Tuesday, November 22, 2011

USA Pulmonary Medicine Relocates Clinical Care Offices to Mastin Building

Dr. Karen Fagan
The University of South Alabama Division of Pulmonary Medicine, along with the USA Division of Rheumatology, recently relocated its clinical care offices to the Mastin Professional Building at 2451 Fillingim Street in Mobile.

The Mastin Professional Building offers expanded clinic space, convenient parking and convenient access to both inpatient and outpatient testing.

Dr. Karen A. Fagan serves as chief of pulmonary and critical care medicine and medical director of the USA Pulmonary Hypertension Center. Dr. Fagan has more than 15 years of experience in the diagnosis and management of pulmonary hypertension. She is an internationally recognized leader in the pulmonary hypertension field as both a clinician and scientist.

For questions about the Pulmonary Hypertension Center, contact Pat Franklin at (251) 471-7029. To make an appointment with the USA Division of Rheumatology, call (251) 470-5890.

How To Avoid "Holiday Heartburn"

With the holiday season just around the corner, USA gastroenterologist Dr. Reynaldo Rodriguez said there are several things you can do to have a heartburn-free holiday.

Dr. Rodriguez, who serves as assistant professor of internal medicine at the University of South Alabama College of Medicine, said heartburn and acid reflux are common during the holiday season, but there are steps you can take to lessen the symptoms.

“Heartburn is a burning sensation in the chest, felt just behind the breast bone or in the pit of the stomach,” he said. “The pain of heartburn often radiates from the chest to the neck, throat or jaw and is sometimes confused with a heart attack.”

According to Dr. Rodriguez, it is estimated that 40-45 percent of the United States population has an episode of heartburn at some point.

Some of the most common foods and drinks that cause heartburn are chocolate, fried and fatty foods, tomatoes, citrus fruits and juices, caffeinated beverages, and alcohol. “Chocolate, caffeine, tomatoes, citrus, and alcohol all relax the lower esophageal sphincter (LES), allowing stomach contents to reflux in the esophagus,” Dr. Rodriguez said.

He added that fried and fatty foods slow the digestion process, allowing food to remain in the stomach longer. This causes an increase in stomach pressure, which in turn places pressure on the LES, allowing reflux of stomach contents.

Dr. Rodriguez suggests waiting two hours for your food to digest before lying down. “Lying down with a full stomach right after dinner can cause stomach contents to press harder against the LES, increasing the chances of refluxed food into the esophagus.”

To avoid heartburn during the holidays, Dr. Rodriguez said you should keep portion size in mind, particularly with foods that are high in fat and that decrease digestion, such as the skin of the turkey.

Most importantly, you should avoid overeating. “The holidays are known to lead to overeating due to our happy state of mind and the abundance of food,” he said. “It is always best to eat smaller, more frequent meals rather than one large meal.”

To make an appointment with Dr. Rodriguez or any USA gastroenterologist, call (251) 660-5555.

Abstract Submission Deadline Extended

The fifth annual University of South Alabama College of Medicine Research Forum will be held Dec. 9, 2011, from 9 a.m. until 3 p.m. at USA's Main Library. The deadline for abstract submission has been extended to Nov. 29, 2011.

The forum will highlight the work of graduate students in the Basic Medical Sciences program, postdoctoral fellows, residents and clinical fellows, who are all strongly encouraged to present their work in posters and/or short talks. New faculty members are also invited to present their work.

Click here for detailed instructions regarding preparation and submission of abstracts. For more information, contact Dr. Jody Brewer at jbrewer@jaguar1.usouthal.edu or Dr. Donna Cioffi at dlcioffi@usouthal.edu.

Holiday Toy Drive - Donate Today

The Dumas Wesley Community Center is sponsoring their annual Christmas Toy Store, and the University of South Alabama Medical Center is assisting them again this year with donations.

Toys will be collected in each department at the USA Medical Center for transport to the Dumas Wesley Community Center on Dec. 7, 2011.

Donated toys are sold to pre-qualified Crichton residents at greatly reduced prices. The money generated from the toy sales goes to help other distressed community members with emergency needs.

Last year, donations from USA enabled the center to assist over 100 families.


This holiday season, the USA College of Medicine is looking for someone to be featured on Med School Watercooler whose actions typify the spirit of the season. Send your suggestions to agivens@usouthal.edu.

Next Week's DSS - Dr. Bart Barlogie

The next Distinguished Scientist Seminar at the University of South Alabama College of Medicine will be presented by Dr. Bart Barlogie, professor in the departments of medicine and pathology and director of the Myeloma Institute for Research and Therapy at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences in Little Rock, Ark.

The lecture will take place Dec. 1, 2011, at 4 p.m. in the Medical Sciences Building auditorium.

Dr. Barlogie received his medical degree from Heidelberg University in Germany, and his research degree from the Max Planck Institute for Medical Research, also in Heidelberg. He continued his postgraduate clinical training at the University of Munich, The University of Munster, and the M.D. Anderson Hospital and Tumor Institute in Houston.

For more information on Dr. Barlogie's research, click here.