Medical students “match” into residency

Medical students across the country learned on March 15 through the National Residency Match Program where they would spend the next stage of their graduate medical education and training.

Thirty-one medical students who are finishing their clinical training at the College, which is also a regional campus of The University of Alabama School of Medicine, entered into the Main Residency Match and all received residency placements. “It was a tight match but the best year ever for the Tuscaloosa Campus,” says Heather Taylor, MD, assistant director of Medical Student Affairs at the College.

The NRMP Main Residency Match provides an impartial venue for matching medical students’ preferences for residency positions with the preferences of residency directors across the country. Each year, approximately 31,000 applicants compete for approximately 24,000 residency positions. Medical residencies provide in-depth training in a specific medical specialty. Successful completion of residency training is a requirement to practice medicine in many jurisdictions.

The University of Alabama School of Medicine’s three campuses, including Birmingham, Tuscaloosa and Huntsville, had a 97 percent match rate.

Three students from the Tuscaloosa campus were matched with the College’s Tuscaloosa Family Medicine Residency while the remaining students were placed across 12 different states:

Altan Ahmen
Diagnostic Radiology – University of Florida Medical Center/Shands Hospital, Gainesville, Fla.

Brooke Bell
Anesthesiology – UAB Health System, Birmingham, Ala.

Jonathan Black
Surgery – University of North Carolina Hospitals, Chapel Hill, N.C.

Denise Boykin
Internal Medicine – Baptist Health System, Inc., Birmingham, Ala.

Adam Carol
Family Practice – UAB-Huntsville Family Medicine Residency Program, Huntsville, Ala.

Nathan Carter
Internal Medicine – University of South Alabama Hospitals, Mobile, Ala.

Jason Clemons
Family Practice – Tuscaloosa Family Medicine Residency, Tuscaloosa, Ala.

Jason Crowell
Neurology – University of Virginia Medical Center, Charlottesville, Va.

Nicholas Deep
Otolaryngology – Mayo Graduate School of Medicine, Scottsdale, Ariz.

Emad Elsamadicy
OB/GYN – Vanderbilt University Medical Center, Nashville, Tenn.

Katie Gates
Family Practice – Tuscaloosa Family Medicine Residency, Tuscaloosa, Ala.

Jessica Grayson
Otolaryngology – UAB Health System, Birmingham, Ala.

Kevin Greer
Anesthesiology – University of Virginia Medical Center, Charlottesville, Va.

Shaundra Harris
Pediatrics – UAB Health System, Birmingham, Ala.

Ashley Jackson
Internal Medicine – UAB-Hunstville Internal Medicine Residency Program, Huntsville, Ala.

Patrick Jones
Emergency Medicine – Texas A&M-Scott & White, Temple, Tex.

Jonny Kentros
Anesthesiology – UAB Health System, Birmingham, Ala.

Brandy Milstead
Emergency Medicine – Roanoke Memorial Hospitals, Roanoke, Va.

Rajini Murthy
Dermatology, Emory University School of Medicine, Atlanta, Ga.

Osamuede Osemwota
Dermatology, Washington University/Barnes-Jewish Hospital, St. Louis, Mo.

Sara Phillips
Pediatrics, University of Arkansas Medical Center, Little Rock, Ark.

Chris Rigell
Internal Medicine, Washington University/Barnes-Jewish Hospital, St. Louis, Mo.

Adam Scott
Pediatrics, UAB Health System, Birmingham, Ala.

Krishna Shah
OB/GYN, University of Mississippi Medical Center, Jackson, Miss.

David Shelley
Anesthesiology, UAB Health System, Birmingham, Ala.

Luke Smelser
Neurology, UAB Health System, Birmingham, Ala.

Buck Smith
Orthopaedic Surgery, UAB Health System, Birmingham, Ala.

Ross Summerford
Family Practice, Tuscaloosa Family Medicine Residency, Tuscaloosa, Ala.

Scott Wakefield
Pediatrics, FSU Sacred Heart Hospital, Pensacola, Fla.

Fairen Walker
Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Mt. Sinai Hospital, New York, N.Y.

Justin Yancy
Neurology, University of Florida Medical Center/Shands Hospital, Gainesville, Fla. 

Rural pipeline program receives national award

The College’s Rural Health Leaders Pipeline was recognized nationally with an Outstanding Rural Health Program Award from the National Rural Health Association.

The award will be presented May 9 at the NRHA’s 36th Annual Rural Health Conference in Louisville, Kentucky.

The pipeline is a sequence of programs designed to recruit students from rural areas in Alabama and help them prepare to become rural physicians and other needed health professionals. Hundreds of Alabama high school and college students have participated in the programs and are now practicing in rural Alabama communities. Studies show that rural students are more likely to return to rural areas to practice.

“The Rural Health Leaders Pipeline program personnel are delighted to have the NRHA’s validation of their work to engage rural students in the health professions,” says John Wheat, MD, MPH, founder and director of the pipeline. “After 20 years, the efforts are bearing fruit with rural health professionals, including more than 50 rural physicians, contributing to the health care, economic development and leadership in rural Alabama.”

The Rural Health Leaders Pipeline includes: the Rural Health Scholars Program,  a five-week summer program on The University of Alabama campus for 11th grade high school students who take college courses for credit, participate in seminars with practicing health care professionals and visit health care facilities; the Rural Minority Health Scholars Program, a five-week summer program on campus for high school graduates from rural Alabama who take classes and tutorials to enhance their knowledge and test-taking skills so that they can achieve competitive scores on the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT); and the Rural Medical Scholars Program, a five-year track of medical studies leading to a medical degree that focuses on rural primary care and community medicine and gives students experience in rural settings through field trips, service programs and shadowing rural health professionals.

Of the 165 rural Alabama students who have entered the Rural Medical Scholars Program since its founding, more than 60 percent have completed their training and are practicing as primary care physicians in rural communities in Alabama.

The pipeline also has outreach programs for 10th grade students in rural Alabama counties.

The NRHA is a nonprofit organization that works to improve the health and well-being of rural Americans and provide leadership on rural health issues through advocacy, communications, education and research. NRHA membership is made up of 22,000 diverse individual organizations that share an interest in rural health.

College obstetrician relives life experiences through book

Dan Avery, MD, tells unforgettable stories about practicing medicine in Alabama in his book, Tales of a Country Obstetrician.

Avery is associate professor and chair of the College’s Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology and division chief of pathology in the Department of Surgery. The College is also a regional campus of the University of Alabama School of Medicine, headquartered in Birmingham.

In his book, Avery tells a number of short stories about the challenges, adventures and funny moments that have defined his life as an Alabama physician. Beginning with his first interest in becoming a doctor, to his work as a funeral director and eventually to his experiences as a physician, Avery recounts the unusual, unbelievable and hilarious moments in his career with no regrets.

Dan Avery, MD

“Writing this book has allowed me to enjoy my patients for the rest of my life, even after I retire,” Avery says.  Without them, Avery says he would not have these stories and he would not have a career.

Commemorating the release of the book, the College’s Health Sciences Library hosted a book discussion with Avery as part of the library’s Art of Medicine Rounds.

In addition to his appointments with the College, Avery is also the chief of staff and president of the joint medical staffs at DCH Regional Medical Center in Tuscaloosa and has maintained a rural practice in Winfield, Ala. Avery says that his greatest contribution to medicine has been practicing in rural Alabama.

Williamson receives SEC visiting faculty travel grant

Lloyda Williamson, MD, DFAPA, received one of four Southeastern Conference Visiting Faculty Travel Grants allocated to the University of Alabama. The grant program is intended to enhance faculty collaboration among SEC universities.

Williamson is an associate professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Medicine at the College, which is also a regional campus of the University of Alabama School of Medicine, headquartered in Birmingham.

Lloyda Williamson, MD, DFAPA

The grant gives faculty from an SEC university the opportunity to travel to another SEC campus to exchange ideas, develop grant proposals, conduct research or present lectures. Williamson plans to travel to Kentucky TeleCare at the University of Kentucky in Lexington, which has demonstrated success in providing clinical services and conducting research via telemedicine.

Williamson says the limitation of primary care services in rural Alabama has translated into greater health disparities for residents in these areas. She says the development of telemedicine services can help reduce these disparities.  

The College currently provides telemedicine services in the areas of psychiatry and diabetes education and is preparing to expand its telemedicine program.      

Williamson’s application was selected as one of four that would have the greatest impact on teaching and research. She hopes to eventually develop a foundation for the organizational structure and funding of the College’s telemedicine program.

Welch receives Certified Healthcare Auditor designation

Allyson Welch

Allyson Welch, director of Billing and Compliance for the College, has earned the designation of Certified Healthcare Auditor.

The certification is designed to train health care professionals responsible for conducting risk or compliance audits. The focus is to understand government expectations when performing internal audits, develop leadership skills required to responsibly manage an audit team, learn how to analyze audit data and prepare audit reports and understand international and Office of Inspector General (OIG) auditing standards.

“Professional development and education are important to me in my career,” Welch says. “I chose to pursue the certification in an effort to improve upon my auditing skills, knowledge of governmental requirements for healthcare entities and to be proactive in preventing and preparing for RAC (Recovery Audit Contractor) audits.”

Welch participated in a course sponsored by the American Institute of Healthcare Compliance Inc., which concluded with the certification exam. Welch was among the 62 percent of the class that passed the exam and earned the certification. 

College’s Family Medicine Residency fills 2016 class

The College’s Tuscaloosa Family Medicine Residency welcomes 14 new residents this year into its Class of 2016. A total of 65 candidates were interviewed for the available 14 residency positions, and the three-year residency was able to fill all the positions through the match process.

Through the National Residency Match Program, residency programs across the country spent the past few months interviewing approximately 31,000 medical students for 24,000 residency positions. On March 15, the NRMP matched medical students’ preferences for residency positions with the preferences of residency directors and announced the results.

Historically, the College’s residency has accepted 12 residents into each incoming class, for a total of 36 residents in the program. Due to the residency’s growth plans, the program increased enrollment to 15 residents last year and 14 residents this year, which combined with the 12 residents who entered the program in 2011 and who will graduate next year brings the program’s total enrollment to 42.

The residency Class of 2016:

  • Tope Afon – Morehouse School of Medicine, Atlanta, Ga.
  • Chandra Americhetty – Medical University of the Americas, Nevis, West Indies
  • Sirisha Chada – American University of Antigua, St. George, Antigua 
  • Mary Margaret Clapp – University of South Alabama, Mobile, Ala.
  • Jason Clemons – University of Alabama School of Medicine, Birmingham, Ala.
  • Eric Curley – University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas Southwestern, Dallas, Tex.
  • Timothy Eckford – Saba University, Saba, Dutch Caribbean
  • Michael Gabriel – The Commonwealth Medical College, Scranton, Penn.
  • Katie Gates – University of Alabama School of Medicine, Birmingham, Ala.
  • Ambreen Mardhani – American University of Antigua, St. George, Antigua
  • Bhavika Patel – American University of Antigua, St. George, Antigua 
  • George Petty – University of South Alabama, Mobile, Ala.
  • Jerry Shen – Temple University, Ambler, Penn.
  • Ross Summerford – University of Alabama School of Medicine, Birmingham, Ala.
  • James Hwang (second-year resident) – St. Matthew’s University, West Bay, Cayman Islands 

Health care is more than medicine

The University of Alabama sponsored a free screening of the documentary “Escape Fire: The Fight to Rescue American Healthcare,” which first appeared at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival. The American health care system can change for the better, but it’s up to leaders to spark a conversation about real change and it’s up to people to take initiative for their own health, according to a panel of speakers Sunday at the Bama Theatre.