Friday, May 17, 2019

Faculty honored by Lions Club for eye research

Dr. Robert Lausch, left, professor emeritus of microbiology, and Dr. Robert Barrington, associate professor of microbiology and immunology, conduct research in the lab.
Earlier this year, two faculty members and researchers at the USA Health College of Medicine were given awards from the University Lions Club at the University of South Alabama for their years of commitment to eye research.

Dr. Robert Barrington, associate professor of microbiology and immunology, received the Melvin Jones Fellow plaque while Dr. Robert Lausch, professor emeritus of microbiology, received the Melvin Jones pin. Lausch was previously awarded the Melvin Jones Fellow plaque in 2009 and received the pin this year for his more than 35 years of research at the college.

Dr. Robert Lausch, left, and Dr. Robert 
Barrington display their awards from 
the Lions Club.
The award is given by Lions Club International, which is the largest service organization in the world and the parent organization for all Lions Club. The Melvin Jones Fellow award is considered a tremendous contribution to humanity and to the legacy of Melvin Jones, the founder of the Lions Club.

“It is the highest honor, especially considering that those who nominated us are themselves civic leaders who selflessly dedicate their time and energy to helping others,” Barrington said. “It is also noteworthy that several of our University Lions Club members have previously received this award, which speaks to their general approach in life.”

“It has been my good fortune to have lay leaders in our community who recognize the importance of basic medical research,” Lausch said. “These men and women board members have been highly effective in helping to raise funds to support our work.”

According to Lausch, through efforts of this board, the endowment for eye research now exceeds $500,000 and benefits both faculty and student trainees at the USA College of Medicine.

The Foundation’s mission is to help eradicate preventable blindness through funding research and training the next generation of eye researchers. To fulfill this mission, during the past 28 years, the Foundation has supported studies leading to publication of approximately 100 peer-reviewed manuscripts from eye researchers at the USA College of Medicine and approximately 30 graduate student, post-doctoral, and medical student trainees who have gone on to careers in science and medicine.

Barrington joined the club in 2009 and Lausch has been a member for more than 30 years.

“It's really his example of generosity, compassion and actions to help others that inspired me to join,” Barrington said about Lausch’s involvement.

“Our University Lions Club is just one of countless others that serve our local communities through acts of uncommon kindness,” Barrington said, adding that the club helps those needing vision and hearing correction, sponsors kids with diabetes to receive education on their condition, builds ramps for the elderly so they can stay in their homes and helps maintain the Mobile Japanese Garden.

USA Health part of notable NIH grant to support translational research

Dr. Mark Gillespie, professor and chair of pharmacology at the University of South Alabama College of Medicine, works with research assistant Gina Capley.
As a regional partner for the Center for Clinical and Translational Science (CCTS), the University of South Alabama College of Medicine is one of five academic institutions in the southeast taking part in three programmatic grants from the National Institutes of Health (NIH), totaling nearly $50 million.

The innovative partner network – led by the University of Alabama at Birmingham and comprises 11 academic and scientific research institutions in Alabama, Louisiana and Mississippi – is the foundation for addressing health disparities through collaborative research and training efforts, providing transformational bench-to-bedside work for the foreseeable future.

Crossing institutional boundaries to improve human health and healthcare delivery, regional partners are working together to facilitate and promote unique opportunities including drug developments, integrative genomics, advanced magnetic resonance imaging and participant populations having disparities in clinical outcomes.

Dr. Mark Gillespie, professor and chair of pharmacology at the USA College of Medicine, serves as the site lead and principle investigator for USA Health. “The impact of this partner network is far reaching, extending into both patient care and health care provider education” he said. “It will provide additional opportunities for advanced training for medical students, residents, faculty members, and help students across the entire range of health care professions.”

Dr. Gillespie said the CCTS also supports a number of core resources at USA Health, which directly benefits the patient population. “The partnership has led to our involvement in the All of Us Program and the Alabama Genomic Health Initiative,” he said. “Both programs allow constituents in our service areas to have their genomes sequenced. The accessible data provides useful information that can be shared with primary care providers for wellness preservation.”

Translational research – the idea of translating basic science discoveries into clinical practice – is the driving force behind this project. “Our institution plays a key role in the community engagement arm of the grant by concentrating on healthcare disparities in the southeast,” Dr. Gillespie said.

Driven by this mission and building on existing achievements and progress, the CCTS partner network has organized an ambitious set of initiatives for the next five years. The center is developing a diverse, skilled translational workforce and engaging communities in trusting, productive relationships. It is advancing collaborative, coordinated data analytics and informatics, and promoting methodologically rigorous science enabled through valuable partnerships that address health issues of particular significance to the region.

Launched in 2015, the network shares a common purpose: to reduce the burden of cardio-metabolic, vascular and cancer-related diseases and health disparities that disproportionally affect the underserved minority and special populations in the Deep South.

The administrative hub for the CCTS, located at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, was established in 2008. The entity nurtures research locally, regionally and nationally through partnerships with academic health centers, research institutes and universities. It also accelerates the process of translating laboratory discoveries into treatments for patients, facilities training of the next generation of clinical and translational researchers, and engages communities in research efforts.

Learn more about the CCTS.

Thursday, May 16, 2019

Medical Alumni Association to host Reunion Weekend June 7-9

The University of South Alabama Medical Alumni Association will host its annual Medical Alumni Reunion Weekend June 7-9 at the Pensacola Beach Hilton. All alumni and their family members are invited to attend.

The event is a multi-day class reunion held every summer that reunites USA medical graduates on the Gulf Coast. It offers Continuing Medical Education (CME) accredited courses and an alumni dinner sponsored by the association. The classes of 1979, 1984, 1989, 1994, 1999, 2004, 2009 and 2014 will be honored at this year’s event.

For more information and to register online, visit the EventBrite page.

Mark Your Calendar: M3 Case Symposium set for May 31

The University of South Alabama College of Medicine will host the M3 Case Symposium from 2 to 4 p.m. May 31, in the first-floor conference room of the Strada Patient Care Center.

Throughout their third year, medical students interact with patients as members of the healthcare team. Some of the patients encountered will have a lasting impact on students and potentially affect their career and specialty choices as future physicians.

During the annual symposium, rising fourth-year medical students share poster presentations of interesting, rare or novel case studies observed during their third-year rotations. The event is also an opportunity for students to showcase independent projects.

The case reports are judged based on originality, strength of conclusions, quality of references, overall appearance, organization and topic.

Faculty, staff, residents and students are invited to attend. For more information, contact William Nicolson at

Hundley and Roveda appointed associate deans at the USA College of Medicine

T.J. Hundley, M.D., and Kelly P. Roveda, M.D., will take on new leadership roles at the University of South Alabama College of Medicine.

Hundley, associate professor of internal medicine and course director of the internal medicine clerkship program, was named associate dean of medical education at the USA College of Medicine. He previously served as the assistant dean of medical education and student affairs.

“Dr. Hundley is an outstanding medical educator. He brings his passion for excellence and teaching to this new role,” said John V. Marymont, M.D., vice president for medical affairs and dean of the USA College of Medicine. “His continued leadership allows us to build on our reputation as an exceptional place for medical students to learn and develop.”

Roveda, assistant professor of pathology, was named associate dean of student affairs. She previously served as the assistant dean of student affairs.

“As an exceptional academic physician, Dr. Roveda has a keen understanding of the distinct challenges students face during their medical school experience and the critical role faculty play as mentors,” Marymont said. “In this new role, she will lead our efforts to ensure the growth, development and academic success of each of our medical students.”

Their appointments follow the retirement of Susan LeDoux, M.D., who served as associate dean of medical education and student affairs. The new structure in the College of Medicine supports a more focused effort in both medical education and student affairs.

Since joining the faculty in 2008, Hundley has been the recipient of the Red Sash Award, given to faculty members whom medical students believe have had the most meaningful impact on their medical education. He has received numerous other awards including Best Overall Clinical Educator, Best Clinical Teacher, Best Clerkship Director, Best Third-Year Clerkship, and the Leonard Tow Humanism in Medicine Award.

He serves on several USA College of Medicine committees including the Student Wellness Committee, Student Affairs Committee, Scholarship Committee, Curriculum Committee, and the Graduate Medical Education Committee.

Hundley earned his medical degree and completed his residency training in internal medicine at the USA College of Medicine. He is board-certified by the American Board of Internal Medicine.

Roveda serves on the USA College of Medicine Curriculum Committee, Student Promotion and Evaluation Committee, Student Affairs Task Force Committee, and the Medical Student Ombudsman.

She has served as the Title IX coordinator for the USA College of Medicine, chapter councilor of the Alpha Omega Alpha Medical Honor Society, and on the USA Medical Alumni Association Board of Directors.

Roveda earned her medical degree and completed her residency training in pathology at the USA College of Medicine. She is certified by the American Board of Pathology in Anatomic and Clinical Pathology. She is a member of the College of American Pathologists and the American Society of Clinical Pathologists.

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Med School Café lecture on urinary stones now online

William Terry Jr., M.D., a urologist with USA Health, presented the May Med School Café lecture, "Rocks in Wrong Places: Humanity's Coping With Urinary Stone Disease."

In his talk, Terry discussed why people get urinary stones, types of stones, ways to prevent them, and how best to treat them.

Watch Med School Café - Kidney Stones on YouTube or below.

Monday, May 13, 2019

Townsley discusses 'Women in STEM' on podcast

Mary Townsley, Ph.D., senior associate dean of the University of South Alabama College of Medicine, is featured in a recent podcast by Girls Can.

In the episode "Women in STEM," Townsley gives insight as a woman in the field of science, technology, engineering and mathematics. She shares her experiences as both a teacher and student and gives advice to help young women excel in advanced science and medical studies.

Girls Can podcast is sponsored by Girls Can, an organization dedicated to improving the lives of young women in Mobile. Formed by four sisters - Elizabeth, Brooke, Abigail and Grace Swain - their mission is to encourage young women to make a difference through education and service. The podcast is sponsored in part with a grant from HERlead.

Listen to the podcast here.