Thursday, August 25, 2011

Blood Drive To Be Held Aug. 26

LifeSouth will host a blood drive on Friday, Aug. 26, 2011, from 12-6 p.m in front of the Medical Sciences Building on USA's main campus.

Each donor will be entered into a raffle for a cruise for two on the Carnival Elation, departing from Mobile or New Orleans in the fourth quarter of 2011.

Donors must be 17 or older, weigh 110 pounds or more, and show I.D. Each donor will receive a recognition item and cholesterol screening. For more information, call (888) 795-2707 or visit

Med School Café - Expert Advice for the Community

Left to Right:  Dr. R. Brian Bettencourt, assistant professor of family medicine; Dr. Albert Pearsall, professor of orthopaedic surgery; Dr. Michael Linder, associate professor of family medicine; Dr. Martin Rohling, associate professor of psychology; and Dr. Anthony Martino, acting chair and associate professor of neurosurgery, field questions from local coaches, trainers and parents about Alabama's new concussion law.

Today's Med School Cafe focused on concussion awareness in young athletes and provided an overview of Alabama’s new "Concussion Law.”  A total of 78 people attended.

During the talk, the USA's Concussion Management Team provided an overview of concussion injuries as it relates to athletes, as well as the importance of recognizing symptoms and taking appropriate steps when a concussion is suspected.

The panel reviewed a new state law that took effect in June that forbids young student athletes from playing if a concussion is suspected, until being cleared by a physician. The new law, which is now in effect in 20 states, requires coaches and trainers to learn about the dangers of concussions and the effects sport injuries have on the brain.

The next Med School Café lecture will be held on Sept. 22, 2011, at the Mobile Museum of Art. If you are interested in attending, email for details.

USA Football Coach Joey Jones also attended the lecture and talked to Med School Cafe' attendees about how good coaches do everything they can to keep their athletes healthy. 

Dr. Anthony Martino provided background on concussion injuries. 

Dr. Brian Bettencourt (center) answered questions following today's lecture.

Former USA College of Medicine Faculty Member Appointed Dean of Howard University College of Medicine

Dr. Mark S. Johnson, a former resident and faculty member at the University of South Alabama College of Medicine, was recently appointed dean of the Howard University College of Medicine in Washington, D.C.

Dr. Johnson served as assistant dean for student affairs and special programs at USA from 1986 to 1991. While at USA, he was responsible for minority recruitment and helped establish the BEAR Program, which brought minority students to the campus to participate in summer programs that could lead to admission to medical school.

“We were able to recognize minority students early in their college careers and steer them to medical school at USA,” Dr. Johnson said.

In addition, Dr. Johnson was responsible for the Minority High School Summer Research Apprenticeship Program – funded by NIH – that provided laboratory research experiences for high school students and high school science teachers.

“My position at USA introduced me to the Association of American Medical Colleges, where I was able to learn more about the administration and management of medical schools,” Dr. Johnson said. “I also became familiar with Historically Black Colleges and Universities while recruiting minority students. These experiences will be very helpful for me at Howard.”

Prior to his appointment at Howard University, Dr. Johnson served as the founding chair of the department of family medicine at the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey – New Jersey Medical School (UMD-NJMS). As chair, he established a nationally recognized department, which he has led for 20 years.

Dr. Johnson said his experiences at New Jersey have prepared him well for his position at Howard University. “My department has been responsible for bringing several educationally innovative programs to the medical school, and we have also had great success in research mentorship and productivity.”

Dr. Johnson was born in Newark, N.J., and graduated from Coe College in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, with a bachelor of arts degree in interdisciplinary studies/black literature. He earned his medical degree from UMD-NJMS and completed his residency at the USA Medical Center.

“I applied to every family medicine residency program south of Washington D.C. and east of the Mississippi River,” Dr. Johnson said. “It felt like home when I arrived in Mobile and met the people there. USA was my first choice.”

In addition, Dr. Johnson said he was attracted to the strong program in family systems theory and psychosocial medicine at USA. “I still feel that being able to take a good history and family history is more important than all the new technology that we have in medicine,” he said. “We must not lose the art of talking and listening to a patient.”

Following residency, Dr. Johnson was a Robert Wood Johnson Clinical Scholar at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where he earned his master of public health.

Dr. Johnson has served as president of the Association of Departments of Family Medicine and was a board member for 11 years. He was a member of the United States Preventive Services Task Force and was a grant reviewer for the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality and the federal Health Resources and Services Administration.

In addition, he is a current editorial board member for the Journal of the American Board of Family Medicine and a noted clinical researcher and investigator.

“Going to Howard University will give me the opportunity to promote collaborations with other schools in the university,” said Dr. Johnson, who believes that many of the medical problems that our country faces today cannot be solved by physicians alone.

“We need research teams that include sociology, psychology, economics, architecture, and other disciplines,” he said. “I want Howard University to be a national resource for the health care solutions needed for our country.”

USA College of Medicine Mourns Loss of Dr. Joseph Coggin

Dr. Joseph H. Coggin Jr., professor emeritus of microbiology and immunology at the University of South Alabama College of Medicine, passed away on Aug. 21, 2011. He was 73.

Dr. Coggin served as associate dean for basic medical sciences at the USA College of Medicine from 1989 to 1994. He was professor of pathology from 1983 to 2006 and professor and chair of microbiology and immunology from 1977 to 2006.

During his tenure at USA, Dr. Coggin was a leader in developing the graduate program in basic medical sciences, the first doctoral level program within the university. He also fostered a significant funding campaign that supported the initial building of the molecular biology core laboratory facility on USA’s campus.

Dr. Coggin pioneered the field of oncofetal antigens as a marker for early development and cancer biology. He received significant extramural support from the National Cancer Institute and a number of patents have been awarded to him and his research team.

A long time resident of Mobile, Ala., he was predeceased by his parents, Joseph H. Coggin Sr. and Frieda Nolde Coggin and wife, Mary Jane Coggin. He is survived by his wife, Sharon Scroggs Coggin of Mobile, Ala.; brother, Thomas Nolde Coggin (Cinda) of Charlotte, N.C.; children, Cynthia Segers (Larry) of Dothan, Ala.; Christopher L. Coggin of Gulf Shores, Ala.; Kurt M. Coggin (Judy) of Mobile, Ala.; and Melissa Howell (Tim) of Mobile, Ala.; his grandchildren, Nicholas and Katie Segers of Dothan, Ala.; Pierce, Charles and William Coggin of Mobile, Ala.; and Kris Kenzi Coggin of Gulf Shores, Ala.; and devoted friend, Joyful Dunn.

Funeral services took place Aug. 23, 2011, at Pine Rest Cemetery in Foley, Ala.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to the following churches: Ashland Place United Methodist Church, 15 Wisteria Avenue, Mobile, AL 36607 and St. Jude’s Lutheran Church, P.O. Box 1263, Gulf Shores, AL 36547.

Dr. Gregory W. Rutecki Elected Membership in 'The Leading Physicians of the World'

Dr. Gregory W. Rutecki, nephrologist and professor of internal medicine at the University of South Alabama College of Medicine, was recently elected membership in "The Leading Physicians of the World."

“The Leading Physicians of the World” began as a yearly publication, documenting the biographies of top doctors from around the world. Over time it has evolved into the largest international exclusive medical organization, representing first rate doctors in over 100 different medical specialties.

The research department for “The Leading Physicians of the World” nominates physicians based on data collected, taking into account education, medical affiliations, patient reviews, and medical/research contributions. The organization’s selection is very limited, nominating the top 1 percent to 2 percent in each specialty.

Dr. Rutecki joined the USA College of Medicine faculty in 2009. His medical career has included 12 years of nephrology private practice, followed by educational roles at Northeastern Ohio Universities College of Medicine, the Feinberg School of Medicine, Northwestern University, and the Ohio State University.

Dr. Rutecki earned his medical degree from the University of Illinois. He completed graduate training in internal medicine and nephrology at Ohio State University in Columbus, Ohio, and completed his renal fellowship at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis, Minn.