Friday, January 13, 2012

Alabama Quarterback Wears Bracelet In Honor of Children's & Women's Hospital Patient

Alabama quarterback and Mobile native AJ McCarron wore a bracelet during the BCS National Championship Game to honor a patient at the University of South Alabama's Children's & Women's Hospital.

McCarron, who was a patient at USA Children's & Women's Hospital himself as a child, visited the hospital on Christmas Eve. During his visit, he met Starla Chapman, a 3-year-old patient who was diagnosed with a rare form of leukemia in September.

Starla gave McCarron a bright yellow bracelet that he promised to wear during the big game.

To read the entire story in the Jan. 11 issue of the Press-Register, click here.
Starla Chapman (right), a patient at USA Children's & Women's Hospital, along with her parents Deandra and Korey, light the Christmas tree at USA Children's & Women's Hospital during the annual tree lighting ceremony on Nov. 29, 2011.

USA College of Medicine Welcomes Dr. Sabrina G. Bessette

Dr. Sabrina G. Bessette was recently appointed assistant professor of internal medicine in the division of nephrology at the University of South Alabama College of Medicine.

Prior to her appointment to USA, Dr. Bessette worked in the division of nephrology at the Springfield Clinic in Springfield, Ill., specializing in chronic kidney disease, end stage renal disease, electrolyte disorders, kidney stones and renal transplantation. She completed a nephrology fellowship at the Virginia Commonwealth University-Medical College of Virginia in Richmond, Va.

Dr. Bessette earned her medical degree from the USA College of Medicine. She completed residency training in internal medicine at USA.

Dr. Bessette is a member of the Alpha Omega Alpha Honor Medical Society, American College of Physicians-American Society of Internal Medicine, National Kidney Foundation, and the American Society of Nephrology. She is board certified in internal medicine and nephrology.

She is now accepting new nephrology patients. For appointments, call (251) 470-5843.

Mark Your Calendars: Gulf Coast Liver Support Group Meeting

The Gulf Coast Liver Support Group, affiliated with the University of South Alabama’s Digestive Health Center, will hold its next meeting on Jan. 19, 2012, at 6 p.m. at the Infirmary West Hospital Conference Center at 5600 Girby Road in Mobile.

The support group, which meets once every other month, provides a forum for adult patients with liver disease to learn more about their condition. The educational programs cover medical, social and nutritional topics.

Dr. Jorge Herrera, professor of internal medicine at USA, formed the support group in 1998. The Gulf Coast Liver Support Group is the only physician-led liver support group in the region and state.

Participation in the support group is free of charge. For more information, call (251) 660-5555 or click here.

USA Physicians Group Donates Goods to Local Women's Shelter

Tommie Carlisle (left), coordinator for USA Health Services operations, drops off donations from the USA Physicians Group for McKemie Place, an overnight shelter for homeless women. Also shown are Tiffany Moffet and Tonny Algood, who serves as the executive director and local pastor of McKemie Place.

The University of South Alabama Physicians Group was recently involved in a service project with McKemie Place, the region's only overnight shelter for single homeless women.

Donations were collected from departments within the USA Physicians Group for the shelter's backpack program. Necessities such as toiletry and clothing items were placed in the backpacks and delivered to McKemie Place, where they will be given to women who visit the shelter.

Rev. Tonny Algood, who serves as the executive director and the local pastor for McKemie Place, said the shelter relies heavily on community support. Since McKemie Place was founded in 2007, the 65-bed shelter has provided a place for numerous women to stay overnight. In addition to providing shelter, McKemie Place also offers counseling and job search support.

For more information or to make a donation, call (251) 432-1122 or visit

Reminder: January Med School Café

The January Med School Café lecture will feature sports medicine family physician Dr. Brian Bettencourt, assistant professor of family medicine at the University of South Alabama College of Medicine.

His lecture, titled “Starting Your Year off Right: Making Resolutions a Reality,” will take place Jan. 19, 2012, at the Mobile Museum of Art in Mobile. Lunch will be served at 11:30 a.m., and the presentation begins at noon.

Dr. Bettencourt will discuss the advantages of adopting healthy habits such as regular exercise and proper nutrition, as well as how to improve your health by eliminating unhealthy habits such as smoking and excessive drinking.

Dr. Bettencourt, who is a team physician for the USA athletics program, earned his medical degree from Jefferson Medical College in Philadelphia, Pa. He completed residency training in family medicine with USA, as well as a fellowship in sports medicine.

The Mobile Museum of Art is located at 4850 Museum Drive in Mobile.

The Med School Café lecture and lunch are provided free of charge, but reservations are required. For more information or to make reservations, please call Kim Partridge at (251) 460-7770 or e-mail

Med School Café is a free community lecture series sponsored by the USA Physicians Group. Each month, faculty from the USA College of Medicine share their expertise on a specific medical condition, providing insight on the latest treatment available.

Next Week's DSS - Dr. Zhigang Xiong

The next Distinguished Scientist Seminar at the University of South Alabama College of Medicine will be presented by Dr. Zhigang Xiong, professor in the department of anatomy and neurobiology at Morehouse School of Medicine in Atlanta.

His lecture will take place Jan. 19, 2012, at 4 p.m. in the Medical Sciences Building auditorium on USA's main campus.

The goal of Dr. Xiong's research is to understand the role of certain ion channels and membrane receptors in neurological disorders.

Dr. Xiong received his medical degree from Anhui Medical University and a master's of science from Sun Yat-Sen University of Medical Science. In addition, he received his Ph.D. from the University of Ottawa.
For more information on Dr. Xiong's research, click here.