College’s Family Medicine Residency fills 2017 class

Fifteen new residents were welcomed into the College of Community Health Sciences’s Family Medicine Residency class of 2017 on March 21 through the National Residency Match Program. One new resident was welcomed into the class of 2016.

More than 1,900 candidates applied for the available slots in 2013—a 30 percent increase from 2012—and 110 were interviewed. The residency, which is a three-year program and one of the largest of its kind in the country, was able to fill all the positions through the match process.

Two of the residents to join the class of 2017 are fourth-year medical students at the College (which also functions as the Tuscaloosa Regional Campus for the University of Alabama School of Medicine, headquartered in Birmingham): Brittney Anderson and Justin Vines.

“We are very excited to announce our intern class,” says residency director Richard Friend, MD. “This is a talented group of physicians that will work hard and do well.”

The residency has been undergoing an expansion in recent years. To address the growing demand for primary care physicians in Alabama and nationwide, the Family Medicine Residency recently applied for and received eight additional residency slots, bringing its total approved and funded slots from 36 to 44.

One in eight family physicians practicing in Alabama has graduated from the Family Medicine Residency, and the 224 graduates practicing in Alabama are in 48 of the state’s 67 counties. Of the 423 graduates practicing outside of Alabama, the majority practice in the South or southeast.

The Family Medicine Residency Class of 2017:

Shawanda Agnew
University of Mississippi

Brittney Anderson
University of Alabama School of Medicine, Tuscaloosa Regional Campus

Joe Brewer
Lincoln Memorial University

Carrie Coxwell
University of Alabama School of Medicine at Birmingham

Keirsten Davio
American University of the Caribbean

Blake DeWitt
Texas Tech University

Eric Frempong
American University of the Caribbean

Keri Merschman
University of Alabama School of Medicine, Huntsville

Remona Peterson
Texila American University, Guyana

Michelle Pike
American University of the Caribbean

Aisha Pitts
Southern Illinois University

Brooke Robinson
Meharry Medical College

Stephen Smith
American University of the Caribbean

Justin Vines
University of Alabama School of Medicine, Tuscaloosa Regional Campus

Courtney Weaver
University of Mississippi

Maysoon Hamed
University of Cairo (Class of 2016/PGY-2)



Fourth-year medical students “match” into residencies

Twenty nine medical students from the University of Alabama School of Medicine Tuscaloosa Regional Campus, along with others across the country, learned March 21, through the National Residency Match Program where they will train for the next three to seven years for their graduate medical education.

The fourth-year medical students are completing their clinical training at the College of Community Health Sciences, which also functions as a regional campus of the University of Alabama School of Medicine, headquartered in Birmingham. The students entered into the Main Residency Match and received residency placements.

Two students—Brittany Anderson and Justin Vines—matched into the College’s Family Medicine Residency. The remaining students were placed across 12 different states.

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. In 2013, 40,335 applicants competed for positions, and the NRMP reported about 94 percent of senior students matched to first-year positions.

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.

National Residency Match Program
University of Alabama School of Medicine, Tuscaloosa Regional Campus
Class of 2014:

Brittany Anderson
Family Medicine — Tuscaloosa Family Medicine Residency, Tuscaloosa, Ala.

Teresa Backes
Pediatrics — University of Alabama Medical CenterBirmingham, Birmingham, Ala.

Kent Burton
Otolaryngology —Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center, Shreveport, La.

Samuel Douglas
General Surgery — Baptist Health System, Birmingham, Ala.

Michael Dumas
Emergency Medicine — University of Tennessee College of Medicine, Chattanooga, Tenn.

Luke Farmer
Internal Medicine — Carolinas Medical Center, Charlotte, N.C.

Reese Feist
Ophthalmology — University of Utah Affiliated Hospitals, Salt Lake City, Utah

Samuel Ford
Orthopaedic Surgery — Carolinas Medical Center, Charlotte, N.C.

Danielle Franklin
Pediatrics — University of Alabama Medical Center, Birmingham, Ala.

Sarah Gammons
Pediatrics — University of Texas Southwestern Medical School, Dallas, Texas

William Hampton Gray
Thoracic Surgery — University of Southern California, Los Angeles, Calif.

David Hardin
Internal Medicine, Baptist Health System, Birmingham, Ala.

Andrew Klinger
Pediatrics — University of South Alabama Hospitals, Mobile, Ala.

Mary Katherine Leonard
Psychiatry — University of Alabama Medical Center, Birmingham, Ala.

Gregory Little
Internal Medicine — Baptist Health System, Birmingham, Ala.

Michael Wes Love
General Surgery — Greenville Hospital System/University of South Carolina, Greenville, S.C.

Brandon Heath Mitchell
Anesthesiology —  Virginia Commonwealth University Health System, Richmond, VA

Daniel Partain
Internal Medicine — Mayo School of Graduate Medical Education, Rochester, MN

Paige Partain
Pediatrics — Mayo School of Graduate Medical Education, Rochester, MN

Pratik Patel
Radiology‐Diagnostic — University of Florida College of Medicine‐Shands Hospital, Gainesville, FL

Benjamin Todd Raines
Orthopaedic Surgery/5 Yr — University Hospsital, Columbia, MO

Holland Reaves Pierce
Emergency — Medicine New York Methodist Hospital, Brooklyn, NY

Brittany Richardson
Pediatrics— Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, TX

Benjamin Roberts
Anesthesiology— University of Alabama Medical Center, Birmingham, AL

Richard Slama
Emergency Medicine‐Navy — Naval Medical Center, Portsmouth, VA

Alexander Smith
Radiology‐Diagnostic — Medical University of South Carolina, Charleston, SC

Justin Vines
Family Medicine— Tuscaloosa Family Medicine Residency, Tuscaloosa, AL

Jerald Payden Wallace
General Surgery — Baptist Health System, Birmingham, AL

Adam Zelickson
Radiology‐Diagnostic — University of Virginia, Charlottesville, VA

Early childhood health topic of Rural Health Conference

Early childhood health is the topic of the 15th Annual Rural Health Conference hosted by the College and its Institute for Rural Health Research.

The conference, “Healthy Beginnings, Healthy Communities: The Early Childhood Experience,” will be held Tuesday, April 29, 2013, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Bryant Conference Center on The University of Alabama campus.

Bernard Guyer, MD, MPH (left) and Allison de la Torre, MA, keynote speakers for the 15th Annual Rural Health Conference

Bernard Guyer, MD, MPH (left) and Allison de la Torre, MA, keynote speakers for the 15th Annual Rural Health Conference

The conference will feature two keynote speakers: Bernard Guyer, MD, MPH, the Zanvyl Kreiger Professor of Children’s Health, Emeritus, in the Department of Population, Family and Reproductive Health at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health; and Allison de la Torre, MA, the executive director of the Alabama School Readiness Alli­ance. Breakout sessions on issues related to the conference topic will also be offered.

Guyer is a graduate of Antioch College and the University of Rochester Medical School and trained in pediatrics and preventive medicine at the University of North Carolina and Harvard University. Prior to joining Johns Hopkins, Guyer was an associate professor of maternal and child health at Harvard School of Public Health.

He is a member of the Institute of Medicine (IOM) and has chaired its Board on Children, Youth and Families, as well as IOM committees on Immunization Policies and the Poison Control System. He has also chaired the Maryland Commission on Infant Mortality.

Guyer’s areas of research include maternal and child health, low birth weight and infant mortality, child development, pediatric care, immunization, child health policy and urban health. He was the principal investigator of the National Evaluation of the Health Steps for Young Children Program and is the author of more than 300 published papers.

de la Torre works with stakeholders throughout Alabama to promote high-quality, voluntary pre-kindergarten as a top statewide priority. de la Torre has designed and im­plemented state-based pre-k policy initiatives and is connected to a national network of education leaders, children’s advocates, funders and experts.

Prior to joining ASRA, de la Torre served as state policy associate for Pre-K Now, a campaign of the Pew Center on the States, where she managed a $2.5 million annual grant-making portfolio to advance pre-k policy in more than 15 states across the country, including Alabama. As a result of Pre-K Now’s efforts over the past decade, state funding for pre-k more than doubled nationwide to $5.1 billion in FY2012; pre-k access increased from just 700,000 children in 2001 to more than one million today; dozens of states improved the quality of their pre-k programs; and six states and Washington, DC, opened their programs to all four year olds, bringing the total number of pre-k-for-all states to nine plus DC.

de la Torre has also served as legislative assistant to Oregon State Senator Vicki L. Walker, then-chair of the Senate Education and General Government Committee. Prior to her work for Senator Walker, she worked at the Children’s Institute, a leading pre-k advocacy organization in Oregon. de la Torre began her career as a pre-k assistant at La Mesa First United Methodist Church in her home town of San Diego, California.

The annual Rural Health Conference is attended by health-care providers, researchers, community leaders, government officials, policymakers and representatives of faith-based organizations who hear from prominent speakers in the field and share information and knowledge about rural health issues.

The registration fee for this year’s conference is $100 per person and $25 for students and includes breakfast and lunch. Continuing Education Units will be offered. (After April 16, the registration fee is $125 per person and $30 for students.)

For more information and to register online, visit the conference website at or contact the Institute for Rural Health Research at (205) 348-0025.

The Institute for Rural Health Research was established in 2001 and conducts research to improve health in rural Alabama. The goal is to produce research that is useful to communities, health care providers and policymakers as they work to improve the availability, accessibility and quality of health care in rural areas. The Institute also serves as a resource for community organizations, researchers and individuals working to improve the health of rural communities in Alabama.

Taylor champions early hearing screening

Heather Taylor, MD, an assistant professor of pediatrics and assistant director of Medical Student Affairs at the College, is continuing five years of service as the Alabama Early Hearing Detection and Intervention (EHDI) Chapter Champion.110708_CCHS_headshots_day_3

A Chapter Champion is identified by each American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) Chapter and is responsible for leading and responding to health care provider concerns regarding newborn hearing screening in the state. EHDI Chapter Champions are involved in working on EHDI programs and activities with their state department of human services, department of public health staff and other state government agencies, as well as pediatric health care providers in the state.

Chapter Champions seek opportunities for educating members of their respective chapters and others in the state on EHDI activities, and are also involved in collaborating with their peers to influence state policy and programs related to children who are identified with hearing loss.

Taylor serves as the chairperson of the Alabama Newborn Screening Advisory Committee in addition to her service as EHDI Chapter Champion. She received a grant for hearing screening education through the American Academy of Pediatrics and, as a result, initiated an outreach program in the Tuscaloosa community and surrounding counties to provide appropriate newborn hearing screening follow-up.

At University Medical Center, the College’s primary care practice serving the University of Alabama and West Alabama communities, Taylor is able to offer Automated Auditory Brainstem Response testing free of charge for her patients as well as others in the community. She has also contributed to the development of hospital guidelines to implement universal pulse oximetry screening in birthing facilities.

“The newborn screening program is grateful to Dr. Taylor for her service to promote optimal outcomes for Alabama’s babies,” the Alabama Department of Public Health said in its January newsletter. “She is an outstanding champion of the Alabama Newborn Screening Program.”

College generously supports heart health

The final count of the College’s fundraising drive to benefit the American Heart Association (AHA) shows that CCHS contributed a total of $12,244 to the cause during the month of February. The funds from the College represent 30 percent of the total raised by the entire University of Alabama.

The University of Alabama, with its colleges and departments, raised approximately $35,000 for the AHA.

CCHS organized several fundraisers, including raffles for homemade items and store-donated items, food sales, t-shirt sales and spirit nights held at local restaurants.

The AHA fundraising activities concluded with the West Alabama Heart Walk, held at the Tuscaloosa Amphitheater on February 15, 2014. The annual walk is the American Heart Association’s premiere event that brings communities together to raise funds and celebrate progress in the fight against heart diseases and stroke, two of the nation’s top killers.

The walk in Tuscaloosa had approximately 750 participants and raised $130,000 for the association.

According to the AHA, 473 of the 1,602 deaths recorded in Tuscaloosa County in 2009 were due to cardiovascular disease and/or stroke.

CCHS Dean Richard Streiffer, MD, thanked College faculty and staff “for your hard work supporting the American Heart Association and your commitment to improving the health of our local community.”

Robinson inducted into AHSAA Sports Hall of Fame

James Robinson, MD, the College’s endowed chair of Sports Medicine, was one of 12 major contributors to prep athletics in the state who were enshrined into the Alabama High School Sports Hall of Fame at a banquet at the Renaissance Montgomery Convention Center on March 17.Robinson

The 2014 class, the 24th group to be inducted since 1991, included coaches, administrators, a contributor and an “old timer.”  

Robinson was selected in the contributor category.

Others selected include football coaches Mike Battles and Larry Morris; administrators Richard Brown and James Garner; girls’ basketball coaches Donnie Roberts and Mike Smith; boys’ basketball coaches Major Lane, Alvin Moore and Tony Stallworth; and volleyball coach Nancy Shoquist. Selected in the “Old Timer” category was Eugene Weatherly.

A native of New Orleans, Robinson graduated from LSU’s School of Medicine in New Orleans (1985) and completed his residency at the College’s Family Medicine Residency. He serves as the co-chair of the Alabama High School Athletic Association (AHSAA) Medical Advisory Board, which he has been a member of since 2003. Robinson has played a key role in forming the AHSAA’s medical health and safety policies and also helped write the current Concussion Law that now governs all athletic events in Alabama, and the AHSAA Pre-Participation Physical Exam Form used by all student-athletes since 1993 and revised in 2010.

Robinson serves as high school team physician for Tuscaloosa County, Hillcrest, Northside, Sipsey Valley and Tuscaloosa-Central high schools and is a consultant for another dozen schools in the Tuscaloosa area.

Also The University of Alabama football team physician, Robinson has been a leader in developing health and safety practices for high schools in Alabama and is an annual clinician at the AHSAA Summer Conference where he has addressed all member schools about the latest health and safety issues as well as the latest good health and safety practices.

In addition to his role at the College, Robinson has a Family Practice in Tuscaloosa, supervises athletic trainers for DCH Regional Medical Center and has served as Medical Director for DCH Sports Medicine since 1989.

The Hall of Fame is located at the AHSAA office in Montgomery.

College undefeated in intramural ultimate frisbee

Despite a slow start to the College’s intramural competitions last fall in flag football, CCHS medical students, residents, faculty and staff remain undefeated in their ultimate frisbee pursuits.Frisbee

This is the first year the College has sponsored a team to participate in University-sponsored intramural sports.  

What started as a solely medical student and resident team has now grown to include: UA College of Engineering faculty member, Paul Hubner, PhD, and an engineering student; UA swimmer, Andrew Wrist;  and Scott Arnold, MD, an associate professor and chair of Internal Medicine at CCHS.

“The College looks for ways to build interprofessional relationships and intramural sports is just another way to continue that mission,” says Brook Hubner, an administrative specialist for Medical Student Affairs at CCHS and intramural teammate.

Third- and fourth-year medical students and residents are also nearing the end of the intramural basketball season with just one loss.

College Students Take On Challenge of Health Insurance Sign-Up

Students at the University of Alabama Honors College here are encouraged to do volunteer work in the community and on campus.

UA Matters: Having a Healthy Spring Break

It’s almost that time of year – spring break. While it’s definitely an occasion to let loose and have some fun, anyone planning on enjoying the much-awaited break should also use some caution.

The University of Alabama’s Dr. Jennifer Clem offers several tips on how to have a healthy and safe spring break.