Wednesday, May 3, 2017

USA Medical Student Presents at Western Trauma Association Meeting

Christopher Lasecki, a second-year medical student at the University of South Alabama College of Medicine, presented at the 47th annual Western Trauma Association Meeting in Snowbird, Utah.

At the conference, Lasecki presented “Geospatial Mapping Can Be Used to Identify Geographic Areas and Social Factors Associated with Intentional Injury as Targets for Prevention Efforts Distinct to a Given Community.”

His research explored the relationship between violent incidents in the community and socioeconomic and geographic factors. Using geographic information systems (GIS) and the trauma registry, he created maps showing the distribution of intentional injury in the community surrounding USA Medical Center during the past 10 years.

“GIS allows the creation of detailed maps showing the highest risk areas and also determines factors that may be unique to those areas,” Lasecki said.  “All of this information is specific to the patient population of the institution conducting the study.”

According to Lasecki, many hospitals across the country are creating programs to provide resources and support to victims of violence. He said his research is important because there is a great deal of debate concerning which programs are the most efficient and make the largest impact reducing violence.

Through his research, Lasecki concluded spatial representation of trauma registry data using GIS to be an effective method used to identify high-risk areas for intentional injury. “The goal of this body of research is to eventually create a proven and standardized method for hospital-based violence prevention,” Lasecki said. “It will be exciting to see the future advancements in this field.”

Although this project was his first presentation, Lasecki said he credits the summer research program at the USA College of Medicine and his faculty advisors for preparing him for the meeting. “Despite how busy they are, the trauma and critical care surgeons at USA Medical Center spent a great deal of time mentoring me and preparing me for the conference,” he said.

“It is unusual for second-year medical students to present at a national trauma meeting, but this was Chris’s research,” said Dr. Sidney Brevard, professor of surgery at the USA College of Medicine and a trauma and critical care surgeon at USA Medical Center. “We gave him an idea, and he developed the methodology and performed the research himself. He deserved to present this project, and this will be recognized by residency programs when he applies for the match in two years.”

His project was a collaboration between the USA Department of Surgery and USA Department of Geography. “I would encourage anyone at South who is interested in research to look for opportunities to collaborate with other departments,” Lasecki said. “We should take advantage of the fact that our university has such a diverse group of experts in a variety of fields.”

Learn more about the Western Trauma Association here.

New Course Prepares Students for Legal, Business Aspects of Medicine

Dr. Benjamin Estrada, professor of pediatrics at the USA College of Medicine (right) talks with fourth-year medical students Corwin McGee and Caroline Miller.
Forty-five senior medical students at the University of South Alabama College of Medicine recently participated in transition to residency, a course designed to enhance students’ knowledge and skills to prepare for their upcoming residency training.

The course provides capstone information on topics such as medical economics, medical ethics, legal aspects of medical practice, basics of leadership and translational research during residency.

Dr. Estrada, assistant dean for medical education and professor of pediatrics at the USA College of Medicine, said the purpose of the course is to offer students information that they can utilize while developing their long-term educational, professional and financial goals.

“At the end of their fourth year, students are at a point in their professional development in which they have accumulated enough clinical experience and exposure to different clinical environments,” Dr. Estrada said. “This allows them to begin exploring legal and business aspects of the profession, as well as to begin the implementation of their leadership skills.”

Caroline Miller, a fourth-year student at the USA College of Medicine, said of all the topics covered in the course, she most enjoyed the law and medicine week. “A health law attorney walked us through the details of malpractice insurance and physician employee contracts,” she said. “After hearing these lectures, I have a better understanding of the liabilities we will face as physicians and how to protect against them.”

Dr. Estrada said most of the learning activities for this course include conferences and small group exercises held at the Strada Patient Care Center. Dr. John Marymont, vice president for medical affairs and dean of the USA College of Medicine, is among the lecturers providing expert advice. He recently gave a lecture to the senior medical students titled “Job Hunting - What to Ask and Know.”

During the lecture, Dr. Marymont discussed key aspects students should be aware of when searching for a job such as the nature of the group and opportunity, practice environment, contracting and financials.

“We have evolved this course to better equip our medical students with knowledge that extends beyond patient care to support the development of well-rounded students that are prepared to handle every aspect of their future training,” Dr. Marymont said.

The class started in 2014 by a recommendation from the USA College of Medicine curriculum committee. “The course has evolved over time based on faculty and student input following national trends,” Dr. Estrada said. “This year, with input from the medical school leadership and support from Dr. Marymont, additional emphasis has been placed on the business aspects of medicine. The course discussed topics such as searching for an optimal job, health care financing, medical practice management, physician compensation and patient-centered high value care.”

Miller said gaining an understanding of the practicalities of medicine and personal finance are beneficial at any point in one’s career. “The curriculum pushed me to start thinking about the choices I will need to make in the next several years and how those choices can potentially affect my long-term career and lifestyle,” she said.

Although the course is currently an elective, Dr. Estrada said the transition to residency course will be a requirement for all fourth-year medical students beginning in 2018.

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Dr. Swingle Receives 2017 CARES Award

Dr. Hanes Swingle, director of the University of South Alabama Autism Diagnostic Clinic and professor of pediatrics at USA, received the 2017 CARES Award given by the Autism Society of Alabama (ASA) at the annual Alabama Autism Conference.

CARES stands for commitment to autism research, education and service. This year, nominations were accepted for an individual who showed dedication and commitment to autism research, autism education or autism service.

Dr. Swingle has worked closely with the ASA, serving on the board of directors for the ASA from 2009 to 2014 and currently serving on the board of advisors. The USA Autism Diagnostic Clinic works closely with the ASA in identifying services for individuals with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) in the community and in advocating for individuals with ASD at the state level.

Dr. Swingle established the Autism Diagnostic Clinic at USA in 2007. The clinic, located in the Strada Patient Care Center, provides multidisciplinary evaluations including medical, cognitive, speech and language examinations by physicians who are developmental-behavioral pediatricians.

Last year, USA was chosen to join the Regional Autism Network by the Alabama Legislature. Dr. Swingle feels honored that USA is being recognized for the caliber of work and research in ASD faculty and staff currently engage in. “The CARES Award is further evidence that USA is respected across the state for the services and advocacy we do,” he said.

Dr. Swingle encourages medical students who are interested to get involved with the ASA. “There is an enormous need for more specialists in developmental-behavioral pediatrics, child psychiatry and neurology, all of whom see individuals on the autism spectrum,” he said.

More information about the ASA can be found here.

May 4 DSS to Feature Dr. Jaroslaw W. Zmijewski

The next Distinguished Scientist Seminar at the University of South Alabama College of Medicine will feature Dr. Jaroslaw W. Zmijewski, associate professor of pulmonary, allergy and critical care medicine at the University of Alabama at Birmingham in Birmingham, Ala.

The lecture, titled "Bioenergetic Therapy for Sepsis," will take place May 4, 2017, at 4 p.m. in the first floor auditorium of the Medical Sciences Building on USA's main campus.

Dr. Zmijewski earned his Ph.D. in biotechnology at the University of Gdansk in Gdansk, Poland. He completed post-doctoral training in pathology at the University of Alabama at Birmingham in Birmingham, Ala. His interests include molecular biology and protein interaction.

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.

Learn more about Dr. Zmijewski here.