CCHS Program Prepares Rural Students for Med School

A family doctor in a rural town wears multiple hats, from teacher and counselor to knowledge base and expert adviser. “You’re part of a community.” says Dr. John Brandon, a family practice physician in Gordo since 1981. “People respect your opinion and ask your advice about all kinds of things. And you’re definitely not isolated. We have a saying here: ‘They know where your truck is because they know your truck.’ People can find you pretty easily if they really need you. There’s not necessarily a need for beepers and cellphones in a rural area.”

On Rounds Celebrates Forty Years of the College

Celebrate forty years of the College of Community Health Sciences with this commemorative edition of On Rounds. On Rounds is a semiannual publication of The University of Alabama College of Community Health Sciences/School of Medicine, Tuscaloosa Campus. 

Dean Helps Raise Awareness about Diabetes

Dean Richard Streiffer, MD, was pinned on World Diabetes Day Nov. 13, 2012, to help raise awareness about the disease. He received a round blue pin, the global symbol for diabetes, from Ethan Sales, a University of Alabama pre-medical student majoring in Biology and vice president of the University organization DiET (Diabetes Education Team).

Dean Streiffer is pinned by the Blue Man for World Diabetes Day.

Diabetes affects 25.8 million people nationwide, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Approximately 1.9 million American adults were diagnosed with diabetes in 2010; in Alabama, one in nine people were diagnosed with the disease.

Diabetes is the seventh leading cause of death in the United States. It is a major cause of heart disease and stroke and a leading cause of kidney failure, non-traumatic lower-limb amputation and new cases of blindness, according to the CDC.

The annual World Diabetes Day was established by the International Diabetes Federation to increase awareness about the disease.

The College of Community Health Sciences Welcomes New Faculty

Harriet Myers, PhD, has rejoined the College of Community Health Sciences as an associate professor with joint appointments in the Department of Family Medicine and the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Medicine.  

Myers, a clinical psychologist, will work with residents in the College’s Family Medicine Residency and will have a clinical practice at University Medical Center. The College operates University Medical Center and is also a branch campus of The University of Alabama School of Medicine, which is headquartered in Birmingham.

Myers has a bachelor’s degree and a master’s degree in Nursing and received her doctoral degree in Psychology from The University of Alabama. From 1986 to 2000, she was an assistant professor in the College’s Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Medicine and maintained her own private practice in Tuscaloosa.

Her interpersonal approach to therapy helps chronically ill patients and their doctors manage medical conditions and recognize underlying issues that may affect patient outcomes. Myers uses Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) in individual and group therapy sessions to help patients facing chronic illness become more aware of their present actions, thoughts and feelings and to use that awareness to impact their illness.

“Mindfulness and cognitive strategies assist patients to be aware of their habitual behaviors, thoughts and intentions as well as to deal with anxiety or other negative emotions. These tools allow patients to find ‘wellness’ even when dealing with a chronic illness,” Myers says. “I am excited to use evidenced-based mindfulness strategies to complement other components of patient medical care.”

Prior to returning to The University of Alabama, Myers served as the associate dean of students at the Ross University School of Medicine in the West Indies and was the founding president of the Chamberlain College of Nursing campus in Miramar, Fla. Myers says she is excited to be back at the College working closely with students and faculty.

“I love to be around people who are curious and learning and am looking forward to participating in that process here,” she says. “The University environment has such a wonderful energy and working with the medical students and residents is going to be an exciting part of this new path.”

Myers brings her own energy to the College through her interest in sailing and outdoor adventure. She, her husband and the dog they rescued from a Venezuelan beach have sailed throughout much of the Caribbean and the east coast of the United States.

Cathie Scarbrough, MD, has also joined the College of Community Health Sciences as an assistant professor in the Department of Family Medicine. 

Scarbrough earned her medical degree from the University of Tennessee in Memphis in 2005 and completed her residency at In His Image Family Medicine Residency in Tulsa, Okla., in 2008. She is board-certified in Family Medicine.

Scarborough says she chose the specialty of Family Medicine because she enjoys treating patients of all ages. “I enjoy seeing pediatric and geriatric patients and the ages in between. I like the family connection and the continuity of care found in family practice.”

For the last two years, Scarbrough has had a Family Medicine practice at St. Vincent’s Family Care in Pell City, Ala. Prior to that, she served as a faculty member at St. Vincent’s East residency program in 2008 before going overseas to serve on the faculty of a Family Medicine training program in Central Asia.

“I like working with the next generation of physicians and being involved one-on-one in their learning process,” she says. “It’s enjoyable to watch residents grow professionally and academically during their residency.”

Scarbrough will see patients and instruct residents in the College’s Family Medicine Clinic and will see patients in the Faculty-Staff Clinic two days a week. Both clinics are located in University Medical Center, which is operated by the College.