Thursday, June 18, 2015

Med School Café- 'Celiac Disease: Myths and Facts'

The June Med School Café will feature Dr. Anathasekar Ponnambalam, associate professor of pediatrics at the University of South Alabama College of Medicine and a pediatric gastroenterologist at the USA Children’s Specialty Clinic.

His lecture, titled “Celiac Disease: Myths and Facts,” will take place on June 30, 2015, at the USA Faculty Club, located at 6348 Old Shell Road on USA’s main campus. Lunch will be served at 11:30 a.m. and the presentation begins at noon.

During the talk, Dr. Ponnambalam will introduce celiac disease and describe its symptoms. Additionally, he will discuss how to diagnose the disease and the types of treatment options available. Dr. Ponnambalam will also address what happens if the disease is left untreated.

Dr. Ponnambalam earned his medical degree from Stanley Medical College located in Chennai, India. He completed his residency at State University in New York-Downstate in Brooklyn, N.Y., and Madras Medical College in Chennai, India. Following his residency, Dr. Ponnambalam completed his fellowship at State University in New York-Downstate.

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

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.
Ponnambalam Med School Cafe Promo from USA Health System on Vimeo.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Medical Students to Receive White Coats June 20

The University of South Alabama College of Medicine will hold its annual White Coat Ceremony at the USA Mitchell Center on June 20, 2015, at 10 a.m. During the ceremony, the Class of 2017 will be cloaked with their white coats, the traditional dress of physicians for more than 100 years.

Dr. Steven P. Furr ('81), chair pro tempore of the USA Board of Trustees, will be the keynote speaker.

The ceremony marks a significant milestone for these rising third-year students - the point where they will begin their clinical rotations and start interacting with patients on a daily basis.

For students, the White Coat ceremony serves as a reminder of the importance and responsibility they take by dedicating themselves to the care of patients. During the ceremony, the students in unison will take the Medical Student Oath, a promise to uphold the human aspects of medicine, such as sensitivity, compassion and respect for patients.

Select students, residents and faculty will also be inducted into the Gold Humanism Honor Society at the ceremony. Inductees are selected for practicing patient-centered medical care with integrity, compassion and altruism. Election to this organization is by vote of medical students.

Each year, the USA Medical Alumni Association sponsors this event. Click here to view photos from last year's ceremony.

Dr. Mark Taylor Awarded NIH Grant

Mark Taylor, Ph.D., associate professor of physiology and cell biology and director of the University of South Alabama Bioimaging Facililty at the USA College of Medicine, was awarded a one-year equipment grant by the National Institutes of Health to obtain a state-of-the art confocal imaging system. The grant award totals $394,644.

The Andor Revolution WD Confocal Imaging system purchased on the grant is a specialized fluorescence-based microscope that allows for fast-three-dimensional imaging of signaling events within live cells and tissues. The system also incorporates a novel technology called hyperspectral imaging through fluorescence excitation-scanning, or HIFEX.

HIFEX was developed by Drs. Silas Leavesley, assistant professor of chemical and biomolecular engineering, and Tom Rich, associate professor of pharmacology. The combination of scanning speed, spatial resolution, field depth, and fluorophore – a fluorescent chemical compound that re-emits light – offers a level of discrimination unmatched by any existing imaging system.

“The new imaging system’s capabilities are going to allow us to peer deeper into the inner workings of biological systems and see unprecedented detail of cellular communication,” Dr. Taylor said. “The novel high-speed hyperspectral imaging approach will pioneer new areas of research and promises to foster bold new collaborative projects within the university.”

The instrument will provide cutting-edge capability for live-cell and tissue imaging. This includes real-time analysis of the biological signals responsible for a wide range of disease processes. Experimental applications include resolving key components of cardiovascular and cardiopulmonary pathology as well as tracking infectious disease processes and mechanisms of cancer metastasis.

“This is a real step forward for the research efforts here in the USA College of Medicine and the university as a whole,” Dr. Taylor said. “Inclusion of this new system into the existing bioimaging facility greatly expands our research capability, and I’m excited to see where it leads.”

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

USA Alum Receives MASA Award

University of South Alabama College of Medicine alumnus Dr. Thomas M. Miller is the 2015 recipient of the William Henry Sanders Award, awarded by the Medical Association of the State of Alabama.

Created in 1966 in honor of William Henry Sanders, M.D., the award is presented to an outstanding individual who participates in full-time public health work and has served above and beyond their role.

Dr. Miller earned his medical degree from USA where he also completed his residency in obstetrics and gynecology. Several years later, Dr. Miller returned to school to receive his master’s degree in public health from the University of Alabama at Birmingham.

Dr. Miller has held several positions with the Alabama Department of Public Health including area health officer, director of the bureau of family health services and assistant state health officer. He currently serves as chief medical officer for the Bureau of Family Health Services, Bureau of Home and Community Services, Bureau of Clinical Laboratories and Bureau of Communicable Diseases.

He is a fellow of the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and diplomate of the American Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology. Dr. Miller has also served as a board member of the Alabama Section of ACOG, as well as several committees for the Association of Maternal and Child Health Programs.

For the last several years, Dr. Miller has performed medical missionary work in the Dominican Republic. He currently serves as chair and physician surveyor of the Medical Association’s Foundation for Continuing Medical Education and national committee member for the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education, Committee for Review and Recognition.