Friday, July 14, 2017

July Med School Café - ‘Managing Burn Injury: Past, Present and Future’

The July Med School Café lecture will feature Dr. Steven Kahn, assistant professor of surgery at the University of South Alabama College of Medicine and a burn, trauma and critical care surgeon with USA Health. Dr. Kahn also serves as director of the USA Arnold Luterman Regional Burn Center at USA Medical Center. 

His lecture, titled “Managing Burn Injury: Past, Present and Future," will be held on July 28, 2017, at the USA Strada Patient Care Center Conference Room on the first floor. Lunch will be served at 11:30 a.m., and the presentation begins at noon.

Dr. Kahn will review the history of burn treatments and discuss the current treatments for managing burn injuries. He will also discuss advances in burn care and promising treatments underway for burn management.

Dr. Kahn earned his medical degree from East Tennessee State University, Quillen College of Medicine, located in Johnson City, Tenn. He completed a residency in general surgery, as well as a thermal injury research fellowship at the University of Rochester in Rochester, N.Y. He then completed a fellowship in surgical critical care, a fellowship in trauma/acute care surgery, and a burn fellowship at Vanderbilt University Medical Center located in Nashville, Tenn.

Dr. Kahn is a member of the American Medical Association, the American College of Surgeons, the International Society for Burn Injuries, the American Burn Association, the Society of Critical Care Medicine, the Eastern Association for the Surgery of Trauma, and the Surgical Infection Society.

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

Thursday, July 13, 2017

USA Residents, Medical Students Connecting the World Through Medicine

Joseph Cortopassi
Joseph Cortopassi, a rising second-year medical student at the University of South Alabama College of Medicine, vividly remembers finding a heart murmur in a patient during a check-up in a small village about three hours south of Dakar, Senegal. After discussing the man’s condition with him through the local translator, the man began speaking about his Muslim faith. “For the next 20 minutes or so, the provider I was working with and the man had an incredible conversation about one another’s faiths. Afterward, the man walked away very appreciative of us and the conversation he had,” Cortopassi said.

Cortopassi, along with other medical students from USA and residents from USA Health, recently returned from a 10-day mission trip where they served in remote villages outside of Dakar, Senegal. The students and residents did not have access to a hospital to work from, but rather saw patients in a makeshift, outdoor clinic that was set up in the village.

“When I think of the patients we saw, I think of just how limited our resources were,” said Amber Bowie, a rising first-year medical student at USA.

“It’s so amazing to see how people who get by with so little can be content with their lives,” added Dr. Ben Cason, a surgery resident at USA.

Dr. Cason and the other students and residents on the mission trip noticed how well people of different religions and cultures throughout Senegal came together. “Everyone in the area lived at peace with their neighbor despite differences in religion that so divide the rest of the world,” Dr. Cason said.

Erin Bouska, a rising second-year medical student at USA, was touched by the hospitality and kindness that was shown in Senegal. “The sense of community was remarkable, especially between the Christians and Muslims. We not only prayed with Muslims in clinic, but we also learned that Muslims and Christians are friends who live, dine and work together with one another,” she said. “The rest of the world would do well to follow their example.” 

Travis Goodloe, a rising second-year medical student at USA, feels that the training he received at USA prepared him well for the trip as he was ready to provide a significant amount of care to patients that truly made a difference in their lives. “I feel fortunate to have the opportunity to receive my medical training at USA, but I have further realized that I have an obligation to pay this opportunity forward and use the skills I have learned to benefit others who are less fortunate,” he said.

Dr. Cason encourages any medical student and health care professional to get involved with mission projects. “From a humanitarian point of view, one is able to provide a needed service to a population that is unable to receive the service otherwise, and for me, it has been an opportunity to care for the sick and show them God’s love through my work,” he said.

Those who participated in the mission trip were happy to see USA’s reach across the world as students and residents worked to bring care to those who needed it most. “Our trip has the possibility of having a beneficial, yet short-term impact,” Bouska said. “However, to make the efforts of this trip long-lasting, we need the support of the USA Health community so that we can send medical teams back to these areas in the future."

“I think that as USA extends its outreach, it simultaneously serves to strengthen itself in all other facets, including right here in Mobile, because the mission of USA Health is being lived out as students like myself are able to foster our skills and bring them back to this community,” Goodloe said.

Cortopassi said that the mission trip helped remind him of his passion for helping people. “I know at times I personally find myself getting wrapped up in school and grades to the point where I lose focus on why I chose the field of medicine. I believe that mission trips remind us of why we chose this calling,” he said.

Bouska remembers going to sleep each night in Senegal after long days serving its communities while enjoying the view of starry African skies. “From the top of our sleeping quarters, we could clearly make out the Big Dipper, which of course led to multiple debates on the location of the constellations and different planets. It was the perfect way to unwind after a busy day, and I definitely miss it now that I’m home. It was a remarkable experience.” 

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

USA Medical Students Present Research at ACEP Conference

Dr. Michael Sternberg and USA medical students (from left) Tyler Goldbach, Tory Saunders, Austin Brown, Kyle Duncan, Darren Ferree, Blair Gaines, Sam Wilson, Greg Van Wagner and Dillon Casey at the 2017 American College of Emergency Physicians Southeastern Chapter Educational Conference.
Nine rising fourth-year students at the University of South Alabama College of Medicine recently participated in the research and case presentation poster competition at the 2017 American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP) Southeastern Chapter Educational Conference in Destin, Fla.

At the conference, Tory Saunders, Greg Van Wagner and Blair Gaines received second place for their poster presentation titled “I Can’t Feel My Arm.”

“USA’s group was the only student group to compete against emergency medicine residents from established emergency medicine programs in Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, Arkansas, Missouri, Tennessee, Kentucky, South Carolina and Florida,” said Dr. Michael Sternberg,  professor of emergency medicine at the USA College of Medicine. “Although we have won several awards in the past, this year one of our student groups received a top award in the case presentation category."

Overall the group was praised for their efforts and knowledge by the national ACEP faculty,  emergency medicine chairs and residency program directors from across the country.”

The poster focused on moyamoya disease, a vascular disease that affects blood vessel development in the brain. “The research was an interesting case presentation that we wanted to present to other students and emergency medicine physicians to show that a common chief complaint can lead to an unlikely diagnosis,” Van Wagner said. “On imaging, the disease looks like a ‘puff of smoke,’ which is actually the English translation for moyamoya.”

Saunders said the symptoms presented by moyamoya disease are often similar to a stroke. “Knowing these subtle differences can help guide therapy and allow for better patient care,” he said. “I now have an in-depth understanding of the pathophysiology that I will not forget, and I also learned about numerous treatment options that I never knew existed.”

Van Wagner said it is beneficial for medical students to participate in research opportunities or share interesting case presentations to educate others and add more information to the ever-growing body of medical knowledge. “Another big advantage to doing a presentation is to meet other faculty members at other institutions, which allows you to network and learn some tips and tricks regarding your specialty of interest,” he said. “Try to find an interesting topic that you are passionate about. Not only does this make the experience much more enjoyable for yourself, but your audience also will greatly benefit from your enthusiasm.”

“It is also important for students to take advantage of research opportunities in medical school because we will be attending conferences throughout our careers, and the experience you gain can greatly benefit you down the road,” Gains added.

“This was our first time presenting at a conference and I think we all had a great time,” Saunders said. “Initially, we were nervous because we did not know what to expect. All in all, it was great getting to meet students and program directors from different universities who were eager to hear about our case and share our excitement for emergency medicine.”

According to Dr. Sternberg, emergency medicine has become an increasingly popular career choice for medical student graduates at the USA College of Medicine. “In 2017, eight medical students acquired emergency medicine residency positions throughout the country, in part due to their involvement with ACEP and similar activities,” he said.

To learn more about ACEP, click here.

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Mark Your Calendar: 44th Annual Medical Student Research Day

The University of South Alabama College of Medicine will host the 44th annual Medical Student Research Day on Friday, July 28, 2017, in the Medical Sciences Building.

Oral presentations begin at 8:30 a.m., followed by a keynote address at 11:00 a.m. The event will conclude with poster presentations from 12:45 p.m. until 2 p.m.

This year’s keynote address will be given by Dr. Betty Diamond, investigator and head of the Autoimmune and Musculoskeletal Disease Center at the Feinstein Institute for Medical Research in Manhasset, N.Y.

Dr. Diamond is a member of the American Association of Immunology, American College of Rheumatology, American Society for Clinical Investigation and the Association of American Physicians. She is also an elected fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and served as president of the American Association of Immunologists in 2009.

Dr. Diamond’s research has focused on the induction and pathogenicity of anti-DNA antibodies in systemic lupus erythematosus. She earned her medical degree from Harvard Medical School in Boston and completed her residency training in internal medicine at Columbia Presbyterian Medical Center in New York. She also completed a fellowship in immunology at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in Bronx, N.Y.

The nine-week Medical Student Summer Research Program 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. Through this program, students develop an appreciation of how research contributes to the knowledge and the practice of medicine. Support for the program is provided by the USA College of Medicine Dean’s Office and the National Institutes of Health.

Click here for additional information.

USA Welcomes Dr. Percy Crocker

Dr. Percy Crocker recently was appointed assistant professor of otolaryngology at the University of South Alabama College of Medicine and serves as an otolaryngologist with USA Physicians Group.

Dr. Crocker practices otolaryngology, a surgical subspecialty within medicine that deals with conditions of the ear, nose and throat, as well as related structures of the head and neck.

Prior to joining USA, Dr. Crocker served as an otolaryngologist at Premier Medical Group in Mobile, Ala., and privately practiced from 1977 to 1997 in Mobile, Ala.

Dr. Crocker earned his medical degree from the University of Alabama at Birmingham in Birmingham, Ala. He completed his residency training in otolaryngology at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, serving as chief resident.

Dr. Crocker is a member of the American Board of Otolaryngology, the Alabama Society of Otolaryngology and the American Society of Sleep Disorders.

Dr. Crocker sees patients at 1720 Center St. in Suite 103. To make an appointment with him, call (251) 415-1475.