Avery receives Martha Myers Role Model Award

College of Community Health Sciences faculty Dr. Daniel Avery is a 2015 recipient of the Martha Meyers Role Model Award, an honor given to alumni of the University of Alabama School of Medicine who have made great contributions to medicine and patient care.

Avery, director of Medical Student Admissions and professor of Community and Rural Medicine at the College, was presented with the award by the Medical Alumni Association of the School of Medicine at a reception on Aug. 16 just before White Coat Ceremony for the University of Alabama School of Medicine, which was held at its main campus in Birmingham.

One of the College’s functions is to serve as the Tuscaloosa Regional Campus for the School of Medicine and provide clinical education for a cohort of third- and fourth-year medical students.

The award is named after Dr. Martha C. Meyers, who graduated from the School of Medicine in 1971 and served as a medical missionary in Yemen until her death at the hands of a Yemeni extremist in 2002. The award is given as a reminder that a physician’s impact extends beyond the professional realm and into the community the physician serves and can inspire future generations of physicians.

Avery says he was honored to be recognized as a role model.

“To me, there is no greater honor than training the next generation of physicians,” he says.

In addition to receiving the Award, Avery’s biography and photo will be added to the Martha Myers Role Model Display, housed in Volker Hall in study areas and student concourses at the School of Medicine. The display is intended to inspire medical students by highlighting accomplishments of physician alumni whose lives epitomize the ideal of service to their communities.

Avery graduated from the School of Medicine in 1982. He is also the Medical Laboratory Director and Medical Review Officer for University Medical Center, which is operated by the College, and he is professor and division chief of Pathology. He served as the Chair of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at the College from 2006 to 2015. He has provided outreach prenatal care to Demopolis, Ala., and Winfield, Ala., both of which are rural, underserved areas and where the provision of OB/GYN and prenatal care is critical.

“Congratulations to Dr. Avery for his recognition as a terrific role model for all of our medical students,” says Dr. Richard Strieffer, dean of the College.

Medical students at the College were also honored at the White Coat Ceremony. Wyman Gilmore, Russell Guin and Elizabeth Junkin, all from the Class of 2016, and Steven Allon and Courtney Newsome of the Class of 2017 were recognized at the ceremony for being inducted into the Gold Humanism Society

The society is a signature program of the Arnold P. Gold Foundation established to recognize medical students, residents and faculty who practice patient-centered medical care by modeling the qualities of integrity, excellence, compassion, altruism, respect and empathy.

 

 

 

New class previews clinical education to Rural Medical Scholars

Rural Medical Scholars can now get a better idea of what to expect during their third year and fourth years of clinical education in medical school, thanks to a new class offered by The University of Alabama College of Community Health Sciences.

The class, Family Medicine Practice and Procedures: Special Topics, is being offered by the departments of Family Medicine and Community and Rural Medicine to second-year medical students who are Rural Medical Scholars.

Students shadowed faculty and gained clinical experience at University Medical Center, which is operated by the College, and at DCH Regional Medical Center. They also participated in skills workshops. The class was offered in August in two week-long periods.

The Rural Medical Scholars Program is for rural Alabama students who want to become physicians and practice in rural communities. The program includes a year of study, after students receive their undergraduate degree, that leads to a master’s degree in rural community health as well as early admission to the University of Alabama School of Medicine.

Rural Medical Scholars spend the first two years of medical school at the School of Medicine’s main campus in Birmingham and then return to the College for their final two years of clinical education. One of the College’s functions is to serve as the Tuscaloosa Regional Campus for the School of Medicine.

The co-instructors for the course are Susan Guin, CRNP, assistant professor in Community and Rural Medicine, and Dr. Drake Lavender, assistant professor in Family Medicine. Rural Medical Scholars tend to have limited interaction with Family Medicine faculty, and this is an effort to change that, Guin says. She says the class is intended to be a preview of what their third year clinical education will be like when they return to Tuscaloosa.

“It’s about relationship building and mentoring for the Rural Medical Scholars,” she says. “It begins that support network that is so beneficial during medical school and residency.”

Three Rural Medical Scholars participated in the course: Nic Cobb, Jake Guin and Whitney Hudman.

The skills workshops included learning airway management from Glenn Davis, director of Emergency Medical Services for the College, and suturing techniques from Dr. William Owings, professor in Family Medicine.

Students also shadowed Owings in clinic at UMC. Jake Guin says observing Owings with a patient was an experience that stood out to him.

“Anyone could tell that the patient truly trusted [Owings], and [Owings] truly cared for the well-being of the patient, physically, mentally and emotionally,” he says.

The students shadowed several other faculty in clinic at UMC, including Dr. Richard Friend, director of The University of Alabama Family Medicine Residency; Dr. Catherine Scarbrough, associate director of the Family Medicine Residency; Dr. Tamer Elsayed, assistant director of the Family Medicine Residency; Dr. Alan Blum, professor in Family Medicine; Dr. Anne Halli-Tierney, assistant professor in Family Medicine; Dr. Jerry McKnight, professor in Family Medicine; and Dr. Catherine Skinner, assistant professor in Family Medicine. The students also shadowed some Family Medicine resident physicians.

Hudman said she found her learning experiences helpful in preparing her for clinical education.

“In addition to learning by seeing patients, it was good just to be able to see what my future will look like as a third-year student, fourth-year student and a family medicine resident,” she says.

Workshop preps preceptors for innovative clinical education program

An innovative medical education program that promotes deeper student connections with patients and stronger student-teacher relationships is in its second year at The University of Alabama College of Community Health Sciences.

As part of the Tuscaloosa Longitudinal Community Curriculum (TLC2), seven third-year medical students will receive their clinical education by following a panel of patients over nine months under the instruction of a preceptor.

The College hosted a workshop for those preceptors, who are from practices across the state, on Saturday, Aug. 22, in order to familiarize them with TLC2.

TLC2 is a longitudinal integrated clerkship (LIC) for third-year medical students offered at the College, which serves as the Tuscaloosa Regional Campus for the University of Alabama School of Medicine, headquartered in Birmingham. A cohort of third- and fourth-year students from the School of Medicine receive their clinical education at the College.

Six physicians attended the workshop, some of whom were from Calera, Columbiana, Pell City and Reform.

They listened to experiences of past preceptors, learned tips for teaching students in a clinical setting and received an overview of the nine-month schedule that a LIC follows. They were also educated on their roles as preceptors, learned how to assess and grade their students and were taught tips on providing feedback to students.

Brook Hubner, program director of Medical Education for the College, says the goal was for preceptors to leave with a strong understanding of the benefits of a LIC and TLC2 so that they can feel comfortable teaching over nine months instead of four weeks, which is the typical amount of time preceptors work with students in a traditional clinical education block model.

“We know these preceptors already are outstanding teachers, but being together for this active learning experience helps them develop contacts for support and collaboration,” she says. “They now have a tool kit of resources to use when working with their students, are well-versed in the support structure that the School of Medicine provides and have collaborated on teaching techniques to help students with clinical and critical thinking skills.”

Dr. Drake Lavender, assistant professor in the Department of Family Medicine and medical director for TLC2, says building a strong network of preceptors is critical for growth of the program.

“It is our desire to spread our network across the state of Alabama as we expand our program to include our entire cohort of students. Other programs around the country and around the world have shown the value of the longitudinal student-preceptor relationship, and we hope to continue to replicate that here at CCHS.”

University Medical Center-Northport celebrates grand opening

Community members and leaders gathered to celebrate the grand opening of University Medical Center’s new Northport location on Wednesday, Aug. 26, 2015.

A ribbon cutting ceremony, sponsored by the Chamber of Commerce of West Alabama, was held at University Medical Center-Northport, and an open house for the public followed. The open house included tours of the clinic.

During the ribbon cutting ceremony, Dr. Richard Streiffer, dean of The University of Alabama College of Community Health Sciences, which operates UMC and UMC-Northport, said that opening the new location was part of the College’s effort to address the state’s shortage of primary care physicians and health care professionals.

“We know primary care and family medicine and the training we undertake are key to a healthcare system that is not only more effective, but more accessible and more prevention-oriented and ultimately results in improved population health, which is the mission of the College—to improve the health of the population,” he said.

He added, “We’ve outgrown our beautiful facility on campus, and we’re delighted to be able to open this facility in Northport and improve [health care] access for this part of the community and for the counties adjacent.”

UA President Stuart Bell spoke, saying that opening UMC-Northport is an offering of one of UA’s greatest resources to the community.

“As I think about what makes a community great and what is important to a community, first and foremost in that is providing excellent health care to our community, and I couldn’t be more proud to be here today and talk about the partnership we have between The University of Alabama and [Northport].”

Northport Mayor Bobby Herndon concluded the remarks with a proclamation: “I proclaim wisdom for the instructors, understanding for the students and the best health care possible for all citizens.”

Though the grand opening celebration was held on Aug. 26, UMC-Northport, which is located at 1325 McFarland Blvd., Suite 102, Northport, AL (in the Fitness One building) has been providing comprehensive, patient-centered care to the area in family medicine and obstetrics since its soft opening on July 1.

The opening of UMC-Northport was a relocation of UMC-Warrior Family Medicine, UMC’s location in Fairfax Park in Tuscaloosa, which closed in late June. Patients and providers from UMC-Warrior Family Medicine moved to UMC-Northport.

Dr. H. Joseph Fritz is clinic director at UMC-Northport, and he practices alongside Drs. Ray Brignac, Jennifer Clem, Catherine Skinner and nurse practitioner Lisa Brashier. 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, also see patients.

Dr. John Burkhardt, a clinical psychologist, will provide psychotherapy and related care at UMC-Northport starting Sept. 1

UMC and UMC-Northport provide 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.

To make an appointment at UMC, phone the desired clinic directly, or call (205) 348-1770. To make an appointment at UMC-Northport, phone (205) 348-6700. Learn more about UMC and UMC-Northport here.

University Medical Center-Northport holds ribbon cutting, WVUA reports

The grand opening celebration was held for University Medical Center’s new Northport location on Wednesday, Aug. 26. A ribbon-cutting ceremony was sponsored by the Chamber of Commerce of West Alabama, and an open house followed immediately. Clinic tours were offered to the public as well as patient information sessions on health-related issues, reported WVUA 23.

Watch the report:

GUEST COLUMNIST: Taxes critical for rural health care

Friends, family and colleagues have asked about my views on proposals to raise taxes in order to keep up the services available to Alabama’s citizens. My first impulse is to believe that there is already plenty of money in Montgomery to cover all the bases.

I grew up around farms, and many of my family still farm, where we learned “to make do.” Also, I appreciate the favorable current use tax rate on several hundred acres of timberland. It is tempting to believe that there is enough money to go around.

University Medical Center opens a new Northport location, Tuscaloosa News reports

The University Medical Center has opened a new Northport location at the Fitness One building at 1325 McFarland Blvd. University Medical Center-Northport opened in July after the UMC-Warrior Family Medicine, which was in Fairfax Park in Tuscaloosa, closed in June. Patients and providers from UMC-Warrior Family Medicine moved to UMC-Northport. Like the main UMC on the University of Alabama campus, UMC-Northport provides a range of care to the community, including preventive care and wellness exams to treatment for acute illness, accidents or chronic conditions.

University Medical Center-Northport to hold grand opening, The Crimson White reports

Rural Medical Scholars Program holds orientation for 20th class, WVUA reports

The 20th class of the Rural Medical Scholars Program attended orientation Tuesday, August 18, at Camp Tuscoba Retreat Center in Northport. The Rural Medical Scholars Program is dedicated to addressing the shortage of primary care physicians in rural parts of the state, reported WVUA.

“We are in a severe crisis with a shortage of primary care physicians in rural Alabama,” Dr. John Wheat, director of the program, said in the report. “Family physicians are most likely to practice in rural Alabama, so that’s what we’re about—producing physicians for rural Alabama.”

Watch the WVUA report here:

The University of Alabama College of Community Health Sciences will celebrate the program’s 20th anniversary during the 2015-2016 academic year.

The students of the 20th class of the Rural Medical Scholars Program are:

Anooshah Ata, Scottsboro, Jackson County
Helen Cunningham, Barnwell, Baldwin County
Tanner Hallman, Arab, Marshall County
Carson Perrella, Salem, Lee County
Gloria (Storm) McWhorter, Prattville, Autauga County
Johnson (John) Pounders, Leighton, Colbert County
Jayla Robinson, Addison, Winston County
Harriet Washington, Carrollton, Pickens County

UMC-Northport to celebrate grand opening Aug. 26

University Medical Center’s new Northport location will hold its grand opening on Wednesday, August 26, 2015. A ribbon-cutting ceremony will take place 5 p.m. at University Medical Center-Northport, located in the Fitness One building at 1325 McFarland Blvd, Suite 102, and it will be followed by an open house for the community.

The ribbon cutting ceremony will be sponsored by the Chamber of Commerce of West Alabama. The open house, which will include patient information sessions on health-related issues, will allow members of the community to familiarize themselves with the services offered at UMC-Northport.

Both University Medical Center and UMC-Northport are operated by The University of Alabama College of Community Health Sciences. Since its soft opening on July 1, UMC-Northport has provided comprehensive patient-centered care in family medicine and obstetrics.

“We are very excited about the positive impact UMC-Northport has had and will have on our patients, learners and the community,” says Dr. Richard Friend, chair of Family Medicine for the College. “It is important to continue to find ways to improve the health of our patients and the community.”

The opening of UMC-Northport was a relocation of UMC-Warrior Family Medicine, UMC’s location in Fairfax Park in Tuscaloosa, which closed in late June. Patients and providers from UMC-Warrior Family Medicine moved to UMC-Northport.

Dr. H. Joseph Fritz is clinic director at UMC-Northport, and he practices alongside Drs. Ray Brignac, Jennifer Clem, Catherine Skinner and nurse practitioner Lisa Brashier. 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, also see patients.

UMC and UMC-Northport provide 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.

To make an appointment at UMC, phone the clinics directly or call (205) 348-1770. To make an appointment at UMC-Northport, phone (205) 348-6700. Learn more about UMC and UMC-Northport here.