Thursday, February 14, 2013

USA Gold Humanism Honor Society Members Participate in 'Focus on Compassion' Week

On Solidarity Day - Feb. 14, 2013 - USA medical students wore red to symbolize unity and to act as a reminder of the importance of compassion and love in health care. Pictured above are senior medical students of the USA chapter of the Gold Humanism Honor Society.
As part of the Gold Humanism Honor Society's 3rd annual Solidarity Day for Compassionate Patient Care, goodie bags were distributed to hospital ancillary and cafeteria staff to thank them for their contributions. 

In honor of the Gold Humanism in Medicine Honor Society's (GHHS) 3rd annual Solidarity Day for Compassionate Patient Care, the University of South Alabama chapter of GHHS participated in several activities throughout the week to remind students and employees of the importance of compassion in medicine.

“This week reminded us of what is truly important – our patients,” said USA GHHS member Kaci Sims. “In the busy world of health care, one can become easily distracted. But at the end of the day, it's about that special patient connection – a squeeze of the hand, a smile from the heart, and offering help and hope to those who are hurting and need us the most.”

This year, GHHS members brought coffee and doughnuts to the nursing stations at the USA Medical Center and distributed “Thank You” cards to the nursing staff at USA Children's & Women's Hospital.
USA GHHS member Laura Jelf said Solidarity Day is a day to put others before yourself. “We must remember that something as simple as a smile or saying, 'Good morning!' goes a long way and can improve someone’s day," she said.
Valentine’s Day goodie bags were also donated by the chapter to the ICU waiting rooms for the patient’s families.
“We let the families of patients who are critically ill in the hospital this week know that we are thinking of them during this difficult time,” said USA GHHS member Sonia Savani. “Whatever small acts of kindness we can do to show our appreciation and support will not nearly be enough, but we hope that at the very least we can brighten a few days and make the people who deserve all the credit in the world feel even a little bit more appreciated.”

Other activities planned for the week include delivering flowers and handwritten notes to the nursing stations.
“We speak for all of our classmates when we say that it has been an absolute honor and privilege to be a medical student at USA, where patients are cared for with compassion on a daily basis by doctors, nurses, students and staff,” Savani said, “and where we are all called upon, as a very wise physician once said, ‘To cure sometimes, to relieve often, to comfort always.’” (- Dr. Edward Trudeau)

The GHHS Solidarity Day for Compassionate Patient Care was initiated after the 2011 shootings in Tucson, Ariz., to honor the humanistic actions of Dr. Randall Friese, the trauma surgeon who first treated Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords.

The senior medical students of the USA chapter of GHHS are Laura Jelf, William Kilgo, Emile Kleyn, William Moore, John Moultrie, Sonia Savani, Kaci Sims and Joseph Wehby.

Click here to learn more about the USA chapter of GHHS. To view more photos from this year's events, click here.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

USA Physician Weighs in on Medicaid Expansion

Dr. Allen Perkins, professor and chair of family medicine at the University of South Alabama College of Medicine, recently wrote a guest column featured on

In his column he discusses what the Medicaid expansion - aimed at offering all Alabamians more generous income-based Medicaid coverage - could mean for the state.

To read the full article, click here.

Feb. 21st Distinguished Scientist Seminar to Feature Dr. Thomas Vondriska

The next Distinguished Scientist Seminar at the University of South Alabama College of Medicine will feature Dr. Thomas Vondriska, associate professor of anesthesiology, medicine and physiology in the David Geffen School of Medicine at the University of California, Los Angeles.

The lecture, titled "Systems Genomics of Chromatin Structure in Heart Failure," will take place Feb. 21, 2013, at 4 p.m. in the Medical Sciences Building auditorium on USA's main campus.

Dr. Vondriska trained at West Virginia University (BS in Biology), the University of Louisville (PhD in Physiology) and UCLA. 
Dr. Vondriska's lab is focused on chromatin structure and its regulation, particularly in the setting of heart disease. He also has many ongoing collaborations with investigators at UCLA and other institutions.
Dr. Vondriska is a member of the Cardiovascular Research Laboratories (CVRL), the Molecular Biology Institute (MBI), and the Molecular, Cellular and Integrative Physiology (MCIP) graduate program at UCLA.
To learn more about Dr. Vondriska, click here.

RSVP Today - 2013 Oncology Outlook

The University of South Alabama Mitchell Cancer Institute is hosting a CME event, Oncology Outlook 2013, on March 15-16, 2013, at the Grand Hotel Marriott Resort, Golf Club & Spa in Point Clear, Ala.

This year's focus is on lung cancer and includes Dr. Robert Keith, professor of medicine and cancer biology and leader of the Early Detection, Risk Biomarkers, and Prevention, Lung/Head and Neck Program at the University of Colorado Cancer Center, as well as thoracic surgeon Dr. Robert Cerfolio of UAB.

Rooms are limited so please make your plans prior to Feb. 20, 2013. To view the brochure and complete schedule of events, click here. To register online, click here.

For more information contact Susan Crutchfield at or Sharrie Cranford at

Regional Stroke Support Group Meeting to Feature Biomedical Librarian Geneva Staggs

The University of South Alabama Medical Center will host the next meeting of the South Alabama Regional Stroke Support Group on Feb. 19, 2013, at 6 p.m. in the Medical Center's 10th floor dining room.

The meeting's topic will be "Where Did You Get That? Health Information on the Internet." The meeting will feature guest speaker Geneva Staggs, assistant director for hospital library services at USA's Biomedical Library.

Staggs has been designated a consumer health information specialist by the Medical Library Association and was recently named the Hospital Librarian of the Year for the Southeast region of the United States.

"I truly enjoy helping patients and other individuals find information that helps them make better health care decisions for themselves and their families," Staggs said. "I have seen evidence that informed patients have better and more productive health care interactions and better outcomes."

The meeting, which is offered free of charge, will also feature a healthy meal and door prizes. Reservations are requested and can be made by e-mailing Angela Blakley at or calling (251) 471-7671. Attendees are requested to arrive by 5:45 p.m., if possible.

USA Medical Center is the Mobile area's first "Gold Plus" Performance Achievement Award recipient for stroke care, awarded by the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association.  Click here for more information.

To learn more about Staggs' selection as Hospital Librarian of the Year, click here.