Friday, April 15, 2011

April Med School Café - Potential Cures for Type I Diabetes

Dr. Kaulfers
The April Med School Café lecture will feature Dr. Anne-Marie Kaulfers, assistant professor of pediatrics at the University of South Alabama College of Medicine.

Her lecture, titled “Potential Cures for Type I Diabetes,” will take place April 28, 2011, at the Via! Health, Fitness & Enrichment Center in Mobile. Lunch will be served at 11:30 a.m., and the presentation begins at noon.

Dr. Kaulfers, who has training and experience in pediatric endocrinology, will discuss potential cures and future therapies for Type I diabetes, also known as juvenile onset diabetes.

Dr. Kaulfers earned her medical degree from Louisiana State University School of Medicine in New Orleans. She conducted her pediatric residency at the University of Kentucky Medical Center in Lexington, Ky. In addition, she completed a pediatric endocrinology fellowship at the Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center in Cincinnati.

The Via! Health, Fitness & Enrichment Center is located at 1717 Dauphin St. in Mobile. To view a map, visit

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

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.

USA Welcomes Pediatrics Practice Director

Howard C. Holcomb
Howard C. Holcomb was recently appointed practice director for the department of pediatrics at the University of South Alabama.  He replaces Bill Brainerd, who retired this month after more than 16 years of service.

Prior to joining USA, Holcomb was the vice president of Thomas Hospital in Fairhope, Ala. In addition, he has served as administrator of Washington County Infirmary and Nursing Home in Chatom, Ala., and assistant vice president of the Columbus Regional Healthcare System in Columbus, Ga.

Holcomb received his bachelor of science in psychology and master of science in health administration from the University of Alabama at Birmingham.

He is a fellow of the American College of Health Care Executives, a past board member of the Alabama Hospital Association, past president of the Southwest Alabama Hospital Council and a past board member with the Eastern Shore Chamber of Commerce.

Lectures Slated Honoring Legacy of Two of Mobile's Surgeons

Dr. Abumrad
Dr. Naji N. Abumrad, John L. Sawyers Professor of Surgery and chair of the department of surgery at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, will present two lectures in April. Both talks are open to all medical professionals and are made possible through the Dr. Emmett B. Frazer and Dr. Milton M. Leigh Endowments at the University of South Alabama Department of Surgery.

The first lecture, “Life of an Academic Surgeon,” will take place on April 21, 2011, at 6 p.m. at the Health Sciences Building at the corner of University Boulevard and USA North Drive. Dr. Abumrad’s second lecture, titled “Mechanism of Resolution of Diabetes in Obesity,” will take place April 22, 2011, at 7 a.m. at the USA Conference Center located on the second floor of the USA Medical Center at 2451 Fillingim St.

Dr. Abumrad’s clinical interests cover all aspects of general surgery and, particularly, endocrine surgery. His extensive research activities include studies of the mechanism of insulin resistance in the morbidly obese. Dr. Abumrad's work has been funded by NIH grants during most of his academic career.

In addition, Dr. Abumrad’s professional interests have earned him appointments to serve on many NIH study sections, and he is active in numerous professional associations. He has authored more than 250 articles in peer-reviewed journals and several book chapters.

This annual memorial lecture, funded by community surgeons and the USA Department of Surgery, is given to honor the legacy of Dr. Emmett B. Frazer and Dr. Milton M. Leigh as leaders in clinical service and graduate surgical education in the Mobile community.

The USA College of Medicine is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME) to provide continuing medical education for physicians. The USA College of Medicine designates this live activity for a maximum of 1 AMA PRA Category 1 Credit™. Physicians should claim only credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity.

For more information on both lectures, contact the USA Department of Surgery at (251) 471-7993.

Preliminary Recommendations Released for New Version of MCAT

The Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) recently released preliminary recommendations for a new version of the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT).

The proposed recommendations were developed by a 22-member advisory panel, appointed by AAMC in 2008 to review the current MCAT exam. Dr. Ronald D. Franks, vice president for health sciences at the University of South Alabama, was vice chair of the committee.

“Rapid changes in all scientific fields, the impact of behavior on health, and a more diverse population require tomorrow’s doctors to be more broadly prepared,” Dr. Franks said. “Although these recommendations are preliminary, we thought it best to be as transparent as possible as early as possible about the likely changes to the MCAT.”

To view the preliminary recommendations, visit

This is the fifth time the MCAT has been evaluated since it was first administered in 1928. The last full-scale review of the MCAT exam was completed in 1990.

If approved, the proposed recommendations will be introduced with the 2015 MCAT examination.

USA College of Medicine Hosts 25th Anniversary BEAR Reunion

The University of South Alabama College of Medicine will host a 25th year anniversary reunion celebrating the Biomedical Enrichment and Recruitment (BEAR) program at USA, initiated to prepare, admit, and graduate more African-American medical students and diversify the medical student body.

Dr. Charles Mouton

The event will take place April 30, 2011, at the Downtown Renaissance Mobile Riverview Plaza Hotel from 8:00 a.m. until 4:00 p.m.

Dr. Augustus White III

The opening speaker at the reunion will be Dr. Charles Mouton, dean of the school of medicine and senior vice president for health affairs at Meharry Medical College in Nashville, Tenn. Dr. Augustus A. White III, professor of orthopaedic surgery and the Ellen and Melvin Gordon Professor of Medical Education at Harvard Medical School, will deliver the keynote address.

The objective of the BEAR Program is to provide a specially designed two-summer learning experience for underrepresented premedical students, in particular African Americans, during the summers prior to their junior and senior undergraduate college years. During the past quarter century, 152 students have successfully completed the BEAR program, and 50 percent of those have graduated medical school.

Dr. Otis Gowdy Jr. participated in the BEAR program in 1993 and 1994, and earned his medical degree from USA in 1999. Currently a nephrologist in Meridian, Miss., Dr. Gowdy said the BEAR program gave him a strong foundation for medical school.

“Throughout my experience with the BEAR program, I learned a lot about medical school and what is required to succeed,” Dr. Gowdy said. “I felt like I knew what to expect.”

“The work in BEAR was challenging and as close to being in medical school that you could get,” he said. “It allowed me to gain a new sense of educational responsibility for myself and for my study group.”

Dr. Gowdy said he is looking forward to attending the BEAR reunion at USA. “I am excited about reconnecting with friends and classmates and seeing former professors,” he said. “I’m also eager to be back on USA’s campus,” he said. “This reunion is a great way to show my support for USA and its efforts in medical education.”

Dr. Gowdy has been practicing in Meridian, Miss., for six years. He serves on the medical executive committee for his clinic, and he is medical director of one of the local dialysis units. In addition, he has served as the chief of medicine at two of the local hospitals.

To learn more about this event, click here. For more information, call (251) 460-7313.

Next Week's DSS - Dr. M. Celeste Simon

Dr. Simon
The next Distinguished Scientist Seminar at the University of South Alabama College of Medicine will be presented by Dr. M. Celeste Simon, professor of cell and developmental biology at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine and scientific director of the Abramson Family Cancer Research Institute.

The lecture, titled “HIFs, Hypoxia, and Tumor Progression,” will take place April 21, 2011, at 4 p.m. in the Medical Sciences Building auditorium.

Dr. Simon received her Ph.D. degree from Rockefeller University and did postdoctoral research at Rockefeller and Harvard Medical School.

Dr. Simon's research studies the molecular mechanisms regulating oxygen homeostasis, stem cell maintenance, angiogenesis, and hematopoiesis. As the majority of tumors include cells that are oxygen deprived, responses to oxygen availability promote cancer cell survival, cancer stem cell phenotypes, and tumor angiogenesis. As such, oxygen-sensitive molecules are appropriate targets for anticancer therapy.

For more information on Dr. Simon's research, visit

To learn more about the lecture series, call Natalie Kent at (251) 461-1548.