Friday, February 26, 2010

For COM Alum - R&R Leads To Opportunity To Serve

Dr. Suzanne Miller Daly (right) and husband Allan Daly (left) flank the Bishop of the United Church of the Solomon Islands.

Dr. Suzanne Miller Daly (COM ’96), along with her husband, Allan Daly, first visited the Solomon Islands in the South Pacific on a scuba diving trip in 2006. While there, they toured the local hospital that serves the 30,000 villagers of the Marovo Lagoon.

Seghe Hospital had no reliable source of electricity or running water, and the government believed that the hospital needed certain amenities before it would be worthy of receiving a doctor.

“Allan and I felt compelled to do something,” Dr. Daly said. “I did not want to just participate in short term medical missions. I wanted to leave the place better than we had found it and somehow begin the task of developing health care the villagers could rely on even in our absence.”

At the end of their visit in 2007, Dr. Daly and her husband proposed to the United Church of the Solomon Islands to install a solar power system on the hospital. This would provide the hospital with an independent, 24-hour source of electricity and pave the way to receiving a doctor from the government.

The installation process began in November 2008, and the solar power system was completed in June 2009. The system is currently the largest solar power system in the Solomon Islands.

Dr. Daly said the installation would not have happened without an incredible amount of support from the staff of Uepi Island Resort, which provided free labor and coordinated all of the transportation, logistics, communication and on-site equipment needs.

“My view of the world has changed since our work in the Solomon Islands began,” Dr. Daly said. “I am now aware of how my first world choices affect those in the third world.”

“Most Americans cannot even fathom the condition of Seghe Hospital, as our expectations are so much higher,” Dr. Daly said. “The joy of upgrading the hospital and alleviating some of the suffering due to lack of health care is immense. I have also learned that if an individual chooses to embrace a community’s needs, that big things can happen and real change is possible.”

The Solomon Islands are located in the northwestern South Pacific. The country is made up of 992 islands, of which 347 are populated. Dr. Daly and her husband have been to the islands five times, four of which were medical missions. They plan to continue two trips a year – in June and November.

Dr. Daly is currently in private practice as a gastroenterologist in Salt Lake City. Her husband, Allan, is now the coordinator for all trips. He organizes fundraising and orchestrates the improvements to the hospital. “Without him, the medical missions and hospital upgrades would not be possible,” Dr. Daly said.

How can you help?
• Go on a future trip: MDs, RNs, dentists and other volunteers are always needed (everyone pays their own way).
• Donate money: Donations can be made to Help a Friend Foundation, 4229 Park Terrace Drive, Salt Lake City, Utah, 84124. All donations are tax deductible, and 100 percent of the donations go toward supplies and other hospital needs.
• Donate supplies such as dressing materials and reading glasses.

For more information on the medical mission trips, and to learn more about how you can help, visit . There are still spots available for the June 2010 mission trip.

Kudos to BML Faculty

Congratulations are in order for three Biomedical Library faculty at the University of South Alabama.

Geneva Staggs (left), senior librarian at the Medical Center library, received Level II Designation in the Consumer Health Information Specialization Program from the Medical Library Association. Staggs received this designation by completing 24 hours of approved Consumer Health Information Specialization coursework.

Clista Clanton (center), assistant librarian at the Biomedical Library, received funding through an Outreach Award from the National Network of Libraries of Medicine/Southeastern Atlantic Region. The funding will go toward equipment to set up wireless access for a health clinic at the Dumas Wesley Community Center.

Clanton will work with health care professions at the clinic, as well as work with patients on health literacy issues.

Justin Robertson (right), associate librarian at the Biomedical Library, received funding through a Community Day Award from the National Network of Libraries of Medicine/Southeastern Atlantic Region. The funding will be used to host disaster preparedness events at Mobile and Baldwin County library facilities.

The events will include lectures, demonstrations and exhibits. Packets with emergency preparedness information, including a family emergency plan form, will be handed out during the event.

Medical Students Give Up Free Time and Study Time to Salute a Fallen Alumna

Article by John Meriwether, 3rd-year medical student

To most people, the term “medical school” evokes thoughts of library stacks and hospital wards, long hours studying large books, and sleepless nights reviewing notes before exams.

Medical students thrive on the stress to succeed. They are fueled only by their love of medicine and their desire to lead a team in caring for others. Few things will distract a medical student from this drive. The death of an alumna who defined the ideas ‘love of medicine’ and ‘drive to succeed’ did just that.

Doctors told Regan Robinson Young she had advanced colon cancer following bouts of abdominal pains during her second year of medical school. She took a semester off to receive treatment, but returned to finish her medical degree despite being told she only had a short time to live.

Young continued chemotherapy while learning how to work with and treat patients through her third and fourth years of medical school. She told few patients and coworkers about her cancer, saving that knowledge to empathize with and inspire other cancer patients. Young passed away mere months before graduation.

Only through true passion could she have continued the long hours and intense focus that medical school requires. Her life defined what every medical student states they have -- the desire to care for the health of others. In order to honor her love of medicine, Young’s classmates set up a scholarship in her name.

Scholarship accounts require large balances to fund an annual scholarship. The Regan Robinson Young Scholarship Fund is supplied through medical student fundraising efforts. The scholarship was finally awarded in 2009 thanks in large part to an event organized by medical students -- the Gumbo-Chili Showdown. The event raised over $15,000 for the Regan Robinson Young Scholarship Fund.

Organizing an event as large as the Gumbo Chili Showdown requires substantial amounts of time and effort. The committee organizing the event is comprised of 1st to 3rd year medical students at USA. The students learned to maximize their time by doing much of the legwork when classes were cancelled and when clinics ended early. Still, with the long hours required in the hospital and in the classroom, helping organize the Gumbo Chili Showdown took away from the medical students study time and free time.

“Whenever I feel that the stresses of medical school and life are too much, I think of Regan and how much more she had to deal with and yet she still chose to continue with school,” said Patricia Hudson, a medical student who helped organize the event. “Her strength lends me strength.”

Grant Zarzour, another medical student who helped coordinate the event, said the goal is to have Young be a lasting influence on all of the students at the College of Medicine. “As the event continues to grow,” he said, “we look forward to the chance to fund multiple scholarships in her honor.”

The University of South Alabama College of Medicine students would like all of Mobile to join them as they celebrate Regan Robinson Young’s life and spirit. They dedicated months of effort last year to make the Gumbo Chili Showdown a success, and they will continue to work hard to make the event a successful tradition.

To find out more about the Gumbo Chili Showdown and how you can ssupport this cause, visit .

AOA Visiting Professorship

Dr. Thomas Montgomery, USA professor of internal medicine (left), and Dr. T. J. Hundley, USA assistant professor of internal medicine (right),  flank Dr. Charles M. Bryan, Heyward Gibbes Distinguished Professor of Internal Medicine at the University of South Carolina School of Medicine (center), at USA Medical Center.  Dr. Bryan was this year's guest speaker for the University of South Alabama AΩA 2010 Visiting Professorship.

Take A Walk In The Park - Help Save A Life

“A Walk in the Park,” a fundraising event and two-mile walk to celebrate and raise awareness for the gift of organ and tissue transplants, will take place March 6, 2010, at Municipal Park in Mobile, Ala. All proceeds will benefit “Team Alabama” and its athletes in the National Kidney Foundation U.S. Transplant Games.

The National Kidney Foundation U.S. Transplant Games is a nationwide Olympic-style competition that takes place every two years. This year, the Transplant Games will be held July 30 through Aug. 4 in Madison, Wis.

Dr. Jorge L. Herrera, professor of gastroenterology at the University of South Alabama College of Medicine, said that it is very important to raise awareness for organ donation. “Many times, an organ will not become available to a patient in a timely fashion,” Dr. Herrera said. “We can only correct this situation by spreading the word that this is a life-saving procedure for many.”

During the Transplant Games, recipients of organ donations can participate and compete in various activities and donor families are recognized and honored. Mobile and Baldwin County athletes will be represented at the U.S. Transplant Games as part of “Team Alabama.”

David Miller, team manager for “Team Alabama” and a bone marrow and liver transplant recipient, said the fundraising event in Mobile is a great way to call attention to the success of organ and tissue transplantation. “People can support this cause by participating in ‘A Walk in the Park’ and gathering pledges,” he said. “We encourage everyone to bring the family, including pets.”

Registration for “A Walk in the Park” begins at 8 a.m. on March 6, 2010, and the two-mile walk will begin at 9 a.m. Organ donor registration will also be available at the walk. For more information, and to find out how you can help, contact David Miller at 251-510-5160.

DSS - March 4th - Dr. Christopher Waters

The next Distinguished Scientist Seminar will be presented by Dr. Christopher Waters on Thursday, March 4, 2010 at 4 p.m. in the Medical Sciences Building auditorium. His talk is titled "Mechanotransduction in Acute Lung Injury."

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

USA Physician Publishes Children's Book

Dr. Kathy B. Porter, professor and chair of the department of obstetrics and gynecology at the University of South Alabama, has published a book titled Tales of Argos: The Adventures of a Greek Hunting Dog at Children’s and Women’s Hospital under the pen name “K.P. Catamount.”

The children’s book is a fictional story of a miniature schnauzer who accompanies his owner, who is a physician, to the hospital as she makes patient rounds and walks with her in the hospital’s sculpture park.

The story is told from Argos’ canine perspective. He observes injured and sick children and their mothers who are brought to the hospital. He visits moms-to-be and new born babies. It is a sweet and cheerful book illustrated by Julie Toifel-Rhames, a former USA art student.

Tales of Argos: The Adventures of a Greek Hunting Dog at Children’s and Women’s Hospital is a story about the healing effect of love and concern. The story is helpful in communicating with children about unfamiliar medical environments, and in doing so, reducing anxiety through understanding.

Half of the book’s proceeds benefit the USA Children’s and Women’s Hospital. The remainder of the proceeds is divided between Ermel Cross Burchett and Willie Mae Porter Research Endowment and the Reese and Taylor Whitehead Research and Education Endowment. Both funds support research in women’s health, preterm labor, multiple gestations and birth defects.

The book is available at the USA Children’s and Women’s Hospital gift shop or by contacting Rynn Toifel at (251) 415-1566 or The price is $16.50 plus tax.