Thursday, July 17, 2014

Pet Therapy Dogs to Visit USA Biomedical Library

Is the University of South Alabama Biomedical Library going to the dogs? Yes, but in a good way.  On July 23, 2014, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., therapy dogs will be on the second floor of the USA Biomedical Library, located on USA’s main campus. Judy Burnham, director of the USA Biomedical Library, said the dogs will be available to help students de-stress for final exams.

Pet therapy has become increasingly common in hospitals and schools across the country. The animals help to reduce feelings of stress and anxiety by providing unconditional love. For years, USA Children’s & Women’s Hospital has provided therapy dogs to help patients recover from and better cope with health problems. To learn more about the pet therapy program at USA Children’s & Women’s Hospital, click here.

USA Medical Student Participating in Research Program in Birmingham

Michael Gunter (left), a first-year medical student at the USA College of Medicine, tests a prototype of a new piece of adaptive exercise equipment as part of the Center for Clinical and Translational Science Research Training Program at the UAB.  
Michael Gunter, a first-year medical student at the University of South Alabama College of Medicine, is currently attending the Center for Clinical and Translational Science Research Training Program at the University of Alabama at Birmingham.

The eight-week program provides mentored research training experiences in patient centered outcomes research (PCOR) and comparative effectiveness research (CER). Seven individuals from institutions throughout the Southeast were selected to participate.

As part of the program, Gunter is working in the research department at the Lakeshore Foundation in Birmingham, a recreation and fitness facility for people with a wide range of disabilities. While there, he is assisting in administration of testing, helping with the facility’s summer camps, and recruiting people to participate in research projects.

“This experience is going to be extremely helpful in learning the entire research process, from submitting grants all the way to being published,” he said. “We have weekly seminars that focus on each step in the process, along with meetings with our mentors to answer any questions we have.”

Gunter’s research project involves finding difficulties that kids with spinal cord injuries have when playing active video games – such as Xbox Kinect and Nintendo Wii – so that modifications can be made in the future to allow them a better game play experience. He is also working on developing a survey that can report the health status of people with spinal cord injuries.

“I have never participated in research, so I am hoping to leave here with a great knowledge of the process, along with the potential of continuing to work with Lakeshore and be part of the publications that result,” he said. “I am thankful to have found this opportunity.”

Medical School Graduates Begin Residency Training

On July 1, recent medical school graduates from across the country began their residency training at the University of South Alabama hospitals.

With a long history of training physicians, the USA Health System provides training in 18 fully ACGME-accredited residency and fellowship programs to more than 240 physicians.

“The medical and administrative staff of the USA Health System and College of Medicine are committed to providing excellence in educational programs, culminating in the trainees’ ability to practice independently within the context of the health care delivery system,” said Dr. Samuel McQuiston, assistant dean for Graduate Medical Education at USA.

Residents and fellows in USA’s training programs are integrated into the USA Health System with the majority of their training centered at USA Medical Center, USA Children’s & Women’s Hospital and USA Mitchell Cancer Institute and their affiliated outpatient clinics.

Each facility plays a significant role in the training programs. USA Children’s & Women’s Hospital is a strength for the pediatrics and obstetrics & gynecology residency programs as well as the new child & adolescent psychiatry fellowship, while the surgery program is intensely involved in the trauma and burn services at USA Medical Center. The USA Regional Stroke Center and the USA Cardiovascular Diseases Center at USA Medical Center provide the learning environment for the neurology residency and cardiology fellowships. Furthermore, the pathology and radiology programs have the advantage of the USA Mitchell Cancer Institute added onto the hospitals' studies. Primary care programs, such as the internal medicine and family medicine residency programs, reach out into the surrounding community, providing health care in numerous outpatient settings throughout Mobile and Baldwin Counties.

Dr. McQuiston, who is also assistant professor of radiology and former co-director of the radiology residency program, said GME training is a process of learning by doing. “As residents and fellows gain experience and demonstrate growth in their ability to care for patients, they assume roles that permit them to exercise those skills with greater independence, allowing for graded and progressive responsibility,” he said.

The teaching environment USA provides is among the strengths of its training programs, according to Dr. McQuiston. “The fact that we are a teaching hospital motivates the faculty to remain current on the standards of care in their fields,” he said. “This definitively distinguishes teaching hospitals from all others.”

According to Dr. McQuiston, more than 60 percent of residents and fellows will practice within a two- to three-hour drive of where they train. “Many come here selecting the central Gulf Coast for the long term. Others move to the area for training, fall in love with the incredible lifestyle that living on the Gulf provides, and subsequently choose to stay,” he said. This impacts both the economy and quality of life in our region.

This year, USA recruited its 62 new residents from 37 different medical schools; only 17 of the 62 individuals were from outside the geographic south. USA and UAB were the largest schools represented with 13 and 5 individuals respectively.

“The USA Health System plays a critical role in supplying competent physicians for Mobile and the adjoining region,” Dr. McQuiston said. “This is an excellent example of the far-reaching positive impact academic health centers have in the surrounding community.”

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Med School Café - Expert Advice for the Community

On June 19, Dr. Lynn Batten, director of the division of pediatric cardiology at the University of South Alabama, presented the June Med School Cafe lecture.

During the lecture, titled “Sudden Cardiac Death in Athletes and the Screening Controversy,” Dr. Batten discussed cardiac arrest in young athletes. According to Dr. Batten, a young athlete dies of sudden cardiac arrest every three days. Current screening techniques for athletes consist of a physical exam and a questionnaire aimed at asking about important family history or symptoms associated with exercise, but the screenings do not include electrocardiograms (EKG) or echocardiograms (echo). Dr. Batten will review the most common causes of sudden cardiac death and why there is controversy over current screening recommendations.

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

The next Med School Cafe lecture will feature Dr. Ghazanfar H. Qureshi, assistant professor of internal medicine at the USA College of Medicine and an interventional cardiologist with USA Physicians Group. His lecture, titled “Alternative Approach to Cardiac Catheterizations,” will take place July 29, 2014, at the USA Faculty Club on USA’s main campus. To make reservations, call (251) 460-7770.
Med School Cafe Sudden Cardiac Death In Athletes from USA Health System on Vimeo.