Friday, August 25, 2017

Ashton Hennig Appointed Manager of Outreach, Special Projects

Ashton Hennig, an administrative resident at USA Health, recently was appointed manager of outreach and special projects for USA Health.

“In this new position, Ashton will work with health system leadership, hospital department heads and physician leadership to establish and strengthen relationships with hospitals and physicians throughout our service area,” said Owen Bailey, chief executive officer for USA Health. “The experience she gained as an administrative resident combined with her commitment to our mission places her in a unique position to continue strengthening USA Health and our commitment to health care in this region.”

As manager of outreach and special projects, Hennig will be responsible for planning, developing, implementing and evaluating outreach opportunities for the health system in collaboration with key service line and departmental leaders. She will also provide support to leadership in strategic planning, project management, productivity and operation improvement, and other strategic activities within USA Health. In addition, Hennig will continue to manage the Strada Patient Care Center.

Hennig earned her bachelor of business administration degree from the University of Mississippi in Oxford, Miss., and her master of science degree in health administration from the University of Alabama at Birmingham.

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Students Participate in DREAM Program to Prepare for Medical School

Several undergraduate students from across the region recently completed the University of South Alabama Diversity Recruitment and Enrichment for Admission into Medicine (DREAM) program, preparing them for the rigors of medical school.

DREAM recently held their closing ceremony at the Medical Sciences Building to mark the end of this year’s program.

“The USA College of Medicine is committed to promoting and supporting diversity and inclusion in health care,” said Dr. Jeffrey Sosnowski, assistant dean for curriculum integration and associate professor of medical education USA College of Medicine. “A diverse student body and future physician workforce benefits our perspective as learners and our compassion as clinicians. Toward this effort, we are excited to welcome highly motivated and academically driven students to apply to our DREAM program.”

The highly competitive eight-week medical school preparatory program is designed to provide a comprehensive learning experience for underrepresented premedical students during the first two summers prior to their junior and senior undergraduate years.

Scholars participating in the DREAM program receive assistance from top medical educators in preparation for the MCAT and are appointed a USA College of Medicine faculty, resident or student mentor. Scholars also receive pre-health professional advising, participate in leadership and professional development, and earn a seat in the USA College of Medicine first year class upon successfully meeting admission criteria.

“I heard about the DREAM program my senior year of high school and thought it would be a good idea to keep my mind fresh during the summer,” said Aliyah Kennedy, a 2017 graduate of USA. She recently completed the DREAM program and is now a first-year medical student at the USA College of Medicine.

“The DREAM program prepared me for the MCAT through a rigorous review of materials that the test would cover,” she said. “It also built upon the knowledge I already had and gave me more details about topics such as biochemistry and physics.”

Each summer, 12 students are selected from around the state of Alabama and its contiguous states to participate in the program. Participants are taught by rising second-year students at the USA College of Medicine under the supervision of a medical faculty course director.

Within the program, students gain knowledge through daily instruction and review of the basic sciences and topics that make up the MCAT. The students receive grades for both phases and need an average of 70 percent to pass.

According to Kennedy, Phase I consisted of more intense course work and MCAT preparation. “Phase II focused on large concepts and how to apply them to the real world through assignments and case studies,” she said. “We also shadowed doctors and went through brief lessons at the simulation lab.”

Kennedy said the program not only prepared her for the MCAT, but it also gave her an idea of what to expect as she begins medical school. “We would often be in class from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m., and then go home to continue studying more material,” she said. “This tough course work is similar to how medical school truly is.”

Kennedy said she recommends undergraduate students to participate in the program, as it is very beneficial for aspiring physicians. “It may be difficult, but the rewards far outweigh the hardship,” she said. “This program prepares future doctors for the MCAT and the difficulty of medical school, while exposing students to the clinical setting.”

The USA DREAM program was first developed in 1986 as the Biomedical Enrichment and Recruitment (BEAR) program. The major goal of the program was to introduce, expose and encourage disadvantaged and underrepresented students to consider careers in medicine. In 2008, the program became the DREAM program with a primary shift in focus from first-year medical school introduction to intense preparation for the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT).

Applications for the DREAM program are scrupulously reviewed with the applicant’s demonstrated career interest, efforts, commitment and qualifications considered. Qualified Alabama residents are given priority for acceptance. Team-based learning and clinical case seminar activities, weekly examinations, reading comprehension and critical thinking are utilized in homework and classroom assignments.

Learn more about the DREAM program here.

USA Welcomes Dr. J. Ivan Lopez

Dr. J. Ivan Lopez recently was appointed professor of neurology at the University of South Alabama College of Medicine and serves as a pediatric and adult neurologist with USA Physicians Group.

Dr. Lopez previously served as the interim chair of the department of neurology at the University of Nevada in Reno, Nev. He has also served as the director of the Renown Institute for Neurosciences in Reno and as professor at the University of Nevada, Reno School of Medicine.

After earning his medical degree from the La Salle University School of Medicine in Mexico City, Dr. Lopez completed residency training in neurology at USA.

Dr. Lopez serves in the United States Army Reserve and was promoted to Colonel in February 2017. He has won many awards for his service.

Dr. Lopez is a member of the American Stroke Association, the American Headache Society and the American Academy of Neurology. He sees patients at the Strada Patient Care Center located at 1601 Center St. To make an appointment, call (251) 660-5108.

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

USA Gastroenterology Recognized for Excellent Customer Service

The University of South Alabama Physicians Group hosted a celebration for the clinic scoring the highest for courtesy and respect on patient satisfaction surveys.

USA Gastroenterology, located at USA Commons, was recognized for having the highest score of 97 percent on the in-house survey.

“We realize that it can be very uncomfortable and scary to see the doctor, therefore, excellent customer service can help minimize the patient’s fear by having someone treat them with a smile, empathy and respect,” said Sandra Curtis, manager of quality improvement for USA Physicians Group. “The survey is a way to help us identify ways of improving our practice, which translates into better care and happier patients.”

The patient satisfaction survey includes questions concerning ease of appointment, courtesy of staff, wait time to see the physician, respect shown and privacy needs met. Responses for courtesy, respect and meeting patients’ privacy needs are mathematically averaged to determine scores.

The purpose of these quarterly awards is to keep customer service in the forefront of USA Physicians Group clinics. “Our goal is to receive a 90 percent rating in our clinics,” Curtis said. “The USA Gastroenterology clinic recently was rewarded with an ice cream party to show our appreciation of their commitment to excellence.”

To qualify for the customer service award, the clinic must receive at least 50 patient satisfaction surveys for the quarter. For USA Physician Group clinics interested in improving their customer service skills, training sessions are available. To learn more, contact the Quality Management Department at 471-7836.

Department of Radiology Donates School Supplies

The University of South Alabama Physicians Group Department of Radiology recently held a school supply drive benefiting students at the Southwest Alabama Regional School for the Deaf and Blind, delivering $1,000 worth of supplies on Aug. 11, 2017.

Throughout the summer, several radiologic technologists at the Strada Patient Care Center collected school supplies and art materials to donate to the school. “We interact with all types of children and adults with various needs and disabilities every day,” said Joey Baggett, supervisor of radiology and teleradiology at the Strada Patient Care Center. “Donating these supplies and materials was our way of giving back to the community.”

According to Baggett, the department decided to donate to the school because several radiologic technologists have bought handmade holiday cards from the students in the past.  “We wanted to give them some of the materials to make more holiday cards this year, as well as other supplies that they can use throughout the school year.”

Overall, Baggett said this year’s donation was a success. “We would like to thank Ms. Mandy Sullivan, the principal of the school, and Mrs. Amy Hess, the mobility specialist, for allowing us to visit and be a part of their school,” he said. “Next year, we will include the entire Strada Patient Care Center in collecting donations.”