 2017

USA Gold Humanism Honor Society Members Participate in Solidarity Week

University of South Alabama fourth-year medical student and GHHS member Emily Spurlin hangs a "Tell Me More" poster in a patient's room at USA Children's and Women's Hospital.
The Gold Humanism in Medicine Honor Society’s (GHHS) Solidarity Week for compassionate patient care was held Feb. 13-17, 2017. 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.

“As health care providers, having compassion for our patients’ situations is paramount to providing good patient care and drives our mission to alleviate suffering,” said Emily Spurlin, a fourth-year medical student and GHHS member at the USA College of Medicine. “It can be easy to focus on the medical details of a patient’s illness, but it does not matter if you cannot connect with the patient and establish a plan for diagnosis and treatments, taking into account a patient’s experiences and values.”

Solidarity Week is focused on encouraging medical schools and patient care facilities around the country to show the importance of kindness to patients. On Tuesday, Feb. 14, GHHS members participated in the “Tell Me More” campaign. After obtaining consent, medical students asked patients to tell them unique information about themselves.

After patients answered questions about their strengths, how friends would describe them, and what is meaningful to them, the students crafted a poster to present to the patients. The posters were placed above their bed to showcase information like their favorite movies, nicknames or hobbies.

Jelaina Scott, a fourth-year medical student, discussed the many positive aspects of Solidarity Week and its impact on students, patients and medical staff.  “Patients understand that we care about who they are, not just the disease they have,” Scott said. “Health care providers benefit because Solidarity Week gives them a chance to learn more about their patients and helps them better connect, while also providing an opportunity for staff to feel appreciated for everything they do for the patients and the hospital.”

“We have the opportunity to show patients that we value and appreciate the attributes that make them unique as individuals,” added fourth-year medical student Brian McGrath.

McGrath visited with Kimberly Crowell, who lit up when she saw doctors walk in her room with her poster. “This made my day,” Crowell said.

Corwin McGee, a fourth-year medical student and president of GHHS at USA, said that Solidarity Week renews his interest in getting to know patients. “Solidarity Week puts things into perspective by making me think about how I would want members of my family to be treated if they were under our care,” he said.

This year, rising senior members were able to participate in Solidarity Week for the first time. “We decided to let third-year students participate in Solidarity Week so they would have an idea of the work that goes into such an important yearly event,” said Karen Braswell, USA GHHS chapter advisor and coordinator of clinical education at the USA College of Medicine.

Ashton Todd, a third-year medical student, learned more about the value of spending time with young patients during Solidarity Week. “Solidarity Week has shown me that it only takes little gestures to show people who you work with every day that they are appreciated,” she said.

Todd was able to spend time with 8-year-old patient Keaziah Frazier at USA Children’s and Women’s Hospital during the Tell Me More campaign, which she said brought them closer as patient and healthcare provider. “I was able to get to know her by asking questions like her favorite color and favorite sport,” Todd said. “I was so overjoyed to see her enthusiasm and appreciation.”

Spurlin, who also participated in the Tell Me More campaign at USA Children’s and Women’s Hospital, said the patients had the "most remarkable attitudes." "To see them smile as we talked about their posters was amazing.”

GHHS students are committed to practicing compassion in health care far beyond Solidarity Week. “After this week, I will take with me a renewed enthusiasm for engaging my patients on a deeper level in order to make their care as centered on their needs as possible,” McGrath said.

Tuesday, GHHS members distributed candy, crackers and granola bars at nursing stations to show their appreciation to staff members. “The hospital could not run without the hard work of the entire hospital staff,” McGee said.

Later that week, GHHS members distributed Krispy Kreme doughnuts to residents and handed out thank-you cards to healthcare workers who have gone the extra mile.

Warren Greene, assistant administrator of USA Health, thanked students for participating in “such a fantastic project.” “Remember to continue to show compassion in health care in your future endeavors,” he said. “This project is greatly appreciated and truly makes a difference.”

The national Gold Humanism Honor Society office established National Solidarity Day for Compassionate Care in 2011 to highlight the nation-wide movement promoting provider-patient relationships based on caring, personalization and mutual respect. Momentum gathered particularly after the Senate passed a resolution in 2013 and 2014 to officially recognize Solidarity Day on the national calendar, and it is now typically celebrated on or around Valentine’s Day.

Click here to view more photos from Solidarity Week at USA.

To learn more about Solidarity Week, click here. Share your own posts and photos using the hashtag #SolidarityWeek.

Thursday, February 16, 2017

USA Gold Humanism Honor Society Members Implement “Three Good Things” to Help Medical Students Cope with Burnout

Third-year medical student Alexandria Broadnax writes "three good things" in her notebook. The exercise serves as an avenue for students to reflect, recognize and document the positive aspects of their day.
Members of the Gold Humanism in Medicine Honor Society (GHHS) at the University of South Alabama College of Medicine recently implemented the “Three Good Things” stress management technique to decrease burnout, depression and apathy among third-year medical students.

Several GHHS members from the Class of 2017 bought notebooks for third-year medical students to each record “three good things” that happened to them that day. According to Corwin McGee, a fourth-year medical student and GHHS president at the USA College of Medicine, the exercise serves as an avenue for students to reflect, recognize and document the positive aspects of their day.

“Medical students that are going through burnout can experience poor performance in school and problems in their personal life,” McGee said. “It is important to address burnout early on because studies have shown that burnout starts in medical school and can persist into their residency training.”

According to McGee, although the effects of burnout can impact all medical students, GHHS members implemented this technique with third-year students because it is the first year students have daily interactions with patients.

“The third year of medical school can be a difficult adjustment,” said Jacob Sexton, another fourth-year medical student and GHHS member at the USA College of Medicine. “In addition to didactic classes, they are now working with patients and get to witness both the high and low points of medicine. The three good things exercise helps push away any negativity that is associated with some aspects of medical school, while reminding oneself about the amazing things that we are privileged to do every day.”

Third-year medical student Alexandria Broadnax said the transition from learning about diseases in textbooks to learning about diseases from patient encounters can be both exciting and overwhelming.

“During the first two years of medical school we generally have a set lecture schedule and dedicated study time,” she said. “The third year can be difficult because it is vastly self-directed and requires independent learning and managing time to study after clinical duties.”

Broadnax said it is a great idea for medical students to reflect and be reminded of at least three good things that took place each day. “I am a believer that everything happens for a reason, and it is important to try to find the good in each situation in order to grow and become a better you,” she said.

Although she has not experienced burnout herself, Broadnax said it is a common issue that many medical students experience. “I believe burnout in medical school is more prevalent than we would like to imagine,” she said. “Thankfully, I have a great support system that includes my close family, friends and church family who I can rely on for both emotional and spiritual support.”

In addition to documenting three good things each night, McGee, Sexton and Broadnax agree that maintaining a life outside of medical school is vital. “The best thing medical students can do to avoid burnout is to have something to turn to when school and life gets stressful,” McGee said. “Whether that is your family, friends or hobbies, you have to have something outside the realm of medicine.”

The GHHS members of the Class of 2017 were inspired to address burnout in medical school by Dr. Terri Babineau, former assistant dean of student affairs and associate professor of family medicine at Eastern Virginia Medical School in Norfolk, Va. Recently, Dr. Babineau presented “Burnout in Healthcare and Mindfulness Tools” to first- and second-year medical students and “Narrative Medicine in Response to Burnout” at a joint Grand Rounds lecture for the departments of obstetrics and gynecology and pediatrics at USA.

To learn more about “Three Good Things,” click here.