Monday, November 20, 2017

Students, Faculty Present Research Projects at 11th Annual COM Research Forum

The University of South Alabama College of Medicine’s 11th annual Research Forum was held Nov. 17, 2017, on USA’s main campus.

The forum consisted of two sessions. The morning session was comprised of nine oral presentations, and the afternoon session included 42 poster presentations.

Dr. Donna Cioffi, associate professor of biochemistry and molecular biology at the USA College of Medicine, said the research forum is beneficial to both students and faculty. “The forum is a great way for students and post-docs to learn how to network and gives participants a chance to practice their presentation skills,” she said. “The forum also provides the researchers an opportunity to get feedback on their projects, which might include new or different ways of testing a hypothesis, consideration of novel applications or even what might be a good journal to publish in.”

Dr. Cioffi said the event often leads to new collaborations between different research groups within the USA College of Medicine and USA Mitchell Cancer Institute.

This is the third year that the research forum is offering travel awards: one for the best overall graduate student presentation and one for the best overall post-doctoral fellow presentation. These awards are $1,000 each and are to be used for travel to national or international meetings or workshops.

According to Dr. Cioffi, the awards were made possible by the generous support of the USA College of Medicine Dean’s Office, the USA Office of Research and Economic Development, USA Mitchell Cancer Institute and the BMSSO graduate student organization. Awards will be announced later this month.

To learn more about participating in the annual COM Research Forum, contact Dr. Cioffi at

View more photos from the event here.

USA Internal Medicine Attends 2017 ACG Meeting

Several internal medicine residents, fellows and faculty from the University of South Alabama College of Medicine recently attended the World Congress of Gastroenterology at the American College of Gastroenterology (ACG) 2017 Annual Scientific Meeting and Postgraduate Course in Orlando, Fla.

At the meeting, attendees were able to gain invaluable insight as world-leading gastroenterologists discussed a global view of gastroenterology, hepatology and treatments.

USA gastroenterology fellows – Dr. Manoj Kumar, Dr. Benjamin Niland and Dr. William Sonnier – along with USA internal medicine residents – Dr. Andrew Berry and Dr. M. Caitlin Marshall – presented their research at the event.

Several faculty members from the USA College of Medicine also attended the conference, including Drs. Brooks Cash, professor of internal medicine, chief of the division of gastroenterology and director of the USA Digestive Health Center; Jack Di Palma, professor of internal medicine and program director for the division of gastroenterology; Phillip Henderson, assistant professor of internal medicine; Jorge Herrera, professor of internal medicine and director of the section of hepatology; and Reynaldo Rodriguez, assistant professor of internal medicine.

At the conference, Dr. Berry presented six research projects and received the 2017 Presidential Award in the esophagus category.

According to Dr. Berry, conducting research and presenting his findings at the conference enhanced his medical education. “My experience designing several multi-disciplinary and multi-institutional research projects has helped me understand the ethical importance of patient care, enriching team communication skills, better adjusting to setbacks and hurdles along the way, and facing risk and uncertainty while not steering away from innovation — all qualities that can transition to quality patient care,” he said.

The American College of Gastroenterology is a recognized leader in educating gastroenterology professionals and the general public about digestive disorders. Their mission is to advance world-class care for patients with gastrointestinal disorders through excellence, innovation and advocacy in the areas of scientific investigation, education, prevention and treatment.

To learn more about ACG, click here.

Bradley Cross Named Director of Operations for Pediatrics

Bradley Cross recently was appointed director of operations for pediatrics with USA Physicians Group.

In his new position, Cross is responsible for the operating process of pediatrics, including patient and paper flow, revenue controls, staff work environment and the development of new practice functions and activities.

According to Cross, his leadership experience in both inpatient and outpatient pediatric environments makes him uniquely suited to help the department continue to make advances in patient care.

“We have a great group of physicians and advanced practice providers who are always looking at ways to expand patient care,” he said. “I am very impressed with the quality of employees at USA Physicians Group, and I look forward to working side-by-side with them to help reach the goals of the department and organization.”

According to Cross, his overarching goal for the department is to increase patient access. “We have plans to expand our clinic hours into the evening, which will prevent patients from having to go to emergency rooms or urgent care centers when they have an issue that can be handled by a primary care provider,” he said. “Furthermore, with the implementation of our new electronic health record system, I am looking forward to having a more integrated approach to patient scheduling, as it can be a great tool to improve our processes system wide.”

Cross began his professional career as a respiratory therapist at Texas Children’s Hospital in Houston. “I am fortunate to have both inpatient and outpatient health care experience,” he said. “My career as a respiratory therapist helped me understand the big picture of health care and see the patient experience in its entirety.”

Prior to joining USA, he served as senior practice manager with UT Health at the University of Texas Health Science Center in Houston. During his time with UT Health, he managed and coordinated all administrative, clinical and clerical functions required for the operation of a multi-specialty pediatric clinic.

In 2006, Cross earned his associate’s degree in applied science and respiratory care from Alvin Community College in Alvin, Texas. He then earned his bachelor’s degree in business administration from Columbia Southern University and a master of business administration from Texas A&M University in Commerce, Texas.