Friday, August 7, 2015

August Med School Café - 'LINX- A Revolutionary New Treatment for Severe GERD'

The August Med School Café lecture will feature Dr. William Richards, professor and chair of surgery at the University of South Alabama College of Medicine and the director of the USA Surgical Weight Loss Center.

His lecture, titled “LINX- A Revolutionary New Treatment for Severe GERD,” will take place Aug. 19, 2015, at the USA Faculty Club on USA’s main campus. Lunch will be served at 11:15 a.m. and the presentation begins at 11:45 a.m. Dr. Richards’ lecture will include information on gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) and a new solution for those who suffer from GERD, called LINX.

GERD, commonly referred to as acid reflux or heartburn, is a disease that is caused by a weak muscle in the esophagus called the lower esophageal sphincter (LES). This weak muscle allows acid and bile to splash up from the stomach into the esophagus, often causing injury to the lining of the esophagus and causing symptoms like heartburn or chest pain.

LINX is the only device approved by the Food and Drug Administration for the treatment of GERD and has proven to eliminate dependence on medication and improve quality of life. The new device consists of a small, flexible band of magnets that is surgically placed around the esophagus just above the stomach to help prevent reflux. The strength of the magnets helps to keep the valve between the stomach and esophagus closed to prevent reflux. When you swallow, the magnets separate temporarily to allow food and liquid to pass into the stomach.

Dr. Richards earned his medical degree from the University of Maryland School of Medicine in Baltimore. He completed his internship at the University of Florida in Gainesville, Fla., and his surgery residency at the University of Maryland. Following his residency, Dr. Richards completed a surgical fellowship in portal hypertension and endoscopy at Emory University in Atlanta. In addition, he also completed a research fellowship in gastrointestinal motility at the Vanderbilt Medical Center in Nashville.

The Med School Café lecture and lunch 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.

Dr Richards Med School Cafe Promo from USA Health System on Vimeo.

Thursday, August 6, 2015

USA Welcomes Dr. Abhijin Das

Dr. Abhijin Das recently was appointed assistant professor of internal medicine at the University of South Alabama College of Medicine and will serve as a nephrologist with USA Physicians Group.

Prior to joining USA, Dr. Das was a fellow at University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) in Birmingham, Ala. As a fellow he saw patients at the transplant clinic and Fabrys clinic at UAB.

Dr. Das earned his bachelor of medicine and bachelor of surgery (MBBS) degree from M.S. Ramaiah Medical College in India. He completed an internal medicine residency at John H. Stroger Jr. Hospital of Cook County in Chicago. He completed his fellowship in nephrology at UAB. Dr. Das is board certified in internal medicine.

To make an appointment with Dr. Das, call (251) 470-5843.

USA College of Medicine to Host Two Special Seminars

The University of South Alabama College of Medicine Departments of Surgery and Pharmacology are hosting two special seminars featuring Colonel Matthew Martin, M.D., F.A.C.S., trauma medical director and chief of surgical critical care at Madigan Army Medical Center (MAMC) in Tacoma, Wash.

On Thursday, Aug. 13, 2015, Dr. Martin will present a Distinguished Scientist Seminar, "Hemorrhagic Shock and Demand-Side Economics: From the Battlefield to the Bench.”  The lecture will be held at 4 p.m. at the Medical Sciences Building first floor auditorium.

Dr. Martin will then present a surgical grand rounds seminar titled "From Swords to Plowshares: Extending the Golden Hour in Battlefield and Civilian Trauma," in the USA Medical Center 2nd Floor Conference Center at 7:00 AM on Friday, Aug. 14, 2015.

Dr. Martin earned his bachelor of arts degree in psychology in 1990 from Boston University, his master’s degree in medical science from Boston University School of Graduate Education in 1995, and his medical degree from the Boston University School of Medicine in 1998. He completed residency training in general surgery at Madigan Army Medical Center and a fellowship in trauma and surgical critical care at Los Angeles County Hospital and USC Medical Center in Los Angeles.

Dr. Martin is also the director of surgical research and the former associate program director for the MAMC general surgery residency program. He is a clinical associate professor of surgery at the University of Washington School of Medicine and associate professor of surgery at the Uniformed Services University in Bethesda, Md. Dr. Martin also serves as a staff trauma surgeon and director of trauma informatics at Legacy Emanuel Medical Center in Portland, Ore. He is the current chair of the Army State, Region 13, for the American College of Surgeons Committee on Trauma. He has deployed twice in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom and twice in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.

Dr. Martin maintains an active surgical practice in general surgery, bariatric surgery, and trauma/critical care. He established an active basic science and animal trauma research laboratory at MAMC in 2005, and his research interests are currently focused on combat injuries and resuscitation, traumatic acidosis and coagulopathy, and ischemia-reperfusion injury.

Learn more about Dr. Martin here.

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

42nd Annual Medical Student Research Day Features Dr. Dan Roden

Dr. Dan Roden, professor of medicine and pharmacology, director of the Oates Institute for Experimental Therapeutics, and assistant vice-chancellor for personalized medicine at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, speaks during the University of South Alabama College of Medicine Summer Research Day on July 31, 2015.
The University of South Alabama College of Medicine’s 42nd annual Medical Student Research Day took place July 31, 2015, in the Medical Sciences Building.

The event featured Dr. Dan Roden, professor of medicine and pharmacology at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine. Dr. Roden presented the keynote lecture, titled “Constructing a Successful Career in Biomedical Science: Genes, Environment and Serendipity.”

The USA College of Medicine's Summer Research Program is a 9-week program that pairs medical students with faculty mentors. At this year's Research Day, there were 10 oral presentations and 38 poster presentations.

Through the research program, medical students develop an appreciation of how research contributes to the knowledge and the practice of medicine. Accepted entering students or rising second-year students in the USA College of Medicine are eligible. The summer experience includes hands-on research related to basic science and/or clinical medicine; a seminar program that focuses on various scientific and clinical topics; and student presentations at Research Day.

Click here to view the students' research abstracts. More photos from the event can be found here.

Monday, August 3, 2015

Tobacco Cessation: Supporting a Coworker

Esther Rogers, employee assistance program counselor at the University of South Alabama
On Aug. 1, 2015, the University of South Alabama and USA Health System became tobacco-free campuses. As part of this transition, the university offers assistance to employees and students who wish to stop using tobacco products, including smokeless and e-cigarettes, through several tobacco cessation programs. This article is the fourth of a four-part series about tobacco cessation. View Part 1 here, Part 2 here, and Part 3 here.

The road to quitting smoking or ending tobacco use is a long one and often times cannot be done alone. Esther Rogers, employee assistance program counselor at USA, said people who are trying to quit often ask someone close to them to be their support person.

Someone who is trying to quit might ask their support person to:
•    Be honest
•    Don’t be judgmental
•    Tell me when my attitude or demeanor gets too rough
•    Be there for me and do this with me (examples are eating healthy and avoiding smoking areas)

Rogers said that if you agree to be a coworker’s support person, there are several things you can do to help them through the quitting process. “First, make sure you have a supportive and positive outlook,” she said. “Know that being a support person means you are committing to being there for your coworker when they need you. Know this might span over a couple of weeks to several months.”

Rogers said let your coworker know you feel honored to offer support and that the two of you will work through the process together. Another way to be supportive is to understand what your coworker is going through. Educate yourself on what the quitting process is and its effects. You could also help the person who is quitting find tools that will help them reach and maintain a new tobacco-free lifestyle. This could include creating an exercise plan, a food plan or getting involved with a new hobby.

If the person relapses, don’t refer to it as a failure. Let them know this is often part of the quitting process, and help them look at the situation as a chance to learn what to do for future attempts. For example, Rogers suggest asking a series of questions to help the person work through the relapse:
•    What caused the relapse?
•    How can you avoid that trigger in the future?
•    How can you get back on track?

Be sure to celebrate their attempts at quitting throughout the process and encourage positive self-talk.

“Keep in mind you are in a work environment and may not be able to stop every time the person is having a craving, a withdrawal symptom or experiencing a trigger,” Rogers said. “Make sure you establish guidelines and a plan for what the person can do if you are not available at that particular moment. Things they can do include sucking on a lifesaver, taking a walk or calling a helpline.” 

Rogers also said someone who is quitting smoking may not want others to know. If your coworker is quitting and did not ask you to be their support person, do not talk to them about it unless you have a close personal relationship with them. This could cross a boundary and cause the person to become defensive, feel pressured into quitting or feel they are being monitored.

For more information on quitting, visit For help locating a primary care physician with USA Physicians Group call (251) 434-3711.