Thursday, February 20, 2014

USA Gold Humanism Honor Society Members Focus on Compassion

Gold Humanism Honor Society members (from left) Ben Cason, Alicia Glass, Mary Walker, Stephanie Stropka, James Towner and Davida Yarbrough pose for a picture with Surgery Professor Dr. Charles Rodning and Clinical Education Coordinator Karen Braswell before giving out candy and other goodies for Solidarity Day on Feb. 14, 2014.
In honor of the Gold Humanism in Medicine Honor Society's (GHHS) 4th annual National Solidarity Day for Compassionate Patient Care, the University of South Alabama chapter of GHHS participated in several activities Feb. 14 to remind students and employees of the importance of compassion in medicine.

This year, GHHS members delivered breakfast, “Thank You” cards, compassionate care buttons, and goodie bags to all members of the health care team at USA Medical Center & USA Children’s and Women’s Hospital including residents, nurses, janitors, engineers, IT, security, therapists, and everywhere in-between.

"We truly went to almost every corner of the hospitals," said fourth-year medical student Stephanie Stopka, a member of GHHS. "The GHHS members were all smiles and in such good spirits after getting this opportunity to thank everyone for going the extra mile for our patients. Everyone was very receptive and grateful for the well-deserved appreciation."

The Society delivered these gifts of appreciation to encourage USA Health System team members to continue to go above and beyond the daily checklists and take that extra moment to care for others the way they'd want to be treated if they were the patient or patient's family.

"It takes a large team of people to pull off the routine medical care and medical miracles our hospitals deliver each day,” Stopka said. “It is very easy in this day and age to become jaded, cynical, and removed from the humanity that is so crucial in the medical field. We do this as a way to say thank you for all of their time and help in delivering compassionate medical care to our patients and their families here at USA."

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. Each year, schools, medical facilities, and other organizations show their support through many diverse events and activities.

The senior medical students of the USA chapter of GHHS who participated last week are Sarah Bragg, Benton M. Cason, Alicia T. Glass, Stephanie S. Stopka, James E. Towner, Mary N. Walker, and Davida E. Yarbrough.

To view more photos from the event, click here. To learn more about National Solidarity Day, click here.
Gold Humanism Honor Society member Stephanie Stopka gives a bag of candy to an employee at the USA Medical Center for Solidarity Day on Feb. 14, 2014.

USA Welcomes Dr. Mary Vu

Dr. Mary Vu was recently appointed assistant professor of interdisciplinary clinical oncology and staff medical oncologist at the University of South Alabama Mitchell Cancer Institute.

Dr. Vu earned her medical degree from the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) School of Medicine. She completed an internal medicine residency at UAB and a hematology/oncology fellowship at Vanderbilt University.

She is a member of the American Society of Clinical Oncology and the American College of Physicians.

To make an appointment with Dr. Vu, call 665-8000.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Feb. 27 DSS to Feature Dr. Chad Dickey

Next week’s Distinguished Scientist Seminar at the University of South Alabama College of Medicine will feature Dr. Chad Dickey, assistant professor of molecular medicine at the University of South Florida.

The lecture, titled “The Hsp90 machine as a mechanistic hub for neurological disorders," will take place Feb. 27, 2014, at 4 p.m. in the first floor auditorium of the Medical Sciences Building on USA’s main campus.

Dr. Dickey’s research interests include molecular mechanisms involved in protein turnover and degradation, particularly in the brain.

He earned his bachelor of science degree in microbiology from the University of South Florida and his Ph.D. in pharmacology/neuroscience from the University of South Florida.

The lecture series is comprised of distinguished scientists from other academic institutions who are invited by the USA College of Medicine basic science departments to present a seminar showcasing their latest research findings. Faculty, staff and students are strongly encouraged to attend.

For more information on Dr. Dickey’s research, click here. To learn more about the lecture series, click here.

Dr. Robert Duffy Receives Board Certification

Dr. Robert Duffy, assistant professor of family medicine at the University of South Alabama College of Medicine and a family medicine physician with USA Physicians Group, recently received certification from the American Board of Preventive Medicine (ABPM) as a specialist in clinical informatics.

Dr. Duffy is certified by the American Board of Family Practice. His research interests include health information technology and chronic disease management in primary care.

In addition to his academic achievements, Dr. Duffy is the lead physician overseeing the implementation of USA's Electronic Health/Medical Record (EHR/EMR) software. This system allows doctors to document encounters with patients as an alternative to hand-written paper charts. It also gives patients and physicians a way to communicate securely and privately. To learn more, click here.

Summer Research Proposal Deadline Approaching

The deadline to submit proposals for the 2014 Medical Student Summer Research Program is Wednesday, March 5, 2014.

The USA College of Medicine's Summer Research Program is a 9-week program (June 2 through August 1) that pairs medical students with faculty mentors.

Through this program, students develop an appreciation of how research contributes to the knowledge and the practice of medicine. Accepted entering students or rising second year students in the USA College of Medicine are eligible. The summer experience includes hands-on research related to basic science and/or clinical medicine; a seminar program that focuses on various scientific and clinical topics; and student presentations at Research Day.

The Medical Student Research Proposal form and the Research Compliance Checklist for the Summer Research Program can be found online here. Forms should be submitted to Marcina Lang, the program coordinator, at

For more information, call 251-461-1548.