Thursday, August 22, 2013

Snapshots: USA College of Medicine History

Forty years ago this past January, the USA College of Medicine admitted its first class of medical students. As we look back at the medical school’s four decades of history, we will post several photos and look forward to your responses as far as memories and details surrounding the images.

To view previous featured photos, click here and here.

Dr. Henry C. Mullins Jr., 1977
USA College of Medicine Match Day 1987
Pharmacology Graduate Students 1998

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

USA is Global Leader in Endoscopic Imaging Technology

USA is the first institution in the world to offer a top-tier endomicroscopy imaging system. Shown with the equipment is Dr. Jack DiPalma (second from left) and Dr. Reynaldo Rodriguez (second from right), along with spokesmen from NinePoint Medical, the creators of the NvisionVLE™ Imaging System. 

The University of South Alabama Digestive Health Center continues its role as a national leader in gastroenterology patient care with the recent addition of a top-tier, endomicroscopy imaging system.

USA is the first institution in the world to offer the NvisionVLE™ Imaging System since it garnered approval from the Federal Drug Administration (FDA) in April.

The recently installed NvisionVLE™ Imaging System enables USA physicians to view real-time, cross-sectional images of organs and tissues, using laser imaging technology.

“This technology is similar to combining a microscope with an endoscope,” explained Dr. Jack Di Palma, director of the Digestive Health Center and professor of internal medicine at USA. “In previous imaging technology, the endoscopy probed only the surface-level tissues. This system now allows us to examine the tissue up to three millimeters deep, giving us the ability to diagnose without surgical biopsy.”

According to USA Gastroenterologist Dr. Reynaldo Rodriguez, associate professor of internal medicine at USA, the largest clinical application of this new technology will be for patients with gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). This widely prevalent condition can potentially lead to Barrett’s Esophagus, which is a change in the tissue lining the esophagus. The high presence of Barrett’s is a predisposing factor for esophageal adenocarcinoma, a cancer with a high mortality rate that is rapidly rising in prevalence in the United States.

Early detection is crucial in lowering the risk of progression from Barrett’s Esophagus to cancer. When Barrett’s Esophagus is found, the patient is often treated with radio frequency ablation (RFA) in which the affected tissues are burned and removed to lower the pre-malignant risk, according to Dr. Di Palma, who also practices with USA Physicians Group.

However, Dr. Rodriguez notes that RFA-type procedures are not always effective in completely eliminating Barrett’s Esophagus.

“Even with RFA, the patient may have ‘buried Barrett’s’ in the deeper tissues that previous technology would not have revealed,” explained Dr. Rodriguez. “This imaging system will allow us to successfully identify ‘buried Barrett’s’ without the need for a biopsy.”

“We are pleased to partner with the University of South Alabama as they become the first institution in the country with a commercial system,” said Dr. Charles Carignan, president and CEO of NinePoint Medical, the creators of the NvisionVLE™ Imaging System.

For more information or to refer a patient, contact (251) 660-5555.

Surgeon Retires After More Than Three Decades at USA

Dr. Arnold Luterman, the Ripps-Meisler professor of surgery at the University of South Alabama College of Medicine and former head of the burn center at the USA Medical Center, has retired after more than 30 years of service to the university.

A retirement reception will be held for Dr. Luterman on Aug. 28, 2013, from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. at the USA Faculty Club on USA’s main campus.

Dr. Luterman, who joined the USA faculty in 1981 and served as chief of surgery and chair of the department of surgery from 1994 to 2002, said it has been very rewarding to see the surgery department grow over the years. “But,” he said, “the best is yet to come.”

According to Dr. Samuel Strada, dean of the USA College of Medicine, Dr. Luterman has served diligently, contributing in multiple ways to the advancement of the USA College of Medicine on national, regional and community levels. “Dr. Luterman exemplifies commitment, dedication, perseverance and professionalism,” he said. “He has been an inspiration and a mentor for our students, residents and junior faculty.”

Beth Anderson, hospital administrator at the USA Medical Center, said Dr. Luterman, a nationally known burn care expert, has played a vital role in the care of burn victims in our region.

“Dr .Luterman always put the care of his patients first and wanted the best outcome for them,” she said. “He has contributed to the advancement of burn care through his research and it has been an honor to be a part of his endeavors.”

Developing the clinical teams has been the most rewarding part of his career, said Dr. Luterman, who created the Regional Burn Center and served as its director until 2012. “The USA Burn Team is one of the finest in the country, if not the best, and being part of it has been a true pleasure.”

Dr. Luterman also developed the Level 1 Trauma Center at the USA Medical Center and served as its first director from 1981 to 1985. At the same time, he was director of emergency services.

In addition, he served as surgery post-graduate training program director and assistant dean for graduate medical education (GME). The assistant dean for graduate medical education is chair of the Graduate Medical Education Committee comprised of program directors, administrators and faculty with specific interests and expertise in graduate medical education.

During Dr. Luterman’s tenure as assistant dean of GME, significant advances were made in coordinating graduate medical education across disciplines, providing benefits for residents, enabling more consistent and accountable evaluations of residents, and supporting the expansion and development of new graduate medical education programs.

“Dr. Luterman has played a significant leadership role in the department of surgery and also to the Office of Graduate Medical Education,” Dr. Strada said. “In these critically important positions, he brought a wealth of experience, knowledge and enthusiasm. His contributions have enabled our undergraduate and graduate medical programs to maintain high standards and grow and progress.”

In 2013, Dr. Luterman was selected to receive the Distinguished Service Award sponsored by the USA Medical Alumni Association, an honor that recognizes outstanding leadership and a commitment to advancing medical education. He was also one of 50 Outstanding Scholarly and Creative Works Contributors awarded at the 50th Anniversary of the university in May.

During his time at USA, Dr. Luterman has provided outstanding leadership to young students pursuing a degree in medicine. USA medical students have honored him 20 times with a Red Sash Faculty Award, given to faculty members who had the most meaningful impact on their medical education.

When asked what he has enjoyed most at USA, Dr. Luterman responded, “clearly, the people.”

“USA is blessed with many good people,” he said. “In every place I have worked – the USA Medical Center, the Department of Surgery, the College of Medicine, and the GME office – the caliber of the people is what makes USA great. They have made my life enjoyable and the work we have done successful.”

Dr. Luterman said he views the next phase of his life like a new chapter of a book. “There are all kinds of possibilities, and I’m excited to see what the future holds.”

USA Health System Hosts Healthy U-S-A Fair

The University of South Alabama Health System hosted its Healthy    U-S-A Fair on August 16, 2013, at the USA Faculty Club.

The event provided health screenings, including blood pressure, glucose, cholesterol, bone density, physical therapy, and colon cancer screenings. In addition, USA Physicians Group providers were on hand to answer questions. Approximately 150 USA employees attended the event.

To view more photos from the health fair, click here.