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+00:00

ACOM students to compete in Simulation Competition this November

The Alabama College of Osteopathic Medicine (ACOM) will hold its annual Simulation Competition (SimComp) on campus hosted by ACOM’s chapter of the American Medical Student Association (AMSA) on November 20 and 21. Eight teams of first- and second-year medical students will compete against each other in a race to save the patient, with preliminary, semifinal and final rounds to determine one winning team to advance. Student teams have been training for SimComp during the fall 2020 semester. This year, the majority of qualifying teams are composed of first-year students, a unique outcome that demonstrates the growing value of simulation among incoming students.

SimComp is an event designed by ACOM to prepare students to compete in the national SimChallenge competition. Each team is presented with an emergent clinical scenario, which requires medical knowledge, clinical skills, teamwork, communication, and calm nerves to overcome the challenges. One ACOM team advances to the national competition each year. ACOM has risen to success through its students’ participation in simulation competitions beyond the College, earning recognition on both national and international stages.

In 2017, a team of second-year ACOM students won the national SimChallenge event and represented the United States at the international competition in Paris, defeating the French team in the final round to become international champions. Last year, the ACOM team won the first national Virtual Patient Challenge hosted by AMSA and those students were invited to compete in the first International Virtual Patient Challenge at the Somesics – Sociedad Mexicana de Simulación en Ciencias de la Saludon conference. ACOM hopes to continue its storied success and capture another title in spring 2021, with this local tournament serving as an important step in that journey.

In accordance with social distancing guidelines this event will not be open to the public. Masks will be required for entrance into the building and those participating must wear gloves.

ACOM students to compete in Simulation Competition this November2020-10-29T19:49:59+00:00

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+00:00

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+00:00

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+00:00

Dr. Fernandez named to the ACOM board

The Alabama College of Osteopathic Medicine (ACOM) is pleased to announce that Stephen L. Fernandez, MD, has been appointed to the college’s board of directors as an at-large member.

Dr. Fernandez is a board-certified physician in Diagnostic Radiology and he specializes in Vascular and Interventional Radiology. He has practiced for more than 20 years at Radiology Associates of Dothan. Dr. Fernandez is a past president of the Southeast Health medical staff. He has also served on Southeast Health’s medical executive committee as chairman of the Department of Radiology.

Dr. Fernandez earned his medical degree from the University of Florida College of Medicine in Gainesville and completed his residency and fellowship at Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center in Winston-Salem, N.C.

Dr. Fernandez named to the ACOM board2020-10-02T03:08:46+00:00

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+00:00

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+00:00

A message from the Dean

A Message from the Dean of ACOM:

I believe that I speak for the entire ACOM community in expressing the pain and sadness we all share in the death of George Floyd.  We recoil from the images of his death because they are directly contrary to our core values as humans – the core values proclaimed in ACOM’s mission statement.

At ACOM, we strive for a life of integrity, compassion, and positive action. Our core values include Respect and Diversity. ACOM stands strong in support of all people who face discrimination because of the color of their skin, or on any other basis.

I stand with the entire ACOM community now in reaffirming our core values. Thanks to all ACOM students, faculty, and staff for your ongoing and unwavering commitment.

James C. Jones, DO, FACEP

Dean, Alabama College of Osteopathic Medicine 

A message from the Dean2020-10-01T17:43:11+00:00

Team Cotard’s Delusionals wins National Virtual Simulation Competition

A team of ACOM students competed recently competed in and won the 2020 national Virtual Patient Challenge hosted by the American Medical Student Association (AMSA). The team, Cotard’s Delusionals, won the ACOM simulation competition in the Fall and was selected to move forward to represent the college at the AMSA event.  SIM competition was transitioned to a Virtual Patient Challenge. The national event transitioned to a virtual format, requiring a restructuring of teams, which two teams of three students each. The teams were Cotard’s Delusionals, with Kyle Cohen, Jessica McLean and Alyssa Pace-Patterson, and Still Cotard’s Delusionals with Sophia Jaffri, Alexandra Sappington and Joseph Bernhard. The two teams competed on Friday, April 17th against 14 other teams from around the country. The first round consisted of completing two 20-minute cases, with scoring based on the accuracy of examination, diagnosis and management of a virtual patient. Cotard’s Delusionals qualified for the final round, competing against three other teams, again with two 20-minute cases.  Following the case completion and a debrief, AMSA announced the winners, with Cotard’s Delusionals taking top honors.

Team Cotard’s Delusionals wins National Virtual Simulation Competition2020-10-05T16:07:12+00:00
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