Seth LandefeldDr. Seth Landefeld, MD, Professor and Chair, UAB Department of MedicineWelcome back to Letters to Tinsley, an update from your residency program where our motto, “Excellence Without Ego,” continues to inspire us to create the very best environment for medical training in the country.

All of us work hard, and all of us encounter frustrations—from snowballing regulations, to EMR hassles, to difficult situations in the lives of our patients and in our own lives. In this era when we hear much about increasing expectations and burnout, I have had a new insight: Doctors are heroes. Each of you is a hero to your patients, to your community, to your colleagues, and to your families. Let us celebrate this together while making our practices and our worlds better. I find W. Eugene Smith’s iconic photos of “Country Doctor” inspiring, as I do stories of what our residents and colleagues do at UAB each day.

Jason Morris Heudebert Endowed ScholarL to R: Jason Morris, MD, and Gustavo R. Heudebert, MD, MACPJason Morris, M.D., has been named the inaugural Gustavo R. Heudebert, M.D., MACP, Endowed Faculty Scholar, and he will be recognized at a reception on June 14, 2018, in the Edge of Chaos at Lister Hill Library.

Morris is an Alabama native who earned his undergraduate degree from Georgetown University in Washington, D.C., then returned to Birmingham to complete medical school, his residency, and a chief resident year at the UAB Heersink School of Medicine. Morris joined the faculty as an assistant professor of Medicine in the Division of General Internal Medicine in 2005. From 2008 to 2012, he directed the Internal Medicine Clerkship. He then took on the position of Associate Director of the Tinsley Harrison Internal Medicine Residency Program in 2012. Morris provides clinical care to hospitalized patients at UAB Hospital and the Birmingham VA Medical Center. He also supervises in the BVAMC internal medicine residents’ clinic.

2018 Chief Medical ResidentsL to R: Mack Brown, MD, Amanda Brito, MD, Karla Williams, MD, and Rob Smola, MDThe 2017-2018 year is quickly coming to a close, and we are soaking in the final weeks.  This year has been a great experience full of fun and learning.  We have our exceptional residents and program leadership to thank for such an amazing year.

The Spring has been a whirlwind.  We held our annual chili cook-off at Trim Tab Brewery, the Crawfish Boil at the Heudebert residence, and celebrated the accomplishments of our residents at the Spring Graduation Ceremony at the Regions Field.  Our PGY3s are headed all over the country either to begin their practice or continue their training, and we cannot wait to hear of their successes.  We had an excellent match and are thrilled to welcome a new class of 37 categorial and 4 preliminary interns in June.

by Ali Al-Beshri, MD (PGY-3)

There has never been more exciting time for genomic medicine, and if you are living in Alabama, then you are in luck! Thanks to the large support by the state, the leadership at UAB, and Alabamians’ generous donations and support, several large programs for personalized and genomic medicine were made a reality. Patients seeking genomic testing now have more options than ever before. Those options include the Alabama Genomic Health Initiative (AGHI), Hugh Kaul institute for Personalized Medicine, and the Undiagnosed Disease Program, along with other programs provided by Children’s of Alabama Hospital. These efforts are led by faculty at UAB in collaboration with Hudson Alpha Bio Institute in Huntsville, one of leading institutes for genome sequencing in the United States.

By Shannon Booker, MD (Med-Peds)

Social media is often maligned as a source of stress and wasted time. However, every once in a while, one is reminded of the positivity and community that social media can create. One example of this phenomenon is the recent Twitter hashtag #ShareAStoryInOneTweet. In this series of tweets, started by an emergency room physician at Oregon Health and Science University Esther Choo (@choo_ek), healthcare providers share 140-character stories of impactful experiences they have had in their job. Of course, being an open forum, there are off-topic and not-safe-for-work posts mixed in, but many of these stories, which read almost like poetry in their phrasing, ring true for those of us taking care of patients. Even some names familiar to UAB can be found in this thread. I’ve selected a few that I found meaningful and if you find these to be thought-provoking, I would encourage you to spend some time reading through the hashtag and perhaps contributing your own story.

Latesha ElopreLatesha Elopre, MD MSPHby Latesha Elopre, MD, MSPH

I believe that physicians have patient experiences that shape how they practice medicine and, frequently, inspire research questions that launch careers. For me, these experiences center on my time as a fellow at the 1917 HIV Clinic. I remember the shame and sometimes horror experienced by a number of patients who were establishing care.

One such case occurred for a Black woman in her late 30s. I remember after reviewing her chart, I came into the room to see a woman frantically pacing across the room in tears. Before I could even introduce myself, she told me that she recognized someone in the waiting room from her neighborhood and was terrified that now everyone would know her status. That clinic visit, I spent the majority of my time trying to console and reassure her. To help her understand that her infection was not shameful nor a “scarlet A” for all to see on her chest. That individual she saw in the waiting room was there because he also was infected. Moreover, our understanding of HIV was not the same as it was 30 years ago. But, her tears continued and she did not return to see me for her scheduled follow-up appointment or the next. Finally, 6 months later she returned to the clinic with the support of her son.