Thursday, January 9, 2014

USA Children's & Women's Patients Move into New Pediatric Tower

Nurses and physicians move a patient from the old Pediatric Intensive Care Unit Jan. 8, 2014, at USA Children's & Women's Hospital. The pediatric patients were moved to the new Pediatric Tower at the hospital.
Registered Nurse Taronya Jackson pulls La'Veydrian Coleman, 22 months, along the corridor connecting the old and new towers as he is moved to his new room Jan. 8, 2014. The pediatric patients were moved to the new Pediatric Tower at USA Children's & Women's Hospital.
Patients at the University of South Alabama Children's & Women's Hospital moved into a new, 195,000-square-foot pediatric tower on Wednesday, Jan. 8.

The $72.6 million expansion, funded by the USA Health System and the USA Foundation and private gifts, features more space for the hospital's neonatal and pediatric intensive care units, additional operating rooms, and larger patient rooms to better accommodate visitors and families. To view the full story and photo gallery featured on,
click here.

For more local news coverage of the move, click the following links:
Local 15
FOX 10

Mandy Sullivan kisses her daughter Emmerson Snider in her room in the new Pediatric Tower at USA Children's & Women's Hospital Jan. 8, 2014.

Dr. Richard Honkanen Speaks at NIH Symposium

In 2011, Dr. Richard Honkanen, professor of biochemistry at the University of South Alabama College of Medicine, was awarded a five-year Transformative Research Project Award by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) that totaled $ 1,695,625. He was one of 11 researchers across the United States to receive the highly competitive award.

As a result of Dr. Honkanen’s project abstract, he was recently invited by Dr. Francis Collins, director of NIH, to give an oral presentation at the 2013 High-Risk High-Return (HRHR) Research Symposium.

The HRHR Research Symposium was held in Bethesda, Md., where all guests were the recipients of NIH High-Risk High-Reward grants. “Due to the highly competitive nature of getting the awards, having my project chosen for an oral presentation was indeed flattering,” said Dr. Honkanen.

“Most speakers were from high-profile universities, such as Harvard, Stanford, MIT, and Johns Hopkins,” he added, “Needless to say, I was extremely proud to represent USA as a speaker at the symposium.”

The Transformative Research Project Award has been given to some of the nation’s most accomplished scientists, including Dr. Thomas C. Sudhof, one of three recipients of the 2013 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine. These awards are very limited in number and represent the most competitive awards across all disciplines of the National Institutes of Health.

In this research project, Dr. Honkanen is developing methods to safely engineer human immune cells, adapting a strategy used by bacteria to allow macrophages, or natural defense cells, to metabolize cholesterol. “In humans the inability of macrophages to break down cholesterol represents a critical early event in the maladaptive immune response that leads to the onset and progression of atherosclerosis,” said Dr. Honkanen.

The grant has helped to fund Dr. Honkanen’s research project that could potentially change the way physicians treat high cholesterol in the future.

Monday, January 6, 2014

January Med School Café - 'Surgery for Cancer: Myths and Modern Approaches'

The January Med School Café lecture will feature Dr. Marcus Tan, assistant professor of surgery at the University of South Alabama College of Medicine and a surgical oncologist at the USA Mitchell Cancer Institute.

His lecture, titled “Surgery for Cancer: Myths and Modern Approaches,” will take place Jan. 24, 2014, at the USA Faculty Club on USA’s main campus. Lunch will be served at 11:30 a.m., and the presentation begins at noon.

During the talk, Dr. Tan will discuss common misconceptions about the surgical treatment of cancers and will include information on modern imaging and surgical methods of staging patients.

Dr. Tan earned his medical degree at the University of New South Wales in Sydney, Australia. He was a general surgery resident at Barnes-Jewish Hospital at Washington University in St. Louis, Mo., serving as chief resident in 2010-11. From 2011-2013, Dr. Tan served as a surgical oncology fellow at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York. During this time, he developed expertise in the management of upper abdominal cancers, melanoma and sarcoma. In 2012, he was the David and Monica Gorin Sarcoma Fellow, recognized for advancing the care of patients with sarcoma through research and clinical excellence.

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

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. Tan Med School Cafe Teaser from USA Health System on Vimeo.

COM to Host Advising Workshop Jan. 10

The University of South Alabama College of Medicine’s Division of Medical Education and Student Affairs is hosting a student advising workshop on Jan. 10, 2014, from 9 a.m. to noon at the USA Medical Center Conference Center.

The special seminar, titled “Medical Student Career Advising: Helping Students Find Their Fit,” will feature Jeanette L. Calli, M.S., program manager for Careers in Medicine at the Association of American Medical Colleges.

The workshop will include small group activities that focus on career planning in medical schools and advising students on their specialty choice. Participants will have the opportunity to discuss case studies of advising scenarios as well as provide feedback to each other on common student dilemmas.

The workshop is open to the public but geared toward College of Medicine faculty and staff involved in advising medical students.

Calli has a master’s degree in higher education with a concentration in career development and counseling. She has worked in career development and student affairs for more than 15 years.

For more information on the seminar, contact Dr. Susan LeDoux at (251) 460-6762.