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)

In Remembrance: Dr. Charles LeMaistre

Dr. Charles LeMaistre, an alumnus of The University of Alabama College of Community Health Sciences who played a key role in getting health warnings on cigarettes and who served as president of MD Anderson Center for nearly two decades, passed away Jan. 28. He was 92 years old.

LeMaistre, a native of Lockhart, Alabama, received his undergraduate degree from UA and completed his first two years of medical education at CCHS, which also serves a regional campus of the University of Alabama School of Medicine. He graduated from Cornell University Medical College in 1947.

He completed a residency and research fellowship in infectious diseases at New York Hospital and Cornell University, where he became a professor and conducted research on germ warfare defense as a member of the US Public Health Service Epidemic Intelligence Service. He began teaching at Emory University School of Medicine in Atlanta in 1954 and later became chair of its Department of Preventive Medicine and Community Health.

LeMaistre moved to teach at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical School in Houston and served as medical director of Woodlawn Hospital’s Chest Division. During this time, he was named to the US Surgeon General’s Advisory Committee on Smoking and Health, which produced the landmark 1964 report that first linked smoking to cancer and other health problems and led to warning labels on cigarette packages.

LeMaistre was named associate dean for Health Affairs at The University of Texas in Austin in 1965 and was soon promoted to vice chancellor and then chancellor. In 1978, he began his 18-year legacy as president of the MD Anderson Center in Houston, and during his tenure the center became one of the top outpatient cancer centers in the world.

“He was recognized as an outstanding physician, a gifted educator, a committed leader, a champion for cancer prevention and an all-around extraordinary human being,” says Dr. Ronald DePinho, current president of the MD Anderson Center. “His confidence and charisma helped build MD Anderson into the world’s most impactful cancer center.”

In addition to his research on cancer and the harmful effects of smoking, LeMaistre led the National Conference on Smoking OR Health in 1981, the International Summit on Smoking Control Leaders in 1985 and served as president of the American Cancer Society in 1987. The following year, the American Cancer Society presented LeMaistre with the organization’s highest honor, the American Cancer Society Medal of Honor.

Alumnus, antivenin developer speaks to med students about snakebites

Southeast Sun: New medical school program brings Birmingham native to Enterprise

Lissa Handley Tyson is a Birmingham native, but she says she has come to love the smaller city of Enterprise.

Tyson came to Enterprise to work with Dr. Beverly Jordan and others with Professional Medical Associates. She is a third-year medical student at the University of Alabama Birmingham’s Tuscaloosa campus and is one of nine medical students taking part in the Tuscaloosa Longitudinal Community Curriculum offered through the University of Alabama School of Medicine. This is the third “pilot” year of the program.

Parkinsonism, ADHD in Grandchildren and Geriatric Depression topics in fall semester of Mini Med School

Mini Medical School is back in session this fall semester. The University of Alabama College of Community Health Sciences kicked off its second semester of the lecture series for UA’s OLLI program that has been put on by faculty and resident physicians at CCHS.

Mini Medical School lets adults and community  learners explore trends in medicine and health, and the lectures by CCHS faculty and residents provide information about issues and advances in medicine and research. OLLI, short for Osher Lifelong Learning Institute, is a member-led program catering to those aged 50 years and older and offers education courses as well as field trips, socials, special events and travel.

Parkinsonism — Dr. Catherine Ikard

Many people think of Parkinson’s disease as a single disorder, but it is actually more complicated than that, said Dr. Catherine Ikard, a neurologist at University Medical Center and assistant professor of Internal Medicine and Psychiatry and Behavioral Health for the College.

Parkinsonism is a syndrome characterized by decreased movement and is associated with tremors and a loss of balance, Ikard said at her lecture, titled “Parkinsonism and Parkinson’s Disease,” which she presented as part of the Mini Medical School series on Sept. 15.

Parkinsonism can appear in an array of disorders, some even as a result of repeated head trauma or medication, but the most common one—the one most people refer to when they think of Parkinson’s Disease—is Idiopathic Parkinson’s Disease.

Idiopathic Parkinson’s Disease is the progressive loss of dopamine-producing cells in the brain. The disease is slow and degenerative. “We don’t know why this happens,” Ikard said.

There are motor symptoms, which include shaking, smaller and slower movements, becoming stiff and losing balance more easily. Motor symptoms usually start on one side of the body. Tremors can worsen when the patient is at rest, and they are suppressible by concentration.

Non-motor symptoms include affective disorders, such as depression, orthostatic hypotension (when blood pressure falls significantly when standing up too quickly), memory impairment, fatigue, constipation and sleep disturbances.

There is no test for Idiopathic Parkinson’s Disease, Ikard said. The diagnosis is clinical. “We often have to watch a tremor over time—months, sometimes years,” Ikard said.

Medication and therapy can help treat symptoms, Ikard said. The most common medication is Levodopa, and physical and speech therapy can help improve lifestyle. “I cannot emphasize enough how important therapy is for patients with Parkinsonism,” said Ikard. Exercise improves symptoms, too, she said.

There are clues that the disorder might not be traditional Idiopathic Parkinson’s Disease, Ikard said.

Some of these include: rapid progression of the disease, absence of tremors, frequent falls early in the disease, abnormal eye movement and poor response to Levodopa. If that is the case, the Parkinsonism could be tied to another disorder.

Grandchildren and ADHD — Dr. Brian Gannon

Children are very active from the ages of 2 to 5, but that busyness should decrease over time, said Dr. Brian Gannon, a pediatrician at University Medical Center and an assistant professor of Pediatrics for the College.

But as children get older and if they are easily distracted, can’t stick with a task for a reasonable amount of time and their activity level is not appropriate for their age, they could suffer from ADHD, or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.

“ADHD is defined as an activity level that is inappropriate for age, that interferes with school work, that causes trouble in dealing with adults,” Gannon said during a lecture on Sept. 22, titled “Grandparents and ADHD.”

Gannon said about 5 percent of the general population in the US qualifies for an ADHD diagnosis. He said sometimes the markers of what appears to be ADHD are actually caused by other medical issues. He said hearing, vision and speech problems can cause some of the same symptoms of ADHD, as can developmental delays, autism and sensory processing disorder.

“We want to look at medical issues because they may cause similar issues to ADHD,” Gannon said.

A child’s living situation – unstable home environment, varying and inconsistent rules and food insecurity – is also a factor. “My job as a physician is to advocate for the child and help parents problem solve. We don’t want to just throw medicine at a child.”

Gannon said medication can help and should be part of efforts to manage ADHD, but is only part of the answer. “Children still need to follow the rules, and do their work. With medication, they can do it without your help.”

Geriatric Depression — Dr. John Burkhardt

Older adults are at risk for depression. One reason: The more medical burdens one has, the higher the risk of depression, said Dr. John Burkhardt, a clinical psychologist with University Medical Center-Northport.

“Chronic pain conditions can be managed, but you never get a break from them. Heart problems can precipitate depressive episodes, and then you have to eat differently, go to physical therapy and deal with a chronic condition. What does that do to your mood?” said Burkhardt, also an assistant professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral medicine for UA’s College of Community Health Sciences, which operates UMC-Northport.

His remarks came in a lecture titled “Geriatric Depression” that he provided on Sept. 29 as part of the Mini Medical School lecture series.

Burkhardt said changes in previous functioning, pain and sleep disruption, significant weight gain or loss, a loss of interest in activities, a sad and depressed mood, a feeling of being a burden – and if those conditions and feelings go on for two weeks or more – could signal possible depression. “A lot of people go through sad times. But when it starts to impact your functioning, that could be depression.”

With older couples, depression can also be “contagious,” Burkhardt said. “If one spouse is depressed, the other spouse is at an increased risk of depression.”

Late-life depression, which happens after the age of 60, can carry added risk because it can transition to dementia, Burkhardt said.

He stressed that depression needs to be treated, particularly in the elderly, who might not seek care because of an associated perceived stigma. He noted that suicide is the 17th leading cause of death in those aged 65 and older.

“When you’re depressed, you’re not good at coping with your physical conditions. Depression impacts the person who is experiencing it, and their families. Who wants to visit people when they aren’t happy? Then they’re alone.”

Burkhardt recommended that people watch for changes in behavior, thoughts, appetite, sleep and whether they lose interest in activities once important to them. “See a provider if you suspect depression. Don’t let stigma keep you from getting help. Don’t isolate yourself. Be social, stay active and have a daily structure.”


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.

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.

WVUA: First Year UA Medical Students Serve Tuscaloosa Community

Before picking up their books and beginning medical school, first-year Alabama medical students committed a day doing good in the community.

As part of orientation week, incoming med students participated in “fun day,” a day of service in the Tuscaloosa community. This year’s fun day involved working in Jeremiah’s Community Garden, a place dedicated to providing food to anyone who needs it.

College merges departments to create Department of Family, Internal and Rural Medicine

The College of Community Health Sciences’ departments of Family Medicine and Internal Medicine have joined, and along with the College’s Rural Health Leaders Pipeline programs, now form the Department of Family, Internal, and Rural Medicine, or FIRM. The University of Alabama Board of Trustees approved the merger at its June 2016 meeting.

Dr. Richard Streiffer, dean of the College, said the departments of Family Medicine and Internal Medicine were already collaborating in many ways, including a joint inpatient teaching service created in 2015 and through the College’s geriatrics program. Rather than continuing as two separate departments, consolidation will benefit patients, medical students and residents, says Streiffer.

“Medical practice and training are becoming much more interdisciplinary, interprofessional and collaborative than ever before,” Streiffer says. “Our structure dates back to the origins of the College, for the most part, and has perpetuated ‘silos’ that no longer make sense.”

Plus, the primary aim of the Rural Health Leaders Pipeline is to prepare students from rural areas of Alabama to provide health care in rural areas—particularly as family medicine physicians.

“Hence, the creation of FIRM into a single administrative unit gives us the unique opportunity to realign these key programs and disciplines, resources and strategies to be more collaborative and, ultimately, more effective,” Streiffer says.

Dr. Richard Friend, director of the College’s Family Medicine Residency and chair of FIRM, says the merger will also allow the College to reexamine its use of clinical space in University Medical Center for efficiency.

Being part of a single unit, FIRM will be able to more easily implement clinical guidelines and processes as part of the College’s ongoing effort to become certified as a Patient-Centered Medical Home, as well as continue to increase collaboration in research and education.

Dr. Scott Arnold will serve as vice chair of FIRM and division director for internal medicine. Dr. Catherine Scarbrough, associate residency director, will provide oversight of curricular aspects of residency and fellowship education within the department. Dr. Jane Weida, associate residency director, will serve as director of all FIRM clinics. Dr. John Wheat continues as director of the Rural Health Leaders Pipeline.