New Chief Residents Announced


From top left, clockwise: Drs. Shawanda Agnew, Carrie Coxwell, Eric Frempong and Blake DeWitt

The University of Alabama Family Medicine Residency announced its chief residents for the 2016-2017 academic year.

Drs. Shawanda Agnew, Carrie Coxwell and Blake DeWitt are chief residents. Dr. Eric Frempong has been elected as IT chief resident.

The Family Medicine Residency, which is operated by the College of Community Health Sciences, is a three-year post-graduate medical education program that leads to board certification in Family Medicine.

Agnew attended medical school at the University of Mississippi, and is a Mississippi Rural Medical Scholar. She plans to return to Mississippi after graduation to practice in an underserved community. She is interested in women’s health.

Coxwell received her medical degree from the University of Alabama School of Medicine, located in Birmingham. She has a special interest in obstetrics and is interested in the College’s Obstetrics Fellowship.

DeWitt attended medical school at Texas Tech University in Lubbock, Texas. His special interests include sports medicine and primary care endoscopy. He plans to return to his home state of Texas to practice after graduation.

Frempong received his medical degree from American University of the Caribbean. He has a special interest in obstetrics and, after residency, plans to practice inpatient and outpatient family medicine.

Robert McKinney now College faculty

Robert McKinney, LCSW PIP ACSW, is assistant professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Medicine for the College of Community Health Sciences and is the director of the Department of Social Services for University Medical Center, which the College operates.

McKinney has been with the College since 2011 as a social worker and doctoral student. He earned his bachelor’s degree from Mississippi State University and completed his Master of Social Work degree at The University of Alabama.

He directed clinical practice with children, adolescents and their families at Indian Rivers Community Mental Health Center. He has served as assistant director of Tuscaloosa Family Resource Center (Tuscaloosa’s One Place). He was interim director and clinical social worker at the Working on Womanhood program.

McKinney is one of fewer than 50 people in Alabama to be licensed and certified for private, independent practice by the Alabama State Board of Social Work Examiners in all five recognized areas of practice: clinical social work, community organization, social casework, social work administration and social work research.

His clinical and research interests are primarily in the areas of childhood interpersonal victimization and interprofessional education. He is a member of the National Association of Social Workers, the Society for Teachers of Family Medicine, the Society for Adolescent Health and Medicine, and the International Society of Traumatic Stress Studies, for which he recently completed a two-year term on the board of directors. McKinney is continuing his social work doctoral studies at The University of Alabama.

UMC offering transitional care to discharged hospital patients

When some patients are discharged from the hospital after being treated for an acute condition, they need help transitioning back into their everyday life—and making sure they are not readmitted.

University Medical Center, which is operated by The University of Alabama’s College of Community Health Sciences, is now helping these types of patients on a weekly basis with its new Transitional Care Clinic located in the Department of Family Medicine. The clinic is held every Thursday morning and is currently seeing about five to eight patients every week.

The clinic was developed through an interprofessional collaboration among the Family Medicine, Pharmacy and Social Work departments along with a partnership with DCH Regional Medical Center. The efforts have been spearheaded by Dr. Tamer Elsayed, assistant professor in the Department of Family Medicine.

Elsayed, who is a recent graduate of the College’s Family Medicine Residency, says the aim of the clinic is to provide services to patients who face medical or social issues that require special attention in the transition. He says the clinic addresses barriers patients face when obtaining health care, such as transportation or the cost of medication.

“Our target is to provide the patients with the means to maintain health and avoid complications of chronic health problems,” he says.

From left, Amy Yarbrough, LPN, Dr. Tamer Elsayed, assistant professor in Family Medicine, and Kim McMillian, LPN

From left, Amy Yarbrough, LPN, Dr. Tamer Elsayed, assistant professor in Family Medicine, and Kim McMillian, LPN

Kim McMillian, LPN, a nurse in family medicine and a primary care patient advocate for University Medical Center, works with DCH to identify UMC patients who have been treated at DCH for chronic conditions, such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, congestive heart failure, diabetes. The patients are contacted within two days, McMillian says.

“We’ll contact them to make an appointment, and make sure they have what they need at home,” she says. “We try to reconcile their medications and make sure they can get to their appointment.” The biggest issues facing patients are coping with their diagnosis as well as transportation, McMillian says.

An appointment must take place within seven to 14 days, and the patient will meet with Elsayed as well as a pharmacist or social worker. Also working the clinic are: Dana Carroll, PharmD, assistant professor in Family Medicine and the Pharmacy departments; Robert McKinney, LCSW, and Cynthia Tyler, MSW, both social workers for University Medical Center; and Amy Yarbrough, LPN, a nurse in Family Medicine. Suzanne Henson, a nutritionist and dietician for the College, and Calia Torres, a fellow in Behavioral Health, also assist.

The patient then must go 30 days without being readmitted to the hospital for the treatment to qualify as transitional care. The goal is for them to assimilate into their community setting and back to regular care with a primary care physician. The clinic will follow up with the patient and provide health education, a 24-hour answering service, a dedicated nurse, and walk-in care at UMC. McMillian also works to schedule an appointment with the patient’s primary care physician within two weeks.

“The clinic will serve patients as part of their patient-centered medical home,” Elsayed says. “It will provide patients with excellent care and avoid hospital readmissions at the same time.”


College welcomes new faculty, providers

New faculty and providers have joined the College of Community Health Sciences in different departments:

Dr. John Burkhardt is a clinical psychologist and provides psychotherapy and related care at University Medical Center-Northport.

He received his doctoral degree in clinical psychology from the Illinois School of Professional Psychology in Scaumburg, Ill. He completed two fellowships, one at VR Behavioral Health Services in Oakland Park, Ill., and another at St. James Hospital in Olympia Fields, Ill. Burkhardt has worked in private practice and as a clinical health psychologist at hospitals and long-term care facilities in Illinois and Tennessee. At UMC-Northport, Burkhardt will be practicing alongside clinic director Dr. H. Joseph Fritz, Drs. Ray Brignac, Jennifer Clem, Catherine Skinner and nurse practitioner Lisa Brashier.



Dr. Cecily Collins is assistant professor in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology.

Collins attended medical school at the University of Alabama School of Medicine, headquartered in Birmingham, and she received her third and fourth years of clinical education at the College, which also functions as the School of Medicine’s Tuscaloosa Regional Campus. She completed her residency at Florida State University Obstetrics and Gynecology Residency in Pensacola, Fla., where she was administrative chief resident.

Collins has a special interest in group prenatal care as a mechanism to improve perinatal outcomes. She presented on this topic in August at the College’s monthly Grand Rounds lecture at DCH Regional Medical Center.


Dr. Brooke Taylor Haynes
is assistant professor in the Department of Pediatrics.

Haynes attended medical school at the University of Alabama School of Medicine, headquartered in Birmingham, and completed her residency at the Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center Pediatric Residency Program. Before joining the College, she worked in private practice at Pediatric Clinic, LLC, in Opelika, Ala., where she also had a hospital appointment at East Alabama Medical Center.

Art and Healing

Walking along a vast, airy hallway lined with art, Deborah Hughes stopped to admire “Queen of the Night Blossoms,” a painting by Bethany Windham Engle. “There’s an immense amount of detail, but an immense amount of detail doesn’t necessarily make a really big, beautiful painting. You’ve got to be in charge and have an overview of what the whole thing is,” Hughes said.

LOCAL Q&A: Dr. James Robinson, head team physician for UA Athletic Department

In 1985, Dr. James Robinson, a New Orleans physician, came to Tuscaloosa as a professor and practitioner of family medicine. Four years later, he became head team physician for the University of Alabama’s athletic teams, a position he still holds today, in addition to an endowed chair at UA.

Robinson to join College as full-time faculty

Dr. James Robinson, the College of Community Health Sciences’s Endowed Chair of Sports Medicine, is relocating and changing the scope of his private practice. Starting July 1, 2015, Robinson’s practice will be located at University Medical Center, which is operated by the College. He will also become a full-time professor of Sports Medicine for the College.

Robinson’s private practice is located at West Alabama Family Practice and Sports Medicine in Tuscaloosa. Taking over for Robinson at his practice is Dr. Ray Stewart, graduate of the College’s Sports Medicine Fellowship. Stewart is also a Rural Medical Scholar and graduate of the University of Alabama School of Medicine. He completed his residency at the College’s Family Medicine Residency and was the first fellow to enter the College’s Sports Medicine Fellowship.

Robinson says that in addition to providing patient care, he will also devote his time to teaching medical students, Family Medicine residents and Sports Medicine fellows.

“This new opportunity will provide me with more time to dedicate to teaching and research,” he says.

The College, which operates a family medicine residency, also functions as a regional campus for the University of Alabama School of Medicine, providing clinical education to a portion of third- and fourth-year medical students.

Robinson will continue in his positions of director of the College’s Dr. Bill deShazo Sports Medicine Center, which is part of UMC, and will continue to oversee the College’s Sports Medicine Fellowship. And he will remain as head team physician for The University of Alabama Athletics, a position he has held since 1989.

“Dr. Robinson has been very effective as fellowship director while part-time with the College,” says Dr. Richard Streiffer, dean of the College. “We are very excited that he will be with us now full time, allowing him to expand his teaching and share his considerable practice experience with us in additional ways.”