Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Dr. John Howell Named Medical Director for University Physicians Group

Dr. John Howell recently was appointed medical director of University Physicians Group, a primary care practice located on the University of South Alabama Commons campus.

“I am excited to join the University, and I look forward to caring for USA employees and their families,” Dr. Howell said. “University Physicians Group is dedicated to providing our colleagues and friends in the University community with excellent care and customer service.”

Prior to his appointment at USA, Dr. Howell practiced at Gulf Coast Veterans Health Care System in Mobile. He previously worked in primary care at Southeast Louisiana Veterans Health Care System in New Orleans, where he also was a hospitalist.

Dr. Howell earned his bachelor of arts degree in biology from Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Md. He later earned his medical degree from the University of Mississippi in Jackson, Miss., and completed his residency training in internal medicine at the University of Mississippi Medical Center in Jackson, Miss.

From 2006-2008, Dr. Howell was adjunct clinical instructor at the USA College of Medicine. He became adjunct assistant professor in 2008 and served in that role for approximately five years.

Dr. Howell is board certified in internal medicine. He is now accepting patients at University Physicians Group, located at University Commons, 75 S. University Blvd. in Mobile. To make an appointment, call (251) 660-5787.

Feb. 16 DSS to Feature Dr. Peter Strick

Next week's Distinguished Scientist Seminar at the University of South Alabama College of Medicine will feature Dr. Peter L. Strick, distinguished professor and chair of neurobiology at the University of Pittsburgh in Pittsburgh, Pa.

The lecture, titled "Basal Ganglia Loops with the Cerebral Cortex and Cerebellum: Circuits for Movement, Cognition and Affect," will take place Feb. 16, 2016, at 4 p.m. in the first floor auditorium of the Medical Sciences Building on USA’s main campus.

Dr. Strick also currently serves as co-director for the Center for Neuroscience, co-director for the Center for the Neural Basis of Cognition, and professor of psychiatry at the University of Pittsburgh. He earned his undergraduate degree in biology and his doctorate in anatomy from the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, Pa.

His research interests include the cortical motor areas; the functions of the basal ganglia and cerebellum; and unraveling the circuitry of the central nervous system.

Click here to learn more about Dr. Strick.

The lecture series is comprised of distinguished scientists from other academic institutions who are invited by the USA College of Medicine basic science departments to present a seminar showcasing their latest research findings. Faculty, staff and students are strongly encouraged to attend.

February Med School Cafe - 'Preparing for Race Day'

The February Med School Café lecture will feature Dr. Angus McBryde, professor and interim chair of the department of orthopaedic surgery at the University of South Alabama College of Medicine.

His lecture, titled “Preparing for Race Day,” will be held on Feb. 23, 2016, at the USA Faculty Club on USA’s main campus. Lunch will be served at 11:30 a.m., and the presentation begins at noon.  Dr. McByde will discuss running tips, including how to properly train for a 10K race and how to prevent injuries, as well as tips on race day nutrition.

Dr. McBryde served as team physician at the National Sports Festival in Baton Rouge, La., in 1983; the World Games in Yugoslavia in 1987; the Summer Olympic Games in Korea in 1988; and the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta.

From 2000 to 2005, Dr. McBryde served as professor in the department of orthopaedic surgery and director of USC Sports Medicine at the USC School of Medicine in Columbia, S.C. He served as director of the American Sports Medicine Institute Ankle and Foot Fellowship at St. Vincent’s Medical Center in Birmingham, Ala. He also practiced at the Andrews Sports Medicine and Orthopaedic Center with subspecialty care delivered to competitive athletes.

Dr. McBryde received his undergraduate degree at Davidson College and earned his medical degree from Duke Medical School. From there he completed a general surgery internship and junior residency at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania. Dr. McBryde then served two years in the U.S. Navy, including a year in Vietnam as well as a year at the Balboa Naval Hospital in San Diego. He completed his orthopaedic residency at Duke Medical Center.

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

Pediatrics Hosting Grand Rounds Next Week

Dr. Ali Dodge-Khatami, professor of surgery at the University of Mississippi Medical Center (UMMC) and chief of pediatric and congenital heart surgery at the UMMC Children’s Heart Center, will present “Mini Right Axillary Thoracotomy for the Repair of Congenital Heart Defects,” for February’s pediatric grand rounds.

The event will take place Friday, Feb. 19, 2016, from 8 a.m. to 9 a.m. in the Atlantis Room in the CWEB-2 building behind USA Children’s & Women’s Hospital.

Dr. Dodge-Khatami will discuss alternative approaches to repair common congenital heart defects. He will also explain the pros and cons of each approach.

The event is open to faculty, staff and students at USA. A light breakfast, coffee and beverages will be provided. For additional information, contact Katie Catlin at

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Three USA Medical Students Match in Military Programs

University of South Alabama fourth-year medical students, from left, Thomas Holcombe, Micah Bucy and Gabrielle Hood recently matched in early match programs in the military.
University of South Alabama fourth-year medical students Micah Bucy, Thomas Holcombe and Gabrielle Hood recently matched in early match programs in the military.

The majority of medical students go through the National Resident Matching Program (NRMP) to find out where they will be doing their residency training following graduation, but students who wish to match in the military participate in a specialty match program that takes place months before Match Day in March.

Micah Bucy, from Pensacola, Fla., has served in the Air Force Reserves since 2013. Following graduation he will become a captain on active duty.

Bucy matched at David Grant United States Air Force Medical Center in Fairfield, Calif., where he will complete his residency training in family medicine. “I have been impressed by the military's desire to make their physicians as well-rounded as possible so they can provide medical care in any area of the globe,” Bucy said. “Some of the more unique opportunities I will have while learning family medicine in the Air Force include credentialing in battlefield, acupuncture and practicing wilderness medicine at national parks.” Bucy found the military's Health Professions Scholarship Program to be a great opportunity to not only pay for his medical education, but also to serve his country by helping care for those who have served in the military and their families.

Gabrielle Hood, from Jasper, Ala., has always been passionate about interacting and building relationships with people. She has also been intrigued by the challenges that come along with studying medicine and science. “When I reflected on the two passions I have, I knew I wanted to practice medicine.” Hood said. She did not come from a military family, but when she heard of the different programs the military had to offer, she instantly knew that it was the route she wanted to take to start her medical career.

Hood matched at Naval Hospital Camp Lejeune in Jacksonville, N.C., where she will complete a family medicine residency. With the help of great mentors and having a variety of resources within the military medical field, Hood said she has been able to achieve her dream profession. “It has been a great journey so far,” Hood said. “I cannot wait to start my career at Camp Lejeune taking care of our brave sailors, marines and their families.” Hood hopes to one day practice in a small, rural town similar to the town where she grew up shadowing physicians. Following graduation, Hood will be promoted to lieutenant.

Thomas Holcombe, from Dallas, Ga., will continue his family tradition of serving in the military.  Holcombe has several family members who are currently active or have previously served in the military. “I have always wanted to join the military to do my part in the service of this nation,” Holcombe said.

Holcombe matched at Navy Medical Center Portsmouth in Portsmouth, Va., where he will complete a general surgery residency. He found that he has benefitted greatly from the opportunities the military has given him. “I have met many excellent men and women in my officer training as well as on my away rotations at the naval hospitals,” Holcombe said. “I am extremely proud to join the tradition of naval officers and the Medical Corps.” Following graduation, Holcombe will be promoted to lieutenant.

During Honors Convocation in May, Bucy, Hood and Holcombe will take the military oath of office and receive their new military rank, coinciding with completion of their medical degrees.

The remainder of the USA College of Medicine Class of 2016 will find out where they matched on Match Day, March 18, 2016. The event will take place at the Mobile Convention Center in downtown Mobile.

Dr. Rizk Announced President Elect of Middle East Fertility Society

Dr. Botros Rizk, professor of obstetrics and gynecology at the University of South Alabama College of Medicine and a reproductive endocrinologist with USA Physicians Group, recently became president elect of the Middle East Fertility Society (MEFS), the most prestigious organization in the Middle East devoted exclusively to reproductive medicine.

MEFS is a 22-year-old professional society whose mission is to improve fertility care of couples in the Arab world and Middle East through the transfer of medical knowledge and the promotion of scientific research.

Dr. Rizk, who also serves as director of reproductive endocrinology at USA, was named president-elect for the organization this past year and will serve a two-year term as president beginning in November 2017.

Every two years, the society’s board considers several international candidates for presidency and makes a decision based on academic careers and achievements.

Dr. Rizk, who was one of the founding members of the MEFS, said he was very honored and excited to be selected. “There is so much potential for development of the society, as well as for collaboration,” he said.

As president, Dr. Rizk will be responsible for creating a plan for the strategic development of the society to serve both patients and members with infertility. “One of the most important goals is to make infertility treatments available to patients worldwide who don’t currently have the resources available, as well as to direct research in the field where we could have simplified treatment with an increased success rate.”

His new role also involves serving as a liaison between the Middle East Fertility Society, the American Society of Reproductive Medicine, and the European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology. This is similar to the role he had in the past as chair of the international membership committee for the American Society of Reproductive Medicine.

Dr. Rizk has served on the editorial board for the Middle East Fertility Society Journal for the past 20 years. In addition, he has been invited to be a guest speaker for the society on several occasions.

Dr. Rizk, a world-renowned infertility specialist and reproductive endocrinologist, completed his fellowship training at the prestigious Bourn Hall Clinic in Cambridge, England, under the mentorship of Dr. Robert Edwards, Nobel Laureate in Medicine for achieving the world’s first in vitro fertilization baby.  He was on faculty as senior registrar/lecturer at Cambridge University from 1990-1993. His publications include 20 medical textbooks and more than 400 published manuals, review articles and abstracts.

Dr. Rizk pioneered ovarian stimulation protocols for in vitro fertilization while he worked in London from the 1980’s through 1993.  He lead the research in the investigation of the pathophysiology of ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome.  Dr. Rizk is a skilled surgeon with great expertise in robotic laparoscopy and advanced hysteroscopy.