Thursday, May 7, 2015

Ten Senior Medical Students Match in Psychiatry

This weekend marks a rite of passage for medical students graduating from the University of South Alabama College of Medicine. On Saturday, they will receive their doctoral degrees - transitioning from student to doctor.

For these budding physicians, the next phase of their medical education is residency training in the specialty they have chosen as their career path. This year, 10 members of the class of 2015 matched in psychiatry - a reflection of the mentoring and success in the psychiatry training at USA.

“I am very excited that so many medical students matched in psychiatry,” explained Dr. Sandra Parker, who serves as the chief medical officer at AltaPointe Health Systems. “Members of the faculty are involved with the medical students from interviewing them during their application to medical school, meeting them during orientation week, serving as competency coaches, teaching during the neuroscience module and clinical and didactic teaching during their third and fourth years of medical school,” added Dr. Parker, who also serves as the vice chair of psychiatry and associate professor of psychiatry at the USA College of Medicine.

The USA College of Medicine partners with AltaPointe Health Systems, a mental health organization located in Mobile and Baldwin counties, for the medical student education and the psychiatry residency training program. AltaPointe Health Systems offers a variety of choices of clinical experiences. The program recognizes that training for the current and future practice of psychiatry requires continued utilization of new research in a field that is rapidly developing in order to go beyond the essential knowledge, skills and attitudes residents need to develop a professional identity.

Omar Mazher, a fourth-year medical student at USA, matched in psychiatry at the Harvard Longwood Psychiatry Residency Training Program in Boston. Mazher was very excited with his match and like many other medical students, believed psychiatry just “clicked” for him.

“One of my main goals has been to work in a field where I regularly help patients who fall through the cracks and help make a difference as an individual, and I found that perfectly in psychiatry,” Mazher said.

Mazher believed that working with AltaPointe Health Systems during his time as a medical student was a positive learning experience. “The training I received has made me feel more comfortable when dealing with the various types of mental illnesses that I will see again as a resident,” Mazher said.

Serena Nimityongskul, another fourth-year medical student at USA, matched in psychiatry at USA Hospitals. She found her calling for psychiatry after she completed the rotation at AltaPointe Health Systems.

“The rotation was very fitting for my personality, and I loved being able to hear the patients’ stories,” Nimityongskul said. “We were able to see a variety of cases, which I think will benefit me as I start my residency here at USA.”

Dr. W. Bogan Brooks, assistant professor of psychiatry, initially inspired Nimityongskul to become a psychiatrist. “Dr. Brooks was my advisor, and I look to him as a role model,” Nimityongskul said. “He cares for his patients and his students.”

Fourth-year medical student Christopher Hoffman matched in psychiatry at Morehouse School of Medicine in Atlanta. “I became interested in psychiatry during my third-year rotations,” Hoffman said. “It was very natural for me, and I loved working with people who are completely healthy on the outside, but sick on the inside.”

Hoffman enjoyed being able to see many different aspects of psychiatry through his training at AltaPointe Health Systems. “I was able to see acute patients, chronic patients and outpatients during the psychiatry rotations,” Hoffman said. “Dr. Sadler, Dr. Parker and Dr. Brooks were there for me through everything and ultimately helped me decide to go into psychiatry.”

Mazher, Nimityongskul and Hoffman and seven other USA medical students matched in psychiatry residency programs. Christopher Buckley matched at Tulane University School of Medicine; Stephen Cheek matched at Icahn School of Medicine Beth Israel in New York; Sara Gonzales matched at the University of Alabama at Birmingham Medical Center; Heather Griffin matched at the Medical College of Georgia; Natalie Hallmark matched at Louisiana State University School of Medicine in New Orleans; Jun Lui matched at USA Hospitals; and Christiana Wilkins matched at the University of Alabama at Birmingham Medical Center.

The psychiatry residency lasts four years. Upon graduation from these programs, the residents will help fill a greater need for more psychiatrists in our area and across the United States.

Monday, May 4, 2015

Students and Faculty to be Honored at Annual Honors Convocation

Each spring, the University of South Alabama College of Medicine recognizes students for their academic achievements at the annual Honors Convocation.

This year's College of Medicine Honors Convocation for the Class of 2014 will be held May 8, 2015, at 7 p.m. at the USA Mitchell Center.

Doctoral hoods, along with the student honors, will be awarded to the medical students at Honors Convocation. Faculty will be honored by the students as well. The seniors selected those members of the faculty who had the most meaningful impact on their medical education, and for their positive influence, the faculty selected will wear a red sash over their academic regalia.

USA COM Alum Dr. Edward Panacek Appointed Chair of Emergency Medicine

Dr. Edward Panacek recently was appointed professor and chair of emergency medicine at the University of South Alabama College of Medicine. He will replace Dr. Frank Pettyjohn, founding chair of the department of emergency medicine, who will remain in the department as professor of emergency medicine and will focus on clinical research and other duties.

Dr. Panacek began his academic career in 1986 as an assistant professor of medicine in the division of critical care and emergency medicine at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland. He joined the faculty at the University of California Davis School of Medicine in 1992 as associate professor of emergency medicine and was promoted to professor of emergency medicine in 1997, with a joint appointment in the division of pulmonary and critical care medicine.

Prior to joining USA, Dr. Panacek served as a professor of emergency medicine at the University of California Davis Medical Center (UCDMC) in Sacramento, Calif. He was also director of the clinical trials office and emergency medicine research associates program at UCDMC.

“Dr. Panacek is a nationally recognized leader in the field of emergency medicine, with research interests on critical care aspects of life-threatening infections such as sepsis and septic shock and respiratory emergencies such as acute severe asthma,” said Dr. Samuel Strada, dean of the USA College of Medicine. “Dr. Panacek has published widely in his field and is a frequent contributor at the national annual meetings of emergency medicine physicians.  Dr. Panacek has been an active member of the USA Medical Alumni Association and played an active role in the establishment of a medical scholarship endowed by the class of 1981.”

Dr. Panacek earned his medical degree from the USA College of Medicine in 1981. He completed his residency and fellowship in emergency, internal and critical care medicine at UCDMC.

He has been rewarded multiple national/international awards including: the Lifetime Achievement Award in Emergency Medicine research at the University of Maryland, department of emergency medicine; the Mitchell Award for most outstanding article published in the Journal of Emergency Medicine; the Heroes of Emergency Medicine Award, and the annual Research Award, both given by the American College of Emergency Physicians; the Hal Jayne Academic Excellence Award, given by the Society for Academic Emergency Medicine; and the Meritorious Service Award, given by the American Board of Emergency Medicine.

While at UCDMC, Dr. Panacek served as the inaugural program director of the emergency medicine residency program as well as the associate chief for academic affairs in the division of emergency medicine. Dr. Panacek also worked as the medical director and the associate and research director of the department of emergency medicine at the University Hospitals of Cleveland (UHC) in Cleveland.  He served as the acting medical director for the university aircare helicopter program and was the director of the emergency medicine fellowship training program at UHC.

"We are excited to have Dr. Panacek as the new chair of emergency medicine,” said Beth Anderson, hospital administrator at USA Medical Center. “He brings great depth of knowledge and experience that will assist our emergency departments in making the changes needed to meet the challenges ahead of us.”

Dr. Panacek has many years of research as well as more than 300 publications including original publications, book chapters, invited manuscripts, limited distribution, correspondence, book reviews, acknowledgments and alternative media publications. During his time at UCDMC he had additional professional experience including serving as the technical advisor for the television program “Untold stories from the ER.”

Dr. Panacek is a member of Alpha Omega Alpha Honor Society, Society of Critical Care Medicine, Society for Academic Emergency Medicine, American College of Chest Physicians, American College of Emergency Physicians, American College of Critical Care Medicine and American Academy of Emergency Medicine.

USA Mourns Loss of Dr. Greiner

Dr. Francis “Frank” Greiner, professor of radiology and chief of neuroradiology at the University of South Alabama College of Medicine, passed away on May 1, 2015. He was 60.

Dr. Greiner earned his bachelor’s degree in chemistry from New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology in Socorro, N.M., and his master’s degree in chemistry from the University of Delaware in Newark, Del. He earned his medical degree from the Medical College of Virginia in Richmond, Va. Following medical school, Dr. Greiner completed an internship in internal medicine at Albany Medical Center in Albany, N.Y., and a radiology residency at State University of New York (SUNY) at Buffalo, where he served as chief resident. From 1989-1991, Dr. Greiner was a fellow in neuroradiology at University of New Mexico School of Medicine in Albuquerque, N.M.

Prior to joining USA in 1995 as an assistant professor of radiology, Dr. Greiner served as an assistant professor of radiology at both SUNY-Buffalo and the University of Texas Houston Health Science Center. He was named professor of radiology at USA in 2003.

Dr. Greiner received an honorable discharge in 1978 following his service in the United States Army. In addition, he received outstanding teacher awards from the University of New Mexico, SUNY-Buffalo, University of Texas Houston Health Science Center and USA.

Dr. Greiner was a member of multiple professional organizations, including the American Society of Neuroradiology, the Society of Interventional Radiology, the Radiologic Society of North America, the Roentgen Ray Society, the American College of Radiology, and the Society of Magnetic Resonance Imaging.

Dr. Greiner is survived by his mother, Dolores Greiner of San Antonio; brother Anthony E. Greiner and Mary Grant of Portland, Ore.; brother John Greiner in Glen Burnie, Md.; and Ann (Greiner) Van Hadaway of Red Oak, Texas.

A memorial service will be held for Dr. Greiner on Sunday, May 17, 2015, at 2 p.m. at the University of South Alabama Globe Grand Lobby at the USA Mitchell Center, 5950 Old Shell Road, Mobile, Ala.  

Donations in honor of Dr. Greiner can be made to the USA radiology residents’ fund.