Thursday, June 19, 2014

Medical Alumni Association Hosts Annual Medical Alumni Weekend

The Medical Alumni Association contributed $40,000 to the scholarship endowment at the Medical Alumni Weekend. Pictured from left: Dr. Bill Blaylock, Dr. Jill Ringold, Dr. Sam Strada and Dr. Kit Outlaw.
Alumni and their families enjoy dinner on the deck during the first evening of the University of South Alabama Medical Alumni Association Reunion Weekend.
The University of South Alabama Medical Alumni Association hosted the Annual Medical Alumni Weekend in Orange Beach, Ala., on June 6, 2014.

The event is a multi-day program held every summer that brings back medical graduates to the Gulf Coast, allowing opportunities to reminisce with fellow classmates and former faculty. The classes of 1979, 1984, 1989, 1994, 1999, 2004 and 2009 celebrated their reunions.

Racheal Banks, director of Health Sciences Development at USA, said approximately 100 physicians attended the event, along with their families.

During the event, the Medical Alumni Association offered their thanks to Melodie Robinson, assistant director of medical alumni affairs, for her many years of service and congratulated her on her retirement. In addition, Dr. Sam Strada, dean of the USA College of Medicine, offered an update on the College of Medicine and the new university president, Tony Waldrop and his wife, Julee, were on hand to meet and greet alumni.

Continuing Medical Education (CME) programs were also offered. Dr. Anthony Martino, chair of neurosurgery at the USA College of Medicine, presented “Current Management of Metastatic Brain Cancer and the USA Experience;” and Dr. Grace Hundley, assistant professor of internal medicine/pediatrics at the USA College of Medicine, presented “Simulation in Medical Education.”

In addition, the following alumni presented lectures: Dr. Anne Schott (’89), associate professor of medical oncology at University of Michigan Health System; Dr. David Adkison (’84), St. Vincent’s Orthopaedics; and Dr. Edward E. Panacek (’81), professor, University of California Davis, Emergency Medicine Critical Care.

Two check presentations also took place during the event – a $40,000 contribution from the Medical Alumni Association to the scholarship endowment and a $16,000 check to assist with renovation of the student call rooms at the USA Medical Center.

To learn more about the Annual Medical Alumni Weekend, contact Racheal Banks at (251) 460-7481.
USA College of Medicine Class of 1984

Surgery Resident Receives Scholarship to Attend American College of Surgeons Conference

Dr. Caleb Butts, a surgery resident at the University of South Alabama College of Medicine, recently received a scholarship to attend the American College of Surgeons 2014 Leadership Conference and Advocacy Summit.

The four-day symposium included several activities and kicked off with a discussion about surgeons as leaders within the operating room, hospital, city, state, and country. The following two days were dedicated to developing advocacy skills for the field of surgery when working with legislators and lobbyists to promote the interests of patients, hospitals, and the medical career of surgery.

“The final day allowed us to actually visit the U.S. Capitol to lobby to our state's senators and congressman on behalf of several important policies to ensure access to quality care for those in the state of Alabama and throughout the region,” Dr. Butts said.

According to Dr. Butts, there were more than 160 residents who applied and only 40 were selected.

“This award, and what I learned at this conference, was instrumental in allowing me to develop my interests for advocacy and surgeon leadership,” said Dr. Butts. “I got to work with legislators to educate them about important legislation that will dramatically impact patients, their care, and physicians in our region.”

He said that the practices encouraged by the conference are making and have already made a difference in the South Alabama region.

“Due in part to lobbyist efforts, our district's congressman, Representative Bradley Byrne, signed on as a co-sponsor to a very important piece of legislation that will decrease some of the costs associated with frivolous malpractice lawsuits,” said Dr. Butts. “This kind of effort, a ‘redress of grievances’ that is protected by our Constitution, is vital in working with our lawmakers for the betterment of health care in our region and across the country.”

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Dr. Maurtua-Neumann Featured on Local News

Dr. Paola Maurtua-Neumann, assistant professor of pediatrics and adolescent medicine at the University of South Alabama College of Medicine, recently was interviewed by several news outlets about the recent outbreak of whooping cough, a highly contagious bacterial disease that causes uncontrollable, violent coughing.

Click the following links to view the full stories:

COM Curriculum Changes Enhance Student Collaboration

Respiratory Module from USA Health System on Vimeo.

In the fall of 2012, the University of South Alabama College of Medicine launched a curriculum structure designed to facilitate communication between teachers and students, enhance student engagement and collaboration, as well as incorporate appropriate teaching technology. This new structure resulted in the establishment of the Active Learning Center (ALC), which neighbors the Biomedical Library on USA’s main campus.

The space accommodates 11 teams of seven students so that every station faces a 42” touch screen monitor. Each table is strategically located near electrical outlets in order to optimize the advantage of the supplied technologies.

There are several courses held in this area for medical students throughout their education.

In the ALC, first-year medical students have the opportunity to study under Dr. Brian Fouty, associate professor of internal medicine and pharmacology at USA College of Medicine, who brings in a patient with a different respiratory disease each week during a six-week block. “It’s unscripted,” Dr. Fouty said. “We don’t know the answers, and they don’t know the answers.”

“They need to know what questions to ask to get the right information,” said Dr. Fouty. “That will allow them to discriminate cases that are similar and to draw the appropriate conclusions.”

First-year medical student William Harvey had the opportunity to participate in a recent patient session. “Getting to talk with the patient really helps us, especially in our first year,” he said. “It is really a treat to be able to see what it looks like to have a real patient in front of you and how their illness affects their life.”

One of the greatest benefits of the curriculum change is the student’s early interaction with patients. “When the third and fourth year of medical school come around this is definitely going to give us a leg up,” said Harvey. “We’re already comfortable interacting with patients so we’ll be able to focus on treating them as best as we can.”

This team-based learning approach allows the group members to work together by bringing their various expertise and using their collective knowledge to integrate and analyze the data. “We give the students guidelines, but the end result is their interpretation,” said Dr. Fouty. “As professors, we learn a lot about how we’re teaching by what they give back to us.”

The USA College of Medicine will be initiating a similar team-based learning facility in the USA Medical Center Mastin Building beginning this summer. 

Dr. Franks Selected as President of MASA

University of South Alabama Vice President for Health Sciences Dr. Ronald Franks was recently installed as the Medical Association of the State of Alabama’s president at the 2014 MASA Annual Session, which was held in Destin, Fla. Dr. Franks previously served as MASA president-elect.

Dr. Franks, a board certified psychiatrist and professor of psychiatry, joined USA in July 2007 as vice president for health sciences, a new division of the University consisting of the College of Allied Health Professions, the College of Medicine and the College of Nursing. In addition, the physician practice plan reports to Dr. Franks.

Prior to USA, Dr. Franks served as the vice president for health affairs and as a professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at East Tennessee State University in Johnson City, Tenn., from 2006-07, after having served as the dean of medicine and vice president for health affairs at East Tennessee State from 1997-2006.

Prior to his time at East Tennessee State University, Dr. Franks served as dean of University of Minnesota - Duluth School of Medicine from 1988-97.

Two other individuals affiliated with the USA College of Medicine were elected to leadership positions in MASA. Clint Moore, D.O., was elected resident fellows section representative, and Julie Tan was elected medical student section representative.

The Medical Association of the State of Alabama is the professional association for some 7,000 physicians of all specialties throughout Alabama. MASA exists to serve, lead and unite physicians in promoting the highest quality of health care for the people of Alabama through advocacy, information and education.