Thursday, March 13, 2014

Kitsy Bridges Recognized for Customer Service

Kitsy Bridges, administrative assistant for the University of South Alabama Health Services Foundation, was recently presented an Employee Recognition Award for her outstanding customer service skills.

"No matter how busy she is, Kitsy makes every person with whom she interacts believe that they are the most important person in her day. Kitsy remains calm in a high-energy office environment. It is not uncommon for multiple projects, deadlines, and appointments to be taking place in her office. Yet, Kitsy takes time to interact personally with each person she comes in contact with. She deals with a wide range of varied customers and varied requests. Her consistency in always being positive and cordial is outstanding."

     - Excerpt taken from co-workers' nomination form

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

March 20 DSS to Feature Dr. Arthur J. Tipton

Next week’s Distinguished Scientist Seminar at the University of South Alabama College of Medicine will feature Dr. Arthur J. Tipton, president and CEO of Southern Research Institute in Birmingham, Ala.

The lecture, titled “Trends in Drug Delivery and Medical Devices,” will take place March 20, 2014, at 4 p.m. in the first floor auditorium of the Medical Sciences Building on USA’s main campus.

Dr. Tipton has worked in the pharmaceutical and biotech industry for 25 years, participating in the growth aspects of three start-up companies.

He earned a Ph.D. in polymer science and engineering from the University of Massachusetts in Amherst, and a B.S. in chemistry from Spring Hill College.

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. Tipton’s research, click here.

To learn more about the lecture series, click here.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Reminder: USA Neurology to Host Spring Symposium

The University of South Alabama department of neurology will host a spring symposium on Friday, March 21, 2014, at Space 301 in Mobile, Ala. The event will offer a full day of continuing education sessions on topics ranging from vascular neurology and movement disorders to epilepsy, headache, and multiple sclerosis.

“Our goal in this endeavor is to showcase the outstanding array of services available to the patients and primary caregivers of the Southeast region via USA Neurology,” said Dr. Elizabeth Minto, assistant professor of neurology at the USA College of Medicine and a neurologist with USA Physicians Group. “This includes our clinics, our exceptional clinicians, and our state of the art Comprehensive Epilepsy and Neuroscience Center.”

This program is intended as an interdisciplinary conference for neurologists, primary care providers, nurses and health professionals throughout the Gulf Coast region. “From their attendance, these individuals will receive updates on best practice for patients with a broad spectrum of neurologic disease and updated information on how the faculty of the neurology department at USA can serve as a valuable resource,” said Dr. Minto.

Online registration is available at the USA CME website. The registration fee is waived for USA full time and adjunct faculty, students and residents. For this code, please contact Caroline Edwards (see below). USA adjunct faculty and RN/LPNs may attend at a rate of $20, and physicians not affiliated with USA may attend at a rate of $50.

The event will take place at Space 301,which is part of Mobile’s Centre for the Living Arts (CLA), a non-profit contemporary arts center located on Cathedral Square in the heart of Mobile’s historic downtown district. There is limited free parking adjacent to Space 301, as well as at the Cathedral next door. Additional paid parking is readily available. The USA College Of Medicine designates this live activity for a maximum of 7 AMA PRA Category 1 Credits™. Physicians should claim only credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity.

For additional information on the 2014 USA Neurology Spring Symposium contact Caroline Edwards at (251) 445-8292 or To view the event brochure, click here.

Dr. David Wood to Present at International Conference of Biocontainment Facilities

Dr. David Wood, professor and chair of the department of microbiology and immunology at the University of South Alabama College of Medicine, will give a presentation titled “Designing (and redesigning) BSL-3 labs to pass ‘Failure Scenario’ requirements” at the 2014 International Conference of Biocontainment Facilities on April 10, 2014.

Dr. Wood has been involved in the planning of USA’s new Laboratory of Infectious Diseases for four years. “I was asked by a representative of WorkingBuildings, the commissioning agent for the building, if I would be interested in relating our successes and problems associated with designing and establishing a Biosafety Level 3 (BSL-3) facility,” said Dr. Wood. WorkingBuildings submitted an abstract to Tradeline -- a company that provides facility planning and management information to facility planners, managers, and executives through a series of conferences -- and it was selected for a presentation.

According to Dr. Wood, there is a tremendous expansion of new facilities and renovation of BSL-3 and BSL-4 laboratories across the country. This conference provides an opportunity for architects, engineers, construction companies and scientists to meet and discuss the issues involved in establishing and running a biosafety laboratory. Individual experiences vary but collectively can provide insights into optimum design and operation.

“The conference is important for USA because we are close to opening the Laboratory of Infectious Diseases, a new state-of-the-art research facility,” said Dr. Wood. “The conference will permit interactions with others who have already addressed problems we may face as we establish an operational facility. In addition, other facilities and investigators can benefit from our experiences.”

Dr. Wood has played a critical role in the development of USA’s biocontainment facilities. He has conducted investigative research at USA’s existing BSL-3 facility, the Laboratory of Molecular Biology, for almost 30 years. In addition, he was lead investigator for the NIH grant that funded the new laboratory building.”

Dr. Wood, as chair of the microbiology and immunology department, will be acting director of the new laboratory when it opens for operation later this year.

Mark Your Calendar: Match Day 2014

Tessa Kleyn and her husband, Emile, at last year's Match Day ceremony.
On March 21, 2014, senior medical students and residency training program directors across the United States and Canada will find out this year’s Match Day results.

The National Residency Matching Program, or Match Day, is the annual event in which future doctors simultaneously learn where they will be doing their residency training.

Locally, the University of South Alabama’s Match Day will be held at 10:30 a.m. CST, on March 21, 2014, in the Bon Secour Bay Ballroom at the Renaissance Riverview Plaza Hotel in Mobile. The envelopes containing Match results will be handed out shortly before 11 a.m. followed by the students’ individual announcement of the location of their residency.

The Match process works as such: after interviewing with several different residency programs - both near and far - students provide a ranking of their top-choice programs in order of preference. The training programs, in turn, rank the students who interviewed.

The NRMP matches applicants’ preferences for residency positions with program directors’ preferences for applicants. Each year, thousands of medical school seniors compete for approximately 24,000 residency positions across the United States.

This year's Match Day will be streamed live here. In addition, Match Day results for University of South Alabama students will be tweeted live on the USA College of Medicine Twitter page found here.

To read about last year's Match Day event, click here.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Ceremony Honors Collaborators in Sentinel Surveillance Project

Members of the Sentinel Surveillance Project pose for a photo after a ceremony honoring the key contributions of the community members who made the first wave of data collection for the project so successful.
A ceremony honoring community members as key collaborators in the Sentinel Surveillance Project was held on Feb. 10, 2014. The event was the celebration of the conclusion of the first of four waves of data collection for the project.

The Sentinel Surveillance Study was formulated by Dr. Martha Arrieta, director of research for the University of South Alabama’s Center for Healthy Communities. The project is implemented under the Center of Excellence for Health Disparities Research P20 grant, which receives funding under the leadership of Dr. Errol Crook, professor and Abraham Mitchell Chair of Internal Medicine at the USA College of Medicine and director of the USA Center for Healthy Communities.

The project aims at longitudinally collecting data on the health status and health care access of community residents who experience health disparities in order to track whether any progress towards a more equitable health status is achieved over the course of the next three years – throughout the initial period of implementation of the Affordable Health Care Act.

“We collect data on health status and access to health care by approaching people who are out and about at specially selected public places – so called ‘Sentinel Sites’ – rather than through a door-to-door survey,” said Dr. Arrieta. To assist in the project’s development, six community leaders were chosen to comprise the Community Advisory Board for the study. The board advises on strategies for community engagement and identification of sentinel sites. According to Dr. Arrieta, “their knowledge of and contacts in the community are the cornerstone of the project.”

In addition to the advisory board, 13 community members involved as research apprentices contributed to the survey’s development, distribution and data collection. The apprentices were responsible for approaching community members and administering the surveys. In the four-month period of data collection they visited 30 community sites and collected approximately 4,000 surveys, which is much larger than the initial expectation of 750 surveys gathered.

“The research apprentices’ recommendations regarding the survey instruments were the key to a final set of questionnaires,” said Kristen VanBuren, project director. “They were easily administered, matched the literacy level of the community, and were relevant to the context of the study.”

Community-based participatory research (CBPR) emphasized collaborative partnerships among community members and researchers, while simultaneously bridging the gap between research of and practice of medicine. “At the heart of CBPR is the recognition that there are unique strengths that community members bring to the research table,” said Dr. Arrieta.

“We have experienced unique advantages within the Sentinel Surveillance Project,” said Andrea Hudson, research apprentice coordinator. “The information on health disparities was collected at the neighborhood level because community members were actively engaged in the design, facilitation and implementation of the project.”

The second wave of data collection is scheduled to begin in August 2014. “We are counting on these community partners to return and help us gather the necessary information to shed light on whether progress is being made in improving the health of people experiencing the most health disparities” said Dr. Arrieta.