Thursday, May 30, 2013

Children's & Women's Hospital Patient to be Featured in CMN Hospitals National Telethon

Fairhope’s Jenny Biggs, a former University of South Alabama Children’s & Women’s Hospital patient, will be featured in the Children's Miracle Network (CMN) Hospitals National Telethon June 1-2, 2013.
Biggs served last year as Alabama’s Champion for CMN Hospitals, an organization that raises support for children’s hospitals across North America.
Jenny came to USA Children's & Women's Hospital after a CT scan revealed a brain tumor. The surgery to remove the tumor went well, but Jenny quickly developed a blood clot in another area of her brain, requiring an emergency craniotomy. Jenny spent time on a ventilator and had to relearn how to talk, walk and use her right hand. Her physicians, nurses and therapists were amazed at her positive attitude throughout her recovery, and today she is a healthy, happy teenager.

To view the telethon segment featuring Jenny, click here, or watch the full video below.

For more information about supporting USA Children’s & Women’s Hospital through the Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals organization, contact USA Children's & Women's Development at 415-1636 or

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Med Students Express Gratitude to Donor Families at Anatomical Gifts Service

The University of South Alabama College of Medicine held its Anatomical Gifts Memorial Service on May 17, 2013.

Bodies donated to the USA Anatomical Gifts Program are used not only to train medical students learning anatomy, but also to train practicing physicians learning new medical procedures and to aid in physician research. The bodies are treated respectfully and professionally by students and physicians alike.

During the service, USA medical student Wes Edmunds thanked family members of participants in the Anatomical Gifts Program. The following is a portion of his presentation:

"Medical school is a process filled with many experiences, both educational and personal, but there are a few that are unforgettable to many physicians. Gross anatomy stands out in many people’s minds as one of the quintessential experiences of medical school. While it is filled with many lessons about how the human body works, it also came with a few personal experiences that I feel my classmates and I were very fortunate to have had exposure to.

With that being said, if it were not for the anatomical gift donors, we would not have had the valuable glimpse into the place where a person’s memories, emotions, thoughts, hopes, and dreams translated into the people that were known by many of you that sit here today.  That translation between the mind and body is a symbol of something that is very real to every person, and I feel that it is the reason that my classmates and I have chosen to pursue a career in medicine.

While I spent many years preparing for the scientific knowledge I would gain in the classroom while in medical school, I wasn’t quite aware of the personal experiences I would have once we progressed through the semester in gross anatomy.  The unexpected feelings I had at the time were not due to the anxiety of our first days in anatomy; because I had had plenty of time to mentally prepare myself for that. Rather, they came from seeing the physical remains of the people that provided me with the tools to learn about the human body that my classmates and I would be treating and caring for the rest of our lives.

The tattoos, the painted fingernails, the scars on hands, all of that gave me a glimpse into the life of the person that made the selfless decision to trust a group of medical students with their most intimate possession with hope to help build the foundation of their careers. At a time when it was easy to become preoccupied with my studies and visit the classroom with the goal of memorizing structures and landmarks in order to perform well on exams, the tattoos and nail polish, in a way, reminded me why I originally chose medicine as a career.

Medicine is one of the few, if not only, professions that rely on such a unique dynamic between the objective qualities of science and subjective aspects of the human condition. The unexpected experiences I had in Gross Anatomy during my first semester of medical school were invaluable and nearly impossible to take for granted. The impact these experiences had on my classmates and I not only benefited us, but will also benefit those who we will be caring for in the future. The gift that your family members gave was not one of substance that will soon be forgotten, but was one of knowledge and experience that will affect more than just the students at the University of South Alabama College of Medicine. So on behalf of all of my classmates, I would like to say, thank you."

-Wes Edmunds

Class of 2015

If you are interested in becoming a donor or would like more information on the USA Anatomical Gifts Program, click here.

Rachelle Avera Recognized for Customer Service

Rachelle Avera, Clerk IV in OB-GYN Clinical Services, was recently presented an Employee Recognition Award for her outstanding customer service skills.

"Rachelle is indispensable in making our department run efficiently. She does it with a smile on her face and a ‘can do’ attitude that is infectious. It is the day-to-day service that she provides to her fellow employees and to our patients that makes Rachelle stand out. Hardly a day goes by without multiple people asking her a question or asking for something to be accomplished. The reason we all go to Rachelle is because we know two things – that she will know the answer and that she will make sure it is done.”

     - Excerpt taken from co-workers' nomination form

To learn more about the USA Physicians Group Customer Service Performance Recognition Program and to print a nomination form, click here.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

USA Medical Student Selected for NIH Research Program

Austin Fox, a rising senior at the University of South Alabama College of Medicine, was recently selected as one of 45 students across the country to participate in the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Medical Research Scholars Program (MRSP).

According to the NIH Clinical Center, the comprehensive, year-long program is a research enrichment program designed to attract the most creative, research-oriented medical, dental, and veterinary students to the NIH campus in Bethesda, Md.

The 45 selected students will participate in a mentored research project on the main NIH campus in Bethesda, or close by NIH facilities, that match their professional interests and goals.  Students will also have the opportunity to interact with NIH leaders and reputable investigators from the top national academic medical centers and universities.

"I’m excited about the opportunity to be involved in an intense, unique NIH program that will allow me to further develop an understanding of how research is conducted and incorporated into the practice of medicine," said Fox.

Fox, of Dothan, Ala., participated in USA’s Medical Student Summer Research Program in 2010 and worked with Dr. Robert Barrington, assistant professor in the department of microbiology and immunology. Dr. Barrington’s lab utilizes genetic mouse strains to explore more efficient vaccine design and to model human autoimmune disease.

"I enjoy research as it can be translated into improved patient care,” said Fox. “I enjoy the academic medicine environment and look forward to the opportunity to participate in the research-clinical care continuum.”

In summer 2011, Fox also participated in the Student Research Training Program at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tenn., where he researched pediatric obesity in a clinical setting.

The current 2012-2013 MRSP class consists of 45 students from 34 different accredited medical, dental and veterinary schools. The NIH’s goal is to eventually have a capacity of 70 students in the program.