Thursday, January 9, 2020

Mark Your Calendar: Upcoming grand rounds

Mark your calendar for the following grand rounds:

Orthopaedic Surgery Grand Rounds
"Legal Aspects of Practicing Medicine"
Christian Hines, Attorney, Partner with Starnes Davis Florie
7 to 8 a.m. Friday, Jan. 10
Strada Patient Care Center, 1st Floor Conference Room
Contact: Rhonda Smith at (251) 665-8251 or

Cardiology Grand Rounds
"Cardiac Catherization Complications"
Siva Chiranjeevi, M.D., Fellow, Division of Cardiology, USA Health University Hospital
11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Friday, Jan. 10
Cardiology Conference Room
Contact: Angela Hunt at (251) 471-7923 or

Neurology Grand Rounds
8 to 9 a.m. Tuesday, Jan. 14
"A Case Report on Progressive Encephalopathy, Parkinsonism and Myodonic Jerk"
Daniel Dees, M.D., Assistant Professor of Neurology, USA College of Medicine
USA Health University Hospital, 2nd Floor Conference Center
Contact: Heather Kelly at (251) 445-8292 or

Medicine Grand Rounds
"Obscure Causes of Abdominal Pain"
Rufaat Mando, M.D., Gastroenterology PGY6, USA Health
8 to 9 a.m. Thursday, Jan. 16
USA Health University Hospital, 2nd Floor Conference Center
Contact: Linda Ching at (251) 471-7900 or

Cardiology Grand Rounds
"Anticoagulation in A Fib"
Bassam Omar, M.D., Professor, Division of Cardiology, USA Health University Hospital
11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Friday, Jan. 17
Cardiology Conference Room
Contact: Angela Hunt at (251) 471-7923 or

Muslims in Medicine interest group addresses physician burnout

Near the interfaith room in the Medical Sciences Building are  medical students Zohaib Ijaz, Arslan Arshad , Dala Eloubeidi, Hadil El-Sharkh and Yousef Omar. 
Whether you use the term “salah” for daily prayer or “shukr” for thankfulness, such spiritual practices can improve the mental well-being of physicians and even their patients.

Arslan Arshad, a member of the Muslims in Medicine interest group at the University of South Alabama College of Medicine, took this message to his fellow medical students and then to a wider group of university students this past fall. In a year when research findings describe physician burnout as “a public health crisis,” it was a timely topic.

“Research has demonstrated that overall long-term mental health is optimized more so by finding meaning within life as opposed to simply experiencing pleasant emotions such as happiness,” Arshad said. “While each person can potentially derive meaning from multiple sources during his or her own lifetime, religious experience is often a significant source for worldview development.”

A report released in 2019 by Harvard cited evidence that nearly half of all physicians experience burnout in some form, and that the percentage has worsened since 2016. It said the crisis “urgently demands action.”

The report heightened the national discussion on the importance of wellness for physicians and other healthcare providers.

Arshad, a second-year medical student at the USA College of Medicine, drew parallels between spirituality and positive psychology, and emphasized their impact on mental well-being. For those practicing the Islamic faith, practices would include sabr (patience), shukr (thankfulness), salah (daily prayer), dhikr (Godly remembrance), dua’a (supplication), qadar (divine decree), and recitation of the Quran. “For Muslims, religiosity provides an overarching source of meaning and instruction for one’s daily life,” Arshad said.

The talk opened up a new avenue of thought, one participant told Arshad following the presentation. “The feedback was overwhelmingly positive,” he said.

Muslims in Medicine is among several initiatives at the USA College of Medicine that are shining a spotlight on the importance of cultural diversity and inclusion. The interest group says its mission is to provide opportunities for spiritual and academic growth and fellowship among Muslim students and physicians, and serve as a resource to educate others about the faith.

For future physicians, such an understanding is key to treating patients effectively, said Franklin Trimm, M.D., associate dean of diversity and inclusion at the USA College of Medicine. “It is highly likely that healthcare professionals will care for Muslim patients during his or her career,” Trimm said. “Understanding Islamic beliefs will assist professionals in providing care that is culturally competent and thus better address the healthcare needs of Muslim patients.”

Tuesday, January 7, 2020

USA Health and USA College of Medicine represented in Mobile Bay’s 40 Under 40

Four representatives from USA Health and the University of South Alabama College of Medicine were named to Mobile Bay’s 40 Under 40 Class of 2019. Each year, Mobile Bay recognizes 40 individuals under the age of 40 who demonstrate leadership, professional excellence and a commitment to the Mobile Bay area.

Hanna Alemayehu, M.D., F.A.A.P., is an assistant professor of surgery at the USA College of Medicine and a pediatric surgeon with USA Health. Since joining the clinical faculty in 2018, she has made a significant impact on the care of pediatric surgical patients. She recently established a Chest Wall Deformity Clinic at USA Health, which not only provides the most advanced equipment but also dramatically reduces pain for a historically painful procedure. Alemayehu is working to create a medical mission trip that will aid under-served communities in her home country of Kenya.

Brittany Brown, RN, MSN, is director of operations for internal medicine at USA Health. She is responsible for the management and direction of all aspects of operation for more than 15 specialty clinics, where her professionalism, passion and leadership shine through. An avid member of Aubreigh’s Army, Brown raised more than $15,000 for St. Baldricks Foundation. She also works with local high-schoolers on resume writing, interview skills and career-focused concepts.

LoRen Burroughs Modisa, MPA, is the diversity coordinator at the USA College of Medicine. She works to highlight pathways to medical school for students historically disenfranchised from STEM careers and strives to find ways in which to illuminate and celebrate the differences that make each member of the College of Medicine unique. Modisa served as a health policy and advocacy intern for the Bill, Hillary and Chelsea Clinton Foundation before joining the Peace Corps for two years as an HIV/AIDS civil society capacity building volunteer in Botswana.

Jeremy Towns is a fourth-year student at the USA College of Medicine. A former NFL player, he had stints with the Washington Redskins, Buffalo Bills and Philadelphia Eagles. The Radical Athlete and Student Oasis Ministry (RANSOM), of which Towns is founder, is a student organization whose mission is to spread the news of Christ. The organization has spread to four colleges and is quickly growing. In addition to being a medical student, Towns gives back to the community through speaking engagements.

View the full list of this year's honorees.

Student-Run Free Clinic makes an impact in 2019

Two of the biggest challenges facing many patients are access to healthcare and health literacy. The University of South Alabama Student-Run Free Clinic (SRFC) helps to bridge this gap for under-served individuals in Mobile.

Under the guidance of preceptors, the student-led teams are able to spend more time explaining the complex conditions patients face compared to the time spent during a typical clinical office visit. In addition, the interdisciplinary approach at SRFC helps ensure patient problems are talked about from multiple angles, which allows both patients and students to learn about the healthcare problems many Mobilians face.

According to the clinic's 2019 impact report, new services offered this past year at the USA SRFC included:
  • Free HIV screenings through partnership with AIDS Alabama
  • Free dental screenings through partnership with Franklin Primary Health Center
  • New occupational therapy-driven pediatric evaluation and treatment program focused on appropriate physical, mental and social development at Salvation Army Family Haven
  • Innovative ambulant clinic where SRFC directly provided care to Spanish-speaking patients in the community through partnership with the Medical Spanish Interest Group and local nonprofit BELONG
  • In-house physicals and documentation for those beginning rehab programs at Salvation Army
See more of the SRFC's impact in the infographic below:

Ravi Rajendra, co-president of the USA SRFC, said, "Our success this past year would not have been possible without the hard work of our interdisciplinary student-led board."

The board included:
  • Faculty Advisor: Alison Rudd, Ed.D., FNP-C, operations director of the USA SRFC and assistant director of the USA Simulation Program
  • Co-President: Ravi Rajendra (USA College of Medicine M3)
  • Co-President: Cameron Clary (AU Harrison School of Pharmacy P3)
  • Vice President: Amanda Alstatt (AU HSOP P3)
  • Secretary: Madeline Tucker (USA COM M2)
  • Treasurer: Jake Rosner (USA COM M3)
  • Outreach Coordinator: Lexie Hensley (USA COM M2)
  • Volunteer Coordinator: Caitlin Henderson (AU HSOP P3)
  • Research Coordinator: Eric Midenberg (USA COM M3)
  • SGA Liaison: Corey Phillis (USA COM M2)
  • Audiology Liaison: Jamie Watts
  • Occupational Therapy Liaison: Liz Artall
  • Medicine Liaison: Greg Overbeek (USA COM M2)
  • Pharmacy Liaison: Katie Murphy (AU HSOP P2)
  • Physician Assistant Liaison: Ashleigh Ledet
  • Physical Therapy Liaison: Mason Baker
  • Nursing Liaison: Aly Smith