Friday, April 6, 2012

USA Hospitals Participate in Doctors' Day

National Doctors' Day is held every year on March 30 as a day to celebrate the contribution of physicians who serve our country by caring for its citizens.

The University of South Alabama Children's & Women's Hospital hosted a Doctors' Day Café , "Café Doc Monde," where they served hot beignets and coffee.

"Doctors' Day is a day to celebrate our physicians and thank them for what they do for the hospital and the community," said Owen Bailey, hospital administrator at USA Children's & Women's Hospital. "I am very proud of the creativity of our team to put together this celebration for our doctors."

USA Medical Center hosted a luncheon for its physicians in celebration of Doctors' Day.

Doctors' Day at the USA Medical Center
"We really appreciate everything our physicians do throughout the year," said Beth Anderson, hospital administrator at the USA Medical Center. "Their support in taking care of our patients is very much appreciated."

USA Cancer Research Fund Application Deadline Approaching

The University of South Alabama Mitchell Cancer Institute has created the USA Cancer Research Fund to support pilot and other small research projects that can be carried out in a short period of time with limited resources.  The goal of this fund is to provide initial support to foster, across the university, the growth of a broad base of peer-reviewed funded grants related to cancer research.

The USA Cancer Research Fund is now accepting applications, and the deadline for submission is May 1, 2012. All university faculty are eligible to apply, with the exception of faculty holding a primary appointment in the Mitchell Cancer Institute.  The project period is one year with a start date of September 1, 2012, and the budget for direct costs is limited to a maximum of $60,000 per year.

Examples of the types of projects that will be supported include the following:  1) Pilot or feasibility studies designed to generate preliminary data for an NIH R01 or other similar multi-year grants for cancer-related research; 2) Secondary analysis of existing data; 3) Small, self contained research projects; 4) Development of research methodology and 5) Development of new research technology.

Last year, USA Cancer Research Fund helped leverage funding for a research project led by Dr. Joseph Brewer, associate professor in the department of microbiology at the USA College of Medicine. His team includes Andy Byrd, a pre-doctoral student in the basic medical sciences graduate program at the USA College of Medicine; Michael Lysek, a part time lab assistant; and Ileana Aragon, lab manager. The research is ongoing.

“The support from the USA Cancer Research Fund has given us some additional resources and flexibility to explore a new direction in cancer cell biology,” Dr. Brewer said.

The research findings made by Andrew Byrd, a graduate student in Dr. Brewer’s lab, led them to propose the project that was funded by the USA Cancer Research Fund. The funding received is helping Dr. Brewer’s team explore a mechanism that may influence the characteristics and fate of breast cancer cells.

“Historically, my lab has focused on understanding mechanisms that control B cell function.  Normal B cells in the body help fight infection, but B cells that malfunction can cause life-threatening diseases like cancer and autoimmunity,” Dr. Brewer said. “Thus, the results of our work may lead to new treatments for diseases caused by faulty B cells.  Recently, our research has uncovered a mechanism that may be important in other cell types, including other types of cancer cells.”

The Request for Application and the application package is available for download from the Health Systems Grants Administration and Development web site.  Download the modified PHS398 forms and instructions from   Click on USA Cancer Research Fund.

Please submit all materials as PDF files to Ashley W. Turbeville, Director, Health Systems Grants Administration and Development at   Please mail the original signature hard copy of the application via campus mail to Turbeville at CSAB 170.

USA Department of Neurology Relocates

From left to right: Jusmin Patel, PG1, Internal Medicine; Chun "Judy" Huang, PG3 Resident, Neurology; Dr. Christopher Eckstein, assistant professor of neurology; Winn Mathews, third year medical student; Renay Drinkard, CRNP; Kewanna Williams, PA.
On April 2, 2012, the University of South Alabama Department of Neurology relocated its clinical care offices from the offices at Infirmary West to Knollwood Physicians Group at 3301 Knollwood Drive - 4 Medical Park.

The neurology department has recently expanded with the addition of two new faculty members with expertise in multiple sclerosis and stroke. This move will provide improved and expanded space for the growing practice.

To contact the Department of Neurology, call (251) 660-5108.

USA College of Medicine to Present Live Simulcast of TEDMED

From April 10th-13th, TEDMED will gather 1,000 adventurous thinkers and doers, from a wide array of medical and non-medical disciplines, at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C.

For three and a half days, this uniquely diverse community will explore the ideas, innovations and challenges that will help shape the future of health and medicine.

Thanks to a partnership with the American Association of Medical Colleges, the University of South Alabama College of Medicine is able to present a live simulcast of the entire event at no cost. Join us in our immersive learning center, featuring multi-screen projection and surround sound.

Please make plans to come by for all or part of the program.

For more information on TEDMED visit or

USA COM Welcomes Dr. Deborah Lafky

Dr. Deborah Lafky was recently appointed assistant dean at the University of South Alabama College of Medicine. She will serve as director at the Center for Strategic Health Innovation at USA.

Prior to her appointment to USA, Dr. Lafky was a program officer for the United States Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT (ONC). She was ONC’s subject matter expert, program designer and developer for all aspects of health information technology security and cybersecurity.

“I am excited to be part of the university community and look forward to building on the success of the department,” Dr. Lafky said. “I enjoy being back in the academic environment and look forward to bringing my experiences from both inside and outside the academic environment.”

From 2005 to 2007, Dr. Lafky worked as a research associate at Claremont Graduate University where she was a founding associate at the Kay Center for e-Health. At Claremont, her research centered on health care IT including data security, health information exchange, and personal health records.

Dr. Lafky was the IT director at the University of California, Irvine for the Epidemiology Division of the College of Medicine from 2001 to 2005.  There, she managed a major biomedical informatics installation that supported a 250-member research team on multiple NIH funded programs, including the Cancer Family Registries and Cancer Genetics Network.

Previously, Dr. Lafky served as IT and web manager at the American International Education Foundation in Brea, Calif. She developed a multi-lingual international student recruitment online program under the State Department Education USA program.

Dr. Lafky earned her bachelor of science degree at Carnegie-Mellon University in Pittsburgh, Pa.; master of science degree in information science at the University of Pittsburgh in Pittsburgh, Pa.; and Ph.D. in management information systems at Claremont Graduate University in Claremont, Calif.

Dr. Lafky was awarded the HHS Secretary’s Achievement Award in 2008 and 2009, HHS Secretary’s Medal: 50 Projects in 2008, and the Claremont Graduate University Student Best Paper Award in 2004. She received an Americas Conference on Information Systems Best Paper Nomination in 2006 and an IEEE Signal Processing Society Best Paper Nomination in 2004.

Dr. Anthony Martino Tapped To Lead USA Department of Neurosurgery

Dr. Anthony Martino has been named chair of the department of neurosurgery at the University of South Alabama College of Medicine.  Dr. Martino has served as acting chair since Dr. Eugene Quindlen resigned his chair position last April.  Dr. Quindlen served as chair since 1981.

“Dr. Martino is a talented academic physician who has comported himself as a clinical leader within our medical school and in our health system,” said Dr. Samuel J. Strada, dean of the USA College of Medicine.  “During his tenure at USA, he has been instrumental in bringing novel and cutting-edge treatments to both adults and pediatric patients in our region.”

Dr. Martino joined the faculty at the USA College of Medicine in 2005.  Prior to USA, he served on the medical faculty at the University of California at San Francisco, Wayne State University School of Medicine in Detroit, and the Dartmouth Medical School in Hanover, N.H.

Born in Italy, Dr. Martino earned his medical degree from Catholic University of the Sacred Heart in Rome. He completed his internship at Columbus Hospital in Chicago and his residency at the State Hospital of New York in Syracuse, N.Y.  Following residency training, Dr. Martino completed a fellowship in pediatric neurosurgery at the University of California at San Francisco.

Dr. Martino cares for patients at USA Medical Center, USA Children’s & Women’s Hospital and the USA Mitchell Cancer Institute.

Next Week's DSS - Dr. James Parker

The next Distinguished Scientist Seminar at the University of South Alabama College of Medicine will be presented by Dr. James Parker, professor of physiology at the USA College of Medicine.

His lecture, titled "Starling Forces and Vascular Permeability in the Lung: 30 Years of Evolution,” will take place April 12, 2012, at 4 p.m. in the Medical Sciences Building auditorium on USA's main campus.

Dr. Parker received a Ph.D. degree at the University of Mississippi Medical Center and completed postdoctoral studies at the University of Mississippi.

Dr. Parker’s research interest focuses on a recent large scale clinical study which demonstrated a 22 percent reduction in mortality of patients on mechanical ventilation for Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome (ARDS) when tidal volume was reduced from the conventional 12 ml/kg to 6 ml/kg. This clinical study was based on previous animal experiments from Dr. Parker’s laboratory and others showing that alveolar overdistention produces microvascular injury and increased vascular permeability.

An additional recent direction in Dr. Parker's laboratory has been the development of a perfluorocarbon liquid ventilator in conjunction with Mallard Medical Company. This project utilizes a patented method of liquid delivery through a bias flow mode that improves both gas exchange and fluid clearance from the lung compared to conventional tidal liquid ventilation.

For more information on Dr. Parker’s research, click here.