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ACOM recognizes recent faculty and student research publications

The Alabama College of Osteopathic Medicine (ACOM) is proud to announce the accomplishments of our students and faculty who have been recently published.

Burton’s Agammaglobulinemia and COVID-19
Justin G. Hovey, Denise Tolbert, Druhan Howell
November 2020
DOI: 10.7759/cureus.11701
Cureus | Burton’s Agammaglobulinemia and COVID-19

Salt and water balance after sweat loss: A study of Bikram yoga
Hasan Alrefai, Shannon L. Mathis, Sarah M. Hicks, Aleksandra I. Pivovarova, and Gordon G. MacGregor
Physiological Reports
November 2020
DOI: 10.14814/phy2.14647
Salt and water balance after sweat loss: A study of Bikram yoga – Alrefai – 2020 – Physiological Reports – Wiley Online Library

Analysis of Transmission Rates in Asymptomatic COVID-19 Patients in a Community Hospital Setting
Casey A. Hughes, Thomas Boeding, Sanjay Desai, Katherine Westbrook, Constance Christian, Akash Patel, Ti Hoang, and Raul Magadia
Clinical Medical Reviews and Case Reports
DOI: 10.23937/2378-3656/1410325
Analysis of Transmission Rates in Asymptomatic COVID-19 Patients in a Community Hospital Setting (clinmedjournals.org)

Hydroxylumisterols, Photoproducts of Pre-Vitamin D3, Protect Human Keratinocytes against UVB-Induced Damage
Chaiprasongsuk, A.; Janjetovic, Z.; Kim, T.-K.; Schwartz, C.J.; Tuckey, R.C.; Tang, E.K.Y.; Raman, C.; Panich, U.; Slominski, A.T.
International Journal of Molecular Sciences
IJMS | Free Full-Text | Hydroxylumisterols, Photoproducts of Pre-Vitamin D3, Protect Human Keratinocytes against UVB-Induced Damage (mdpi.com)

Lamotrigine-Induced Stevens–Johnson Syndrome: A Clinical Report
Sujana Reddy, Sunita Puri
International Journal of Case Reports and Images

Medical Simulation-Based Learning Outcomes in Pre-Clinical Medical Education
Maxwell J. Jabaay, Dario A. Marotta, Stephen L. Aita, Dianne B. Walker, Leah O. Grcevich, Victor Camba, James R. Nolin, James Lyons, John Giannini Jr.
December 2020
DOI: 10.7759/cureus.11875
Cureus | Medical Simulation-Based Learning Outcomes in Pre-Clinical Medical Education

Detailed Analysis of Urinary Tract Infections After Robot-Assisted Radical Cystectomy
Naif A Aldhaam , Ahmed A Hussein 1, Ahmed S Elsayed 1, Zhe Jing 1, Jennifer Osei 1, Zachary Kurbiel 1, Tarik Babar 1, Sara Khan 1, Avneet Nagra 1, Brahm Segal 2, Qiang Li 1, Khurshid A Guru 1
Journal of Endourology
January 2021
DOI: 10.1089/end.2020.0316
Detailed Analysis of Urinary Tract Infections After Robot-Assisted Radical Cystectomy | Journal of Endourology (liebertpub.com)

Impact of Perioperative Multidisciplinary Rehabilitation Pathway on Early Outcomes after Robot-assisted Radical Cystectomy: A Matched Analysis
Naif A Aldhaam 1, Ahmed S Elsayed 1, Ahmed A Hussein 1, Alat Siam 1, Jennifer Osei 1, Zhe Jing 1, Tarik Babar 1, Michelle Graton 1, Therese Kurtz 1, Teresa Johnson 2, Stefanie Rowan 3, Carolyn Miller 4, Qiang Li 1, Khurshid A Guru 5
January 2021
DOI: 10.1016/j.urology.2020.05.113

ACOM recognizes recent faculty and student research publications2021-02-04T16:45:56-06:00

ACOM Library receives NLM COVID-19 Health Information Outreach Award

In the wake of COVID-19, organizations around the United States worked tirelessly in order to present important health information to the public that would result in a decrease in the number of positive cases.

As researchers began to learn more about the coronavirus and information rapidly increased, a new unique set of challenges was presented, how to disseminate accurate and reliable information to the public that would enable them to make informed health decisions?

The Alabama College of Osteopathic Medicine (ACOM) Library and Learning Resource Center acknowledged these challenges and, as a result, was awarded the COVID-19 Health Information Outreach Award from the Southeastern Atlantic Region of the Network of the National Library of Medicine (NLM).

The grant’s purpose is to enable organizations to develop and offer programs that will increase access to and use of authoritative health information resources that will impact health and health literacy related to the global pandemic.

ACOM’s librarians recognized the need to disseminate appropriate, timely, and accurate information to the general public in their grant proposal, presenting the idea to set-up state-wide training for health care providers and consumers on how to find reliable information sources.

The proposal outlines the creation of TEACH Across Alabama: Training, Educating, Advising, Connecting, and Helping Alabama’s Healthcare Workforce and Healthcare Consumers to engage with ACOM’s clerkship sites, affiliated physicians and medical students in order to build a self-sustaining network distributing information to healthcare providers, patients, and families. The librarians plan to mentor students to teach the community how to use resources from the CDC, National Institutes of Health, and NLM.

ACOM Library receives NLM COVID-19 Health Information Outreach Award2021-01-27T13:59:45-06:00

Thomas J. Fotopoulos, DO, named ACOM Chair of Osteopathic Principles & Practice

The Alabama College of Osteopathic Medicine (ACOM) is pleased to welcome Thomas J. Fotopoulos, DO, as Chair of Osteopathic Principles & Practice (OPP).

Dr. Fotopoulos earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in biological science from Florida Atlantic University. He obtained his Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine degree from Nova Southeastern University College of Osteopathic Medicine. Dr. Fotopoulos attended his internship year at Florida Hospital East Orlando and later completed his residency in neuromusculoskeletal medicine and osteopathic manipulative medicine (NMM/OMM) at Osteopathic Medical Center of Texas in Fort Worth. He is board certified in neuromusculoskeletal medicine and osteopathic manipulative medicine. Prior to joining ACOM, Dr. Fotopoulos served as Chair and Associate Clinical Professor of OPP at the Arkansas College of Osteopathic Medicine. His previous positions include Chair and Associate Professor of OPP for Pacific Northwest University of Health Sciences, College of Osteopathic Medicine, and Associate Clinical Professor of OPP at Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine Bradenton.

Dr. Fotopoulos is a second-generation osteopathic physician and enjoys teaching students to better understand and utilize OMM. He is passionate about teaching and is able to break down complex material into easily understood concepts.  Dr. Fotopoulos has been honored with numerous “Teacher of the Year” awards throughout his career in medical education. He is a member of several organizations, including the American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine’s Educational Council of Osteopathic Principles. His research interests include osteopathic medical education.

Thomas J. Fotopoulos, DO, named ACOM Chair of Osteopathic Principles & Practice2021-01-15T11:29:24-06:00

Kristen Helms, PharmD, named ACOM Assistant Dean of Faculty Development

The Alabama College of Osteopathic Medicine (ACOM) is pleased to welcome Kristen Helms, PharmD, as Assistant Dean of Faculty Development.

Dr. Helms earned her bachelor’s degree in zoology from North Carolina State University and obtained her PharmD from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She completed her pharmacotherapy residency in primary care at DCH Regional Medical Center in Tuscaloosa. Dr. Helms was a 2013-2014 Academic Leadership Fellow for the American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy.

Prior to joining ACOM, she served as Associate Clinical Professor at Auburn University Harrison School of Pharmacy and as director of interprofessional education. Dr. Helms has been honored with numerous awards, including the Auburn University Interdepartmental Collaboration Award (in collaboration) and the 2009 American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy National Annual Assessment Award (in collaboration).

Her research interests include professional identity development, interprofessional education outcomes, and classroom and curricular assessment.

Kristen Helms, PharmD, named ACOM Assistant Dean of Faculty Development2021-01-14T13:55:33-06:00

Dario Marotta named ACOM 2020-2021 Student Doctor of the Year

Dario Marotta, Class of 2022, has been named ACOM’s 2020-2021 Student Doctor of the Year (SDOY). Each year, the ACOM Student Government Association requests nominations of students who demonstrate the principles of leadership, community service, dedication and professionalism. Osteopathic colleges across the country select one student from their institutions to compete for the national SDOY award.

Marotta is a non-traditional student from Normal, Illinois. After spending six years in Illinois law enforcement, serving as a Detective Sergeant of the Criminal Investigations Division and later as a United States Secret Service-trained mobile device forensic examiner, Marotta chose to attend medical school.

“I chose ACOM because I felt they valued my unique life experiences,” Marotta said. “My interview was conversational, everyone was warm and welcoming, and I felt the fact the school was relatively new gave me a chance to contribute to future ACOM graduating classes.”

Marotta has a passion for research. His career began in his second year of medical school when he was selected for an internship funded by the National Cancer Institute. He attributes this time to igniting his love for research and he has since published 15 manuscripts over the last year.

To date, much of his work has focused on cognition, health-related quality of life and access to care in the setting of advanced brain cancer. Marotta continues to expand his work to include deep brain stimulation in patients with movement disorders, vision loss in those with idiopathic intracranial hypertension and imaging modalities in patients with acute ischemic stroke.

Currently, Marotta is completing his third-year clinical clerkships at Southeast Health and in the Dothan area. He is working on multiple research projects with national and international collaboration, including a study in partnership with Southeast Health’s Comprehensive Stroke Center. Marotta’s hope is to pursue a residency in neurosurgery with the goal to become an academic neurosurgeon.

“I hope to one day teach in a medical school and/or residency environment,” Marotta said, “I look forward to mentoring future medical students, much like those who have made my medical and research career possible.”

Medical school has provided many opportunities and Marotta says his most rewarding experience is being able to work with fellow classmates and give back to the community.

“I co-founded a community garden at the Ark, a local non-profit ministry and food bank in Dothan, with classmates of mine,” Marotta said, “We turned a half-acre vacant lot into a vegetable garden and food source for the residents who are recovering from addiction, abuse and other adversity.”

As Student Doctor of the Year, Marotta will represent ACOM for the national Council of Osteopathic Student Government President’s SDOY competition.

“Being selected as ACOM’s Student Doctor of the Year is an absolute honor and means the world to me,” Marotta said. “I am deeply grateful for the unwavering confidence and support of my peers and the faculty and staff at ACOM through this award.”

Dario Marotta named ACOM 2020-2021 Student Doctor of the Year2020-12-09T15:49:35-06:00

ACOM Emergency Medicine Interest Group donates hygiene kits to Southeast Health

The social distancing requirements of 2020 have created unique opportunities for Alabama College of Osteopathic Medicine (ACOM) students to engage in community service in non-traditional and creative ways. Some student organizations have been able to conduct virtual events and mentoring sessions, while others have found ways to donate to local causes. Recently, ACOM’s Emergency Medicine Interest Group (EMIG) assembled and donated 200 hygiene kits to the emergency department at Southeast Health for the homeless population and the underserved.

EMIG, the ACOM chapter for the American College of Osteopathic Emergency Physicians Resident Student Organization (ACOEP-RSO), strives to promote emergency medicine as a “front-line specialty that interacts with the community heavily.” ACOM’s chapter wanted to find a meaningful way to bring this mission to life here in Dothan. With winter upon us and given the continued spread of COVID-19, EMIG recognized the importance of providing hygiene items to those in greatest need.

“With the COVID pandemic, there was a lot of restriction put on in-person community service, so we thought outside the box on how we could still have an impact on the community and maintain our social distance,” Kyle Cohen, OMS-II, president of EMIG.

Each donated kit includes a bottle of water, snack bars, toothbrush and toothpaste, body wipes, lip balm, deodorant, lotion, tissues, hand sanitizer and socks. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) maintain that washing hands can help prevent the spread of disease. Through the distribution of these kits, EMIG hopes to maintain an impact on the underserved community while promoting the simplest form of safety during these times, hygiene.

“The emergency department is a contact point for those in most need of assistance, and this involves a high volume of homeless patients,” Cohen said, “We thought that providing these hygiene items may help to ease some burden, provide some comfort for these patients, and promote hygiene and wellness within the community.”

ACOM believes in inspiring medicine through human touch. With the ingenuity of groups such as EMIG, ACOM students continue to impact Dothan and the surrounding communities despite the challenges of 2020.

“My hope is that this project continues and provides meaningful goods for people within our community,” Cohen said, “With the restrictions that we currently have, it is difficult to have any type of personal interaction and community education type events. With this project, we were at least able to promote good hygiene in a time that it is of utmost importance.”

ACOM Emergency Medicine Interest Group donates hygiene kits to Southeast Health2020-12-08T10:57:36-06:00

ACOM announces simulation center expansion

DOTHAN, Ala. – The Alabama College of Osteopathic Medicine (ACOM) Board of Directors has
approved the expansion and construction of a new simulation center on campus. The new 10,000-squarefoot building will encompass the existing simulation center and will add more than 7,000 square feet to the space.

The clinical simulation faculty worked closely with Carmen Lewis, PhD, Vice President of Institutional Effectiveness, and Bill Jones, Southeast Health’s Director of Design and Construction, to explore a variety of options for the project. The option recommended to and approved by the ACOM Board best addresses the growing needs for simulation space, without interrupting curricular activities.

“An important catalyst for quality medical education today is providing realistic patient encounters through simulation.” Lewis said. “This expansion will help enhance the experiential learning that defines ACOM’s training of the physicians of tomorrow.”

Simulation is a cornerstone of the ACOM curriculum that is fully integrated throughout the first two years of training, including weekly encounters and skills exercises. The college hosts an internal simulation competition annually, and ACOM has risen to success through its students’ participation in tournaments beyond the college, earning recognition nationally and internationally. In addition, the college offers a unique clinical simulation fellowship program, giving selected students the opportunity to deepen their understanding of the role of simulation in medical education.

The construction will double the available training capacity to create eight simulation bays for patient encounters and a larger dedicated skills lab for activities, such as casting, suturing and intubation. In addition, the new center will include a study area to accommodate up to 64 students. The exterior design will coordinate with the main ACOM facility, and the interior will be upgraded to create a comfortable state-of-the-art center. ACOM selected Dothan-based architecture firm Donofro and Associates Architects to lead the design. Groundbreaking and construction is expected to begin in early 2021.

ACOM announces simulation center expansion2020-12-03T15:01:03-06:00

First-Year ACOM Students Win College’s Simulation Competition

The SIMps have won the 2020 ACOM Simulation Competition!

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.

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. ACOM hopes to recapture the national title again this year, with this local tournament serving as an important step in that journey.

The SIMps are a team of first-year students led by student Elizabeth Vandervort.

Vandervort, who has interest in emergency medicine, is a former EMT and Emergency Department Tech.

Through their wide range of medical skills the team accomplished success in order to represent ACOM on the national level.

Brian Lewis is a former EMT and field training officer. During the competition he was responsible for talking to the patient in order to gain an in-depth history to determine a diagnosis.

Teammates included, Arianna Serrano a former ER scribe and medical assistant, Will Laidig, former emergency department scribe and tech, and Connor Willis, a former medical assistant and scribe in primary care.

John T. Giannini Jr. MD, Associate Professor of Internal Medicine and Simulation expressed pride in each of the ACOM teams that competed.

“If you could have seen these teams when we began, you wouldn’t even recognize them today. Everyone did a great job.”

First-Year ACOM Students Win College’s Simulation Competition2020-11-23T14:12:40-06:00

ACOM recognizes National Rural Health Day

Today is National Rural Health Day. Rural communities are home to approximately 57 million people across the U.S. with one in five Americans calling a rural community home. With increasing populations in the countryside, unique healthcare needs have arisen.

In rural states like Alabama the shortage of primary care physicians is higher than in other parts of the nation. Twenty percent of the U.S. population lives in rural areas and yet only nine percent of all physicians practice there.

According to the Health Resources and Services Administration, 55 of Alabama’s 67 counties are considered rural, with only seven counties being identified as having enough primary care physicians to provide the minimum of care.

The Southern Rural Access Project conducted a multi-state evaluation of rural health care in the south and found that more than 1 million Alabamians are without access to primary care. The project pinpointed deficiencies in Alabama’s ability to maintain or recruit physicians.

Addressing this shortage was the central focus in the creation of the Alabama College of Osteopathic Medicine (ACOM). As one of 37 colleges of osteopathic medicine and the first in the state of Alabama, the institution is the only osteopathic medical school that is an academic division of a county healthcare authority. ACOM’s relationship with Southeast Health has empowered it to impact the local community in a unique way.

In January 2020, the Southeast Health ACOM Ashford Clinic opened, increasing access to healthcare for citizens with a focus on the education of ACOM students. The clinic services include internal medicine, pediatrics and osteopathic manipulative medicine. Justin Hovey, MD, FAAP, Medical Director of the clinic, believes it has brought much needed care to an underserved area.

“The clinic provides care to a large swath of Wiregrass residents who no longer have to drive long distances to be seen by a provider. Access to care has been increased for this population tremendously.  We continue to work to improve that access as we move forward,” Hovey said.

The incorporation of ACOM students into the clinic is one way the college continues to pursue its mission of producing primary care physicians to serve the medically underserved areas of Alabama, the Tri-State region and the nation.

“Having students in this rural setting is unique as well,” Hovey said. “Their presence really changes the dynamic and experience that the local patients have. By seeing a student and provider during an appointment, the patients get a very thorough visit.”

The exposure to primary care disciplines during clinical training and rotations is an important part of inspiring medical students to consider these fields for their future careers. According to a 2018 American Osteopathic Association report, approximately 57 percent of DOs pursue a career in primary care, specializing in family medicine, internal medicine or pediatrics. ACOM has observed this trend among its graduates with at least 50 percent of its four graduating classes pursuing primary care, and is hopeful that many these physicians will return to the state to practice in rural communities.

“Rural health clinics are paramount to the changing rural population and dynamics of population health,” Hovey explained. “We need more in order to provide critical evidence-based care to an underserved population.”

ACOM recognizes National Rural Health Day2020-11-19T14:37:13-06:00

ACOM and the Society of Hospital Medicine’s Wiregrass Chapter host Poster Day

The Alabama College of Osteopathic Medicine and the Society of Hospital Medicine’s Wiregrass Chapter jointly hosted the fifth annual Poster Day on November 6 and 7, 2020.

This event, held virtually for the first time due to COVID-19, gave participants the opportunity to post their research posters through Twitter. Categories included original research, quality improvement (QI) and innovation, Clinical Vignette, Population Health and Literature Review. In addition to the poster presentations, the event featured virtual talks by Paul Erwin, MD, DrPH, on the health of rural populations in Alabama and Eileen Barrett, MD, MPH, SFHM, FACP, on wellness in medical school and residency. Other speakers included Devesh Dahale, MS, MBA, on using QI science to improve processes and outcomes in healthcare, and Aziz Ansari, DO, SFHM, FAAHPM, FACP, on prognostication in serious illness.

We are excited to announce the following Poster Day winners:

Quality Improvement:

1st place: A Quality Improvement Project: Evaluation of the Effect of Community-based REVIVE! Trainings on Medical Student Attitudes Towards Addiction – Authors: Hninn Lwin, MS, OMS-I; Jonathan Taylor-Fishwick, MS4; Stephanie L. Peglow, DO, MPH

2nd place: Cardiovascular and Other Diseases as Risk Factors for Opioid Overdose – Authors: Saad Mohiuddin, OMS-II; Robert W. Parker III, PharmD

3rd Place: Obstructive Sleep Apnea Screening and the Potential for Healthcare Cost Savings – Authors: Cherie Shuler, OMS-IV; Victoria Phillips, DO; Amith Skandhan, MD; James Robeson, MD; Kyle Jones, MD

Clinical Vignettes:

1st place: Vitamin C Deficiency Masquerading as a Vasculitis – Authors: Ariail Gilbert Schmitz, DO; Nowoghomwenma Ibie, MD; Vindhya Katpally, MD; Amith Skandhan, MD; Sri Valasareddi, MD

2nd place: Short-Term Antifungal Treatment in the Setting of Oropharyngeal Mucormycosis – Authors: Alyssa Pace-Patterson, OMS-III; Britni Smith, MPH, OMS-IV; Pooja Patak, MD; W. David Hewitt, MD

3rd place: Geniculate Neuralgia: Herpes Zoster, a virus that surpasses time – Authors: Pooja Patak, MD; Erica M. Roman, MD; Mamatha Kondapalli, MD

Original Research:

1st place: In silico and In vitro experiments analyzing novel human variants of the GALT gene yield contradictory results – Authors: Travis Mitchell, MS, OMS-II; Eric Johnson, PhD

2nd place: Increased Microtubule Density in PAH Endothelial Cells – Authors: Veronica R. Davidson, OMS-II; Jonathan R. Brown, PhD; Audrey A. Vasauskas, PhD; and Caleb Hamilton, PhD

3rd place: Medical simulation-based learning outcomes in pre-clinical medical education – Authors: Maxwell Jabaay, MA, MS; Dario A. Marotta, BS; Stephen Aita, PhD; Dianne Walker, BS; Leah Grcevich, BS; Victor Camba, BS; James R. Nolin, MSN, NP-C; James Lyons MD; John T. Giannini Jr., MD

ACOM and the Society of Hospital Medicine’s Wiregrass Chapter host Poster Day2020-11-10T17:16:42-06:00
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