Medical student from Ghana completes rotation at CCHS

Akua Aidoo, a medical student from Ghana, spent three weeks completing a rotation in the College of Community Health Sciences’ Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences.

She participated in patient visits in the Betty-Shirley Clinic, which provides mental health care to patients at University Medical Center, which the College operates.

Aidoo is a medical student at the University of Cape Coast in Cape Coast, Ghana. Last year, Aidoo met Dr. Thaddeus Ulzen, chair of Psychiatry and Behavioral Medicine at the College, when he lectured on her campus. She said she loved his style of teaching and was looking for an opportunity to travel for a rotation. So she approached him about completing a rotation at the College.

She said the rotation provided an opportunity for her to learn specifically about child psychiatry. She says this was her first time being exposed to many child psychiatry issues, like ADHD or autism.

While Aidoo has a strong interest in psychiatry and behavioral medicine, she says she is hoping to pursue obstetrics and gynecology after medical school. She also saw patients in the Family Medicine clinics at UMC.

She says she not only enjoyed learning from and working with faculty, residents and other medical students, but also her patients.

“Aside from the other medical students and faculty being nice to me, the patients were really nice to me,” she says.

Aidoo says she is the first at her medical school to complete a rotation at the College, and she says she will encourage others to do the same. She hopes to return to Alabama again.

Medaase,” she says, or “Thank you” in Twi, a dialect spoken in Ghana.

Through the Tuscaloosa Pre-K Partnership, UA students deliver academic and medical services to preschoolers and their families

The initiative offers broad health services through partnerships with UA’s School of Medicine, Family Medicine Residency, Speech and Hearing Center and Capstone College of Nursing.

Future physicians create an English-Spanish tool kit while learning to better communicate with Latino patients

When University of Alabama medical student Roshmi Bhattacharya saw a problem in her community, she created a course to help solve it.

“Roshmi noticed when she was doing her rotation that some of the nurses were treating Latino patients unfairly or inappropriately,” says Dr. Pamela Payne-Foster, faculty advisor for the class and deputy director of the UA Institute for Rural Health Research. “One part of the course concentrates on cultural competency and Latino health, and the other part is where students learn Spanish so they can interact better with patients.”

Medical students provide personalized treatment while learning how social and cultural factors influence patient outcomes

When one of Elizabeth Junkin’s patients, a man in his 50s, came to a rural family-medicine clinic with abdominal pain, she suspected appendicitis. She recommended a CT scan that confirmed her diagnosis, then drove to the local hospital in Carrollton, Ala., to check on the man. No surgeons were available, so the emergency surgery he needed could not be performed there. With all ambulances at least a 2-hour drive away, Junkin helped arrange a helicopter flight to DCH Regional Medical Center in Tuscaloosa. She met the man there, assisted with his surgery and followed up with him the next day.

Junkin did all this not as a doctor, but as a third-year medical student at the University of Alabama School of Medicine’s Tuscaloosa Regional Campus. She’s part of an innovative program called the Tuscaloosa Longitudinal Community Curriculum, or TLC², created by

Rural Medical Scholars and Rural Community Health Scholars attend orientation

This year’s classes of Rural Medical Scholars and Rural Community Health Scholars were welcomed to the College of Community Health Sciences with a day of orientation on Aug. 16 at Camp Tuscoba in Northport.

The College works to address the shortage of primary care physicians in Alabama through the Rural Medical Scholars Program, which 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 and 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.

Rural Community Health Scholars are graduate students not enrolled in the Rural Medical Scholars Program who are interested in health care careers. The program prepares students to assume leadership roles in community health in rural areas. Graduates of the program have entered the fields of public health, health administration, nursing and physical therapy. They have continued their professional training to become nurse practitioners, physician assistants, public health practitioners, physicians, teachers and researchers.

The orientation included program expectations, introductions and allowed students to get to know each other and CCHS faculty, including Dr. Richard Streiffer, dean of the College, who opened the orientation with a welcome.

Rural Medical Scholars:
Rebecca England—Demopolis (Marengo County)
Veronica Coleman—Butler (Choctaw County)
Andrew Seth Griffin—Centre (Cherokee County)
Colby James—Empire (Walker County)
Jessica Luker—Camden (Wilcox County)
Dustin Cole Marshall—Cottondale (Tuscaloosa County)
Brionna McMeans—Fort Deposit (Lowndes County
Johnny Pate—Moundville (Tuscaloosa County)
Madison Peoples—Hamilton (Marion County)
Madilyn Tomaso—Barnwell (Baldwin County)

Rural Community Health Scholars:
Sierra Cannon—Haddock, Georgia
Chelsey Clark—Birmingham (Jefferson County)
Raven Eldridge—Montgomery (Montgomery County)
Paris Long—Coosada (Elmore County)
Kendra Mims—McCalla (Jefferson County)
Januar Page—Enterprise (Dale County)
Kristin Pressley—Montgomery (Montgomery County)
Jeremy Watson—Northport (Tuscaloosa County)

Including the incoming class, there are 210 Rural Medical Scholars from 56 counties across Alabama. The 20th class entered medical school at the University of Alabama School of Medicine in August.

Medical students named members of Gold Humanism Honor Society

Four medical students at The University of Alabama College of Community Health Sciences became members of the Gold Humanism Honor Society.

Nathaniel Claborn Sherrer (Class 0f 2017) and Salmaan Zaki Kamal, Koushik Kasanagottu and Elissa Handley Tyson (Class of 2018) are now members of the Gold Humanism Honor Society, 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.

The students were nominated by their peers who offered their observations of the students characteristics consistent with humanistic values. A selection committee then evaluated the nominees’ academic eligibility, assessments by their program directors and essays indicating each student’s’ willingness and qualifications to serve, if selected. About 10 to 15 percent of each class is selected to membership. More than 22,0000 Gold Humanism Honor Society members train and practice nationally.

One of the College’s functions is to serve as the Tuscaloosa Regional Campus for the University of Alabama School of Medicine, which is headquartered in Birmingham.


New faculty join CCHS

Dr. Nathan Culmer is assistant professor and director of Academic Technologies and Faculty Development.

Culmer leads the utilization of educational and simulation technology as well as distance technology aspects of telehealth services. He also oversees faculty development and is expanding continuing medical education at the College.

Culmer received his bachelor’s degree from Utah State University, his master’s in human communication studies from California State University, Fullerton, and a doctorate in higher education at the University of Iowa. Before joining the College, he spent four years at Pennsylvania State University with responsibilities in instructional design and organizational development.

Dr. Cecil D. Robinson is associate professor and director of Learning Resources and Evaluation.

Robinson works with undergraduate and graduate medical education and educators and administrators at the University of Alabama School of Medicine to examine, assess and improve educational practices, processes and outcomes at CCHS. He also works to advance interprofessional education among health faculty and professionals at UA.

Robinson earned a bachelor’s degree in computer science from Northwestern University and a doctorate in educational psychology with a certificate in cognitive science from the University of Colorado, Boulder.

Before joining CCHS, Robinson was an associate professor of educational psychology for the Department of Educational Studies in Psychology, Research Methodology, and Counseling at UA’s College of Education. His research focuses on hope and well-being in educational and community settings.

Going Shopping

Guided grocery stores are helping diabetes patients manage their disease.

WBRC: New UA partnership aimed at sustaining and improving health care in rural west AL

A new partnership between The University of Alabama and Pickens County is aimed at sustaining and increasing health care services in a rural area, where it can often be a struggle to keep these services available.

The initial concept for The University of Alabama-Pickens County Partnership began growing several years ago when Pickens County Medical Center in Carrollton was facing serious hardships.

The partnership has become a reality this year, and over the past few months, programs have started operating in the county.

UA News: UA Brings 2016 Rural Health Scholars to Campus

Two select groups of students from across Alabama recently were on The University of Alabama campus for the 2016 Rural Health Scholars and Rural Minority Health Scholars programs in UA’s College of Community Health Sciences.