Geno, Robinson selected for emerging leaders fellowships

Dr. Ed Geno, an assistant professor in the Department of Family Medicine at the College of Community Health Sciences, and Dr. Cecil Robinson, an associate professor and director of Learning Resources and Evaluation for the College, were among faculty chosen nationwide for the Society of Teachers in Family Medicine’s Emerging Leaders Class of 2018.

The competitive STFM fellowship provides training, tools and support to new faculty and those transitioning to leadership roles. During the yearlong fellowship, participants take on leadership roles and connect with accomplished leaders who share tips on motivating others and handling difficult people and situations. Participants also lead a team in completion of a leadership project and present the results at the 2018 STFM Annual Spring Conference.

Geno, works with the College’s family medicine residents in minor surgery and hospital medicine. He attended medical school at the University of Oklahoma School of Medicine and completed residencies in general surgery and family medicine at Ochsner Foundation Hospital in New Orleans. He also taught in the Ochsner Family Medicine Residency.

Geno has practiced obstetrics as well as minor procedures and clinic and hospital medicine. He serves as a national advisory faculty member for the Advanced Life Support in Obstetrics.

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

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

Health Notes – The confusing world of over-the-counter medications

To help people become savvy consumers in drug stores and pharmacies and wiser users of over-the-counter medications, Dr. Richard Streiffer, dean of UA’s College of Community Health Sciences and a family medicine physician, went shopping.

He recounted his shopping experience and provided helpful information in a presentation March 9 that was part of the Mini Medical School lecture series hosted by the College in collaboration with UA’s OLLI program. His presentation was titled “Over-the-counter drugs: A prescription for confusion.”

Streiffer said Americans make a lot of trips to the drug store for over-the-counter medications, about 3 billion trips annually, and there are approximately 300,000 over-the-counter medications on the market. “I want to help you be a little smarter as a consumer,” he told the audience.

He said people spend a lot of money on over-the-counter medications they might not need or that might not be effective. In addition, some of the medications can cause adverse health effects, particularly if people are taking multiple medications or have chronic health conditions, he said.

Streiffer offered strategies people can use to better gauge cost and effectiveness. His top tips: buy generic brands and read labels.

“There’s a fear of generics, but it’s really just a labeling and marketing difference,” he said. “For the most part, find the brand name and look next to it for the generic.”

He noted that a quick read of the labels on Excedrin and Excedrin Migraine showed that both contain the exact same ingredients; they are just marketed – and priced – differently.

Streiffer showed examples of men’s and women’s multi-vitamins and the only ingredient differences between the two were that the men’s blend had cayenne pepper and the women’s had dried cranberry. He added that affluent people with good diets don’t really need multi-vitamins, which can cost $25 or more per month.

Streiffer said it’s often difficult to discern differences between supplements and medications. “Talk about overwhelming, and supplements aren’t regulated,” he said.

Supplements are classified as food, so they are not regulated by the US Food and Drug Administration. They are marketed as supporters, not relievers, and might include information on labels such as “in support of sleep.”

“There is usually little scientific evidence to prove the effectiveness of supplements, and they can cause side effects,” Streiffer said. For example, ginseng has been touted for improving energy, depression and nausea, and cranberry for improving urinary track health.

“There’s no evidence for this. When something sounds too good to be true, it probably is. As a society, we are too quick to grab a pill,” Streiffer said.


Some post-menopausal issues can be reduced with healthy lifestyle choices

Osteoporosis and heart disease are some of the complications women can develop after menopause, but these can be reduced with healthy lifestyle choices, according to Dr. Cecily Collins, an assistant professor of obstetrics and gynecology at UA’s College of Community Health Sciences.

Other post-menopausal issues, such as hot flashes and vaginal and urinary symptoms, are not as easily avoided, she said.

Collins, who also practices at University Medical Center, which is operated by CCHS, provided the information in a presentation as part of the Mini Medical School lecture series hosted by the College in Collaboration with UA’s OLLI program. Her presentation was titled “Post-menopausal health issues for senior adults.”

Menopause is defined as the halting of the menstrual cycle and a time in a woman’s life when the function of the ovaries ceases. The process is gradual, and while the average age of menopause is 51 years, it can occur anywhere from age 45 to age 58, Collins said.

Symptoms of menopause can include hot flashes, vaginal and urinary symptoms and abnormal vaginal bleeding. Issues that women may develop after menopause can include osteoporosis and cardiovascular issues.

Collins explained that hot flashes, a quick feeling of heat and sometimes a red, flushed face and sweating, are “related to a withdrawal of estrogen.” There are medications that can relieve symptoms, she said, and she also recommended that women dress in layers and use air conditioning, particularly at night. Collins said alcohol and caffeine have been shown to increase hot flashes, while exercise can sometimes decrease their severity.

Vaginal dryness can be treated with hormone therapy as well as topical hormones applied directly to vaginal tissue, Collins said. Also associated with menopause are urinary symptoms, including infections, leakage and bladder irritation.

Some of the complications after menopause, including osteoporosis and cardiovascular disease, can be lessened by healthy lifestyle choices, Collins said.

When estrogen levels drop, bone density decreases, putting women at risk for fractures. Low bone density can be exacerbated by a sedentary lifestyle, smoking and excessive alcohol use. Exercise, smoking cessation and limiting alcohol intake can help, as can calcium supplements.

Some of these same lifestyle risks can increase the risk for cardiovascular issues for women who have gone through menopause, Collins said. She encouraged annual blood pressure and cholesterol checks, as well as EKGs and chest x-rays based on a health care provider recommendations.

College hosts third annual Brussels Sprout Challenge at Heart Walk

For the third straight year, UA’s College of Community Health Sciences hosted the Brussels Sprout Challenge during the American Heart Association West Alabama Heart Walk on March 25.

The College and its University Medical Center partnered with Manna Grocery and Deli in Tuscaloosa to roast and serve Brussels sprouts at the walk, which began at the Tuscaloosa Amphitheater and continued along the downtown river walk. More than 900 Brussels sprouts were distributed at the challenge.

To complete the Brussels Sprout Challenge, participants had to eat one roasted Brussels sprout at each mile marker of the 3.1 mile walk. Those who completed the challenge by eating all three Brussels sprouts were awarded a T-shirt at the end of the walk.

The College also provided handouts about the health benefits of Brussels sprouts, which include heart health and cancer protection, as well as Brussels sprout recipes.

The goal of the Brussels Sprout Challenge is to offer a challenge that promotes healthy lifestyle choices – a healthy diet and exercise – while complementing the American Heart Association’s mission to build healthier lives free of heart disease and stroke.

The mission of the College is to improve and promote the health of individuals and communities in Alabama and the region.

Longtime College supporter honored for contributions to community

Madeleine Hill, a longtime supporter of the College of Community Health Sciences and an alumna of UA’s School of Social Work, was honored at the 2017 Central Alabama Women of Distinction Awards Luncheon earlier this month.

Hill received the Karen LaMaoreaux Bryan Lifetime Achievement Award during the luncheon, held at the Harbert Center in Birmingham. The Women of Distinction Awards are presented to honor women who have made special contributions to their communities through civic, academic or professional efforts and who are exemplary role models for girls and young women.

Hill and her husband, Dr. William Winternitz, an internist and longtime CCHS faculty member, provided a significant gift to the College for a Geriatrics initiative that provided the initiative for establishing a Geriatric Fellowship at CCHS.

“There is an acute need for any viable medical school to address the surge in (the aging) population that we are experiencing,” Hill said at the time. She and her husband said they hoped their contribution would help the College create awareness about the need for the study of Geriatrics to deal with the distinct issues of older adults, and to promote care of their health. They also expressed hope that their efforts would help the College, which also functions as a regional campus of the University of Alabama School of Medicine, attract future medical students and resident physicians interested in practicing Geriatrics.

Hill has a degree from Huntingdon College and a Master’s in Policy and Planning from The University of Alabama School of Social Work. She has served as a consultant to United Way of West Alabama and Tuscaloosa City Schools.

She helped establish Hospice of West Alabama, one of the first hospices in the state. She also served as the executive director of West Alabama AIDS outreach.

Hill was the founding president of the board of directors for Habitat for Humanity and was a founding member of Tuscaloosa’s One Place board of directors. She was named a Pillar of West Alabama by the Community Foundation of West Alabama, and she received the Howard Gundy Award for Exceptional Service to the School of Social Work by The University of Alabama.

College’s fourth-year medical students match into residencies

Fourth-year medical students from the University of Alabama School of Medicine Tuscaloosa Regional Campus learned earlier this month where they will train for the next three to seven years for their graduate medical education.

Twenty-nine students from the Tuscaloosa Regional Campus, which is operated by UA’s College of Community Health Sciences, were among thousands nationwide who learned of their residency placements through the National Resident Matching Program, which coordinates the residency match process.

Three Tuscaloosa campus students – William Lee, Jessica Powell and Amanda Shaw – matched into the College’s Family Medicine Residency, the second oldest and one of the largest family medicine residencies in the country.

The largest number of students matched into pediatric residencies at six, followed by four in family medicine, four in emergency medicine and three in general surgery. Students also matched in other medical specialties, including two in surgery-preliminary, two in transitional-ophthalmology, and one each in internal medicine, obstetrics-gynecology, neurology, anesthesiology, orthopaedic surgery, radiology-diagnostic, medicine-pediatrics, transitional-dermatology and medicine-preliminary-dermatology.

Altogether, Tuscaloosa campus students placed into residencies across 18 different states.


2017 Match Results

Steven Allon, Internal Medicine, UAB Medical Center (Birmingham, AL)

Jonathan Antonetti, General Surgery, Brookwood Baptist Health (Birmingham, AL)

Roshmi Bhattacharya, Surgery-Preliminary, Einstein Healthcare Network (Philadelphia, PA)

Reaves Crabtree, Orthopaedic Surgery, University Hospitals (Jackson, MS)

Ariana Diamond, Transitional-Ophthalmology, Brookwood Baptist Health-St. Louis University School of Medicine (St. Louis, MO)

Carter Elliott, Anesthesiology, UAB Medical Center (Birmingham, AL)

Danielle Fincher, Family Medicine, University of California Davis Medical Center (Sacramento, CA)

Maria Gulas, Pediatrics, Carolinas Medical Center (Charlotte, NC)

Samantha Haggerty, Pediatrics, Baystate Medical Center (Springfield, MA)

Andrew Headrick, Pediatrics, Baylor College of Medicine (Houston, TX)

Chase Henderson, General Surgery, Brookwood Baptist Health (Birmingham, AL)

Katelynn Hillman, Pediatrics, Virginia Commonwealth (Richmond, VA)

Adam Jacobs, Surgery-Preliminary, Brookwood Baptist Health-UAB Medical Center (Birmingham, AL)

Caroline Kennemer, Medicine-Preliminary, University Hospitals (Jackson, MS)

Joshua Koplon, Emergency Medicine, Orlando Health (Orland, FL)

William Lee, Family Medicine, The University of Alabama Family Medicine Residence (Tuscaloosa, AL)

Kayln Mulhern, General Surgery, University of Tennessee College of Medicine (Memphis, TN)

Courtney Newsome, Emergency Medicine, University of Arkansas (Little Rock AR)

Jessica Powell, Family Medicine, The University of Alabama Family Medicine Residency (Tuscaloosa, AL)

Amanda Shaw, Family Medicine, The University of Alabama Family Medicine Residency (Tuscaloosa, AL)

Nathan Sherrer, Medicine-Pediatrics, Ohio State University Medical Center (Columbus, OH)

Daniel Stanley, Emergency Medicine, University of Virginia (Charlottesville, VA)

Julia Steigler, Transitional-Dermatology, Resurrection Medical Center-University of Rochester/Strong Memorial (Rochester, NY)

Scott Thomas, Neurology, UAB Medical Center (Birmingham, AL)

Caitlin Tidwell, Emergency Medicine, Palmetto Health Richland (Columbia SC)

Chelsea Turgeon, Obstetrics-Gynecology, University of Pittsburgh medical Center (Pittsburgh, PA)

Chaniece Wallace, Pediatrics, Indiana University School of Medicine (Indianapolis, IN)

James Watson, Pediatrics, UAB Medical Center (Birmingham, AL)

Caroline Watson, Transitional-Ophthalmology, Brookwood Baptist Health (Birmingham, AL)-Tulane University School of Medicine (New Orleans, LA)

WVUA: CCHS to hold Brussel Sprout Challenge

Dr. Richard Streiffer, Dean at the College of Community Health Sciences discusses the history of the Brussel Sprout Challenge.

WVUA Report: Dealing with Allergy Season

Segment on 2017 allergy season with commentary from Dr. Richard Streiffer, Dean at the College of Community Health Sciences.

Women’s health focus of Rural Health Conference

Women’s health is the focus of the 18th annual Rural Health Conference hosted by The University of Alabama College of Community Health Sciences and its Institute for Rural Health Research.

“Empowering Women in Health: Bridging the Gap between Clinical and Community,” will be held March 30-31, from 8 am to 4 pm each day, at the Bryant Conference Center on the UA campus.

Keynote speakers include: Dr. Jeanne Marrazzo, professor of Medicine and director of the Division of Infectious Diseases at the University of Alabama at Birmingham; and Dr. Marji Gold, a faculty member in the Department of Family and Social Medicine at Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York City.

Marrazzo is internationally recognized for her research and education efforts in the field of sexually transmitted infections, especially as they affect women’s health. Her conference presentation is titled “Optimizing Infectious Disease Care for Women in Rural Settings: Current Challenges and Opportunities.”

Marrazzo conducts research on the human microbiome, specifically as it relates to female reproductive tract infections and hormonal contraception. Her other research interests include prevention of HIV infection using biomedical interventions, including microbicides. She recently led the VOICE Study, a National Institutes of Health-funded study that evaluated HIV pre-exposure prophylaxis to women at high risk for HIV infection in sub-Saharan Africa.

She obtained her medical degree from Jefferson Medical College in Philadelphia and completed a residency in Internal Medicine at Yale-New Haven Hospital in Connecticut. She earned a master’s degree in Public Health with a concentration in Epidemiology at the University of Washington in Seattle, where she also completed a fellowship in Infectious Disease.

Gold was instrumental in integrating a women’s health curriculum into the family medicine residency at Albert Einstein College of Medicine, and has focused on woman-centered language as an integral component of woman-centered care. Her conference presentation is titled “Reproductive Equality.”

Gold works with medical students, residents and fellows at Albert Einstein College of Medicine, and also maintains a primary care practice at a community health center in the Bronx where she supervises medical students and residents. Gold received her medical degree from New York University College of Medicine and completed a Family Medicine residency at Albert Einstein College of Medicine.

Breakout sessions on issues related to the conference topic will also be offered. Sessions include: Lactation Support and Resources; Long-acting Reversible Contraceptives; Understanding the Link between Food Insecurity and Obesity among African-American Women; Sexual Health among Latinas in Alabama; and Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault on Women.

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

The registration fee for the conference is $150 per person and $35 for students and includes breakfast and lunch on both days. Continuing education will be provided for some health care professionals.

For more information and to register online, visit the conference website or call (205) 348-9640.

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 communities in Alabama.

UA News: UA’s CCHS Hosts Brussels Sprout Challenge at Heart Walk

The University of Alabama’s College of Community Health Sciences will once again be hosting the Brussels Sprout Challenge during the American Heart Association West Alabama Heart Walk on Saturday, March 25.

The College is partnering with Manna Grocery and Deli to roast and serve Brussels sprouts at the walk, which will start at 8 a.m. March 25 at the Tuscaloosa Amphitheater. Last year, more than 900 Brussels sprouts were distributed at the challenge.