Friday, November 17, 2017

USA Medical Students Participate in Light the Night

Students from the University of South Alabama College of Medicine recently participated in the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society’s Light the Night walk and campaign events.

Second-year medical student Benjamin McCormick led efforts to promote and coordinate the campaign.

Light the Night brings together cancer patients, survivors and friends and family of people in the community who have experienced the effects of cancer. The campaign provides an opportunity to raise money for a non-profit organization that directly provides funds for cancer research.

After McCormick’s father passed away from complications of a blood-based cancer earlier this year, he wanted to raise money for research efforts related to the disease. He reached out to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society and has since become one of their community leaders known as a “Leader of Light.”

McCormick is interested in pursuing oncology as a future physician. He spent the past summer in the stem cell transplant clinic at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, Tenn., doing research with the physician who attended to his father’s transplant in 2011.

“As medical students and physicians at USA, we are the light for many people fighting cancer in the Mobile area,” McCormick said. “We will be the ones implementing the research funded by the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society in years to come, so I think it is very important for students and members of USA Health to be involved in community events like this.”

In addition to USA’s involvement with the Leukemia and Lymphoma’s campaign, McCormick also reached out the MudLove Organization, a non-profit organization that typically funds efforts for safer drinking water in Africa. They also partner with communities for local causes. In this instance, Mudlove is working with the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society in an effort to raise funds for cancer research and treatment through the sale of handcrafted mugs and wrist bands.

McCormick is grateful to the 20 medical student team members who participated in the Light the Night event and many friends and family members who provided support.

“Thank you to everyone who came out to support the Light the Night celebration and for those of you who donated to our campaign,” McCormick said. “This event has a huge impact on funding cancer research nationwide and will no doubt lead to better treatment options in years to come,” he said.

To donate directly to McCormick’s campaign for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, click here.

To purchase handmade items from the MudLove Organization that will go directly to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, click here.

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Dr. John Marymont Appointed to Advisory Roles

Dr. John V. Marymont, vice president for medical affairs and dean of the College of Medicine at the University of South Alabama, was appointed to the Jones Health Care Advisory Board at Rice University’s Jones Graduate School of Business and as the Council of Deans Liaison to the Association of American Medical Colleges’ (AAMC) Group on Business Affairs (GBA).

According to Dr. Marymont, both appointments provide the opportunity to contribute to programs that play a significant role in the health care and medical education fields while providing the opportunity to build relationships with business, health care and educational leaders from across the country.

“It’s an honor to represent the University of South Alabama on a national level and to work with leaders at the AAMC and at Rice University,” Dr. Marymont said.  “Both of these appointments not only provide an opportunity to give insight and advice, but also to learn and to incorporate new ideas, best practices and programs at USA.”

The Jones Health Care Advisory Board at Rice University comprises a group of national leaders from different sectors of the health care industry that advise and interact with different constituents at the Jones Graduate School of Business. Dr. Marymont is a graduate from the Jones School of Business with the highest distinction of a “Jones Scholar.”

The AAMC’s GBA is an active group comprised of senior finance and administration leaders at medical schools, as well as department business managers and other dean’s office staff involved in medical school operations.

Department of Pediatrics Hosts Residents Day

The University of South Alabama College of Medicine Department of Pediatrics hosted its 16th  annual Residents Day on Oct. 24, 2017. At the event, senior residents in the pediatrics residency program presented their scholarly work to fellow residents, faculty and students.

Dr. Haidee Custodio, associate director of the pediatrics and residency program and assistant professor of pediatrics at the USA College of Medicine, says that Research Day serves to recognize and highlight the residents’ scholarly activity with their faculty mentors.

Residents choose a topic and faculty advisor and then work on their scholarly activity for the first two years of their training.

Dr. Custodio said that many of the residents subsequently present their research in oral or poster presentations at the Southern Regional Meeting.

“Our Research Day and participation at the Southern Regional Meeting is a testament to the dedication and support of the pediatrics department to our residents’ professional growth,” Dr. Custodio said.

The pediatrics department bestows the Charles Jay Hoff Award for excellence in scholarly activity to the resident and his/her faculty adviser with the best project, as chosen by evaluations from faculty members in the department. The recipient of this award is announced at the end of the academic year.

View more photos from the event here.

USA Internal Medicine Residency Program Participates in Service Project for Children in Need

University of South Alabama internal medicine residents Drs. April Renee Ruffin and Keniel Pierre were among several internal medicine residents who raised more than $2,000 for Feeding the Gulf Coast’s Backpack Program. The program helps meet the needs of chronically hungry children by providing them with nutritious and easy-to-prepare food to take home from school on weekends.
The University of South Alabama Internal Medicine Residency Program recently raised more than $2,000 for Feeding the Gulf Coast’s Backpack Program. The program helps meet the needs of chronically hungry children by providing them with nutritious and easy-to-prepare food to take home from school on weekends.

USA internal medicine resident Dr. Keniel Pierre spearheaded the service project at USA. The residency program’s original goal was to collect enough money to sponsor one or two children for the school year. However, Dr. Pierre’s fellow internal medicine residents “took the charge” and decided to give. With the money they have collected, they plan on sponsoring at least 19 children for the entire 34-week school year.

“It is important for physicians to be a part of their communities,” said Dr. Judy Blair-Elortegui, associate professor of internal medicine and program director for the department.  “We should not only provide health care, but also advocate for and participate in creating healthy communities for our patients. She said the benefits are two-fold - participation in service activities also can be an important aspect of personal wellness for residents.

Dr. Pierre got the idea to participate in a community service project after performing an act of altruism last December. Working with USA physician Dr. Antwan Hogue, Dr. Pierre was able to set up a patient at a Halfway House during the holiday. “The smile on the patient’s face when I told him the good news was inspiring and reminded me of the reason I chose medicine – to help people,” Dr. Pierre said.

According to Dr. Pierre, community service puts things into perspective. “Often times -- as physicians -- we focus on the acute issues that bring patients into the hospital or the treatment of their chronic conditions within our short clinic visit,” he said. “Thus, we rarely find the time to understand the patient's specific barriers to our treatment plan.”

Looking at the big picture, Dr. Pierre said you realize there are things that medications or surgeries can't fix. “Your penicillin won’t find this diabetic a home to live in so he can keep his insulin refrigerated,” he said. “The medication you prescribed won’t be filled when a single mother has to decide between that and feeding her children over the weekend. Community service allows physicians the opportunity to donate their time and energy into identifying and understanding these barriers in an effort to use our influence and resources to help resolve them.”

As a previous Service Scholar at Florida State University, Dr. Pierre worked with the local food bank in Tallahassee. Once at USA, he learned about Feeding the Gulf Coast and loved the idea of providing meals for kids who would otherwise go hungry on the weekends. “Being able to feed the kids within our own community was the cherry on top,” he said.

Feeding the Gulf Coast’s Backpack Program is available at schools that have a high incidence of children in need. Every Friday, the school distributes a bag of food to the participating children. The children’s identities remain anonymous to the food bank, donors, and their peers. Bags are placed discreetly in children’s backpacks on Friday afternoons for them to take home over the weekend.

Dr. Pierre expressed his thanks to all who gave to the cause. “This was truly a departmental project,” he said. “Here at USA, we’re not just another residency program; we’re a family that comes together to help other families.”

Anne Norton Appointed Director of Operations for Surgery at USA Physicians Group

Anne Norton recently was appointed director of operations for surgery at USA Physicians Group.

In her new position, Norton will manage the day-to-day operations in the outpatient surgery clinics associated with USA Physicians Group. She will also assist in implementing new initiatives that will maximize the improvement of patient experiences, efficiency and employee morale.

“I am excited about the opportunity to support the success of the department of surgery. We have outstanding faculty, and it is an honor to work with them,” Norton said. “As a nurse, each business decision begins with a consultation of how it will impact the patient and improve patient care.”

Since 2000, Norton served USA Physicians Group as a manager of clinical operations and has been responsible for the operations of four surgery clinic locations and an orthopaedic clinic. In addition, she has worked extensively with the implementation of electronic health records.

Norton earned her diploma in nursing from the Providence School of Nursing in Mobile, Ala.

Prior to serving at USA, Norton was the vice president of operations and director of development and customer service at PrimeHealth in Mobile, Ala.

Norton has been married to her husband, Bob, for 33 years, and they have three adult children. She is an active member of the Corpus Christi Parish in Mobile, Ala. 

Monday, November 13, 2017

USA Health Names Rickert as Chief Policy Officer

USA Health has named Danny Rickert as its chief policy officer and assistant vice president for medical affairs, a new role that will lead the system's efforts in healthcare policy, regional outreach, and federal and state managed care.

Rickert, a 27-year veteran of USA Health, most recently served as associate administrator for external affiliates and network development.

"We are in a period of growth at USA Health, and I am happy to be a part of the team," Rickert said. "In our role as our region’s only academic health system, we are able to offer the community many unique services through our hospitals, clinics and support services, as well as our teaching and research efforts."

USA Health Chief Executive Officer and Senior Associate Vice President Owen Bailey said, "Danny is a valuable member of our team. His knowledge of healthcare policy is impressive, and he never loses sight of our mission -- to help people lead longer, better lives. His leadership will help us grow both now and in the future."

In this new role, Rickert will work closely with the USA Health leadership team to develop strategies and monitor national trends, particularly regarding changes in Medicare, Medicaid and insurance reimbursements. He will collaborate with USA government relations staff in national and state healthcare policy efforts.

He will also be responsible for USA Health's regional referral network and telehealth efforts. Rickert will continue in his leadership role with Gulf Coast Regional Care, a network of Medicaid providers and care management services.

An alumnus of USA, Rickert received his degree in communications. He and his wife, Joan, who also received her degree from USA, have two children and a new grandson, all of whom were born at USA Children’s & Women’s Hospital.