Thursday, December 18, 2014

Internal Medicine Residents Participate in Toy Drive

Internal medicine residents at the University of South Alabama College of Medicine collected toys as part of a Christmas toy drive being run in conjunction across the state with all internal medicine residency programs under the American College of Physicians banner.

As of Dec. 18, 2014, the residents had collected approximately 50 toys. The toy drive ends Friday. 

Holiday Greetings from USA Physicians Group

Happy holidays from the University of South Alabama Physicians Group. Watch the video below for a special greeting.

 
Happy Holidays from USA Physicians Group! from USA Health System on Vimeo.

Retirement Reception Honors Judy Burnham

Robert Britton, electronic resources/collection development librarian, hugs Judy Burnham at her retirement reception Dec. 11, 2014.
The University of South Alabama Biomedical Library hosted a retirement reception in honor of Judy Burnham on Dec. 11, 2014.

Burnham began her career as a hospital librarian at USA Medical Center and is now, 25 years later, retiring from the position of director of the USA Biomedical Library.

Click here to view more photos from the reception.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Dr. Gupta Presents at Radiologic Society of America

Dr. Shikha Gupta, assistant professor of radiology at the USA College of Medicine, presented a case-based review at the Radiologic Society of America (RSNA) on Dec. 2, 2014. The presentation, “Case-based Review of Nuclear Medicine: PET/CT Workshop-Cancers of the Abdomen and Pelvis," was given in conjunction with the Society of Nuclear Medicine and Molecular Imaging.

Dr. Gupta discussed the role of PET/CT in the staging and follow-up of common gastrointestinal tumors and evaluated the role of PET/CT in gynecologic malignancies. She also discussed the importance of PET/CT in determination of early response in gastrointestinal stromal tumors and the role of PET/CT in evaluation of select renal and prostate malignancies.

The PET/CT scanner at the USA Mitchell Cancer Institute combines positron emission tomography (PET) with computerized tomography (CT). The PET scan provides unique information about your body on a cellular level while a CT scan offers anatomic information. With both combined, the PET/CT scan helps physicians better understand the exact location and extent of disease. That information allows physicians to develop the best treatment plan for each specific patient. PET/CT can also reveal disease when CT or MRI alone is negative or inconclusive.

Dr. Gupta earned her medical degree from All India Institute of Medical Sciences in New Delhi, India. She completed her residency in diagnostic radiology at Aultman-Neoucom Program in Canton, Ohio. She completed her fellowship in nuclear medicine at the University of Alabama at Birmingham in Birmingham, Ala. Dr. Gupta is currently an assistant professor of radiology at the University of South Alabama College of Medicine.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

USAMC Participates in Holiday Toy Drive

Rebecca Schaffer, director of accounting at the University of South Alabama Medical Center, poses with some of the toys that were collected for the Holiday Toy Drive Dec.10, 2014. Every year hospital employees gather toys for their annual Holiday Toy Drive for the Dumas Wesley Community Center Toy Store.
The University of South Alabama Medical Center recently assisted the Dumas Wesley Community Center this year with donations for the Community Center's Christmas Toy Store. Toys were collected within departments at the USA Medical Center for transport to the Dumas Wesley Community Center.

Donated toys are sold to pre-qualified Crichton residents at greatly reduced prices. The money generated from the toy sales goes to help other distressed community members with emergency needs.

According to Anita Shirah, human resources manager at the USA Medical Center, the hospital began working with the Dumas Wesley Community Center on the Christmas Toy Store in 2002 and has made the store an annual project in providing toys, books, and accessories.

The annual Christmas Toy Store serves approximately 75 families residing in the Crichton neighborhood and Sybil Smith Family Village, Dumas Wesley’s transitional housing program.

Click here to view more photos from the toy drop-off. 

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

USA Family Medicine Receives National Recognition for Quality Patient Care

The University of South Alabama Family Medicine Center recently was granted recognition on behalf of the National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA). The following clinicians are linked to this recognition: Drs. Robert Duffy, Tangela Atkinson, Michael Linder, Carol Motley, Gerald Liu, Allen Perkins, Shyla Reddy, Ehab Molokhia, and Janet Russell, C.R.N.P.

“Three years ago, the USA Family Medicine Center set out to transform the practice from physician-directed to patient-centered care,” said Dr. Atkinson, assistant professor and medical director in the Department of Family Medicine.  “Achieving patient-centered medical home recognition means we have raised the bar in defining high-quality care by emphasizing access, health information technology and coordinated care focused on patients.”

NCQA Recognition Programs empower employers, health plans, patients and consumers to make informed heath care decisions based on quality. Participation in a NCQA Recognition Program demonstrates that the practice or clinician values quality health care delivery and the latest clinical protocols to ensure that patients receive the best care at the right time.

“It is important for us to demonstrate and document the quality care that we provide. External groups such as the NCQA allow us to do that,” said Dr. Perkins, professor and chair of the USA department of family medicine. “The USA Family Medicine Center’s recognition places us in a select group of less than 300 physicians in Alabama.”

The University of South Alabama Family Medicine’s recognition as a patient-centered medical home (PCMH), which is a way of organizing primary care that emphasizes care coordination and communication to transform primary care into "what patients want it to be." NCQA patient-centered medical home recognition is the most widely-used way to transform primary care practices into medical homes.

The USA Family Medicine Center is part of the USA Physicians Group practice which is comprised of the academic clinical faculty in the USA College of Medicine.

To make an appointment with a physician affiliated with the USA Family Practice Center, call 251-434-3475.

Med School Café - Expert Advice for the Community

Dr. Brian Brocato, assistant professor of obstetrics and gynecology at the University of South Alabama College of Medicine, presented the November Med School Café lecture, “Advanced Reproductive Age.”

Dr. Brocato, who is a maternal-fetal medicine specialist, addressed the testing available for the diagnosis of down syndrome and the specific risk to pregnancies as the mother gets older. In addition, discussed what women or families can do prior to conception to ensure a healthy pregnancy.

Watch the video below to view the lecture in its entirety.


November Med School Cafe - Dr. Brian Brocato from USA Health System on Vimeo.

USA Alum Named President of SMA

University of South Alabama Alum Dr. Mark S. Williams was named president of the Southern Medical Association (SMA) for the 2014-2015 year.

Dr. Williams became a member of the Southern Medical Association in 1977. During his time with the association, he has served as chair of the Coordinating Committee on Quality and has represented SMA in various leadership roles including associate councilor from 2007-2013. He is a financial supporter of The Society of 1906 which provides financial support to the Research and Education Endowment Fund designed to provide grants and scholarships for medical students and physicians-in-training.

Dr. Williams received his medical degree from the USA College of Medicine in 1980. He received his master's in business administration from Samford University in 1995, and in 2001 he received his Juris Doctor from the University of Alabama School of Law. Dr. Williams became a certified physician executive by the American College of Physician Executives in 2005. He was recently honored with the role of chief physician executive for Tenet Healthcare and Brookwood Medical Center in Birmingham, Ala. Dr. Williams is a clinical associate professor for the University of Alabama Department of Anesthesiology in Birmingham. He has been an oral examiner for the American Board of Anesthesiology for almost 20 years. He also serves on the Council of Medical Service for the Medical Association of the State of Alabama.

Dr. Williams was previously chief medical officer of the North Mississippi Health System based in Tupelo, Miss. He was a member of the Mississippi Hospital Association’s Medicaid Reform Committee and was also a member of Mississippi’s Physician Workforce Committee.

The Southern Medical Association is a non-profit, physician-led, multispecialty medical association dedicated to supporting the health of patients through physician encouragement. SMA is dedicated to supporting physicians as leaders within the healthcare delivery and reform movements. SMA supports physicians with informational and educational programs as that allow physicians to promote for their profession and their patients.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

USA Hospitals Host Holiday Celebrations

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

The "Lights of Love" tree lighting at USA Children's & Women's Hospital was co-sponsored by the Ronald McDonald House and the USA Mitchell Cancer Institute. The event featured visits from Santa Claus and Ronald McDonald, and everyone enjoyed live music, cookies and hot cocoa.
Click here to view more photos from the Lights of Love Tree Lighting.

The USA Medical Center's Dedication of Lights Ceremony was sponsored by USA Medical Center Auxiliary. Ornaments were placed on the tree by family and friends of patients and former patients.


University of South Alabama Medical Center Hospital Administrator Beth Anderson hangs an ornament on the tree during the medical center's Dedication of Lights Ceremony Dec. 3, 2014.
Click here to view more photos from the USA Medical Center's tree lighting. 

Dr. Troy Stevens Appointed Lenoir Louise Locke Chair of Physiology and Cell Biology

Dr. Troy Stevens recently was appointed the Lenoir Louise Locke Chair of Physiology and Cell Biology at the University of South Alabama College of Medicine.

“Dr. Stevens has demonstrated his leadership abilities within the USA College of Medicine by successfully leading the Center for Lung Biology,” said Dr. Samuel Strada, dean of the USA College of Medicine. “His dedication and support to the mission of the College will continue in his new role as department chair.”

Dr. Stevens, who was trained as a physiologist and cell biologist, said this new role fits very well with his background and experiences. “Physiology and Cell Biology are disciplines that represent my research focus and scientific interests,” he said.

Previously a professor of pharmacology, Dr. Stevens said he was attracted to this role because it allows him to contribute to the development of new programs that address the evolving scope of the biomedical sciences.

“I’m excited about the opportunity to expand on existing scientific programs within the College of Medicine and to bring new areas of focus to the college,” Dr. Stevens said. “We will seek to develop the scientific infrastructure for innovative work that is competitive on a national scale."

Dr. Stevens joined the faculty at USA in 1996 and became the founding director of the Center for Lung Biology in 2002. He, together with a group of collaborative faculty with expertise in the area of lung biology and pathology, has made many significant research and educational accomplishments during his career including twice renewals of an NIH funded program project PO1 grant devoted to lung endothelial biology and an interdisciplinary T32 doctoral training grant in lung biology.

Dr. Stevens is also the recipient of an NIH MERIT Award, an award reserved for only a selective few individuals whose research has been deemed by the NIH to be especially meritorious, productive, and having great potential for continued and future accomplishment.

Dr. Stevens has been an active participant in the College’s Graduate Program in Basic Medical Sciences and a significant contributor to the education of medical students and training of fellows in pulmonary and critical care medicine. He has served on numerous national and international advisory boards and committees devoted to basic and translational research, training and clinical care activities in the field of lung biology and pathophysiology of pulmonary disease.

In his new role, Dr. Stevens replaces retiring chairs Dr. Thomas Lincoln and Dr. Glenn Wilson.

Biomedical Librarians Receive Certification as Consumer Health Specialists

Christy Kent, shown above, was one of four biomedical librarians recognized by the Medical Library Association as consumer health specialists.
Christy Kent, outreach librarian; Geneva Staggs, assistant director for hospital library services; Nancy Pugh, USA Biomedical Library supervisor for the Health Information Resource Center at USA Medical Center; and Heather Hoven, USA Biomedical Library technical assistant; have all been certified by the Medical Library Association as consumer health specialists. Hoven has achieved Level I and Kent, Staggs and Pugh have all achieved Level II of the Consumer Health Information Specialization.

Kent uses information gained through this certification to better provide healthcare information to the community at health fairs, as a part of the Community Health Advocates, and by presenting and teaching at community groups such as SAIL Centers and other senior citizen groups.

The goals of the Medical Library Association's Consumer Health Information Specialization (CHIS) program is to improve health information services for patients, create partners in the delivery of consumer health information, and increase access to consumer health information courses.

Level I is for those who desire a basic familiarity with consumer health information resources; and it requires 12 hours in approved CHIS courses. Level II is for those who want additional training with consumer health information resources; and it requires 24 hours in approved CHIS courses.

The CHIS program has given these Health Information Resource Center (HIRC) personnel more confidence in providing the best health care information possible to not only physicians, but to our patients and community.

The CHIS program puts a special emphasis on providing patients access to the best resources and health information. The USA Biomedical Library has developed a consumer health information kiosk to link people to quality websites. The kiosk is located in the HIRC and is also available at: http://biomedicallibrary.southalabama.edu/health/.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Med School Café - Expert Advice for the Community

Dr. Lynn Dyess, professor of surgery at the University of South Alabama College of Medicine, speaks during the October Med School Café lecture on Oct. 23, 2014.

Dr. Lynn Dyess, professor of surgery at the University of South Alabama College of Medicine, and Dr. Joel Lightner, assistant professor of radiology at the USA College of Medicine, presented the October Med School Café lecture, “Breast Cancer Awareness.”

The lecture focused on the screening, detection and current controversies of breast cancer. Dr. Lightner discussed the innovative tools used to diagnosis breast cancer, and Dr. Dyess outlined the latest treatment options.

The next Med School Café lecture, "Multiple Sclerosis: A Simple Message about a Complicated Disease," will feature Dr. Elizabeth Minto, assistant professor of neurology at the USA College of Medicine. The lecture will take place Dec. 11, 2014, at the USA Faculty Club.

The Med School Café lecture and lunch are provided free of charge, but reservations are required. If you are interested in attending, call Kim Partridge at (251) 460-7770 or email kepartridge@health.southalabama.edu.

October Med School Cafe - Breast Cancer Diagnosis and Treatment from USA Health System on Vimeo.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

10 Tips for a Healthy Thanksgiving

With the Thanksgiving holiday just around the corner, it’s important to keep your healthy habits in check.

University of South Alabama dietitian Nancy Brumfield, RDN, has shared a few tips to help you enjoy the holiday – without sabotaging your health.

Exercise. If you want to eat more and not gain weight you have to move more. Add an extra walk or a few more minutes to your exercise routine. If you are not typically active, step outside for a walk and enjoy the weather. You can break it up to 15 minutes a couple of times a day. “This includes the cooks,” Brumfield said. “A short walk will clear your mind and invigorate you. You will enter the kitchen more relaxed and ready to go.”

Also, if you are thinking of joining a gym after the New Year, consider doing it now. “Beat the crowds that show up the first of January,” Brumfield said. “You will have a better opportunity to benefit from the gym staff in establishing a workout plan that fits your needs, and you will have more energy during the holiday season.”

Never arrive hungry. Avoid banking your calories by skipping meals prior to the big feast. Eat something before the big meal that is lighter and includes lean protein, vegetables and fruit. You will be less likely to overeat.

Hydrate before you sit down to eat.  By consuming a large glass of water prior to eating you will be less likely to overeat because you will feel fuller.

Be picky. Decide what you are going to enjoy the most. Brumfield said most people who go through a buffet never see what is there until they reach the end of the line and their plate is overflowing. “Step back and look at the bounty of food before you begin,” she said. “Admire it and then make a decision on what you really want to have that pleases your palate without adding on too many extra calories.”

Focus on vegetables. Brumfield suggests filling half of your plate with vegetables, ¼ of your plate with meat, and ¼ of your plate with starch to limit the number of calories. Also, avoid using heavy sauces and cream soups for your vegetables. “Try roasting them with a small amount of olive oil and fresh herbs,” she said. “You can even squeeze lemon juice on them to perk up their natural flavor.”

Be sensitive to guests with special dietary needs. Those who are diabetic or gluten-free, for example, can enjoy the meal by planning ahead. The diabetic will be able to make healthy choices by following the suggestions listed above.

To satisfy those who are gluten free, try cornstarch-based gravy instead of flour. “There are many items they may be sensitive to that contain gluten,” Brumfield said. “Check food labels, and share your menu with them ahead of time.” In addition, you should keep food items that contain gluten in separate serving dishes. For example, serve your sliced turkey on a platter and serve the dressing in a separate dish.

For those with high blood pressure, offer foods high in potassium, calcium and magnesium. “This includes most fruits and vegetables,” Brumfield said. “Foods that are highest in sodium include canned soups, which are often used for casseroles. If you must cook with canned soup, use the low sodium brands. By shopping for fresh or frozen foods and using less of packaged instant or convenience foods section of the supermarket you will avoid the foods that contribute the most sodium to meals.

For the vegetarian, prepare vegetables without meat as a seasoning. Be creative and use fresh herbs. You can also add nuts for a little protein.

Brumfield also suggests inviting your guests who have special dietary needs to bring a dish to share with others.

Limit alcohol. It adds calories and makes you sleepy. Sip, don’t gulp.

Be highly selective with sweets. Avoid trying a serving of all desserts offered. Try a fruit-based dessert. Healthier choices include ambrosia, which is low in calories and packed with antioxidants. Pound cake versus those with icing can cut your calories in half. Try a small serving, and eat slowly.

Make the meal about being thankful and enjoying those gathered at your table. Engage in conversation. “Go around the table and list the things you are thankful for,” Brumfield said. “This will force you to eat more slowly, and you will be less likely to reach for that extra helping.” In addition, consider contributing canned goods to a local food bank or inviting a neighbor over for your family's Thanksgiving meal as an expression of thankfulness.

Lastly, take a walk after your meal. It’s not really the turkey that makes you sleepy, according to Brumfield. “Turkey has no more of the amino acid tryptophan that most other meats, dairy products, seeds, nuts or chocolate. Just the suggestion to yourself that turkey makes you sleepy will make you sleepy,” she said. “Get up, move around, and engage others in being active with you.”

For healthy Thanksgiving recipes, click here.

Dr. Michael Welsh Gives 2014 Baugh Lecture

Dr. Michael Welsh, a Howard Hughes Investigator at the University of Iowa and a member of the National Academy of Sciences, gives the Charles M. Baugh Lecture Nov. 20, 2014, at the University of South Alabama College of Medicine.
Dr. Michael Welsh, a Howard Hughes Investigator at the University of Iowa and a member of the National Academy of Sciences, talks with Dr. Samuel Strada, dean of the University of South Alabama College of Medicine, before giving the Charles M. Baugh Lecture Nov. 20, 2014.
The University of South Alabama College of Medicine hosted the Charles M. Baugh 2014 Endowed Lecture in Basic Medical Sciences on Nov. 20, 2014. The event featured Dr. Michael Welsh, a Howard Hughes Investigator at the University of Iowa and a member of the National Academy of Sciences.

The lecture is held in memory of Dr. Charles M. Baugh, who served twice as dean of the USA College of Medicine and as vice president for medical affairs.

Click here to learn more about Dr. Welsh and the Charles M. Baugh lecture.

Monday, November 24, 2014

USA Medical Students Host Mobile Mental Health Outreach Event

Chris Buckley and Lindsey Stewart of the USA College of Medicine PsychSIGN chapter distribute tote bags with informational brochures on depression, anxiety, and substance abuse at the Mobile Mental Health Outreach event Nov. 8, 2014.
The Mobile Mental Health Outreach, a new initiative created by the University of South Alabama College of Medicine PsychSIGN chapter, was held on Nov. 8, 2014.

PsychSIGN is a student interest group for USA medicine students interested in a career as a psychiatrist. The event was held to provide health screenings at local shopping centers for hypertension, depression, and substance abuse. Several of the PsychSIGN officers led a group of student volunteers to the Mobile Flea Market on Schillinger road for the opening event. In less than two hours the group reached more than 150 patrons by distributing tote bags with informational brochures on depression, substance abuse, anxiety, and teen suicide. Each tote bag also contained contact information for CarePointe, the entry point into the majority of AltaPointe's programs and services.

“The aim of this outreach was twofold: get valuable information into the hands of those struggling with mental illness and addiction, but also to provide these educational materials to people who may not understand that these conditions are very debilitating to those who suffer from them,” said medical student Chris Buckley, PsychSIGN chapter president.

The American Psychiatric Foundation awarded the PsychSIGN chapter with the 2014 Helping Hands Grant in order to fund the initiative for the next three years. The yearly allotment for the chapter is nearly $4,000.

Buckley thanks the PsychSIGN sponsor, Dr. W. Bogan Brooks, as well as Dr. Sandra Parker and the rest of the department for their continued support. He also wanted to extend a very special thank you to PsychSIGN officers Natalie Hallmark and Heather Griffin for their tireless dedication in maintaining and managing the requirements of the APF grant.

“It’s wonderful that the USA chapter of the Psychiatry Student Interest Group Network was awarded a nationally competitive Helping Hands Grant from the American Psychiatric Foundation,” said Dr. Brooks. “The funding helps make it possible for medical students to address the profound need for improved mental health education and assistance in an underserved community like Mobile.”

December Med School Café - 'Multiple Sclerosis: A Simple Message About a Complicated Disease'

The December Med School Café lecture will feature Dr. Elizabeth Minto, assistant professor of neurology at the University of South Alabama College of Medicine and a neurologist with USA Physicians Group.

Her lecture, titled “Multiple Sclerosis: A Simple Message About a Complicated Disease,” will take place Dec. 11, 2014, at the USA Faculty Club, located at 6348 Old Shell Road, on USA’s main campus. Lunch will be served at 11:30 a.m., and the presentation begins at noon.

During the talk, Dr. Minto will discuss the “Who, What, When, Where and Why” of multiple sclerosis. She will discuss current treatments for the disease and its secondary symptoms, and she will review some of the exciting developments that have occurred and continue to occur in our understanding of this complex disorder.

Dr. Minto attended the USA College of Medicine for two years before completing her medical degree at the University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Medicine in 2003. She completed an internship in internal medicine in 2004, followed by neurology residency in 2007, both at Vanderbilt University.  She is board certified by the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology.

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

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.
Dr Minto Med School Cafe Teaser from USA Health System on Vimeo.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

USA Welcomes Dr. Melody Petty

Dr. Melody L. Petty recently was appointed assistant professor of pediatrics at the University of South Alabama College of Medicine and serves as a pediatric hospitalist at USA Children's & Women's Hospital.

Dr. Petty earned her medical degree at the University of Mississippi School of Medicine. She completed her residency in pediatrics at USA, where she was recognized as the Residency Core Curriculum Scholar.

Dr. Petty is a member of the USA Program Evaluation and USA Pediatric Residency committees. She is a member of the American Academy of Pediatrics.

Dumas Wesley Toy Drive Underway at USA Medical Center

The University of South Alabama Medical Center will continue the holiday tradition of collecting toys, books and games for the Dumas Wesley Community Center holiday Toy Store.

The 2014 toy drive will run in the hospital until staff members deliver the toys to Dumas Wesley on Wednesday, Dec. 10.

The USA Medical Center has been committed to helping those in need during the holidays by donating new and unwrapped toys to Dumas Wesley for 13 years. Human Resources Manager Anita Shirah leads the annual tradition.

The donations help local families in need in two ways: First, toys are sold to pre-qualified Crichton area residents at reduced prices. Then, the purchasers of the toys are able to take pride in knowing that the money they paid for the toys will be used by Dumas Wesley to help other community members.

Dumas Wesley will use the funds to help people who have a range of emergency needs, including medical and prescription needs and electric bills.

Those who donate to the toy drive are actually giving twice, as their gift will help a child have a happier Christmas and help a member of the community stay warm in the winter or avoid an eviction notice.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

USA Medical Students Attend AMSA Leadership Conference

USA medical students, from left: William Harvey, Bliss Cook, Blake Tennant and Sean Carter
Several members of the University of South Alabama American Medical Student Association (AMSA) recently attended the organization's fall leadership conference - also known as the AMSA Training Ground - at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill, N.C.

"We attended the conference to learn more and to make connections with other AMSA chapters to get ideas on how to grow our chapter and make it stronger," said Bliss Cook, treasurer of USA’s AMSA chapter and a second-year medical student at USA.

The conference was focused on encouraging student advocacy in public and global health with lectures on gender inequalities in health care, effective volunteerism in underserved areas, and the importance of research in global health initiatives.

"The speakers helped us realize the interconnectedness of health care throughout the world’s population and what we can do as students to improve the delivery and outcome of the global health system,” said Blake Tennant, president of USA’s AMSA chapter and a second-year medical student at USA. “We learned that in order to spark national or even international change in health practices, we must first start with effective advocacy at the local or community level,” he said.

One of the big things the students took away from the conference was the importance of taking action - no matter how big or small that action may be. “You have to start somewhere,” said Cook. “If you have a goal or a desire to bring about change in something, then make a plan and stick to that plan.”

The AMSA Conference is an intensive weekend conference designed to help students acquire, practice, and hone the knowledge and skills necessary for student-led action.

Monday, November 17, 2014

USA Mourns Loss of Dr. Frederick N. Meyer

Frederick N. Meyer, M.D., a native of Chicago, Ill., and a resident of Mobile, Ala., passed away unexpectedly on Nov. 14, 2014.

Dr. Meyer earned his undergraduate degree in biology and chemistry from Westminster College in Salt Lake City and his medical degree from State University of Iowa in Iowa City, Iowa. He completed a surgical internship at Latter Day Saints Hospital in Salt Lake City and his residency in orthopaedic surgery at University of Utah in Salt Lake City. To further his training, Dr. Meyer completed a Joseph Boyes Hand Surgery Fellowship in Los Angeles.

At the time of his death, Dr. Meyer served as professor and chair of the University of South Alabama department of orthopaedic surgery.  He also served as program director for the orthopaedic surgery residency training program.  Prior to his tenure at USA Dr. Meyer held teaching and leadership positions in orthopaedic surgery residency and fellowship training programs in Denver, Colo. and Phoenix, Ariz.  He was well-known and highly respected by his peers for his skill as an orthopaedic hand surgeon.  He earned public recognition for his academic expertise and orthopaedic knowledge, as well as his surgical and teaching skills.  He also occupied leadership positions in many national orthopaedic academic societies and served as a reviewer for a variety of professional journals.

As a humanitarian, Dr. Meyer led by example.  During his mission travels to Ecuador, he and the resident who accompanied him provided orthopaedic care to hundreds of poor and disadvantaged patients over the years.  His desire to alleviate suffering and improve the quality of life for his fellow man was always at the forefront of his medical practice.

In addition to his other accomplishments, Dr. Meyer proudly served in both the U.S. Marine Corps and the U.S. Navy and was the recipient of the Naval Commendation Medal for Outstanding Service.  He held a very special place in his heart for the veteran and active duty patients he cared for from every branch of military service.

Dr. Meyer’s family would like to acknowledge each resident currently enrolled in the USA orthopaedic surgery residency training program at USA.  Please know that Dr. Meyer took a special interest and pride in the achievement of the goals you have set for yourselves and he expected no less than the best from each of you:  Russell Goode, M.D.; Aaron Mates, M.D.; John Tullos, M.D.;  Ryan Mitchell, M.D.; Brandon Taylor, M.D.; Grant Zarzour, MD;  Jess Mullins, M.D.; Brandon Scott, M.D.; Patrick Smith, M.D.; Stephen White, M.D.;  Nav Bajwa, M.D.; Patrick Barousse, M.D; Alexander McDonnell, M.D.;  Joseph Shung, M.D. and Stephanie Stopka, M.D.

Although Dr. Meyer experienced a busy professional life, he was an animal lover, a model train enthusiast and collector, and also greatly enjoyed movies and home theatre.  For those who knew Dr. Meyer best, it was universally accepted that his love and dedication to his work were his real hobby and he could not imagine his life apart from orthopaedic surgery.  His association with the USA department of orthopaedics and the residency training program was his passion and the success of both was truly his delight.  Dr. Meyer always took the time to learn as much about the orthopaedic surgery residents as he could. When residents graduated from his program,  they took with them Dr. Meyer’s dedication for the well-being of every patient along with the knowledge that he was only a phone call away for advice or support.  He will be sorely missed by current and former residents as well as colleagues and associates at every level.

Dr. Meyer was preceded in death by his parents Ralph and Harriet Meyer, sister Catherine Meyer Condas and daughter Jennifer Meyer.  He is survived by his beloved wife, Dr. Melanie Landry Meyer; brothers Steven Meyer and Russell Meyer; sons Torrance Meyer, Jared Meyer, and Michael Perry; and daughter, Dana Marshall.  In addition, Dr. Meyer is survived by cherished family members in Louisiana who loved him dearly and his ashes will be interred in his adopted home state at a later date.

Mass of Christian burial will be celebrated at Our Savior Catholic Church located at 1801 Cody Road, Mobile, Ala. at 10 a.m. on Nov. 24, 2014.  From 12 noon to 2 p.m. friends and family are invited for visitation at the University of South Alabama Globe Grand Lobby at the USA Mitchell Center, 5950 Old Shell Road, Mobile, Ala.

The family suggests memorial contributions to the Orthopaedic Residents’ Fund, LLC, C/O Rhonda B. Smith, 3421 Medical Park Drive, Building #2, Mobile, Ala. 36693 or the Mobile SPCA, 620 Zeigler Circle, W., Mobile, Ala. 36608.

Grant Awarded For Forensic Medical Equipment To Diagnose Child Sexual Abuse

Pat Guyton, director of the Child Advocacy Center, speaks during a press conference Nov. 17, 2014. Representatives of the University of South Alabama Department of Pediatrics, the Child Advocacy Center and St. Paul's Episcopal Church held a press conference Monday to announce the awarding of a St. Francis Fund grant for the purchase of a state-of-the-art electronic colposcope and new examination table for the USA Department of Pediatrics Screening for Child Sexual Abuse Clinic.
Representatives of the Child Advocacy Center (CAC), the University of South Alabama Department of Pediatrics, and St. Paul’s Episcopal Church held a news conference Nov. 17th to announce a grant of $11,717 to purchase a new state-of-the art electronic colposcope and a new examination table for the USA Department of Pediatrics Screening for Child Sexual Abuse Clinic, a joint project of the USA Department of Pediatrics and the CAC.

The new colposcope and new examination table will be used by USA pediatrician Dr. Jessica Kirk, the CAC’s Medical Director, to conduct forensic medical examinations in allegations involving child sexual abuse.

The funds are being donated by the St. Francis Fund of St. Paul’s Episcopal Church.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Dr. Michael Welsh to Give Charles M. Baugh Lecture

The University of South Alabama College of Medicine’s Charles M. Baugh 2014 Endowed Lecture in Basic Medical Sciences will feature Dr. Michael Welsh, a Howard Hughes Investigator at the University of Iowa and a member of the National Academy of Sciences.

His lecture, titled “The Origins of Cystic Fibrosis Lung Disease,” will take place Nov. 20, 2014, at 4 p.m. in the Medical Sciences Building auditorium on USA’s main campus.

Dr. Welsh is also Roy J. Carver Biomedical Research Chair in Internal Medicine and Molecular Physiology and Biophysics, professor of neurosurgery, and director of the University of Iowa Cystic Fibrosis Research Center. In addition, he serves as director of the University of Iowa Institute for Biomedical Discovery at the Roy J. and Lucille A. Carver College of Medicine of the University of Iowa.

Dr. Welsh’s laboratory focuses on understanding the biology of cystic fibrosis, a common lethal genetic disease. Cystic fibrosis is caused by mutations in a gene that encodes the CFTR chloride channel. Dr. Welsh and his colleagues are learning how the CFTR chloride channel is regulated, how it forms a chloride pore in the cell membrane, and how mutations disrupt its function. His lab also focuses on the pathogenesis of cystic fibrosis lung disease, learning how the loss of CFTR causes bacterial airway infections and how bacteria interact with the airway. In addition, Dr. Welsh and his colleagues are developing gene transfer methods to treat cystic fibrosis and other genetic diseases.

Dr. Welsh earned his medical degree from the University of Iowa College of Medicine, where he completed his residency in internal medicine. He held clinical and research fellowships in pulmonary disease at the University of California, San Francisco, and did postgraduate research in physiology and cell biology at the University of Texas, Houston.

Dr. Welsh has served as president of the American Society for Clinical Investigation and president of the Association of American Physicians. He has received numerous awards, including the Doris F. Tulcin Cystic Fibrosis Research Award, the Paul di Sant’Agnese Distinguished Scientific Achievement Award from the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, the Francis Blake Award from the Association of American Physicians, and the J. Burns Amberson Award from the American Thoracic Society.

Click here to learn more about Dr. Welsh.

The lecture is held in memory of Dr. Charles M. Baugh, who served twice as dean of the USA College of Medicine and as vice president for medical affairs. He began his career at USA in 1973 as a charter member of the medical school faculty and as professor and chair of biochemistry. In 1976, Dr. Baugh was named associate dean for basic medical sciences and served as dean from 1987-1992 and from 1999-2000. In addition, Dr. Baugh was involved in the creation of the USA Health Services Foundation, the South Alabama Medical Sciences Foundation, PrimeHealth, and in the development of USA's biomedical library which bears his name.

Past Baugh Lecturers Have Been:

Frank Maley, Ph.D., Senior Research Scientist, Wadsworth Center for Laboratories and Research, Albany, N.Y.

Michael A. Marletta, Ph.D., Investigator, Howard Hughes Medical Institute and John G. Searle Professor of Medicinal Chemistry and Biological Chemistry, University of Michigan

Stanley Cohen, Ph.D., Nobel Laureate in Physiology or Medicine, 1986, and Distinguished Professor of Biochemistry, Vanderbilt University

Gail H.Cassell, Ph.D., Vice President, Scientific Affairs and Distinguished Lilly Research Scholar for Infectious Diseases, Eli Lilly and Company and Laboratories

Max D. Cooper, M.D., Investigator, Howard Hughes Medical Institute and Professor of Medicine, Pediatrics, Microbiology and Pathology, University of Alabama College of Medicine at Birmingham

Sir Philip Cohen, Ph.D., Foreign Associate, National Academy of Sciences and Professor of Enzymology, Medical Research Council Protein Phosphorylation Unit, University of Dundee, Scotland

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

USA Health Disparities Research Group, Student-Run Free Clinic to Host 'Homelessness in Our Community'

In recognition of National Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week, the University of South Alabama Health Disparities Research Group (HDRG) and the student-run free clinic at 15 Place have paired up to create an event called “Homelessness in Our Community.” The event will be held on Nov. 21, 2014, from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. in the Health Sciences Building (Room 1020) on USA’s main campus.

This event is spearheaded by Dr. Kathy Bydalek, assistant professor in the USA College of Nursing. She is a member of the Health Disparities Research Group and a member of the board of directors at 15 Place. During the event, faculty and medical students will present information about their efforts to impact homelessness.

In addition to the event, the student-run free clinic at 15 Place is holding a donation drive through Nov. 21 to benefit the individuals who are guests of 15 Place. Supplies needed are:  hand sanitizer; all-purpose cleaner; disinfectant wipes; bleach; rubbing alcohol; hydrogen peroxide; antibiotic ointment; hydrocortisone cream; plastic squirt bottles; paper towels; q-tips; cotton balls; maxi pads/panti-liners/tampons; adult diapers; deodorant; toothbrush/toothpaste/dental floss; emory boards/nail clippers; cold weather accessories-scarves, gloves, hats, socks (new only); plastic bags; file folders; pens; sharpies; and legal pads.

Donations can be dropped off at the Biomedical Library, the USA College of Medicine student affairs office, the simulation office in the Health Sciences Building, and the Mastin Building Student Room Suite 202. If you have any questions, contact USA second-year medical student Emily Spurlin at ees1223@jagmail.southalabama.edu.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

USA Welcomes Dr. Wito Richter

Dr. Wito Richter recently was appointed assistant professor in the department of biochemistry and molecular biology at the University of South Alabama College of Medicine.

Dr. Richter earned his doctorate degree in biochemistry from Leipzig University in Leipzig, Germany, and subsequently joined the lab of Dr. Marco Conti in the department of obstetrics and gynecology at Stanford University for a post-doctoral fellowship.

Before his appointment to USA, he served as assistant adjunct professor in the department of obstetrics, gynecology and reproductive sciences at the University of California San Francisco in San Francisco, Calif.

Dr. Richter’s primary research interest lies in understanding the role of cAMP-phosphodiesterases (PDEs), a large group of isoenzymes that hydrolyze and inactivate the second messenger cAMP, in the temporal and spatial control of cAMP signals. He is particularly interested in probing the physiological and pathophysiological functions of individual PDE subtypes and the therapeutic potential of their activation or inhibition.

USA Biomedical Library Hosts Traveling Exhibition

The University of South Alabama Biomedical Library will be hosting the traveling exhibition, Against the Odds: Making a Difference in Global Health, during the month of November.

The exhibition highlights the role of communities in improving health at home and around the world. It also explores the shared basic needs required for a good quality of life, including nutritious food and clean water, a safe place to live, and affordable health care.

Using historical and contemporary photographs, the exhibit banners tell stories of collaboration between families, scientists, advocates, governments, and international organizations, all taking up the challenge to prevent disease and improve medical care.

This exhibition raises awareness of the sources and effects of health inequalities and invites each of us to join the global campaign for health and human rights. The experiences described constitute a legacy of success, often based on the simplest means. Working together, we can make a world of difference.

Click here for more information about the exhibit.

USA Physicians Group Participates in Benefits Fair

University of South Alabama employees visit the booths set up by USA Physicians Group providers during the USA Employee Benefits Fair Nov. 7, 2014, in the Ballroom at the USA Student Center.

University of South Alabama Health Services operations coordinator Tommie Carlisle (left) and USA Health System practice director Danny Rickert (center) talk with Bernice Robinson during the Employee Benefits Fair Nov. 7, 2014, in the Ballroom at the USA Student Center.

The University of South Alabama human resources office hosted the 2014 Employee Benefits Fair on Nov. 6-7, 2014.

The USA Physicians Group had a booth at the fair and health care providers - including the departments of internal medicine, orthopaedics, bariatric surgery, cardiology and neurology, as well as the USA Mitchell Cancer Institute - were on hand to answer health questions.

In addition, the Employee Benefits Fair allowed employees to learn more about employee benefits such as the USA Health & Dental Plan and SouthFlex. Open enrollment for both SouthFlex and the USA Health & Dental Plan is during the month of November.

As a reminder, for those covered by USA Health and Dental Plan insurance, co-pays are only $10 per visit with any provider in the USA Physicians Group. To make an appointment with any USA Physician, call (251) 434-3711.
University of South Alabama Medical Center inservice specialist Angela Morehead , RTN checks Ronnie Irby's blood sugar at the USA Employee Benefits Fair Friday, Nov. 7, 2014 in the Ballroom at the USA Student Center.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

USA Welcomes Dr. James Glasser

Dr. James Goodwin Glasser was recently appointed associate professor of surgery at the University of South Alabama College of Medicine. He will serve as a pediatric surgeon with USA Physicians Group.

Dr. Glasser earned his medical degree from the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey (UMDNJ) in Newark, N.J. He completed his general surgery residency at UMDNJ affiliated hospitals. He received his pediatric surgery training at Pittsburg Children’s Hospital in Pa., and Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital in Memphis, Tenn.

Dr. Glasser is board certified in pediatric and general surgery. He is a member of the American Pediatric Surgery Association and the Christian Medical and Dental Association. Previously, he was associated with the University of South Carolina Medical School and Palmetto Health Children’s Hospital in Columbia, S.C.

To make an appointment with Dr. Glasser, call (251) 415-1475.

Nov. 13 DSS to Feature Dr. Ann Richmond

The next Distinguished Scientist Seminar at the University of South Alabama College of Medicine will feature Dr. Ann Richmond, professor of cancer biology, Ingram Professor of Cancer Research, and professor of medicine at Vanderbilt University.

The lecture will take place Nov. 13, 2014, at 4 p.m. in the first floor auditorium of the Medical Sciences Building on USA’s main campus.

Dr. Richmond’s lab investigates the role of the inflammatory response in tumor progression and are studying the role of proteins that promote the migration of inflammatory cells into tissues.

The lecture series is comprised of distinguished scientists from other academic institutions who are invited by the USA College of Medicine basic science departments to present a seminar showcasing their latest research findings. Faculty, staff and students are strongly encouraged to attend.

Dr. Richmond earned her master of natural science degree in zoology and physical sciences from Louisiana State University and her Ph.D. in developmental biology from Emory University.

Click here to learn more about Dr. Richmond.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

November Med School Cafe - 'Advanced Reproductive Age'

The November Med School Café lecture will feature Dr. Brian Brocato, assistant professor of obstetrics and gynecology at the University of South Alabama College of Medicine.

The lecture, titled "Advanced Reproductive Age," will be held on Nov. 21, 2014, at the USA Faculty Club, located at 6348 Old Shell Road, on USA’s main campus. Lunch will be served at 11:30 a.m., and the presentation will begin at noon.

Dr. Brocato, who is a maternal-fetal medicine specialist, will be addressing the testing available for the diagnosis of down syndrome and the specific risk to pregnancies as the mother gets older. In addition, he will discuss what women or families can do prior to conception to ensure a healthy pregnancy.

Dr. Brocato earned his medical degree from Western University of Health Sciences in Pomona, Calif. He completed an obstetrics and gynecology residency at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center in Memphis, Tenn. He also completed a fellowship in maternal-fetal medicine at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center.

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

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.
Dr Brocato Med School Cafe Preview from USA Health System on Vimeo.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Dr. Wertelecki is Lead Author on Paper Published in Congenital Anomalies

Dr. Wladimir Wertelecki, who served as founding chair of the department of medical genetics at USA until he retired after more than three decades in that role, is the lead author on a paper recently published in the August 2014 issue of Congenital Anomalies.

The report, which is the result of a project started while Dr. Wertelecki was at USA, concerns population rates of congenital anomalies in regions of Ukraine impacted by Chernobyl. The 1986 Chernobyl disaster in Ukraine is among the largest man-caused disasters and has impacted and continues to impact human health.

Click here to read the full paper.

Med School Cafe - Expert Advice for the Community

On Sept. 18, 2014, Dr. Anthony Martino, chair of neurosurgery at the University of South Alabama College of Medicine and a neurosurgeon with USA Physicians Group, presented the September Med School Cafe lecture.

During the lecture, titled “Surgical Management of Movement Disorders – Deep Brain Stimulation,” Dr. Martino discussed the surgical role in the management of movement disorders and the new program at USA.

Watch the video below to view the lecture in its entirety.

The next Med School Cafe lecture will feature Dr. Brian Brocato, assistant professor of obstetrics and gynecology at the USA College of Medicine. Click here to learn more.


Medtronic Deep Brain Stimulation Therapy for Parkinson's Disease and Essential Tremor from USA Health System on Vimeo.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

USA Mourns Loss of Dr. Hollis J. Wiseman

Dr. Hollis J. Wiseman, emeritus professor in the department of pediatrics at the USA College of Medicine, passed away on Oct. 28, 2014. He was 87 years old.

"Dr. Wiseman was one of the early pioneers within the College of Medicine in developing the curriculum for our medical students and providing unique opportunities for training in pediatrics," said Dr. Samuel Strada, dean of the USA College of Medicine.

A native of Mobile, Ala., Dr. Wiseman graduated from Murphy High School and earned his undergraduate degree from the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa, Ala. He completed two years of medical school at Louisiana State University School of Medicine before earning his medical degree at Harvard Medical School in Cambridge, Mass., in 1952. Dr. Wiseman completed his residency in pediatrics at Children’s Hospital in Cincinnati, Ohio, and an international rotary fellowship at Children’s Hospital at the University of Zurich in Zurich, Switzerland.

From 1967-1972, Dr. Wiseman was director of the department of pediatrics and director of medical education at Mobile General Hospital. During this time he also served as director of the Newborn Intensive Care Nursery at USA Medical Center. From 1972-1993, Dr. Wiseman was professor of pediatrics at the USA College of Medicine, where he also served as acting chair for one year. He was named emeritus professor in 1994.

“Dr. Wiseman was ahead of his time in envisioning a regional care network for the care of critically ill infants in Alabama,” said Dr. David Gremse, professor and chair of pediatrics at the USA College of Medicine.

Dr. Gremse trained under Dr. Wiseman when he was a medical student and resident physician at USA. “He was a role model for all of us – he set very high standards for himself and those that worked with him. He was very inspiring and he made you want to do your best to take care of the premature infants in the NICU.”

Dr. Gremse said Dr. Wiseman had an impact on his decision to pursue academic medicine and pediatric gastroenterology. “At the time, there were no pediatric gastroenterologists in Mobile,” he said. “Dr. Wiseman said the community would greatly benefit from a pediatric gastroenterologist, and I took his advice.”

During his career, Dr. Wiseman served as chair of the Fetus and Newborn Committee, Alabama Chapter, American Academy of Pediatrics; chair of the Perinatal Advisory Committee, State and Regional; chair of the Perinatal Social Marketing Committee, State of Alabama, Department of Public Health; chair of the Alabama State Governor’s Task Force on Infant Mortality; and chair of the Subcommittee of the State Medicaid Advisory Board and “Healthy Beginnings.”

Dr. Wiseman has received numerous awards, including the American Academy of Pediatrics Award for Leadership as Chairman of the Perinatal Advisory Committee; the Alabama Perinatal Association Award for Outstanding Perinatal Services; the Alabama Hospital Association’s Distinguished Service Award; and Endowed Chair, department of pediatrics, USA College of Medicine. He was also named one of 50 outstanding faculty members by the USA Faculty Senate.

Dr. Wiseman received an honorable discharge in 1946 following his service in the U.S. Naval Reserve. In addition, he volunteered during a 2-month expedition with the Hospital Ship Hope in Brazil in 1973 and was a Project Hope Neonatal Consultant to Egypt in 1978.

The Hollis Wiseman Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at USA Children’s and Women’s Hospital is named in his honor. The Hollis J. Wiseman Neonatal Intensive Care Unit is a Level III unit with the most advanced care for premature and critically ill newborns, and the area's only neonatal transport vehicle.

Each year, the USA College of Medicine awards the Hollis J. Wiseman Award for Excellence in Pediatrics to the medical graduate of USA who during the pediatric clerkship best exemplified Dr. Wiseman’s outstanding qualities.

Dr. Wiseman was preceded in death by his wife, Janice “Teko” Wiseman. She was known for her work in the library systems in Mobile and Fairhope, for her part in the founding of Keep Mobile Beautiful and for efforts to organize bike and walking trails in Baldwin County.

Dr. Wiseman is survived by six children – Holly Lee Wiseman, Merrell Wiseman, Valery De Laney, Dr. Carol Norden, Jay Wiseman and David Wiseman.

A memorial service will be held at Dauphin Way United Methodist Church on Friday, Oct. 31, 2014, at noon. Visitation will be at 11 a.m. in the Fellowship Hall at the church.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

USA Health System Honors Employees at Jags Game

Several USA Health System employees were recognized during an on-field presentation at the USA Jaguars vs. Troy University football game Oct. 24, 2014. 
The University of South Alabama Health System recently showed appreciation to its employees at the USA Jaguars vs. Troy University football game on Oct. 24, 2014.

Prior to the game, employees enjoyed a tailgate dinner provided by Sonny's BBQ. Several Health System employees were selected to walk onto the field during the game to be recognized.

Click here or watch the video below to view more photos from the event.


USA Health System Game Day from USA Health System on Vimeo.

USA Welcomes New COM Associate Registrar

Frank Lucas was recently appointed the associate registrar for the University of South Alabama College of Medicine.

Prior to joining the staff at USA, Lucas was the assistant registrar for Spring Hill College. He also previously served as the help desk manager/specialist at Spring Hill College. Lucas will work in the medical school’s office of student affairs on USA’s main campus.

Lucas earned his bachelor of science degree in business administration at the University of Mobile and is currently pursuing a master’s degree in liberal arts with a concentration in leadership and ethics at Spring Hill College.

USA College of Medicine Researchers Featured in Lagniappe

Two University of South Alabama College of Medicine research projects were featured in the Oct. 23rd issue of Lagniappe.

Dr. Richard Honkanen, professor of biochemistry at the USA College of Medicine, was featured on the issue's cover. The article includes an overview of Dr. Honkanen's research involving the PP5 protein inhibitor. The article also mentions Dr. Thomas Rich, associate professor of pharmacology, and his work on real-time hyperspectral imaging.

Click here to read the full story.

Department of Pediatrics Hosts Residents Day

The University of South Alabama Department of Pediatrics hosted its 12th annual Residents Day on Oct. 17, 2014.  At the event, 12 senior residents in the pediatrics residency program presented their scholarly work to fellow residents, faculty and students.

Dr. Rosina Connelly, associate director of the pediatrics and residency program and associate professor of pediatrics at USA, said the program requires scholarly activity in one of three options: research, quality improvement or community advocacy projects.

Residents choose a topic and faculty adviser. With guidance from their faculty adviser, residents complete their scholarly work during their training.

“It is a great opportunity to foster scholarly work and collaboration between residents and faculty within the department,” Dr. Connelly said. “Participation in scholarly activities furthers the medical career for residents who are pursuing fellowship training by helping them become familiar with scientific methodology and research procedures.”

Many senior resident projects have been and will be presented at the American Federation for Medical Research's Southern Regional Meetings in New Orleans.

The Department of Pediatrics bestows the Charles Jay Hoff Award for excellence in scholarly activity to the resident and his/her faculty adviser with the best scholarly work project, as chosen by evaluations from faculty members in attendance during the Pediatric Residents Day. The recipient of this award is announced at the end of the academic year.

To view more photos from the event, click here.

The residents' abstracts can be viewed here.

Nov. 6 DSS to Feature Dr. Jose F. Perez-Zoghbi

The next Distinguished Scientist Seminar at the University of South Alabama College of Medicine will feature Dr. Jose F. Perez-Zoghbi, assistant professor of physiology at Texas Tech University Health Sciences in Lubbock, Texas.

The lecture, titled “Regulation of Smooth Muscle Contraction in Small Airways and the Potential Use of Flavonoids to Treat Asthma,” will take place Nov. 6, 2014, at 4 p.m. in the first floor auditorium of the Medical Sciences Building on USA’s main campus.

Dr. Perez-Zoghbi's laboratory is interested in understanding cellular mechanisms underlying lung diseases such as asthma, COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease) and pulmonary hypertension.

The lecture series is comprised of distinguished scientists from other academic institutions who are invited by the USA College of Medicine basic science departments to present a seminar showcasing their latest research findings. Faculty, staff and students are strongly encouraged to attend.

To learn more about Dr. Perez-Zoghbi, click here.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

USA Medical Student Peter Soh Wins First Place in Lasker Foundation 2014 Essay Contest

Peter Soh, a second-year medical student at the University of South Alabama, recently won first place in the Lasker Foundation 2014 Essay Contest: Supporting Medical Research.

This summer, the Lasker Foundation asked the people whose future professional lives will be devoted to health and the development of new disease therapies and cures to propose innovative ways to build support and ensure funding for medical research.

The contest was open to medical school students and fellows; doctoral students and postdoctoral fellows in biomedical research; graduate students in public health programs; and graduate students in other health professions programs, at U.S.-accredited institutions.

The Foundation received a total of 167 essays. “I felt honored that my essay was selected by the Lasker Foundation board members,” Soh said. “I hope that my idea initiates a conversation among those who are in the position, or will be in the position, to make policy changes regarding medical research funding. Once funding issues are addressed from a higher level, specific issues have a much better chance of resolving.”

Soh’s essay, titled “Offering Incentives for Future Scientists,” focused on increasing medical research opportunities for science students early in their education. The mechanism for this would be through research scholarships or tax incentives by the government.

“Long-term benefits can result from increased student-research experiences that would yield net benefit from these tax incentives,” Soh said. Soh also wrote on tax breaks for medical research groups to reduce financial barriers in research. “Reducing financial barriers would diversify the types of medical research foci and spur research initiatives in under-researched areas,” he said.

It was a combination of his work and educational experiences – including his research experience this past summer on stroke risk in children with sickle cell disease – that compelled Soh to write about this topic. “My experience with the USA College of Medicine’s Summer Medical Student Research Program was enriching for my education,” he said. “I appreciate that the medical school ensured the sponsorship of students who participated and that Dr. Abdul Hafeez Siddiqui, a pediatric hematologist/oncologist, mentored me during my summer research.”

Soh, a native of Detroit, Mich., who hails from Dothan, Ala., received both a bachelor of arts degree in economics and a master of public health degree in health management and policy from the University of Michigan. He completed a post-baccalaureate program in pre-medicine at Northwestern University. Prior to medical school, he worked as a health care consultant and in finance.

It was later that Soh chose to pursue a medical degree at USA. “USA has a student-centered approach to learning and the curriculum focuses on integrating clinical experience with basic science starting from the first semester.”

“My religious faith has always played a role in shaping my path, and medicine is no exception,” he added. “Past medical treatment has restored my health and improved my quality of life allowing me to be more productive and ultimately happier. I want to provide this service to others,” he said. “The responsibility and autonomy that is given to physicians to treat patients is fulfilling as a career, and it is a privilege.”

Soh said he was proud to represent USA at the Lasker Awards, where he met young researchers, Lasker award winners, and other professionals in the health care industry.

Click here to view Soh’s winning essay.

Dr. Ponnambalam to Speak at Crohn's, Colitis Foundation of American Patient Education Program

Dr. Anathasekar M. Ponnambalam, associate professor of pediatrics at the University of South Alabama College of Medicine and a pediatric gastroenterologist with USA Physicians Group, will be the featured presenter at the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of America Patient Education Program in November.

The program, titled “Treatment Approaches in IBD: Finding Your Best Path,” will be held at the Gulf Cost Science Exploreum Center on Nov. 1, 2014, at 10 a.m.

The Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of America will be hosting the program for patients, families, and caregivers living with Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis. These inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD) affect 1.4 million Americans. They are painful, medically incurable diseases that impact the gastrointestinal tract. This program is designed to help patients through the different treatment options available so that they understand the risk and benefits associated with available therapies.

The educational program will consist of a live and interactive presentation and question-and-answer session by Dr. Ponnambalam. Dr. Ponnambalam earned his medical degree at Stanley Medical College in Chennai, India. He completed his residency in pediatrics at Madras Medical College in Chennai, India, as well as State University of New York-Downstate in Brooklyn, N.Y.

To register for the program, visit http://www.ccfa.org/chapters/alabama/ or for more information, contact the CCFA Alabama/NW Florida Chapter at (646) 387-2149.

USA Center for Strategic Health Innovation Awarded Two Grants

The USA Center for Strategic Health Innovation recently was awarded two grants. Dr. David Wallace (shown above), director of preparedness training, said this award will allow the Center to continue to provide some of the best healthcare emergency preparedness training in the country.
The University of South Alabama Center for Strategic Health Innovation recently was awarded two grants totaling $1,194,997.

The grants – Healthcare Emergency Preparedness Training (ARRTC) and Alabama Incident Management System (AIMS) – are a continuation of a ten-year relationship with the Alabama Department of Public Health.

Housed in the College of Medicine at USA, the Center for Strategic Health Innovation (CSHI) is a nationally recognized leader in the delivery of advanced healthcare emergency preparedness teaching and training, as well as innovative healthcare technology applications and the development and deployment of healthcare technology platforms.

Dr. David Wallace, director of preparedness training at USA’s Center for Strategic Health Innovation, said this award will allow the Center to continue to provide some of the best healthcare emergency preparedness training in the country.

The Advanced Regional Response Training Center (ARRTC), is a Center for Strategic Health Innovation healthcare emergency preparedness training program that offers both on campus and on site courses throughout Alabama designed to train healthcare facility personnel on emergency preparedness and response. Topics covered include patient surge capacity and capability preparedness, management of biological/infectious disease outbreaks, decontamination of patients, chemical exposures, evacuation of healthcare facilities and numerous other subjects.

Dr. Wallace said an online, distant learning course is being developed to train health care emergency professionals to effectively manage a health care facility emergency management program. It is a four-module program to include: leadership and administration; planning elements for emergency operations during disaster response; external/governmental resource management; and practical application in disaster planning.

The USA Center for Strategic Health Innovation also manages the Alabama Incident Management System (AIMS).  AIMS was created in-house at USA in 2003 and first deployed during Hurricane Ivan in 2004. This data capture software employs Healthcare Incident Command System (HICS) principals and community collaboration relationships to capture real-time information about healthcare facility resources and activities. It allows and encourages ongoing, real-time communication between healthcare facilities and State Emergency Operations Centers (EOCs), tracking staff, facilities and supplies in times of normalcy and for distribution in times of stress.

“Our format is unique and extremely effective,” Dr. Wallace said. “By managing AIMS – Alabama's healthcare information software – we will continue to provide the Alabama Department of Public Health the ability to have situation awareness throughout the state. AIMS is essential for good communication and effective response during disasters in Alabama.”

Author, Pulitzer Prize Winner to Present Lecture

Dr. Sheri Fink, winner of the Pulitzer Prize for investigative reporting and author of the New York Times bestselling book, Five Days at Memorial: Life and Death in a Storm-Ravaged Hospital, will speak by video connection on Oct. 27, 2014, at 7 p.m.in the Health Sciences Building Auditorium/HAHN 101. This lecture is free and open to the public.

In this talk, Dr. Fink recounts the events at Memorial Medical Center in New Orleans during Hurricane Katrina in August of 2005. Drawing audiences into the lives of the doctors and nurses who struggled to save lives amidst chaos, she raises the central question of the nation's preparedness for rare but foreseeable events. Her research and remarks on the tragedies that occurred at Memorial - and the ensuing investigation - raise ethical and legal questions, and throw into sharp relief some of the current issues around healthcare reform, justice, and liability.

Dr. Fink is winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award for nonfiction, the Ridenhour Book Prize, the J. Anthony Lukas Book Prize, and the Los Angeles Times Book Prize. Fink's news reporting has been awarded the Pulitzer Prize, the National Magazine Award, and the Overseas Press Club Lowell Thomas Award, among other journalism prizes. A former relief worker in disaster and conflict zones, Fink received her M.D. and Ph.D. from Stanford University. Her first book, War Hospital: A True Story of Surgery and Survival, is about medical professionals under siege during the genocide in Srebrenica, Bosnia-Herzegovina. She is a correspondent at the New York Times.

This event is co-sponsored by Phi Kappa Phi, Jaguar Productions, the College of Nursing, the College of Allied Health Professionals, the College of Engineering, Sigma Xi, the English Department, and the Psychology Department.