Thursday, December 12, 2013

USA Hospitals Host Tree Lighting Ceremonies

The University of South Alabama Medical Center and USA Children's & Women's Hospital recently hosted their annual tree lighting ceremonies.

The tree is lit during the annual "Lights of Love" tree lighting at USA Children's & Women's Hospital Dec. 10.
Ronald McDonald and Santa Clause celebrate on stage with the Holcomb family as the tree is lit during the annual "Lights of Love" tree lighting at USA Children's & Women's Hospital Dec. 10, 2013.

The "Lights of Love" tree lighting on Dec. 10, 2013, at USA Children's & Women's Hospital was co-sponsored by the hospital, Ronald McDonald House and the USA Mitchell Cancer Institute. The event featured visits from Santa Claus and Ronald McDonald, as well as performances from local choirs.

Click here to view more photos from the Lights of Love tree lighting.


Tabitha Welch places a dedication ornament on the tree in honor of her cousin Jonathan Taylor during the tree lighting at USA Medical Center Dec. 4, 2013.

The USA Medical Center's Dedication of Lights Ceremony, sponsored by USA Medical Center Auxiliary, took place on Dec. 4, 2013, and featured performances by members of Cottage Hill Conservatory Simply Strings and the Stone Street Baptist Church Youth Choir.

Ornaments were placed on the tree by family and friends of patients and former patients.

Click here to view more photos from the USA Medical Center's tree lighting.

Members of the Cottage Hill Conservatory Simply Strings perform during the tree lighting at USA Medical Center Dec. 4, 2013.

Researchers Examine Novel Biomarker to Measure Improvement in Bariatric Patients

From left: Drs. Jonathon Audia, Diego Alverez and Ben Hill
Several University of South Alabama faculty members collaborated in a multidisciplinary research team to put together a report titled, “Bariatric surgery rapidly improves mitochondrial respiration in morbidly obese patients,” after obtaining approval from the Institutional Review Board to conduct a clinical study on bariatric surgery patients. The study focuses on novel mechanisms by which bariatric surgery improves mitochondrial respiration in immune cells and tissues isolated from patients comparing pre- and post-surgical levels. This work was recently published in the Journal of Surgical Endoscopy.

To gauge the short-term effects of bariatric surgical intervention in a cohort of patients with excess body weight, the scientists measured standard blood chemistry metrics. In addition, patients’ skeletal muscle and blood mononuclear cell fraction were analyzed to determine mitochondrial respiration before the operation, and analyzed again 12-weeks after the procedure. Through those measurements, the researchers revealed that beneficial effects of bariatric surgery goes beyond those associated with body weight reduction and involves improvements in mitochondrial respiration and metabolic-related inflammation.

This publication is the first of a broader initiative entitled the “Study to Understand Meta-Inflammation and Obesity” (SUMO), and is comprised of Dr. Jonathon Audia, assistant professor of microbiology and immunology at the University of South Alabama College of Medicine, Dr. Diego Alvarez, assistant professor in the center for lung biology at the University of South Alabama College of Medicine, as well as Dr. Benjamin Hill, assistant professor of psychology at the University of South Alabama. Martha O’Hea, Anneliese Boettcher, and Rachel Hoadley are students participating in this research program.

“The long-range goals of SUMO are to explore links between obesity, mitochondrial function, meta-inflammation, and through our collaborators in the psychology department, led by Dr. Benjamin Hill, to also examine the effects of the surgery on cognitive capacity,” said Dr. Audia.

Drs. Alvarez, Audia, and Hill recognize their findings as a suggestion that increased mitochondrial respiration and reduced meta-inflammation may be critical determinants to assess early improvements in patients after bariatric surgical intervention.

The publication was made possible by funding from the Society of American Gastrointestinal and Endoscopic Surgeons (SAGES) and the National Institutes of Health (NIH), as well as the ongoing collaboration and support of Dr. Richards and the USA department of surgery.

To read the article published in the Journal of Surgical Endoscopy, click here.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

USA Names Regional Burn Center in Honor of Dr. Arnold Luterman

Dr. Arnold Luterman (second from right), shown with his colleagues, accepts the resolution to name the burn center in his honor at the Board of Trustees’ meeting on Dec. 6, 2013.

The University of South Alabama’s Board of Trustees approved a resolution to name the USA Medical Center’s regional burn center in honor of 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.

Dr. Luterman recently retired from the university after more than 30 years of service. He is a nationally known burn care expert who has played a vital role in the care of burn victims in our region.

The burn center will now be known as the Arnold Luterman Regional Burn Center.

To view local news coverage of the event, click the following links:
Local 15

To read about Dr. Luterman's retirement and his service to the University, click here.

USA Health System Represented in 40 Under Forty

Three members of the University of South Alabama Health System family were included in Mobile Bay magazine's list of 40 Under Forty: Chris Jett, assistant hospital administrator at USA Children's & Women's Hospital; Dr. Jennifer Scalici, a gynecologic oncologist at the USA Mitchell Cancer Institute; and Dr. Amy McCoy, an alum of the USA College of Medicine.

View the full article in the December 2013 issue of Mobile Bay or click here.

Dr. Brogdon Featured in Connecting Alabama Series

Dr. Gil Brogdon, University Distinguished Professor Emeritus and former chair of the department of radiology, was recently featured in's Connecting Alabama series.

Dr. Brogdon is known as the "Father of Forensic Radiology" and for coining the term "Little League Elbow."

Read the full story here.