Wednesday, August 7, 2013

40th Annual Medical Student Research Day Features Dr. Joe G.N. Garcia

Dr. Joe Garcia, vice president for health affairs and Earl M. Bane Professor of Medicine, Pharmacology and Bioengineering at the University of Illinois at Chicago, lectures at the 40th annual Medical Student Research Day Aug. 2.

The University of South Alabama College of Medicine’s 40th annual Medical Student Research Day took place Aug. 2, 2013, in the Medical Sciences Building.

The event featured Dr. Joe G.N. Garcia, vice president for health affairs and Earl M. Bane Professor of Medicine, Pharmacology and Bioengineering at the University of Illinois at Chicago. His lecture was titled "Life as a Physician Scientist: The Journey to Make a Difference."

The USA Summer Research Program is a 10-week program that allows medical students to gain a better appreciation for biomedical research and the contribution it makes to the applied science that is needed to improve the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of diseases. Both oral presentations and poster presentations were given by the students.

Click here to learn more about Dr. Garcia. To view more photos from the event, click here.

Healthy U-S-A Fair to be Held August 16th

2012 Healthy U-S-A Fair
The University of South Alabama Health System is hosting a Healthy U-S-A Fair for USA employees on August 16, 2013, from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. at the USA Faculty Club, located on the University’s main campus.

USA physicians will be available to all USA employees and dependents for free expert advice and health screenings. Employees will have the opportunity to receive blood pressure, glucose, cholesterol and bone density screenings from providers at the USA Physicians Group. In addition, employees will be able to determine their body mass index and receive physical therapy screenings. Also, the USA Mitchell Cancer Institute will be offering free colon cancer screenings.

The first 200 attendees will receive a free lunch, and all employees will have the opportunity to register for prize drawings.

For more information on the Healthy U-S-A Fair, email Kim Partridge at

Monday, August 5, 2013

August Med School Café – 'Tis the Season to be Sneezin’: Allergies in Mobile'

The August Med School Café lecture will feature Dr. Druhan Howell, assistant professor of internal medicine and pediatrics at the USA College of Medicine and an allergist with USA Physicians Group.

Her lecture, titled “Tis the Season to be Sneezin’: Allergies in Mobile,” will take place August 20, 2013, at the USA Faculty Club on USA’s main campus. Lunch will be served at 11:30 a.m., and the presentation begins at noon.

Dr. Howell’s lecture will discuss common types of allergies, as well as symptoms of allergies. She will also provide important information on how to avoid and control allergies and allergic reactions.

Dr. Howell earned her medical degree from USA and conducted her residency in the combined internal medicine and pediatrics program at USA. She completed a fellowship in allergy/immunology at Duke University in Durham, N.C.

The Med School Café lecture and lunch are provided free of charge, but reservations are required. For more information or to make reservations, 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 College of Medicine Collaborates to take Research from ‘Bench to Bedside’

From left: Dr. Mark Gillespie, professor and chair of pharmacology; Dr. Larry Lee; Dr. Jon Simmons, trauma surgeon and assistant professor of surgery; and Dr. William Richards, professor and chair of surgery
After completing two years of residency in general surgery at the University of South Alabama College of Medicine, Dr. Larry Lee decided to take a year hiatus from residency training to enhance his education and appreciation for the basic science aspect of clinical care by conducting research with Dr. Mark Gillespie, professor and chair of pharmacology.

Dr. Lee, who investigates multiple organ dysfunction syndrome in trauma patients, was recently awarded first place in the Alabama chapter of the American College of Surgeons (ACS) Residents Poster Competition for his research presentation.

Dr. Lee is also the recipient of an American Heart Association post doctoral fellowship, which funds this research project, along with a grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

In addition to being an exciting step for Dr. Lee, the award also recognizes the recent, unique collaboration between USA’s department of pharmacology, department of surgery and a host of clinicians and scientists.

Since the beginning of this research project in 2011, Dr. Gillespie, along with Dr. William Richards, professor and chair of surgery; and Dr. Jon Simmons, trauma surgeon and assistant professor of surgery, have led the partnership, a collaboration that, according to Dr.Richards, is the way of the future for the department of surgery to conduct meaningful NIH-funded research and to open doors for the basic scientists to explore clinically relevant problems.

“Biomedical research now requires translation from basic science to clinical science- from the bench to the bedside,” explained Dr. Richards. “We are placing our residents in the basic science labs where they are working on first-class, biomedical research.”

The focus of this research project is to better understand why some trauma patients who are resuscitated and treated with medications and surgery appear to initially recover, but then go on to develop multiple organ failure days later.

“At the point when the patient develops multiple organ failure, there’s little we can do except to support them and hope that it gets better,” explained Dr. Richards.

According to Dr. Lee’s presentation, for the first time in history, this research has identified what could be causing the chain of events leading to multiple organ failure in trauma patients. “If someone is severely injured, this causes mitochondrial DNA damage,” explained Dr. Lee. “The damage results in mitochondrial DNA fragments entering into circulation and causing an inflammatory response, which we’ve associated with multiple organ failure.”

Dr. Gillespie noted that in addition to making a breakthrough in multiple organ dysfunction syndrome, the team has also identified a potential therapy and target for new drugs.

The last USA recipient of the ACS Alabama Resident Poster Competition was Dr. Josh Chouteau in 2011, also a research fellow in Dr. Gillespie’s lab.  Dr. Chouteau broke out of his clinical residency to initiate studies in Dr. Gillespie’s lab that served as a foundation for Dr. Lee’s award-winning research.

“For Dr. Lee’s project to be recognized by the Alabama chapter of the ACS out of all the different surgical programs in the state of Alabama, shows his outstanding work, and that our team, including trauma surgeons Drs. Dick Gonzalez and Sid Brevard, successfully translated basic science discoveries into clinically relevant information that deepens our understanding of why some trauma patients fail to respond to treatment,” said Dr. Richards.

“The collaboration of scientists and physicians is greater than the work we do individually,” Dr. Richards added. “We are excited about working with basic science researchers in addition to clinicians like Dr. Jon Simmons –each of whom bring a unique perspective to the table. This research project was made possible by the many surgeons, nurses, physical therapists, pharmacists, administrators, technicians and physicians who provide expert care to the patients admitted to the USA Level 1 Trauma and Burn Center.”

Referencing the clinical care, research and teaching that he has contributed to during the past three years, Lee said that “there are long hours and hard work, but it’s been a truly incredible experience.”