Thursday, April 23, 2015

Mark Your Calendar: Neuroscience Symposium

The University of South Alabama department of neurology will host its second annual neuroscience symposium on May 1, 2015, at the Alabama Cruise Terminal in Mobile, Ala. The event will cover a broad range of topics including epilepsy, stroke, multiple sclerosis, dementia, deep brain stimulation, neuromuscular disease, movement disorders and restless leg syndrome. Registration and breakfast will begin at 7 a.m.

The program is designed as an interdisciplinary conference for neurologists, primary care physicians, nurses and health professionals throughout the Gulf Coast region. This conference is open to all health care providers interested in increasing knowledge, addressing competence or performance, and improving patient outcomes.

Breakfast, snacks, and lunch will be provided along with a reception following the program. For further information, pricing, and registration visit

Advance registration is requested and parking is provided at the Alabama Cruise Terminal courtesy of the USA Department of Neurology. For more information, call Latoyia King at (251) 445-8292. Click here to view the event brochure.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Dr. Ronald Franks Named to Gov. Robert Bentley's Alabama Health Care Improvement Task Force

Dr. Ronald Franks, vice president for health sciences at the University of South Alabama, recently was named to Gov. Robert Bentley’s Alabama Health Care Improvement Task Force.

The 38-member task force created by executive order will address how to bring more accessible and affordable health care to residents in the state of Alabama.

Dr. Franks said he is looking forward to serving on the Governor's task force. “Alabama is fortunate to have an extraordinary level of high quality health care providers, but we have some significant health care challenges facing the people of this state,” he said. “Our rates of chronic disease and the overall health of our population usually place us in the bottom quarter of all states.  Thus, this task force comes together at a crucial time for us as we work together to improve the overall health of all Alabamians."

The task force includes doctors, medical school leaders, hospital administrators, insurance executives, nurses, state agency leaders, legislators and other professionals in mental health, dietetics, dentistry, public health, pharmacy, wellness and other specialties. The group may suggest changes to state regulations and laws, and its initial recommendations to the Governor are due before the Legislature’s 2016 regular session begins. Potential focus areas include telemedicine, medical resources in rural areas and scope-of-practice laws for nurse practitioners and other professionals.

Click here to view the full story featured on

USA Graduate Student to Present at Upcoming AAI Meeting

Andrew Ferretti, a graduate student in the department of microbiology and immunology at the University of South Alabama College of Medicine, recently was selected to present his abstract as a talk at the American Association of Immunologists (AAI) annual meeting, in New Orleans on May 8-12, 2015. Ferretti was awarded the 2015 AAI Trainee Abstract Award, which is given to deserving graduate students and post-doctorate scientists to enable them to attend the AAI annual meeting each year.

The AAI Trainee Abstract award provides the opportunity for Ferretti to attend his first national immunology meeting. “It is a great honor, as well as an opportunity to network with other immunologists and learn more about research and experimental approaches in the field,” Ferretti said.

The 2015 AAI meeting features immunologists from different universities, medical schools, research institutes and industries throughout the world, and it is the largest immunology conference in the United States. It provides great exposure to many topics, as well as career-building workshops that help prepare trainees for the next stage in their careers.

Ferretti’s presentation will focus on a novel mouse model for autoimmune pulmonary alveolar proteinosis, an autoimmune disease that affects the lung in human patients. “There are no other mouse models for this disease, so this model allows us to determine the responsible immune mechanisms that cause disease,” Ferretti said. “Revealing these underlying mechanisms may lead to better therapeutic approaches for patients with the disease.”

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

USA Student Health Center Achieves AAAHC Re-Accreditation

The University of South Alabama Student Health Center recently was granted a 3-year re-accreditation by the Accreditation Association for Ambulatory Health Care (AAAHC).

“Pursuing accreditation shows our commitment to providing the highest level of care to our patients and the same high level of quality in our business practices,” said Beverly Kellen, practice director for student health and family medicine at USA. “Achieving re-accreditation by AAAHC is proof that we have met the rigorous standards of a nationally recognized third party.”

Achieving re-accreditation distinguishes the student health center at USA as being among an elite group of student health centers across the United States. USA Student Health Center has demonstrated the highest quality of care to patients as determined by an independent, external process of evaluation by the AAAHC.

According to Kellen achieving re-accreditation means the student health center at USA has met all federal, state and local laws as well as AAAHC standards for the care it provides to its community.

Health care organizations seeking re-accreditation by AAAHC undergo an extensive self-assessment and on-site survey by AAAHC expert surveyors – physicians, nurses, and administrators who are actively involved in ambulatory health care. The survey is consultative and educational, presenting best practices to help an organization improve its care and services.

“Everyone in our student health center participated in this team effort,” Kellen said. “Going through this process together has challenged us to find better ways to serve our patients, and it is a constant reminder that our responsibility is to strive to continuously improve the quality of care we provide to students at USA.”

The USA Student Health Center staff serves more than 16,000 students campus-wide, with more than 15,000 patient encounters per year. In addition, the center has sports medicine services available for students and collaborates closely with the athletics department and all university athletes.

The USA Student Health Center is located on USA’s main campus at Research Park Building III, Suite 1200. For more information, call (251) 460-7151 or visit

USA Health System to Offer Free Skin Cancer Screenings on Melanoma Monday

The USA Health System will offer free skin cancer screenings for all USA Health and Dental Plan members on Monday, May 4, 2015, as part of Melanoma Monday, a national event held annually on the first Monday of May.

Appointments will be available from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. at University Physicians Group, located at the University Commons.

Screenings will be performed by USA faculty: Dr. Marcus Tan, board-certified surgical oncologist, Pam Camp, surgical oncology nurse practitioner; Dr. Curtis Harris, a plastic and reconstructive surgeon at USA; Mona Hagmaier, PA-C, director of clinical education at USA’s Physician Assistant Studies Program; and Dr. Fred Fedok, adjunct professor in the USA department of surgery.

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

There are several risk factors to consider in a melanoma diagnosis including family history of melanoma, prior melanoma, multiple pigmented skin lesions and some rare genetic syndromes. In addition, a history of extensive or severe sun exposure or severe sunburns may also contribute to the development of this potentially fatal cancer.

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 Road (adjacent to the USA College of Education).