College faculty present at annual Alabama family physicians meeting

June 30, 2014

Presentations were made at the annual Alabama Academy of Family Physicians meeting by College of Community Health Sciences faculty. The meeting, held June 26 – 29, 2014, in  Sandestin, Fla., provides networking opportunities and Continuing Medical Education to family physicians, physicians assistants, residents and medical students from across Alabama. An entire day of lectures was presented by the College on Saturday, June 27, the third day of the conference. Faculty presented new information respective to their specialties. Presenting on autism screenings and the role played by family medicine physicians in early detection and intervention were Lea Yerby, PhD, assistant professor in Community and Rural Medicine and the Institute for Rural Health Research; and Angela Barber, PhD, assistant professor in communicative disorders at The University of Alabama. The prevalence of autism in Alabama per thousand is 5.7, while the national prevalence per thousand is 14.7, they said. The reason for the discrepancy is a screening issue, Yerby said. And the key to more screenings and early intervention is for family medicine physicians and autism specialists to work together. Ninety two percent of parents of a child with autism first expressed concern to their primary care provider, Yerby said. “It takes two—screeners and family physicians. Neither of them can do it alone. But those two combined are really where we move forward, where more children are less likely to fall through the cracks.” Scott Arnold, MD, associate professor and chair of the Department of Internal Medicine, presented new findings in adult medicine literature from 2013 to 2014. Some areas Arnold covered included diabetes prevention and care, treatment of heart disease, blood clotting, intracranial stenting, sepsis, hepatitis C screening and treatment, low testosterone treatment, and lung, colon and cancer screenings. Jerry McKnight, MD, a professor of Family Medicine, presented a clinical case study of 10 patients with one common etiology: hereditary hemochromatosis. The case study was presented in a typical grand rounds fashion, presenting the symptoms to the attendees of the patients and leading into the diagnosis. Following McKnight was Richard Friend, MD, director of the The University of Alabama Family Medicine Residency • Tuscaloosa (operated by the College), who wrapped up the day with a presentation on critical care and emergency room medicine for family physicians. Many physicians present during his presentation indicated they work in some sort of emergency medicine capacity. Friend discussed the role of family physicians in the ICU, common trends and diagnoses in an emergency setting and various procedures such as intubating, performing a lumbar puncture and atrial fibrillation. “You have to have a heightened sense of awareness to [practice emergency medicine] and do it well,” he said. “The key is to really be aware of common procedures and to always practice evidence-based medicine.”