WVUA: Health Matters – Sugar-Sweetened Drinks (April 26, 2017)

In the South, we love our sweet tea. But as a whole, Americans are consuming too much sugar, and a good portion of that comes from beverages.

A long-term sugar surplus leads to issues like obesity, diabetes and heart disease.

University Medical Center Registered Dietician Suzanne Henson said down here, sugar is an epidemic.

“It is not unusual to find even infants with sweet tea, sports beverages or regular sodas in their bottles,” she said. “So we have developed a group of young people who are accustomed to intensely sweetened beverages.”

Drinking so many sugar-filled beverages at a young age often means kids crave those kind of drinks over, say, water.

Lessons learned from three decades of medical practice

The practice of medicine has experienced many changes over the years, but one thing that has stayed consistent over time is the importance of physician-patient communication, said Dr. Dan Avery, an obstetrician-gynecologist who has practiced in Alabama for more than 30 years.

He shared key takeaways from his years in practice in a presentation April 17 as part of the Mini Medical School lecture series hosted by the College and UA’s OLLI program.

Avery practiced privately for more than 20 years before joining the College, where he was professor and chair of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology. He is currently director of Medical Student Recruitment and Scholarship at the College and a professor of Community Medicine and Population Health. He is also medical director for the College’s Institute for Rural Health Research.

Avery began his presentation, “Lessons learned from three decades of ob/gyn and medical practice,” by comparing differences in medical education from the time he was a medical student to today. He said differences include the medical school application process, the cost of medical school, and the length of residencies and how those training programs are now structured.

“The reduction of work hours for residents has decreased the number of procedures they are able to do,” Avery said. “The years of residency may be lengthened due to changing hour requirements.”

An increase in the use of technology has also changed medicine, he said.

The importance of communication between physician and patient, however, has remained a constant over the years, Avery said. “The relationship with the patient is everything.”

In some ways, technology has helped communication, Avery said, noting that he will text patients if they have medical concerns that don’t require an in-person visit.

Communication extends across all specialties in medicine and is particularly important in obstetrics, Avery said, not only because obstetrics is a high-risk specialty for malpractice but because many women want to choose when they deliver their babies.

“You’ve got to have a good reason to [electively] deliver a baby preterm,” he said. And, this needs to be discussed with an obstetrician before a decision is made. The closer to term a baby is delivered, the better the change of the baby being born healthy.

Avery said while many women deliver in hospitals, home deliveries are on the rise, so it’s vital to communicate with a physician if a home delivery is planned.

While communication between doctors and patients is important, it often doesn’t get the attention it deserves in medical school, he said.

“If you listen to a patient long enough, they will tell you what is wrong with them,” Avery said, quoting Dr. Tinsley Harrison, a long-time physician and educator at the University of Alabama School of Medicine.

WVUA: Health Matters – Lower Back Pain (April 19, 2017)

Dr. Rick Streiffer with the University of Alabama College of Community Health Sciences said most people experience lower back pain at some point in their lives.

Most times, it’s treatable without a doctor’s intervention — heat, over-the-counter medications and rest go a long way to helping a hurting back.

“It is one of the most common reasons that people come in to see their family physician,” said Dr. Jimmy Robinson, also with UA’s community health sciences college.

A big contributor to lower back pain? Being overweight and physically inactive.

UA News: Presentation Seeks to Raise Awareness About Mental Health Crisis in Jails

The University of Alabama’s Dr. Marisa Giggie hopes to bring attention to the mental health crisis in jails and prisons during a presentation and panel discussion. The session is titled, “Mental Health in Correctional Settings in Tuscaloosa” and will begin at 12:15 p.m. Tuesday, April 25, in Willard Auditorium at DCH Regional Medical Center in Tuscaloosa.

WVUA: Health Matters – Adult Immunizations (April 12, 2017)

Immunizations are often considered something just for children before they head to day care or school for the first time, but immunizations are important for adults, too.

Dr. Jane Weida at University Medical Center in Tuscaloosa says skipping your shots can result in some nasty consequences.

Adults should be getting a tetanus and diphtheria shot every 10 years, Weida says, and it’s a good idea to get a whooping cough booster, too.

UA CCHS holds rural health fair in Pickens County

News clips from WBRC, WVUA, and WVTM covering the 2017 Pickens County Health Fair.

WBRC Clip:


WVUA Clip:


WVTM Clip:

WVUA: Health Matters – Sinusitus (April 5, 2017)

Most people develop some sinus issue or other at least once in their life.

When it strikes, it’s tempting to ask your doctor for some antibiotics, but that’s not always the correct course of action.

Dr. Ricky Friend with the University of Alabama’s College of Community Health Sciences says even the worst sinus infections are rarely bacterial, and even those association with fever, facial pain or thick green drainage usually don’t require antibiotics.

WBRC: 18th annual Rural Health Conference sheds light on health care challenges in rural areas

Women in rural communities can face more challenges than most when it comes to getting quality healthcare.

Visit WBRC to read the full article.

UA partnering with Pickens County to host health fair

The University of Alabama-Pickens County Partnership is partnering with Pickens County Medical Center to host a health fair Thursday, April 6, from 10 am to 2 pm.

The health fair will be held at the Pickens County Medical Center HealthPlex, located at 241 Robert K. Wilson Drive in Carrollton, Ala.

The fair will include free health screenings for blood pressure, weight and cholesterol. Participants can also have their screening results individually reviewed and explained by a health coach, who can also provide advice about how to better manage various health issues. The screenings will be provided by The University of Alabama Capstone College of Nursing faculty and nursing students.

The UA-Pickens County Partnership, which is led by UA’s College of Community Health Sciences, works to place UA students in medicine, nursing, social work, nutrition, psychology and health education – and potentially others – in Pickens County for internships and experiences. Through the partnership, the rural, underserved county is provided with additional health resources, and UA students receive real world training in their respective areas of study.

The health fair will also include speakers, hospital tours, gardening tips, food, giveaways and more. For information, contact Wilamena Daily, project coordinator for the UA-Pickens County Partnership, at wshopkins@ua.edu.