September 2013

Baptist Awards Phillips

Baptist Health System named Bob Phillips, administrator of Walker Baptist Medical Center, the recipient of the Homer M. Lloyd Jr. Leadership Award, the system’s most distinguished award. The award is given annually to a leader within Baptist Health System who leads by example, demonstrates concern for the personal and professional development of employees and is committed to the BHS mission. It is named in memory of long-time friend and board member Homer M. Lloyd, Jr.

Under Phillips’ leadership, over the past four years Walker Baptist has seen an impressive financial turnaround, helping to secure the hospital’s position as a major employer and health care provider for the people of Walker County. Since becoming administrator at Walker Baptist in 2009, Phillips has identified key needs of the hospital to meet the community’s health care needs and has brought about significant improvements.

“Walker Baptist is consistently a ‘best performer’ on clinical care measures and has improved its patient satisfaction scores significantly, moving up to the 88th percentile nationally,” said BHS President and CEO Shane Spees. “And the team at Walker Baptist, led by Bob, has seen significant improvements in patient safety, which is evidenced by national recognitions the hospitals has received for the past two years.

Argo Joins Alabama Allergy

Sunena Argo, MD has joined Alabama Allergy. Argo graduated received her medical degree from the UAB School of Medicine. She then completed her Residency in Pediatrics at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences and Arkansas Children’s Hospital in Little Rock. She completed her Allergy and Immunology Fellowship at the University of Missouri Kansas City and Children’s Mercy Hospitals and Clinics.

Argo served as an instructor in the Department of Pediatrics at the University of Mississippi Medical School. Additionally she has been recognized for several honors including Arkansas Children’s Hospital Chairman’s Scholar Award and Presidential Honors at UAB.

Argo has contributed to research on severe atopic dermatitis in children as well as asthma in the Delta region; an ongoing study of asthma in the rural population. She also volunteers for Asthma Camp and Juvenile Diabetes Camp providing education and evaluations.

UAB Research Sheds New Light on RNA Polymerase

Scientists at UAB report surprising findings regarding the enzymes that make RNA, called RNA polymerases, in a study published in Cell Reports. The findings suggest a new strategy to identify potential targets for controlling rampant cell growth, a hallmark of many cancers.

The study looked at two RNA polymerases known as polymerase I and II (Pol I and Pol II) in brewer’s yeast cells. RNA polymerases are enzymes that make RNA based on the genetic code found in DNA. Pol I and Pol II have separate but similar cellular roles. In essence, Pol I makes the RNA that forms the bulk of ribosomes - the factories that make protein - and Pol II makes RNA that the ribosomes use as templates for making proteins.

“Science has long assumed that any mutations in similar regions of one RNA polymerase will have the same effect on related RNA polymerases,” said David Schneider, PhD, primary investigator of the study. “We found that mutations in Pol I that are identical to known mutations in Pol II did not have the same effects on polymerase activity. This finding identifies unique features of Pol I that could potentially be exploited to develop drugs that target one polymerase while not interfering in function of the other.”

Schneider says where this may have applications for human health lies in controlling the rapid cell growth associated with cancer. Controlling the production of ribosomes is an excellent way to control cell growth.

Sullivan Appointed Chairman of AHLA

Thomas Sullivan, attorney with Cabaniss, Johnston, Gardner, Dumas & O’Neal LLP has been appointed by the AHLA Board of Directors as Chairman of the American Health Lawyers Association Dispute Resolution Service Council. The Council is the seven person body which oversees the AHLA Dispute Resolution Service. The Dispute Resolution Service is a provider of arbitration, mediation, and medical staff hearing officer services for the healthcare industry.

AHLA has a membership of over 12,500, composed of private sector attorneys, government attorneys and in-house counsel, as well as finance officers, compliance officers, healthcare consultants, regulatory professionals, physicians, nurses, CEOs, and public health officials.

Construction Begins on New Bruno Cancer Center

Construction on the $23 million new Bruno Cancer Center at St. Vincent’s Birmingham began in July. Brasfield & Gorrie are the general contractors on the project, which is scheduled for completion in August 2014.

The three-story, 50,000 square foot building will house Medical and Radiation Oncology at St. Vincent’s Birmingham in an environment designed with features proven to be psychologically supportive, such as an abundance of natural light, soothing colors, information resources, reduced noise, increased privacy and comfortable spaces. The new Bruno Cancer Center will have advanced technology, including a Varian TrueBeam STx.

For more information or to make a donation to help St. Vincent’s continue its heritage of cancer care, go to or contact St. Vincent’s Foundation at 930-2370.

Alabama ACS Conference

The Alabama Chapter of the American College of Surgeons held its annual conference this summer in Point Clear, Alabama.

Surgeons gathered to hear panel discussions on topics such as: Inspiring Quality: Highest Standards; Diverticulosis/Diverticulitis; a Legislative Update, Lymphadenectomy; High Value Surgical Care and Foregut Pathology.  Poster Presentations were given residents from programs including Baptist Health System, UAB and University of South Alabama.

The James G. Donald, II Memorial Residents Paper Award was given to Yann-Leei Lee, MD for his presentation on Elevated mtDNA CAMPs are Linked to Outcome in the Severly Injured as well as Melissa L. Korb, MD for her presentation on Use of Optical Imaging to Improve the Surgical Resection of Breast Cancer.  The William A. Maddox Cancer Award was given to Brett Broussard, MD for his presentation on Multi-targeted approaches in the treatment of Pancreatic Ductal Adenocarcinoma (PDAC).

Recognition was given to David McKinley, MD, FACS for his year of service as President of the Alabama Chapter.  The new chapter president is Mary T. Hawn, MD, FACS who practices at UAB, Department of Surgery.

Smith Joins Integrated Solutions

Todd Smith has joined Integrated Solutions as a systems analyst. Smith is formerly of Stefanini Global IT Contracting, with Dell Perot at Catholic Health Partners in Cincinnati, Ohio. While there, he worked with over 1,000 end users, and is highly experienced with Healthcare IT in enterprise environments.

He is also responsible for the creation and direction of festival and sound reinforcement and stage management for the Juneteenth Festival, which focuses on African Americans’ involvement in the community.

Integrated Solutions provides end to end network management and technology support to many of the region’s healthcare providers, law firms and professional practices.

SVMIC Earns “A” Rating 30 Consecutive Years of “A” or Higher

State Volunteer Mutual Insurance Company (SVMIC) has again received an “A” (Excellent) financial strength rating from A.M. Best Company. This marks the 30th consecutive year SVMIC has maintained an “A” or better rating. No other physician-owned liability insurer has earned a higher rating for as many consecutive years.

“We are very pleased that A.M. Best has again awarded SVMIC an “A” rating. SVMIC is committed to maintaining the financial strength required to support our policyholders for the long term,” said John Mize, Chief Executive Officer.

The A.M. Best Company is the oldest rating agency in the world, reporting on the financial condition of insurance companies since 1899.

Founded in 1976, SVMIC insures more than 14,000 physicians in Tennessee, Arkansas, Virginia, Kentucky, Georgia, Alabama and Mississippi.

Vickers Named Dean of UAB Medical School

Selwyn Vickers, MD, has been named the next senior vice president for Medicine and dean of the UAB School of Medicine. Vickers is a world-renowned surgeon, pancreatic cancer researcher, and pioneer in health disparities research. He was recommended after an extensive national search.

Vickers, 53, spent his formative years as a young faculty member at UAB, beginning in 1994, and he directed the section of gastrointestinal surgery from 2000-06. He now is the Jay Phillips Professor and Chair of the Department of Surgery at the University of Minnesota Medical School. He will begin his new post at UAB October 15, 2013.

“We were fortunate to have a pool of highly talented candidates who recognize that UAB is doing great things,” said UAB President Ray Watts. “In the end, Dr. Vickers emerged as the right person at the right time for UAB. We are glad to have him back.”

“It is my great honor to return to Alabama and UAB, where my family and I created so many wonderful memories,” Vickers said. “I look forward to working with Dr. Watts and everyone else at UAB.”

Alabama MGMA Summer Conference

The Alabama chapter of the Medical Group Management Association held their summer conference at Destin in August.

The three-day conference featured speakers on a variety of topics, including a legislative update from MASA; implementing ICD-10; handling HIPAA privacy and security issues; accountable care organizations; and navigating the Affordable Care Act.

Speakers included Colin Luke of Bradley Arant Boult Cummings; Jason Biddy of Alabama Allergy and Asthma; Mark Jackson of the Medical Association of the State of Alabama; and Robert Tennant, senior policy advisor with the MGMA Governmental Affairs Department in Washington, DC.

Salter Receives Life Inspiration Award

Susan Salter, MD was awarded the Life Saver Award by The American Cancer Society at the 2013 Life Inspiration Awards, an event that recognizes the special efforts of patients who are fighting cancer along with oncology caregivers.

Salter, a Radiation Oncologist at St. Vincent’s Bruno Cancer Center, was nominated by her staff, peers, and patients.

Salter received a Bachelors Degree from Emory University and earned her Medical Degree from the UAB School of Medicine. She also completed her radiation oncology residency at UAB.

Salter has strong ties in the Birmingham medical community. Both her mother and father are retired physicians, and her brother and sister are surgeons.

Specialty Hospital Opening on Brookwood Campus

Select Medical has filed a letter of intent to relocate a 38-bed specialty hospital for chronically critically-ill patients from Trinity Medical Center to Brookwood Medical Center. Licensed as a long-term acute care hospital, Select Specialty Hospital of Birmingham will operate as a “hospital-within-a-hospital” at Brookwood to provide specialized care for patients with the most critical conditions. The move to Brookwood is subject to state regulatory approval.

“We look forward to integrating our team of 125 medical professionals into Brookwood’s campus,” said Andrea White, MSHA, CEO of Select Specialty Hospital of Birmingham. In 2012, the specialty hospital cared for patients from more than 40 other hospitals located throughout central and north Alabama.

Certified by Medicare and accredited by The Joint Commission, Select Specialty Hospital of Birmingham offers a more resource-intensive level of physician and nursing care than most general acute-care hospitals. It also specializes in more respiratory services and individualized therapies for critically-ill patients. The specialized care is often an ideal transition for high-acuity patients who need continued care following ICU care at a larger hospital. In 2013, the specialty hospital was recognized by the American Association of Respirator Care as a Quality Institute.

“Opening such a unique hospital at Brookwood means we can offer patients specialized care to continue the progress our physicians and critical care teams achieve,” said Garry Gause, president and CEO of Brookwood Medical Center.  “Healthcare reform requires us to think beyond traditional hospital walls.”

FARE Walk for Food Allergy in October

People with food allergies, their family and friends, and local community members will participate in Food Allergy Research & Education’s Walk for Food Allergy on Saturday, October 19th at Railroad Park from 8:00 am to 12:00 pm. The FARE Walk unites thousands of Americans seeking a safe world for people with food allergies. This potentially life-threatening disease affects up to 15 million Americans, including one in 13 children.

The FARE Walk is taking place in more than 60 communities nationwide to fund food allergy education, advocacy, and research.

“A food allergy reaction sends someone to the emergency room every three minutes. Sadly, kids with food allergies know that one bite of the wrong food could have dangerous consequences. But it does not have to be that way. We are making great progress in developing life-saving treatments,” said John Lehr, CEO of FARE.

Participants can sign up to walk individually or as part of a team. Sponsorship opportunities are still available. For more information or to register or volunteer, visit

Physicians Join Medical West

Several new physicians have joined Medical West.

Jessica Gill, MD has joined the practice at Medical West OB/GYN Health Center. Gill, a native of Foley, Alabama, received her Bachelor’s degree from the University of South Alabama.

She received her medical degree from St. Matthew’s University and completed her residency at Richmond University Medical Center in Staten Island, New York.

Brian Wells, MD has joined Medical West as a Hospitalist. Wells, a native of Mobile, received his Bachelor’s degree from the University of Alabama in Huntsville and received his medical degree from the University of South Alabama. He completed his internship and residency at South Alabama Medical Center.

Jonathan Mize, MD has joined the practice at Medical West Hueytown Health Center. Mize graduated from Auburn University and received his medical degree from the University of South Alabama. He completed his internship at Medical Center East in Birmingham. He is board-certified in Family Medicine.

Birmingham Allergy & Asthma Opens New Office

Drs Carol Smith and Clara Chung, with Birmingham Allergy & Asthma Specialists, PC, opened a new office in Inverness in July.

This new space in Beaumont Village is also available for sublease two to three days a week. Please contact office manager, Jan Gibson, for details. (205) 943-1197.


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