Friday, August 11, 2017

Pediatrics Hosting Grand Rounds Aug. 18

Dr. Anne-Marie Kaulfers, associate professor of pediatrics at the University of South Alabama College of Medicine and a pediatric endocrinologist with USA Physicians Group, will present “Update on Diabetes and Pre-Diabetes/Obesity” for August’s pediatric grand rounds.

The event will take place Friday, Aug. 18, at 8 a.m. in the conference room on the first floor of the Strada Patient Care Center.

Dr. Kaulfers will explain the difference in labs regarding Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes. She will also discuss new technologies that will soon be available for patients with diabetes and the new guidelines for obesity and pre-diabetes.

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

The Strada Patient Care Center is located at 1601 Center St. in Mobile.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

USA COM Announces New Office for Research Education and Training

The University of South Alabama College of Medicine recently created the Office for Research Education and Training (ORET), offering new opportunities to undergraduate, graduate and postdoctoral students.

“The purpose of the Office for Research Education and Training is to provide visibility, an integrated structure and resources for research training across the spectrum from undergraduate students, to pre-doctoral graduate students to postdoctoral fellows in the USA College of Medicine,” said Dr. Mary Townsley, senior associate dean of the USA College of Medicine.

Starting this fall, ORET will develop an integrated undergraduate summer research program for the USA College of Medicine, offer new Dean’s fellowships for first- and second-year pre-doctoral students and provide career development courses and workshops.

Dr. Mark Taylor, director of the graduate program and associate professor of physiology and cell biology at the USA College of Medicine, serves as co-director of ORET for the Basic Medical Sciences (BMS) Graduate Program. His primary focus includes coordinating curriculum development, monitoring student performance, and advising students as they progress through their doctoral training.

The new one-year Dean’s Predoctoral Fellowship offers up to three $30,000 awards each year to BMS students in their second or third year of training with USA College of Medicine faculty as primary mentors.

“Medical research has become a highly collaborative endeavor,” Dr. Taylor said. “Our research training programs are designed to help trainees develop skill sets required to thrive in this multidisciplinary environment. This requires encouraging and maintaining a highly diverse environment in which students, fellows, faculty and staff from a wide variety of scientific and cultural backgrounds work in an integrated interdisciplinary professional setting.”

Dr. Tom Rich, professor of pharmacology at the USA College of Medicine, also serves as co-director of ORET for the undergraduate and graduate research training programs. He will be responsible for procuring extramural funding to support undergraduate and graduate training experiences.

According to Dr. Rich, ORET will develop undergraduate research experiences in which undergraduate students from USA and other universities work with faculty in the College of Medicine to learn cutting-edge approaches that improve understanding of biological systems.

“A critical part of these experiences will include career development activities that help students understand the array of career options and develop skill sets required to embark on research-based careers,” he said. “Critical first steps in this process include choosing and then successfully applying to competitive graduate programs. We anticipate that we will recruit a subset of students participating in our undergraduate research experience into the BMS graduate program, as well as other graduate programs at USA.”

According to Dr. Taylor, a major objective of faculty in the USA College of Medicine is developing and maintaining national and internationally recognized research programs. “ORET seeks to both support and utilize these programs to guide undergraduate, graduate and postdoctoral trainees through their professional development and into productive careers,” he said.

According to Dr. Townsley, the Basic Medical Sciences Postdoctoral Graduate Program has substantial history, as it was the first Ph.D. program at USA. “The program has been effective in developing research skills of postdoctoral trainees and has seen placement of alumni in careers ranging from academia to industry, the government and elsewhere,” she said. “However, the College of Medicine has not developed a pipeline for research training leading to the Ph.D. program and predoctoral training, nor have we invested in career development. It is time to do both and ORET will provide the infrastructure for those efforts.”

USA Welcomes Dr. Charles Harmon

Dr. Charles Harmon recently was appointed assistant professor of pediatrics at the University of South Alabama College of Medicine and will serve as a neonatologist at USA Children’s and Women’s Hospital.

Prior to joining USA, Dr. Harmon served as a clinical instructor of neonatology at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center in Pittsburgh.

Dr. Harmon earned his medical degree from the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill, N.C., in 2010. He completed his residency training in pediatrics at the Children’s Hospital of Alabama in Birmingham, Ala., and a neonatal and perinatal fellowship at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center in Pittsburgh.

Dr. Harmon is a member of the Society for Pediatric Research and the American Academy of Pediatrics. He is board-certified by the American Board of Pediatrics.

Monday, August 7, 2017

Mark Your Calendar: Autism Grand Rounds

As part of this year’s Autism Grand Rounds, Dr. Christina Talerico, child and adolescent fellow in the USA Department of Psychiatry, will present “The Role of Psychiatry in the Treatment of Autism Spectrum Disorder.”

The event will take place Aug. 18, 2017, from 9:30 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. in the first floor conference room at the Strada Patient Care Center.

The meeting is designed to provide a forum for discussion of research and service provision within the University community related to autism spectrum disorders and developmental disabilities. This event is open to faculty, staff and students at USA. For additional information, contact Amy Mitchell at 410-4820 or

The Strada Patient Care Center is located at 1601 Center St. in Mobile.

COM Class of 2021 Introduced to Medical School During Orientation

The University of South Alabama College of Medicine welcomed 77 new faces last week for the Class of 2021’s freshman orientation.

“This was an amazing orientation with lots of smiles and conversation,” said Dr. Susan LeDoux, associate dean of medical education and student affairs at USA. “This year we introduced our wellness initiative, which provided additional opportunities for peer-to-peer mentoring with first- and second-year students. It appeared to be well-received by the incoming students.”

During orientation, the first-year medical students’ schedules were packed with information sessions, policy briefings and campus tours. The Freshman Orientation Committee – made of second-year medical students at the USA College of Medicine —plays a major role in the planning and implementation of the activities for the week, which includes both social events and small-group question and answer sessions.

For the first time, the freshman medical students were assigned to five different wellness “houses.” The houses – named after the five rivers that feed into Mobile Bay – are comprised of first-, second-, third- and fourth-year medical students.

On the first day of orientation, the students opened their wellness house assignment letter. The process mimicked Match Day, as students opened their letters with excitement to find out their placement. The students will remain in their wellness house group for the remainder of medical school.

Freshman students also were provided with an overview of what they should expect during the upcoming years as they study medicine. On Tuesday, Dr. Marjorie Scaffa, health and wellness counselor at the USA College of Medicine, discussed stress and adaptive behaviors in medical school. The students were also given valuable insight on effective study strategies.

Click here to view more photos from orientation week.