College adds Emergency Medicine Fellowship

The College of Community Health Sciences is adding to its offering of graduate medical education an Emergency Medicine Fellowship.

The one-year program, which is provided in conjunction with Rush Foundation Hospital in Meridian, Mississippi, will accept two fellows who will start their rotations in July 2017.

The program will be based primarily at Rush Foundation Hospital, and will include rotations through radiology, anesthesia, orthopedics and trauma, and advanced courses in obstetrics, airway management and advanced life support.

Some of the rotations will take place at DCH Regional Medical Center in Tuscaloosa.

Funding for the program is provided by Rush Foundation Hospital, and Dr. Richard Friend, director of The University of Alabama Family Medicine Residency, which the College operates, says that more funding is being sought to grow the program over time.

Friend, who specializes in emergency medicine, says establishing this fellowship has been a goal since he arrived at the College in 2013.

“Fifty percent of all family physicians do some sort of urgent care or emergency medicine, and I think this will provide another venue for advanced education in areas where family medicine physicians might need some additional training,” he says.

Friend, along with Dr. Tamer Elsayed, assistant director of the College’s Family Medicine Residency and an alumnus of the Residency, and Dr. Walt Willis, the Emergency Room director at Rush Foundation Hospital, will work to develop the curriculum. Elsayed and Willis will direct the fellowship.

The College provides training in sub-specialties of family medicine to suit the needs of communities in Alabama and the region, including obstetrics, sports medicine, hospital medicine, behavioral health, rural public psychiatry and geriatric medicine.

For more information about the fellowships the College offers, visit fmr.ua.edu/fellowships.

Grants, fellows and coordinator selected for Health Care Teaching County Partnership

Grants have been funded, fellows have been named and a coordinator has been selected for The University of Alabama and Pickens County Health Care Teaching County Partnership.

The partnership of UA and Pickens County and its medical center seeks to provide sustainable health care for the rural county and “real world” training for UA students. Students in medicine, nursing, social work, psychology, health education and other UA disciplines will gain practice from internships and other learning opportunities in Pickens County, and the rural county will gain additional health resources.

Approximately $600,000 was obtained from the Alabama Legislature in 2015 for the project, and the funds will be used in three ways.

Grant Projects
The first is to fund projects that address an identifiable health issue/priority within the Pickens County community. The projects must involve UA faculty, students and a Pickens County community organization or similar entity.

1. Disseminating the Power PATH mental health preventive intervention to Pickens County Community Action Head Start Program
Principal Investigator: Dr. Caroline Boxmeyer, associate professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Medicine at CCHS
Co PIs: Dr. Ansley Gilpin, assistant professor of psychology at UA, and Dr. Jason DeCaro, associate professor of anthropology
Collaboration: Pickens County Community Action Head Start Program

2. TelePlay: Connecting physicians, families and autism professionals to increase early autism identification in Pickens County
PI: Dr. Lea Yerby, assistant professor of Community and Rural Medicine at CCHS
Co PIs: Dr. Angela Barber, assistant professor of Communicative Disorders and the clinical research director of Autism Spectrum Disorders Clinic at UA
Collaboration: Dr. Julia Boothe, family medicine physician in Pickens County

3. Improving Pickens County Residents’ Knowledge of Risk Factors for Cardiovascular Disease and Type 2 Diabetes
PI: Dr. Michele Montgomery, assistant professor at the Capstone College of Nursing
Co PI:  Dr. Paige Johnson, assistant professor at the Capstone College of Nursing
Collaboration: Pickens County Community Action Committee & CDC, Inc., Pickens County Board of Education, Pickens County Head Start, and the Diabetes Coalition

4. Development of a Rural Family Medicine Residency in Pickens County
PI: Dr. Richard Friend, director of the College’s Family Medicine Residency
Collaboration: Jim Marshall, CEO of Pickens County Medical Center; Deborah Tucker, CEO of Whatley Health Services

5. Pickens County Medical-Legal Partnership for the Elderly
PI: Gaines B. Brake, staff attorney with the Elder Law Clinic at The University of Alabama School of Law
Collaboration: Jim Marshall, CEO of Pickens County Medical Center

6. Improving Access to Cardiac Rehabilitation Services in Pickens County
PI: Dr. Avani Shah, assistant professor of Social Work at UA
Co PI: Dr. Jonathan Wingo, associate professor of Kinesiology at UA
Collaboration: Sharon Crawford Wester, RRT, Cardiopulmonary Rehab Pickens County Medical Center

7. Alabama Literacy Project
PI: Carol A. Donovan, professor of special education and multiple abilities at UA
Collaboration: Jamie Chapman, Superintendent of Pickens County Schools

8. Bringing Healthy Food options and ease of preparation home to our senior adults
PI: Jennifer Anderson, director of Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at UA
Co PI: Suzanne Henson, dietitian and assistant professor in Family Medicine at CCHS
Collaboration: Anne Jones, Pickens County Family Center and Mayor Joe Lancaster, City of Carrollton, Alabama

Fellowships
The funding from the Alabama Legislature will also cover one-year fellowships for these recent UA graduates. Four fellows have been selected. The fellowships will provide an opportunity for them to serve in health-related capacities in Pickens County to both provide a year of service while expanding their experience and education.

Project Coordinator
Wilamena Hopkins has been named the coordinator of the UA and Pickens County Health Care Teaching County Project.

Hopkins, who has experience as an event and training coordinator for Whatley Health Services, will be located primarily in Pickens County. She will direct and facilitate overall development, oversight implementation and administration for the project and serve as a liaison into the community and promote the partnerships and its projects to the people of Pickens County and the University community.

Pickens County ranks 41st in health outcomes against Alabama’s 67 counties. The county has nine primary care physicians per 10,000 residents, and 36 percent of adults are considered obese. One-third of the population lives below the poverty line.

UA’s Rural Medical Scholars Program Celebrates 20th Class

The Rural Medical Scholars Program at the College of Community Health Sciences will honor the graduates of its 20th class, as well as alumni of the now two-decade-old program, on Sunday, May 1, at Hotel Capstone on The University of Alabama campus.

 

TLC2 students join advocates in march to Ala. State House for HIV, AIDS awareness

Medical students at the College of Community Health Sciences marched for HIV and AIDS awareness and met with state leaders as part of the annual Alabama HIV/AIDS Awareness Day, held March 10 at the Alabama State House in Montgomery.

The students, who are part of the Tuscaloosa Longitudinal Community Curriculum (TLC2), participated in the day’s activities as part of their Leadership in Community and Population Medicine elective, says Dr. Lea Yerby, assistant professor of Community and Rural Medicine and the Institute for Rural Health Research at the College.

About 250 people living with HIV or AIDS and receiving medication from the AIDS Drug Assistance Program were present, along with other advocates for HIV and AIDS awareness from across the state.

“The purpose of the students’ participation was to learn about more organized advocacy, practice advocacy on the state level with the legislators representing their clinics’ communities, learn about advocating for their patients, and to see patients advocating for themselves,” Yerby says.

One of the most memorable parts of the day for TLC2 student Maria Gulas was hearing the stories of those living with HIV and AIDS.

“It was inspiring to see how these individuals overcame such devastating health effects and social stigma to be thriving as they are today,” Gulas says.

The students marched with the group to the Alabama State House and distributed district-specific HIV prevalence data to senators and representatives. Gulas said many of those living with HIV and AIDS advocated for themselves directly to state leaders.

“It was so powerful to see them fighting for their own care, with the support of family, friends, community members, public health leaders, and future providers, as the decisions made in that building will affect the lives of people living with HIV across Alabama,” Gulas says.

She says the experience was valuable for her and the other TLC2 students because it allowed them to connect with and learn from people living with HIV and AIDS as well as advocate for them and for those who will be future patients.

“Advocacy is a critical component of patient care, but it is not something to which we have much exposure in medical school,” Gulas says. “Just with this one day, I think all the medical students left with a clearer picture of what it means to advocate for your patients and gained confidence in our abilities to do just that.”

 

UA-county partnership seeks applications for health projects and fellowships

A University of Alabama and Pickens County, Ala., partnership working to provide health resources for the rural county and “real world” training for UA students is accepting proposals for health projects and applications for fellowships.

The University of Alabama/Pickens County Health Care Teaching County Partnership, of which the College of Community Health Sciences is a leading partner, recently received $600,000 from the Alabama Legislature to initiate the partnership. Once fully underway, the partnership will enable UA students in medicine, nursing, social work, nutrition, psychology, health education, health care management and elder law to gain practice experience from internships and other learning opportunities in Pickens County, and at the same time provide sustainable health resources for the county.

Currently, the partnership is seeking project proposals from UA faculty and/or Pickens County entities for health-related projects to be conducted in the county. Award amounts vary but will not exceed $25,000. Funds will be available May 1, and projects must start by the summer.

The partnership also is seeking recent UA graduates for one-year paid fellowships that provide an opportunity to serve in a health-related capacity in Pickens County. Fellows will spend time in community engagement and leadership development activities, which include seminars on health and public policy, as well as social determinants of health.

Pickens County is a Medically Underserved Area and a Primary Care, Mental Health and Dental Health Professional Shortage Area. The county ranks 41st in health outcomes among Alabama’s 67 counties. Other statistics show that 36 percent of adult residents are considered obese, one-third of the population lives below the poverty line and there are only nine primary care physicians per 10,000 residents.

Eat your Brussels: College hosts second annual Brussels Sprout Challenge at Heart Walk

It was a frigid morning at this year’s American Heart Association West Alabama Heart Walk, but that didn’t keep Tuscaloosa residents from showing their support for heart health or from sampling some Brussels sprouts.

For the second year in a row, the Brussels Sprout Challenge was part of the Heart Walk, held on Feb. 13, 2016, at the Tuscaloosa Amphitheater. The College of Community Health Sciences partnered with Manna Grocery and Deli to roast and serve more than 900 Brussels sprouts at the walk.

Participants completing the challenge had to eat three Brussels sprouts during the walk—one at each mile. Those who completed the challenge were awarded a t-shirt. Brussels sprout recipes and health facts were available to all participants.

The idea of the Brussels Sprout Challenged originated with Dr. Richard Streiffer, dean of the College, as a counter to the Tuscaloosa Krispy Kreme Challenge—a two-mile race modeled after a North Carolina event—that challenges participants to eat a dozen donuts at the midpoint of the race.

Streiffer wanted to offer a similar challenge that promoted healthy eating and lifestyle choices while complementing the American Heart Association’s goal of building healthier lives free of heart disease and stroke.

“Lots of people who may have been introduced to the mighty cruciferous vegetable family are happy and healthier,” Streiffer says.

Before, during and after the walk, the College distributed Brussels sprout recipes as well as handouts about the health benefits of Brussels sprouts, which include heart health, cancer protection and cholesterol lowering.

Free health screenings for all participants and attendees were also provided.

The College’s mission is to improve and promote the health of individuals and communities in Alabama and the region, and one way it accomplishes that mission is through community outreach.

Blum presents at Mini Medical School, WVUA reports

Dr. Alan Blum, founder and director of UA’s Center for the Study of Tobacco and Society, presented a lecture on January 28, 2016, as part of a series of lectures for the University’s OLLI Program provided by faculty from UA’s College of Community Health Sciences.

Blum, the Gerald Leon Wallace, MD, Endowed Chair of Family Medicine for the College and one of the nation’s foremost authorities on the history of smoking and cigarette marketing, provided his lecture, “Fighting Smoke with Fire: Successes and Failures, Myths and Realities in Taming the Tobacco Pandemic,” as part of OLLI’s Mini Medical School program.

Watch the report here:

The Mini Medical School program provides an opportunity for adults and community learners to explore trends in medicine and health, and the lectures by CCHS faculty offer important 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 educational courses as well as field trips, socials, special events and travel.

Blum’s lecture covered the history of tobacco use, the impact of tobacco advertising and propaganda, and the health risks related to smoking, such as cancer, heart disease and respiratory diseases. He talked about the prevalence of cigarettes even in the health care industry, and recalled that his father, a family medicine physician, smoked cigarettes.

CCHS to Host 2nd Annual Brussels Sprout Challenge at Heart Walk

Participants of this year’s American Heart Association’s West Alabama Heart Walk will cover 3.1 miles in support of defeating heart disease, stroke and other cardiovascular diseases. They’ll also be faced with an added challenge—to eat their vegetables.

For the second year in a row, the Brussels Sprout Challenge will be part of the Heart Walk, which will be held on Feb. 13, 2016. The University of Alabama’s College of Community Health Sciences is partnering with Manna Grocery and Deli to roast and serve Brussels sprouts during this year’s walk. Last year, more than 800 Brussels sprouts were distributed.

To complete the Brussels Sprout Challenge, participants must eat three Brussels sprouts during the walk—one at each mile and one at the finish line. Those who complete the challenge will be awarded a t-shirt.

The idea of the Brussels Sprout Challenge originated with Dr. Richard Streiffer, dean of the College, as a counter to the Tuscaloosa Krispy Kreme Challenge—a two-mile race modeled after a North Carolina event—that challenges participants to eat a dozen donuts at the midpoint of the race.

Streiffer wanted to offer a similar challenge that promoted healthy eating and lifestyle choices while complementing the American Heart Association’s goal of building healthier lives, free of heart disease and stroke.

“Lots of people who may have been introduced to the mighty cruciferous vegetable family are happy and healthier,” Streiffer says.

The College will also be distributing handouts about the health benefits of Brussels sprouts, which include heart health, cancer protection and cholesterol lowering, among others, as well as Brussels sprout recipes. The College will also provide free health screenings to participants and attendees before, during and after the walk

The College’s mission is to improve and promote the health of individuals and communities in Alabama and the region, and one way it accomplishes that mission is through community outreach.

Medical students and residents take new UA Culinary Medicine course

Medical students and residents at the College who are taking UA’s new Culinary Medicine elective had their first class on January 26. The course is a partnership of the Colleges of Community Health Sciences and Human Environmental Sciences.

“This is the kickoff of the first Culinary Medicine elective,” Dr. Richard Streiffer, dean of CCHS, said to begin the class.

Through lectures, hands-on cooking classes and follow-up discussion, the class will teach CCHS medical students and family medicine residents, as well as CHES nutrition students, how to better educate patients about their diets. Students will learn the basics of cooking so that they can provide patients with helpful information when addressing chronic disease management and obesity. Classes are held in the CHES teaching kitchen.

Twenty-four students are taking the course – 10 medical students, eight nutrition students and six residents. It is taught by Dr. Jennifer Clem, assistant professor in family medicine for CCHS, and Dr. Linda Knol, associate professor of human nutrition for CHES.

The course pulls from modules of the curriculum of the Goldring Center for Culinary Medicine at Tulane University School of Medicine in New Orleans and includes principles of diabetes, weight and portion control, hypertension, sodium, carbohydrates and the Mediterranean diet.

“I have patients who are overweight, who have diabetes, and that’s why I’m here,” Clem told the students.

During the first class, students divided into three teams of eight and participated in a cooking exercise. Teams prepared a dinners of whole-wheat spaghetti, some with meat sauce and some with lentils and vegetables, as well as salads with lettuce, kale, carrots and other vegetables. After the cooking exercise, they discussed the nutritional content of the dishes, learning, for example, that using whole-wheat pasta increases the amount of fiber in one’s diet.

Streiffer touted the benefits of the interprofessional aspect of the course.

“Doctors don’t learn enough about nutrition in medical school, and a great majority of chronic disease is nutrition related. Other disciplines have greater practice with this. We can learn from each other.”

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.”