Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Medical Students Named to Alpha Omega Alpha Honor Medical Society

Earlier this year, 12 senior medical students at the University of South Alabama College of Medicine were named to the USA chapter of the Alpha Omega Alpha Honor Medical Society.

The following students were selected: Aaron Coleman, William Cutchen, Ryan Dewitz, Brandon Finnorn, Michael Hamer, Michael “Wesley” Honeycutt, Madelyn King, Caitlin Marshall, Patrick O’Brien, Richard Pearlman, Gavin Reed and Katherine Richards.

Alpha Omega Alpha, a professional medical organization, recognizes and advocates for excellence in scholarship and the highest ideals in the profession of medicine. Members have a compelling drive to do well and to advance the medical profession and exemplify the highest standards of professionalism.

According to Dr. Kelly Roveda, assistant professor of pathology at the USA College of Medicine and USA AOA chapter councilor, election and membership in Alpha Omega Alpha signifies commitment to not only scholarship but also leadership, professionalism and service.

“The national organization recognizes leaders in medicine and bestows awards to those with best practices in medical professionalism education as well as those who excel in service learning. Additionally, AOA sponsors poetry and student essay competitions with awards and publications,” Dr. Roveda said. “Membership brings with it a lifelong commitment to excellence throughout the practice of medicine and medical education.”

The top 25 percent of a medical school class is eligible for nomination to the society, and up to 16 percent may be elected based on leadership, character, community service and professionalism.

Members may also be elected by chapters after demonstrating scholarly achievement and professional contributions and values during their careers in medicine.

The AOA motto is “Be Worthy to Serve the Suffering.” To learn more, visit www.alphaomegaalpha.org.

Brian Norris Named Assistant Administrator for USA Health

The University of South Alabama Health System is pleased to announce the addition of Brian Norris as an assistant administrator who will be responsible for departments including surgery, operating rooms, anesthesia, surgical clinics, as well as orthopedics and pediatric surgery clinics at USA Children’s & Women’s Hospital and USA Medical Center.

Norris was most recently a regional vice president of operations at Premier Anesthesia and Jackson Healthcare in Alpharetta, Ga. He has 20 years of executive level experience in healthcare settings including a previous leadership position at Providence Hospital in Mobile.

Norris received a bachelor’s degree in management from the University of Mobile. He earned a master’s degree in ethics/bioethics from Spring Hill College.

Norris is a member of the American College of Healthcare Executives and the American College of Medical Practice Executives. Active in the community, he served on the Board of Directors of Montgomery Dragon Boats and Rebuilding Together Central Alabama.

He and his wife, Emily, have four children. They recently returned to Coastal Alabama and have settled in Fairhope.

Autism Researchers Seek Children Unaffected by Autism for Study Looking at Potential Factors that May Lead to Autism Diagnosis

Dr. Hanes Swingle, professor of pediatrics at the University of South Alabama College of Medicine, gives patient Michael Shaw a high five during an appointment Dec. 7, 2015, at the USA Autism Diagnostic Clinic.
Researchers at the University of South Alabama Department of Pediatrics and Division of Clinical and Translational Sciences in the Department of Internal Medicine at the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston have developed a clinical study examining a potential connection between human exposure to environmental toxins and the incidence of autism spectrum disorder in children.

The importance of this research is underscored by the fact that the cause of autism spectrum disorder is not well understood,” explained Dr. Swingle, who is director of the USA Autism Diagnostic Clinic with USA Physicians Group and the principal investigator for the study site in Mobile. “Most experts agree that autism is caused by several factors or develops when a combination of factors exists.”

“In this study, we will closely look at two potential links in autism - genetics and the toxins we encounter in our environment as well as their relationship with one another,” Dr. Swingle explained.

According to Dr. Swingle, the project involves two study groups – a study group of children impacted by autism spectrum disorder and a second control group of typically developing children without autism.  “We have successfully recruited our study group who have autism and now are recruiting participants who do not have autism,” Dr Swingle said.

Researchers are seeking volunteers from the Mobile area to participate in this clinical research project. Study participants must be between the ages of 2 and 8 years old and have parental consent to participate. The study involves completing a questionnaire, a physical assessment and lab tests.

“Autism spectrum disorder is a complex neurodevelopment disorder that is usually diagnosed in early childhood,” explained Dr. Swingle.  “It affects language development, communication, imagination, cognition and social interactions.”

To learn more about participating in this clinical research project, call (251) 415-8577.

Thursday, December 10, 2015

USA Physicians Group to Host Quarterly Customer Service Celebrations

The University of South Alabama Physicians Group will host quarterly celebrations -- beginning January 2016 -- for the clinic scoring the highest for courtesy and respect on customer satisfaction surveys.

According to Harvey Ikner, associate administrator for ambulatory clinics at the USA Health System, the scores will be determined by the surveys provided to patients in each of the clinics and tallied in HSF Compliance.

“We are doing this to recognize outstanding customer service in our practice, as well as underscore the importance of providing our patients with excellent customer service within USA Physicians Group,” Ikner said.

With these quarterly awards, the hope is to keep customer service in the forefront of the USA Physicians Group clinics. “Working in a clinical setting can be somewhat challenging,” Ikner said. “These celebrations are a way to recognize and applaud those employees who work hard to go the extra mile in meeting expectations and needs of our patients.”

Sherryle Givens, manager of quality improvement for USA Physicians Group, said clinics must have a minimum of 50 surveys per quarter to qualify. Ice cream sundaes will be awarded to the clinic with the highest averaged score for courtesy, respect, and meeting patients’ privacy needs.

For USA Physician Group clinics looking to improve their customer service skills, training sessions are available that can give helpful guidance. To learn more, contact the Office of Compliance at 471-7836.

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Pediatrics Hosting Grand Rounds Next Week

Dr. Melissa Mannion, assistant professor of rheumatology at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, will present “An Update on JIA for the Primary Care Pediatrician,” for December’s pediatric grand rounds.

The event will take place Friday, Dec. 18, 2015, from 8 a.m. to 9 a.m. in the Atlantis Room in the CWEB-2 building behind USA Children’s & Women’s Hospital. 

Dr. Mannion will explain the current classification and diagnosis of juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA) and will explain other diseases with similar presentations and potential complications of JIA. She will also discuss the current common treatments for JIA.

The event is open to faculty, staff and students at USA. For additional information, contact Katie Catlin at kncatlin@health.southalabama.edu.

Dr. William Gerthoffer Presents at Research Meetings

Dr. William Gerthoffer, professor and chair of biochemistry and molecular biology at the University of South Alabama College of Medicine, presented at the 2015 NanoBio Summit at the University of Alabama at Birmingham in Birmingham, Ala., on Oct. 15-16, 2015, and at the Celsion-EGEN annual research meeting in New York on Oct. 27, 2015.

Dr. Gerthoffer’s presentations described a new drug delivery system developed by an Alabama biotechnology company, Celsion-EGEN in Huntsville, Ala., which can be used to target lung diseases including pulmonary hypertension, asthma and lung cancers. “New drugs might be developed that treat these diseases, which in some individuals are not treatable with current drugs,” Dr. Gerthoffer said.

Celsion is a fully-integrated oncology company focused on developing a portfolio of innovative cancer treatments, including directed chemotherapies, immunotherapies and RNA- or DNA-based therapies.

“Scientists from several Alabama universities and biotechnology companies attended these conferences and heard about advances in drug delivery being made here at USA,” Dr. Gerthoffer said.

A webcast of the Celsion-EGEN annual research meeting is available at http://investor.celsion.com/events.cfm.

Monday, December 7, 2015

Students, Faculty Present Research Projects at 9th Annual COM Research Forum

Graduate student Joseph Otto talks to Dr. Donna Cioffi, associate professor of biochemistry and molecular biology at the  University of South Alabama College of Medicine, during the USA College of Medicine's 9th Annual Research Forum on Dec. 4, 2015.
The University of South Alabama College of Medicine’s 9th annual Research Forum was held Dec. 4, 2015, on USA's main campus.

Dr. Donna Cioffi, associate professor of biochemistry and molecular biology at USA, said the research forum is a great opportunity for basic medical scientists and clinicians to present their research projects to colleagues.

The forum consisted of two sessions - the morning session was comprised of nine oral presentations, and the afternoon session included 57 poster presentations. "This year's event was our largest yet,” Dr. Cioffi said. “We are very excited that so many researchers were interested in participating, and I think this is a testimony to the success we have had in the past.”

Dr. Cioffi said the event gives everyone in the College of Medicine and Mitchell Cancer Institute a chance to interact. “This type of interaction leads to new ideas and new collaborations, and it is a great opportunity for the students and fellows to gain experience in presenting their work."

This is the first year that the College of Medicine is offering travel awards – one for the best overall graduate student presentation and one for the best overall post-doctoral fellow presentation. These awards are $1,000 each and are to be used for travel to national or international meetings. According to Dr. Cioffi, the awards were made possible by the generous support of the College of Medicine dean's office, the graduate school, USA Mitchell Cancer Institute and the BMSSO graduate student organization. Awards will be announced within the next week.

To learn more about participating in the annual COM Research Forum, contact Dr. Cioffi at dlcioffi@southalabama.edu.

Click here to view more photos from the event.

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

USA PsychSIGN Hosts Mental Health Outreach Event

The University of South Alabama College of Medicine Psychiatry Student Interest Group Network (PsychSIGN) recently received the Helping Hands Grant from the American Psychiatric Foundation.

PsychSIGN is a student interest group for USA medical students interested in a career as a psychiatrist.

This is the second year the student organization has received the award. The members of the organization used the grant to host a mental health awareness event at Flea Market Mobile on Nov. 14, 2015.

The medical students handed out bags containing information about mental health issues and aimed to educate people about symptoms of mental illnesses such as depression, substance abuse and anxiety. Complimentary blood pressure screenings were also offered.

“I really enjoyed being able to interact with the community,” said medical student Lindsey Stewart, PsychSIGN chapter president. “The flea market provided us the opportunity to reach a variety of people with our message. Most people are unaware that mental health is just as important as our physical health.”

PsychSIGN is a national network of medical students interested in psychiatry, from those with a rough interest in the brain and mind to those already in the residency application and match process. PsychSIGN is comprised of psychiatry interest groups at medical schools across the country.

Click here for more information on USA PsychSIGN.

Dr. Molokhia Presents at International Conference

Dr. Ehab Molokhia, associate professor of family medicine at the University of South Alabama College of Medicine, was invited to speak at an international conference in Dubai called DUPHAT.

At the event, Dr. Molokhia discussed his experience at USA Medical Center in measuring, categorizing and reducing medication errors. At USA, he works with an inter-professional group to create and implement system-based solutions and interventions to improve patient safety. The process that was developed has been cited as a best practice by The Joint Commission hospital accrediting agency.

“There is a lot of attention right now on patient safety and how to improve quality of patient care. It is estimated that more than 7,000 deaths occur annually in the United States alone as a result of medication errors,” Dr. Molokhia said.

“The experience was enriching as the conference allowed for the meeting of a wide range of professionals all involved in healthcare,” Dr. Molokhia said. “It’s very important that physicians as well as pharmacists come together in a team-based process to accomplish a better outcome for their patients.”

DUPHAT, launched in 1995, is the premier pharmaceutical and technology event in the Middle East.

Dr. Craig Sherman Recognized for Customer Service


Dr. Craig Sherman, associate professor of obstetrics and gynecology at the University of South Alabama College of Medicine, recently was presented an Employee Recognition Award for his outstanding customer service skills.

"Dr. Sherman goes above and beyond to help his patients. He takes his time in answering any and all questions. He's always willing to lend an ear and is very courteous to all support staff. He always has a great bedside manner, and his patients say he makes them feel like they are more than just a number."

-Excerpt taken from a nomination form

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

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

December Med School Cafe - 'Upper Extremity Arthritis Management Tips'

The December Med School Café lecture will feature Renee Hall, occupational therapist and clinical supervisor of outpatient therapy at the University of South Alabama.

Her lecture, titled “Upper Extremity Arthritis Management Tips,” will take place on Dec. 11, 2015, 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.

Hall will discuss arthritis, a disease that causes painful inflammation and stiffness of the joints. She will include information on how to improve pain, range of motion and overall performance of daily activities.

Hall completed her graduate degree at USA and is certified with the National Certification Board of Occupational Therapy and the Hand Therapy Certification Commission.

The Med School Café lunch and lecture 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 kepartridge@health.southalabama.edu.

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.


Renee Hall Med School Cafe Promo from USA Health System on Vimeo.

Monday, November 23, 2015

Physicians Group, College of Medicine Employees Named to USA-Team

From left: Charlene Jordan, assistant director of health systems grant administration and development; Dorothy Dickinson, residency and fellowship coordinator for surgery; and Beverly Kellen, practice director of student health services and family medicine, pose for a photo with their USA-Team Awards.
The University of South Alabama employee service recognition program recently nominated exceptional employees for the 2015 Christie Miree USA National Alumni Association Outstanding Employee award.

The USA Physicians Group and USA College of Medicine employees were among those honored.

Employees who were nominated are a part of the USA-Team and meet the following criteria: “performs ‘beyond the call of duty’ to improve service, quality and the image of the university, division or department; exemplifies professionalism and dedication to the excellent service and works as a team player; makes outstanding contributes to the university, division or department by developing a better way to execute the job by saving time, space or money.”

Each member was recognized by President Waldrop and presented a USA-Team certificate.

Dorothy Dickinson, residency and fellowship coordinator for surgery, is one of the Christie Miree award winners and has been working at USA for eight years now. “I am honored and grateful to be nominated,” Dickinson said. “My job challenges me in different ways, which means I am always learning. Most importantly what I love about my job is the encouragement, support and trust from leadership that allows me to take initiative to be creative to get my job accomplished.”

Dickinson has made significant contributions to improve efficiency in the office of surgical education. Her peers took notice to her dedication and hard work stating that “she is more than just a program coordinator. She is a constant inspiration for everyone around her."

Charlene Jordan, assistant director of health systems grant administration and development, was named to the USA-Team. She has been at USA for 25 years. “I felt honored and grateful that my colleagues nominated me. I certainly appreciate their effort and support,” Jordan said.

Jordan “is the definition of a team player and performs beyond the call of duty each and every day that she is at work,” Jordan’s colleague stated.

Jordan enjoys helping faculty, postdoctoral fellows and students achieve their research endeavors by applying the skills that she has learned over the years as a research administrator. “Helping them succeed in obtaining extramural funding builds upon our research and educational missions while also advancing our knowledge and providing potential treatments for diseases,” Jordan added.

Beverly Kellen, practice director of student health services and family medicine, was also named to the USA-Team. She has been at USA for 10 years and was pleasantly surprised by her selection to the USA-Team.

“I received a very nice letter from President Waldrop at my home and read it out loud to my husband. I kept reading it over and over again because no one had mentioned this nomination to me at work. I was truly surprised,” Kellen said.

Kellen’s colleagues stated that she “gracefully leads and motivates teams of professionals in student health and academic health environments.” Her co-workers also added that she demonstrates professionalism at the highest level and has assisted on numerous committees and special projects.

The Christie Miree award represents dedicated employees who go above and beyond in the work force. Christie Miree is an alumna of USA and a former member of the board of trustees.

USA Welcomes Dr. Christopher Kinnard

Dr. Christopher Kinnard recently was appointed adjunct assistant professor of surgery at the University of South Alabama College of Medicine.

Prior to his appointment at USA, Dr. Kinnard was a general surgeon at Magnolia Surgery in Warner Robins, Ga.

Dr. Kinnard earned his medical degree from Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center in Shreveport, La., after earning his bachelor of science degree from Louisiana State University A&M in Baton Rouge, La. He completed his residency in surgery at USA.

Dr. Kinnard is a member of the American College of Surgery and the American Board of Surgery.

USA Health System ICD-10 Transition a Success

The University of South Alabama Health System has successfully transitioned to an updated version of a health care classification system called the International Classification of Diseases (ICD).

Published by the World Health Organization, ICD is the standard diagnostic tool for epidemiology, health management and clinical purposes. It provides codes to classify diseases and a wide variety of signs, symptoms, abnormal findings, complaints, social circumstances, and external causes of injury or disease. Under this system, every health condition and situation can be assigned to a unique category and assigned a code.

The ICD-9 code sets used to report medical diagnoses and inpatient procedures was replaced by the ICD-10 codes on Oct. 1, 2015.

The transition began in 2013 with Rebekah Bailey, director of compliance and reimbursement at USA; Sherryle Givens, RN, CPC, and manager of quality improvement at USA; and Kimberly Cannon, assistant director of reimbursement at USA; meeting regularly to create a plan of action for the implementation.

The overarching plan included electronic systems and vendor preparation, provider preparation and coder preparation.  Documentation training modules for providers created by Givens were available on the HSF intranet. Electronic systems and vendors were inventoried for readiness, and intensive coder education was provided by Patricia Heck, RN, CPC; Deborah Wallace, RN, CPC; Barbara Burgess, RN, CPC; and Givens.

There was collaboration with the hospitals to ensure all aspects were covered across the health system, and surveys were sent to department chairs for provider input.

The final implementation plan included a refresher course for coders, training sessions for providers and staff, cross-walking the top ICD-9 codes for providers, updating billing sheets with ICD-10 codes, dual coding and onsite coder assistance.  While the coding compliance nurse specialists were engaged in Physician Quality Reporting System (PQRS) reporting, Cannon was tasked with preparing all the training session materials, crosswalks and billing sheets.

“It was intense, but the basic ground work was laid out, and I had resources at my disposal through NextGen that made the task easier than it would have otherwise been,” Cannon said.

On October 1, 2015, coding staff was onsite in each of the clinics to assist the providers and clinical staff.  The feedback was positive, and the resources that were provided were well received in all clinics.

“It is expected that with the increased documentation and specificity in coding, the acuity of care will be much more accurate,” Cannon said. “It takes the entire health system to implement and transition ICD-10.  With the hard work that has been done by all involved in this process, we can’t help but succeed.”

USA Mourns Loss of Dr. Jeffrey Brandon

Dr. Jeffrey Campbell Brandon, former chair and University Distinguished Professor of Radiology at the University of South Alabama College of Medicine, passed away on Nov. 17, 2015. He was 62.

Dr. Brandon, a native of DuBois, Pa., earned his bachelor of science degree from Allegheny College in Meadville, Pa., and his medical degree from Jefferson Medical College in Philadelphia. Following medical school, he completed a general surgery residency at Bryn Mawr Hospital in Philadelphia and Jefferson Medical College in Philadelphia. He then completed a diagnostic radiology residency at Hahnemann University Hospital in Philadelphia. He went on to conduct a fellowship in interventional/abdominal imaging at Hahnemann University Hospital.

Prior to joining USA in 1995 as an associate professor of radiology, Dr. Brandon served as a staff radiologist at Hahnemann University Hospital in Philadelphia. From 1988 to 1993, he served as a staff radiologist and medical student coordinator at Irvine Medical Center (IMC), University of California, in Orange, Calif. He was promoted to acting chair of the department of radiological sciences at IMC in 1993.

Dr. Brandon served as chair of radiology at USA from November 2010 to January 2015. Dr. Brandon also served as associate dean of continuing and graduate medical education, vice chair of radiology, director of the radiology residency program and professor of physician assistant studies.

Dr. Brandon was a member of multiple professional organizations, including the Radiological Society of North America, Society of Gastrointestinal Radiologist, American College of Radiology,  Association of University Radiologists, American Institute of Ultrasound in Medicine, Society of Cardiovascular and Interventional Radiologists, Society of Radiologists in Ultrasound-Membership Committee, International Society of Biliary Radiology, American College of Gastroenterology, and the Medical Society of Mobile County.

Dr. Brandon is survived by his daughter, Alexis Bel Brandon (16) of Belington, W.V.; his son, Alexander Evankovich Edwards (17) of Belington, W.V.; brothers John Brandon of DuBois, Pa., and Tom Brandon of Brookville, Pa.; and nephew, Jonathan Brandon of Mechanicsburg, Pa.

A memorial service will be held for Dr. Brandon on Jan. 8, 2016, from 1 p.m. to 2 p.m. in the Conference Center at USA Medical Center.

In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Humane Society of Mobile.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

USA Health System Honors Employees at Jags Game

USA Health System employees were recognized during an on-field presentation at the USA Jaguars vs. Louisiana football game Nov. 12, 2015. From left: Dr. Angus McBryde, interim chair of USA Orthopaedics; Jennifer Hines, USA Medical Center operating room nurse manager; Nwamaka Ikefuna, USA Mitchell Cancer Institute patient navigation specialist; Lakasha French, USA Children's & Women's Hospital switchboard supervisor; and Dr. Samuel Strada, dean of the USA College of Medicine.
The University of South Alabama Health System recently showed appreciation to its employees at the USA Jaguars vs. Louisiana-Lafayette football game on Nov. 12, 2015.

The USA Health System provided complimentary tickets for every USA Health System employee and a guest. Prior to the game, employees enjoyed a tailgate dinner provided by Sonny's BBQ.

Five Health System employees were selected to walk onto the field during the game to be recognized: Dr. Angus McBryde, interim chair of USA Orthopaedics; Jennifer Hines, USA Medical Center operating room nurse manager; Nwamaka Ikefuna, USA Mitchell Cancer Institute patient navigation specialist; Lakasha French, USA Children's & Women's Hospital switchboard supervisor; and Dr. Samuel Strada, dean of the USA College of Medicine.

Click here or watch the video below to view more photos from the event.


USAHS Game Day 2015 from USA Health System on Vimeo.

Tommie Carlisle Recognized for Customer Service

Tommie Carlisle, coordinator for health services operations, recently was presented an Employee Recognition Award for his outstanding customer service skills.

"Tommie always goes above and beyond and is willing to help anyone with any need. He always has a positive attitude, a smile on his face and a word of inspiration for everyone. He is an absolute pleasure to be around."

-Excerpt taken from a nomination form

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

USA College of Medicine Hosts Teaching for Quality Workshop

Earlier this year, the University of South Alabama College of Medicine hosted the Teaching for Quality Workshop (Te4Q), a faculty development program of the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC).

The purpose of this workshop was to provide faculty from across the College of Medicine with professional development on teaching quality improvement skills to students in the USA College of Medicine and residents and fellows in the USA Graduate Medical Education programs.

Participants were included to represent their departments within the College of Medicine, based on demonstration of interest in medical education and quality improvement in healthcare. Included in the event were clinical faculty, basic sciences faculty and quality improvement staff from USA Medical Center and USA Children's & Women's Hospital.

“Several individuals commented that the future of the USA Health System was in that room. In many ways, it was,” said Dr. Samuel McQuiston, assistant dean of graduate medical education and associate professor of radiology.

During the workshop, Dr. Dave Davis, Te4Q Director, guided participants through a series of educational and interactive sessions. Participants worked towards creating a quality improvement education project. After creating their project, participants were given time to work as a group to refine their projects and ideas.

As a result, five educator teams were developed. This will amplify the impact of the workshop as these teams take what they have developed and implement it into the clinical learning environment.

“The event was a tremendous success. The meeting was held at the USA Biomedical Library with nearly 100 percent attendance of anticipated faculty participants,” Dr. McQuiston said. “Faculty members were so engaged that discussions carried over into mealtimes during the workshop and into the parking lot after conclusion of the meeting.”

A follow-up presentation session will be scheduled in early 2016 for the teams to report on the outcomes of their projects.

Monday, November 16, 2015

Pediatrics Hosting Grand Rounds This Week

Dr. Celeste Hollands, associate professor of surgery at the University of South Alabama College of Medicine, will present "Antibiotics for Appendicitis” for November’s pediatric grand rounds.

The event will take place Nov. 20, 2015, from 8 a.m. to 9 a.m. in the Atlantis Room in the CWEB-2 building behind USA Children’s & Women’s Hospital. 

Dr. Hollands will define the best practice for managing acute appendicitis with antibiotics, review the best practice for antibiotic prophylaxis for appendectomy for acute appendicitis, review the best practice for antibiotic therapy for perforated appendicitis and define the criteria for interval appendectomy.

The event is open to faculty, staff and students at USA. For additional information, contact Katie Catlin at kncatlin@health.southalabama.edu.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

USA Stanton Road Clinic Featured in Local News

The University of South Alabama Stanton Road Clinic was featured on WKRG News 5 as part of its "What's Working" series.

The Stanton Road Clinic, adjacent to USA Medical Center, recently expanded and offers ambulatory services for clinical departments. Physicians at Stanton Road Clinic provide primary care, in addition to specialty services. Specialty services available at the clinic include orthopaedics, trauma, plastic surgery, pulmonary, ENT, general surgery, gastroenterology and neurology.

Click here to view the full story featured on WKRG. For more information about USA Stanton Road Clinic, call (251) 471-7207. 

USA Physicians Group Participates in Benefits Fair

The University of South Alabama human resources office hosted the 2015 Employee Benefits Fair on Nov. 5-6, 2015.

The USA Physicians Group had a booth at the fair and health care providers were on hand to answer health questions.

In addition, the Employee Benefits Fair allowed employees to learn more about employee benefits such as the USA Health & Dental Plan and SouthFlex. Open enrollment for both SouthFlex and the USA Health & Dental Plan is during the month of November.

As a reminder, for those covered by USA Health and Dental Plan insurance, co-pays are only $10 per visit with any provider in the USA Physicians Group. To make an appointment with any USA Physician, call (251) 434-3711.

USA Welcomes Amanda Kelly, CRNP

Amanda Kelly, CRNP, recently joined the University of South Alabama department of internal medicine and serves as a clinical nurse practitioner with USA Physicians Group.

Prior to her appointment at USA, Kelly was a registered nurse in the Intensive Care Unit at Providence Hospital in Mobile. 

Kelly earned her bachelor of science in nursing, as well as her master’s of science in nursing at USA.

Kelly is a member of the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners and American Association of Critical Care Nurses.

Kelly is currently seeing patients in the Mastin Professional Building, 2451 Fillingim St. To make an appointment, call (251) 470-5890.

Dr. James W. Fleshman Jr. Presents Frazer/Leigh Memorial Lecture

James W. Fleshman Jr., M.D., chief of surgery and Helen Buchanan and Stanley Joseph Seeger Endowed Professor and Chairman in the department of surgery at Baylor University Medical Center in Dallas, Texas, 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. Fleshman.

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.

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

USA Welcomes Dr. Preston Daugherty

Dr. Preston Daugherty recently was appointed adjunct assistant professor of orthopaedic surgery at the University of South Alabama College of Medicine and will serve as a part-time orthopaedic surgeon with USA Physicians Group.

Dr. Daugherty earned his medical degree from the University of Alabama School of Medicine in Birmingham, Ala. He completed his internship at St. Vincent’s Hospital in Birmingham, Ala. He completed his residency training in orthopedics at the University of Alabama Hospital and Clinics. He is a member of the American College of Surgeons and is board certified.

Prior to joining USA, Dr. Daugherty has had a long private practice career in Mobile. Most recently he practiced with the Alabama Orthopaedic Clinics. He is a member of the American Board of Orthopaedic Surgery, the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, the Alabama Orthopaedic Society and the Clinical Orthopaedic Society. 

Dr. Daugherty sees patients at 2 Medical Park. To make an appointment, call (251) 665-8200.

Department of Defense Awards DxDiscovery Inc. and USA College of Medicine $1M for Research

DxDiscovery Inc. and the University of South Alabama College of Medicine recently were awarded a $1 million Phase II small business innovation research (SBIR) contract to continue efforts aimed at developing safe and effective ways to combat diseases caused by pathogenic Burkholderia species.

Burkholderia species cause significant morbidity and mortality in human populations, and infections caused by these bacteria are often difficult to diagnose.

The current award will enable Dr. Mary Burtnick, assistant professor of microbiology at the USA College of Medicine, and Dr. Paul Brett, associate professor of microbiology at the USA College of Medicine, to assess the protective capacity of several carbohydrate-specific monoclonal antibodies that have recently been generated in collaboration with DxDiscovery. DxDiscovery is a biotechnology research and development firm. Their goal is to develop quality, high-affinity antibodies to microbial antigens.

“The ultimate goal of the project is to develop humanized monoclonal antibodies that will serve as novel vaccines and immunotherapeutics to prevent and/or treat melioidosis and glanders,” Dr. Burtnick said.

Melioidosis and glanders are emerging infectious diseases that do not currently have licensed vaccines.

“This research is important because diagnosis and treatment of melioidosis and glanders is challenging, and without appropriate antibiotic treatment, acute infections can be fatal,” Dr. Brett said.

The research continues a long-time collaboration between Dr. Mark Hubbard and Dr. David AuCoin at DxDiscovery, and Drs. Burtnick and Brett at USA.

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Employee Benefits Fair Takes Place This Week

The University of South Alabama human resources office will host the 2015 Employee Benefits Fair on Nov. 5-6, 2015.

The fair will be held at the following locations:

USA Children's & Women's Hospital
Thursday, Nov. 5, 2015
CWEB 2 - Atlantis Room
8 a.m. to 11 a.m.

USA Medical Center
Thursday, Nov. 5, 2015
Cafeteria
2 p.m. to 4 p.m.

USA Main Campus
Friday, Nov. 6, 2015
8 a.m. to 1 p.m.
USA Student Center - Second Floor Ballroom

The University of South Alabama Physicians Group will have a booth at the fair, and vendor representatives will be available for inquiries regarding employee benefits. There will also be giveaways, door prizes and refreshments.

All employees are encouraged to attend. For additional information on the event, contact USA Human Resources at (251) 460-6133.

COM Alum Dr. John LeDoux Speaks at Medical Alumni Association Lecture

The University of South Alabama Medical Alumni Association recently hosted a lecture featuring Dr. John LeDoux, cardiologist at Cardiology Associates of Mobile.

Dr. LeDoux’s lecture was titled “Integrated Work and Life: Pathways in Cardiology.” During the talk, Dr. Ledoux discussed the recent advances in cardiology care and how to achieve a balance between the demands of work and life.

Dr. LeDoux, a 2002 graduate of the USA College of Medicine, completed his undergraduate degree at Louisiana State University in chemical engineering. He worked as a process engineer prior to starting medical school at USA. He completed his residency at USA and a fellowship in adult cardiovascular diseases and interventional cardiology at the University of Texas Health and Science Center.

Click here to view more photos from the event.

Friday, October 23, 2015

USA Welcomes Ali Shropshire, MSN, FNP-BC


Ali Shropshire, MSN, FNP-BC, recently joined the University of South Alabama department of internal medicine and will serve as a family nurse practitioner at USA Stanton Road Clinic.

Prior to her appointment at USA, Shropshire was a nurse practitioner with Compass Urgent Care in Mobile.

Shropshire earned her bachelor of science in nursing from the University of Florida in Gainesville, Fla., and her master’s of science in nursing at Georgia Southern University in Statesboro, Ga.

In 2010, Shropshire began her career as a family nurse practitioner at Bulloch Pediatrics in Statesboro, Ga. From 2011-2014 she served as a family nurse practitioner at Georgia Southern University.

She also previously worked as a staff nurse in the pediatric unit at East Georgia Regional Medical Center in Statesboro, Ga., and served as a clinical adjunct professor at Georgia Southern University. 

Shropshire is currently seeing patients at the USA Stanton Road Clinic. To make an appointment, call
(251) 471-7207.

Med School Cafe - Expert Advice for the Community

Dr. Angus McBryde, professor and acting chair of orthopaedics at the University of South Alabama College of Medicine, presented the September Med School Cafe lecture titled "Young Athletes: Injury Prevention and Treatment" on Sept. 17, 2015.

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.

Watch the video below to view the lecture in its entirety.
Med School Cafe 9-17-15 from USA Health System on Vimeo.

USA Welcomes Dr. Raymond Langley

Dr. Raymond Langley recently was appointed assistant professor of pharmacology at the University of South Alabama College of Medicine.

Prior to joining USA, Dr. Langley worked with the National Center for Genome Resources and the Lovelace Respiratory Research Institute. His research focuses on sepsis, which is a leading cause of death in the United States.

Dr. Langley earned a bachelor of arts degree in journalism and a bachelor of arts degree in biology from the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque, N.M. He completed his graduate degree in biomedical sciences at the University of New Mexico. He has received the Young Investigator Travel Award for the Society of Neurolmmune Pharmacology and the Graduate Student Travel Award for the 2004 Annual Meeting of the Society of Toxicology.

Dr. James W. Fleshman Jr. to Present Frazer/Leigh Memorial Lecture

James W. Fleshman Jr., M.D., chief of surgery and Helen Buchanan and Stanley Joseph Seeger Endowed Professor and Chairman in the department of surgery at Baylor University Medical Center in Dallas, Texas, will present two AMA/PRA/CME-accredited lectures in November.

Both lectures are open to the public and to all medical, nursing and allied health professionals and are made possible through the Emmett B. Frazer, M.D., F.A.C.S., and Milton M. Leigh, M.D., F.A.C.S., Memorial Endowments at the University of South Alabama department of surgery.

Dr. Fleshman will present the first lecture, ”Management of Diverticulitis in the 21st Century,” on Thursday, Nov. 5, 2015, at 5 p.m. in the USA Medical Center second floor conference room.

His second lecture, “Emotional Intelligence for the Surgeon,” will be delivered Friday, Nov. 6, 2015, at 7 a.m. in the second floor conference room at the USA Medical Center.

Dr. Fleshman earned his medical degree from Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, Mo. Following his residency in general surgery at the Jewish Hospital of St. Louis in St. Louis, Mo., Dr. Fleshman completed a colon and rectal surgery fellowship at the University of Toronto in Toronto, Canada.

At Baylor University Medical Center at Dallas, Dr. Fleshman is on a variety of committees within the hospital including the patient safety committee, credentials committee, graduate medical education committee and the medical executive committee. Dr. Fleshman also serves on the faculty plan governance council, the medical board and the surgical services practice council.  His professional concentration is the treatment of patients with colorectal diseases.

Dr. Fleshman’s research interests focus on colorectal and laparoscopic surgery and are funded by both private and public sources. His educational achievements have been recognized with multiple awards, including an Award of Appreciation; Distinguished Alumni Scholarship Honoree; Eagle Foundation Award; and the Ethicon Research Award from the American Society of Colon and Rectal Surgeons.

Dr. Fleshman is a member of the American Society of Colon and Rectal Surgeons where he is on the rectal cancer coordinating committee. He is a representative to the Board of Governors of the American College of Surgeons and former president of the Piedmont Society of Colon and Rectal Surgeons.  He has also served as president for the American Board of Colon and Rectal Surgery. Dr. Fleshman is the past director of the American Board of Surgery and former vice president to the Society for Surgery of the Alimentary Tract.

This annual Memorial Lectureship is given to honor the legacies of Dr. Emmett B. Frazer and Dr. Milton M. Leigh as leaders in clinical service and graduate surgical education in the Mobile community.

For more information contact the USA Department of Surgery at (251) 471-7992.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Harvey Ikner Leads USA Employee Campaign for United Way

Harvey Ikner, associate administrator for ambulatory clinics at the University of South Alabama Health System, is serving as the 2015 campaign chair for the USA Employee Campaign for the United Way.

The campaign chair is appointed by the president based on leadership ability, respect of colleagues and willingness to support the campaign cause.

A kickoff breakfast for the USA Employee Campaign for the United Way was held at the USA Mitchell Center on Sept. 29. Aimee Risser, CEO of Big Brothers Big Sisters of South Alabama, was the event’s guest speaker.

Ikner said USA’s employees have been exceptional contributors to the United Way for many years. The United Way brings together the people, ideas and resources necessary to best serve the thousands of individuals and families who face hard times and truly need assistance. The United Way of Southwest Alabama and its 50 partner agencies continue to provide vital services to people in need, making our community a better place to live.

“It is my privilege to lead the University’s efforts to support the United Way and its partner agencies for the outstanding services they provide our community,” Ikner said. “I thank you in advance for considering a gift to the 2015 USA Employee Campaign for the United Way. Your support will have a meaningful impact in our community.”

The United Way serves Mobile, Clarke, Washington and Choctaw counties with programs that are focused on education, health, financial stability and life’s basic essentials.

The deadline to return pledge cards is Nov. 3, 2015.

USA Medical Students Cook for Families at Ronald McDonald House

From left: Gabby Hood, GHHS member; Gretchen Vandiver, GHHS member; Olivia Butters, GHHS member; Karen Braswell, chapter advisor; Rebekah Frazier, GHHS member; Lindsey Stewart, GHHS member; and Patty Wang, GHHS member.
Members of the Class of 2016 Gold Humanism in Medicine Honor Society (GHHS) at the University of South Alabama College of Medicine recently cooked dinner for the guests of the Ronald McDonald house.

The members felt that giving back to the Ronald McDonald house would be a great service project for their honor society.

There were six GHHS members who participated in preparing a meal for the families at the Ronald McDonald house. Of those six students was fourth-year medical student Gretchen Vandiver.

Vandiver is the social coordinator for GHHS and believes that participating in volunteer opportunities is a great study break and enables the members to serve others in the Mobile community.

Vandiver is planning for a career in pediatrics and said that “it was wonderful to see the safe and welcoming environment that the Ronald McDonald house provides to the families of the pediatric patients.”

“Our experience at the Ronald McDonald house was absolutely wonderful,” Vandiver added. “We were able to provide dinner to several families and they were all extremely appreciative of a warm meal.”

The mission of GHHS is to recognize individuals who are exemplars of humanistic patient care and who can serve as role models, mentors and leaders in medicine. Every year, 10 senior medical students, three residents and one faculty member are selected by their classmates to be named to the USA chapter of the GHHS. The next election for the Class of 2017 will take place in January 2016.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

USA Medical Alumni Association Lecture to Feature COM Alum Dr. John LeDoux

The University of South Alabama Medical Alumni Association is hosting a lecture featuring Dr. John LeDoux, cardiologist at Cardiology Associates of Mobile.

The event will be held Oct. 28, 2015, at the USA Medical Sciences Building first floor auditorium from 12 p.m. to 1 p.m., as part of the Medical Alumni Speaker Series.  Dr. LeDoux’s lecture is titled “Integrated Work and Life: Pathways in Cardiology.” Dr. Ledoux will discuss the recent advances in cardiology care and how to achieve a balance between the demands of work and life.

Dr. LeDoux, a 2002 graduate of the USA College of Medicine, completed his undergraduate degree at Louisiana State University in chemical engineering. He worked as a process engineer prior to starting medical school at USA. He completed his residency at USA and a fellowship in adult cardiovascular diseases and interventional cardiology at the University of Texas health and Science Center.

If you plan to attend, notify the medical alumni office at (251) 460-6805 by Oct. 26, 2015.

USA Welcomes Dr. Steven Kahn

Dr. Steven Kahn recently was appointed assistant professor of surgery at the University of South Alabama College of Medicine and director of the Arnold Luterman Regional Burn Center. He will serve as a burn, trauma, and critical care surgeon with USA Physicians Group.

Dr. Kahn earned his medical degree from East Tennessee State University, Quillen College of Medicine, located in Johnson City, Tenn. He completed a residency in general surgery, as well as a thermal injury research fellowship at the University of Rochester in Rochester, N.Y. He then completed a fellowship in surgical critical care, a fellowship in trauma/acute care surgery, and a burn fellowship at Vanderbilt University Medical Center located in Nashville, Tenn.

Dr. Kahn’s research is focused on resuscitation, burn injury, and firefighter injury prevention. For his contributions to the field of firefighter safety, he received the 2015 Nashville Business Journal “Healthcare Heroes Award.”

Dr. Kahn is a member of the American Medical Association, the American College of Surgeons, the International Society for Burn Injuries, the American Burn Association, the Society of Critical Care Medicine, the Eastern Association for the Surgery of Trauma, and the Surgical Infection Society.

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Free Football Tickets, Tailgate for USA Health System Employees

The University of South Alabama Health System is providing complimentary tickets for every USA Health System employee and a guest to attend the USA Jaguars vs. Louisiana-Lafayette football game on Thursday, Nov. 12, at 6:30 p.m.

Each employee is eligible for two tickets. Each employee and a guest can also attend a free tailgating barbecue dinner catered by Sonny's BBQ before the game, beginning at 4:30 p.m.

Please register for tickets here anytime between now and Nov. 4. You must pre-register for tickets by Nov. 4.

 We've designed a special USA Health System Game Day T-shirt for the event, and we hope you will join us in wearing one at the game. These long-sleeve shirts cost $10 and will be sold at the USA Medical Center on Oct. 20 and at USA Children's & Women's Hospital on Oct. 21.

Get details about tickets, tailgating, T-shirts and parking here.

Watch the video below to view photos from last year's USA Health System Game Day.
USA Health System Game Day from USA Health System on Vimeo.

USA Welcomes Dr. Oganes Ashikyan

Dr. Oganes Ashikyan recently was appointed assistant professor of radiology at the University of South Alabama College of Medicine and will serve as a radiologist with USA Physicians Group.

Dr. Ashikyan earned his medical degree from the University of California in Irvine, Calif. He completed his internship at the Good Samaritan Regional Medical Center in Phoenix, then went on to complete his residency training in diagnostic radiology at the University of California where he served as chief resident. Dr. Ashikyan completed a fellowship in musculoskeletal imaging at the University of California in Los Angeles and later completed a second fellowship in neuroradiology at the University of Texas Medical Branch located in Galveston, Texas.

Dr. Ashikyan is certified with the American Board of Radiology and is a member of the American Roentgen Ray Society, North American Spine Society, American Society of Neuroradiology and Society of Skeletal Radiology.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

USA Hosts Ribbon-Cutting Ceremony for Student-Run Free Clinic at 15 Place

The University of South Alabama hosted a ribbon-cutting ceremony Saturday for the student-run free clinic at 15 Place, a homeless shelter in Mobile, Ala.

The USA student-run free clinic (SRFC) was created entirely by students and provides free wellness services to the homeless population of Mobile at 15 Place every Saturday morning.

“We are able to check blood pressure and blood glucose, provide well check-ups, clean small wounds, and provide educational sessions on wellness topics such as smoking cessation, HIV, diabetes and heart health,” said Lauren Nelson, a second-year USA medical student who volunteers at the clinic.

Nelson said she was thrilled when she learned that USA had a student-run clinic. Prior to starting medical school, she volunteered at a free clinic in Birmingham. “I believe that everyone should have access to quality health care, and I think the health and wellness services we provide to the community are very valuable,” said Nelson, who began volunteering at 15 Place during her first year of medical school at USA.

The student-run clinic began operation in 2014 and is a collaboration between the students and faculty of the USA College of Medicine; College of Nursing; several departments in the College of Allied Health, including physician assistant studies and speech pathology and audiology; the department of social work in the College of Arts and Sciences; as well as the Auburn Harrison School of Pharmacy.

Since its opening, the clinic has grown astronomically, according to USA fourth-year medical student Sarah Boyd, one of the clinic’s founders. “While it started out only being open two Saturdays a month, it quickly progressed to being open each weekend,” Boyd said. “We are so proud of all the progress that has been made on the clinic during the past year and are lucky to have so many dedicated, compassionate students at South Alabama who allow the clinic to thrive.”

The clinic is one of the only free, inter-professional student-run clinics in the nation where students from multiple health professional schools collaborate to provide care to the community’s homeless population.

Dr. Alison Rudd, chair of the faculty advisory committee for the student-run clinic and assistant professor of nursing at USA, has always had a strong interest in inter-professional education and collaborative care. “The inter-disciplinary approach is unique in that it allows the students to learn about one another’s professional roles, while also giving them a chance to serve the community,” she said. “It gives the students a great opportunity to practice clinical skills, patient education, and patient communication.” Rudd also said the clinic provides research opportunities for student volunteers.

According to Nelson, the interaction between professional students is very valuable as each student brings a different skill-set to the table. “Even though medical, pharmacy and nursing students all learn clinical skills, many of these skills are learned at different points in their training,” Nelson said.

On a typical clinic morning at 15 Place, volunteers from several different disciplines arrive at 8 a.m. for the pre-clinic meeting. During this time, the volunteers are assigned to work in inter-professional teams in each exam room. Doors are opened to patients at 8:30 a.m., and they begin the check-in process. Once the patient is in an exam room, the inter-professional team takes vitals and the patient history and completes a physical exam. After patients have been seen, the clinic team presents the case to the faculty member overseeing clinic that day, who helps the team decide the most appropriate next step for the patient.

The clinic’s hands-on approach has a large impact on professional development, according to Nelson. “It is satisfying to be able to apply what I am learning in the classroom to help patients better understand their health,” she said. “I am gaining valuable clinical experience when I volunteer at 15 Place, and I learn a great deal from our patients.”

Alex Wiles, development chair of the clinic and a second-year medical student at USA, said the clinic typically sees up to 30 patients each Saturday. “This clinic is something that truly matters,” Wiles said. “The amount of gratitude our patients show is life changing.”

The student-run clinic is currently looking for clinicians to help with student supervision and oversight of patient care including wellness exams and health screenings. To learn more, contact Dr. Rudd at arudd@southalabama.edu.

Click here to view more photos from the ceremony.

Friday, October 9, 2015

USA Health System Hosts Welcome Reception for New Physicians


The University of South Alabama Health System hosted a welcome reception for 20 new full-time clinical faculty who recently joined the USA Physicians Group practice.
  
The following physicians were recognized:

Dr. Philip Almalouf
Pulmonology
Assistant Professor of Internal Medicine

Dr. Oganes Ashikyan
Radiology
Assistant Professor of Radiology

Dr. William Henry Barber IV
Trauma/Critical Care Surgery
Professor of Surgery

Dr. Jeffrey Brewer
Orthopaedic Surgery
Assistant Professor of Orthopaedic Surgery

Dr. Ron Brooks
Plastic Surgery
Assistant Professor of Surgery

Dr. Ashleigh Butts-Wilkerson
Family Medicine
Assistant Professor of Family Medicine

Dr. Elias Chalhub
Neurology
Professor of Neurology

Dr. Abhijin Das
Nephrology
Assistant Professor of Internal Medicine

Dr. Suneet Dullet
Internist/Internal Medicine
Assistant Professor of Internal Medicine

Dr. James Glasser
Pediatric Surgery
Associate Professor of Surgery

Dr. Rashmi Gulati
Neonatology
Assistant Professor of Pediatrics

Dr. Om Prakash Jha
Neonatology
Assistant Professor of Pediatrics

Dr. Steven Kahn
Trauma/Critical Care Surgery
Assistant Professor of Surgery

Dr. Spencer Liles
Surgical Oncology
Assistant Professor of Surgery

Dr. Christopher Malozzi
Cardiology
Assistant Professor of Internal Medicine

Dr. Angus McBryde
Orthopaedic Surgery
Professor and Acting Chair of Orthopaedic Surgery

Dr. Edward Panacek
Emergency Medicine
Professor and Chair of Emergency Medicine

Dr. Melody Petty
Hospitalist/Pediatrics
Assistant Professor of Pediatrics

Dr. Maximilian Pyko
Interventional Radiology
Assistant Professor of Radiology

Dr. Joshua Taylor
Surgery
Assistant Professor of Surgery

To learn more about these physicians and the entire practice group, visit www.usahealthsystem.com.

Click here to view more photos from the event.