College awards fall 2015 scholarships

Six medical students who are receiving their clinical education at The University of Alabama College of Community Health Sciences have been awarded scholarships.

Daniel Seale, a fourth-year medical student, was awarded the Frank Fitts, Jr. Endowed Scholarship for the second year in a row. The $5,000 award is given annually to medical students who bear a high debt load upon graduation. It was established in 1993 by Cynthia Ford (Fitts) Thomas to honor her late husband Frank Fitts, Jr., great-grandson of J.H. Fitts who established The University of Alabama’s first endowed scholarship in 1903.

Chaniece Wallace, a third-year medical student, was awarded the Dr. Sandral Hullett Endowed Scholarship, an award established with gifts from the Capstone Health Services Foundation and proceeds from the 1991 Fiesta Bowl to honor Dr. Sandral Hullett, one of the first African-American residents to graduate from The University of Alabama Family Medicine Residency, which is operated by the College. The $1,000 award is annually given to a medical student enrolled at the College, and priority is given to black or African-American students, followed by students from other socially or economically disadvantaged groups.

Pia Cumagun

Pia Cumagun

Melissa Jordan

Melissa Jordan

Elizabeth Junkin

Elizabeth Junkin

Daniel Seale

Daniel Seale

Chaniece White

Chaniece White

Elizabeth Junkin, Pia Cumagun, and Melissa Jordan, all fourth-year medical students, received awards from the International Medical Experience Fund, which supports international travel that facilitates the education of medical students at the College. Priority is given to applications and training opportunities that align with the College’s mission.

Junkin will spend four weeks in La Entrada de Copan, Honduras, where she will study medical missionary work, community health issues and tropical medicine while treating patients at a boarding school and in nearby villages. Cumagun and Jordan will take the Lumbreras Tropical Medicine course, a four-week elective in Lima, Peru, that allows students to study the treatment and prevention of tropical and infectious diseases.

Crystal Skinner, a first-year medical student, was awarded the Alfa Rural Medical Scholars Endowed Loan, a full-tuition loan, which is given to an outstanding Rural Medical Scholar each year to further encourage practice in rural Alabama. The interest-free loan will be fully forgiven if the recipient practices medicine in a rural setting for at least five years after residency.

In its role as a regional campus to the University of Alabama School of Medicine, the College provides clinical training to a cohort of third- and fourth-year medical students. The students spend the first two years of medical education in Birmingham.

 

College to offer Culinary Medicine elective

Physicians often advise patients to avoid foods high in fat, sugar and sodium. But it can be more effective to help patients come up with a meal plan suitable for everyday life. That is why The University of Alabama College of Community Health Sciences is partnering with the College of Human and Environmental Sciences to create a Culinary Medicine elective.

Starting in January 2016, the class will teach, through lectures, hands-on cooking classes and a follow-up discussion, medical students, Family Medicine residents and nutrition students how to better educate patients about their diets.

“Patients don’t like to hear ‘don’t eat,’” says Dr. Jennifer Clem, assistant professor in Family Medicine and one of the faculty spearheading the project. “We need to be telling our patients what they can eat. Students aren’t coming out of their medical education with the right thoughts about this issue, and we need to work on that.”

Clem will be teaching with Dr. Linda Knol, associate professor of human nutrition at the College of Human and Environmental Sciences. About 30 will take the class, which will encourage a team-based approach to working with patients. The idea is for the students to learn the basics of cooking so that they can provide patients with helpful information when addressing chronic disease management and obesity. Classes will be held in the College of Human and Environmental Sciences’s teaching kitchen.

The curriculum for the course will pull from five of 20 modules of the curriculum at Tulane University’s Goldring Center for Culinary Medicine: Intro to Culinary Medicine, which will include the principles of the Mediterranean diet; weight control and portion control; fats and textures; renal disease, hypertension and sodium; and diabetes and carbohydrates. The students will also learn recipes for breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks.

A group leading the College’s efforts to implement the elective presented information about the course to the College’s Board of Visitors at its fall meeting on Nov. 13. The group was comprised of: Clem; Knol; Dr. John C. Higginbotham, associate dean for Research and director of the College’s Institute for Rural and Health Research; and Dr. Keirsten Smith, a second-year Family Medicine resident. Smith pointed out to the Board that by 2030, obesity will surpass tobacco as the leading cause of cancer.

“Obesity is slowly becoming a norm which will continue to burden our healthcare system if the problem isn’t addressed,” she said.

In June 2015, Higginbotham, Clem, Dr. Richard Streiffer, dean of the College, and Dr. Bhavika Patel, chief resident for the College’s Family Medicine Residency, attended a two-day retreat at the Goldring Center for Culinary Medicine to learn about the curriculum.

“Addressing lifestyle issues in order to improve health is fundamental to what we do in primary care in the nation,” said Dr. Streiffer in a NOLA.com article. “We need ultimately to equip our students with a better set of skills, not just with disease but about wellness. This is a piece of a long-term strategy to change our curriculum and our product.”

Retired Student Health Physician and Wife Establish Scholarship

Dr. David H. Maxwell, a retired physician who worked at The University of Alabama’s Student Health Center for nearly 25 years, and his wife, Jeanne Maxwell, have pledged $25,000 to establish the Dr. Benjamin Collins Maxwell Endowed Scholarship at the College of Community Health Sciences.

The scholarship will give priority of consideration to fourth-year medical students at the University of Alabama School of Medicine’s Tuscaloosa Regional Campus, which is located at the College, as well Rural Medical Scholars who plan to practice primary care in a rural part of Alabama. Additional preference will be given to students who meet those criteria who have graduated from high schools in Escambia County, Alabama.

Dr. Benjamin Maxwell was Dr. David Maxwell’s uncle and his family’s primary care physician.

“‘Dr. Ben’ was a beloved family physician who served his hometown, Atmore, Alabama, for 43 years and was the personification of the compassionate, capable family doc,” he says. “As my family’s physician, he was an influence in my own decision to pursue medicine,

Benjamin Maxwell served in the US Navy after graduating high school in 1943. After WWII, he attended the University of Alabama and then attended medical school at the University of Alabama School of Medicine. After a one-year internship in Birmingham, he practiced in Atmore until retiring in 1996.

Jeanne Maxwell also knew Benjamin Maxwell when she was young. Her father was a physician in Mobile and she accompanied him to Atmore for consultations. Both Jeanne and David Maxwell attended The University of Alabama.

David Maxwell completed medical school at the University of South Alabama in Mobile and a family medicine residency at the University of Alabama at Huntsville. He then practiced in Atmore himself for six years before moving with Regina to Tuscaloosa in 1989, where he practiced at the Student Health Center until retiring in 2014. He says their children are fourth-generation University of Alabama students and graduates.

David Maxwell says the scholarship is not only a way to honor his uncle’s legacy in his community and in the state, but that of all primary care physicians.

“Its goal is in keeping with the mission of the Rural Medical Scholars program as well as that of the College. Both are vital in meeting the need for culturally competent physicians, particularly in the underserved communities and counties of Alabama,” he says. “As our medical students make their decisions to fulfill a medical calling, I hope they will be encouraged and enabled in part by such scholarships as well as by those physicians who have served before them. It is my particular wish that this can help fill the needs in our home area—rural Escambia County.”

Innovative Program Pairs Med Students with Local Physicians

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — Several University of Alabama medical students have paired with community physicians as part of an innovative medical education program promoting deeper connections with patients and stronger student-teacher relationships.

Third-year medical students at the School of Medicine’s Tuscaloosa Regional Campus, which is located at UA’s College of Community Health Sciences, are participating in a new medical education program — the Tuscaloosa Longitudinal Community Curriculum, or TLC².

TLC² follows an innovative model of medical education, a longitudinal integrated clerkship, which allows medical students an opportunity to follow patients over the course of their third-year of clinical education.

Four students elected to honor medical society

Four University of Alabama School of Medicine students who are receiving their clinical education at The University of Alabama College of Community Health Sciences were elected into the Alpha Omega Alpha Honor Medical Society.

The students, who are in their third-year of medical school, are Melissa Jordan, Missy Ma, Mathew May and Kay Rainey. 

Matthew May

Matthew May

Missy Ma

Missy Ma

Kay Rainey

Kay Rainey

Melissa Jordan

Melissa Jordan

Alpha Omega Alpha is a professional medical organization that recognizes excellence in scholarship as well as an outstanding commitment and dedication to caring for others. The top 25 percent of a medical school class is eligible for nomination to the honor society, and up to 16 percent may be selected.

“These students have worked hard to earn membership in Alpha Omega Alpha,” says Brook Hubner, program director of Medical Student Education at the College. “They have bright futures ahead as physician leaders dedicated to the art of healing.”

About 3,000 students, alumni and faculty are elected to Alpha Omega Alpha each year. The society has 120 chapters in medical schools throughout the United States and has elected more than 150,000 members since its founding in 1902.

In its role as a regional campus of the University of Alabama School of Medicine, the College provides clinical education to a subset of third- and fourth-year medical students. The students complete the first two years of basic science courses at the School of Medicine’s main campus in Birmingham, and then complete clinical rotations on the Tuscaloosa Regional Campus in the departments of Family Medicine, Pediatrics, Internal Medicine, Obstetrics and Gynecology, Neurology, Psychiatry and Surgery.

Medical students learning under community physicians across Alabama as part of longitudinal curriculum

Medical students participating in the Tuscaloosa Longitudinal Community Curriculum, or TLC², are now seeing patients alongside community physicians throughout the state.

The seven third-year medical students at the University of Alabama School of Medicine’s Tuscaloosa Regional Campus, located at the College of Community Health Sciences, comprise the second class of TLC², an innovative medical education program that promotes deeper connections with patients and stronger student-teacher relationships.

As part of the program, students work with preceptors at the College’s University Medical Center and at practices in rural and urban communities across Alabama, developing a panel of patients that they follow and care for over nine months through various disciplines and in all settings, including primary care and specialty clinics, hospitals, emergency rooms and nursing homes.

This year’s TLC² students and where they are learning:

    • Chase Childers is learning from Dr. Jennifer Burdette at Taylorville Family Medicine in Tuscaloosa, Ala.
    • Danielle Fincher is learning from Dr. Catherine Skinner at University Medical Center-Northport in Northport, Ala.
    • Maria Gulas is learning from Dr. Carline Day at Family Practice at the Falls in Tuscaloosa, Ala.
    • Courtney Newsome is learning from Dr. Scott Boyken at Northside Medical Center in Pell City, Ala.
    • Jessica Powell is learning from Dr. Julia Boothe at Pickens County Primary Care in Reform, Ala.
    • Amanda Shaw is learning from Dr. Scott Davidson at Columbiana Clinic in Columbiana, Ala.
    • Caitlin Tidwell is learning from Dr. J.D. Shugrue at Baptist Health Center – Calera in Calera, Ala.
Chase Childers

Chase Childers

Amanda Shaw

Amanda Shaw

C

Maria Gulas

Jessica Powell

Jessica Powell

Danielle Fincher

Danielle Fincher

Courtney Newsome

Courtney Newsome

Caitlin Tidwell

Caitlin Tidwell

 

Under the traditional model of medical education, all third-year medical students receive clinical education in the areas of pediatrics, internal medicine, surgery, family medicine, psychiatry, neurology and obstetrics/gynecology by working with physicians in clinic settings, and traditional rotation schedules consist of weeks-long rotations through each specialty.

But TLC² students spend most of their third-year working with a community physician and following patients throughout the diagnosis or disease, and covering the specialty areas continuously and often simultaneously.

For example, a student may gain competency in obstetrics during a pregnant patient’s visit, help deliver the patient’s baby, and then follow the newborn through well-baby checks. Or the student may see an adult patient at an initial visit, accompany him or her to specialty consults, assist in surgery on the patient, then see the patient back in the primary care doctor’s office for follow-up visits.

TLC² is the only program following a LIC model that is offered by the University of Alabama School of Medicine, which is headquartered in Birmingham. The program is modeled after other well-established LICs, including those at the University of Minnesota and Harvard Medical School, where research demonstrates that LIC students are more satisfied with their experience, become attractive residency candidates, perform as well or better on standardized tests of knowledge and skills, yet have deeper connections with patients and attain and sustain higher levels of patient-centered attitudes.

All students at the University of Alabama School of Medicine receive their first two years of medical education at the school’s main campus in Birmingham. Students then receive their third and fourth years of clinical education at either the Birmingham campus or at branch campuses. One of the functions of the College of Community Health Sciences is to serve as the Tuscaloosa Regional Campus for the University of Alabama School of Medicine.

Learning by Serving: First-year medical students get to know Tuscaloosa campus

About 40 first-year students at the University of Alabama School of Medicine spent a day getting acquainted with The University of Alabama’s College of Community Health Sciences, which is where they will receive their third and fourth years of clinical education.

One of the College’s functions is serving as the Tuscaloosa Regional Campus for the School of Medicine, so students visited with faculty and current third- and fourth-year medical students, took tours of University Medical Center, which is a multi-specialty practice operated by the College and a clinical education site for the students, and participated in a morning of community service.

They worked with Druid City Garden Project (DCGP), a Tuscaloosa initiative focused on making local foods available to the community, to implement its Gardens 2 Schools program at Central Elementary in Tuscaloosa. With the program, elementary school students learn about nutrition, grow their own fruits and vegetables and get to taste what they’ve grown.

To help get the garden started at Central Elementary, the medical students spread across an auditorium equipped with power tools and built a wash station, benches for an outdoor classroom and a storage shed to house gardening tools.

 Joya Elmore, education coordinator for DCGP, works with each elementary schools to implement the gardens and teach them the curriculum.

“Our main goal is to grow food kids get to taste,” she says. “This is preventive medicine. Giving kids the opportunity to try produce they maybe never would have tried is huge.”

Groups were also sent one by one to University Place Elementary School, the first school that participated in Gardens 2 Schools, where Lindsay Turner, executive director of DCGP, explained how Gardens 2 Schools works: In the first year, DCGP works with the schools to build a garden and provides materials and training for teachers. In the second year, classroom teachers lead the garden lessons while DCGP provides support and lesson plans. And in the third year, the school takes over the program while DCGP provides support and any updated curriculum.

“We provide assistance that’s designed to be sustainable so that schools can operate the gardens for years to come,” Turner says. “Research shows it’s critical to tackle childhood obesity at an early age. As medical students, you’re familiar with issues that come with obesity—diabetes, hypertension, joint issues, heart disease, stroke. There’s a huge host of issues that is so fixable at an early age.”

She also talked about research completed by Dr. Caroline Boxmeyer, associate professor in the College’s Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Medicine, that examined the effects of Gardens 2 Schools on children’s plant knowledge, food choices, physical health and academic learning and engagement, which Boxmeyer expounded later at lunch with the medical students.

Her research found that students were scoring higher on their standardized test scores, were more likely to eat vegetables at every meal, were less likely to consume soda and candy, and had an overall lower body mass index of 6 percent.

After lunch, students received tours of University Medical Center, where they will learn under College faculty and residents from The University of Alabama Family Medicine Residency.

Dr. Heather Taylor, associate professor in Pediatrics and director of Medical Student Education, says it is important for medical students to learn the impact a partnership between medicine and the community can have on people’s health.

“We hope the experience inspires them to seek out these kind of opportunities throughout their medical careers and teaches them how rewarding these partnerships can be for both them and their patients.”

 

Workshop preps preceptors for innovative clinical education program

An innovative medical education program that promotes deeper student connections with patients and stronger student-teacher relationships is in its second year at The University of Alabama College of Community Health Sciences.

As part of the Tuscaloosa Longitudinal Community Curriculum (TLC2), seven third-year medical students will receive their clinical education by following a panel of patients over nine months under the instruction of a preceptor.

The College hosted a workshop for those preceptors, who are from practices across the state, on Saturday, Aug. 22, in order to familiarize them with TLC2.

TLC2 is a longitudinal integrated clerkship (LIC) for third-year medical students offered at the College, which serves as the Tuscaloosa Regional Campus for the University of Alabama School of Medicine, headquartered in Birmingham. A cohort of third- and fourth-year students from the School of Medicine receive their clinical education at the College.

Six physicians attended the workshop, some of whom were from Calera, Columbiana, Pell City and Reform.

They listened to experiences of past preceptors, learned tips for teaching students in a clinical setting and received an overview of the nine-month schedule that a LIC follows. They were also educated on their roles as preceptors, learned how to assess and grade their students and were taught tips on providing feedback to students.

Brook Hubner, program director of Medical Education for the College, says the goal was for preceptors to leave with a strong understanding of the benefits of a LIC and TLC2 so that they can feel comfortable teaching over nine months instead of four weeks, which is the typical amount of time preceptors work with students in a traditional clinical education block model.

“We know these preceptors already are outstanding teachers, but being together for this active learning experience helps them develop contacts for support and collaboration,” she says. “They now have a tool kit of resources to use when working with their students, are well-versed in the support structure that the School of Medicine provides and have collaborated on teaching techniques to help students with clinical and critical thinking skills.”

Dr. Drake Lavender, assistant professor in the Department of Family Medicine and medical director for TLC2, says building a strong network of preceptors is critical for growth of the program.

“It is our desire to spread our network across the state of Alabama as we expand our program to include our entire cohort of students. Other programs around the country and around the world have shown the value of the longitudinal student-preceptor relationship, and we hope to continue to replicate that here at CCHS.”

Faculty honored with Argus Award

Two faculty from The University of Alabama’s College of Community Health Sciences received an Argus Award, an honor given annually by medical students to faculty and mentors for outstanding service to medical education.

Dr. Elizabeth Cockrum, who worked with medical students as a professor and clinician in the Department of Pediatrics and as associate dean for the College before retiring in May 2015, received an Argus Award along with Dr. Brian Gannon, assistant professor in the Department of Pediatrics. The two tied in the Clinical Awards category for Best Clinical Educator at the Tuscaloosa Regional Campus.

Those who received nominations in the category were: Dr. Julia Boothe, adjunct instructor in Family Medicine; Dr. Andrew Harrell, assistant professor in Surgery; Dr. Ben Lucy, assistant professor in Psychiatry and Behavioral Medicine; Dr. Heather Taylor, associate professor in Pediatrics; and Dr. Joseph Wallace, professor and chair of Surgery.

The Department of Pediatrics also received an Argus Award in the category of Best Clinical Department at the Tuscaloosa Campus. Other departments nominated were Family Medicine, Psychiatry and Behavioral Health, and Surgery.

One of the College’s functions is serving as the Tuscaloosa Regional Campus for the University of Alabama School of Medicine, which is headquartered in Birmingham. A cohort of third- and fourth-year medical students receive their clinical education at the College.

The Argus Awards were created in 1996 to recognize faculty members and allow medical students the opportunity to honor their professors and mentors for their service and dedication to medical education. Faculty are nominated for the awards by their course evaluations, and students vote to select winners in each category.

Medical students inducted into Gold Humanism Honor Society

Medical students at The University of Alabama College of Community Health Sciences were inducted this month into the Gold Humanism Honor Society.

Wyman Gilmore, Russell Guin and Elizabeth Junkin are the Class of 2016 inductees at the College, which serves as the Tuscaloosa Regional Campus for the University of Alabama School of Medicine, headquartered in Birmingham. Steven Allon and Courtney Newsome are inductees from the Class of 2017.

The society is 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.