Wednesday, April 20, 2016

USA Surgery Hosts Greater Gulf Coast Trauma and Acute Care Surgery Symposium

The University of South Alabama Department of Surgery hosted its 7th annual Greater Gulf Coast Trauma and Acute Care Surgery Symposium earlier this month. The event had more than 170 attendees and 25 vendors.

The symposium, designed for health care professionals involved in the management of trauma & critically ill patients, provided evidenced-based concepts and techniques in critical care in today’s world.

The 9th annual William A. L. Mitchell Endowed Lectureship in Traumatology and Surgical Critical Care was held in conjunction with the seminar. This year’s lecture featured Dr.  L.D. Britt, professor of surgery at the Eastern Virginia Medical School located in Norfolk, Va. Dr. Britt has served as president of the American College of Surgeons as well as president of the Southern Surgical Associates.

Click here to view more photos from the event. 

Join Us for National Walk@Lunch Day April 27

Dr. John Howell, medical director of University Physicians Group, walks with Bobbi Tucker, nurse manager of University Physicians Group. USA employees are encouraged to join businesses, schools and other organizations throughout the state by participating in National Walk@Lunch Day on April 27.
University of South Alabama employees are encouraged to join businesses, schools and other organizations throughout the state by participating in National Walk@Lunch Day on April 27.

For some employees, walking at lunch can be a first step toward a healthier lifestyle. For others, it can be a way to enhance their current level of exercise.

Dr. John Howell, medical director of University Physicians Group, said regular brisk walking can help you maintain a healthy weight; prevent or manage various conditions, including heart disease, high blood pressure and type 2 diabetes; strengthen your bones and muscles; improve your mood; and improve your balance and coordination.

One study published by the Journal of the American College of Cardiology compared adults who spent less than two hours a day in front of the TV or other screen-based entertainment with those who logged more than four hours a day of recreational screen time. Those with greater screen time had a nearly 50 percent increased risk of death from any cause and an approximate 125 percent increased risk of events associated with cardiovascular disease such as chest pain or heart attack.

According to Dr. Howell, sitting in front of the TV isn't the only concern. “Any extended sitting — such as behind a desk at work or behind the wheel — can be harmful,” he said.

Dr. Howell suggests following the American Heart Association’s recommendation that adults get 150 minutes or more of moderate-intensity physical activity or 75 minutes of vigorous activity each week. “Even short, 10-minute activity sessions can be added up over the week to reach this goal,” he said.

If you would benefit from lowering your blood pressure or cholesterol, aim for 40-minute sessions of moderate to vigorous activity three to four times a week. “You could do this by walking two miles briskly,” Dr. Howell said. “Use the ‘talk test’ to make sure you aren’t over-exerting yourself. If you become short of breath and can’t talk, then slow down. Brisk walking is defined as when you could talk to someone, but not sing a song while walking.”

For those who are committed to starting a walking regimen but have not participated in regular exercise for a while, it is important to take certain steps to make it an enjoyable and safe experience. Dr. Howell recommends drinking plenty of water before, during and after activity; warming up for five minutes before starting to exercise and cooling down for five minutes after; and starting slowly. If you have health issues or concerns, seek medical guidance before beginning any new exercise regimen.

“Starting a walking program takes initiative,” Dr. Howell added. “Sticking with it takes commitment.”

To stay motivated, the American Heart Association recommends the following:

•    Set yourself up for success. Start with a simple goal, such as, "I'll take a 10-minute walk during my lunch break." When your 10-minute walk becomes a habit, set a new goal, such as, "I'll walk for 20 minutes after work." Find specific times for walks. Soon you could be reaching for goals that once seemed impossible.
•    Make walking enjoyable. If you don't enjoy solitary walks, ask a friend or neighbor to join you. If you're invigorated by groups, join a health club. You might like listening to music while you walk.
•    Vary your routine. If you walk outdoors, plan several different routes for variety. If you're walking alone, be sure to tell someone which route you're taking. Walk in safe, well-lit locations.
•    Take missed days in stride. If you find yourself skipping your daily walks, don't give up. Remind yourself how good you feel when you include physical activity in your daily routine, and then get back on track.

People also find that setting goals with fitness trackers can be beneficial to motivation, especially if they let you share goals and “compete” with friends.

Dr. Howell said that to get the most benefit from walking, it needs to be time set aside for contiguous exercise. “Work up to 30 minutes daily, but try to get the 30 minutes at least five times a week,” he said. “Set a goal, or several smaller goals to work up to the recommended levels of exercise. It may be tough at first, but the rewards can be impressive.”

National Walk@Lunch Day was designed by the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association "to encourage people of all ages, backgrounds and lifestyles to make walking a healthy habit for life."

Participation is easy. Bring your comfortable footwear to work. Take up to 30 minutes (as your lunch break permits) during your regular lunch break to walk at your work location. Walk alone at your own pace or with your co-workers.

To learn more about the Employee Wellness Initiatives Committee and National Walk@Lunch Day, visit the committee's website at

Dr. Howell is an internal medicine physician at University Physicians Group. Both Dr. Howell and Kate Ferguson, nurse practitioner, are currently accepting new patients at the clinic. To schedule an appointment, call 660-5787.

USA Orthopaedic Rehabilitation Center Celebrates Milestone, Plans for Move Later This Year

The University of South Alabama Orthopaedic Rehabilitation Center recently celebrated its 10-year anniversary at their current location, 2 Medical Park in West Mobile, and plans to relocate later this year to the Judith Susan and Samuel Strada Patient Care Center now under construction.

The new state-of-the-art building will provide an expansion of clinical space for the USA Physicians Group practice and will enhance the patient experience. The Strada Patient Care Center is conveniently located adjacent to USA Children’s and Women’s Hospital and the USA Mitchell Cancer Institute.

The USA Orthopaedic Rehabilitation Center is an in-network provider for all USA employees and dependents with the USA Health Plan. “This means that physical and occupational therapy is covered 100 percent after a $10 co-pay,” said Renee Hall, occupational therapist and clinical supervisor of outpatient therapy at USA. “We are excited to provide exceptional care to the University community and to help lower out-of-pocket expenses.” According to Hall, if an employee or dependent covered by USA Health and Dental Plan receives physical or occupational therapy out-of-network, they are responsible for a $400 up-front deductible and 20 percent of the sessions.

USA’s staff consists of a certified hand therapist, two McKenzie certified therapists for the treatment of mechanical spine disorders, a certified athletic trainer and several other knowledgeable therapists with experience in various therapy settings.

“We consider ourselves a therapy family, and our patients are an extension of that family,” Hall said. “Our biggest compliment is on our individualized and skilled care received by patients.”

In addition to the orthopaedic surgery clinic and the orthopaedic rehabilitation center, a large portion of the USA Physicians Group practice including general pediatrics, pediatric subspecialties, obstetrics and gynecology and neurosciences will also move from their current locations to the new Strada Patient Care Center.

The new 133,000-square-foot building will contain 153 patient rooms, 16 nurses stations and seven educational conference rooms. Unique design features that are planned for the new building include large windows with a visual connection to the Geri Moulton Children’s Park and interior and exterior designs similar to adjacent buildings on the campus.

The USA Orthopaedic Rehabilitation Center provides outpatient physical and occupational therapy to treat a wide range of injuries and conditions. To learn more, visit or call (251) 665-8201.

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Office of Diversity and Inclusion to Host Lecture in Celebration of Minority Health Month

The University of South Alabama College of Medicine’s Office of Diversity and Inclusion is hosting a lecture featuring Dr. Jamie L. Franco-Zamudio on April 28, 2016, at 4 p.m. in the Medical Sciences Building first floor auditorium.

Dr. Franco-Zamudio, associate professor of psychology at Spring Hill College, will address issues of diversity and inclusion in health care and higher education as related to the LGBT community and other areas of diversity.

A self-identified Chicana/ Native-American, first-generation college student and lesbian professor, Dr. Franco-Zamudio finds issues of diversity and social justice deeply interesting. She incorporates her personal experiences with privilege and marginalization to develop research questions and course content. She is interested in research involving the intersections of identity, perceptions of person-environment fit and intergroup relations.

Dr. Franco-Zamudio earned a doctorate in social psychology in 2009 from the University of California Santa Cruz. She then joined SHC later that year as assistant professor of psychology. At SHC, Dr. Franco earned many awards including the Rewak Award, Edward J. Moody Teacher of the Year Award and the Dawson Service Award.

Dr. Franco-Zamudio also will present for the Internal Medicine Grand Rounds at the USA Medical Center 2nd floor Conference Center on April 28 at 8 a.m.

For more information on the lecture, contact Chante’ Hendrix at