Resident recognized with School of Medicine award

Dr. Russ Guin, a resident with The University of Alabama Family Medicine Residency, received the 2018 Argus Award for Best Resident Educator from the UA School of Medicine.


Argus Awards are presented annually to faculty, programs and departments of the School of Medicine. Medical students nominate and vote for professors, courses and course directors who they believe represent the highest standards in excellent education and clinical training.


The UA Family Medicine Residency, a three-year program that trains physicians in the specialty of family medicine, is operated by UA’s College of Community Health Sciences. The College also functions as the Tuscaloosa Regional Campus of the School of Medicine in providing clinical education to a portion of third- and fourth-year School of Medicine students.


Guin is currently in his third year with the residency.


Last year, the Best Resident Educator Award was presented to Dr. Blake DeWitt, who graduated from the UA Family Medicine Residency last year.


An awards ceremony will be held Sept. 7 at the UAB Alumni House in Birmingham to honor all 2018 Argus Award winners.



All of Us Bus

All of Us Research Program at UA Enrolling Participants

Participating sites in the national All of Us Research Program, including The University of Alabama College of Community Health Sciences, have received another round of funding for work on the landmark effort to advance individualized care, prevention and treatment for people of all backgrounds.


The All of Us program is part of the National Institutes of Health’s efforts to expand research into what is known as precision medicine – an emerging approach to disease treatment and prevention that considers differences in people’s lifestyles, environments and biological makeup. The goal is to be able to tell people the best way to stay healthy and, if someone gets sick, help health-care teams find the most effective treatments.


“I believe the All of Us Research Program will truly change the way medicine is practiced for future generations, and I am proud that The University of Alabama is a partner in this nationwide, landmark research study,” said Dr. John C. Higginbotham, principle investigator and lead researcher for the College’s efforts in All of Us. Higginbotham is also associate dean for Research and Health Policy for the College and interim vice president for Research and Economic Development for UA.


The new $600,000 in funding awarded to the College’s Institute for Rural Health Research runs until 2023. The College participates in the Southern All of Us Network, which is led by The University of Alabama at Birmingham.


The Institute for Rural Health Research’s initial enrollment efforts have focused on patients from University Medical Center, a multi-specialty medical practice operated by the College, but outside participants are also welcome. Those 19 and older, regardless of health status, are eligible to enroll through


Participants will be asked, through online surveys, to share information about their personal health, family, home and work. Upon completion of the surveys, participants will be contacted by researchers from the Institute for Rural Health Research and might be asked to share their electronic medical records and give samples, like blood or urine. Once they complete the process, they receive a $25 gift card.


“The All of Us Research Program was important for me to participate in so that I can assist in improving the future of medical diagnosis and treatment,” said Kendra Powell, a UA employee who was among the first to enroll. “I recently learned a potentially life-threatening medical issue may run in my family, and if I can provide assistance to more effectively catch, diagnosis and treat this or any medical condition, I want to help.”


Data from the program will be broadly accessible for research purposes, but individual participant information will be protected and kept private and confidential.


The goal of the All of Us Program is to enroll 1 million individuals nationwide. Information will be collected over the program’s 10-year course.


The NIH has funded more than 100 organizations throughout the U.S. to be partners in the All of Us Research Program. More than 25,000 participants nationwide have enrolled in the program.

College of Community Health Sciences Kicks Off 2018 UA Flu Shot Campaign

The annual University of Alabama flu shot campaign kicks off September 12, 2018, and continues through late November with free flu shots provided at locations across campus, including the Quad, university buildings and student residence halls.


The goal of the campaign, led by UA’s College of Community Health Sciences and now in its seventh year, is to make getting a flu shot as easy and convenient as possible. The shots are free and no insurance is required, although students and employees will need to provide their campus-wide identification number, or CWID.


Vaccination to prevent influenza is particularly important for people who are at high risk of serious complications from influenza. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, persons at high risk for flu-related complications are children younger than 5, but especially children younger than 2 years old, adults 65 years of age and older, pregnant women and women up to two weeks postpartum, and residents of nursing homes and other long-term care facilities.


Herd Immunity

Wyndy Looney, Director of Nursing for CCHS, informs that, with rare exception, the CDC recommends an annual flu vaccine for everyone 6 months of age or older, including pregnant women and individuals with medical conditions.


“Getting vaccinated yourself also protects those around you, including those who are more vulnerable to serious flu illness; for example, babies and young children, older people, and people with certain chronic health conditions,” says Looney. “This concept is called community immunity, or herd immunity. When enough people are vaccinated against a certain disease, it is more difficult for germs to easily spread from person to person, meaning everyone becomes less likely to get the disease.”


Vaccination Campaign

The shots will be administered by nurses from University Medical Center, which CCHS operates, and the University’s Student Health Center and Capstone College of Nursing.


Spouses of employees can receive the free flu vaccines at the campus flu shot stations or at the UA Faculty-Staff Clinic in University Medical Center, and insurance is not required. Children of employees with UA health insurance can receive flu vaccinations at University Medical Center, and children of employees with non-UA health insurance can receive flu shots at the UA Faculty-Staff Clinic if their insurance has previously approved nurse practitioner coverage.


In addition to the flu shot stations, vaccinations will be provided at University Medical Center and its Faculty-Staff Clinic.


Flu Shot Schedule


First-Year Medical Students from The University of Alabama School of Medicine

A cohort of first-year medical students from the University of Alabama School of Medicine spent July 26 at the College of Community Health Sciences, where they will complete their third and fourth years of medical school. The students met CCHS faculty members and participated in team building at a local bowling alley. CCHS also functions as the School of Medicine’s Tuscaloosa Regional Campus.

Obstetrics-trained family physicians help reduce infant mortality rates in rural areas

Family medicine physicians trained in obstetrics can have a profound impact on infant mortality rates in rural areas, according to research conducted by College of Community Health Sciences physicians and faculty.

Their research shows obstetrics services provided by family medicine physicians in rural Pickens County, Alabama, resulted in an improved infant mortality rate for the county, and that the availability of local prenatal care was also associated with a lower infant mortality rate.

The results were published in The Journal of the American Board of Family Medicine, July-August 2018 issue. Drs. Jessica Powell, Catherine Skinner, Drake Lavender, Daniel Avery and James Leeper authored the article and conducted the research.

The results are especially impactful for Alabama, a largely rural state. Despite a declining national infant mortality rate, the state’s rate has shown less improvement. In 2013, Alabama ranked 49th in the nation for infant mortality. The College, meanwhile, continues to work to reverse those numbers, particularly through its Obstetrics Fellowship, which trains family medicine physicians in obstetrics care.

According to the journal article, Pickens County had no obstetrics services, including prenatal care, from 1986 to 1991, and the infant mortality rate was 17.9. The rate is defined as the number of deaths among infants less than one year of age per 1,000 live births.

From 1993 to 2002, full obstetrics services, including prenatal care and delivery, were available in the county and the infant mortality rate dropped by 60 percent, resulting in a rate lower than both the state and national rates during that period.

Unfortunately, Pickens County lost local labor delivery services in 2002 when the Pickens County Medical Center closed its labor and delivery unit, and from 2005 to 2013 only prenatal care was available – provided by one family medicine physician trained through an obstetrics fellowship. While the infant mortality rate increased during this period, the rate was less than the period when no obstetrics care – prenatal or delivery services – was available locally.






College residents, fellows honored at graduation

Sixteen physicians were honored June 30 at the 43rd annual graduation ceremony of The University of Alabama Family Medicine Residency and Fellowships.


The College of Community Health Sciences provides graduate and post-graduate medical education through both the three-year University of Alabama Family Medicine Residency and year-long fellowships for family medicine physicians seeking additional training in behavioral health, emergency medicine, geriatrics, hospitalist medicine, obstetrics and sports medicine.


“It’s been an honor and a pleasure to interact with these residents for the past 36 months,” said residency Director Dr. Richard Friend, who welcomed graduates and their family and friends to the ceremony held at the Zone-South at Bryant Denny Stadium on the UA campus. “As residency director, the best part of my job is that I get to see them come in, help shape them and then this – graduation.”

The graduating residents and fellows will soon begin their own practices in Alabama and other states or will go on to complete fellowship programs.

To date, the UA Family Medicine Residency has graduated 488 family medicine physicians, and just over half practice in 48 of the state’s 67 counties, the majority in designated Health Professional Shortage Areas.

Dr. Catherin Scarbrough was guest speaker at the graduation ceremony. She served previously as associate director of the UA Family Medicine Residency and was an associate professor of Family, Internal, and Rural Medicine at the College.

“I know how you feel – relief at finishing, excitement at starting something new and anxiety,” she said. “Health care is changing before our eyes and you are on the front line of primary care. You are good enough, you are going to make it and you are going to thrive.”

Graduating residents made brief comments as they received their certificates. “I am very lucky to be part of this class,” said Dr. Swati Patel. Added Dr. Raymond Hunt: “I’m excited to finish residency but not to leave Tuscaloosa. It’s like home.”

“You guys are ready,” Friend said in closing. “I know you will go out into the world and do great things.”

2018 Graduating Residents

  • Dakota Jones
  • Ansley Baccus
  • Andrea Fair
  • Raymond Hunt
  • Stephen Kelton
  • Brianna Kendrick
  • Natalie Kuijpers
  • Jacquelynn Luker
  • Amritpaul Manhas
  • Brittany McArthur
  • Cheree Melton
  • Swati Patel
  • Efe Sahinoglu
  • Lisa Tsugios
  • Amy Wambolt
  • Ashley Wambolt


2018 Graduating Fellows

  • Michelle Pike-Hough – Emergency Medicine Fellow
  • Owen Ulmer – Emergency Medicine Fellow
  • Douglas Cowser – Hospitalist Fellow
  • Ravi Mangal – Hospitalist Fellow
  • Carrie Coxwell – Obstetrics Fellow
  • Blake DeWitt – Obstetrics Fellow
  • Keirsten Smith – Sports Medicine Fellow


Residency Award Winners

  • William R. Willard Award – Dr. Ben Lee
  • Internal Medicine-Intern Award – Dr. Meghan Bonds
  • Internal Medicine-Best Resident – Dr. Amritpaul Manhas
  • Pediatrics Award – Dr. Brianna Kendrick
  • Psychiatry Award – Dr. Jacquelynn Luker
  • Psychiatry/R3 Award – Dr. Ashley Wambolt
  • Obstetrics and Gynecology Award – Dr. Raymond Hunt
  • William F. deShazo III Sports Medicine Award – Dr. Brianna Kendrick
  • Global Health Award – Dr. Natalie Kuijpers
  • Research/Scholarship Award – Drs. Dakota Jones, Jacquelynn Luker, Brittany McArthur, Cheree Melton, Amy Walmbolt and Ashley Wambolt
  • William W. Winternitz Award in Geriatrics – Drs. Jacquelynn Luker and Brittany McArthur
  • Society of Teachers in Family Medicine Teaching Award – Dr. Amritpaul Manhas
  • Clinical Competency Committee Awards – Dr. Rachel Rackard (PGY-1), Dr. Russ Guin (PGY-2) and Dr. Natalie Kuijpers (PGY-3)
  • William Owings Award for Excellence in Family Medicine – Dr. Jacquelynn Luker
  • 360 Award – Dr. Jacquelynn Luker


Chief Residents Recognized

  • Stephen Kelton
  • Brianna Kendrick
  • Natalie Kuijpers


Rural Medical Scholar Graduates Recognized

  • Dakota Jones
  • Jacquelynn Luker

The College’s Rural Medical Scholars Program recruits students from rural Alabama who want to become physicians and practice in rural communities in the state.