Thursday, December 17, 2009

USA Pulmonary Hypertension Patient Highlighted

Katie Lessard was diagnosed with pulmonary hypertension (PH) in 2007, while she was an active duty Navy helicopter pilot. She began having symptoms one year before her diagnosis, but several lung function tests continuously came back normal. It was a stress test - where she ran on a treadmill and was monitored using an echocardiogram - that revealed the PH diagnosis. Within eight months of the diagnosis and after nine years of serving, she medically retired from the military.

In 2008, shortly after her diagnosis, Lessard married a military pilot. Although her life had taken a completely different turn, she was still able to be a part of something she loved so much. “I miss the military sometimes,” she said. “I’m still married to it, though, so it’s not completely gone.”

Lessard said the initial diagnosis was extremely depressing. “Most of the information out there on PH is not very positive.” However, with the help of USA’s Pulmonary Hypertension Center, Lessard has overcome many of her medical obstacles. She is currently on multiple therapies, including continuous IV therapy. At USA’s Center, she completes six-minute walk tests, echocardiograms and other evaluations. She said the center is great for her because, as a Florida resident, there is nothing in her area for people with PH.

“It’s so nice to have a doctor that listens to you and is very supportive,” she said. “Dr. Fagan made me believe that this hurdle was possible to overcome, and she has always had a very positive attitude about the disease.”

Lessard said the entire situation has had a lot of positives. “It slowed my life down. It has helped me appreciate the moment a lot more,” she said. “Before I was diagnosed, I was always thinking about tomorrow … everything was rushed.”

Lessard said raising awareness for PH is extremely important. “People may not necessarily look sick, but they may not be able to do as much as they want to. It is very important to be diagnosed really early in life, and many people don’t understand what PH even is. Awareness will help.”

To read the Katie's story published in the Mobile Press-Register, follow this link - .

December Med School Cafe' Draws Enthusiastic Crowd

On December 16th, Dr. Hattie M. Myles, assistant dean for student affairs and educational enrichment, gave a community lecture titled “The Past and Future of African American Physicians in Mobile” at the Mobile Museum of Art. 

In her talk, Dr. Myles discussed the many contributions made by African American physicians throughout Mobile’s history.  She also highlighted the success of programs at the USA College of Medicine designed to encourage diversity in healthcare.

The lecture will be available online at early next week.

Educational Technologies and Services Announces New Employees

Lynda Touart (standing) was recently appointed as the medical illustrator for the University of South Alabama’s College of Medicine. As medical illustrator, she will collaborate with faculty and students to transform complex information into visual images to promote education, research, patient care, public relations and marketing efforts.

Touart has been a medical illustrator for the COM before, and has now returned to the college. She has an MFA from Florida State University, is experienced in graphics software as well as by-hand illustration, and will serve as a coordinating presence between several types of output. Touart will be working out of the Medical Sciences Building.

Matt Myers (seated) was recently appointed as the audio-visual production specialist. Myers will be producing educational programs through the use of audio-visual equipment. He will also assist and instruct users with setup, delivery and maintenance of production equipment and programs.

Myers graduated from East Tennessee State University with a degree in mass communications and marketing. He has shot and edited video for WPMI and Waterman Broadcasting, among others. Myers will be working out of the Mastin Building.

The department of educational technologies and services coordinates quality improvement of education by providing support and development to COM faculty and students. Educational support includes designing and developing instructional materials and methodologies, keeping up-to-date with innovative technological advancements, and developing assessment strategies. Educational support is provided for all COM educational departments (i.e. medical education, continuing medical education, graduate and residency programs).

Enjoy The Holidays...without "Heartbreak"

Heart disease is the leading cause of death and disability in the United States. In the winter months, especially around the holidays, the risk of developing heart disease increases by 30 percent. Dr. Clara Massey, professor of internal medicine and director of the division of cardiology at the University of South Alabama, has some important advice on how to keep your holidays heart healthy.

People typically tend to eat and drink more during the holidays. Dr. Massey gives several tips on how to counterbalance this increase in consumption:
• Avoid overeating.
• Use smaller plates – they trick your mind into thinking you are eating more.
• Divide your plate into fourths – one-fourth protein, one-fourth carbohydrates, one-fourth fruits and one-fourth vegetables.
• Don’t linger at the buffet or in the kitchen. Instead, focus on socialization.
• Don’t skip meals, especially on party days.
• Take healthy snacks when holiday shopping to avoid excessive hunger.

Dr. Massey said everyone’s stress level rises during the holiday season. In many ways, stress impacts your cardiovascular health. “Stress also increases the body’s effort to hold onto calories,” she said. “The body stores more calories because it needs to respond to the stress.”

To combat stress, Dr. Massey said it is important to feel good at least once a day. “Exercise is a great stress buster because it increases energy and decreases stress,” she said. “Even 15 minutes a day helps your heart – walk the dog, go caroling or take a stroll in the neighborhood and look at lights and decorations by foot.” Dr. Massey also emphasizes the importance of getting enough sleep. An adequate amount of sleep boosts your heart health and reduces stress.

If you are traveling with heart disease this holiday season, there are a few extra steps you should take:
• Keep a list of all drugs you are taking (use generic names and indicate dosages).
• Have a copy of an electrocardiogram.
• Have the name of and contact information for your physician.
• Pack and carry enough of each medication to cover the length of the trip.
• If you are flying, stay hydrated. Move around at least once every hour you are on the plane to prevent blood clots.
• If you have a pacemaker or defibrillator with you, check with your cardiologist to determine if airline security magnets will interfere with the device.
• When you arrive at your destination, pace yourself and avoid strenuous activity for about an hour after arrival.

Also important, Massey said, the holidays provide an opportunity to chat with family about specific family medical history. “The holidays are a wonderful opportunity for people to see what their cardiovascular risks are,” she said. “It’s also a great time to discuss risk management with family members.” To help record and organize your family medical history, visit .

Q&A with USA Med Student Sarah Beth Hill

Sarah Beth Hill, a second year medical student at the University of South Alabama, won $123,000 in scholarship money at the Dr. Pepper Football Championship Challenge at the SEC Championship game on Dec. 5.

We recently caught up with Hill, and here’s what she had to say about her big win.

Q: What did the experience teach you?
A: I learned that people actually do win those random contests. I can't tell you how many times I've entered drawings, contests, etc., but I've never won anything. I've also been amazed at how far-reaching this is. People I barely know -- or complete strangers! -- have contacted me to say how excited they were when they watched the contest.

Q: Any competitive advantages being medical student?
A: I think the biggest advantage that med school provided was in handling the pressure. I've really learned how to tune out distractions and focus on the task at hand. Also, USA Football Coach Brendt Bedsole says I'm "very coachable,” and I attribute that quality to being a professional student.

Q: What has winning the competition changed and not changed?
A: It's a strange thing. The money goes directly to the University, so my bank account is just as meager as it ever was. Since I don't pay tuition out of pocket anyway (it's all student loans), the money doesn't really affect my day-to-day budgeting, etc. I know it will make a huge difference when I graduate with little-to-no loan burden, but for now it's still kind of surreal.

Q: In an article, it said you had to return on Monday to take a test – how do you think you did?
A: I had to take a final exam in Microbiology & Immunology. Those grades are not in yet, but I felt like I did fairly well. I studied as much as I could during the trip and all day on Sunday when we returned to Mobile. (Plus, my undergraduate degree is in Microbiology. That helped.)

Q: Do people recognize you when you go shopping, or out and about?
A: While we were still in Atlanta, I got recognized a lot -- several people even asked to snap pictures with their cell phones. In Mobile, I've been recognized a few times, mostly on campus. One lady did stop me at Wal-Mart and say, "I saw you on YouTube! How did you drink so much Dr. Pepper without burping!" (Answer: most of the drinking in the video is simulated, and the cans are empty.) I did get a note from a USA surgeon, as well as a letter from the Chamber of Commerce, congratulating me. Coach Bedsole reports that he's been recognized as well (he was in a lot of the news footage).

Q: Anything else you’d like to add?
A: I could not have done this without the help of the Jags football staff, especially Coach Bedsole. The support from the medical school has been amazing (especially COM 2012 -- several classmates gave up valuable study time to help with preparations), and I am so honored to represent them!

To view a video of Sarah Beth Hill interviewed on ESPN about her win, visit .

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

USA Mourns Loss of Radiology Chair

Dr. Steven K. Teplick died unexpectedly at his home on Dec. 8, 2009. He was 68. Dr. Teplick was professor and chair of radiology at the University of South Alabama, a position he had held since 1995. He also served as a faculty member in the USA College of Allied Health. 

During his tenure at USA, Dr. Teplick oversaw the development of the USA Teleradiology Program, the university’s conversion from film to digital radiologic imaging, the implementation of PET-CT, digital mammography, and many other advances in diagnostic imaging.

"Dr. Teplick was a highly-respected academic physician who dedicated himself to the training of medical students, resident physicians and radiologists," said Dr. Samuel J. Strada, dean of the USA College of Medicine. "He leaves us with the legacy of scores of students and faculty he trained and mentored during a career spanning almost four decades."

Dr. Teplick served in the USA Faculty Senate and the USA College of Medicine Faculty Assembly, serving as president from 1998 to 1999. He was a member of the USA Health Services Foundation Board, where he had served as board president for the past 10 years.

Prior to his appointment at USA, Dr. Teplick was professor and vice chair of the department of radiology at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences in Little Rock, Ark. While in Little Rock, he held many leadership positions including acting chair from 1992 to 1993, the director of radiology residency training and chief of radiology at the Veterans Hospital. During his career, he also held faculty and leadership positions at medical schools affiliated with Hahnemann University and Boston University.

Dr. Teplick was a fellow in the American College of Radiology and served on many committees for the organization. He was president of the Alabama Academy of Radiology. Dr. Teplick was a board member of the Joint Review Committee on Education in Radiologic Technology. He was also active in the American Roentgen Ray Society, the Association of University Radiologists, the Radiologic Society of North America, the Society of GI Radiologists, the Society of Cardiovascular and Interventional Radiology and the Society of Chairs of Academic Radiology Departments.

In addition, Dr. Teplick served on the editorial boards and as a reviewer for many professional medical journals, including Radiology, Radiographics, the American Journal of Radiology, Digestive Diseases and Sciences, the Journal of Interventional Radiology. Dr. Teplick was a founding member of the International Society of Biliary Radiology.

Dr. Teplick received his Bachelor of Arts degree in 1963 from the University of Vermont in Burlington, Vt. He earned his medical degree from Hahnemann Medical College and Hospital in 1967. He completed an internship at Maimonides Medical Center in Brooklyn, N.Y., and in 1971 completed his radiology residency at Boston City Hospital affiliated with Boston University in Boston. Dr. Teplick completed a neuroradiology fellowship, also at Boston City Hospital in 1972.

From 1972 to 1977, he served as chief of gastrointestinal radiology at the Tripler Army Medical Center in Honolulu.

A gentleman farmer, Dr. Teplick lived in rural west Mobile County. He found relaxation through home gardening, canning vegetables, and raising horses. He is survived by his wife Carol; two adult children, Joanna and Jennifer; and four grandchildren.

A memorial service will be held on Dec. 10, 2009 at 5 p.m. at Radney Funeral Home located at 3155 Dauphin St. Visitation will immediately follow the service from 5:30 to 7 p.m.

In lieu of flowers, the family has asked that contributions be made to the Steven Karl Teplick M.D. FACR Memorial Award Fund, a fund established to assist medical students who choose to specialize in radiology and are committed to life-long learning as exemplified by Dr. Steven Teplick. Memorial donations can be mailed to: USA Office of Development, 307 N. University Blvd., TRP III Suite 2150, Mobile, AL 36688.

Friday, December 4, 2009

USA Medical Student Participate in Dr. Pepper Challenge at SEC Championship

Sarah Beth Hill, a second year medical student at the University of South Alabama College of Medicine, will participate in the Dr. Pepper “Throw for Scholarship Dough” on Saturday, December 5, 2009, at the SEC Championship game between the University of Alabama and the University of Florida.

She received the opportunity after submitting a Dr. Pepper bottle cap code to the Dr. Pepper website. About 30,000 people were entered in the drawing, and six were chosen. Sarah Beth and a student from Florida Atlantic University will compete at the SEC Championship game for scholarship, and the four others will be split into pairs to compete at the ACC and Big 12 Championship games.

The competition is a challenge of who can get the most footballs, out of 10, through a 2-foot wide hole in an oversized replica of a Dr. Pepper can in 45 seconds from the 5-yard line. The winner receives $123,000 in scholarship, and the runner-up receives $23,000. The competition will take place at the beginning of half-time. Sarah Beth has been practicing with South Alabama football coaches for the past two weeks.

Follow this link to watch a video of  the two competitors preparing for the contest .  Sarah's vignette starts at :52 sec. 

December 10th DSS - "Intersection Between Coagulation and Inflammation: The Secret Life of Coagulation Factors"

The next Distinguished Scientist Seminar will be presented by Dr. Edward Abraham in the Medical Sciences Building auditorium on Thursday, December 10, 2009, at 4 p.m.

Dr. Abraham received a B.A. in biochemistry and an M.D. from Stanford University. He completed his residency in internal medicine and a fellowship in critical care at UCLA in addition to postdoctoral studies as a Fullbright Fellow in immunology at the Pasteur Institute, Laboratory of Immunbiology.

Currently, Dr. Abraham is Professor and Chair of Medicine at the University of Alabama at Birmingham.

Dr. Abraham's research studies include acute lung injury, inflammation and neutrophil biology.

His seminar is titled "Intersection Between Coagulation and Inflammation: The Secret Life of Coagulation Factors."

For more information on Dr. Abraham*s research, please visit:

For additional information, please contact Natalie Kent at 461-1548.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

December Med School Cafe' - RSVP Now!

Dr. Errol Crook, professor and Abraham Mitchell Chair of internal medicine at the University of South Alabama College of Medicine, will lecture at the Mobile Museum of Art on "The Past and Future of African American Physicians in Mobile" on Dec. 16, 2009, as part of the Med School Café, the USA Physicians Group’s monthly lecture series.

Dr. Crook’s lecture will highlight the impact made by African American physicians throughout Mobile’s history.

During his talk, Dr. Crook, who serves as director for the USA Center for Healthy Communities, will also outline several programs at the center that are designed to encourage minority students to consider healthcare career paths.

A lunch will be provided for lecture attendees. The Med School Café lecture and lunch are provided free of charge, but reservations are required. To make reservations, please call (251) 460-7770 or e-mail

USA Faculty Make "House Calls" to Local College

This past Saturday, the Mobile Press Register ran an article about a pre-med class at Springhill College that has been enriched by a number  USA College of Medicine faculty who have served as guest lecturers.  Click here to read the article: .

Contruction Tour - New Dialysis Center at USAMC

Earlier this month, we toured the new Dialysis Center construction site with USA Nephrologist Dr. Michael Culpepper.  Follow this link to take a "behind the scenes" look at the final construction taking place - .

At 4:44, Dr. Culpepper talks about unique features of the building and the services that will be provided here.

Contruction is in its final stages.  The Center is expected to begin seeing patients in January.

For Starters - Get Your Vaccinations NOW!

Dr. Allen Perkins, professor and chair of family medicine at the University of South Alabama College of Medicine, was recently interviewed by WALA FOX 10 about the flu and what people can do to stay healthy.

Here’s a summary of his advice:
  • Most important – get BOTH your H1N1 and seasonal flu vaccination now (you can get both at the same time).
  • Wash your hands to avoid contracting the flu and sharing germs with others.
  • If you are sick, stay at home and rest. Going to work or school while sick exposes others to the flu.
  • Most people do not need to seek medical care. Rest, drink lots of fluids and treat the symptoms with over-the-counter medications for fever, coughs and runny noses.
If your symptoms go beyond aches and fever and you are having trouble breathing, seek medical attention immediately.

Dr. Perkins stresses that parents should never give aspirin to their children - rather use acetaminophen (trade name Tylenol) or ibuprofen (trade name Motrin). Aspirin is associated with Reye’s Syndrome, a fatal disease.

To watch Dr. Perkins interview, click this link - .

Mammograms: When To Test?

One in eight women will develop breast cancer in their lifetime. Dr. Lynn Dyess, professor of surgery at the University of South Alabama College of Medicine, said “that early detection is the most effective way to treat breast cancer, and the mammogram is the tool of choice for this important screening.”

Dr. Dyess, a breast surgeon at USA Health System, said that recent news coverage of recommendations from the U.S. Preventative Services Task Force on mammograms has caused a great deal of confusion and anxiety among patients.

Her response to women is clear. “Talk with your doctor about your family medical history and known genetic cancer risks, and work together to develop the best screening strategy based on these candid discussions,” she said.

Dr. Dyess hasn’t changed her patient screening protocols. She maintains that the best practice guidelines follow recommendations developed from data gleaned from years of research that has been corroborated by multiple studies. She points to screening guidelines from the American Cancer Society as the golden standard.

“Sharing your family medical history is an important part of any prevention plan. In the case of breast cancer, if you have a first-degree relative with a breast cancer diagnosis, this will impact the age your doctor will order your first mammogram,” she said. “If your mother or sister had breast cancer, you should start your screenings 10 years prior to their age of diagnosis.”

What does Dr. Dyess want all women to do? “Talk with your primary care provider about when you should start mammogram screenings, and be sure to share family medical history information that may alter the general recommended screening schedule,” she said.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Born to be a Doctor

Dr. Ebele Madichie is a pediatric resident in her second year at the University of South Alabama. She was born and raised in Nigeria, a country in West Africa.  Dr. Madichie has - even as a child - known that she wanted to become a medical doctor, but only recently realized that she wants to be a neonatologist.

The Press Register pubished an article about Dr. Madichie on Thanksgiving.  Click here to read her story - .

December Distinguished Scientist Seminar

The next Distinguished Scientist Seminar will be presented by Dr. Hanjoong Jo on Dec. 3, 2009, at 4 p.m. in the Medical Sciences Building auditorium. His seminar is titled “Identification of Novel Flow-Sensitive mRNAs Regulating Atherosclerosis.”

Currently, Dr. Jo is The Ada Lee and Peter Correll Professor in Biomedical Engineering at Emory University/Georgia Tech School of Medicine. He has been an editorial board member for numerous journals and has received several awards of recognition for his research studies.

Dr. Jo’s research studies involve mechanobiology and cardiovascular diseases, atherosclerosis and aortic valve disease -- the role of shear stress in vascular inflammation and neovascularization.

Dr. Jo received his bachelor’s degree from Korea University and his doctorate from Pennsylvania State University.

He completed a Juvenile Diabetes Foundation postdoctoral fellowship at Washington University and University of Alabama at Birmingham.

For more information on Dr. Jo’s research, visit: .

For additional information, contact Natalie Kent at 461-1548.

Benny Booker Remembered

Benny Booker, with the USA department of educational technologies and services, died Nov. 28, 2009, at his residence following a courageous battle against cancer. Funeral services were held on Dec. 1 at St. Paul’s Lutheran Church.

Booker had worked in the medical school since 1992.

“Benny epitomized a service mindset,” said Mike Carmichael, director of the department of education technologies and services at the USA College of Medicine. “He always provided service with a smile.”

“Benny had a good heart,” Carmichael said, “and we will always remember him fondly.”

Memorial donations can be made to the St. Paul’s Lutheran Church on Cottage Hill Road.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Med School Cafe' - SRO at Mobile Museum of Art

Last week, Dr. G. Mustafa Awan, director of Interventional Cardiology and assistant professor internal medicine at the University of South Alabama College of Medicine gave a lecture titled “State of the Art Care for Peripheral Artery Disease” at the Mobile Museum of Art. 

In case you missed the lecture, it will be available to watch online next week.  Starting next week, you can view the entire lecture by visiting - .

Pediatric Resident To Be Featured

Press-Register will feature Dr. Madichie in an article to publish sometime this week.   Pick up a paper or read online at .

3rd Annual USA COM Research Forum

This year's Research Forum was held on Nov. 20th.  Below are several photos from the event.

H1N1 Vaccination Clinic at Mitchell Center

At the USA Mitchell Center this week, 1,160 flu shots were given to USA students, faculty and staff, and their dependents. Credit for the success goes to Tom and Mary Meyer, their nursing students, and other nursing faculty members for their expertise. Students were well prepared and handled the high volume of patients with great attitudes and professional demeanor. Kudos to all involved for a great team effort!

Endowed Eran & N.Q. Adams Lecture and Visiting Professorship in Neurology

Dr. Benn E. Smith will be presenting the first Endowed Eran and N.Q. Adams Lecture and Visiting Professorship in Neurology on December 2, 2009 at 10 a.m. Dr. Smith’s lecture, “What Does Autonomic Testing Bring to the Neurology Table,” will take place at the University of South Alabama Medical Center in the second floor conference room.

Dr. Smith is an associate professor of neurology with the Mayo Clinic School of Medicine in Rochester, Minn. Dr. Smith also serves as the director of the Sensory Laboratory, the Electromyography Laboratory, and the EMG/Neuromuscular Fellowship at the Mayo Clinic in Scottsdale. In addition to his more than 20 years of experience as an instructor, Dr. Smith has made presentations throughout the world and written 30 peer-reviewed articles and 13 textbook chapters on the subject of neurology.

Dr. Smith received his bachelor of arts in physiology from the University of California at Berkley in 1980 and his medical degree from the University of California at San Diego in 1984. He completed his internship, residency and two fellowships at the Mayo Clinic in Scottsdale, Ariz. Dr. Smith is certified with the American Board of Electrodiagnostic Medicine, the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology and the National Board of Medical Examiners.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Soap and Water - Your Best Defense

WMPI's Mike Rush sat down with USA Infectious Diseases Specialist Dr. Kevin Green to talk about the most important thing we all can do to prevent the spread of germs and illness - - it's something we probably learned when we were in the first grade - - properly washing our hands.

The story will air on Monday on NBC-15 during their 10 p.m. newscast.

Stimulating Science - Story to Air Sunday

Recently, WALA-FOX10 News Anchor Bob Grip visited the USA Center for Lung Biology and discovered that scientists are finding out great deal about how to improve care for lung diseases and stimulating the local economy at the same time.  Watch WALA's 9 p.m. newscast this Sunday for the full story.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

USA Pulmonary Hypertension Center Takes Part In National Awareness Effort

Left:  Physician-scientist Dr. Karen Fagan leads the USA Pulmonary Hypertension Center

November is Pulmonary Hypertension Awareness Month. Pulmonary Hypertension (PH) is a rare blood vessel disorder of the lung in which the pressure in the pulmonary artery (the blood vessel that leads from the heart to the lungs) rises above normal levels and may become life threatening. It is a disease that affects people of all ages and ethnic backgrounds.

In our region, the University of South Alabama Pulmonary Hypertension Center provides care for patients with PH and educates patients, families, and the community about the disease. Its mission is to search for better treatments and ultimately a cure for PH through research at the USA Center for Lung Biology and clinical trials through the USA Pulmonary Hypertension Center. Patients are referred to our center from throughout southern Alabama as well as Mississippi and Florida.

Dr. Karen A. Fagan serves as medical director of the USA Pulmonary Hypertension Center. She has more than 14 years of experience in the diagnosis and management of PH. Dr. Fagan is an internationally recognized leader in the PH field as both a clinician and scientist. She is on the Scientific Leadership Council of the PH Association and a leader in the Pulmonary Circulation Assembly of the American Thoracic Society. Dr. Fagan has written more than 40 scientific and clinical articles and book chapters and is frequently invited to speak on PH.

Scientific discoveries made by Dr. Ivan McMurtry, a researcher at the USA Center for Lung Biology, serve as the basis for many of the drugs currently used to treat patients with PH. Dr. McMurtry has written and reviewed numerous publications regarding PH. He is a member of the American Physiological Society, American Thoracic Society and the American Heart Association.

Med School Cafe' - "State of the Art Care for Peripheral Artery Disease"

This month's Med School Cafe' will feature Dr. G. Mustafa Awan, Assistant Professor of Internal Medicine and Director of Interventional Cardiology at the University of South Alabama College of Medicine. 

His lecture - "State of the Art Care for Peripheral Artery Disease" - will take place on Nov. 18, 2009 at the Mobile Museum of Art.  Lunch will be served at 11:30 a.m. and Dr. Awan's talk will begin at 12 noon.

Peripheral Artery Disease (PAD), is one of the most common circulatory problems outside the heart and brain. The condition results from narrowed arteries, which reduce blood flow to the arms and legs.

During his lecture, Dr. Awan, an interventional cardiologist, will talk about the medical management of PAD as well as new therapies available to patients who suffer from this condition.

An estimated 8 to 12 million Americans have PAD. The most common symptoms include cramping, pain, or tiredness in the leg or hip muscles while walking.

A lunch will be provided for lecture attendees. The Med School Café lecture and lunch are provided free of charge, but reservations are required. To make reservations, please call (251) 460-7770 or e-mail .

November 12th DSS - “Epigenetic Control of Chromatin-Dependent Transcription: Lessons from HPV E2 and E6 Proteins”

The next Distinguished Scientist Seminar will be presented by Dr. Cheng-Ming Chiang on Nov. 12, 2009, at 4 p.m. in the Medical Sciences Building auditorium. His seminar is titled “Epigenetic Control of Chromatin-Dependent Transcription: Lessons from HPV E2 and E6 Proteins.”

Currently, Dr. Chiang serves as professor in the departments of biochemistry and pharmacology at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical School and the Harold C. Simmons Comprehensive Cancer Center.

Primarily, Dr. Chiang’s laboratory involves understanding the mechanisms of transcriptional regulation in mammalian cells and in defining the roles of protein factors involved in these processes. He is also interested in the studies of human papillomaviruses, which cause a variety of human diseases, including benign genital warts and cervical cancer. His research interests include transcription, chromatin, gene regulation, and virology.

Dr. Chiang is a 1996 Pew Scholar and has been an editorial board member of the Journal of Biological Chemistry and Faculty of 1000 since 2003. He presently serves as a regular member for the American Cancer Society Genetic Mechanisms in Cancer and National Institutes of Health Virology B study sections.

Dr. Chiang received a bachelor of science degree from the department of agricultural chemistry at National Taiwan University in 1984. He received his medical degree from the department of biochemistry at the University of Cheng-Ming Chiang Rochester in 1991.

His doctoral dissertation was supervised by Professors Louise Chow and Thomas Broker. After finishing his postdoctoral training with Professor Robert Roeder at Rockefeller University, he took a faculty position in the department of biochemistry at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign.

In 2000, he moved to the department of biochemistry at Case Western Reserve University as tenured associate professor. He has recently accepted a professorship at UT Southwestern in the departments of biochemistry and pharmacology, and he relocated his laboratory to UT Southwestern Simmons Comprehensive Cancer Center in July 2007.

For more information on Dr. Chiang’s research, visit .

For additional information, contact Natalie Kent at 461-1548.

Friday, November 6, 2009

USA Physicians Group Cardiology Participates in Employee Benefits Fair

USA Cardiology Nurses Beverly Blount and Kelley Day answered questions and provided heart-healthy advice to USA employees during this week's Employee Benefits Fair hosted by Human Resources.  Approximately 1,000 employees attended the 2-day event.

USA Biomedical Library Honored with 2009 Distinguished Library Award

The University of South Alabama Biomedical Library was recently awarded the Distinguished Library Award for 2009 by the Consortium of Southern Biomedical Libraries (CONBLS).

The award was given in recognition of the success of the 2008 and 2009 Summer STARS and STRIPES Programs. USA biomedical librarians Beverly Rossini, Andrea Wright and Judy Burnham all worked on this project.

The STARS (Student Training for Academic Reinforcement in the Sciences) and STRIPES (Special Training to Raise Interest and Prepare for Entry into the Sciences) programs are part of the Center of Excellence/Center for Healthy Communities. The purpose of the programs is to enhance students’ preparation in math, science, communication skills and test preparation so that they will be better prepared for college and careers in the health sciences.

Librarians from USA’s Biomedical Library helped the students to develop their research and study skills. The students were from schools serving disadvantaged populations, and they had an interest in a career in health care.

The Distinguished Library Award recognizes innovation, sustainability and programs that contribute to the library's mission of service to the academic institution and the community.

The award plaque was accepted by Judy Burnham, director of USA’s Biomedical Library, at the annual meeting of the Southern Chapter of the Medical Library Association.

Faculty Appreciation Tent at this Saturday's Homecoming Game

Judy Burnham - on behalf of the USA Faculty Senate - extends and invitiation to all faculty to the Faculty Appreciation/Recognition tent at Saturday's Homecoming Game.  The tent is open from 1:30 p.m. to 4 p.m. at Ladd-Peebles Stadium.

Spouses/children are invited. A great meal will be provided, along with beer and coca cola products. Many gifts and prizes will be given for adults and children.

Guests will include Miss America, who will be available for photos with your children (or with you). As well as the USA Cheerleaders.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Former COM Associate Dean Confirmed As Surgeon General

Last week the United States Senate unanimously confirmed former University of South Alabama College of Medicine associate dean, Dr. Regina Benjamin, as the nation's Surgeon General.

"Dr. Benjamin will quickly become America's doctor as our next Surgeon General.  Her deep knowledge and strong medical skills, her commitment to her patients, and her ability to inspire the people she interacts with every day will serve her well as Surgeon General," U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said. "She will be an integral part of our H1N1 response effort, and America can expect to see her very soon communicating important information about how to stay healthy and safe this flu season. I commend the Senate for their unanimous vote, and I look forward to working with Dr. Benjamin in the days ahead."

In 1997, Dr. Benjamin joined the medical school faculty as an associate professor of family medicine. In 1998, she was named assistant dean for rural health, and from 1999 to 2004 served as associate dean for rural health.

For more information on the Office of the U.S. Surgeon General, follow this link: .

COM Fall Faculty Assembly

The COM Fall Faculty Assembly is scheduled for Nov. 18, 2009, at 4 p.m. in the Medical Sciences Building Freshman Auditorium (Second Floor).  All College of Medicine faculty are invited to attend.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Abstract Deadline Extended - 3rd Annual USA COM Research Forum

Deadline Extended - November 6th.

Please go to for detailed instructions regarding preparation and submission of abstracts. The deadline for abstract submission has been extended to Nov. 6, 2009. If you have questions, please contact Dr. Jody Brewer ( or Dr. Donna Cioffi (

Please remember that graduate students, post-docs and clinical fellows are strongly encouraged to submit abstracts for posters and/or short talks about their research. Undergraduate research fellows and new faculty members are also invited to present their work.

USA COM Grad & Surgery Resident Remembered

Dr. Ralph Edward Newsome Jr., a 1990 graduate of the University of South Alabama College of Medicine and a graduate of the USA surgery residency program was killed at his New Orleans home on Oct. 31.

After completing his surgery residency at USA in 1995, the Huntsville, Ala., native moved to Mississippi and started a private practice in general surgery and emergency medicine. He then completed a plastic surgery residency program at Temple University Hospital in Philadelphia before joining Tulane’s medical school faculty in 1998.

Dr. Newsome worked his way to assistant dean for graduate medical education at Tulane and served as the chief of the division of plastic and reconstructive surgery.

Dr. Newsome was described as a surgeon who always had a strong passion for healing patients, specifically patients wounded in car accidents and physical assaults, as well as those stricken with skin cancer.

Memorial donations can be made in Dr. Newsome’s honor to the USA department of surgery’s John W. Donald Award Fund – an award honoring the senior medical student who excels in the surgical clerkship and expresses and interest in academic medicine. Donations can be mailed to the Medical Development & Alumni Relations, University of South Alabama, Technology & Research Park III, Suite 2150, Mobile, AL 36688.

Redox Regulation of IFG-I and Integrin Signaling in Chondrocytes - This Week's DSS

The next Distinguished Scientist Seminar will be presented by Dr. Richard F. Loeser Jr. on Nov. 5, 2009, at 4 p.m. in the Medical Sciences Building auditorium. His seminar is titled “Redox Regulation of IFG-I and Integrin Signaling in Chondrocytes.”

Currently, Dr. Loeser serves as The Dororthy Rhyne Kimbrell and Willard Duke Kimbrell Professor of Arthritis and Rheumatology at Wake Forest University, as well as professor for internal medicine and  molecular medicine and rheumatology.

His laboratory studies the cellular and molecular mechanisms that regulate cartilage destruction in  osteoarthritis and the role of aging. His clinical studies involve the genetics of osteoarthritis, including exercise and weight loss interventions for osteoarthritis.

Dr. Loeser received his medical degree from West Virginia University School of Medicine, and he completed his residency in internal medicine and fellowship in rheumatology at Bowman Gray School of Medicine. He was also a Hartford Faculty Development Scholar in geriatrics and a visiting scholar at Bristol

For more information on Dr. Loeser’s research, visit .

For additional information, contact Natalie Kent at 461-1548.

Sickle Cell Today - Now Online

Standing Room Only attendance at this year's annual conference - click link below to read more.

The latest newsletter "Sickle Cell Today" is available on a new link at the USA Comprehensive Sickle Cell website.

In this issue:
- Practical advice on the flu vaccine
- Overview of this year's educational conference
- From the Director - More primary care involvement needed
- Acute splenic sequestration crisis

Follow this link to read the newsletter - .

Thursday, October 29, 2009

The Art In Science - View Med School Cafe' online

Approximately 100 people attended this month's Med School Café lecture presented by Dr. Troy Stevens. Dr. Stevens, who is a professor of pharmacology and director of the University of South Alabama Center for Lung Biology, gave a presentation called “The Art in Science” at the Mobile Museum of Art. The lecture demonstrated the parallels in art and science using images collected by researchers. To view the lecture in its entirety, follow this link- .

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

USA Professor Remembered

Dr. Robert B. Chronister passed away on Oct. 25, 2009, at the age of 67. He spent more than 35 years teaching at the University of South Alabama College of Medicine in the Department of Cell Biology and Neuroscience.

Funeral services will be held on Thursday, Oct. 29, 2009 at 12 noon from the chapel of Serenity Funeral Home. Visitation will be 11 a.m. until service time Thursday at the funeral home. Interment will be in Serenity Memorial Gardens. Funeral arrangements are by Serenity Funeral Home at 8691 Old Pascagoula Rd. in Theodore.

An online guestbook is available at .

Monday, October 26, 2009

This Week's DSS

The next Distinguished Scientist Seminar will be presented by Dr. Frank F. (Skip) Bartol on Oct. 29, 2009, at 4 p.m. in the Medical Sciences Building auditorium. His seminar is titled, “Maternal Lactocrine Programming of Neonatal Development: Implications for Fertility and Health.”

Currently, Dr. Bartol serves as associate dean for research and graduate studies at the Auburn University College of Veterinary Medicine.

Dr. Bartol’s research focuses on identification of factors affecting and mechanisms regulating development and function of the female reproductive tract, with a particular focus on reproductive efficiency and health in domestic ungulate species.

In 2005, Dr. Bartol was named the Donald Henry Barron Lecturer by the UF-IRB program at his doctoral alma mater "for outstanding research and scholarly activities in the field of reproductive biology."  He was named Alumni Professor at Auburn University in 2009.

Dr. Bartol received a bachelor of science degree from Virginia Tech. He received both his master’s and doctorate degrees from the University of Florida through the Interdisciplinary Reproductive Biology (UF-IRB) program. He also received advanced training in molecular biology as a visiting scientist in the Center for Animal Biotechnology at Texas A&M University.

For more information on Dr. Bartol’s research, visit .

For additional information, contact Natalie Kent at 461-1548.

Monday, October 19, 2009

This Week's DSS - “Pharmacogenomics and Individualized Drug Therapy”

The next Distinguished Scientist Seminar will be presented by Dr. Richard Weinshilboum on Oct. 22, 2009, at 4 p.m. in theMedical Sciences Building auditorium. His seminar is titled, “Pharmacogenomics and Individualized Drug Therapy.”

Currently, Dr. Weinshilboum serves as the Mary Low and John H. Dasburg Professor of Cancer Genomics, as well as the director for the division of clinical pharmacology at the Mayo Medical School.

Dr. Weinshilboum is a nationally recognized leader in the field of pharmacogenetics, the study of the role of inheritance in individual variations in drug response and in the occurrence of adverse drug reactions.

Dr. Weinshilboum’s laboratory studies the pharmacogenetics and pharmacogenomics of enzymes that catalyze the metabolism of drugs, other xenobiotics, neurotransmitters and hormones with a focus on drugs used to treat cancer and neuropsychiatric disease.

Dr. Weinshilboum received a bachelor of arts degree in chemistry and zoology from the University of Kansas, and a medical degree from the University of Kansas Medical School. He did his residency in internal medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital and completed fellowships at the NIH in the laboratory of Julius Axelrod and Tubingen University in Germany.

For more information on Dr. Weinshilboum’s research, visit .

For additional information, contact Natalie Kent at 461-1548.

Dr. David Laycock Joins USA Physicians Group

Dr. David G. Laycock recently joined the University of South Alabama Physicians Group. Dr. Laycock, a well-known pediatrician in Mobile, will see patients at USA Knollwood Physicians Group and the USA Student Health Center.

From 1997 to 2009, Dr. Laycock served as staff pediatrician and president of Mobile Pediatrics, Inc. He also served as chief of pediatric services at Prime Health of Alabama in Mobile. Prior to these appointments, he was an assistant professor of pediatrics at USA.

Dr. Laycock is a graduate of Saint Procopius College in Lisle, Ill., where he received his bachelor of science degree in biology.

He earned his medical degree from the University of South Alabama College of Medicine and completed his internship and his pediatric residency at the Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston, S.C. Following his residency, Dr. Laycock participated at the post-graduate level in a fellowship program in medical genetics at USA.

Dr. Laycock is board certified by the American Board of Pediatrics and the American Academy of Pediatrics. He is now accepting patients at Knollwood Physicians Group. To make an appointment, call (251) 660-5437.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Distinguished Scientist Seminar - “How Does Nitric Oxide Kill Beta Cells?”

Dr. John Corbett will present the next Distinguished Scientist Seminar in the Medical Sciences Building auditorium. The lecture will be at 4 p.m. on Thursday, October 15.

The Distinguished Scientist Seminar is a weekly lecture series that gives University of South Alabama faculty, staff and students the opportunity to hear distinguished scientists from other institutions present their latest research findings. Dr. Corbett, whose studies focus on diabetes, inflammation and innate immunity, will present a seminar called “How Does Nitric Oxide Kill Beta Cells?”

Dr. Corbett is currently a professor of medicine and the director of the Comprehensive Diabetes Center at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. Additionally, he is the Nancy R. and Eugene C. Gwaltney Family Endowed Chair in Juvenile Diabetes Research at UAB.

For more information on Dr. Corbett’s research, please visit: .

For additional information, please contact Natalie Kent at 461-1548.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Pediatric Endocrinologist Joins USA COM Faculty

Dr. Anne-Marie Dore Kaulfers was recently appointed as assistant professor of pediatrics at the University of South Alabama College of Medicine. Dr. Kaulfers is a pediatrician with training and experience in pediatric endocrinology.
She is a graduate of Tulane University in New Orleans, where she graduated cum laude with a bachelor of science degree in cell and molecular biology.
Dr. Kaulfers earned her medical degree from Louisiana State University School of Medicine in New Orleans. She conducted her pediatric residency at the University of Kentucky Medical Center in Lexington, Ky., where she received an award for Outstanding Resident in Pediatric Endocrinology.
In addition, she completed a pediatric endocrinology fellowship at the Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center in Cincinnati.
Her research interests include childhood obesity, glucose metabolism, endocrinopathies after traumatic brain injury, as well as bariatric surgery and its effect on bone density.
Dr. Kaulfers is a member of the American Medical Association, American Academy of Pediatrics, The Endocrine Society and the Lawson Wilkins Pediatric Endocrine Society.
Dr. Kaulfers is now accepting new patients at the Children’s Specialty Clinic on Spring Hill Avenue. To make an appointment, call 251-405-5147.

USA Faculty Member Named to Key NIH Post

University of South Alabama College of Medicine graduate and former faculty member Dr. Timothy Moore has joined the Lung Biology and Disease Branch of the Division of Lung Diseases at the National Heart Lung and Blood Institute (NHLBI).

In his new role at NIH, Dr. Moore will be responsible for directing the NHLBI Division's program in Lung Vascular Biology and Disease.

Dr. Moore received both his Ph.D. and M.D. degrees from the USA College of Medicine.  Following residency training at Johns Hopkins, he joined the faculty in the Department of Pharmacology and in the USA Center for Lung Biology.

Share Your Favorite Medical IPhone/Blackberry App

Today, there's a smart phone app for everything - including medicine.  Share your favorite medical app below by posting a comment.

Here's a recent article from Houston Neal of Software Advice reviewing popular apps for medical professionals to get you started -

Is It Art Or Science?

Aurora 2006. Fluorescence microscopy of lung tissue and nuclei of cells.

Actually, it's both!

Join Dr. Troy Stevens, Director of the Center for Lung Biology at the University of South Alabama College of Medicine for an interesting lecture on Oct. 21, 2009, for a thoughtful discussion about a collection of fascinating images encountered by scientists as they conducted medical research.

The lecture will take place at the Mobile Museum of Art and is part of Med School Café, the USA Physicians Group’s monthly lecture series.

The Med School Café lecture and lunch (catered by The Palette Café) are provided free of charge, but reservations are required. To make reservations, please call (251) 460-7770 or e-mail

For a "sneak peak" at some of the images, visit Robertson Gallery at 450 Dauphin Street (images are in the back on the left).

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Vote For Your Favorite Children's Hospital

Microsoft has partnered with Children’s Miracle Network to provide three Children’s Miracle Network pediatric hospitals an Ultimate Gameroom experience.  Go online to cast your vote for your favorite children's hospital (USA Children's and Women's Hospital - of course!) and help decide which three lucky hospitals will receive this giveaway. 

Cast your vote by following this link - .

Monday, October 5, 2009

Dr. James Klinger Featured Lecturer - October 8th DSS

Dr. James Klinger will present the next Distinguished Scientist Seminar on Oct. 8, 2009 at 4 p.m. in the Medical Sciences Building auditorium. His seminar is titled “The role of ANP in pulmonary permeability."

Dr. Klinger currently serves as associate professor in medicine at Brown University and is the medical director of the Respiratory Intermediate Care Unit and the Pulmonary Hypertension Center at Rhode Island Hospital in Providence, RI.

His basic science interests include the natriuretic peptides, one of the peptides that causes natriuresis, the excretion of an excessively large amount of sodium in the urine. He also studies cGMP (cyclic guanosine monophosphate) signaling pathway and its role in modulating pulmonary hypertensive and right ventricular hypertrophic responses and pulmonary endothelial barrier function. His clinical research is focused on patients with pulmonary hypertension, and the treatment and prevention of venous thromboembolism, a blockage of an artery in the lungs.

Dr. Klinger received a B.A. in medical science from University of Wisconsin and a medical degree from the Medical College of Wisconsin. He completed residency training in internal medicine at the Medical College of Pennsylvania, and he completed his fellowship in pulmonary and critical care medicine at Rhode Island Hospital and Brown University School of Medicine.

Dr. Klinger is a member of the Pulmonary Circulation Assembly of the American Thoracic Society and an Associate Editor of the journal Lung.

For more information on Dr. Klinger’s research, please visit: .

For additional information, please contact Natalie Kent at 461-1548.