Wednesday, July 22, 2015

USA College of Medicine Hosts Welcome Reception for New Department Chairs

Dr. Edward Panacek (left), the new chair of emergency medicine, talks with Dr. Charles Rodning, professor of surgery, and Raven Christopher, executive director of the Mobile Medical Museum, during a welcome reception on July 16, 2015.
Dr. Angus McBryde (far right), the new interim chair of the department of orthopaedic surgery at the University of South Alabama, talks with Tessie Johnson, technical director of radiology at the USA Medical Center (left), and Beth Anderson, hospital administrator at USA Medical Center, during a welcome reception on July 16, 2015.
The University of South Alabama College of Medicine hosted a reception welcoming Dr. Angus McBryde Jr., professor and interim chair of orthopaedic surgery, and Dr. Edward Panacek, professor and chair of emergency medicine, on July 16, 2015.

This is Dr. McBryde’s second appointment at USA. He served as professor and chair of orthopaedic surgery from 1991-1996. Dr. McBryde received his undergraduate degree at Davidson College and earned his medical degree from Duke Medical School. From there he completed a general surgery internship and junior residency at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania. Dr. McBryde then served two years in the U.S. Navy, including a year in Vietnam as well as a year at the Balboa Naval Hospital in San Diego. He completed his orthopaedic residency at Duke Medical Center in 1971. Prior to returning to USA from the University of South Carolina (USC) where he was professor from 2011-2014, Dr. McBryde served as director of the American Sports Medicine Institute Ankle and Foot Fellowship at St. Vincent’s Medical Center in Birmingham, Ala. He practiced at the Andrews Sports Medicine and Orthopaedic Center with subspecialty care delivered to competitive athletes. In addition, Dr. McBryde served as team physician at the National Sports Festival in Baton Rouge, La., in 1983; the World Games in Yugoslavia in 1987; the Summer Olympic Games in Korea in 1988; and the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta.

Dr. Panacek also has prior experiences at USA having graduated from the USA College of Medicine in 1981. He began his academic career in 1986 as an assistant professor of medicine in the division of critical care and emergency medicine at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland. He joined the faculty at the University of California Davis School of Medicine as associate professor of emergency medicine and was promoted to professor of emergency medicine in 1997, with a joint appointment in the division of pulmonary and critical care medicine. Prior to his recent appointment, Dr. Panacek served as professor of emergency medicine at the University of California Davis Medical Center (UCDMC) and served in other administrative roles. Dr. Panacek’s past experiences also include serving as medical director and the associate and research director of the department of emergency medicine at the University Hospitals of Cleveland (UHC) in Cleveland.  While at UHC, he also served as the acting medical director for the university aircare helicopter program and was the director of the emergency medicine fellowship training program at UHC.

Click here to view more photos from the welcome reception.

Med School Café - Expert Advice for the Community

Dr. Anathasekar Ponnambalam, associate professor of pediatrics at the University of South Alabama College of Medicine and a pediatric gastroenterologist at the USA Children’s Specialty Clinic, presented "Celiac Disease: Myths and Facts" on June 30, 2015.

During the talk, Dr. Ponnambalam discussed celiac disease and described its symptoms. Additionally, he talked about how to diagnose the disease and the types of treatment options available.

Watch the video below to view the lecture in its entirety.

Med School Cafe 6-30-15 from USA Health System on Vimeo.

The next Med School Cafe lecture will feature Dr. William Richards, professor and chair of the department of surgery at the USA College of Medicine. His lecture will take place Aug. 19, 2015, at the USA Faculty Club. Lunch will be served at 11:15 a.m., and the presentation begins at 11:45 a.m. The Med School Café lunch and lecture 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

USA Welcomes Dr. Rashmi Gulati

Dr. Rashmi Gulati recently was appointed assistant professor of pediatrics at the University of South Alabama College of Medicine and will serve as a neonatologist at USA Children’s & Women’s Hospital. Prior to her appointment, Dr. Gulati was a neonatology fellow at University of Tennessee Health Science Center in Memphis, Tenn.

Dr. Gulati earned her medical degree from King George’s Medical College in Lucknow, India. She completed her internship at Gandhi Memorial and Associated Hospitals and her residency at King George’s Medical College, both located in Lucknow, India. Dr. Gulati continued her residency at The State University of New York Health Science Center in Brooklyn, N.Y.

Dr. Gulati is a member of the American Pediatric Society for Pediatric Research, Tennessee Medical Association, American Academy of Pediatrics, American Medical Association, Indian Academy of Pediatrics and Uttar Pradesh Medical Council.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Tobacco Cessation - How to Quit

On Aug. 1, 2015, the University of South Alabama and USA Health System will become tobacco-free campuses. As part of this transition, the university will offer assistance to employees and students who wish to stop using tobacco products, including smokeless and e-cigarettes, through several tobacco cessation programs. This article is the second of a four-part series about tobacco cessation. Part 1 can be found here.

According to Dr. Ehab Molokhia, associate professor of family medicine at the USA College of Medicine and a family practitioner with USA Physicians Group, the benefits of quitting smoking begin within hours of cessation. After 10 to 14 days, the addiction will usually end. Within one to three months, a patient’s lungs will start to improve. After a year, the risk of heart attacks and strokes will drop to half that of a current smoker and after five years, the risk of strokes will be similar to that of a non-smoker. After 10 years of smoking abstinence, the risk of coronary heart disease will be comparable to a non-smoker. The risk of heart attacks and cancers will continue to decrease the longer one remains tobacco free.

Although the withdrawal symptoms go away after about two weeks, the urge to smoke cigarettes may still occur. This has to do with smoking triggers, said Dr. Alana Schilthuis, assistant professor of internal medicine at the USA College of Medicine and an internist with USA Physicians Group. Smoking triggers are behaviors that have become linked to smoking. “The key is to replace tobacco with a new behavior,” Dr. Schilthuis said. Picking up a new hobby can be helpful to lessen the frequency of the triggers.

“The first step to beginning a tobacco-free life is picking a date to stop,” Dr. Molokhia said. It can help to pick a date that is already important such as a birthday or anniversary. Research shows that people who set a quitting date are more successful than those who attempt to gradually cut back usage. In addition, you should dispose of all tobacco products, ashtrays, lighters and anything else that might trigger the habit.

Making a list of reasons to quit and keeping it on hand can be beneficial during moments of weakness. If there are others in the household who smoke, Dr. Schilthuis suggests getting them to quit at the same time to avoid additional cravings.

Dr. Molokhia recommends keeping track of where, when and why you smoke or use tobacco. Taking notes provides insight as to when and why you crave a cigarette or tobacco. This can help to set alternative plans to lessen cravings. It also is helpful to share your plans to stop using tobacco with your family and friends. This allows you to ask for support from friends and colleagues who can serve as part of your support system.

Lastly, ask your primary care physician if any of the approved medications for smoking cessation are right for you. “The combination of counseling and medication is more effective than either alone,” Dr. Molokhia said. There are several medications that increase long-term smoking abstinence rates including Buproprion SR, Nicotine gum, Nicotine inhaler, Nicotine lozenge, Nicotine nasal spray, Nicotine patch and Varenicline.

For more information on quitting, visit For help locating a primary care physician with USA Physicians Group call (251) 434-3711.

There is an additional opportunity to learn about tobacco cessation on Wednesday at the July Med School Cafe, a monthly event sponsored by the USA Physicians Group. Dr. Rachel Seaman, assistant professor of internal medicine and emergency medicine, will discuss the history of tobacco use in the United States, health hazards related to smoking and current treatment options for cessation.

Med School Cafe will take place July 22 at the USA Faculty Club, 6348 Old Shell Road. Lunch will be served at 11:30, and the program begins at noon. Space for this event is limited and reservations are required. For more information or to make reservations, call Kim Partridge at (251) 460-7770 or e-mail