Medical Students Connect with Community

Forty first-year medical students picked tomatoes, eggplants and peppers, cleared and raked foliage, cut back overgrown brush and even laid down a wall as part of their orientation to Tuscaloosa and to The University of Alabama College of Community Health Sciences on Thursday, July 28, 2016.

The students are part of a class of 186 at the University of Alabama School of Medicine. After they complete their two years of education at the School of Medicine’s main campus in Birmingham, these students will return to the College for their third and fourth years of clinical education. One of the College’s functions is to serve as the Tuscaloosa Regional Campus for the School of Medicine.

As part of their orientation, the students spent the morning working at the newly-established Jeremiah’s Community Garden in Tuscaloosa. The community service was followed by lunch with CCHS faculty and tours of University Medical Center, which is a multispecialty practice operated by the College and a clinical education site for students.

The garden, started four months ago by Holy Spirit Catholic Church, has donated about 3,000 pounds of fresh vegetables to the West Alabama Food Bank and Tuscaloosa VA Medical Center since harvesting began about two months ago, says Roy Lofton, who, with his wife Bettye, has spearheaded the development of the garden.

Allison Montgomery, a second-year medical student who helped lead first-year students in the community service, says she is glad the day allows students to connect to the community, understand its needs and learn about ways to serve.

“You can just lose your focus and get caught up in the stress of applying, taking tests and getting into medical school,” she says. “Now that we’re in and we’re here, we need to refocus on why we’re studying medicine in the first place.”

Dr. Harriet Myers, assistant dean for medical education, told the students at their lunch with faculty that working in the garden was about building understanding.

“We are hopeful that each of you can maintain the broader perspective that is really demanded today in health care,” she said. “If this morning you were able to help get fresh fruits and vegetables to those who needed it—to those who might not be able to get to a supermarket—you are keeping that broad perspective.”

Lofton says the medical students made a great impact in the garden, but there is plenty more work to be done, and volunteers are always welcome.

“I couldn’t be more proud of the young people who came out here today,” he says. “I look forward to welcoming them back any time.”



CCHS Employees Honored for Years of Service

Twenty-six CCHS employees were recognized for their years of service to The University of Alabama.

UA’s Service Recognition Program recognizes staff employees achieving continuous service milestones of 5, 10, 15, 20, 25, 30, 35 and 40 years of service. Staff being recognized are invited to an annual reception and receive a commemorative key ring.


5 years:
Hollie Camatti – Business Office
Ashley Justice Galbraith – Internal Medicine
Emily Parker – Lab and X-ray
Kathy Pritchett – Business Office
Jennifer Simmons – Lab and X-ray
Allyson Welch – Business Office

10 years:
Allison Arendale – Dean’s Office
Latrice Bradley – Pediatrics
Jane Caraway – Internal Medicine
Nikki Clayton – Psychiatry and Behavioral Medicine
Jennifer Croft – Family Medicine
Angela Hammond – Faculty/Staff Clinic
Paulette Roberts – Medical Records
Judy Whitehead – OB/GYN
Christine Zoebelein – Medical Records

15 years:
Loretta Bryant – Medical Records
Jan Chaisson – Medical Records
Cynia Duggins – Business Office
Ann King – Health IT
Erica Rice – Business Office
Melissa Scruggs – Pediatrics
Lori Upton – Family Medicine
Rhonda Waldrop – Lab and X-ray
Sylvia Winston – Business Office

25 years:
Judy Dunn – Social Work
Linda Jackson – Rural Programs

31 years:
Cynthia Moore – Rural Programs

College merges departments to create Department of Family, Internal and Rural Medicine

The College of Community Health Sciences’ departments of Family Medicine and Internal Medicine have joined, and along with the College’s Rural Health Leaders Pipeline programs, now form the Department of Family, Internal, and Rural Medicine, or FIRM. The University of Alabama Board of Trustees approved the merger at its June 2016 meeting.

Dr. Richard Streiffer, dean of the College, said the departments of Family Medicine and Internal Medicine were already collaborating in many ways, including a joint inpatient teaching service created in 2015 and through the College’s geriatrics program. Rather than continuing as two separate departments, consolidation will benefit patients, medical students and residents, says Streiffer.

“Medical practice and training are becoming much more interdisciplinary, interprofessional and collaborative than ever before,” Streiffer says. “Our structure dates back to the origins of the College, for the most part, and has perpetuated ‘silos’ that no longer make sense.”

Plus, the primary aim of the Rural Health Leaders Pipeline is to prepare students from rural areas of Alabama to provide health care in rural areas—particularly as family medicine physicians.

“Hence, the creation of FIRM into a single administrative unit gives us the unique opportunity to realign these key programs and disciplines, resources and strategies to be more collaborative and, ultimately, more effective,” Streiffer says.

Dr. Richard Friend, director of the College’s Family Medicine Residency and chair of FIRM, says the merger will also allow the College to reexamine its use of clinical space in University Medical Center for efficiency.

Being part of a single unit, FIRM will be able to more easily implement clinical guidelines and processes as part of the College’s ongoing effort to become certified as a Patient-Centered Medical Home, as well as continue to increase collaboration in research and education.

Dr. Scott Arnold will serve as vice chair of FIRM and division director for internal medicine. Dr. Catherine Scarbrough, associate residency director, will provide oversight of curricular aspects of residency and fellowship education within the department. Dr. Jane Weida, associate residency director, will serve as director of all FIRM clinics. Dr. John Wheat continues as director of the Rural Health Leaders Pipeline.

Embedded Librarian to Join College

Katherine Eastman, MLIS, will join the College of Community Health Sciences as an embedded librarian on August 1.

An embedded librarian works in a clinical space, which will allow the College’s Health Sciences Library to integrate itself into direct patient care and collaborate more frequently at the point of care with physicians, students, residents and researchers.

Eastman will attend morning rounds and rotate through clinics at University Medical Center, says Nelle Williams, director of the Health Sciences Library. Eastman will also provide on-call or one-on-one research services, provide services and instruction in clinic while faculty, students and residents see patients, complete literature searches, fulfill health information needs of patients or families that may be discovered during rounds, develop library subject guides and collaborate with the College’s Institute for Rural Health Research.

Eastman received her master’s degree from The University of Alabama. She served as library director at Brown Mackie College in Birmingham, and was a librarian at the Alabama College of Osteopathic Medicine. The embedded librarian position is supported by a $50,000 gift from Dr. and Mrs. John and Cindy Markushewski. Dr. John Markushewski graduated from the College’s Family Medicine Residency in 1983.

The CCHS Embedded Librarian Fund also allowed the College to join the Family Physicians Inquires Network, which supports evidence-based medicine and clinical scholarship for family medicine physicians.

In addition, the College recently invited Dr. Brenda Seago, MLS, director of libraries at Augusta University in Georgia, to visit the College’s Health Sciences Library as a consultant. Much of the consultation was centered around the new embedded librarianship, Williams says.

This is the second CCHS project that the Markushewskis have supported. Their first gift enabled the Health Sciences Library to create a physical and digital special collection.

“The College of Community Health Sciences gave me a well-rounded residency education,” Dr. John Markushewski says. “It provided the foundation and experiences to prepare me for Air Force family medicine and emergency medicine in remote areas. Cindy’s love of the library tipped our interest to fund this project.”

New Family Medicine, Pediatrics Faculty Join College

Dr. Katie Gates has joined the College of Community Health Sciences as assistant professor of Family, Internal, and Rural Medicine. Gates is a graduate of The University of Alabama Family Medicine Residency, operated by the College, where she served as chief resident.

Originally from Oxford, Alabama, Gates earned her bachelor’s degree from The University of Alabama. As a Rural Medical Scholar, she earned her master’s at UA in human and environmental sciences and her medical degree from the University of Alabama School of Medicine, receiving her third and fourth years of clinical education at the College, which also operates as the School of Medicine’s Tuscaloosa Regional Campus. The Rural Medical Scholars Program is for rural Alabama students who want to become physicians and practice in rural communities.

Gates graduated from the College’s Family Medicine Residency in 2016.


Dr. Sara Phillips has joined the College as assistant professor of Pediatrics.

Phillips is originally from Boaz, Alabama, and received her bachelor’s degree in biology from The University of Alabama. As a Rural Medical Scholar, she earned her master’s at UA in human and environmental sciences and her medical degree from the University of Alabama School of Medicine, receiving her third and fourth years of clinical education at the College, which also operates as the School of Medicine’s Tuscaloosa Regional Campus.

Phillips completed her residency in pediatrics at the Arkansas Children’s Hospital at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences


PCH: Hospital Committee talks UA-Pickens County Partnership

Pickens County Herald: Hospital Committee talks UA-Pickens County Partnership

June 15, 2016 – The Friends of the Hospital Committee came bearing good news to share with the Pickens County Commission Thursday, June 9. The news included how funding would be used in the University of Alabama/Pickens County Healthcare Teaching County Partnership as well as introducing the new project coordinator to the Commission.

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