Wednesday, January 9, 2019

Dr. Guillermo Herrera Named Professor and Chair of Pathology at USA

Dr. Guillermo Herrera recently was appointed professor and chair of the department of pathology at the University of South Alabama College of Medicine. He also serves as a pathologist with USA Health.

Prior to joining USA, Dr. Herrera was the Albert G. and Harriet G. Smith Endowed Professor and Chair of the department of pathology at Louisiana State University in Shreveport, La. He also served as professor of cellular biology and anatomy at LSU.

"Dr. Herrera brings an impressive level of expertise, leadership, and enthusiasm with him. We are excited to welcome him to the USA Health family," said Owen Bailey, chief executive officer and senior associate vice president for medical affairs at USA Health.

"We are excited that Dr. Herrera has joined the USA College of Medicine to lead the department of pathology. He has ambitious plans for moving the department forward and a proven track record of excellence at LSU-Shreveport for accomplishing large initiatives," said Dr. John V. Marymont, vice president for medical affairs and dean of the USA College of Medicine. 

Among Dr. Herrera’s plans for the department is to replicate an outreach program he started at LSU, bringing in pathology cases from all over the United States and beyond. "That program became the most important source of revenue for the department in Shreveport," he said. "Our outreach work accounted for about 30 percent of our effort but collected 70 percent of our income."

The financial component is just one benefit of the outreach program, he said. "It’s a win-win situation for everybody," Dr. Herrera explained. "I believe this outreach is important for our faculty, the department and the university to acquire national recognition. Very few places do this, and most of the places that do are major universities. So, for a smaller place like us to do this is unique."

In addition to outreach, Dr. Herrera said he will place a strong emphasis on academics, specifically research. He plans to recruit several more faculty members to the department, giving faculty the time and support to do more research. Furthermore, residents will be paired with faculty mentors to perform basic and clinical research, which will culminate with an annual research forum.

"I think we have the perfect environment and atmosphere to really move this department forward in the next few years," he said. "The faculty has the energy and desire for change and is ready to accept a challenge. Plus, the location of USA is perfect for outreach and recruitment, as Mobile is a place people know and it is well situated on the Gulf Coast."

Dr. Herrera earned his medical degree from the University of Puerto Rico School of Medicine in San Juan. He completed his residency training in anatomic and clinical pathology at Brooke Army Medical Center in Fort Sam Houston, Texas.

He is certified by the American Board of Pathology in Anatomic and Clinical Pathology and Cytopathology. He has participated in a number of National Institutes of Health (NIH) study sections.

He retired as colonel from the U.S. Army in 1996 after 22 years of service.

Tuesday, January 8, 2019

USA College of Medicine Welcomes Dr. Sarathi Kalra

Dr. Sarathi Kalra recently was appointed assistant professor and research director of emergency medicine at the University of South Alabama College of Medicine.

Dr. Kalra received his medical degree from the B.P. Koirala Institute of Health Sciences in Dharan, Nepal, and a Master of Public Health from the University of Texas School of Public Health in Houston. He completed a leadership and advocacy fellowship at the Texas College of Emergency Physicians in Austin, and his residency training in emergency medicine at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston.

Dr. Kalra has been published in numerous publications. He also is a member of the Research Committee and the Young Physicians Section Committee for the American College of Emergency Physicians.

USA Health Opens First Pediatrics Complex Care Clinic in Alabama

Dr. LaDonna Crews, associate professor of pediatrics at the University of South Alabama College of Medicine and a general pediatrician with USA Physicians Group, examines a patient at the USA Pediatrics Complex Care Clinic.

Children with medical complexity are a growing population, as more infants and children are surviving with congenital anomalies, genetic syndromes, and other medical conditions that previously would have been fatal in the first year of life. Early identification of disease, advancement in treatment modalities, and improvement in neonatal care have resulted in higher survival rates.

According to the Maternal and Child Health Bureau, children with medical complexity (CMC) are defined as children with congenital or acquired multisystem disease, marked functional impairment, and/or technology dependence for activities of daily living. This population is the most medically fragile and has more intensive health care needs requiring a great amount of resources.

While survivorship has increased, children with medical complexity still face significant obstacles regarding their care. "One of the main needs is finding a provider and clinical staff that have comfort assessing these patients and addressing their needs," said Dr. LaDonna Crews, associate professor of pediatrics at the University of South Alabama College of Medicine and a general pediatrician with USA Physicians Group.

To meet this need, Dr. Crews has led the establishment of the first Pediatrics Complex Care Clinic (PCCC) in the state of Alabama. Located at the Strada Patient Care Center, the USA Pediatrics Complex Care Clinic officially opens Jan. 8; and clinic hours are Tuesday through Thursday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Dr. Crews said the clinic's current patients are technology- and device-dependent children, including those with gastrostomy tubes, tracheostomies, ventilator dependence and wheelchair dependence.

The USA Pediatrics Clinic, which achieved Level 3 Patient Center Medical Home recognition in 2017, has had the ability to take care of many children in the area including healthy children, children with special health care needs, and children with medical complexity.

The basis for opening the new clinic, Dr. Crews said, is "to provide more dedicated time and resource coordination for this patient population. Our ultimate goal is to establish and maintain a family-centered medical home with care coordination among all providers in these children’s lives, including sub-specialists, home health providers, educational providers, specialty pharmacies, medical equipment companies and specialized therapists."

The USA Pediatrics Complex Care Clinic has already received recognition as Alabama’s primary site for the Collaborative Improvement and Innovation Network to Advance Care for Children with Medical Complexity, a national quality improvement project with the purpose of improving the quality of life for children with medical complexity, the well-being of their families, and the cost-effectiveness of their care.

To make an appointment at the USA Pediatrics Complex Care Clinic, call (251) 410-5437 or (251) 434-3917. The Strada Patient Care Center is located at 1601 Center St., and the clinic is located in suite 1A.