Dr. Carrie Coxwell joins CCHS

Dr. Carrie Coxwell joins the College of Community Health Sciences August 1 as an assistant professor in the Department of Family, Internal, and Rural Medicine. Coxwell will also practice family medicine and obstetrics and gynecology at University Medical Center locations in Tuscaloosa, Northport and Demopolis. UMC, West Alabama’s largest multi-specialty practice, is operated by the College.

Coxwell is a graduate of the University of Alabama School of Medicine and completed her residency training at The University of Alabama Family Medicine Residency, which is operated by the College. She also completed an obstetrics fellowship at the College. The College’s Obstetrics Fellowship for Family Medicine Physicians, one of the first in the country, trains family medicine physicians to provide quality obstetrical care and seeks to address the need for obstetric and gynecological care in rural areas.

Combatting pediatric obesity

A College of Community Health Sciences program to help combat childhood obesity was awarded funding this month from BlueCross BlueShield of Alabama.

The funding will be used to provide ongoing training for the College’s family medicine residents in addressing pediatric overweight and obesity using a patient-sensitive and family-centered approach. Guest speakers who specialize in pediatric overweight and obesity will be brought in to train residents on how to diagnose pediatric weight issues.

The College considers the diagnoses of childhood overweight and obesity critical health issues, and its efforts to address these concerns are conducted through the proposed Think, Eat, Move! Interdisciplinary Clinic housed within University Medical Center (UMC), which is operated by the College.

Our intent is to provide nutrition education in our clinics for children and adolescent patients and their parents and caregivers, so they do not enter adulthood with chronic conditions, such as type 2 diabetes,” says Suzanne Henson, a registered dietitian who directs UMC’s Department of Nutrition Services. Henson is also an assistant professor in the College’s Department of Family, Internal, and Rural Medicine.

During a one-year period in 2017, UMC’s family medicine clinic documented the body mass index for age in 64 percent of encounters for patients ages 2 to 18 years and found that 42 percent of the patients were overweight or obese. Ten percent of the documented BMIs for Age were between the 85th and 94th percentile (overweight), and 32 percent were at or above the 95th percentile (obese).

BMI-for-Age, as plotted on pediatric growth charts, is a screening method to determine if children and adolescent-aged patients have healthy weights, or if they are overweight or obese.

Previous funding for pediatric weight management efforts at UMC sponsored a physician specializing in pediatric weight management for a general session to train the College’s physicians, residents and medical students. Funding also enabled the Department of Nutrition Services to establish a program that brings a produce stand inside UMC, allowing UMC health providers to show patients different ways to incorporate produce into their diets.

2018 Inductees into the Gold Humanism Honor Society

Five University of Alabama School of Medicine students completing their clinical education at the College of Community Health Sciences are among the 2018 inductees into the Gold Humanism Honor Society. The students are: Clair Davis, Christopher Johnson, Allison Lazenby, Barrie Schmitt and David Osula.

The College also serves as the Tuscaloosa Regional Campus of the School of Medicine.

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

The five Tuscaloosa Campus students were nominated by their peers. A selection committee then evaluated the nominees’ academic eligibility and assessments by their program directors. About 10 percent to 15 percent of each medical school class is selected for membership. More than 22,000 Gold Humanism Honor Society members train and practice nationally.

Health meets food: Culinary medicine

Dr. Tiffani Thomas, a resident in The University of Alabama Family Medicine Residency, attended the Health Meets Food conference this month in New Orleans. She was one of 240 doctors, nurses, pharmacists, registered dietitians, chefs and nutrition specialists who attended the four-day event, which has grown into one of the nation’s leading conferences dedicated to teaching medical professionals about the important connection between good health and healthy eating. The conference offered sessions about how to guide patients to make informed food choices that support better health. The conference is hosted by the Goldring Center for Culinary Medicine at the Tulane University School of Medicine. The center is the nation’s first dedicated teaching kitchen to be implemented at a medical school and provides hands-on training for medical students through culinary medicine classes and continuing education for the health care and food service industries.


Tuscaloosa Regional Campus students awarded primary care scholarships

Five University of Alabama School of Medicine students completing their clinical education at the Tuscaloosa Regional Campus are recipients of the new BlueCross BlueShield of Alabama Primary Care Scholarships.

The students are: Tanner Hallman, Savannah Johnson, Joshua Price, Grace Spears and Hannah Zahedi.

Students selected for the scholarship have indicated their intent to pursue primary care residency training after medical school and then to practice in a medically underserved Alabama county. The hope is they will remain in those counties after their commitment.

Most Alabama counties don’t have enough primary care physicians to meet the needs of their residents. Sixty-two of Alabama’s 67 counties are considered as having a primary care shortage based on the federal definition of Health Professional Shortage Areas.

BlueCross provided $3.6 million to the School of Medicine for the Primary Care Scholarships to train a total of 60 primary care physicians over five years. After residency, the physicians agree to practice for three years in a county with a primary care shortage. The scholarship pays the tuition of 12 third- and fourth-year medical students each year.

The support provided by BlueCross in helping students interested in primary care careers, by lowering their medical school debt with these scholarships, is very important to the state and underserved communities, as well as to these future physicians,” says Dr. Richard Streiffer, dean of UA’s College of Community Health Sciences, which also serves as the Tuscaloosa Regional Campus. The College’s mission is to improve the health of individuals and communities in Alabama and the region by increasing the primary care physician workforce.

June 2018 Accolades for Dr. Martha Crowther & Dr. Jane Weida

Crowther selected for SEC academic leadership program

Dr. Martha Crowther, a professor of Community Medicine and Population Health at the College of Community Health Sciences, was selected as a fellow for 2018-19 SEC Academic Leadership Development Program.

The fellowship program is an opportunity for faculty to prepare for advanced academic leadership roles within the SEC and beyond. The program brings together faculty fellows from each SEC campus to provide higher-education specific leadership and management training.

The 2018-19 program will take place at two different SEC campuses – Tennessee and Kentucky – and will consist of workshops focused on developing academic management skills. Through this program, Crowther will also participate in UA’s 2018-19 class of Leadership University.

Weida appointed to women’s health steering committee

Dr. Jane Weida, an associate professor of Family, Internal, and Rural Medicine at the College of Community Health Sciences, was appointed to a state committee focused on women’s health.

Weida was appointed to a two-year term on the Office of Women’s Health Steering Committee. The office is part of the Alabama Department of Public Health and was created in 2002 to educate the public and be an advocate for women’s health, with an emphasis on preventive health and healthy lifestyles. Committee members assist the state health officer in identifying, coordinating and establishing priorities for programs, services and resource the state should provide for women’s health issues and concerns.

Weida is also director of Clinical Affairs for the College’s Department of Family, Internal, and Rural Medicine, and associate director of the College’s family medicine residency.