Thursday, March 26, 2015

USA Children’s and Women’s Hospital To Host Local Goodness April 19

University of South Alabama Children’s & Women’s Hospital will host Local Goodness, a unique farm-to-table experience and silent auction on Sunday, April 19, from 4 to 7 p.m. in the Alabama Cruise Terminal. At this casual party, guests will dine on local meats, seafood and produce as they enjoy authentic bluegrass music performed by local band Fat Man Squeeze.

Local Goodness was created to raise funds for USA Children's & Women's Hospital, the area's leader in birthing babies and the Gulf Coast's only Neonatal Intensive Care Unit and Pediatric Intensive Care Unit. Local Goodness pays tribute to local cuisine, art and music while raising awareness and support for the hospital’s mission of providing the highest quality healthcare for the children and women in this region.

Tickets for the event are $150 and can be purchased here or by calling (251) 415-1636. For sponsorship opportunities, contact Beth Mattei at (251) 415-1636 or

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

USA Pediatric Healthy Life Center Providing Educational Programs to Primary Care Practices

The University of South Alabama Pediatric Healthy Life Center is providing educational programs to primary care practices throughout the region. The traveling group consists of a physician, nurse, clinical diabetes educator, and an assistant. Currently, 13 practices have registered for the program.

Dr. Daniel Preud’Homme, director of the Pediatric Healthy Life Center and professor of pediatrics at USA, said the group will provide one hour of approved CME activity, titled “Partners for Healthy Weight in Children,” at each visit. The activity, which includes a free lunch, is provided in a team-based learning format and is intended for all health professionals.

Dr. Preud’Homme said Alabama remains near the top of the childhood obesity prevalence list in the country. “Close to 25 percent of children are overweight or obese,” he said. “Obesity in children tracks well into adulthood. The key to effective obesity prevention is to address obesity as early as possible when behavior modifications may be easier, but with greatest potential to prevent co-morbidities."

The program will address evaluation, prevention and management of obesity and comorbidities in a primary care office. “Complications of obesity such as diabetes or hypertension are now commonplace in pediatrics,” Dr. Preud’Homme said. “The health burden of obesity is so significant that it is a major focus of preventive health in all children, especially in Alabama. We hope that the education and resources provided will foster the evaluation of childhood and adolescent obesity in primary care practices in the Gulf Coast area. This effort is meant to reach the maximum number of children and adolescents through their health care providers with the hope that the prevalence of obesity and its complications will subside in the population we serve.”

The CME activity is offered to any primary care offices in the region. To learn more or to schedule an activity, call (251) 434-5038.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

USA's SPF 90 Team to Provide Skin Cancer Screenings at Azalea Trail Run

The University of South Alabama’s SPF 90 Team will provide skin cancer screenings at this year’s Azalea Trail Run Health and Fitness Expo on March 28, 2015, at the Mobile Civic Center Arena in Mobile, Ala.

The SPF 90 Team - established in 2006 as an outreach and education program of the USA Mitchell Cancer Institute - highlights the importance of early detection of skin cancer. The acronym SPF 90 represents Skin Protection Force, with 90 representing the percentage of skin cancer that is curable with early detection.

Dr. Marcus Tan, assistant professor of surgery at the University of South Alabama College of Medicine and a surgical oncologist at the USA Mitchell Cancer Institute will lead the SPF 90 Team. According to Dr. Tan, the incidence of melanoma in the United States is rising more rapidly than for virtually any other cancer.

There are several risk factors to consider when diagnosing melanoma including family history of melanoma, prior melanoma, multiple pigmented skin lesions and some rare genetic syndromes. In addition, extensive or severe sun exposure -- especially bad sunburns -- may also contribute to the development of this cancer.

Melanoma is a deadly disease but for patients whose melanoma is diagnosed early, the cure rate is relatively high.

Dr. Tan stresses that regular skin exams are an important part of everyone's health check-ups. For a successful self-exam, it is crucial to know what to look for. Lesions suspicious for melanoma usually have a combination of the "ABCDEs of Melanoma:"

●      A - Asymmetry
●      B - Irregular Borders
●      C - Variable Color (pigmentation)
●      D - Diameter greater than 1/4 inch
●      E - Expanding (growing) skin lesion

Free parking will be available at the Civic Center parking lot. To view a map of the Civic Center, click here.

For more information on the Azalea Trail Run Health and Fitness Expo, click here.

Friday, March 20, 2015

USA Senior Medical Students Celebrate Residencies at Match Day 2015

Omar Mazher celebrates after opening his envelope during the University of South Alabama College of Medicine’s Match Day event March 20, 2015, at the Arthur R. Outlaw Mobile Convention Center in Mobile, Ala. Mazher matched in psychiatry at Harvard in Boston. The National Residency Matching Program, or Match Day, is the annual event in which future doctors across the United States and Canada simultaneously learn where they will be doing their residency training.
Senior medical students at the University of South Alabama gathered March 20 at the Mobile Convention Center to find out this year’s Match Day results and the next step in their medical training.

The National Residency Matching Program, or Match Day, is the annual event in which future doctors across the United States and Canada simultaneously learn where they will be doing their residency training. The graduating medical students simultaneously opened their envelopes with their assigned matches at 11 a.m.

“Match Day is an important day in the life of a medical student,” said Susan LeDoux, Ph.D., associate dean of medical education and student affairs. “This year, as in the past, we are extremely proud of our students’ successes in securing excellent residency positions. Their success reflects years of hard work on their part and also speaks to the quality of the educational training provided to them here in the USA College of Medicine.”

The Match works like this. After interviewing with several different residency programs - both near and far - students provide a ranking of their top-choice programs in order of preference. The training programs, in turn, rank the students who interviewed. The NRMP matches applicants’ preferences for residency positions with program directors’ preferences for applicants. Each year, thousands of medical school seniors compete for approximately 24,000 residency positions across the United States.

This year, the USA College of Medicine seniors matched in 18 different states. There were 45 students who matched out-of-state and 29 students who matched in the state of Alabama, with 17 of those students matching at USA Hospitals.

Alonso Heudebert poses for a photo with his family during the University of South Alabama College of Medicine’s Match Day event March 20, 2015, at the Arthur R. Outlaw Mobile Convention Center in Mobile, Ala. Heudebert matched in internal medicine at Barnes‐Jewish Hospital in St. Louis.
Alonso Heudebert, a fourth-year medical student at USA, is following in his father's footsteps.  His father is a professor of internal medicine at the University of Alabama at Birmingham.

Heudebert was born and raised in Birmingham, Ala. He earned a bachelor’s degree in philosophy from the University of Alabama and then returned to Birmingham where he earned a master’s degree in public health before pursuing medical school at USA.

“Medicine, to me, is one of the noblest professions that someone can aspire to do. It is enriching in its service orientation, humbling in its complexity, challenging in what it requires of us and bathed in the warm glow of humanity,” said Heudebert. “I couldn’t imagine doing anything else with my life.”

Heudebert said his clinical experience at USA has made the biggest impact on him. “Being mentored by such a dedicated, intelligent and friendly group of people was a remarkable experience that I can only hope to encounter in my residency.”

Heudebert matched in internal medicine at Barnes-Jewish Hospital, Washington University, located in St. Louis. “I have put in a lot of hard work these past four years," he said. "I think this will be a great place to train, and I am excited for this new opportunity."

Christopher Hoffman holds his match letter during the University of South Alabama College of Medicine's Match Day event March 20, 2015, at the Arthur R. Outlaw Mobile Convention Center in Mobile, Ala. Hoffman matched in psychiatry at Morehouse School of Medicine in Atlanta.
Christopher Hoffman, a fourth-year medical student from Tuskegee, Ala., first became interested in medicine during an elementary school career fair. “I was asked the famous question of “What do you want to be when you grow up?,” said Hoffman. “After brainstorming different careers, I replied with ‘a doctor’ and the idea grew on me from there.”

Hoffman has been given much support from his family, friends and his community back home. “Being the only person from my community working toward a medical degree, I was given a lot of support,” said Hoffman. “My mother played an important role in where I am today and even though she wasn’t able to see me get into medical school, memories of her actions continue to motivate me.”

Hoffman had challenges throughout medical school, but he believes it made him stronger. “I am excited to discover new places and begin my career as a physician,” he said.

Hoffman matched in psychiatry at Morehouse School of Medicine located in Atlanta. “I am ecstatic! This was my number one choice, and I am extremely happy with my match,” said Hoffman.

The NRMP also allows couples to form pairs of choices on their rank order lists. The couple then matches to the most preferred pair of programs on the rank order lists where each partner has been offered a position. USA medical students William Tucker and Megan Hudson are engaged and matched as a couple.

Megan Hudson and William Tucker pose for a photo holding their match letters during the University of South Alabama College of Medicine's Match Day event March 20, 2015, at the Arthur R. Outlaw Mobile Convention Center in Mobile, Ala. The engaged couple are both students at the USA College of Medicine. Hudson matched in pediatrics at Children's Mercy Hospital at the University of Missouri-Kansas City in Kansas City, Mo. Tucker matched in orthopaedic surgery at the University of Kansas School of Medicine in Kansas City, Kan.
Tucker and Hudson met during their first year of medical school. “Megan and I were good friends from early on,” said Tucker. “We started dating toward the end of our second year.”

Tucker, from Mobile, Ala., said he always knew he wanted to go to medical school. “There are many physicians in my family, including my dad, a pathologist here at USA; my uncle, who is an orthopedic surgeon; and my grandfather, who is a retired pediatrician,” Tucker said.  “This provided much of my drive throughout medical school, and I feel that going to USA gave me an incredible hands-on experience that was invaluable.”

Hudson, unlike Tucker, will be the first physician in her family. She grew up in Decatur, Ala., and earned a bachelor’s degree from Emory University in Atlanta, Ga.

“Biology and human health initially sparked my interest in medicine in high school and throughout my undergraduate education,” said Hudson. “The training I have had here at USA has been unique because of the smaller class size, but I feel as though there would be no better place to train.”

“Match Day is exciting because it is not only a culmination of four years of hard work, but it is also an opportunity to begin a new adventure with William,” Hudson added.

Hudson matched in pediatrics at Children’s Mercy Hospital at the University of Missouri- Kansas City, located in Kansas City, Mo. Tucker matched in orthopaedic surgery at the University of Kansas School of Medicine, located in Kansas City, Kan.

“We are relieved,” said Tucker. “This has been a long process, but we both got where we wanted and are excited to spend the next several years together.”

The USA Heath System currently has 74 senior medical students and 11 residency programs. This year, there are 67 residency positions at USA - the large majority of which will be filled through the matches.

Click here
to view more photos from the event. For the complete list of Match Day results, click here.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Geneva Staggs Recognized for Excellence in Hospital Librarianship

Geneva Staggs, interim director of the Biomedical Library at the University of South Alabama and assistant director for hospital library services, has been chosen to receive the Lois Ann Colaianni Award for Excellence and Achievement in Hospital Librarianship.

The award will be presented May 18 at the awards luncheon during the annual meeting of the 1,000-member Medical Library Association.

Staggs’ nomination cites many accomplishments in her 36-year career with the Biomedical Library, but the nomination documents focus on her role in helping educate patients who are about to undergo open heart surgery, says Judy Burnham, the recently retired library director who nominated Staggs.

“I believe in the mission of this hospital – to help people live longer, healthier lives,” Staggs said. “I really think the library has a place in patient care and patient education. “It goes beyond helping a physician find information about an esoteric problem or a nurse care plan."

Staggs' nomination cites her participation on 10 committees and in helping with research for some of the hospital’s key evidence-based practice improvement projects.

When the open-heart surgery team was created in 2012, Staggs was invited to join that team, too. “Research shows that if patients are educated on the front end, they do much better after surgery,” Burnham said.

Being part of the education program “is not something I had to do,” Staggs said. “I could sit in my office and wait for people to come in and ask questions.  But I’m not that kind of person."

Since the start of the heart surgery program at USA Medical Center, she has worked with more than 50 patients.

USA Family Medicine Employees Recognized for Customer Service

Fay Cunningham, a billing and insurance clerk in the USA department of family medicine, and Frances Clary, clinical LPN in the USA department of family medicine, recently were presented Employee Recognition Awards for outstanding customer service skills.

Fay Cunningham
"Fay has a wonderful attitude and is always willing to assist co-workers. She is a great team player and is willing to go that extra mile each and every day."

      -Excerpt taken from a patient nomination form

Frances Clary
"Frances has great customer service skills, and she always makes sure the patients are taken care of. She is a team player who helps out in any way that is requested."

      -Excerpt taken from a patient nomination form

To learn more about the USA Physicians Group Customer Service Recognition Program and to print a nomination form, click here.