Wednesday, September 19, 2018

USA Family Medicine Welcomes Nurse Practitioner Kaitlin Brantley

Kaitlin Brantley recently joined USA Health as a nurse practitioner in the department of family medicine.

She previously served as a pediatric critical care registered nurse at USA Children’s & Women’s Hospital.

Brantley received her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of South Alabama and is a member of the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners.

Brantley is accepting new patients at the Strada Patient Care Center. To make an appointment, call (251) 434-3475.

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Med School Café - Expert Advice for the Community

Dr. William Kilgo, assistant professor of neurology at the University of South Alabama College of Medicine and a neurologist with USA Physicians Group, presented August’s Med School Café lecture, “The Importance of Specialized Care for Patients with Multiple Sclerosis.”

During the talk, Dr. Kilgo discussed the importance of getting an accurate diagnosis, which leads to proper treatment of multiple sclerosis.

Dr. Kilgo, whose specialty is multiple sclerosis, received his medical degree and completed his residency training in neurology at the USA College of Medicine. He completed a neurology fellowship with a focus on neuroimmunology at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. Dr. Kilgo is a member of the Alabama Academy of Neurology and American Academy of Neurology, among others.

Watch August Med School Café - The Importance of Specialized Care for Patients with Multiple Sclerosis on YouTube or below.

Friday, September 14, 2018

USA Welcomes Dr. Emad Al Jaber

Dr. Emad Al Jaber recently was appointed assistant professor of internal medicine at the University of South Alabama College of Medicine and serves as a nephrologist with USA Physicians Group.

Dr. Al Jaber earned his medical degree from the University of Khartoum, Faculty of Medicine in Khartoum, Sudan. He completed his residency training in internal medicine at the University of Jordan in Amman, Jordan. He then completed a geriatric medicine fellowship at George Washington University Hospital in Washington, D.C., and a nephrology fellowship at the University of Alabama at Birmingham.

He is a member of the American Society of Nephrology and National Kidney Foundation,

Dr. Al Jaber is accepting new patients. To make an appointment, call (251) 470-5890.

Thursday, September 13, 2018

USA Welcomes Dr. Osama Elkadi to Pathology

Dr. Osama Elkadi recently was appointed assistant professor of pathology at the University of South Alabama College of Medicine and a pathologist with USA Physicians Group.

Dr. Elkadi received his medical degree from Cairo University in Cairo, Egypt, and completed his pathology residency at Albany Medical Center in Albany, N.Y. He completed his neuropathology fellowship at Oregon Health and Science University and his cytopathology fellowship at Hahnemann University Hospital in Philadelphia.

Dr. Elkadi is a member of the United States and Canadian Academy of Pathology and American Society of Cytopathology.

Dr. James Toldi Joins USA Family Medicine

Dr. James Toldi recently was appointed assistant professor of family medicine at the University of South Alabama College of Medicine and serves as a family medicine and sports medicine physician with USA Physicians Group.

Dr. Toldi earned his medical degree from Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine in Bradenton, Fla. He then completed his residency training in family medicine and sports medicine at Florida State University College of Medicine at Lee Memorial Hospital in Fort Myers, Fla., and a fellowship in sports medicine at the University of New Mexico College of Medicine in Albuquerque, N.M.

Prior to joining USA, Dr. Toldi served as a sports medicine physician at San Diego Sports Medicine and Family Health Center in San Diego. He also brings experience as a Division 1 collegiate team physician at San Diego State University, the University of New Mexico and Florida Gulf Coast University. Dr. Toldi said he is excited to bring this expertise to the patients at USA Health.

He is a member of the American Medical Society for Sports Medicine, American College of Sports Medicine, American Medical Association, American Academy of Family Physicians and the American Osteopathic Association.

Dr. Toldi is accepting new patients. To make an appointment with him, call (251) 434-3475.

Richard Trieu Participates in NIDDK Medical Student Research Program in Diabetes

Richard Trieu, a second-year student at the University of South Alabama College of Medicine, spent the summer at the University of Washington in Seattle, studying type 2 diabetes as part of the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK) Medical Student Research Program in Diabetes.

Sponsored by the National Institutes of Health through the NIDDK, the program allows medical students to conduct research under the direction of an established scientist in the areas of diabetes, hormone action, physiology, islet cell biology or obesity at an institution with one of the NIDDK-funded research centers during the summer between the first and second year or second and third year of medical school. 

Trieu worked with the University of Washington's Dr. Steven Kahn, an endocrinologist and principal investigator of a basic science research lab focused on type 2 diabetes.

"My project looked at an inhibitor of β-cell death, apoptosis repressor with caspase recruitment domain (ARC)," Trieu said. "We investigated whether the reduction of endogenous ARC would increase β-cell death in unstressed mouse islets."

At the end of the summer, Trieu – along with 130 other students from more than 70 medical schools  traveled to Nashville, Tenn., to present at the NIDDK scientific symposium for all program participants.

"It was interesting to see how institutions prioritized their curriculum and student programming," he said. "We presented our summer research projects to each other in moderated groups, which exposed me to a lot of interesting fields within diabetes and nephrology from multiple research perspectives (clinical, translational and basic science)."

Trieu said the NIDDK summer program was a great opportunity to explore the city of Seattle for the first time and to hone in on the type of research that interests him. The goal of the program is to help medical students gain a better understanding of career opportunities in biomedical research as well as a comprehensive understanding of diabetes, its clinical manifestations and its unsolved problems.

"Given that this was my first time to investigate a topic outside of neuroscience, I found it interesting to see the similarities and differences in methodology and logic between the two fields," said Trieu, who earned his bachelor's degree in neuroscience from the University of Alabama at Birmingham in 2017. "It was nice to focus on one topic over the summer and try to understand it on a deeper level. Since my principal investigator is a practicing endocrinologist, I also got a glimpse on how he balanced his career in research with clinical career."

With his first year of medical school at USA under his belt, Trieu said he had a solid foundation of biochemistry, immunology, anatomy and the cardiovascular system that he was able to pull from when conducting research over the summer.

"However, I think the most important part of my education so far was learning to think about the totality of a disease. My time at South Alabama has challenged me to understand how a disease presents, is diagnosed, is treated, and its epidemiology," he said. "My training here allowed me to better understand the cell death process that underlies type 2 diabetes as well as better appreciate the clinical relevance and patients affected by the pathology."

Learn more about the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases and the NIDDK Medical Student Research Program in Diabetes.

Pediatrics Grand Rounds Set for Sept. 21

Dr. Aaron Wallender, medical director at Gulf Coast Cleft and Craniofacial team in Pensacola, Fla., will present “Comprehensive Care of Cleft Lip and Palate” at September's pediatrics grand rounds.

The lecture is set for 8 a.m. Sept. 21, in the conference room on the first floor of the Strada Patient Care Center.

Dr. Wallender will discuss the standards of care for cleft lip and palate, provide a treatment timeline to address common issues that develop in growing patients, and provide resources for providers to give patients and their families.

The event is open to USA faculty, staff and students. A light breakfast, coffee and beverages will be provided.

For more information, contact LaTasha Williams at latashawilliams@health.southalabama.edu or (251) 415-8688.

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Dr. Perkins Receives HRSA Grant for Opioid Misuse Training

Dr. Allen Perkins, professor and chair of family medicine at the University of South Alabama College of Medicine, recently received a $100,000 grant from the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) for the training of individuals who deliver and/or support the treatment of opioid use disorder. The funding is part of the Department of Health and Human Services’ overall strategy to fight the opioid epidemic.

Alabama continues to be among the top states for narcotic prescribing, and the opioid crisis is affecting the Mobile community, in particular. According to Dr. Perkins, of all the prescriptions written for Medicare recipients in Mobile, 7.7 percent are for opioid analgesia, compared with the national average of 5.5 percent.

"The need to educate care providers regarding safe and effective use of opioid analgesia is acute given the availability of this medication in the community," Dr. Perkins said.

The training is being integrated into USA's medical education program through the addition of training modules on the screening, identification and management of opioid dependency and misuse in the primary care setting. The modules are required of all learners who rotate through the clinical site, impacting 25 medical students, 18 family medicine residents, and 10 physician assistant students annually.

Screening for opioid misuse is initiated using a validated single-question screen: “How many times in the past year have you used an illegal drug or used a prescription medication for non-medical reasons?" Training care providers includes developing and implementing strategies to counsel or refer individuals who screen positive as appropriate, as well as using alternative medical treatment to combat opioid addiction.

"This dovetails nicely into our currently funded project, 'The Complex Patient in the Primary Care Medical Home,'" Dr. Perkins said. "We have developed educational modules to ensure that all learners are familiar with health literacy, cultural humility, and the principles of the Patient Centered Medical Home."

For family medicine residents, faculty have created self-guided educational content around complex patients, and content related to Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT) is being incorporated into this effort, Dr. Perkins said.

In the clinical setting, care providers currently screen patients for depression using the Patient Health Questionnaire (PHQ-2). They have begun screening for opioid misuse as well, Dr. Perkins said, and those who screen positive are referred to behavioral health counselors and students embedded in the clinical delivery activities.

"We are excited about the opportunity to improve patient care with the addition of opioid misuse screening and referral for treatment," Dr. Perkins said.

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

USA Welcomes Cardiologist Dr. Farnoosh Rahimi to Internal Medicine

Dr. Farnoosh Rahimi recently was appointed assistant professor of internal medicine at the University of South Alabama College of Medicine and serves as a cardiologist with USA Physicians Group. 

Dr. Rahimi earned her medical degree from the Tehran University of Medical Sciences in Tehran, Iran. She then completed her residency training in internal medicine at Georgetown University/ Washington Hospital Center in Washington, D.C., and a fellowship in cardiovascular disease at the University of Connecticut School of Medicine in Farmington, Conn. 

She is board-certified in internal medicine and a member of the American College of Cardiology and the American Society of Echocardiography. 

Dr. Rahimi is accepting new patients. To make an appointment, call (251) 445-8242.

Monday, September 10, 2018

USA Hosts Southern All of Us Network Regional Meeting

From left, are Dr. Bruce Korf, professor and chair of genetics and director of the Heflin Center for Genomic Sciences at the University of Alabama at Birmingham; Dr. Errol Crook, professor and Abraham Mitchell Chair of Internal Medicine at the University of South Alabama College of Medicine, director of the USA Center for Healthy Communities, and principal investigator for the All of Us Research Program at USA; Dr. Mary Townsley, senior associate dean of the USA College of Medicine; and Dr. Beth Lewis, professor of preventative medicine and chair of epidemiology at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. Not pictured are Dr. Allen Perkins, professor and chair of family medicine at the USA College of Medicine, a family medicine physician with USA Physicians Group, and co-principal investigator for the All of Us Research Program; and Dr. Martha Arrieta, director of research at the USA Center for Healthy Communities and community engagement lead for the All of Us Research Program. 
The University of South Alabama recently hosted the second regional meeting of the Southern All of Us Network (SAoUN) at the Strada Patient Care Center. Comprised of 11 universities and medical facilities in Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana, the SAoUN is part of the All of Us Research Program.

All of Us is a nationwide research program from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) with the goal of advancing precision medicine, which is the individualized prevention, treatment and care for people of all backgrounds. While health care is often one-size-fits-all, All of Us aims to change the future of health by tailoring care to the individual.

The All of Us Research Program seeks the participation of 1 million people or more to reflect the country's rich diversity and to produce meaningful health outcomes for communities historically underrepresented in biomedical research. Over time, participants will share information about their health, and all identifying information will be protected. Researchers will use this data to conduct thousands of studies on health and disease, and what they learn could improve health for generations to come.

In October, USA Health expects to begin recruiting for the All of Us Research Program at three locations: USA Stanton Road Clinic, USA Family Medicine Center, and USA Mastin Clinic.

To learn more about the All of Us Research Program, visit www.JoinAllofUs.org.

Thursday, September 6, 2018

Register Now: First Southern Genome Maintenance Conference

The first Southern Genome Maintenance Conference is set for Oct. 20-21, at the Holiday Inn Conference Center in downtown Mobile.

The three main focus areas of the conference will be DNA repair/cancer, environmental influences/genomic integrity, and DNA repair/health disparities. By combining these related topics, the meeting will provide a unique and robust venue for discussion, presentation of new science, and the opportunity for students and fellows (as well as new investigators) to interact one-on-one with the keynote speakers and to present their latest research both orally and as a poster. 

Keynote speakers:

  • Dr. Anindya Dutta, Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Genetics, University of Virginia School of Medicine - "MicroDNAs, ORCs and MCMs: strange tales of genomic stability"
  • Dr. Jeffrey K. Wickliffe, Department of Global Environmental Health Sciences, Tulane University - "Diet-induced obesity impacts genomic integrity" 
  • Dr. Trey Ideker, Department of Medicine and Bioengineering, University of California San Diego - "Systematic mapping of a hierarchy of DNA repair modules" 
  • Dr. Rod Rocconi, Chief, Gynecologic Oncology, University of South Alabama Mitchell Cancer Institute - "Insights on health disparities translational research"

Additional speakers and presentations will be chosen from the submitted abstracts (students, fellows, new investigators) for 15-minute talks, with a 5-minute question period for each. In addition, all the attendees will have the opportunity to present their research at an evening poster session. Awards will be offered for best oral and poster presentation for students and fellows. Abstracts must be submitted by Oct. 1 to be considered for oral presentations.

Registration for the meeting is through the USA Office of Continuing Medical Education, and those attending the meeting will be offered CME credit. Click here to register.

Click here for more information on the conference.

Wednesday, September 5, 2018

USA Health Welcomes Dr. Payton Carley

Dr. Payton Carley recently joined USA Mobile Diagnostic Center at University Commons as an internal medicine physician and serves as a hospitalist at USA Health University Hospital.

Dr. Carley earned her medical degree from the University of South Alabama College of Medicine and her residency training in internal medicine with USA Health.

She has a special interest in thyroid disorders and autoimmune diseases such as lupus and rheumatoid arthritis.

Formerly University Physicians Group, USA Mobile Diagnostic Center at University Commons is located at 75 S. University Blvd. She is accepting new patients. To make an appointment with Dr. Carley, call (251) 660-5787.

USA Health Welcomes Dr. Theresa Yarbrough

Dr. Theresa Yarbrough recently joined USA Mobile Diagnostic Center at University Commons as an internal medicine physician and serves as a hospitalist at USA Health University Hospital.

Dr. Yarbrough earned her medical degree from the University of South Alabama College of Medicine and completed her residency training in internal medicine with USA Health.

Formerly University Physicians Group, USA Mobile Diagnostic Center at University Commons is located at 75 S. University Blvd. Dr. Yarbrough is accepting new patients. To make an appointment, call (251) 660-5787.

Tuesday, September 4, 2018

USA College of Medicine Welcomes Dr. Robert Kobelja to Neurology

Dr. Robert Kobelja recently was appointed assistant professor of neurology at the University of South Alabama College of Medicine and a neurologist with USA Physicians Group specializing in neuromuscular diseases.

“I am glad to be back at USA,” Dr. Kobelja said. “My training started here in medical school and helped me a lot in my residency and fellowship at the University of Michigan. I look forward to being able to take that expertise from there and be able to help patients here as well as aid in the education of medical students and residents to help further their careers.”

Dr. Kobelja received his medical degree from the USA College of Medicine. He completed his neurology residency and neuromuscular fellowship at the University of Michigan Health Systems.

Dr. Kobelja is accepting new patients. To make an appointment, call (251) 660-5108.

Friday, August 31, 2018

USA Health Announces New Name for Hospital



The University of South Alabama today unveiled a new name for the region’s only hospital offering Level I trauma care, as the USA Board of Trustees voted unanimously to change the name of the USA Medical Center to University Hospital, a transformation that more accurately reflects the hospital’s teaching and research mission.

University Hospital, as a component of USA Health, will continue to serve the Mobile region as it has for generations, providing unique, nationally ranked services that include the region’s only Level I trauma center and the Arnold Luterman Regional Burn Center.

“The University Hospital name expresses our unique mission to provide medical education, innovative care and cutting edge treatments stemming from academic research, and it brings all of our components together under the USA Health umbrella,” said Dr. John Marymont, USA’s vice president for medical affairs and dean of the College of Medicine. “We are the only area hospital offering the highest level of stroke care, as well as evidence-based approaches to caring for cancer, diabetes and complex treatments and diagnosis of movement disorders such as Parkinson’s and epilepsy.”

The USA Health name will serve as the umbrella brand for the University of South Alabama’s health system, including USA Health Children’s & Women’s Hospital, USA Health Mitchell Cancer Institute and USA Health Physicians Group.

The University Hospital name was selected based on research that explored the Mobile community’s understanding of the breadth and depth of services offered at University Hospital and the quality of care that patients experience throughout USA Health.

The research showed that those who engaged with the health system thought very highly of the quality of care they received, but they had limited understanding of the overall impact and high level of care delivered throughout the USA Health system.

“The University Hospital name clarifies our mission and purpose by bringing to the forefront the University of South Alabama’s mission as a leader in health care practice, research and teaching,” said Sam Dean, University Hospital administrator and assistant vice president for medical affairs. “The hospital is not only part of an academic medical system, but it is also a pioneer in treating complex conditions, conducting innovative research and educating the next generation of health care professionals.”

The University Hospital name change follows the recent announcement of a $5 million gift from Herbert Meisler that will double the size of the hospital’s trauma center, the Fanny Meisler Trauma Center, as well as the recent inaugural flight of USA Southflight, a helicopter emergency service  partnership between USA Health and Air Methods.

About USA Health University Hospital
As a state-certified Level I Trauma and nationally ranked burn center, USA Health University Hospital serves as the major referral center for patients with traumatic injuries from southern Alabama, southeast Mississippi, and portions of northwest Florida. Last year alone, University Hospital served patients in 53 counties. As the go-to facility for the area’s toughest emergencies, University Hospital is capable of providing total care for every aspect of injury, from prevention through rehabilitation.

About USA Health
With more than 3,800 employees, USA Health is unlike any other health care organization on the Alabama Gulf Coast. It includes USA Health University Hospital, USA Health Children’s & Women’s Hospital, USA Health Mitchell Cancer Institute, USA Health Physicians Group and USA Health College of Medicine. At least one-third of local physicians, some 2,500, received their training at University Hospital. More than 10,400 nurses and 5,600 allied health professionals received training at USA hospitals.

Thursday, August 30, 2018

Dr. Wilburn Bolton III Returns to USA College of Medicine

Dr. Wilburn Bolton III recently returned to the University of South Alabama College of Medicine, serving as assistant professor of internal medicine and an endocrinologist with USA Physicians Group. Previously, he served as an assistant professor of internal medicine and emergency medicine at the USA College of Medicine from 2012 until 2016.

Dr. Bolton received his medical degree from the University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Medicine and completed his internal medicine residency training at USA. After serving four years as an assistant professor, he completed an endocrinology and metabolism fellowship at Duke University Hospital in Durham, N.C.

Dr. Bolton is a member of the American Diabetes Association and American College of Physicians. He received Clinical Instructor of the Year in 2016 for the department of physician assistant studies and the Red Sash Award each year during his first four years with USA.

Dr. Bolton is accepting new patients. To make an appointment, call (251) 470-5890.

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

USA Physicians Group Welcomes New Trauma/Critical Care Physician Assistant

Claire Naylor recently was appointed a trauma/critical care physician assistant with USA Physicians Group.

In her new appointment, Naylor will be handling medical management of trauma patients, preparing patients for their future recovery, providing education about their injuries and surgeries, and connecting them with resources to foster the healing process.

“The most rewarding part of my job is seeing patients who are critically injured progress to a better state of health, ultimately going home with family or rehab for continued progression,” she said. “They are given a second chance as life. Knowing I am a part of their healing and recovery process is gratifying.”

Naylor said the course work and clinical rotations through USA’s physician assistant program is what prepared her for her job in the trauma department. The program taught her early on how to utilize time efficiently, and it provided an excellent broad foundation to build her medical knowledge, she said.

Naylor received her master’s degree from USA and began her career as a physician assistant at Cardiology Associates in the cardiovascular surgery unit. She is a member of the American Academy of Physician Assistants and Alabama Society of Physician Assistants.

Clyde G. 'Sid' Huggins Medical Student Research Awards Announced

Huggins award winners with their mentors: back row,
from left, Justin Rich, Dr. Wito Richter and Dr. Mark
Gillespie; second row, from left, Will McDonough,
Carson Edwards and Marcina Lang; third row, from
left, Jordan Smith and Dr. Jonathon Audia; fourth
row, from left, Patricia Vogel and Dr. Lewis Pannell;
front row, from left, Kimberly McWilliams and
Chinnadurai Mani.
The University of South Alabama College of Medicine recently hosted its 45th annual Medical Student Research Day, recognizing students who participated in the Summer Medical Student Research Program.

During the 10-week summer program, first- and second-year medical students participated in research projects with basic science and clinical faculty in the USA College of Medicine. Students presented their research projects either orally or on poster at the culmination of the summer research program.

The Clyde G. “Sid” Huggins Medical Student Research Awards honor the memory of Dr. Huggins, who served as the first dean of students for the USA College of Medicine.

Jordan Matthews Smith, a second-year student, was recognized for the best oral presentation, titled, "Pseudomonas Aeruginosa Type III Secretion System Effectors Influence Production of Cytotoxic Amyloid Species in the Lung of Infected Mice." Smith was sponsored by Dr. Jonathon Audia, associate professor of microbiology and immunology at the USA College of Medicine and a member of the Center for Lung Biology.

Poster presentation winners were Carson Edwards, Will McDonough, Kimberly McWilliams, Justin Rich and Patricia Vogel.

Edwards, a second-year student, presented "Mitochondrial DNA Damps in Severe Injured Patients Requiring Massive Transfusion: Evidence for a Feed-Forward Pathway Regulating MTDNA Damp Production." He was sponsored by Dr. Mark Gillespie, professor and chair of pharmacology at the USA College of Medicine and a member of the Center for Lung Biology.

McDonough, a first-year student, presented "Inhibition of  PDE4  Induces Gastroparesis in Mice." He was sponsored by Dr. Wito Richter, assistant professor of biochemistry and molecular biology at the USA College of Medicine and a member of the Center for Lung Biology, and Lina Abou Saleh, a graduate student in biochemistry and molecular biology and the Center for Lung Biology.

McWilliams, a second-year student, presented "Evaluation of Anticancer F10 Compound in Combination with CHK1 Inhibitor in Colon Cancer Cells." She was sponsored by Dr. Kumar Palle, Abraham Mitchell Cancer Research Scholar and associate professor of oncologic sciences at the USA Mitchell Cancer Institute.

Rich, second-year student, presented "Assessing the Acute Effects of PDE4 Ablation in Mice." He was sponsored by Dr. Richter and Abou Saleh.

Vogel, a second-year student, presented "Characterizing Modified Sites of a Cancer-Associated C-Terminal Peptide in 1-Antitrypsin." She was sponsored by Dr. Lewis Pannell, professor of biochemistry and microbiology and oncologic sciences at the USA Mitchell Cancer Institute.

Monday, August 27, 2018

Mobile Medical Museum to Host 'Dreaming at Dawn: African Americans and Health Care'

The Mobile Medical Museum will present "Dreaming at Dawn: African Americans and Health Care, 1865-1945," an original exhibit that tells the story of African-American medical practitioners in Mobile during the Reconstruction and Jim Crow eras. 

The exhibition will open Sept. 7, 2018, and will be on view through July 2019, in the Mary Elizabeth and Charles Bernard Rodning Gallery of the museum.

"Dreaming at Dawn" draws from the museum’s own collection as well as rarely seen photographs and artifacts on loan from other local collections. The centerpiece of the exhibit will be a new cast-iron sculptural portrait of Dr. James A. Franklin Sr., one of Mobile’s earliest and most distinguished African-American physicians, created by local sculptor April Livingston. 

The Mobile Medical Museum is located at 1664 Springhill Avenue. For more information, visit www.mobilemedicalmuseum.org or call (251) 415-1109.

Mark Your Calendar: Randall W. Powell Endowed Memorial Lectureship

Dr. Oluyinka O. Olutoye
The 2018 Randall W. Powell Endowed Memorial Lectureship in Pediatric Surgery, hosted by the University of South Alabama Department of Surgery, will feature Dr. Oluyinka O. Olutoye, co-director of the Texas Children's Fetal Center, a pediatric surgeon and a member of the fetal surgery team at Texas Children's Hospital in Houston.

Dr. Olutoye will present "To Mentor and Be Mentored" at 4:30 p.m. Sept. 6, at the Strada Patient Care Center.

His second lecture, titled “Perinatal Management of Congenital Diaphragmatic Hernia,” will take place at 7 a.m. Sept. 7, in the USA Medical Center second-floor conference room.

The lectureship is named in honor of Dr. Randall Powell, former professor of surgery and pediatrics at the USA College of Medicine, who passed away in 2017. As a pediatric surgeon, Dr. Powell belonged to a very small group of surgeons who trained beyond general surgery residency in order to care for neonates and children with all the complex congenital defects and the different physiology of the growing child. While at USA, Dr. Powell was director of the division of pediatric surgery and professor of physician assistant studies.

Both lectures are CME accredited. For more information, contact the Department of Surgery at (251) 445-8230.

Rebecca Dicks Receives Edwin R. Hughes Memorial Award

Dr. Mary Townsley, senior associate dean of the USA College of Medicine, presents the Edwin R. Hughes Memorial Award to Rebecca Dicks, a second-year student in the Basic Medical Sciences Graduate Program.  
Rebecca Dicks, a second-year student in the Basic Medical Sciences Graduate Program, is the recipient of the Edwin R. Hughes Memorial Award for the 2017-2018 academic year. Dr. Mary Townsley, senior associate dean of the USA College of Medicine, presented a plaque and cash award to Dicks on Aug. 16, at new student orientation.

The award is named in memory of Edwin R. Hughes, who served as director of the Basic Medical Sciences Graduate Program at the USA College of Medicine from its inception in 1978 until 1990. The award recognizes the student with the best academic performance in the program's core curriculum.

College of Medicine Welcomes New Basic Medical Sciences Students

Basic Medical Sciences graduate students and their families enjoyed a barbecue dinner at the home of Dr. Mary Townsley, senior associate dean of the USA College of Medicine.   
The University of South Alabama College of Medicine recently welcomed 11 first-year students to the Basic Medical Sciences Graduate Program.

The Basic Medical Sciences Student Organization and Dr. Mary Townsley, senior associate dean of the USA College of Medicine, hosted the barbecue welcome dinner at Dr. Townsley's home.

Check out more photos from the event on Flickr.

Friday, August 24, 2018

Dan Howard Joins USA Health as Chief Information Officer

Dan Howard recently was named chief information officer for USA Health. In his new role, Howard will provide vision, leadership and strategic direction in the development and implementation of information systems for USA Health.

“Technology plays an increasingly vital role in health care. We are excited that Dan brings great experience and knowledge to USA Health as we continue to be the leading academic health system in our region,” said Owen Bailey, chief executive officer of USA Health.

Prior to joining USA Health, Howard served as site chief information officer at Loma Linda University Health in California, where he had increasing leadership responsibilities since 2012. As the senior information services executive for Loma Linda University Health’s affiliate and partner hospitals, he focused on strategic business alignment, project management and collaboration with executive, physician and service-line leadership. He also worked closely with the system’s electronic medical record systems.

Howard earned his bachelor’s degree in biology from California State University San Bernardino, and his master’s degree in business administration, with an information systems emphasis, from the University of Redlands.

Thursday, August 23, 2018

Dr. Frankel to Discuss 'The Gut Microbiota and Cancer Immunotherapy' at Med School Café

Dr. Arthur Frankel, chief of medical oncology and the Arlene and Mayer Mitchell Chair in Medical Oncology at the University of South Alabama Mitchell Cancer Institute, will present at the September Med School Café.

His lecture, titled "The Gut Microbiota and Cancer Immunotherapy," will be held on Friday, Sept. 7, 2018, at the Strada Patient Care Center Conference Room on the first floor. Lunch will be served at 11:30 a.m., and the presentation will begin at noon.

Dr. Frankel will discuss how specific gut bacteria or probiotics can enhance cancer immunotherapy by stimulating dendritic cells leading to more tumor cytotoxic T lymphocytes.

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

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

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

USA Health Expansion Proves Beneficial for Resident Physicians

Dr. Thomas Myers, a rheumatologist with USA Mobile Diagnostic Center, examines his patient Joseph Nelson in the clinic. 
The expansion of USA Health to include Mobile Diagnostic Center (USAMDC) – one of Mobile’s largest primary care groups – provides resident physicians greater access to subspecialty care as they complete rotations with rheumatologists at USAMDC.

In addition to Dr. Joseph Michalski, professor of internal medicine at the University of South Alabama College of Medicine and a rheumatologist with USA Physicians Group, internal medicine residents with USA Health now have the opportunity to complete rotations with one of the four rheumatologists at USAMDC.

According to Dr. Luis Betancourt, an internal medicine resident with USA Health, the partnership with USAMDC has been very helpful for internal medicine residents thus far. “This collaboration has allowed us greater access to learn and become well-versed in how to approach problems related to rheumatology,” he said. Before, rheumatology was difficult to rotate through, as there was only one rheumatologist on staff.”

Dr. Betancourt recently completed a month-long rotation with Dr. Thomas Meyers, a rheumatologist with USA Mobile Diagnostic Center. “Dr. Meyers is very knowledgeable and was eager to teach,” he said. “Rheumatology is a very broad field that incorporates multiple subspecialties and I was able to learn a lot about how to approach rheumatic problems.”

Dr. Meyers emphasized the importance for residents to discover their own interests, which can be difficult to fully accomplish without observing an extensive offering of subspecialty medicine. “This collaboration introduces residents to rheumatology in its natural environment: an outpatient setting, seeing a collection of diseases of varying severity and complexity, observing and participating in the craft of understanding what patients’ needs are, and then tailoring a medical approach to accomplish the patient goals within the parameters of evidence-based medicine,” he said. “Residents need to experience how to interact, not only with patients with rheumatic diseases and their families, but also the clerical personnel, pharmaceutical industry, medical assistants and nurses.”

According to Dr. Meyers, the benefits of the partnership are two-fold. “For the rheumatologists, it requires articulating a rationale for what, through repetition and experience, has become almost automatic,” he said. “It requires an updating of a very mature perspective of medicine to a more youthful view. It is an excellent connection back to the medical school and eventually the staff as well.”

Learn more about USA Mobile Diagnostic Center.

Tuesday, August 21, 2018

Cardiology to Host Grand Rounds Sept. 7

Dr. Marc Cribbs, assistant professor of internal medicine and pediatrics at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, director of the Alabama Adult Congenital Heart Disease Program and director of the Comprehensive Pregnancy & Heart Program at UAB, will present the next cardiology grand rounds.

The lecture, titled "Adult Congenital Heart Disease: An Overview," is set for 11:30 a.m. Sept. 7, at the USA Medical Center in the second-floor conference center.

Objectives are to understand the evolution of pediatric cardiology, appreciate the growing number of adults with congenital heart disease, and be aware of why patients are often lost to follow-up.

For more information, contact Donna Gregory at (251) 471-7923 or dgregory@health.southalabama.edu.

Basic Medical Sciences Graduate Program Student Receives American Heart Association Funding for Fellowship

Joshua Deal, a student in the University of South Alabama Basic Medical Sciences Graduate Program, recently received a Predoctoral One-Year Fellowship award from the American Heart Association.

The grant will allow Deal to research hyperspectral imaging as a novel method to classify atherosclerotic plaque. Deal said although there are techniques that can detect the plaques, they are slow, inefficient and nonspecific, and some require a potentially harmful contrast agent.

Together, Dr. Thomas Rich, professor of pharmacology at USA College of Medicine, and Dr. Silas Leavesley, professor of chemical and biomedical engineering at USA, and their lab students have been working to develop a new imaging technique known as excitation-scanning hyperspectral imaging. Hyperspectral imaging is the process of subjecting an object to large portions of the electromagnetic spectrum in small segments and collecting the resulting spectral information in order to determine what that spectral fingerprint is. This technique may allow a user to identify individual molecular components in a given sample quickly, efficiently, with great specificity and without any need for contrast agents.

The imaging may also be able to find plaques that have already begun to build and determine the type of plaque, its likelihood to rupture and any additional damage the plaque has caused. Contingent on the sensitivity of the technique, Deal said they may also be able to identify sites that could develop into problem areas in the future.

Deal said the biggest challenge with his research will be the patient-to-patient variability. No two individuals have the exact same distribution of molecules, so they will have to identify what the spectral images will look like at each disease stage and the bounds for normality for each of those stages. Deal said this compounds the fact that what they define for animals may not be sufficient when applying the findings to humans.

“The award is for one year, but an engineer’s device is never truly optimized,” Deal said. “The one year timeline should provide great insight into the feasibility of the project. If it works as well as we think it will, this line of research will continue for the foreseeable future.”

Though majority of the grant will pay Deal’s tuition, stipend and lab materials, he plans on using a small portion to attend the Photonics West conference to present his findings and gain useful feedback to improve his research.

Deal said he would like to thank a host of people who contributed to his receiving this grant: “My mentors, Silas Leavesley and Tom Rich, are fantastic editors and sounding boards, and they generate ideas at an incredible rate; the rest of my dissertation committee, Troy Stevens, Mark Taylor, David Weber and Dhananjay Tambe, have asked several difficult questions that guided the evolution of this project; Dr. Mary Townsley and Dr. Donna Cioffi teach a class designed to help students write grant applications, and a lot of my better edits came directly from that classroom; Dr. Wiltz Wagner and Ivan McMurtry teach a class designed to help students refine and communicate their ideas clearly, and I used several discussions from that class in my grant application; our lab technician Andrea Britain who helped me find and set up various research components; and I would be completely lost in all the paperwork without Judi Naylor and Jennifer Collins. Thank you all for your contributions. Without each of you, this would not have been possible.”

The American Heart Association has funded more heart disease and stroke research than any organization outside the federal government, thanks to the generosity of donors and supporters. Click here to learn more.

Monday, August 20, 2018

Register Now: 27th Annual Obstetrics and Gynecology Conference

The University of South Alabama Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology will host its 27th annual Continuing Education Conference in Obstetrics and Gynecology on Sept. 27-28, 2018. The event will take place at the Battle House Hotel & Spa in Mobile.

The event will be of particular interest to OB/GYN physicians, family medicine physicians, advanced practice nurses, physician assistants, nurse midwives, social workers and others interested in the health care of women and newborns.

USA speakers include Dr. Charles Hanes, Dr. Charles Harmon, Dr. Jennifer Young Pierce, Dr. Bassam Rimawi, Dr. Lisa Spiryda, Dr. Renee Sprague, Dr. Franklin Trimm and Dr. Stephen Varner.

Special guest speakers include Dr. Zsakeba Henderson from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Dr. Karen Malowe from Auburn University, Dr. Seema Menon from the Medical College of Wisconsin, Beverly Huegel from the University of South Carolina, and Megan Mileski from Samford University.

Learn more and register for the conference. Fee includes course registration, continental breakfast, lunch and snack.

Class of 2019 Medical Students Named to Alpha Omega Alpha Honor Medical Society

Top row, from left, Trevor Stevens, Kasey Stoutin, Christina Artz; second row, Emily Smith, Ryan Screven, William Gambla, Natalie Carlisle, David Roveda; bottom row, Matthew Robson, Dalton Patterson, John Morgan, Harrison Dilworth and Seth Hill.
Thirteen fourth-year medical students at the University of South Alabama College of Medicine were named to the USA chapter of the Alpha Omega Alpha (AOA) Honor Medical Society.

The following students were selected: Christina Artz, Natalie Carlisle, Harrison Dilworth, William Gambla, Seth Hill, John Morgan, Dalton Patterson, Matthew Robson, J. David Roveda, Ryan Screven, Emily Smith, Trevor Stevens and Kasey Stoutin.

AOA, a professional medical organization, recognizes and advocates for excellence in scholarship and the highest ideals in the profession of medicine. Members have a compelling drive to do well and to advance the medical profession and exemplify the highest standards of professionalism.

The top 25 percent of a medical school class is eligible for nomination to the society, and up to 16 percent may be elected based on leadership, character, community service and professionalism.

Members may also be elected by chapters after demonstrating scholarly achievement and professional contributions and values after medical school and during their careers in medicine.

The AOA motto is “Be Worthy to Serve the Suffering.” To learn more, visit www.alphaomegaalpha.org.


Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Mark Your Calendar: USA Lions Club Hosting 6th Annual 5K Race and Fun Run

The University of South Alabama Lions Club is hosting the sixth annual Miles for Medicine 5K and Fun Run on Aug. 25, 2018 at the Langan Park Pavilion. The race will begin at 7:30 a.m., and the fun run will begin at 8:30 a.m.

Proceeds from the event will benefit the sight programs of the University Lions Club and help support Ozanam Charitable Pharmacy. Party, prizes, food and music will be provided.

Lions Club International is the world’s largest service club organization with over 1.4 million members in around 46,000 clubs in more than 200 areas around the world. Learn more about the Lions Club.

Register for the event.

Alabama Board of Medical Examiners to Present 'Ensuring Quality in Collaborative Practice'

The Alabama Board of Medical Examiners will present "Ensuring Quality in Collaborative Practice - Working Together to Deliver Quality Healthcare." There are two offerings to choose from:
  • Wednesday, Aug. 29 from 4:30 to 6 p.m. at the Strada Patient Care Center in room 1101
  • Thursday, Aug. 30 from 7:30 to 9 p.m. at the Mastin Professional Building in room 2819
All USA Health physicians, certified registered nurse practitioners, certified registered nurse anesthetists, certified nurse midwives and physician assistants who are participating in or are interested in developing a collaborative practice agreement are invited to attend.

The Alabama Board of Medical Examiners, jointly with the Alabama Board of Nursing, developed a set of rules for the establishment of a collaborative practice as well as guidelines on how the practice is to be conducted with regards to supervision and quality assurance.

Recordings of the session will be made available on HealthStream for those who cannot attend in person.

Visit the Eventbrite page for more information and to register.

APP Quarterly Meeting Set for Aug. 21

The USA Health Advanced Practice Provider (APP) Leadership Council will host the quarterly meeting at 6 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 21, at Ruth's Chris Steakhouse.

The meeting will feature a short presentation about medical management of orthostatic hypotension and what's new in the world of USA APPs, including the upcoming APP Week celebration.

The newly developed APP Leadership Council is the voice for advanced practice providers within USA Health. The mission of the group is to support the APP community through leadership, advocacy and professional development.

The meeting is open to all USA Health advanced practice providers. To register, visit the Evite page or email Kimberly Thompson at kadler@health.southalabama.edu.

Monday, August 13, 2018

USA College of Medicine Welcomes the Class of 2022

The University of South Alabama College of Medicine welcomed 74 new students at the class of 2022’s freshman orientation.

During orientation, the first-year medical students were introduced to the College of Medicine with icebreaker activities, policy briefings, campus tours and information sessions. The USA College of Medicine Wellness Program – a wellness initiative promoting mentorship and enhancing health and well-being among medical students – also played an integral role at the event.

“I look forward to thriving in an environment that encourages the growth of several key qualities of a good physician: good communication, confidence, compassion, professionalism and knowledge,” said first-year medical student Hadil El-Sharkh.

Despite being nervous for her new journey, El-Sharkh said, “I believe there is a healthy amount of nervousness that stimulates better performance and pushes toward successful completion of goals.”

El-Sharkh received her electrical engineering undergraduate degree from USA. She said she chose USA because of the small class size and preparation she will receive before starting her next journey as a physician. “USA College of Medicine gives every student the opportunity to grow as a physician in every aspect with an up-to-date facility and faculty members who are dedicated to the success of their students,” she said.

When the wellness initiative began last year, Hannah Brooks, a second-year medical student and student orientation committee member, said last year’s committee was not sure what role wellness should play during orientation.

Brooks was one of the committee members who encouraged the wellness initiative be a prominent part of orientation this year. With one year under the committee’s belt, they were able to take charge and decide how to present wellness to the incoming students. “I personally think that the wellness initiative is one of the best parts of our medical school community,” she said. “We want the new students to know that not only does our school care about our academic success, but they also care about our personal well-being.”

To help facilitate more community among the wellness houses, the committee created the Wellness House Kickball Tournament. The houses – named after the five rivers that feed into Mobile Bay – are comprised of first-, second-, third- and fourth-year medical students. Incoming students received their wellness house assignment during a mimic Match Day on the first day of orientation. The students will remain in their wellness house groups for the remainder of medical school.

Check out more photos from the class of 2022 orientation on Flickr.

USA Health Welcomes New Resident Physicians

Dr. Allen Perkins, professor and chair of family medicine at the USA College of Medicine, talks with first-year family medicine residents at the Strada Patient Care Center. 
The University of South Alabama recently welcomed a new class of resident physicians to the graduate medical education programs based at USA Health.

Currently, 248 residents and fellows are training with USA Health. Of these, 72 began their first year of residency and seven began their fellowships at USA this summer. The skills learned during the first year of training vary by their chosen specialty and build on the foundation given to students during their years in medical school.

“As these new housestaff enter this exciting phase in their training, they are eager but can also feel quite a bit of anxiety,” said Dr. Samuel McQuiston, assistant dean of graduate medical education and associate professor of radiology at the USA College of Medicine. “They have worked for years to become a physician, and now, as a physician, they are assuming significant responsibilities, facing long hours, and acquiring advanced skills. It can seem overwhelming to them, but the residency and fellowship programs have mechanisms in place to make sure that the new housestaff are well supervised, that they are successful in their training, and that their patients will receive optimum care.”

This year, USA recruited its new residents and fellows from 30 different medical schools – with the largest representation coming from USA. After USA, other medical schools with more than one resident are Alabama College of Osteopathic Medicine, American University of the Caribbean, Liberty University College of Osteopathic Medicine, St. George's University, Nova Southeastern University College of Osteopathic Medicine, Saba University School of Medicine, University of Mississippi, and University of Texas Southwestern.

Dr. Kyle Cox, who earned his medical degree from the University of Central Florida, is a first-year orthopaedic surgery resident physician with USA Health. “USA Medical Center has one of the highest volume trauma centers in the region, which provides lots of opportunity for surgeons-in-training to learn how to operate,” Dr. Cox said. “Coupled with outstanding attending-physician educators and an enthusiastic group of residents, USA is the perfect place to train to be an orthopedic surgeon.”

Dr. Sara R. Avalos Hernandez, a first-year resident physician in the pathology department at USA, earned her medical degree from the Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Honduras. She said she is looking forward to an enriching learning experience from faculty and residents, so she can become a well-rounded pathologist and researcher in academic medicine.

“I am enjoying my time at USA,” Dr. Avalos Hernandez said. “I’m really impressed with the structure of the pathology curriculum, the willingness of the faculty to teach, and all the support provided by everybody in the team.”

With a long history of training physicians, USA Health provides training in 18 fully ACGME-accredited residency and fellowship programs. Residents and fellows in USA’s training programs are integrated into USA Health with the majority of their training centered at USA Medical Center, USA Children’s & Women’s Hospital, USA Mitchell Cancer Institute, and the USA Physicians Group practices.

Thursday, August 9, 2018

Abby Perkins Named Director of Operations for Orthopaedic Surgery

Abby Perkins recently was appointed director of operations for orthopaedic surgery with USA Physicians Group.

In her new position, Perkins will oversee the day-to-day operations, control revenue and staff-work environment, and coordinate and develop policies and procedures to best guide the department.

Perkins said this is an exciting time for USA Health and is lucky to be working with and learning from a talented group of people. “I think we have the talent and resources to be one of, if not the best orthopaedic surgery groups in the region, and I am looking forward to contributing to its growth,” she said. “Dr. Richard Marks, professor and chair of orthopaedic surgery at the USA College of Medicine, has a lot of enthusiasm and a great vision for our department. I am looking forward to working with him to grow our department to its fullest potential.”

Prior to her appointment, Perkins served as a group practice administrator at Keesler Air Force Base Hospital in Biloxi, Miss.

Perkins received her bachelor's degree in healthcare administration and policy from the University of Southern Mississippi (USM) in Hattiesburg, Miss., and will be completing her Master of Business Administration this year from USM.

Tuesday, August 7, 2018

Med School Café - Expert Advice for the Community


Dr. J. Ivan Lopez, professor of neurology at the University of South Alabama College of Medicine and pediatric and adult neurologist with USA Physicians Group, presented July’s Med School Café lecture, “Acute Stroke Therapy.”

During the talk, Dr. Lopez discussed treatment options, risk factors and signs of a stroke.

Dr. Lopez earned his medical degree from the La Salle University School of Medicine in Mexico City and completed his residency in neurology at USA.

Watch July Med School Café - Acute Stroke Therapy on YouTube or below.

South Med Prep Scholars Participate in Research Day

The University of South Alabama College of Medicine Office of Diversity and Inclusion recently hosted the 2018 South Med Prep Scholars Research Day. The event provided six undergraduate students from historically black colleges and universities the opportunity to gain firsthand exposure to medical research.

South Med Prep Scholars (SMPS) is a two-phase pre-medical school pipeline program designed to provide enrichment and recruitment of talented freshman and sophomore students from select partner institutions.

The program’s eight-week summer sessions focus on research, MCAT preparation and the medical school interview process. Over the course of two consecutive summers, students gain a grasp of the realities of the medical school admission process and learn skills for medical school matriculation.

Throughout the summer, students were paired with a principal investigator to conduct their research. The program culminated with research day, where each student presented their research on topics ranging from neuromorphology to the survival and recovery of pulmonary microvascular endothelial cells.

Michaela Crawford, a rising junior at Xavier University in New Orleans, spoke highly of her research experience. “I was given the opportunity to perform research under Dr. Troy Stevens and work very closely with Ph.D. candidate, Sarah Voth,” she said. “I will be published as a co-author in Sarah’s research paper that will go into the Blue Journal later this year.”

According to LoRen Burroughs, diversity coordinator at the USA College of Medicine, 11 scholars participated in this year’s South Med Prep Scholars program, with five graduating this summer and six moving on to phase 2 in the summer of 2019.

“Since its inception in 2014, there have been a total of three classes to complete the program with four students currently in medical or dental school,” she said. “Starting this fall, recruitment efforts will resume for the summer 2019 cohort of the South Med Prep Scholars program as the Office of Diversity and Inclusion continues its efforts to help students navigate a successful path into the field of medicine.”

The partner institutions for the South Med Prep Scholars program include Dillard University, Morehouse College, Xavier University, Spelman College, and Tuskegee University. “These intuitions are collectively responsible for an ever-growing percentage of the nation’s STEM degree-holders of color,” Burroughs added. “Partnerships with these institutions are critical to the USA College of Medicine’s mission to foster a community of physicians that can relate, identify, and effectively serve Alabama communities.”

Monday, August 6, 2018

LoRen Burroughs Named Diversity Coordinator for USA COM

LoRen Burroughs, a 2013 graduate of the University of South Alabama, recently was named diversity coordinator for the USA College of Medicine.

In her new position, Burroughs is responsible for helping to foster a supportive and inclusive environment for students, faculty and staff through programming and targeted initiatives. She will also oversee various USA College of Medicine pipeline programs in an effort to give high-achieving students from underrepresented groups access and exposure to a career in medicine.

According to Burroughs, her overarching goal is to destigmatize the concept of diversity. “Diversity is typically thought to be synonymous with ‘other,’” she said. “Instead, diversity should be viewed as a collective effort by creating a space for everyone.”

Burroughs earned her bachelor’s degree in professional health management from USA, and her master’s degree in nonprofit management and community development from Eastern Kentucky University.

Prior to her appointment at USA, Burroughs served as a HIV/AIDS civil society capacity building specialist with the Botswana Peace Corps in Maun, Botswana – an experience she said will prove beneficial her for her new role.

“My work as a Peace Corps volunteer in Botswana taught me that truth is relative; the ideals, morals, and societal understandings I hold may not be held by the next person,” she said. “It's important to interact with people from this perspective. Although their truth may not be my truth or another person's reality may not be my own, my utmost obligation is to seek understanding.”

In 2009, Burroughs also served as an assistant for the STARS (Student Training for Academic Reinforcement in the Sciences) and STRIPES (Special Training to Raise Interest and Prepare for Entry into the Sciences) program with the USA Center for Healthy Communities. The purpose of the programs is to enhance students’ preparation in math, science, communication skills and test preparation, so they will be better prepared for college and careers in the health sciences.

She credits her time with the USA Center for Healthy Communities for providing a firsthand look at the positive influences pipeline programs have on the community. “Working with the STARS and STRIPES program showed me the relevance of pipeline programs that address disenfranchisement and lack of access in minority communities,” she said.

Burroughs said she is most excited to engage in the challenging conversations that are inherent in this field of work. “After all, open-minded conversations often lead to change,” she said.

Thursday, August 2, 2018

Boxing Out Hunger Program Adds Fresh Produce

Beth Poates, a social worker with USA Health, hands a bag of produce to Shelia Murphy, a patient at Stanton Road Clinic.
USA Health recently expanded its Boxing Out Hunger initiative, a partnership with Feeding the Gulf Coast, to offer fresh produce to patients of Stanton Road Clinic.

The Boxing Out Hunger program, designed to improve patients' health by addressing food insecurity, kicked off in June 2017. So far, Stanton Road Clinic has distributed about 425 boxes to patients that contained an assortment of healthy, shelf-stable ingredients, such as canned produce, protein, dairy and grains.

Beth Poates, a social worker with USA Health, said patients are excited about the expansion of the program to include fresh fruits and vegetables. "Many of our patients are hypertensive or diabetic, so it's really important for them to eat nutritious food to stay well," she said. "People love fresh produce, but it can be expensive. So, our patients are really excited that they're able to get fresh fruits and vegetables through this program."

Eugenie Sellier, director of child nutrition programs with Feeding the Gulf Coast, said the bags weigh between 10 and 13 pounds and include varieties of seasonal produce, such as squash, tomatoes, cucumbers, lettuce, corn and apples. "We try to give them as much variety as we can," Sellier said. "It just depends on what's in season."

Shelia Murphy, who has been a patient at Stanton Road Clinic for many years, said she is grateful for the Boxing Out Hunger program. "I've always been treated so kindly and with the utmost respect," Murphy said. "By the end of the month, I'm just barely making it. I thank God for this program. They have helped me a lot."

After picking up her bag of produce, Murphy sat down to talk with Beth Finch, SNAP outreach manager for Feeding the Gulf Coast. Finch screens patients for additional benefits for which they may be eligible, including the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and Medicare Part D prescription drug program.

If the patient already receives those benefits, Finch advises him or her on ways to maximize savings. For example, Double Up Food Bucks partners with local farmers markers to double SNAP recipients' benefits, so they can purchase more fruits and vegetables. In the Mobile area, North Mobile County Food Park & Market is the participating market.

"It's a way to maximize your benefits, get fresh produce, and put money in the hands of our farmers," Finch said. "It's a win-win-win."

Poates said the Boxing Out Hunger program recently expanded to USA Family Medicine Center, starting with the nonperishable food boxes and adding the fresh produce component later.

Michelle Dudley Named Executive Director of Practice Management for USA Health

Michelle Dudley recently was appointed executive director of practice management for all USA Physicians Group practices, including the faculty practices, USA Mobile Diagnostic Center, and USA West Mobile Primary Care.

In her new position, Dudley is responsible for the operational and financial management of more than 200 physicians and advanced-care providers in USA Physicians Group. In addition, she works closely with the vice president of medical affairs on special projects, as well as manages the overall flow of funds between the University of South Alabama College of Medicine and USA Health.

“Michelle brings invaluable experience in practice management and health system leadership to our team, and she is extremely knowledgeable of the Gulf Coast region’s health care landscape,” said Owen Bailey, chief executive officer for USA Health. “She is a person of great integrity and initiative, and we are excited to have her on the USA Health team.”

With more than 30 years of experience in health care, Dudley joined USA Health in October 2017 as the director of practice management for the USA Healthcare Authority. Prior to joining USA, she served as vice president of finance for the Ascension Gulf Coast Medical Group, where she was responsible for more than 450 physician providers and advanced practitioners in primary care, hospital-based, and many specialty practices.

“I’m excited about the growth and strategic direction we are heading as a unified health system, providing outstanding, cost-efficient care to our patients and helping them lead longer, better lives,” Dudley said. “I feel it’s important that we create an environment where our physicians and employees can thrive and feel part of this wonderful movement.”

Dudley earned her bachelor’s degree in accounting and master’s degree in public administration from USA. A Certified Public Accountant, Dudley has participated in various leadership development programs and has a strong affinity for a servant-leader management style.

Wednesday, August 1, 2018

45th Research Day Features Keynote Speaker, Medical Student Presentations

Second-year medical student Grayson Domingue explains his research to Dr. Marie Migaud, Abraham A. Mitchell Cancer Research Scholar and professor of oncologic sciences at the USA Mitchell Cancer Institute.
The University of South Alabama College of Medicine’s 45th annual Medical Student Research Day took place July 27, 2018, in the Medical Sciences Building.

At the event, Dr. David Guidot, director of the division of pulmonary, allergy, critical care and sleep medicine at Emory University School of Medicine in Atlanta, presented the keynote lecture titled “Alcohol- and HIV-mediated Lung Dysfunction: Finding the Common Redox Trigger.”

The USA College of Medicine’s Summer Research Program is a nine-week program that pairs medical students with faculty mentors. At this year’s Research Day, there were eight oral presentations and 61 poster presentations.

Through the research program, medical students develop an appreciation of how research contributes to the knowledge and practice of medicine. Accepted entering students or rising second-year students in the USA College of Medicine are eligible. The summer experience includes hands-on research related to basic science and/or clinical medicine; a seminar program that focuses on various scientific and clinical topics; and student presentations at Research Day.

Winners of the Clyde G. ‘Sid’ Huggins Medical Student Research Awards, honoring the memory of Dr. Huggins, will be announced in the upcoming weeks.

View the students' research abstractsCheck out more photos from the event.


Pediatrics Grand Rounds Set for Aug. 17

Dr. Gary Kupfer, professor and division chief of pediatric hematology/oncology at Yale University School of Medicine, will present “Hemophilia A” for August's pediatric grand rounds.

The lecture is set for 8 a.m. Aug. 17 in the conference room on the first floor of the Strada Patient Care Center.

Dr. Kupfer will review key principles of pharmacokinetics in the context of treatment regimen optimization for Hemophilia A, access population-based pharmacokinetic modeling tools to personalize bleeding prophylaxis in patients with Hemophilia A, and interpret the results of population-based modeling as applied in case scenarios.

The event is open to USA faculty, staff and students. A light breakfast, coffee and beverages will be provided.

For more information, contact LaTasha Williams at latashawilliams@health.southalabama.edu or (251) 415-8688.

USA College of Medicine Welcomes Dr. Roger Berkow to Pediatrics

Dr. Roger Berkow recently was appointed professor and vice chair of pediatrics at the University of South Alabama College of Medicine. He also serves as the director of the pediatrics residency program at the USA College of Medicine and a pediatrician with USA Physicians Group.

“I look forward to helping an already strong residency program become stronger and continue their focus on competency-based education,” Dr. Berkow said.

He received his medical degree from Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine. He completed a pediatric residency at the University of Chicago hospitals and clinics and a pediatric hematology/oncology fellowship at Indiana University.

Dr. Berkow was a member of the department of pediatrics in the division of pediatric hematology/oncology at the University of Alabama at Birmingham from 1984 until 2013.  At UAB, he served as associate dean for undergraduate medical education, pediatric clerkship director and pediatric hematology/oncology fellowship director.  From 2014 to 2018, he served as a pediatric hematologist/oncologist and chair in the department of medicine at Nemours Children’s Clinic in Pensacola, Fla.

Dr. Berkow is a member of the Society for Pediatric Research and American Pediatric Society, along with many others. He has served as the editor in chief of the “PREP Self-Assessment” with the American Academy of Pediatrics since 2013.

To make an appointment with Dr. Berkow, call (251) 410-5497.