Thursday, January 17, 2019

USA Medical Students Attend 'Raise 251' Exhibit

USA medical students attend the 'Raise 251' exhibit at the Alabama Contemporary Art Museum.
Students from the University of South Alabama College of Medicine recently attended "Raise 251" at the Alabama Contemporary Art Museum. In partnership with the USA Center for Healthy Communities, the museum hosted the exhibit focused on community health and highlighting food deserts in the Mobile area using the photovoice technique, evidence-based sculptures and paintings.

The students represented USA's Public Health Interest Group, a student-led organization established in fall 2018 to explore topics pertaining to public health.

“We hope to expose students and faculty to the broad scope of public health through lectures and events, integrate workshops and hands-on experiences, and then translate their interest into practice within the community,” said Gisella Mancarella Ward, a second-year medical student and president of USA's Public Health Interest Group.

Amanda Solley, executive director of the Alabama Contemporary Art Center, said, “It is important for medical students and medical health professionals to be familiar with the unique health needs of the communities in which they work, and it has been an honor for Alabama Contemporary to help connect the arts to this initiative.”

The Alabama Contemporary Art Museum will host a second iteration of the exhibit Feb. 8 through March 29, focusing on the Cambodian and Laotian communities seeded in Bayou La Batre, Ala. Learn more about "Raise 251.2: Cambodian and Laotian Culture in Bayou La Batre."

Mobile Medical Museum to Unveil Sculptural Tribute to Midwives

The Mobile Medical Museum will unveil the third and last commissioned work in a series of sculptural portraits by local artist April Livingston, from 1 to 3 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 26.

Titled "Motherwork," the piece is a tribute to the vital health care services provided by midwives throughout Alabama’s history. The cast-iron sculpture showing eight pairs of life-size hands clasped together to form a circular, shield-like shape, with an open space between the hands that allows light to pass through. From the side view, the sculpture curves outward, resembling the swollen belly of a
pregnant woman. Each pair of hands is cast from a real-life midwife or obstetric nurse.

The sculpture will be permanently installed in the museum’s Robert Thrower Medicinal Garden, along with the other sculptural portraits by Livingston: "Portrait of Bessie McGhee," depicting a beloved Poarch Creek midwife and herbalist; and "Portrait of Dr. James A. Franklin, Sr.," showing one of Mobile’s first and most successful African American physicians.

The Mobile Medical Museum is located at 1664 Springhill Ave. in Mobile. Visit for more information. 

Center for Healthy Communities Hosts Forum on Community-Engaged Scholarship

The University of South Alabama Center for Healthy Communities, in partnership with the USA Translational Research Service Center and the USA Office of Community Engagement, recently hosted its 3rd forum on community-engaged scholarship, "Building Blocks for Impactful Community Engagement Toward Health Equity."

According to Dr. Martha Arrieta, director of research at the USA Center for Healthy Communities and associate professor of internal medicine at the USA College of Medicine, this year's forum had a two-fold objective: to focus on key elements of community engagement that foster progression to health equity, and to foster interconnections between researchers and community-based organizations working toward health equity in the community.

"Community engagement entails the building of bi-directional bridges between academia and its community of service in order to create a collaboration space where powerful synergy is possible through the creation of a dynamic interface between the expertise and resources of the university and the lived experience, practical knowledge and strong advocacy of community members," Dr. Arrieta said. "It is accepted that there is great potential in such collaboration to realize the changes - both within the university and the community - that move the needle towards health equity."

The morning keynote speaker was Dr. Tabia Henry Akintobi, professor of community health and preventive medicine, associate dean of community engagement, principal investigator and director of the Prevention Research Center at the Morehouse School of Medicine. She presented "Advancing Community-Campus Partnerships Towards Health Equity: A Reflection on Processes and Outcomes that Matter." The morning also featured a panel discussion by community engagement practitioners and an interactive poster session of projects that support community engagement.

"Collaboration is at the heart of community engagement; however, it is not an easy proposition," Dr. Arrieta explained. "There is both science and art in the practice of collaboration."

To address this challenge, the forum's afternoon session featured Dr. Dale Ainsworth, a faculty member in health science at California State University, Sacramento. He presented "Big Problems - Big Solutions: Inter-organizational Networks and Wicked Problems." Following his presentation, forum attendees worked in small groups to evaluate key elements of successful collaborations.

View more photos from the forum on Flickr.

Med School Café - Expert Advice for the Community

Dr. Richard Marks, professor and chair of orthopaedic surgery at the University of South Alabama College of Medicine and a foot and ankle orthopaedic surgeon with USA Physicians Group, presented January's Med School Café lecture, "Technologies to Keep Your Ankle Moving."

Watch January Med School Café: Technologies to Keep Your Ankle Moving on YouTube or below.

Monday, January 14, 2019

Six USA Medical Students Match in Military Programs

Top row, from left: Harrison Dilworth, Andrew Robinson and
Alan Schumann; bottom row: Kristen Smith, Ashleigh
Tomkovich and Anna Williams.
Six fourth-year students at the University of South Alabama College of Medicine – Harrison Dilworth, Andrew Robinson, Alan Schumann, Kristen Smith, Ashleigh Tomkovich and Anna Williams – recently matched in early match programs in the military.

The majority of medical students go through the National Resident Matching Program (NRMP) to find out where they will be doing their residency training following graduation, but students who wish to match in the military participate in a specialty match program that takes place months before Match Day in March.

Kristen Smith, a native of Auburn, Ala., credits one of her old roommates for her serendipitous journey into the military. As a young kid, she entertained the idea of joining the Army because her family always spoke of the military with great respect. “I didn’t think it was compatible with my goal of being doctor until my roommate in college – Ashleigh Tomkovich – mentioned the Health Professions Scholarship Program,” she said. “I realized it was an amazing opportunity professionally, personally and financially.”

Smith matched in obstetrics and gynecology at Madigan Army Medical Center in Tacoma, Wash. She said she is most looking forward to working with her fellow interns, all of whom she has met during away rotations. “It is a great group of women and I can’t wait to serve the active duty members of Joint Base Lewis-McChord and their families,” she said. “The coffee and hiking offered by the Pacific Northwest are an added bonus.”

Tomkovich, a native of Huntsville, Ala., will continue her family tradition of serving in the military. She has several family members who are currently active or have previously serviced in the military. “Given my family history, I felt like it would be an honorable tradition to serve in the military,” she said. “I also felt like it would be particularly rewarding to help take care of the United States’ service men and women.”

Tomkovich said not only is she is looking forward to the diagnostic challenges that await as a budding pathologist, but she is also excited to move to a new state with her husband – Alan Schumann.

Together, Tomkovich and Schumann plan to reveal the location of their match at the 2019 Match Day Ceremony in March.

Harrison Dilworth said his passion for community service and community involvement sparked his interest in the military. “In my opinion, there is no greater form of community service than joining the U.S. military,” he said.

Although Dilworth, a native of Richmond, Va., is not the first person in his family to serve in the military, he will be the first physician in his family. “My parents were both in law,” he said. “My mom is a judge and my dad is a retired police officer, so I decided to go in the opposite direction and have loved every step of my medical journey thus far.”

Dilworth matched at Eglin Air Force Base in Destin, Fla., where he will complete his residency training in family medicine. “I completed a month long audition rotation at Eglin over the summer and absolutely loved everyone there from the residents, faculty and ancillary staff,” he said. “I am looking forward to getting reconnected with those individuals, learning everything I can from them, and beginning to mold and sharpen my family medicine tools.”

During Honors Convocation in May, Dilworth, Schumann, Smith, Tomkovich and Williams will take the military oath of office and receive their new military rank, coinciding with completion of their medical degrees.

The remainder of the USA College of Medicine Class of 2019 will find out where they matched on Match Day, March 15, 2019. The event will take place at the Mobile Convention Center in downtown Mobile.