Thursday, May 11, 2017

‘The USA Community Helped Me Get Back on My Feet’

Harrison Dilworth, a second-year student at the University of South Alabama College of Medicine, was among the five USA students affected by a fire that severely damaged two buildings at the Timber Ridge Apartments on April 23, 2017.

“I was taking a nap when I heard someone beating on my door,” Dilworth said. “When I opened the door, I was hit with a wave of heat. I saw the building next to me was engulfed in flames and the trees in between our buildings were on fire as well, so I immediately ran out of my apartment.”

Dilworth said he called his close friend and medical school classmate, Fareed Rifai, who also lives in the apartment complex but was not affected by the fire. “I asked if I could stay at his apartment for a while and he agreed without hesitation,” he said. “Later that night, some of my closest friends and classmates came to check on me and study with me.”

By the next day, Dilworth said he had clothes, food, supplies and monetary donations from numerous classmates. “More than 100 people have lent a helping hand, most being my classmates who I am extremely grateful for,” he said. “They also spread my story like wildfire—no pun intended—and in the following days numerous faculty and staff members were donating also. I can’t tell you how much the USA community helped me get back on my feet.”

The fire happened during one of the busiest times of the year for medical students, just as the semester was coming to an end. “It was a hiccup at the worst possible time, but thanks to family and friends it did not have that big of an impact on my journey,” he said. “The way the USA College of Medicine students and faculty banded together to help me made a major difference in my life and how I was able to weather the storm.”

According to Dilworth, the fire made a huge impact on his life, teaching him lessons that he will utilize once he is a physician. “I know what it is like to be in need of a helping hand,” he said. “I want to be that physician that is there to help those in need, regardless of their limitations.”

The fire also caused Dilworth to realize his determination and resilience in the face of adversity, which will also be beneficial in the future. Dilworth said he could have easily folded and put studying on the back burner, but he decided to keep pushing forward. “It was a devastating event, but I was able to keep a level head and tell myself that no matter the outcome, I was blessed to be alive and I would be OK,” he said. “I will use this lesson to always try to remain calm and collected when treating patients and no matter how bad things get, keep a level head, give the patient the best care I possibly can and keep pushing forward.”

Dilworth said all donations, supplies, thoughts and prayers are appreciated and he cannot thank everyone enough. “I would not be in the place I am today if it was not for each and every one of you and the love and support you showed me,” he said. “My heart is full and I am extremely proud to be a part of the USA family—Go Jags!”

An emergency fund has been established through the USA Office of Development and the division of student affairs as a way for members of the jaguar family to show their support to affected students. Click here if you would like to donate.  

May Med School Café- Locating Consumer Health Information

The May Med School Café lecture will feature Rachel Fenske, assistant librarian and information services/outreach librarian at the University of South Alabama Charles M. Baugh Biomedical Library.

Her lecture, titled “Locating Consumer Health Information from the National Library of Medicine,” will be held on May 26, 2017, at the USA Health Strada Patient Care Center Conference Room on the first floor. Lunch will be served at 11:30 a.m., and the presentation begins at noon.

Fenske will discuss how to locate web-based resources that provide helpful and accurate medical information from the National Library of Medicine and the National Institutes of Health.

Fenske earned her bachelor of arts in communications from USA, and a master of library service degree from the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa, Ala. She is a member of the Alabama Health Libraries Association, Medical Library Association and the Southern Chapter of the Medical Library Association.

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.

The USA Health Strada Patient Care Center is located at 1601 Center St. in Mobile. For more information, click here.

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Medical School Graduates Participate in Honors Convocation Ceremony

Medical students recite the Hippocratic Oath during the University of South Alabama College of Medicine Honors Convocation Friday, May 5, 2017.
The University of South Alabama held commencement ceremonies on May 6, 2017. The 2017 College of Medicine graduates were among the students participating in commencement—marking the 42nd class to earn medical degrees from USA.

The day before, the medical school graduates participated in 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.

Dr. T.J. Hundley, assistant dean for medical education and student affairs and associate professor of internal medicine at the USA College of Medicine, delivered the address to the class. Both ceremonies took place at the USA Mitchell Center.

Including the 2017 class, 2,616 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 USA Hospitals.

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

Sandra Curtis Appointed Manager of Quality Improvement

Sandra Curtis, RN, BSN, a trauma nurse case manager at USA Health, recently was appointed manager of quality improvement at USA Physicians Group.

As a manager of quality improvement, Curtis will work to monitor and maintain institutional compliance with regulatory rules and regulations related to quality; coordinate plans of correction for deficiencies; serve as a resource person and educate personnel about patient safety and regulatory issues; and collaborate with multidisciplinary health care teams regarding development and implementation of the Quality Management program at USA.

“Through the management of quality improvement, we continue to elevate the degree of care patients and the community receive and expect from USA Health,” said Rebekah Bailey, director of compliance and reimbursement at USA Health.

Curtis studied communication and business at USA and earned her bachelor’s degree in business management from Faulkner University in Montgomery, Ala., in 2002 and earned her bachelor’s degree in nursing from the University of Mobile in Mobile, Ala., in 2006.

Mark Your Calendar: OFA Junior Faculty Lunch

The University of South Alabama College of Medicine Office of Faculty Affairs is hosting a junior faculty lunch session on Wednesday, June 7, 2017, from 12 p.m. to 1 p.m. in the USA Children’s & Women’s boardroom.

The lunch session will feature Dr. Mary Townsley, senior associate dean of the USA College of Medicine, and Susan Sansing, assistant vice president of financial affairs at the USA College of Medicine. They will discuss faculty collaboration with the USA Center for Strategic Health Innovations, health informatics, physician outreach, bio-monitoring and the Medicaid program.

Housed in the USA College of Medicine, the Center for Strategic Health Innovation (CSHI) is a nationally recognized leader in the delivery of advanced health care emergency preparedness teaching and training, as well as innovative health care technology applications and the development and deployment of health care technology platforms.

The lunch session is open to all USA College of Medicine junior faculty members. For more information or to RSVP contact Nicole Shultz at by Friday, May 19, 2017.