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

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

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

Click here to view more photos from the event.