Thursday, September 7, 2017

September Med School Café - ‘The Importance of Taking Your Medications Correctly’

The September Med School Café lecture will feature Emily McCoy, adjunct assistant professor of internal medicine at the University of South Alabama College of Medicine and associate clinical professor at the Auburn University Harrison School of Pharmacy.  McCoy also serves as a pharmacist with University Physicians Group on University Boulevard.

Her lecture, titled “The Importance of Taking Your Medications Correctly,” will be held on Sept. 22, 2017, at the USA Health 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.

During the lecture, McCoy will review the interactions of common medications and supplements, as well as describe how the environment can affect medication safety and effectiveness. She will also discuss how timing of medication administration can impact medication effectiveness.

McCoy earned her doctor of pharmacy degree from the University of Tennessee Health Science Center in Memphis. She also completed an ambulatory care pharmacy residency with an emphasis in academia at the University of Tennessee.

The Med School Café lecture and lunch are provided free of charge, but reservations are required. For more information or to make reservations, please call Kim Partridge at (251) 460-7770.

Med School Café is a free community lecture series sponsored by the USA Physicians Group. Each month, faculty from the USA College of Medicine share their expertise on a specific medical condition, providing insight on the latest treatment available.

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

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

USA Medical Center Gala 'A Night Honoring Heroes' Set for Oct. 10

Highlighting the courage and dedication of first responders and medical professionals who help patients survive after a traumatic injury, the University of South Alabama Medical Center will host “A Night Honoring Heroes,” a gala scheduled from 5:30 - 9 p.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 10, at the Mobile Convention Center.

“A Night Honoring Heroes” will include a reception, dinner and inspiring video presentations of two patients who suffered traumatic injuries and those who cared for them. University of South Alabama Foundation is the title sponsor for the inaugural event, which will benefit USA Medical Center’s Level 1 Trauma Center.

USA Medical Center holds a unique role as the region’s only Level 1 Trauma Center, the epicenter of the highest level of care when the unexpected happens. USA Medical Center is the only area hospital that has an in-house, around-the-clock trauma team, which includes specialized surgeons, anesthesiologists, nurses, respiratory therapists and others. Working together, they utilize the resources of all medical specialties for a patient’s benefit, greatly improving the chance of survival.

USA Foundation President John McMillan said the Foundation is honored to support “A Night Honoring Heroes.”

“We applaud the commitment and selfless work of those first responders, physicians, nurses and support staff, providing 24-7 life-saving care for the Mobile and surrounding communities,” McMillan said. “We particularly support the unique health care efforts of those involved in the trauma service of the USA Medical Center.  All of us with the USA Foundation are humbled to be a part of this event of special thanks to those who give of themselves tirelessly.”  

Ralph Hargrove, who leads Mobile-based Hargrove Engineers + Constructors, and his wife, Kimberly, are serving as community co-chairs. Through their company, the Hargroves have had personal experience with the exceptional treatment received at USA Medical Center.

“Last year, several of my teammates were in a horrific car accident in Baldwin County and were airlifted to USA Medical Center where they received outstanding, life-saving care,” Ralph Hargrove said.

USA Vice President of Medical Affairs and Dean of the College of Medicine Dr. John Marymont said, “When a life-changing trauma occurs, a team of heroes springs into action for a patient. From police, firefighters and EMS crews to health care professionals throughout the hospital, they stand ready to offer this vital service. This event will honor them as the heroes they truly are.”

USA Medical Center also serves as a key component for economic development efforts in the region. Without its Level 1 Trauma Center and Arnold Luterman Regional Burn Center, the area would not be able to support existing large manufacturing or chemical companies or attract new ones.

Additional sponsorships and event tickets are available. For more information, contact Margaret Sullivan, vice president of development and alumni relations, at or (251) 460-7616.

USA College of Medicine Research Lab Recognized with ‘Blue Flame’ Award

Dr. Mikhail Alexeyev, associate professor of physiology and cell biology at the USA College of Medicine, holds the "Blue Fame" award with research assistant Viktoriya Pastukh. The award was presented to the lab by international nonprofit repository Addgene.
The lab of Dr. Mikhail Alexeyev, associate professor of physiology and cell biology at the University of South Alabama College of Medicine, was presented a “Blue Flame” award by international nonprofit repository Addgene.

Addgene repository facilitates the sharing of molecular biology resources such as plasmids. Plasmids are DNA-based research reagents commonly used in the life sciences. When scientists publish research papers, they deposit their associated plasmids at Addgene. Then, when other scientists read the publication, they have easy access to the plasmids needed to conduct future experiments.

The “Blue Flame” award is issued to a lab when one of the deposited DNA molecules (plasmids) is distributed to at least 100 labs nationally and internationally. Dr. Alexeyev said the plasmid that led to his lab’s award was generated to enable regulated gene overexpression and knockdown in cell lines of interest. “Initially, it was used to express DNA repair enzymes in mitochondria and to knock down expression of lactate dehydrogenase in rodent pulmonary microvascular endothelial cells (PMVECs).  Since then, it has been used by several labs at USA to overexpress or downregulate various genes in the PMVECs and to study mitochondrial biology.”

Dr. Alexeyev said this award recognizes the national and international impact of research at USA. “This award means that at least 100 labs in the world use this particular plasmid and, therefore, are aware of research conducted at USA,” he said. “Together with other plasmids, results of our research have been distributed to more than 350 labs, which helps put research conducted here on the global map.”

The plasmids in Dr. Alexeyev’s lab have been requested by researches from several world premier institutions such as Harvard, CalTech, MIT, Yale, Princeton, Imperial College London, NIH (several institutes), McGill University, Korea Institute of Science and Technology, Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, Case Western Reserve University, University College London, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, Duke, University of Oxford, Cornell, National Taiwan University, and National University of Singapore, among others.

For more information on Addgene, visit .

USA Medical Student Spends Summer at Johns Hopkins CUPID Program

Kyle Clark, center, at the CUPID Oncology Program.
Kyle Clark, a second-year medical student at the University of South Alabama College of Medicine, recently returned from the Cancer in Under-Privileged, Indigent, or Disadvantaged (CUPID) Summer Translational Oncology Program at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore.

The program accepts upcoming second-year medical students from across the country. For seven weeks, students work in an intensive, structured, laboratory-based research environment and present their research in a symposium at the end of the program.

“I was excited to be selected by Johns Hopkins and to participate in the program during the summer,” Clark said.

Clark’s research focused on selecting appropriate patients in the pediatric oncology unit for referral to genetics. Clark said the literature shows that about 10 percent of pediatric oncology patients have an underlying genetic predisposition for their cancer. “Not only that, it turns out half of those patients are not noticed by the treating physician,” he said. “I researched how Johns Hopkins can improve genetic referral for this cancer population.”

Clark and fellow student researchers attended daily lectures on cancer and cancer disparities over the course of the program. “I learned many things about cancer and how cancer treatment and management can possibly improve the lives of cancer patients,” Clark said.

Clark’s favorite experience while in the program was a trip to Washington D.C. to meet with members of the National Coalition for Cancer Survivorship (NCCS). During the meeting, Clark and fellow students met with cancer survivors to hear their stories and experiences. They also met with representatives at the federal level, which allowed Clark to meet with Representative Bradley Byrne of Alabama’s first congressional district, as well as Senators Luther Strange and Richard Shelby of Alabama.

Clark recommends the program to any medical student interested in research and oncology. “It was a great experience, and I learned so much.”

For more information about CUPID, click here.

USA Family Medicine Center Becomes Reach Out and Read Program Site

Dr. Ashlen Aggen, a family medicine resident at USA Health, gives away a book at USA Family Medicine Center's “Champions of Reading” themed kick-off event. The USA Family Medicine Center recently became a Reach Out and Read program site.
The University of South Alabama Family Medicine Center recently became a Reach Out and Read program site, providing age-appropriate books to children at their well-child appointments.

Reach Out and Read (ROR) is a national non-profit organization that advocates for child literacy by working with primary care clinics.

Dr. Ashlen Aggen, a family medicine resident with USA Health, said she is excited for USA Family Medicine to participate in the program. “All of our providers went through training to learn about the importance of helping children build their home libraries and to learn how to select age-appropriate books for children based on their level of development,” she said. “Our first year of the program will be funded by ROR, and USA Family Medicine will take on the expense of continuing the program.”

According to Dr. Aggen, it is important to emphasize the importance of reading to children at a young age. “Reading teaches children to imagine, explore and look at the world in a different way,” she said. “Reading unlocks the door to higher education and becoming whatever you want to be in this world. As a primary care team, the greatest thing we can do is be advocates for our patients. A program that will help set them on a path to achieving their dreams allows us to be the advocates our pediatric patients deserve.”

The Family Medicine Center recently held a “Champions of Reading” themed kick-off event. “At the event, we encouraged children to decorate their own capes and masks to become their own reading superheroes before ‘defending the city’ and taking pictures at our photo booth,” Dr. Aggen said. “Our clinic staff dressed up as various superheroes and fictional characters.”

To learn more about Reach Out and Read, click here