Thursday, May 15, 2014

Journal of Pediatric Infectious Diseases Society Features Art of USA Physician's Son

The art work of Benjamin Joseph Estrada (age 9), was recently featured on the cover of the Journal of the Pediatric Infectious Diseases Society (JPIDS). Benjamin is the son of Dr. Benjamin Estrada, professor of pediatrics at the University of South Alabama Health System.

Benjamin was inspired to draw "Chickenpox" after receiving his annual influenza immunization. After a discussion with his father about why it was important to be immunized, he became interested in learning more about vaccines and the diseases that they help to prevent. He learned about the causes and effects of varicella and decided to illustrate them to raise awareness about the prevention of infection.

This issue of JPIDS features manuscripts discussing influenza, pneumococcal, meningococcal, and rotavirus vaccines as well as an outbreak of pertussis. To view the issue in its entirety, click here.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

COM Training Program Begins Third Cycle of Funding from National Heart, Lung, Blood Institute

Dr. Townsley
The University of South Alabama College of Medicine’s T32 Training Program in “Cell Signaling and Lung Pathobiology” recently began its third 5-year cycle of funding (2014-2019) from the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute. The program supports predoctoral trainees enrolled in the interdisciplinary Basic Medical Sciences Ph.D. program and medical students engaged in research training at the USA College of Medicine.

“This is a great turning point for our training program, as a successful review after 10 years is critically dependent upon training outcomes,” said Dr. Mary Townsley, professor of physiology at the USA College of Medicine. “We have an excellent training infrastructure and excellent outcomes.”

Dr. Stevens
The current program, according to Dr. Townsley, has two components. One component provides support (stipends, travel and other training related expenses such as health insurance) for six predoctoral students per year in the lung biology track of the Basic Medical Sciences Ph.D. program. The second component provides 8-10-week stipends and training-related expenses for four medical students per year who are engaged in summer research or research honors.

T32 faculty, affiliated with the USA Center for Lung Biology, provide expertise and research training on pulmonary hypertension/smooth muscle, lung endothelial cell inflammation/infection and acute lung injury, mitochondria/oxidant stress, and lung ion channels/transport.

Dr. Troy Stevens, professor of pharmacology at the USA College of Medicine, serves as the co-director of the program’s third cycle.

For more information on the program, contact Dr. Townsley at

May Med School Café - 'Your Brain is What You Feed It: Effects of Nutrition on the Brain'

The May Med School Café lecture will feature Dr. Anne-Marie Kaulfers, assistant professor of pediatrics at the University of South Alabama College of Medicine and a pediatric endocrinologist with USA Physicians Group.

Her lecture, titled “Your Brain is What You Feed It: Effects of Nutrition on the Brain,” will take place May 20, 2014, 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.

During the talk, Dr. Kaulfers will discuss nutrition and how what you eat can affect how you think. “A current hot topic is that insulin is a major brain-signaling protein,” she said. “So if you eat too much sugar, it could actually slow down your brain signals and cause poor brain functioning.”

Dr. Kaulfers will also include information on the hormones that are involved in food addiction, as well as foods that are good for your brain.

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.
Dr Kaulfers MSC Teaser from USA Health System on Vimeo.

Medical School Graduates Participate in Honors Convocation Ceremony

The University of South Alabama held commencement ceremonies for the 2014 College of Medicine graduates on May 10, 2014, marking the 39th class to earn medical degrees from USA.

The day before, the 63 graduates participated in an honors convocation where they were “hooded” by an individual of their choice, signifying the awarding of a doctoral-level degree. During the honors convocation ceremony, students were also recognized for their academic achievements. Both ceremonies took place at the USA Mitchell Center.

Including the 2014 class, 2,472 physicians have graduated from the USA College of Medicine since its opening in 1973. Approximately one-third of the physicians practicing in the Mobile area earned their medical degree from USA or completed residency training in the USA Hospitals System.

Click here to view all photos from this year's event and here to see the award recipients.