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Faculty, resident learn about culinary medicine curriculum

Faculty and a family medicine resident at the College of Community Health Sciences spent two days in New Orleans brushing up on their cooking skills and learning more about the medical student curriculum at Tulane University’s Goldring Center for Culinary Medicine.

The Goldring Center hosted the two-day retreat welcoming universities and health care centers that license its curriculum to teach medical students how to better counsel their patients about food and nutrition. The center is led by executive director Dr. Timothy Harlan and program director Chef Leah Sarris, who is the first full-time chef to be employed by a medical school.

Sarris was a keynote speaker at the 16th Annual Rural Health Conference, hosted by the College and its Institute for Rural Health Research. She provided a demonstration at the conference of how to prepare healthy meals for an entire week using $150, the maximum food assistant allotment for a family of four from the Alabama Food Assistance Program.

Those who attended the retreat from the College were Dr. Richard Streiffer, dean of the College; Dr. John C. Higginbotham, Associate Dean for Research, Chair of the Department of Community and Rural Medicine and director of the Institute for Rural Health Research ; Dr. Jennifer Clem, assistant professor of Family Medicine; and Dr. Bhavika Patel, a chief resident in the College’s Family Medicine Residency.

Patel says she didn’t know much about culinary medicine beforehand, but her interest in food deserts and obesity sparked her interest.

“Physicians can be very influential to patients making beneficial lifestyle changes,” she says. “But it can be difficult for the patients to return to their home lives after the doctor visit and enact the changes they talked about. Merely talking to patients may not be enough, and sometimes it’s easier to understand what to do at home if the instructions are more hands-on.”

Patel hopes to apply this approach to patient education in her practice after graduating. “I want to take at a minimum their community module wherever I go to tackle obesity from the front lines.” She says she’ll likely practice in rural Georgia.

Streiffer says he hopes the Tulane curriculum will be incorporated into the College’s medical student education, Family Medicine Residency and even at the community level educating the public. He says he hopes that using the curriculum will lead to interprofessional collaborations.

“Addressing lifestyle issues in order to improve health is fundamental to what we do in primary care in the nation,” said Streiffer in a NOLA.com article. “We need ultimately to equip our students with a better set of skills, not just with disease but about wellness. This is a piece of a longer-term strategy to change our curriculum and our product.”

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Faculty to take on new roles in Family Medicine, Obstetrics and Gynecology

Faculty in the departments of Family Medicine and Obstetrics and Gynecology at the College of Community Health Sciences will be taking on new roles.

Dr. Richard Friend is now Chair of Family Medicine. Friend, who is also the director of the The University of Alabama Family Medicine Residency, had been serving as Interim Chair of the department.

“He has done an excellent job in both of these demanding roles, and I am pleased that he will take on the permanent position of Chair,” says Dr. Richard Streiffer, dean of the College.

As part of his transition into this role, Friend created several new roles in Family Medicine. Dr. Catherine Scarbrough is now Clinic Director for the Family Medicine Residency, and she will continue to serve in her role as Associate Residency Director. Scarbrough and Dr. Jared Ellis have both served as Associate Residency Directors, and now they will be joined by Dr. Jane Weida in that position in August. Weida will also have an academic appointment in Family Medicine. Dr. Tamer Elsayed has been named Assistant Residency Director.

Dr. Thomas Weida has joined the College as Associate Dean of Clinical Affairs and Chief Medical Officer, assuming a major leadership and administrative role, particularly in the College’s clinical enterprise. He will also have an academic appointment in Family Medicine.

Dr. Jimmy Robinson, director of the College’s Sports Medicine Fellowship, will join the College as full-time faculty in on July 1. His practice at University Medical Center, which is operated by the College, will continue to operate in the Sports Medicine Clinic.

Dr. Ray Brignac, a graduate of the College’s Family Medicine Residency who has practiced for a number of years in Selma, Ala., has joined the College as a part-time clinician. Brignac will practice at University Medical Center-Northport, set to open July 1, with a focus on geriatrics.

In the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Dr. Daniel Avery, who has served as chair of the department for several years, will work with Medical Student Education in admissions in the development of the College’s Tuscaloosa Longitudinal Community Curriculum, and he will take on a research role with the Department of Community and Rural Medicine and the Institute for Rural Health Research. He will continue to serve as Medical Director of UMC’s Lab and X-ray division.

“We thank Dan Avery for his years of service in OB/GYN, and we share the excitement he has about these new responsibilities and his continued contribution to CCHS,” Streiffer says.

Stepping into the role of Chair of Obstetrics and Gynecology starting July 1 is Dr. Kristy Graettinger. She has served as assistant professor in Obstetrics and Gynecology, and, in December 2014, she graduated from Leadership U, a University of Alabama program designed to prepare UA faculty and professional staff leaders to face challenges and opportunities in higher education.

Dr. Dwight Hooper is leaving the College to join the faculty at Florida State University. Graettinger will take over his role as Clinic Director for Obstetrics and Gynecology. And Dr. Catherine Skinner, assistant professor in Family Medicine, will assume the responsibilities of director of the College’s Obstetrics Fellowship.

Dr. Cecily Collins will join Obstetrics and Gynecology in August. Collins was a medical student at the College, which serves as a regional campus for the University of Alabama School of Medicine. She is completing her residency in Florida.

Dr. Elizabeth Cockrum retired from the College after 25 years of service.

“Dr. Cockrum had a tremendous impact on students, residents, staff, faculty and patients in her roles as teacher, clinician and associate dean,” Streiffer says. “We wish her well.”

Streiffer says that the transitions and new roles taken on is exciting for the College.

“All of this is very exciting and gratifying, especially as the College continues our implementation of our strategic plan, guided by our core values of interprofessional collaboration, learning and innovation. We can all look forward to additional team-oriented, collaborative efforts in the coming weeks. To those assuming new roles, and to those transitioning to other new and exciting opportunities, congratulations and thank you.”

 

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Family Medicine Residents recognized at graduation ceremony

Fourteen physicians graduated June 21 from The University of Alabama Family Medicine Residency and will soon begin their own practices in Alabama and other states, and several will go on to complete fellowship programs.

The residency is operated by the College of Community Health Sciences and provides physicians with three years of specialty training in family medicine.

Fellows were also recognized at the graduation ceremony, which was held at the South Zone in Bryant-Denny Stadium. In addition to the residency, the College also offers year-long fellowships in behavioral health, hospitalist medicine, obstetrics, rural public psychiatry and sports medicine. The fellowships provide additional training for family medicine physicians in other specialty areas.

Residency Director Dr. Richard Friend welcomed graduates and their families and guests. “It’s been an honor to imprint good skills and habits on these physicians in training,” he said. “I’m so proud to have been a part of their education.”

The graduation keynote speaker was Dr. Julia Booth, an adjunct faculty member at the College and a 2005 residency graduate.

“When I was asked to speak, I thought, ‘What can I share with these stellar people?’ In the last three years, I’ve learned as much from these graduates as I’ve taught them.” She continued: “You have worked hard to complete a rigorous curriculum at a prestigious residency program. You will be challenged early and often, so be ready. Be willing to serve and teach, and be willing to stretch yourself. Surround yourself with great role models. Stay the course, fight the good fight and support each other. The friendships you have made here will last a lifetime.”

One in seven family medicine physicians practicing in Alabama are graduates of The University of Alabama Family Medicine Residency. To date, the residency, which had its first graduate in 1975, has graduated 449 residents who are practicing in 30 states. Of those, 240 are practicing in Alabama in 48 of the state’s 67 counties.

 

2015 Residency Graduates – Where they will practice

Dr. John Adams – PriCare Family Medicine in Alexander City, Ala.
Dr. Amita Chhabra – Mohan & Mohan Medical in Bridgeport, Ala.
Dr. James Hwang – Inpatient medicine in Houston, Texas
Dr. Rakhshanda Khan – Bailey Cove Family Practice in Huntsville, Ala.
Dr. Raven Ladner – Memorial Hospital in Gulfport, Miss.
Dr. Sarah Mauthe (chief resident) – Mobile Infirmary in Mobile, Ala.
Dr. Holly McCaleb – Group practice in Haleville, Ala.
Dr. Ginger Medders – University of South Alabama Sports Medicine Fellowship in Mobile, Ala.
Dr. Sneha Patel – Moving to Alexandria, Va.
Dr. Ilinca Prisacaru – Pell City Family & Internal Medicine in Pell City, Ala.
Dr. Razel Remen – Institute for Family Health Academic Fellowship in Women’s Health in New York City
Dr. Phillip Robbins – Carrollton Primary Care in Carrollton, Ala.
Dr. Carl Russell (chief resident) – College of Community Health Sciences Sports Medicine Fellowship
Dr. Kelly Shoemake (chief resident) – Ellisville Medical Clinic in Ellisville, Miss.

 

Resident Award Winners

William R. Willard Award – Dr. Justin Vines (first-year resident)
Internal Medicine/Intern Award – Dr. Keirsten Smith and Dr. Justin Vines
Internal Medicine/Best Resident – Dr. Sarah Mauthe
Pediatrics Award – Dr. Razel Remen
Psychiatry Award – Dr. James Hwang
Psychiatry/R3 Award – Dr. Razel Remen
Obstetrics and Gynecology Award – Dr. Kelly Shoemake
Research/Scholarship Award – Dr. Raven Ladner and Dr. Holly McCaleb
Society of Teachers in Family Medicine Teaching Award – Dr. James Hwang
William F. deShazo III Award – Dr. Raven Ladner
360 Award – Dr. James Hwang

 

Fellowship Graduates Recognized

Sports Medicine Fellows – Dr. Jeremy Coleman and Dr. Donald Perry
Hospitalist Medicine Fellows – Dr. David Aymond and Dr. Mukta Kapdi
Obstetrics Fellow – Dr. Laura Linken

 

Rural Medical Scholar Graduates Recognized

Dr. John Adams
Dr. Holly McCaleb
Dr. Phillip Robbins
Dr. Carl Russell

The College’s Rural Medical Scholars Program is designed to recruit students from rural Alabama who want to become physicians and practice in rural communities in the state.

 

 

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Robinson to join College as full-time faculty

Dr. James Robinson, the College of Community Health Sciences’s Endowed Chair of Sports Medicine, is relocating and changing the scope of his private practice. Starting July 1, 2015, Robinson’s practice will be located at University Medical Center, which is operated by the College. He will also become a full-time professor of Sports Medicine for the College.

Robinson’s private practice is located at West Alabama Family Practice and Sports Medicine in Tuscaloosa. Taking over for Robinson at his practice is Dr. Ray Stewart, graduate of the College’s Sports Medicine Fellowship. Stewart is also a Rural Medical Scholar and graduate of the University of Alabama School of Medicine. He completed his residency at the College’s Family Medicine Residency and was the first fellow to enter the College’s Sports Medicine Fellowship.

Robinson says that in addition to providing patient care, he will also devote his time to teaching medical students, Family Medicine residents and Sports Medicine fellows.

“This new opportunity will provide me with more time to dedicate to teaching and research,” he says.

The College, which operates a family medicine residency, also functions as a regional campus for the University of Alabama School of Medicine, providing clinical education to a portion of third- and fourth-year medical students.

Robinson will continue in his positions of director of the College’s Dr. Bill deShazo Sports Medicine Center, which is part of UMC, and will continue to oversee the College’s Sports Medicine Fellowship. And he will remain as head team physician for The University of Alabama Athletics, a position he has held since 1989.

“Dr. Robinson has been very effective as fellowship director while part-time with the College,” says Dr. Richard Streiffer, dean of the College. “We are very excited that he will be with us now full time, allowing him to expand his teaching and share his considerable practice experience with us in additional ways.”

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University Medical Center to open Northport Location

University Medical Center, which is operated by the College of Community Health Sciences, will open a new location in Northport July 1.

University Medical Center-Northport will be located in the Fitness One building, 1325 McFarland Blvd., Suite 102, and will provide the community with comprehensive patient-centered care in family medicine and obstetrics.

A grand opening celebration and ribbon cutting will be held in August. The opening of UMC-Northport will be a relocation of UMC-Warrior Family Medicine, UMC’s location in Fairfax Park in Tuscaloosa, which closed at the end of business June 26 in preparation for the move.

Patients and providers from UMC-Warrior Family Medicine will move to the new location.

Dr. H. Joseph Fritz will serve as clinic director at UMC-Northport, and he will practice with Drs. Ray Brignac, Jennifer Clem, Catherine Skinner and nurse practitioner Lisa Brashier.

Joining them will be resident physicians Drs. Shawanda Agnew, Carrie Coxwell, Eric Frempong, Brianna Kendrick, Cheree Melton, Aisha Pitts, Efe Sahinoglu and Amy Wambolt, all of whom are part of The University of Alabama Family Medicine Residency, which is operated by the College.

University Medical Center and UMC-Warrior Family Medicine have provided comprehensive patient-centered care to the University and West Alabama community. Patients of all ages can receive care for the full spectrum of needs — from preventive care and wellness exams to management of chronic conditions, to treatment for acute illness and accidents.

UMC-Warrior Family Medicine was formed in 2014 after Fritz and his practice, Warrior Family Practice, joined the College. Fritz had been in private practice in Tuscaloosa since 1978.

UMC-Warrior Family Medicine patients needing medical care June 29 or June 30 may call (205) 348-6700 for assistance. If patients need to speak with a member of the UMC-Warrior Family Medicine staff on either of those two days, they may call (205) 348-6123 for assistance.

To make an appointment at UMC-Northport, phone (205) 348-6700.

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West End Health Project impacts underserved area of Tuscaloosa

Every Wednesday afternoon, University of Alabama student volunteers arrive at the McDonald Hughes Community Center in west Tuscaloosa and convert a portion of the building into a temporary medical center. They are a part of the West End Health Project, a health-monitoring and education clinic conceived, developed and now operated by students in partnership with two service-learning courses and multiple campus and community organizations.

Volunteers at the clinic include faculty physicians at the University’s College of Community Health Sciences as well as students of the UH 400 Medicine and Community course and students in the UH 120 Diabetes and Obesity: An American Epidemic class.

Students from UA’s Blackburn Institute, a selective leadership program that gathers students committed to community improvement, came up with the idea for the clinic after being challenged to create a project that would positively impact Tuscaloosa or surrounding counties. Health care is difficult to access for many residents of West End, an impoverished and medically underserved area of Tuscaloosa. Students used a $2,500 grant from The Daniel Foundation of Alabama and funding from the Blackburn Institute to establish a health clinic in the community. The Tuscaloosa City Council offered the McDonald Hughes Community Center, located in the heart of the area, as a site.

Click here to read the full story.

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Annual conference focuses on challenges facing rural health

A “cooking challenge” was the focus of the 16th Annual Rural Health Conference, held April 17 at The University of Alabama Ferguson Student Center. Hosted each year by the College and its Institute for Rural Health Research, the conference is attended by health care providers, community leaders, researchers, government officials and policy makers interested in making an impact on rural communities.

Chef Leah Sarris, program director of the Goldring Center for Culinary Medicine at Tulane University School of Medicine in New Orleans and the first full-time chef ever employed by a medical school, took the challenge.

Sarris, who teaches medical students, doctors and patients the tenants of healthful cooking and the important role that food plays in preventing and managing obesity and associated diseases, was given $150 (the maximum food assistant allotment for a family of four from the Alabama Food Assistance Program) to purchases food in a rural Alabama community for a week of healthy meals. She provided a demonstration at the conference of how to prepare a few of these healthy meals.

Chef Leah Sarris (right), program director of the Goldring Center for Culinary Medicine at Tulane University School of Medicine in New Orleans, and culinary nutrition intern Christine Blank demonstrate how to prepare a chicken for roasting at the 16th annual Rural Health Conference.

Chef Leah Sarris (right), program director of the Goldring Center for Culinary Medicine at Tulane University School of Medicine in New Orleans, and culinary nutrition intern Christine Blank demonstrate how to prepare a chicken for roasting at the 16th annual Rural Health Conference.

In addition to Sarris, this year’s Rural Health Conference, “Making the Healthcare System Work for You: Individuals, Clinicians and Communities,” also featured keynote speaker Dr. Daniel Marek, chief medical officer of the Federal Office of Rural Health Policy.

Marek spoke about the challenges facing rural health in America, primarily the closure of rural hospitals, particularly in the South, and the shortage of health professionals. He said 33 rural hospitals have closed nationwide since 2013.

Marek said rural training tracks for medical students and resident physicians are an important way to increase the number of health professionals who will go into rural areas to practice. He said many family medicine physicians practice in rural communities. Today, new rural training tracks can qualify for Medicare graduate medical education support, he said.

Dr. Daniel Marek, chief medical officer of the Federal Office of Rural Health Policy, spoke about the challenges facing rural health in America.

Dr. Daniel Marek, chief medical officer of the Federal Office of Rural Health Policy, spoke about the challenges facing rural health in America.

The title of Sarris’s keynote address was “Food as a Means of Preventive Medicine: Taking the Challenge.” She said currently, approximately 30 percent of the U.S. population is considered overweight or obese, up from 10 percent just several decades ago. Obesity is a contributor to some of the top causes of death in the United States, including heart disease, stroke, diabetes and cancer, she said.

“These are diet-related,” she said. “We can decrease hospital stays and death by changing the way people eat and think about food.”

Sarris spoke about the benefits of the Mediterranean diet, which includes several servings each day of vegetables, legumes, fruits and nuts, cereals and whole grains, fish and seafood; encourages the consumption of quality fats and oils such as olive and grapeseed oil and avocados; focuses on aged cheese, yogurt and cottage cheese for dairy needs; and avoids processed meats. She said one recent study found a 50 percent to 70 percent reduction in second heart attacks among participants who started following the diet after their first heart attack. A second study documented a 25 percent decrease in death from heart disease and cancer.

“The Mediterranean diet is realistic for us to follow,” Sarris said.

Sarris said the Goldring Center for Culinary Medicine teaches medical students, residents and patients how to use these healthy dietary principles. “At most medical schools, students get less than 28 hours of nutrition education. At Tulane, we’re taking that up a notch.”

In addition to teaching medical students, residents and patients about healthy eating, the Goldring Center also offers free community cooking classes, and provides information about nutrition, meal planning and ways to use leftovers.

“The data shows we’re a catalyst for changing people’s lives,” Sarris said. “People who receive this kind of advice, particularly from their doctors, are more likely to adopt health lifestyle changes and to share them with their community.”

Conference breakout sessions, many of which were led by speakers from The University of Alabama, the University of Alabama at Birmingham, and DCH Health System in Tuscaloosa, focused on doctor-patient communication, health care consumerism, and the challenges of primary care in underserved areas of Alabama.

Jerri Jackson, director of managed care for the Alabama Medicaid Agency, and Robin Rawls, the agency’s communications director, gave an update on the state’s Medicaid program.

This year's William A. Curry Award winner was Elizabeth Junkin, now a fourth-year medical student at the College.

This year’s William A. Curry Award winner was Elizabeth Junkin, now a fourth-year medical student at the College.

This year’s William A. Curry Award winner was Elizabeth Junkin, now a fourth-year medical student at the College, for her research, “Moving Pickens County Primary Care toward Patient-Centered Medical Home Qualifications through a Diabetes Self-Management Education Program.” The award, named after the former dean of the College and a founder of the Institute for Rural Health Research, honors a University of Alabama School of Medicine student who demonstrates an academic interest in rural medicine and is engaged in rural research or scholarly activity.

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Graduating medical students recognized at Senior Convocation

Thirty-two medical students were honored at the College’s Senior Convocation May 15 at the Cypress inn Pavilion in Tuscaloosa. The students have since begun their residency training in programs across 13 different states.

The College provides clinical education and experiences for a portion of third- and fourth-year medical students enrolled at the University of Alabama School of Medicine, which is headquartered in Birmingham. The College’s students were among the more than 182 students who graduated from the School of Medicine during a ceremony in Birmingham on May 17.

“We have an outstanding group of students here,” said Dr. Richard Streiffer, dean of the College, as he welcomed medical students and their families.

“They’ve set the bar high,” added Dr. Heather Taylor, director of Medical Education for the College and an associate professor of Pediatrics. “I am confident in the future of medicine if this is what it looks like.”

During the School of Medicine graduation ceremony in Birmingham, three medical students from the College, which also functions as the School of Medicine’s Tuscaloosa Regional Campus, were presented with prestigious awards. Dr. Jacqueline Parks received The Leonard Tow Humanism in Medicine award, sponsored by the Arnold P. Gold Foundation and given to a graduating student in recognition of his or her value of humanism in the delivery of care to patients and their families. Dr. Jamie Powell received the Paul A. Palmisano Award, which is presented for excellence in Pediatrics. And Dr. David Dorn, Jr., received the William Boyd Medal award, presented by the Alabama Association of Pathologists and the UAB Department of Pathology for exceptional performance in Pathology.

 

Awards given by faculty:

Robert F. Gloor Award in Community Medicine
Drs. Eun Choe and Jacquelynn Parks
Awarded for excellent performance in Community and Rural Medicine.

Family Medicine Award
Dr. Caroline Price
Awarded for excellence in Family Medicine.

William W. Winternitz Award in Internal Medicine
Dr. Bradley Wilson Peden
Awarded for outstanding achievement in Internal Medicine during the third and fourth years.

Neurology Award
Dr. Richard Martindale
Awarded for outstanding academic and clinical performance during the Neurology Clerkship.

Pediatrics Recognition Award
Dr. Jamie Powell
Awarded for outstanding interest, ability and the reflection of pleasure in helping parents and their children reach their full personal, social and educational potential.

Peter Bryce Award in Psychiatry
Dr. Michales Graham, Jr.
Awarded for excellence exhibited by a medical student both academically and clinically during his/her Psychiatry Clerkship.

Finney/Akers Memorial Award in Obstetrics and Gynecology
Dr. Duncan Harmon
Awarded to student(s) achieving outstanding academic and clinical success in Obstetrics and Gynecology.

William R. Shamblin, MD, Surgery Award
Drs. Chelsea Wallace and Nathan Wilbanks
Awarded to a student or students with the highest scholastic achievement during their third-year Surgery Clerkship.

Pathology Service Award
Drs. David Dorn, Jr., and Melanie Wooten
This award recognizes a student for service to the Task Force for Forensic Pathology and Crime Laboratory at The University of Alabama.

Interprofessional Excellence Award
Dr. Jacquelynn Parks
This award recognizes the medical student who has best demonstrated excellence in communication skills, respect for staff and patients, and a commitment to working as an effective member of the health care team.

Student Research Award
Dr. Melanie Wooten
Recognition of the pursuit of one or more research projects leading to a presentation or publication during the clinical years of medical training.

Scholastic Achievement Award
Dr. Chelsea Wallace
Awarded for superior performance in the clinical curriculum.

William R. Willard Award
Dr. Caroline Price
Established by the Bank of Moundville, this award is presented for outstanding contributions to the goals and mission of the College of Community Health Sciences as voted by the College faculty.

Larry Mayes Research Society Members
The Larry Mayes Research Society exposes University of Alabama School of Medicine students on the Tuscaloosa Regional Campus to research going on within the larger University of Alabama campus, encourages engagement in research within the College of Community Health Sciences and The University of Alabama, and provides opportunities to present their research at a bi-annual Larry Mayes Research Society faculty dinner

Dr. Stevie Bennett, scholar

Dr. Jody Joynt, scholar

Dr. Chase Mitchell, fellow

Dr. Shwega Patel, scholar

Dr. Jamie Powell, scholar

Dr. Caroline Price, scholar

Dr. Susanna Raley, scholar

Dr. Neeraj Sriram, scholar

 

College Scholarships:

Dr. Sandral Hullet Endowed Scholarship

Dr. Arnelya Cade
The Dr. Sandral Hullet Endowed Scholarship was established in 1992 from gifts given by the Capstone Health Services Foundation and proceeds from the 1991 Fiesta Bowl to honor Dr. Hullet, one of the first African-American Family Medicine residents to graduate from The University of Alabama Family Medicine Residency.

Frank Fitts Jr. Endowed Scholarship
Daniel Seale
The Frank Fitts Jr. Endowed Scholarship was created by Cynthia Ford Fitts (now Thomas) to address the needs of medical students who bear a high debt load upon graduation from medical school. The scholarship was named in honor of her late husband, Frank Fitts Jr., great grandson of J.H. Fitts, who established The University of Alabama’s first endowed scholarship in 1903.

Franklin G. Edwards V Memorial Scholarship
Dr. Henry Ennis
The Franklin G. Edwards V Memorial Scholarship was created in 2013 by friends and family of Franklin G. Edwards V to support a medical student who might one day find a cure for leukemia.

Larry Mayes Endowed Scholarship

Amber Beg
Larry Mayes was an outstanding member of the class of 1986 who died while on an elective rotation in Africa during his senior year. Larry’s family and friends have created a scholarship fund in his memory to promote a broader understanding of international health care and of the health needs of underserved areas of this country. The award is presented to a rising senior to complete an international elective or an elective in an underserved area of this country.

 

Awards given by students:

Faculty Recognition Award (Junior Year)
Dr. Joseph Wallace
Awarded for outstanding contributions to undergraduate medical education during the students’ junior year.

Community Preceptor Recognition Award
Dr. Julia Boothe
Awarded to a community preceptor for outstanding contributions to undergraduate medial education.

Patrick McCue Award (Senior Year)
Dr. A. Robert Sheppard
Awarded for outstanding contributions to undergraduate medial education during the students’ senior year.

Resident Recognition Award
Drs. Katie Gates and Jason Clemons
Awarded for outstanding contributions to medical education

James H. Akers Memorial Award
Dr. Melanie Wooten
Awarded to a graduating senior for dedication to the art and science of medicine.

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Taking the Challenge: Eating Healthy and Delicious in Rural Alabama

It may be challenging for a family of four living in rural Alabama to eat healthy meals and snacks for an entire week for less than $150, which is the average amount they would receive from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP. But Chef Leah Sarris not only says it’s possible, she’s proved it.

Sarris, program director of the Goldring Center for Culinary Medicine at Tulane University School of Medicine in New Orleans, was a keynote speaker at the 16th Annual Rural Health Conference, hosted by the College of Community Health Sciences’s Institute for Rural Health Research. The conference, “Making the Healthcare System Work for You: Individuals, Clinicians and Communities,” was held April 17, 2015, at the Ferguson Student Center on The University of Alabama campus.

The day before giving her talk, Sarris, who is also the first full-time chef to be employed by a medical school, visited a Piggly Wiggly grocery story in rural Greensboro, Ala., to shop for items on her menu with her team of students—culinary nutrition intern Christine Blank and fourth-year medical student John Martin.

She showed a video of her shopping trip at the conference the next day, where she and her team gave a cooking demonstration of two of her menu items: vegetarian chili and roasted chicken with sweet potatoes and sauteed greens.

Dr. John C. Higginbotham, director of the Institute for Rural Health Research, says Sarris’s background aligned well with the Individual Track that the conference offered, because individuals can eat healthy and delicious foods to help prevent and control common health conditions.

“Rural areas often do not have access to nutritional foods in the types and varieties to which more urban areas have access,” Higginbotham says. “Many individuals point out that the resources available through programs like SNAP are insufficient to produce healthy meals. While all rural areas are different, the challenge for Chef Sarris was to travel to a rural area, with the funds that would be available to a family of four on the SNAP program for a week, and to create delicious, healthy meals from those resources.”

Sarris offered pointers for shopping for and preparing healthy meals while sticking to a tight budget. Planning is key, she says.

“I cannot tell you enough how important the planning piece is,” she says. “You need to have a plan. Write out the menu for the week and plan to cross utilize ingredients.”

For instance, Sarris used sweet potatoes three ways throughout the week: First as a side for roasted chicken, another way in a vegetarian chili and a third way in tacos with black beans and greens. And after roasting her whole chicken for dinner one night, she saved the carcass to make chicken stock for a soup the next day.

Sarris also says that the majority of a shopping trip should take place in the perimeter of the grocery store instead of the center.

“That’s where most of the fresh, healthier, less processed foods are going to be,” she says.

It’s also important to allow for flexibility. For example, Sarris had tacos on her menu, but she waited until her shopping trip to choose the protein so that she could see what was on sale or looked good. She chose pork chops that were available for a good price.

Throughout the shopping trip, Sarris offered tips for making healthy decisions. She advises shoppers to stay away from processed meats, like bologna and hot dogs, which are high in sodium. She also recommends Smucker’s All Natural Peanut Butter as an affordable option that is lower in hydrogenated fat than more processed peanut butters. And she said popcorn is a healthy, whole-grain snack alternative to chips or pretzels.

Sarris and her team came in under budget at $127. This means she could have bought a little extra, she says, especially if they were not buying pantry staples like rice or spices.

For many families living in rural Alabama, it is not as easy to come under budget because they may not have the knowledge or skills to do so.

“There does need to be change in the food systems,” Sarris says. “This isn’t something people know automatically. This is something we have to teach them.”

Here is Sarris’s weeklong menu for a family of four:

Breakfast:

  1. Oatmeal with Nuts (two days)
  2. Cereal with fruit
  3. Eggs and toast (two days)
  4. Cottage cheese (originally plain yogurt, which was not available) and fruit
  5. Toast and peanut butter

Dinner

  1. Vegetarian Chili
  2. Tacos with Corn Relish
  3. Red Beans and Rice
  4. Fish, Rice Pilaf and Vegetables
  5. Tuna Casserole
  6. Roasted Chicken and Sweet Potatoes with Sauteed Greens
  7. Chicken and Rice Soup

 Lunch

  1. Salad with Bean and Rice Patties
  2. Tuna Casserole (leftover)
  3. Chili Nachos
  4. Chicken Salad
  5. Sweet Potato and Black Bean Tacos with Greens
  6. Peanut Butter and Jelly
  7. Chicken and Rice Soup (leftover)

Watch Sarris’s shopping trip:

View her presentation at the Rural Health Conference here.

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Medical students recognize clerkship coordinator at convocation

Medical students honored at the College of Community Health Sciences’s annual Senior Convocation decided to recognize a staff member who they felt made an impact on their education.

Ashley Justice, clerkship coordinator and administrative secretary for the Department of Internal Medicine, was recognized by the graduating medical students for her dedication and commitment to medical student education. She was presented with a plaque at convocation, which was held May 15, 2015, at Cypress Inn Pavilion.

“My classmates and I wanted to present an award to a clerkship coordinator because those ladies put in a lot of work behind the scenes,” says Susanna Raley, one of the Tuscaloosa Regional Campus graduates of the University of Alabama School of Medicine. “We voted for Ashley Justice because of her dedication and commitment to medical education.”

 The College provides clinical education for a cohort of third- and fourth-year medical students enrolled at the University of Alabama School of Medicine, which is headquartered in Birmingham.

 Dr. Richard Streiffer, dean of the College, says this was the first time medical students have honored a staff member on their own accord.

“They know a lot happens behind the scenes, so they chose to acknowledge a clerkship coordinator who was particularly helpful,” he says.

Brook Hubner, senior registrar and program director of Medical Education, says that the fact the students independently decided to recognize Justice speaks volumes to her contributions.

“She is a valuable resource for students and her faculty and takes initiative to move beyond core administrative duties in a way that enhances medical education on her clerkship and on our campus,” she says.

Justice says receiving the award surprised her. She says she values her position as clerkship coordinator because it allows her to bond with the medical students on a unique level.

“I enjoy developing a working friendship with them, and I find them very inspiring,” Justice says. “This was the greatest honor I have ever received, and I still get emotional thinking about it. I truly enjoy my job, and I don’t believe I am doing anything out of the ordinary, so receiving an award for doing something I love is such an honor. I will never, ever forget that moment.”