Thursday, October 20, 2011

Join Us on October 28th To Welcome New USA Physicians

The USA Physicians Group is holding an open house and welcome reception for eight new physicians who are based at the USA Medical Center campus.

The new physicians are: Dr. Crisostomo R. Baliog Jr., rheumatologist; Dr. Salil Gulati, plastic and reconstructive surgeon; Dr. Robert B. Bettencourt, family sports medicine physician; Dr. Sheetal Nijhawan, laparoscopic surgeon; Dr. Steve M. Cordina, director, stroke and interventional neurology; Dr. Jon D. Simmons, trauma/critical care surgeon; Dr. Christopher Eckstein, neuroimmunologist; and Dr. Zhiqing Xing, orthopaedic oncologist.

The event, open to the University community, will take place Oct. 28, 2011, from 2-4 p.m. at the Mastin Professional Building lobby at 2451 Fillingim Street in Mobile.

At the same time, tours of the new Heart Center and Epilepsy Monitoring Unit will be given. The reception and open house will also provide an opportunity for guests to tour the newly renovated Mastin Professional Building clinics.

For more information, call (251) 434-3711.

Med School Café - Expert Advice for the Community

Dr. Sheetal Nijhawan (left), assistant professor of surgery at the USA College of Medicine, answers questions following the October Med School Cafe lecture, "Dramatically Improving Your Health with Bariatric Surgery."

This week, Dr. Sheetal Nijhawan, assistant professor of surgery at the University of South Alabama College of Medicine, presented the October Med School Café lecture. The lecture, "Dramatically Improving Your Health with Bariatric Surgery," had a total of 39 attendees.

At the lecture, Dr. Nijhawan discussed the procedures available for those interested in weight loss surgery.

The next Med School Café lecture will be held on Nov. 17, 2011, at the Mobile Museum of Art. If you are interested in attending, email for details.

USA Biomedical Librarian Approved for Membership in Academy of Health Information Professionals

Robert Britton, assistant librarian at the University of South Alabama Biomedical Library, was recently approved for membership in the Academy of Health Information Professionals (AHIP) at the provisional level.

With Britton’s membership, all librarians at the USA Biomedical Library are now AHIP members.

Distinguished members are Judy Burnham, Jie Li and Geneva Staggs; senior members are Clista Clanton and Justin Robertson; and provisional members are Britton, Trey Lemley and Andrea Wright.

According to Britton, AHIP membership gives medical librarians a framework for continuing education and professional development. “This is accomplished through mentoring by established AHIP members and through the encouragement of participation in scholarly activities in the field,” Britton said. “In addition, AHIP certification demonstrates a commitment to growth in the profession."

AHIP is the Medical Library Association’s peer-reviewed professional development and career recognition credentialing program. The academy promotes lifelong learning and exemplary professional performance by recognizing achievements in continuing education, teaching, publishing and research.

Provisional membership is the entry level status for librarians with less than five years experience in the medical librarianship field.

The AHIP credential denotes the highest standards of professional competency and achievement in the field of health care information and must be renewed every five years. Someone who has the AHIP designation must participate in continuing education courses and other professional development activities to maintain the knowledge and skills necessary to successfully support the institution’s mission and goals.

Mark Your Calendars: Grant Writing Seminars

The University of South Alabama Health Sciences faculty are invited to attend a series of basic seminars, titled "Grant Writing for Health Professionals."

Each seminar will cover components of the grant writing process such as finding funding, interpreting guidelines, budget development, and proposal processing.

The seminars will last about 50 minutes, followed by 10 minutes for questions and answers.  Dates, times and topics for the seminars are shown below. To register, e-mail Dr. Catherine Dearman at

Grant Basics I
Friday, Oct. 28, 2011
12 p.m. to 1 p.m.
Amy Brown, Grants Development Specialist II, Sponsored Programs
Funding Opportunities, Resources, Funded Proposals, How to Interpret Guidelines, Grant Writing Smart Tips

Grant Basics II
Friday, Nov. 4, 2011
12 p.m. to 1 p.m.
Steve Croft, Associate Director, Sponsored Programs
Budget Development Smart Tips, Proposal Submission, Proposal Processing

Grant Basics III
Friday, Nov. 18, 2011
12 p.m. to 1 p.m.
Dr. Mary Townsley, Assistant Dean, COM
Dr. Julio Turrens, Associate Dean, AHP
NIH / NSF Basics - Everything You Need to Know: Institutes, Directorates, Review Criteria

Protect Your Skin Against Future Damage

Mona Hagmaier, a physician assistant at the University of South Alabama Knollwood Physicians Group, said common skin complaints she hears from patients involve aging and sun-damaged skin.

According to Hagmaier, lifestyle factors affect the rate at which our bodies age and there are several things you can do to protect your skin against future damage.

“If you are beginning to notice signs of aging, you should first focus on the primary culprit – sun exposure,” she said. “Everyone should use a moisturizer, sunscreen, or cosmetic product with at least SPF 15 every day. A good moisturizer containing SPF protects you from dangerous rays while guarding against dry skin.”

UV light damages the body’s genetic material, which in turn changes the kinds and amounts of chemicals that the skin cells make. “It is these changes to the DNA that are responsible for the damaging effects of UV light, including skin cancer, premature skin aging and burning.”

Hagmaier said adequate sleep, water consumption, and exercise are important factors in achieving healthy glowing skin. “Sleep is vital for mental and physical health,” she said. “As you sleep, your immune system rebuilds damaged tissues.”

“Water replenishes moisture that is lost throughout the day,” she added, “and exercise increases circulation of much-needed nutrients to the skin. Exercise also has many other health benefits such as decreasing stress and lowering cholesterol.”

In addition, Hagmaier said certain foods can improve your skin’s health. “Eating fruits and uncooked vegetables with antioxidants (vitamins A, C, E, selenium, zinc, beta-carotene) as well as drinking green tea, is a great way to improve the look of skin,” she said. “Antioxidants counteract damage produced by free radicals (unbalanced oxygen molecules which destroy collagen) that form as a result of sun exposure, pollution, or stress.”

“Another way to improve the look of your skin is to exfoliate often,” Hagmaier said. “Exfoliation removes dead skin cells that can give your complexion a dull look.” In addition, Hagmaier recommends avoiding skin products that contain alcohol, which deprives the skin of its natural oils.

There are some things you should avoid if you want healthy skin, including excess alcohol and cigarettes. “Alcohol can affect one’s quality of sleep. The nicotine in cigarettes causes vasoconstriction, which deprives the skin of oxygen and nutrients leading to damaged collagen and elastin,” Hagmaier said.  “A smoker’s face lacks elasticity, is dry, and wrinkles faster.”

According to Hagmaier, moles are a very common patient concern. “If a patient comes in with a mole they are worried about, we can give them a full body skin exam and do a punch biopsy if we find anything that looks suspicious,” she said.

Hagmaier said that your health care provider should perform a full body skin exam annually as part of a routine cancer-related checkup, and you should check your skin once a month.

“It is important that you learn the pattern of freckles, moles and spots on your body so you will notice any changes over time,” she said. “If you find something suspicious, you should see a health care provider with training in biopsying skin cancers immediately.”

Hagmaier, who is a primary care provider at Knollwood Physicians Group, also sees patients for skin conditions such as pre-cancerous lesions, skin tags, warts, cysts, angiomas and acne. To make an appointment, call (251) 660-5787.

Hagmaier will present next month's Med School Cafe' lecture on Nov. 17th.  To make reservations, email .

USA College of Medicine Mourns Loss of Dr. William A. Gardner

Dr. William A. Gardner Jr., professor emeritus of pathology at the University of South Alabama College of Medicine, passed away on Oct. 2, 2011. He was 72.

Dr. Gardner served as the Louise Lenoir Locke Professor and Chair of Pathology from 1981 to 2002 and as interim dean and vice president for Medical Affairs from 1997 to 1998 at the USA College of Medicine. In 2002, he accepted the role as executive director of the American Registry of Pathology and CEO of the International Registry of Pathology.

During his tenure at USA, Dr. Gardner received a Fulbright Award to teach prostatic pathology and other areas in the Slovak Republic from 1996 to 1997. Dr. Gardner dedicated time to performing extensive research on pathology with a focus on prostate cancer.

Dr. Gardner is survived by his wife of 51 years, Ann Medlin Gardner, his children Elizabeth Gardner Schneider (Todd Schneider) of Alexandria, Va.; Lee Gardner DeGroft (Aaron DeGroft) of Williamsburg, Va.; and William Dylan Gardner (Kirsten Winther Gardner) of South Pasadena, Calif.; seven grandchildren, Madelyn and Sam Schneider, Graham and Ellen DeGroft, and William A. IV, Grace and Henry Gardner; and his sister, Betty Gardner Satterfield of Bowling Green, Ky.

There will be a memorial service and reception held in honor of Dr. Gardner on Oct. 27, 2011, from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. in the Powell Room of the Cosmos Club, 2121 Massachusetts Ave., NW Washington, D.C. 20008.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Medical University of South Carolina Foundation for the William A. Gardner, Jr., MD Scholarship Fund (MUSC Foundation, 18 Bee Street, MSC, 450, Charleston, SC 29425)