Friday, April 8, 2016

USA Department of Surgery to Host an Invited lecture and Workshop on Communications in the OR

The University of South Alabama Department of Surgery is hosting a lecture featuring Dr. Walter Peters, division chief of colon and rectal surgery at Baylor University Medical Center in Dallas.

Dr. Peters will present the invited lecture, titled “Implementing Crew Resource Management Principles in the Operating Room,” on April 21, 2016, at 4 p.m. in the USA Medical Center 2nd floor conference center.

During the talk, Dr. Peters will discuss how improved communication in the cockpit of commercial airlines improved airline safety and how these communication techniques can be used to improve quality of care in the operating room.

On Friday, April 22, at 7 a.m., Dr Peters will present a special workshop on fostering improved communication in the operating room. He will discuss how differing personalities among operating room personnel affect their communication and perceptions. The workshop will also be held in the USA Medical Center 2nd floor conference center.

Dr. Peters earned his medical degree from Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis and has been in practice for more than 20 years. He completed his general surgery residency at Barnes-Jewish Hospital in St. Louis where he served as chief resident. He then completed a fellowship in colon and rectal surgery at Barnes-Jewish Hospital in St. Louis in 1988. In 2014, he was awarded the MBA in Healthcare Academic Award.

Both events are open to faculty, staff and students at USA.

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

USA Medical Students Named to Alpha Omega Alpha Honor Medical Society

Seven senior medical students at the University of South Alabama College of Medicine were named to the USA chapter of the Alpha Omega Alpha Honor Medical Society.

The following students were selected: Paterson Graham, Brenden Ingraham, Brian McGrath, Caroline Miller, William Ricks, Ankur Singh and Susan Ansley Smith.

In addition, two faculty members, Dr. Susana Figarola and Dr. Andrea Kahn; one alumnus Dr. Paul Rider Jr.; and one resident Dr. Gregory Quatrino, were also selected for this honor.

Alpha Omega Alpha, a professional medical organization, recognizes and advocates for excellence in scholarship and the highest ideals in the profession of medicine. Members have a compelling drive to do well and to advance the medical profession and exemplify the highest standards of professionalism.

According to Dr. Kelly Roveda, assistant dean of medical education and student affairs at the USA College of Medicine and USA AOA chapter councilor, election and membership in Alpha Omega Alpha signifies commitment to not only scholarship but also leadership, professionalism and service.

“Being selected for membership into Alpha Omega Alpha at any point during an individual's career highlights not only academic excellence but also leadership and service to the community,” said Dr. Roveda, who also serves as assistant professor of pathology at the USA College of Medicine.  “Furthermore, members elected to the organization must demonstrate humanism in patient care as well as professionalism in conduct. The newly elected members join an elite group of professionals that includes not only numerous Nobel Prize winners but also numerous deans of medical schools.”

The top 25 percent of a medical school class is eligible for nomination to the society, and up to 16 percent may be elected based on leadership, character, community service and professionalism.

Members may also be elected by chapters after demonstrating scholarly achievement and professional contributions and values during their careers in medicine.

The AOA motto is “Be Worthy to Serve the Suffering.” To learn more, visit

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Mark Your Calendar: 15th Annual Sickle Cell Regional Conference

The University of South Alabama Comprehensive Sickle Cell Center will host the 15th annual Sickle Cell Regional Conference on Saturday, April 30, 2016, from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.

The conference, “Practical Issues XV: More is Not Always Better,” will be held on USA’s main campus at the USA Health Sciences Building, 5721 USA Drive North, Room 1013.

The conference features nationally and locally recognized experts in medicine, nursing and allied health. The conference is devoted to educating health care professionals on the modern aspects of sickle cell disease treatment, complications and psychosocial issues.

The conference registration fee covers conference syllabi, continental breakfast and a box lunch on Saturday.

To make reservations, call (251) 470-5893 or e-mail To register online, visit For additional information, visit

Enter to win free admittance to the 2017 Annual Sickle Cell Conference by registering early (deadline April 15, 2016, by 5 p.m.). A drawing will be held April 30, 2016. You must be present the day of the conference to win.

Dr. Mikhail Alexeyev Awarded NIH Grant

Dr. Mikhail Alexeyev, associate professor of physiology and cell biology at the University of South Alabama College of Medicine, recently was awarded a research grant from the National Institutes of Health to study mitochondrial diseases caused by mutations in mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA).

Dr. Alexeyev is using the award to gain insight into the mechanisms of mitochondrial disease by developing experimental models of mitochondrial disorders. “Mitochondrial disorders are the most common metabolic diseases,” Dr. Alexeyev explained. “They can be severe, affect multiple organs - especially the nervous, musculoskeletal and cardiovascular systems - and are often fatal.”

Dr. Alexeyev said mitochondrial disorders have been recognized for approximately 30 years, but still remain poorly understood. Mitochondrial diseases caused by mutations in mtDNA are a significant source of morbidity and mortality, yet only supportive care is available to affected patients.

“The lack of effective therapies for mitochondrial diseases is directly attributable, at least in part, to the lack of experimental models,” Dr. Alexeyev said.

USA has developed a method for controlled mutagenesis of animal mtDNA and has generated the world’s largest collection of animal cell lines with mutations in mtDNA. Dr. Alexeyev is combining the expertise developed at USA with that of Dr. Douglas Wallace, director of the Center for Mitochondrial and Epigenomic Medicine at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP), for the project.

Dr. Wallace’s lab is one of only two in the world that has expertise in moving mutant mitochondrial DNA from cultured cells into the models.

Dr. Alexeyev said combining the mtDNA mutagenesis expertise at USA with the transmitochondrial expertise at CHOP to produce new experimental models of mitochondrial disease will be instrumental in developing a better understanding of the disease process and testing new drugs.

Pediatrics Hosting Grand Rounds April 15

Dr. Brenda Litchfield, professor of professional studies and director of the Innovation in Learning Center at the University of South Alabama, will present “Learning Styles” for April’s pediatric grand rounds.

The event will take place Friday, April 15, 2016, 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. Litchfield will identify the learning styles of participants and explain how knowledge of learning styles is an essential learning skill. She will also discuss how to apply learning style strategies when working with patients, students and families.

The event is open to faculty, staff and students at USA. Light breakfast, coffee and beverages will be provided. For additional information, contact Katie Catlin at