Home/Sarah Senn

About Sarah Senn

This author has not yet filled in any details.
So far Sarah Senn has created 16 blog entries.

ACOM celebrates Class of 2025 White Coat Ceremony

The Alabama College of Osteopathic Medicine (ACOM) held its virtual White Coat Ceremony, honoring the Class of 2025 on Sunday, November 21, 2021. Stevan A. Walkowski, DO, served as the keynote speaker. Dr. Walkowski, who recently joined ACOM as Associate Dean of Clinical Sciences, encouraged students to reflect on what led them to medicine and welcomed them to the osteopathic profession. The ceremony concluded with the students gathered on campus reciting the Osteopathic Pledge of Commitment.

White Coat Ceremony is an annual celebration that represents a rite of passage for a first-year medical student and an important step in the journey toward becoming an osteopathic physician. The traditional white coat is an outward sign of the medical profession and has been worn by physicians for more than 100 years. Formal presentation of the white coat symbolizes an osteopathic medical student’s entrance into a new academic environment, and the acceptance of the obligations and high standards of compassionate care that are expected. Each year, the ACOM marks the achievements of first-year medical students with the presentation of the white coat by each student’s faculty advisor.

The Class of 2025 is ACOM’s ninth class and represents a diverse group of students from 31 states across the nation.

ACOM celebrates Class of 2025 White Coat Ceremony2021-11-21T15:40:26-06:00

Second-year ACOM Students Win College’s Simulation Competition in Intense Final

The Vicodin Vikings have won the 2021 ACOM Simulation Competition (SIMComp)!

Eight teams (a total of 40 students) competed on Friday and Saturday for a chance to advance to the National SimChallenge.

Teams were presented with an emergent clinical scenario, which required medical knowledge, clinical skills, teamwork, communication, and calm nerves to overcome the challenges. One ACOM team advances to the national competition each year.

The final scenario proved to be very challenging for both teams with a fully immersive experience similar to what students would encounter during the national competition. Teams walked into an empty simulated emergency room and were greeted by sirens from EMS rushing in a patient actor in a trauma suit with an exposed leg fracture. Different than previous encounters during SIMComp, patient vitals were reported directly from the en-route ambulance requiring the team to accurately record the information. The patient presented with trauma in multiple systems, including a neck injury and what was later discovered as a ruptured spleen requiring surgery.

The event judges praised the teams throughout the competition for their use of communication huddles and decision-making that allowed them to tackle advanced patient cases.

The Vicodin Vikings are a team of second-year students led by David Cooper. Teammates included: Bobby Monaco, Case Coordinator; Jacob Gramacy, Scribe; Hannah Gregory, History Taker; Carson Woodward, Physical Exam.

In 2017, a team of second-year ACOM students won the national SimChallenge event and represented the United States at the International SimChallenge in Paris, defeating the French team in the final round to become international champions.

In 2020, the ACOM team won the first National Virtual Patient Simulation Challenge hosted by AMSA and won the national competition again in 2021. ACOM hopes to recapture the national title again this year, with the competition resuming as an in-person experience to take place in Washington, DC in April. This local tournament serves as an important step and a valuable training experience in the journey to Nationals.

Second-year ACOM Students Win College’s Simulation Competition in Intense Final2021-11-20T12:34:26-06:00

Jamie Bell, DO, FAAFP, to give 2021 Virtual Commencement Address

The Alabama College of Osteopathic Medicine (ACOM) is pleased announce that Jamie Bell, DO, FAAFP, will serve as the keynote speaker for the Class of 2021 virtual Commencement Ceremony. Dr. Bell is a board-certified family medicine physician and a Fellow of the American Academy of Family Physicians (FAAFP). She is a member of the ACOM Board of Directors and also serves as Secretary/Treasurer.

A native of Birmingham, Ala., Dr. Bell is a graduate of John Carroll Catholic High School.  After high school, she attended Agnes Scott College in Atlanta, where she graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree with honors in Spanish Pre-Medicine. Dr. Bell received her Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine degree from Pikeville College School of Osteopathic Medicine (now Kentucky College of Osteopathic Medicine) in Pikeville, Ky. While in medical school, she was inducted into the Sigma Sigma Phi National Medical Honor Society. She completed residency at St. Vincent’s East Family Practice in Birmingham. While in residency, she was elected “Resident of the Year” twice by the St. Vincent’s East Hospital’s doctors, nurses and staff. She is currently employed with the Birmingham Veterans Affairs (VA) Medical Center.

Dr. Bell is a member of the American Academy of Family Physicians, American Osteopathic Association, Mineral District Medical Society, Birmingham Chapter of Jack and Jill of America, Inc. and Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. She is an alumna of the 2018-2019 Leadership Hoover Class, and currently serves on their Board of Directors. Dr. Bell previously served on the Board of Directors for Birmingham AIDS Outreach, and the University of Alabama at Birmingham Minority Health Resource Center Young Professionals Board.

Dr. Bell resides in Hoover, Ala. (a suburb of Birmingham). She enjoys running, traveling, mentoring students (of all ages) interested in medicine, and spending time with loved ones.

Jamie Bell, DO, FAAFP, to give 2021 Virtual Commencement Address2021-05-12T16:59:11-05:00

ACOM SOMA Chapter Achieves National Success

The ACOM Student Osteopathic Medical Association (SOMA) recently achieved success on the national level, with the passage of a resolution and the election of students to national positions. The Dean’s Cabinet is proud of these students and their contribution to the profession.

ACOM SOMA Resolution Passed through the AOA House of Delegates

The Student Osteopathic Medical Association (SOMA) holds a House of Delegates twice a year where SOMA members are able to submit resolutions to be voted upon by delegates from each chapter. These resolutions, if passed, are then adopted as official SOMA policy and are eligible to be submitted to the AOA House of Delegates. ACOM SOMA is proud to announce that resolution S-20-26, SUPPORT THE BOLSTERING OF VETERAN HEALTH ADMINISTRATION RESOURCES THROUGH PROVIDER PAY REFORM was approved both at the Spring SOMA House of Delegates and Fall AOA House of Delegates. This resolution aims to support and advocate for provider pay reform and staff management within the VHA system to efficiently and effectively meet the health needs of the United States veteran population. This resolution was authored by ACOM OMS-III students Benjamin Duong, Rebecca Stoll, E’Joven Reed, Amir Khiabani, Alexis O’Connel, Katherine Beyer, Brandon Newell and Morgan Bivens as well as Nicholas Harriel from NYIT COM at Arkansas State University and Jacqueline Chung from PNWU COM. This is the first time that an ACOM SOMA resolution was submitted and passed by both the SOMA and AOA House of Delegates.

ACOM students elected to National SOMA Board of Trustee Positions

ACOM OMS-II student Melanie Weyers was elected as Region II Trustee and ACOM OMS-III student Amir Khiabani was elected as National SOMA Treasurer. Both Students were elected to serve on the National SOMA Board of Trustees in their respective positions.

As Region II Trustee, Weyers will oversee the largest SOMA region including 15 SOMA chapters from Alabama, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, and Tennessee. She will support SOMA chapters in Region II by facilitating region-wide events and guiding chapter leaders to improve chapter engagement. Her current plan is to expand Region II involvement with the National SOMA Opioid Overdose Prevention Taskforce and to facilitate Naloxone training events. Weyers is the third consecutive ACOM student to serve as the National SOMA Region II trustee.

As National Treasurer, Khiabani will be a senior National SOMA leader that will be overseeing a large budget for SOMA. This position includes working closely with the AOA as well as the SOMA Convention Director to ensure that funds are appropriated strategically. Khiabani will also have the ability to work on projects with other SOMA leaders and has current plans to further develop needs-based funding for students. Khiabani is the first ACOM student to be elected to be a part of senior National SOMA leadership.


ACOM SOMA Chapter Achieves National Success2020-10-30T21:15:48-05:00

ACOM organizations to host Diversity Week

The ACOM Student Diversity Council, Institutional Diversity Council and Muslim Student Association will host Diversity Week beginning Monday, October 12.

The planned activities will provide educational and fun opportunities to learn about various diversity topics.

ACOM recognizes, values, and affirms that diversity contributes richness to the College and enhances the quality of education. Students, faculty, staff, and administrators are valued for their diversity. ACOM is committed to providing an academic and employment environment in which students and employees are treated with courtesy, respect, and dignity.

The week will include a Muslim student panel, poetry and painting night, pride day, and a screening of Marvel’s Black Panther.

ACOM organizations to host Diversity Week2020-10-09T22:07:03-05:00

ACOM medical students to compete in 1st International Virtual Patient Challenge

A team of second- and third-year students from the Alabama College of Osteopathic Medicine (ACOM) will represent the US and compete in the 1st International Virtual Patient Challenge, powered by Body Interact, at the Somesics – Sociedad Mexicana de Simulación en Ciencias de la Saludon virtual conference on Friday, September 4.

This international event will bring together winning teams from around the globe to compete in a fully virtual patient simulation challenge. As with in-person simulation competitions, during virtual patient challenges, student teams are presented with emergent clinical scenarios that require medical knowledge, clinical skills, teamwork and communication to save the simulated patient. The ACOM student team, named Cotard’s Delusionals, previously participated in and won the American Medical Student Association (AMSA) national virtual patient challenge this spring. As winners of the AMSA competition, they were contacted to represent the US in the international competition. Other international competing teams include Mexico, Kosovo, India, Portugal and Japan.

ACOM medical students to compete in 1st International Virtual Patient Challenge2020-10-05T16:08:45-05:00

ACOM back in session

Like other schools across the Wiregrass, ACOM is back in session, recently welcoming back second-year students and greeting the new class of 2024. The college developed a robust academic reopening plan to deliver curriculum with enhanced measures to promote the overall health and safety of students, faculty and staff. All students were required to self-isolate for the first 14 days of the new academic year and were tested for COVID-19. ACOM employs screening protocols and temperature checks upon entry into the facility. Hand-sanitizer stations are placed throughout the campus and appropriate signage is posted to promote social distancing, handwashing and proper mask wearing.

ACOM also made several curriculum delivery changes to limit the number of students on campus at any time. Lectures are currently being conducted virtually, with students having the opportunity to reserve a seat in the auditorium or study rooms. Lab sessions have been divided into smaller groups allowing for greater social distancing, and faculty and students are equipped with masks during all lab events. Currently, all ACOM-sponsored international travel and school-sponsored domestic travel has been canceled, and all class of 2025 applicant interviews are taking place via Zoom. The college hopes to transition to more in-person teaching experiences as soon as safely possible.

ACOM back in session2020-10-05T02:11:19-05:00

Alston named Interim Associate Dean of Clinical Sciences for ACOM

The Alabama College of Osteopathic Medicine (ACOM) is pleased to announce that Sebastian Alston, MD, has been named interim associate dean of clinical sciences, effective August 15. Dr. Alston joined ACOM in February 2013 as professor of pathology and he will serve in the interim role while a national search for permanent associate dean is conducted.

“Dr. Alston has been an instrumental part of ACOM’s success through his course leadership, teaching, mentorship and service on numerous committees and as a faculty advisor,” James C. Jones, DO, FACEP, ACOM Dean, said. “He demonstrates a steadfast commitment to leadership and medical education, both important cornerstones of our college, and we are appreciative of his willingness to serve in this interim role.”

Dr. Alston is a native of Henderson, N.C., and received his Bachelor of Arts degree with honors in chemistry from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He earned his medical degree from the University of North Carolina School of Medicine. Dr. Alston completed a residency in anatomic pathology and neuropathology and a fellowship in cerebrovascular diseases at Duke University Medical Center.

Dr. Alston has been on faculty at University of Virginia School of Medicine, Mercer University School of Medicine, and Florida State University College of Medicine. His previous administrative appointments have included director of Biomedical Problems Curriculum and assistant dean of Medical Education at Mercer, and associate dean of Medical Education and director of the Office of Medical Education at Florida State. Other activities have included serving as a local medical examiner in North Carolina and Virginia, medical consultant for Social Security Disability in Florida and Georgia, and visiting faculty at Tulane University School of Medicine and St. George’s University School of Medicine in Grenada.

Dr. Alston is a past officer and current member of the Group for Research in Pathology Education and a committee member of the Association of Medical Education in Europe (AMEE), Best Evidence in Medical Education (BEME).

Heath Parker, DO, will serve as associate dean of clinical sciences until August 14, at which time he will transition into a part-time faculty role as associate professor of internal medicine and pediatrics. Dr. Parker will continue to serve as chair of pediatrics.

Alston named Interim Associate Dean of Clinical Sciences for ACOM2020-10-05T15:57:05-05:00

Audrey Vasauskas, PhD, Named ACOM Director of Research and Grant Development

The Alabama College of Osteopathic Medicine (ACOM) is pleased to announce that Audrey Vasauskas, PhD, has been named Director of Research and Grant Development.

Dr. Vasauskas brings more than 20 years of experience in research, grants and higher education to the position. Most recently, she served as associate professor of physiology at ACOM, where she also served as Research Committee chair and principal investigator.

As Director of Research and Grant Development, Dr. Vasauskas will coordinate and provide support for the growth of research at ACOM, oversee research program strategy development, and actively work to identify grant opportunities. This includes coordinating submission of proposals to federal, state, industry and non-profit sponsors to support individual, collaborative and major interdisciplinary research activities.

Dr. Vasauskas received her PhD and post-doctoral training from the University of South Alabama College of Medicine. She obtained her Bachelor of Science in biology from Mount Saint Mary’s University in Maryland. Dr. Vasauskas has been the recipient of several extramural research grants from the National Institutes of Health and the American Heart Association. She has also served as a science policy and research advocate to the United States Congress. Dr. Vasauskas has been teaching cell and system physiology for over a decade and has mentored many undergraduate, graduate and medical students both in academia and industry. Prior to her career in academia, she spent several years in the biotechnology industry as project leader for oncology diagnostic development.

“I am sincerely thrilled to take on this new role within ACOM, where I can help grow our research program(s) from an already strong foundation,” Dr. Vasauskas said. “We have the ingredients to nurture a thriving, collaborative research culture; our students, faculty, and staff are incredible. For me, being able to combine my research and grant experience with my passion for helping students and faculty achieve their research goals is truly a dream come true.”

Audrey Vasauskas, PhD, Named ACOM Director of Research and Grant Development2020-10-02T03:05:24-05:00

ACOM Adopts Southeast Health Branding

To demonstrate the relationship between the Alabama College of Osteopathic Medicine (ACOM) and Southeast Health, the medical college will adopt the health system brand, while preserving the existing shield for ceremonial purposes.

In July of 2018, the Houston County Health Care Authority, the governing board for Southeast Health, made a strategic decision to invest in a branding strategy connecting all the entities within the health system through a structured naming convention and brand standard. This helps patients, providers, students, and the community better understand who they are, what they offer, and where they provide services.

Beginning in July, ACOM will follow suit with the other major entities in the health system by adopting the Southeast Health branding, though the ACOM Board of Directors opted to continue to use the existing shield in certain ceremonial circumstances. Additionally, student white coats will continue to incorporate the shield to honor the past.

ACOM’s origins are deeply rooted in health care. It was one of the first osteopathic medical schools developed by a health system not associated with a university. Over a decade ago, the Alabama Medical Education Consortium along with the Houston County Health Care Authority recognized the growing shortage of physicians nationally, particularly in primary care. The two entities determined it was feasible to develop Alabama’s first college of osteopathic medicine to address these needs in the state, and thus, ACOM, the private, non-profit institution, was established in May 2010. The college, which is owned by Southeast Health, welcomed its inaugural class in 2013, and graduated its first physicians in 2017.

“Through the creation of the ACOM and the expansion of Graduate Medical Education programs, Southeast Health has grown from a community hospital to a comprehensive health system with a focus on educating tomorrow’s physicians. ACOM is one of the major entities within the health system, and we feel this change helps communicate the relationship more clearly and highlight the health system’s commitment to education.” says James C. Jones, DO, FACEP, ACOM Dean.

ACOM will adopt the Southeast Health brand beginning in July of 2020.

ACOM Adopts Southeast Health Branding2020-10-05T16:07:48-05:00
Go to Top