Friday, March 20, 2015

USA Senior Medical Students Celebrate Residencies at Match Day 2015

Omar Mazher celebrates after opening his envelope during the University of South Alabama College of Medicine’s Match Day event March 20, 2015, at the Arthur R. Outlaw Mobile Convention Center in Mobile, Ala. Mazher matched in psychiatry at Harvard in Boston. The National Residency Matching Program, or Match Day, is the annual event in which future doctors across the United States and Canada simultaneously learn where they will be doing their residency training.
Senior medical students at the University of South Alabama gathered March 20 at the Mobile Convention Center to find out this year’s Match Day results and the next step in their medical training.

The National Residency Matching Program, or Match Day, is the annual event in which future doctors across the United States and Canada simultaneously learn where they will be doing their residency training. The graduating medical students simultaneously opened their envelopes with their assigned matches at 11 a.m.

“Match Day is an important day in the life of a medical student,” said Susan LeDoux, Ph.D., associate dean of medical education and student affairs. “This year, as in the past, we are extremely proud of our students’ successes in securing excellent residency positions. Their success reflects years of hard work on their part and also speaks to the quality of the educational training provided to them here in the USA College of Medicine.”

The Match works like this. After interviewing with several different residency programs - both near and far - students provide a ranking of their top-choice programs in order of preference. The training programs, in turn, rank the students who interviewed. The NRMP matches applicants’ preferences for residency positions with program directors’ preferences for applicants. Each year, thousands of medical school seniors compete for approximately 24,000 residency positions across the United States.

This year, the USA College of Medicine seniors matched in 18 different states. There were 45 students who matched out-of-state and 29 students who matched in the state of Alabama, with 17 of those students matching at USA Hospitals.

Alonso Heudebert poses for a photo with his family during the University of South Alabama College of Medicine’s Match Day event March 20, 2015, at the Arthur R. Outlaw Mobile Convention Center in Mobile, Ala. Heudebert matched in internal medicine at Barnes‐Jewish Hospital in St. Louis.
Alonso Heudebert, a fourth-year medical student at USA, is following in his father's footsteps.  His father is a professor of internal medicine at the University of Alabama at Birmingham.

Heudebert was born and raised in Birmingham, Ala. He earned a bachelor’s degree in philosophy from the University of Alabama and then returned to Birmingham where he earned a master’s degree in public health before pursuing medical school at USA.

“Medicine, to me, is one of the noblest professions that someone can aspire to do. It is enriching in its service orientation, humbling in its complexity, challenging in what it requires of us and bathed in the warm glow of humanity,” said Heudebert. “I couldn’t imagine doing anything else with my life.”

Heudebert said his clinical experience at USA has made the biggest impact on him. “Being mentored by such a dedicated, intelligent and friendly group of people was a remarkable experience that I can only hope to encounter in my residency.”

Heudebert matched in internal medicine at Barnes-Jewish Hospital, Washington University, located in St. Louis. “I have put in a lot of hard work these past four years," he said. "I think this will be a great place to train, and I am excited for this new opportunity."

Christopher Hoffman holds his match letter during the University of South Alabama College of Medicine's Match Day event March 20, 2015, at the Arthur R. Outlaw Mobile Convention Center in Mobile, Ala. Hoffman matched in psychiatry at Morehouse School of Medicine in Atlanta.
Christopher Hoffman, a fourth-year medical student from Tuskegee, Ala., first became interested in medicine during an elementary school career fair. “I was asked the famous question of “What do you want to be when you grow up?,” said Hoffman. “After brainstorming different careers, I replied with ‘a doctor’ and the idea grew on me from there.”

Hoffman has been given much support from his family, friends and his community back home. “Being the only person from my community working toward a medical degree, I was given a lot of support,” said Hoffman. “My mother played an important role in where I am today and even though she wasn’t able to see me get into medical school, memories of her actions continue to motivate me.”

Hoffman had challenges throughout medical school, but he believes it made him stronger. “I am excited to discover new places and begin my career as a physician,” he said.

Hoffman matched in psychiatry at Morehouse School of Medicine located in Atlanta. “I am ecstatic! This was my number one choice, and I am extremely happy with my match,” said Hoffman.

The NRMP also allows couples to form pairs of choices on their rank order lists. The couple then matches to the most preferred pair of programs on the rank order lists where each partner has been offered a position. USA medical students William Tucker and Megan Hudson are engaged and matched as a couple.

Megan Hudson and William Tucker pose for a photo holding their match letters during the University of South Alabama College of Medicine's Match Day event March 20, 2015, at the Arthur R. Outlaw Mobile Convention Center in Mobile, Ala. The engaged couple are both students at the USA College of Medicine. Hudson matched in pediatrics at Children's Mercy Hospital at the University of Missouri-Kansas City in Kansas City, Mo. Tucker matched in orthopaedic surgery at the University of Kansas School of Medicine in Kansas City, Kan.
Tucker and Hudson met during their first year of medical school. “Megan and I were good friends from early on,” said Tucker. “We started dating toward the end of our second year.”

Tucker, from Mobile, Ala., said he always knew he wanted to go to medical school. “There are many physicians in my family, including my dad, a pathologist here at USA; my uncle, who is an orthopedic surgeon; and my grandfather, who is a retired pediatrician,” Tucker said.  “This provided much of my drive throughout medical school, and I feel that going to USA gave me an incredible hands-on experience that was invaluable.”

Hudson, unlike Tucker, will be the first physician in her family. She grew up in Decatur, Ala., and earned a bachelor’s degree from Emory University in Atlanta, Ga.

“Biology and human health initially sparked my interest in medicine in high school and throughout my undergraduate education,” said Hudson. “The training I have had here at USA has been unique because of the smaller class size, but I feel as though there would be no better place to train.”

“Match Day is exciting because it is not only a culmination of four years of hard work, but it is also an opportunity to begin a new adventure with William,” Hudson added.

Hudson matched in pediatrics at Children’s Mercy Hospital at the University of Missouri- Kansas City, located in Kansas City, Mo. Tucker matched in orthopaedic surgery at the University of Kansas School of Medicine, located in Kansas City, Kan.

“We are relieved,” said Tucker. “This has been a long process, but we both got where we wanted and are excited to spend the next several years together.”

The USA Heath System currently has 74 senior medical students and 11 residency programs. This year, there are 67 residency positions at USA - the large majority of which will be filled through the matches.

Click here
to view more photos from the event. For the complete list of Match Day results, click here.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Geneva Staggs Recognized for Excellence in Hospital Librarianship

Geneva Staggs, interim director of the Biomedical Library at the University of South Alabama and assistant director for hospital library services, has been chosen to receive the Lois Ann Colaianni Award for Excellence and Achievement in Hospital Librarianship.

The award will be presented May 18 at the awards luncheon during the annual meeting of the 1,000-member Medical Library Association.

Staggs’ nomination cites many accomplishments in her 36-year career with the Biomedical Library, but the nomination documents focus on her role in helping educate patients who are about to undergo open heart surgery, says Judy Burnham, the recently retired library director who nominated Staggs.

“I believe in the mission of this hospital – to help people live longer, healthier lives,” Staggs said. “I really think the library has a place in patient care and patient education. “It goes beyond helping a physician find information about an esoteric problem or a nurse care plan."

Staggs' nomination cites her participation on 10 committees and in helping with research for some of the hospital’s key evidence-based practice improvement projects.

When the open-heart surgery team was created in 2012, Staggs was invited to join that team, too. “Research shows that if patients are educated on the front end, they do much better after surgery,” Burnham said.

Being part of the education program “is not something I had to do,” Staggs said. “I could sit in my office and wait for people to come in and ask questions.  But I’m not that kind of person."

Since the start of the heart surgery program at USA Medical Center, she has worked with more than 50 patients.

USA Family Medicine Employees Recognized for Customer Service

Fay Cunningham, a billing and insurance clerk in the USA department of family medicine, and Frances Clary, clinical LPN in the USA department of family medicine, recently were presented Employee Recognition Awards for outstanding customer service skills.

Fay Cunningham
"Fay has a wonderful attitude and is always willing to assist co-workers. She is a great team player and is willing to go that extra mile each and every day."

      -Excerpt taken from a patient nomination form

Frances Clary
"Frances has great customer service skills, and she always makes sure the patients are taken care of. She is a team player who helps out in any way that is requested."

      -Excerpt taken from a patient nomination form

To learn more about the USA Physicians Group Customer Service Recognition Program and to print a nomination form, click here.

March 26 DSS to Feature Dr. Roman Ganta

Next week's Distinguished Scientist Seminar at the University of South Alabama College of Medicine will feature Dr. Roman Ganta, professor of diagnostic medicine and pathobiology at Kansas State University.

The lecture will take place March 26, 2015, at 4 p.m. in the first floor auditorium of the Medical Sciences Building on USA’s main campus.

Dr. Ganta's research deals with the molecular evaluation of vector-borne pathogen infections, particularly tick-transmitted rickettsial disease agents Ehrlichia chaffeensis and Ehrlichia canis. His research also is focused on understanding how the tick-transmitted bacteria are able to adapt to tick and vertebrate host environments.

Dr. Ganta earned a bachelor of science and master of science from Andhra University, Waltair, India, and a doctorate from All India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi, India.

Click here to learn more about Dr. Ganta.

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.

Monday, March 16, 2015

Students, Residents and Faculty Named to USA Chapter of Gold Humanism Honor Society

Pictured above: University of South Alabama Gold Humanism Honor Society Members (front row left to right) Dr. Jay Arora, Dr. Allan Tucker, Dr. Casey Calhoun, (second row left to right) Gabrielle Hood, Olivia Butters, Dheepa Sekar, (third row left to right) Wesley Honeycutt, Gretchen Vandiver, Rebekah Ann Frazier, (fourth row left to right) Patty Wang, Preston Warren and Paul Hixon.
This year, 10 medical students, three residents and one faculty member were selected to be named to the University of South Alabama Chapter of the Arnold P. Gold Humanism in Medicine Honor Society. The USA College of Medicine Class of 2016 selects those who have demonstrated excellence in clinical care, leadership, compassion and dedication to service.

Recently, the following USA students, residents and faculty were selected:

Dr. Allan Tucker – professor and chair of the department of pathology
Dr. Jay Arora – surgery resident
Dr. Susan Choe – internal medicine resident
Dr. A. Casey Calhoun – obstetrics and genecology resident
Olivia Butters – medical student
Rebekah Frazier – medical student
Paul Hixon – medical student
Michael Wesley Honeycutt – medical student
Gabrielle Hood – medical student
Dheepa Sekar – medical student
Lindsey Stewart – medical student
Gretchen Vandiver – medical student
Patty Wang – medical student
Preston Warren – medical student

In 2013, USA medical student Austin Fox was elected into GHHS. Fox will serve with this year’s class upon completion of a research program sponsored by the National Institutes of Health.

The honorees will be recognized at this year's White Coat Ceremony on June 20, 2015, at the USA Mitchell Center. During the ceremony, rising third-year medical students will be cloaked with their first white coats, the traditional dress of physicians for more than 100 years. To learn more about the Gold Humanism Honor Society, visit