Thursday, April 3, 2014

USA Health System Offers Free Skin Cancer Screenings

The USA Health System will offer free skin cancer screenings for all USA Health and Dental Plan members on Wednesday, April 9, 2014, from 2 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. at the new clinic at the University Commons.

Screenings will be performed by Dr. Marcus Tan, a surgical oncologist at the USA Mitchell Cancer Institute, and Mona Hagmaier, PA-C, with University Physicians Group.

According to Dr. Tan, the incidence of melanoma in the United States is rising more rapidly than for virtually any other cancer. “In fact, one in every 55 individuals will develop melanoma. However, if caught early, it is curable in 90% of cases.”

Hagmaier recommends that everyone have an annual skin cancer screening as part of their preventative health program. She also recommends monthly self skin exams to monitor for any changes.

In conducting a successful self-exam, it is crucial to know what to look for. Lesions suspicious for melanoma usually have a combination of the "ABCDEs of Melanoma:"

● A - Asymmetry
● B - irregular Borders
● C - variable Color (pigmentation)
● D- Diameter greater than 1/4 inch
● E - Expanding (growing) skin lesion

To schedule your free skin cancer screening, call 660-5787. USA Commons is located at 75 University Blvd. at the intersection of University Blvd. and Old Shell Rd. (adjacent to the USA College of Education).

USA Pediatric Endocrinology Clinic Certified in Diabetes Education Recognition Program

Dr. Anne-Marie Kaulfers (second from left) poses for a portrait with her team, Registered Nurse Christina Hair (far right) Resident Dietitian Kelsey Schlichter (second from right) and Registered Nurse Linda Mills.
The University of South Alabama Pediatric Endocrinology Clinic has been certified in the American Diabetes Association’s Diabetes Education Recognition Program.

Dr. Anne-Marie Kaulfers, assistant professor of pediatrics at the USA College of Medicine and a pediatric endocrinologist with USA Physicians Group, said the resources the program provides has helped the clinic improve patient care during the past year.

One improvement is the clinic’s development of a “survival skills packet” that is given to the family of every child with new-onset diabetes, a disease in which your blood glucose, or blood sugar, levels are too high.

“At diagnosis, families are often overwhelmed with all of the information and life changes that come with diabetes,” Dr. Kaulfers said. “This packet gives just the basics – how to inject and store insulin, what foods are carbohydrates, etc – that the family can focus on the first week. We found that this alleviates a lot of stress.”

“This program has taught us to focus our education on the individual patient,” Dr. Kaulfers added. “We now create personalized goals for each patient and do follow-up to make sure that the patient is successful.”

As part of the certification process, the clinic was required to create a board of directors that included a community representative, nurse educators, and a dietician. The board of directors meets often to focus on quality improvement and improving patient education. After its first year in the program, the clinic has had a 0.8% improvement in Hemoglobin A1c – a marker of diabetes control.

Dr. Kaulfers said one of the main reasons the clinic applied for certification in the program is because medical insurance companies reimburse physicians for quality diabetes education. “Until last year, we were unable to get financial reimbursement for the many hours of diabetes education that we were providing,” she said. “Now that we can demonstrate that we are providing quality education, we can properly bill for our services.”

Another great outcome of this program, according to Dr. Kaulfers, is the creation of the Group Diabetes Education class. The class, which is open to the public, focuses on how food affects your blood sugar and how to eat healthy.

“We were already providing excellent diabetes education before certification,” Dr. Kaulfers said, “but being recognized by this program allows our patients and the community to be confident that they are getting the best care possible at USA.”

The Group Diabetes Education class is held the last Friday of every month from 8:30 am to noon at the USA Pediatric Endocrinology Clinic at ADDRESS SHAC 4th floor. For more information on the class, contact Christina Hair at 251-405-5147.

To make an appointment at the Pediatric Endocrinology Clinic, call 251-405-5147.

USA Surgery Hosts Greater Gulf Coast Trauma and Acute Care Surgery Symposium

From left: Dr. Sidney Brevard, associate professor of surgery at USA; Dr. Timothy C. Fabian, guest speaker; Dr. Jon Simmons, assistant professor of surgery at USA; Barbara and Rick Mitchell; Dr. Richard Gonzalez, professor of surgery and director of trauma and surgical critical care at USA; and Dr. Amin Frotan, assistant professor of surgery at USA.
Dr. Timothy C. Fabian (left) was the featured speaker at this year's William A. L. Mitchell Endowed Lectureship in Traumatology and Surgical Critical Care.
The University of South Alabama Department of Surgery hosted the 5th annual Greater Gulf Coast Trauma and Acute Care Surgery Symposium on March 27-28, 2014, at the Renaissance Mobile Riverview Plaza Hotel in Mobile, Ala. The event had more than 130 attendees.

"The trauma symposium was well received and well attended," said Dr. Richard Gonzalez, professor of surgery and director of trauma and surgical critical care at USA. "The speakers were superb, and the venue was a perfect setting for the symposium."

The symposium provided physicians, surgeons, nurses and technicians with current evidence-based concepts and techniques of resuscitation, diagnostic evaluation and therapeutic intervention.

The 7th annual William A. L. Mitchell Endowed Lectureship in Traumatology and Surgical Critical Care was held in conjunction with the seminar. This year’s lecture featured Dr. Timothy C. Fabian, Wilson Alumni Professor and Chair of Surgery at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center in Memphis.

From left: Dr. Charles Rodning, professor of surgery at USA; Dr. Richard Gonzalez, professor of surgery and director of trauma and surgical critical care at USA; Dr. Jorge Alonso, professor of orthopaedic surgery and director of orthopaedic trauma at USA; and Dr. Sidney Brevard, associate professor of surgery at USA.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

April 10 DSS to Feature Dr. Hanjoong Jo

Next week’s Distinguished Scientist Seminar at the University of South Alabama College of Medicine will feature Dr. Hanjoong Jo, John and Jan Portman Professor in Biomedical Engineering at Georgia Tech and Emory University School of Medicine in Atlanta, and professor of medicine at Emory University.

The lecture, titled “Bad blood flow induces atherosclerosis by microRNAs that control metalloproteinase activation," will take place April 10, 2014, at 4 p.m. in the first floor auditorium of the Medical Sciences Building on USA’s main campus.

Dr. Jo earned his Ph.D. in physiology from Pennsylvania State University in 1989. He served as a postdoctoral fellow at Washington University, St. Louis, and at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. Dr. Jo joined the biomedical enginnering department at Georgia Tech and Emory University in 2000, where he directs the cardiovascular mechanobiology and nanomedicine lab.

His lab studies how mechanical force associated with blood flow regulates vascular biology and cardiovascular disease, especially atherosclerosis and aortic valve calcification.

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. Jo’s research, click here. To learn more about the lecture series, click here.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Dr. Al-Mehdi Receives Pharmacology Travel Award

Dr. Abu-Bakr Al-Mehdi, associate professor of pharmacology at the University of South Alabama College of Medicine, was recently awarded the American Society for Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics (ASPET) Pharmacology Educator Travel Award.

Recipients of this award are provided with many opportunities, such as active participation and networking opportunities within ASPET, as well as the opportunity to learn directly from other experts in pharmacology education. “This award will enable me to demonstrate to my peers the clinical and pathophysiological contextualization and connections approach that I have developed for pharmacology instruction,” said Dr. Al-Mehdi.

The travel award will be used to attend the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology and ASPET meeting in San Diego, Calif., on April 29, 2014, to present his education-related abstract.

“Because I am heavily involved in medical pharmacology instruction at the USA College of Medicine, my goal is to advance pharmacology instruction to higher levels,” said Dr. Al-Mehdi. “Recognition of efforts by a national organization is a great encouragement for me to continue to improve pharmacology instruction in our new, organ systems-based curriculum.”