Friday, January 21, 2011

2011 Gumbo Chili Showdown - Register Today

Registration for the third annual Gumbo Chili Showdown is now taking place. If you are one of the first 20 gumbo teams or the first 20 chili teams to sign up, funds will be provided for your recipe ingredients.

The third annual Gumbo Chili Showdown will be held March 26, 2011, from 12 p.m. to 3 p.m. at the University of South Alabama’s track. This annual event benefits the Regan Robinson Young Scholarship Fund at the USA College of Medicine.

The event will feature both gumbo and chili from competing teams representing area medical practices and local businesses.

For more information on the Gumbo Chili Showdown, click here. Register your team today by visiting

Med School Café - Expert Advice for the Community

This month's Med School Café lecture, "Modern Management of Crohn's Disease," was given by Dr. Jack Di Palma, professor of internal medicine and director of the division of gastroenterology at USA. The lecture was held at the Mobile Museum of Art and had a total of 78 attendees.

Video from this lecture will be posted online by next week. To read more about the lecture, click here.

The next Med School Café lecture will be held on Feb. 15, 2011, and will feature Dr. Juan Ochoa, associate professor of neurology at USA. If you are interested in attending, email for details.

Dr. Jack Di Palma Elected Treasurer of WGO Foundation Board

Dr. Jack Di Palma, professor of internal medicine and director of the division of gastroenterology, was recently elected treasurer of the World Gastroenterology Organization Foundation Board.

The World Gastroenterology Organization’s (WGO) mission is to promote, to the general public and health care professionals alike, an awareness of the world wide prevalence and optimal care of digestive disorders through the provision of high quality, accessible and independent education and training.

The WGO Foundation is the philanthropic resource for the WGO. Incorporated in 2007, it supports the WGO and its mission. The principal aim of the Foundation in raising funds is to provide opportunities for training gastroenterologists in developing countries and to raise awareness of digestive disorders worldwide.

Dr. Di Palma said he was most active with the WGO’s “Train the Trainers” (TTT) program, as both a student and teacher. “TTT was conceived as an educational workshop for adults who are already experienced teachers,” Dr. Di Palma said. “It brings together faculty selected for their interest and enthusiasm as educators but who also have experience in modern educational techniques, along with participants who have been selected by their national societies as experienced educators in their country.”

The WGO is a federation of 110 national societies and four regional associations of gastroenterology representing over 50,000 individual members worldwide. Formed in 1935 and incorporated in 1958, WGO was originally known as Organisation Mondiale de Gastroénterologie (OMGE) and renamed in 2006.

For more information, visit

Bayou La Batre Health Fair a Success

The Alpha Omega Alpha (AOA) Honor Medical Society at the University of South Alabama College of Medicine held a free health fair for residents in south Mobile County, Ala., on Jan. 15 at the Bayou La Batre Community Center.

Geoffrey Hancy, a fourth-year medical student at USA and AOA president of the USA chapter, said the event was a success with approximately 150-200 Bayou La Batre residents attending.

The health fair provided basic health screenings - measuring blood pressure, glucose, and body mass index - and distributed medical material and counseling.

“A large number of third and fourth-year medical students, along with the AOA students and members of the USA College of Medicine faculty turned out to help and participate in the care of the Bayou La Batre residents,” Hancy said.

Each year, members of the honor society choose a community service project. This year, the organization at USA chose a service project along Alabama’s Gulf Coast - providing assistance to one of the communities most affected by the Deepwater Horizon oil spill disaster.

During the past several months, AOA medical students and faculty at USA garnered participation from their classmates, nursing students and allied health students at USA. USA students and members of the organizing committee enlisted participants from USA’s medical alumni, area private physicians, health service organizations and volunteers.

“It is important for medical students to be involved with service projects like this one,” Hancy said. “We have been given an opportunity to pursue a great career, and participating in these kinds of events helps remind us of the good we can do for a community.”

Hancy said there are plans to make the health fair an annual event sponsored by the USA chapter of AOA. “It may not always be held in the same community,” he said, “but it will be the same event each year held in a local community that is in need of such services.”

The Alpha Omega Alpha Honor Medical Society is a national honor society for medical students, residents, scientists and physicians in the United States and Canada. The organization promotes scholarship and research in medical schools, the encouragement of a high standard of character and conduct among medical students and graduates, and the recognition of high attainment in medical science, practice and related fields.