Thursday, December 7, 2017

Pediatrics Hosting Grand Rounds on Dec. 15

Dr. Osama Abdul-Rahim, assistant professor of radiology and section chief of interventional radiology at the University of South Alabama College of Medicine, will present “What can IR do for you?” for December’s grand rounds.

The event will take place Friday, Dec. 15, at 8 a.m. in the Atlantis Room in the CWEB-2 building behind USA Children’s & Women’s Hospital.

Dr. Abdul-Rahim will discuss the increasing awareness of infrared radiation (IR) procedures available to pediatric patients and explain how to arrange needed procedures to improve timeliness of care and health outcomes.

The event is open to faculty, staff and students at USA. A light breakfast, coffee and beverages will be provided. For additional information, contact Katie Catlin at

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

'It Has Been a Pleasure to Serve'

A decade after the first class of medical students was admitted to the University of South Alabama College of Medicine, Dr. Eugene Quindlen arrived in Mobile with the goal of developing state-of-the-art neurosurgical care at USA.

It was 1983 and Dr. Quindlen was recruited to lead the USA Department of Neurosurgery as its second chair. Founding chair Dr. David Dean had helped establish the department.  Dr. Quindlen’s task was to build on that foundation.

“I think we’ve done that,” said Dr. Quindlen, who served as chair of the department for 28 years, stepping down from the chair position in 2011.

“We have provided excellent cranial aneurysm surgery, pituitary surgery, tumor surgery and pediatric neurosurgery to many patients in our region,” he said. “In more recent years, we also excelled at complex spine surgery.”

Dr. Quindlen is known for his enthusiasm for technology and was ahead of his time in many ways.  He led an effort in neurosurgery to adopt an electronic medical record system and electronic fax system 14 years ago.  “We were the first paperless practice in the Mobile area,” he explained. “This became an important advantage not only in supporting patient care, but also in our neurosurgical clinic relocations – we moved six times in the past 34 years,” he said.

“During his career, Dr. Quindlen has trained and served as a mentor for countless medical students, residents, faculty and staff,” said Dr. Anthony Martino, chair of the USA Department of Neurosurgery.  “The direct impact he has made through patient care and medical education is immeasurable.”

During his career at USA, Dr. Quindlen provided leadership in many ways serving on the College of Medicine’s Executive Council; as president of the Health Services Foundation Medical Executive Committee; chair of the Health Services Foundation Investment Committee; chair of the Bylaws Committee; chair of the Surgical Case Review Committee; and director of the Neurotrauma Intensive Care Unit.

Dr. Quindlen taught neurosurgical clerkship courses and had a profound positive impact on medical students – many of whom chose to pursue a career in neurosurgery. “It has been a pleasure to serve and be a part of the USA College of Medicine and health system,” Dr. Quindlen said.

According to Dr. Quindlen, the job did come with its challenges; namely, the ever-expanding health care system with the University of South Alabama’s hospital acquisitions in the early 90s, adding to both the inpatient and our clinic’s coverage responsibilities.

Throughout his career, Dr. Quindlen has made significant contributions to the mission of USA Health.

Later this month – after 34 years of dedicated service – he will officially retire from USA.

A reception in Dr. Quindlen’s honor will be held December 7th from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. at the Strada Patient Care Center Conference Center. We hope you will be able to attend as we celebrate the career of Dr. Quindlen and honor him for his many years of service to the USA College of Medicine and USA Health. The Strada Patient Care Center is located at 1601 Center St. in Mobile.

Dr. Elizabeth Minto Honored by National Multiple Sclerosis Society

Dr. Elizabeth Minto, assistant professor of neurology at the University of South Alabama College of Medicine and a neurologist with USA Physicians Group, was named “Healthcare Professional of the Year” by the Alabama/Mississippi chapter of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society. She was presented with the award at a ceremony in Birmingham last week.

“This award means a great deal to me, both personally and professionally,” Dr. Minto said. “It is humbling to be recognized by such a vital organization that does so much for people living with multiple sclerosis.”

Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a disease of the central nervous system that disrupts the flow of information within the brain and between the brain and body. According to Dr. Minto, access to neurologists with the level of comfort and experience to treat MS is limited in our region. “I have long felt that those in the southern part of Alabama are particularly disadvantaged, as there are so many more resources available in Birmingham and its surrounding areas,” she said.

MS is currently treatable, but not curable, and even with treatment it remains a progressive disease. Dr. Minto said it gives her great pride to offer treatment to those living in the area who previously had to drive hours to access care. In addition, she is passionate about teaching future neurologists to help improve the care for patients with the complex diagnosis of MS. “Without an MS specialist in our academic medical center at USA, the exposure of our neurology residents and medical students to patients with MS would be severely limited,” she said.

At the ceremony, a volunteer of the year from both Alabama and Mississippi also were presented with awards. “It was a truly moving event, highlighting the various ways the MS Society helps raise money for research on the disease, as well as connecting those living with MS to resources when they are challenged with things like transportation, access to care, and even home modifications and meals,” she said.

Dr. Minto feels strongly that the MS Society is the most effective community resource for those living with MS, as it helps to connect patients with resources, as well as raise millions of dollars for research into not only treating the disease, but also preventing it. She said the MS Society is also in part to thank for funding the fellowship training of Dr. William Kilgo, who completed his neurology residency at USA in 2017 and is currently midway through his fellowship training at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. He will be returning to USA next year, further expanding the access to care for those living with MS in the Gulf Coast region.

Dr. Minto has volunteered in numerous capacities to raise funds for the Alabama state chapter and has served as an educational speaker for many Society events for patients and their caregivers. In addition, she helped organize a team – called “Jag Nation for Remyelination” – for the MS Walk in 2017, which raised approximately $2,000.

Dr. Minto said she shares this award with her staff at the USA Department of Neurology outpatient clinic and the USA infusion center. “They spend countless hours helping patients with the complex tangle of insurance precertifications and scheduling that goes along with the various medications used to treat MS,” she said. “It would not be possible to care for these patients without the tireless work of our staff members.”

Nominees for the award were judged on their dedication to the MS movement, passion for providing personalized care to people affected by MS, and innovation in disease management and treatment. Learn more about the award here.

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Dr. Mohammed Berrou Presents at 13th Annual Respiratory Disease Young Investigators’ Forum

Dr. Mohammed Berrou, a pulmonary and critical care fellow with USA Health, recently was chosen to present his research at the highly-competitive 13th Annual Respiratory Disease Young Investigators’ Forum in Denver.

At the event, Dr. Berrou received second place for his research project on “The Indirect Cytotoxic Effects of Pseudomans aeruginosa Infection on Microvascular and Pulmonary Artery Endothelial Cells.”

The forum, sponsored by National Jewish Health, was open to fellows who are actively enrolled in a pediatric, pulmonary, allergy or immunology fellowship programs. The top 30 abstract submissions from fellowship programs across the United States were selected to present their research at the forum.

Dr. Berrou said his research project studied sepsis patients in intensive care units who experienced changes in their cognitive function by the time they were discharged. "Sepsis due to bacterial pneumonia remains a main cause of mortality in intensive care units," he said. "Patients who survive the acute phase of these bacterial infections remain at a significantly increased risk of mortality long after their discharge from the hospital and the exact etiology of this phenomenon is unclear."

According to Dr. Berrou, this research holds far-reaching potential to improve health care among patients seen in intensive care units. "The occurrence of patients experiencing cognitive impairment, such as delirium or Alzheimer’s disease, after leaving the intensive care unit is well-described," he said. "Often times these patients never return to baseline and have to live nursing homes after leaving the hospital, which impairs their relationship with family and their ability to go back to work."

In addition to presenting their research, the forum provided an excellent opportunity for fellows to network with faculty experts and peers conducting research in respiratory medicine. The forum was also beneficial for young investigators, such as Dr. Berrou, who will be transitioning to initial faculty positions following the completion of their fellowship training. Starting in July, he will serve as a pulmonary and critical care attending at Hurley and McLaren Hospitals in addition to working as a clinical assistant professor at Michigan State University, where he will continue to collaborate with the Center for Lung Biology at USA Health.

He credits the collaboration with the USA Center for Lung Biology and the curriculum within the USA College of Medicine’s pulmonary and critical care fellowship program for providing him with the education, training and clinical skills necessary to pursue an academic career in pulmonary and critical care medicine.

“One important element of fellowship training is the development of research expertise,” said Dr. Karen Fagan, professor of internal medicine at the USA College of Medicine and director of the division of pulmonary at critical care medicine.

According to Dr. Berrou, the department’s dedication to both the clinical and research aspects of medicine has been beneficial throughout his training. Dr. Troy Stevens, professor and chair of physiology and cell biology at the USA College of Medicine, served as Dr. Berrou’s mentor for the project. "The Center for Lung biology provides a vibrant collaborative research environment within the USA College of Medicine, which forms an outstanding framework for training in lung biology and related areas,” he said.

Dr. Berrou said the department incorporates basic science research opportunities in collaboration with the USA Center for Lung Biology, which immediately sparked his interest. “Each month, faculty members from the Center come to the USA Medical Center to discuss their current research endeavors and serve as mentors as we progress through our training,” he said. “USA’s integration of research, academia, teaching and clinical experiences for fellows is rare to find, which is one of the main reasons why I chose this program.”

To learn more about the Respiratory Diseases Young Investigators’ Forum, click here.

Anthony Beck Named Director of Operations for Family Medicine

Anthony Beck, clinical nurse supervisor for family medicine at the University of South Alabama, recently was appointed director of operations for USA Family Medicine Clinic.

In his new position, Beck is responsible for the operating process of family medicine, including patient and paper flow, revenue controls, staff work environment and the development of new practice functions and activities.

Beck said he is most excited for the opportunity to build upon the foundation that has already been laid. “My ultimate goal is to increase patient volume for the department of family medicine and optimize workflow,” he said. “I plan to further improve the delivery of care patients receive by improving front desk efficiency and clinical competency among nurses and medical assistants. I also plan to streamline all facets of the department, improving flow throughout.”

Prior to joining USA, Beck served as director of telemetry at Springhill Medical Center. As director of telemetry, he was responsible for the day-to-day operations of all aspects of the cardiac telemetry unit, including staffing, management of the budget, quality measures, patient service recovery, hiring and electronic medical records chart review.

He credits his experience as both a nurse and director of telemetry for giving him the tools to help family medicine make advances in both patient care and customer service. “The wide range of experiences I was provided during my nursing career will be beneficial in this new position,” he said. “As a nurse, my philosophy was always to put the patient first. Now, I carry on those same values by making a point to educate the staff and emphasize the importance of understanding the patients’ needs.”

In 2000, Beck earned his bachelor’s degree in nursing from William Jewell College in Liberty, Mo. He later earned his master’s degree in nursing administration and education from the University of Mobile in Mobile, Ala.