Thursday, May 22, 2014

Medical Students Present at AAMC National Meeting

USA medical students Griffin Collins (left) and Pat O'Brien (right), shown with Dr. Darrell G. Kirch, president and CEO of the Associaton of American Medical Colleges (AAMC). 
Two students at the University of South Alabama College of Medicine recently gave poster presentations at the Association of American Medical College’s (AAMC) Organization of Student Representatives National Meeting in San Diego. The meeting was a gathering of students, faculty, administrators and residency program directors from medical schools across the nation.

Pat O’Brien presented "The Ideal Week: A Student Centered Approach to Curriculum Layout," and Griffin Collins presented “Interprofessional Medical Education at a Student-Run Wellness Clinic.” Both posters were selected from a pool of abstract submissions nationwide.

O’Brien’s presentation summarized efforts that second-year medical students at USA undertook to optimize the way lectures and active learning activities were arranged within each organ-based module.

“The proposed solution followed a progression where new material is presented early in a given week, with the end of the week focusing on independent and active learning activities that foster concept integration and preparation for assessments and examinations,” O’Brien said. “The novelty of our approach was that we accounted for not only the hours spent on campus and the out-of-class hours required to adequately prepare for on campus activities, but also the hours required to maintain our health, well being, and extra-curricular obligations.”

O’Brien said he was proud to be able to bring a concept devised by his classmates to a national forum. “I expected to spend most of the session speaking with other representatives at the meeting, but was pleasantly surprised to find that most of my discussion was with educators and administrators of other schools, as well as representatives of the AAMC,” he said. “I was truly taken aback at the interest that was expressed by members of that level of medical education.”

Collins’ presentation focused on the recently developed student-run clinic that is a collaboration between the students and faculty of the College of Medicine, Nursing, Arts & Sciences, and several departments in the College of Allied Health. The clinic is based at the 15 Place Homeless Day Shelter and runs the first and third Saturdays of each month.

“We counsel the patients on a wide range of health conditions from metabolic conditions such as diabetes to mental health conditions like depression,” Collins said. “It provides us an opportunity to be engaged in the community, develop empathy for disadvantaged patients, and to see the value of the differing perspectives offered by students from other disciplines.”

“I was excited to show off what we were doing here in Mobile at the conference,” Collins added. “On top of that, we got to hear from other influential students and faculty members about how they have dealt with the challenges and opportunities of contemporary medical education.”

Books Collected During National Library Week Delivered to USA Children’s Medical Center

USA Biomedical Librarian Andrea Wright (center) poses for a photo with Pediatrics Clinical Care Assistant Shakina Jones (left) and USA pediatrician Dr. Cindy Sheets, along with the books collected for the University of South Alabama Children's Medical Center during National Library Week.

The University of South Alabama Biomedical Library recently delivered more than 370 books collected during National Library Week to the USA Children's Medical Center as part of the Reach Out and Read program.

Reach Out and Read is a national non-profit organization that encourages early literacy and school readiness in pediatric exam rooms nationwide by giving books to children and advice to parents about the importance of reading.

USA pediatrician Dr. Cindy Sheets said having the child's primary care provider give advice on family reading and providing a book at their well checkups encourages the love of reading. "It gives the message that reading is important and that their medical providers really care about their literacy and progress in school," she said. "The more books a child has, the better."

The Children's Medical Center, which is the pediatric teaching clinic for the University, became a member of the Reach Out and Read initiative eight years ago.

The Reach Out and Read program begins at the 6-month checkup and continues through age 5, with a special emphasis on children growing up in economically challenged communities. The Children's Medical Center also collects donated books to give to children at sick visits and at well visits to ages outside of the official Reach Out and Read guidelines.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Biomedical Engineering, Lung Biology Graduate Students Win Awards for Presentations

Several students in the biomedical engineering and lung biology graduate programs at the University of South Alabama attended and participated in the 30th Annual Southern Biomedical Engineering Conference, which was held in Gulfport, Miss., from April 10-13.

According to Dr. Thomas Rich, associate professor of pharmacology and lung biology and director of the basic medical sciences graduate program at the USA College of Medicine, there were 75 presentations at the conference. Of the 11 presentations made by USA students, Peter Favreau won first place, and April Scruggs won the second place oral presentation award.

“Favreau was the first student in USA’s biomedical engineering track of the basic medical sciences doctoral program,” said Dr. Rich. His project seeks to develop and implement a novel hyperspectral imaging system for detection of cancer. Hyperspectral imaging technologies were first developed by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and the United States Department of Defense for remote sensing/satellite imaging.

“Any opportunity to communicate my research and gather insight from other scientists is of the utmost importance for my scientific career, Favreau said. “Conferences like this offer an environment to interact with other scientists and determine research progress outside my own project.”

“Peter has been instrumental in the development and implementation of a novel hyperspectral imaging approach -- excitation scan-based hyperspectral imaging -- that provides significantly higher signal-to-noise ratios than traditional imaging approaches,” said Dr. Rich. “He has also demonstrated that this approach is suitable for real-time imaging and is currently examining the practicality of excitation scan-based hyperspectral imaging for the early detection of lung cancer.”

Scruggs, who won second place, is a second-year student who is also in both the biomedical engineering and lung biology tracks. Her project studies a novel signaling system involving microparticles -- which are sub-micron vesicles that are shed from a variety of cell types including the cells that line blood vessels, called endothelial cells.

It is hopeful that combining state-of-the-art imaging approaches and mathematical modeling will allow us to discover the cellular and molecular mechanisms by which microparticles alter systemic responses to disease. “This conference was a great opportunity to share what I'm doing with my research and to get feedback on my presentation skills,” she said.

“I think that I speak for mentors as well as myself in saying that we are pleased when students take advantage of the opportunities presented to them,” said Dr. Rich. “Students who take advantage of these opportunities are well-positioned to develop successful careers, and that is our goal for all students in the basic medical sciences program.”

Dr. Burns Presents Frazer/Leigh Memorial Lecture

Dr. Burns presents his first lecture, "Advanced Laparoscopic Surgery" on May 8, 2014, at the USA Faculty Club. 
Dr. Burns presents his second lecture, "Surgical Education," on May 9, 2014, at USA Medical Center.
Dr. R. Phillip Burns, professor and chair of the department of surgery at the University of Tennessee College of Medicine in Chattanooga, Tenn., recently gave two lectures at the University of South Alabama.

Both talks were made possible through the Dr. Emmett B. Frazer and Dr. Milton M. Leigh Endowments at the USA department of surgery.

Click here to learn more about Dr. Burns.

This annual memorial lecture, funded by community surgeons and the USA Department of Surgery, is given to honor the legacy of Dr. Emmett B. Frazer and Dr. Milton M. Leigh as leaders in clinical service and graduate surgical education in the Mobile community.