Thursday, August 2, 2018

USA Welcomes Dr. Eva Alnajjar to Obstetrics and Gynecology

Dr. Eva Alnajjar recently was appointed assistant professor of obstetrics and gynecology at the University of South Alabama College of Medicine and serves as an obstetrician and gynecologist with USA Physicians Group.

She earned her medical degree from the University of Dublin, Trinity School of Medicine in Dublin, Ireland. She completed her residency training in obstetrics and gynecology at Beaumont Hospital in Dearborn, Mich.

Dr. Alnajjar is accepting new patients at the Strada Patient Care Center, located at 1601 Center St. in Mobile. Call (251) 415-1496 to make an appointment.

Boxing Out Hunger Program Adds Fresh Produce

Beth Poates, a social worker with USA Health, hands a bag of produce to Shelia Murphy, a patient at Stanton Road Clinic.
USA Health recently expanded its Boxing Out Hunger initiative, a partnership with Feeding the Gulf Coast, to offer fresh produce to patients of Stanton Road Clinic.

The Boxing Out Hunger program, designed to improve patients' health by addressing food insecurity, kicked off in June 2017. So far, Stanton Road Clinic has distributed about 425 boxes to patients that contained an assortment of healthy, shelf-stable ingredients, such as canned produce, protein, dairy and grains.

Beth Poates, a social worker with USA Health, said patients are excited about the expansion of the program to include fresh fruits and vegetables. "Many of our patients are hypertensive or diabetic, so it's really important for them to eat nutritious food to stay well," she said. "People love fresh produce, but it can be expensive. So, our patients are really excited that they're able to get fresh fruits and vegetables through this program."

Eugenie Sellier, director of child nutrition programs with Feeding the Gulf Coast, said the bags weigh between 10 and 13 pounds and include varieties of seasonal produce, such as squash, tomatoes, cucumbers, lettuce, corn and apples. "We try to give them as much variety as we can," Sellier said. "It just depends on what's in season."

Shelia Murphy, who has been a patient at Stanton Road Clinic for many years, said she is grateful for the Boxing Out Hunger program. "I've always been treated so kindly and with the utmost respect," Murphy said. "By the end of the month, I'm just barely making it. I thank God for this program. They have helped me a lot."

After picking up her bag of produce, Murphy sat down to talk with Beth Finch, SNAP outreach manager for Feeding the Gulf Coast. Finch screens patients for additional benefits for which they may be eligible, including the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and Medicare Part D prescription drug program.

If the patient already receives those benefits, Finch advises him or her on ways to maximize savings. For example, Double Up Food Bucks partners with local farmers markers to double SNAP recipients' benefits, so they can purchase more fruits and vegetables. In the Mobile area, North Mobile County Food Park & Market is the participating market.

"It's a way to maximize your benefits, get fresh produce, and put money in the hands of our farmers," Finch said. "It's a win-win-win."

Poates said the Boxing Out Hunger program recently expanded to USA Family Medicine Center, starting with the nonperishable food boxes and adding the fresh produce component later.

Michelle Dudley Named Executive Director of Practice Management for USA Health

Michelle Dudley recently was appointed executive director of practice management for all USA Physicians Group practices, including the faculty practices, USA Mobile Diagnostic Center, and USA West Mobile Primary Care.

In her new position, Dudley is responsible for the operational and financial management of more than 200 physicians and advanced-care providers in USA Physicians Group. In addition, she works closely with the vice president of medical affairs on special projects, as well as manages the overall flow of funds between the University of South Alabama College of Medicine and USA Health.

“Michelle brings invaluable experience in practice management and health system leadership to our team, and she is extremely knowledgeable of the Gulf Coast region’s health care landscape,” said Owen Bailey, chief executive officer for USA Health. “She is a person of great integrity and initiative, and we are excited to have her on the USA Health team.”

With more than 30 years of experience in health care, Dudley joined USA Health in October 2017 as the director of practice management for the USA Healthcare Authority. Prior to joining USA, she served as vice president of finance for the Ascension Gulf Coast Medical Group, where she was responsible for more than 450 physician providers and advanced practitioners in primary care, hospital-based, and many specialty practices.

“I’m excited about the growth and strategic direction we are heading as a unified health system, providing outstanding, cost-efficient care to our patients and helping them lead longer, better lives,” Dudley said. “I feel it’s important that we create an environment where our physicians and employees can thrive and feel part of this wonderful movement.”

Dudley earned her bachelor’s degree in accounting and master’s degree in public administration from USA. A Certified Public Accountant, Dudley has participated in various leadership development programs and has a strong affinity for a servant-leader management style.

Wednesday, August 1, 2018

45th Research Day Features Keynote Speaker, Medical Student Presentations

Second-year medical student Grayson Domingue explains his research to Dr. Marie Migaud, Abraham A. Mitchell Cancer Research Scholar and professor of oncologic sciences at the USA Mitchell Cancer Institute.
The University of South Alabama College of Medicine’s 45th annual Medical Student Research Day took place July 27, 2018, in the Medical Sciences Building.

At the event, Dr. David Guidot, director of the division of pulmonary, allergy, critical care and sleep medicine at Emory University School of Medicine in Atlanta, presented the keynote lecture titled “Alcohol- and HIV-mediated Lung Dysfunction: Finding the Common Redox Trigger.”

The USA College of Medicine’s Summer Research Program is a nine-week program that pairs medical students with faculty mentors. At this year’s Research Day, there were eight oral presentations and 61 poster presentations.

Through the research program, medical students develop an appreciation of how research contributes to the knowledge and practice of medicine. Accepted entering students or rising second-year students in the USA College of Medicine are eligible. The summer experience includes hands-on research related to basic science and/or clinical medicine; a seminar program that focuses on various scientific and clinical topics; and student presentations at Research Day.

Winners of the Clyde G. ‘Sid’ Huggins Medical Student Research Awards, honoring the memory of Dr. Huggins, will be announced in the upcoming weeks.

View the students' research abstractsCheck out more photos from the event.

Pediatrics Grand Rounds Set for Aug. 17

Dr. Gary Kupfer, professor and division chief of pediatric hematology/oncology at Yale University School of Medicine, will present “Hemophilia A” for August's pediatric grand rounds.

The lecture is set for 8 a.m. Aug. 17 in the conference room on the first floor of the Strada Patient Care Center.

Dr. Kupfer will review key principles of pharmacokinetics in the context of treatment regimen optimization for Hemophilia A, access population-based pharmacokinetic modeling tools to personalize bleeding prophylaxis in patients with Hemophilia A, and interpret the results of population-based modeling as applied in case scenarios.

The event is open to USA faculty, staff and students. A light breakfast, coffee and beverages will be provided.

For more information, contact LaTasha Williams at or (251) 415-8688.

USA College of Medicine Welcomes Dr. Roger Berkow to Pediatrics

Dr. Roger Berkow recently was appointed professor and vice chair of pediatrics at the University of South Alabama College of Medicine. He also serves as the director of the pediatrics residency program at the USA College of Medicine and a pediatrician with USA Physicians Group.

“I look forward to helping an already strong residency program become stronger and continue their focus on competency-based education,” Dr. Berkow said.

He received his medical degree from Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine. He completed a pediatric residency at the University of Chicago hospitals and clinics and a pediatric hematology/oncology fellowship at Indiana University.

Dr. Berkow was a member of the department of pediatrics in the division of pediatric hematology/oncology at the University of Alabama at Birmingham from 1984 until 2013.  At UAB, he served as associate dean for undergraduate medical education, pediatric clerkship director and pediatric hematology/oncology fellowship director.  From 2014 to 2018, he served as a pediatric hematologist/oncologist and chair in the department of medicine at Nemours Children’s Clinic in Pensacola, Fla.

Dr. Berkow is a member of the Society for Pediatric Research and American Pediatric Society, along with many others. He has served as the editor in chief of the “PREP Self-Assessment” with the American Academy of Pediatrics since 2013.

To make an appointment with Dr. Berkow, call (251) 410-5497.