Wednesday, July 27, 2016

USA Mourns Loss of Dr. Randall Powell

Dr. Randall Powell, retired professor of surgery and pediatrics at the University of South Alabama College of Medicine, passed away on July 25, 2016. He was 70.

“Dr. Powell was a longstanding, dedicated faculty member with a passion for medical care of the pediatric patient,” said Dr. William O. Richards, chair of the USA department of surgery.  “During much of his career at USA, he was either the only pediatric surgeon or one of two pediatric surgeons in our region, caring for some of the most vulnerable patients -- neonates and critically-ill children with surgical diseases.”

Dr. Powell, a native of Richmond, Va., earned his bachelor of science degree from Hampden-Sydney College in Hampden-Sydney, Va., and his medical degree from the Medical College of Virginia in Richmond, Va. He completed residency training in general surgery at Naval Hospital in San Diego and his fellowship in pediatric surgery at Children’s Memorial Hospital in Chicago.

As a pediatric surgeon, Dr. Powell belonged to a very small group of surgeons who trained beyond general surgery residency in order to care for neonates and children with all the complex congenital defects and the different physiology of the growing child.  When he trained as a pediatric surgeon there were only 24 programs in the United States that trained pediatric surgeons.

Prior to joining USA in 1984 as assistant professor of surgery and pediatrics, Dr. Powell served at Northwestern University Medical School, Naval Hospital in San Diego, and University of California San Diego School of Medicine in San Diego. In 1991, Dr. Powell was promoted to professor of surgery and pediatrics at the USA College of Medicine and served in that role until his retirement in 2009.

Dr. Powell was exceptionally bright, as evidenced by his election to Alpha Omega Alpha medical honor society and his encyclopedic knowledge of surgical history and techniques. He was equally passionate about the care of pediatric patients and the training of surgical residents.  He expected and demanded excellence in all aspects of patient care.

A true academician, Dr. Powell was an advocate for surgical residents and junior level faculty.  He would write encouraging notes to each chief resident in surgery regarding their training and chosen fellowship or future practice plans. During the last weeks of his life, Dr. Powell began sharing his prized book collection, with many of these books being first editions on pediatric surgery that were signed by the authors.  His legacy is one of the highest academic rigor, intellectual honesty, and never-ending self-reflection on how to be a better physician and surgeon. 

Dr. Powell touched the lives of countless medical students, residents and patients through his work as a faculty member and pediatric surgeon at the USA College of Medicine. Throughout his career, he invested considerable time and effort in the education, mentoring and training of both medical students and residents.

While at USA, Dr. Powell was also director of the division of pediatric surgery and professor of physician assistant studies. He served on numerous committees at USA, including the Resident Evaluation Committee, the Surgical Case Review Committee at USA Medical Center, the USA Faculty Senate, the College of Medicine Admissions Committee, and chairman of the Medical Student Research Committee.

Dr. Powell was a Fellow of the American College of Surgeons and the American Academy of Pediatrics. He was involved in several professional organizations including the American Pediatric Surgical Association, the Pacific Association of Pediatric Surgeons, the Association for Academic Surgery, the American Association for the Surgery of Trauma, the Eastern Association for Surgery of Trauma, the Southeastern Surgical Congress, the Society of Critical Care Medicine, the Southern Medical Association, and the Association of Military Surgeons of the United States.

Dr. Powell was preceded in death by his parents, Warren Douglas and Lucille Cole Powell. He is survived by his wife of 47 years, Nola Rice Powell; children, Kendall Douglas Powell (Holly) and Julie Powell Edwards (Chris); grandchildren, Silas Bryan-Powell, Jackson Edwards, Bennett Edwards, Ryland Edwards, and Ella Francis Edwards; brother, Kenneth Allen Powell (Deborah); and nieces, nephews and cousins.

A memorial service will be held for Dr. Powell on Friday, July 29, at Dauphin Way United Methodist Church at noon; it will be preceded by a visitation at 11 a.m.  Burial will be private.

In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Randall W. Powell, M.D., Lectureship in Pediatric Surgery at the USA College of Medicine. Donations can be mailed to Development and Services Building, 300 Alumni Circle, Mobile, AL 36688.

Friday, July 22, 2016

USA Medicine Magazine - Mailing Now

Check your mailbox for the Summer 2016 issue of USA MEDICINE magazine, which features articles relating to the University of South Alabama College of Medicine.

This issue includes stories of the character and kindness of medical students, the success of alumni, and the commitment faculty members have made to medical excellence.

The magazine can be viewed online here. To request more copies of the magazine, email

Thursday, July 21, 2016

USA Welcomes Dr. Charles Hartin Jr.

Dr. Charles Hartin Jr. recently joined the University of South Alabama College of Medicine as an associate professor of surgery and will serve as a pediatric surgeon with USA Physicians Group.

Prior to joining USA, Dr. Hartin worked at the Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, Texas, as an assistant professor in the Michael E. DeBakey Department of Surgery.

He earned his bachelor of science degree in chemistry from the University of Alabama at Birmingham in Birmingham, Ala., and his medical degree from USA. He completed an internship in general surgery at Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine in Roanoke, Va. Dr. Hartin completed his residency training in general surgery at the State University of New York at Buffalo in Buffalo, N.Y. He completed his research fellowship in pediatric surgery at Women & Children’s Hospital of Buffalo in Buffalo, N.Y. He also completed his pediatric surgery fellowship at Baylor College of Medicine at Houston, Texas.

Dr. Hartin has authored dozens of publications and abstracts and is a member of several professional organizations including the American College of Surgeons, American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Pediatric Surgical Association.

To make an appointment, call 415-1475.

Mark Your Calendar: 43rd Annual Medical Student Research Day

The University of South Alabama College of Medicine will host the 43rd annual Medical Student Research Day on Friday, July 29, 2016, in the Medical Sciences Building.

Oral presentations begin at 8:30 a.m., followed by a keynote address at 11:15 a.m. The event will conclude with poster presentations from 12:45 until 2 p.m.

This year’s keynote address will be given by Dr. John Perfect, James B. Duke Professor of Medicine and chief of infectious diseases at Duke University Medical Center in Durham, N.C. Dr. Perfect is a member of the American Society of Microbiology, Infectious Diseases Society of America and International Society for Human and Animal Mycology.

Dr. Perfect is also a long time member of the Mycoses Study Group and provides advisory consultations for a series of pharmaceutical companies in antifungal drug development. He directs and designs clinical trials involving fungal infections and antifungal therapy, and he is the lead author of the 2012 IDSA Cryptococcal Treatment Guidelines.

The nine-week Medical Student Summer Research Program includes hands-on research related to basic science and/or clinical medicine; a seminar program that focuses on various scientific and clinical topics; and student presentations at Research Day. Through this program, students develop an appreciation of how research contributes to the knowledge and the practice of medicine. Support for the program is provided by the USA College of Medicine Dean’s Office and the National Institutes of Health.

Click here for additional information.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

‘As I Cared for Them, They Cared for Me’

USA cardiologist Dr. Clara Massey has cared for patients between the ages of 19 and 103 – and for up to three generations within a family. Many of those patients have been with her since the start of her career.

“I am humbled by the trust and support of my patients,” she said. “As I cared for them, they cared for me.”

This year – after 25 years of dedicated service – Dr. Massey will retire from the University of South Alabama, where she served as professor of internal medicine and director of the division of cardiology.

“The last 25 years in cardiology have been a calling,” she said. “So many people sacrificed in order to give me this opportunity. I’ve had much to pay forward."

Dr. Massey grew up on a farm in the foothills of the Arkansas Ozarks – driving a tractor and hauling hay at the age of six. She played exhibition football in high school; her team was undefeated. After earning a degree in medical technology from Arkansas State University, she worked as a med tech and director of the chemistry lab at St. Bernard's Hospital in Jonesboro, Ark. It was there that she was urged to apply to medical school, and her tuition was paid for by her hometown family physician and by her family’s support.

After medical school, Dr. Massey chose to study the heart because in 1983, she thought, “how hard can it be? It’s just a pump with four chambers.”

Back then, medications were few, and catheter-based intervention and open heart surgery were in their infancy. Over the next few years, she watched and participated in the explosion of cardiovascular medicine. “I have been so fortunate,” she said. “It has been a magical time for cardiology, and more is on the horizon.”

Although her greatest joy has come from caring for patients, she said she’s also proud of her involvement in the development of the USA Heart Team. “It is an innovative way of providing evidence-based, high- quality, team-delivered care,” she said. “I am grateful for the partnership of Dr. Carl Maltese and Christy Paragone during this endeavor, in addition to my colleagues in the Division of Cardiology and the incredibly dedicated staff at USA. The development of the team was likely the most difficult task of my career, but also the most rewarding.”

Dr. Massey said her career has been enriched by so many people at USA that it would be impossible to list them all. “Hopefully my work ethic expressed my thank you to all of them,” she said. “However, there are two special employees who magnified my abilities and enriched my career – Kelley Day, my clinic nurse and partner in a commitment to patient-centered care, and Donna Gregory, my administrative support and moral compass throughout my career.”

During her time at USA, Dr. Massey participated in the training of more than 100 cardiology fellows and countless residents. “I’ve had a wonderful & rewarding career, and I believe I have succeeded in giving back,” she said. “It is now time to hand off to the next generation.”

If she could offer any advice to young physicians, it would be to "surround yourself with people who elevate your game, who place patient needs first and who hold you accountable for best care."

“It makes all the difference,” she said.

In the next phase of her life, Dr. Massey intends on taking care of herself and her family. She is looking forward to spending time with her daughter, Amanda, who is getting married next year; and her husband of more than 30 years, Dr. Charles Hamm.

The USA Department of Cardiology recently held a beach-themed sendoff for Dr. Massey. Click here to view more photos.