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In Memoriam: Brig. Gen. Max McLaughlin, M.D.

In Memoriam: Brig. Gen. Max McLaughlin, M.D.

We are saddened to share the passing of Mobile physician Max V. McLaughlin. Known as Dr. Max to many, he passed away peacefully in his sleep on Monday, Sept. 10, 2018. He is survived by his wife, Nikki, his children Victor, Anne and Lauren, and his granddaughter Savannah. He leaves a legacy of achievement across Alabama, and his love of this state showed in his dedication to improving the lives of Alabamians from his personal relationships to statewide influence.

Early Life

Dr. Max was born in 1928 to Dr. James D. McLaughlin (1880-1953) and Alma Dovie Whigham McLaughlin (1890-1983) in the tiny town of Blue Springs, Alabama. He was the seventh of eight children, six boys and two girls. Stories of his childhood paint a picture of a funny, clever, and social young man that set the stage for the friends and accomplishments of his adult years. In 1946 he presented a calf he brought by plane to President Harry Truman on the White House lawn in his role as president of the Alabama Future Farmers of America.

Military Career

In 1946 he joined the Army during WWII, becoming a paratrooper in the 11th Airborne, a division known as “The Angels.” He was fond of saying that one’s third jump was the most frightening, as the newness and excitement wore off and the reality of mid-century parachuting technology set in. He was stationed at snowy Camp Haugen for the occupation of Japan and returned to Alabama in 1948 to go to college on the G.I. Bill, hitchhiking from Blue Springs to Tuscaloosa to start his life at the university.

After graduating from college and medical school, he joined the Alabama National Guard. He remained enlisted until age 60, when he retired at the rank of Brigadier General. In 1988, the armory formerly on Museum Drive was renamed to Fort Hardeman/McLaughlin, a fitting tribute to its most vocal advocate. He was known and respected as “The General” to many, with this title softened to the nickname “Gen-Gen” by his granddaughter.

Roll Tide

Dr. Max was fond of saying that he was a Bama fan twice-over, as he was a fan of Bear Bryant when the Bear played for Alabama in the 1930s as well as his more well-known role as Coach in the 1970s. Dr. Max was at Alabama from 1948 to 1952, continuing on to medical school to complete his M.D. in 1956. At Alabama, he joined the Phi Gamma Delta fraternity where he found lifetime friendships with Jack McWhirter and Robert McWhorter. His stories from this time included escapades with his friend Dick Bounds, working on the Rammer Jammer magazine and winning second place in the “World’s Ugliest Man” contest with a costume of raw meat and bones. He loved Alabama football and delighted in their win on the Saturday before he passed.

Medical Career

He started his practice on Dauphin Island Parkway in 1952 when he moved to Mobile. It is difficult to summarize the impact of Dr. Max’s 46-year career as he treated thousands, delivered hundreds of babies, and mentored many other physicians. For example, his own cardiologist had Dr. Max as a family doctor when he was a child and several of the nurses who took care of him used to be patients of his or used to work in his office. He often joked to his own children when they complained of a skinned knee that he “wasn’t on call,” but of course he was. When he retired in 1998 he was still making house calls for his patients, for which he was profiled in the Mobile Press-Register as one of the last doctors to do so. In the summer, he took mission trips to Guatemala to freely treat those in need, armed with only one Spanish phrase: “Dos cervezas, por favor.” His black, old-time medical bag was always present. He cared for his patients as people, and they responded in kind.

Personal Life

Dr. Max passed down independence (and stubbornness) to his children along with the desire to leave the world a better place, albeit with differences in opinion on how to best do so. His son Victor, currently practicing radiology in New York, was born to his first wife Sally, who preceded him in death along with their daughters Holly and Lucy. He was married to his current wife Nikki for forty-four years and lived most of that time in his home on Old Shell Road, curating a magnificent vegetable garden in the front yard and an equally magnificent compost heap in the back. They had two daughters, Anne and Lauren. Anne earned her Ph.D. at Georgia Tech and is a professor in the psychology department at North Carolina State University. Lauren holds a master’s degree in exercise physiology as well as raising Max’s precocious granddaughter, “Savi.” In Dr. Max’s later years, his dog Killer was a constant companion whether it was quail hunting in Baldwin County or riding in the pickup truck to the post office. We hope they are together again.

Medical Legacy

Over ninety-two percent of Alabama’s counties have a shortage of health care providers, particularly primary care physicians. This statistic has worsened as Alabama has grown and as medical students chose specialties other than family medicine. Max McLaughlin was a family doctor his entire career, giving him a dogged passion for improving access to primary care in underserved areas of the state. Over fifteen years ago, he began work with Wil Baker, Ph.D., and the Alabama Medical Education Consortium to help establish the Alabama College of Osteopathic Medicine (ACOM), a medical school dedicated to training family practitioners who commit to serving rural areas across Alabama. ACOM graduated its first class in 2017, sending 128 doctors to their residencies in the towns and cities that most needed them. That number is growing every year, resulting in the largest impact of any program in the state dedicated to increasing primary care providers. Dr. Max also remained active locally in the University of South Alabama, serving on their Board of Trustees, was on the ALAPAC Board of Directors, a state medical association committee encouraging physician involvement in legislative affairs, and was a former president of the Alumni Association of the Medical College of Alabama.

In closing, it is impossible to sum up ninety years of life in a few paragraphs. We miss him immeasurably and are grateful for this chance to share some of what made Max McLaughlin so unique.

Celebrating His Life

Memorial Service was held at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church on Old Shell Road on Thursday, Sept. 13 at 10:30 a.m. In lieu of flowers, please consider donating to the USA Children’s and Women’s Hospital Collins Marie Carr NICU Garden in honor of his late granddaughter, Collins. His family would like to thank the nursing staff in the cardiology unit at Springhill Memorial Hospital and the Springhill Rehabilitation and Senior Residence for their kindness and care and for treating Dr. Max with dignity.

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Enterprise Physician Receives Martha Myers Role Model Award

Enterprise Physician Receives Martha Myers Role Model Award

Raised in the rural south Alabama community of Jack, Beverly Flowers Jordan, M.D., FAAFP, is a first-generation college student. Her parents stressed the importance of serving others and worked hard to ensure that their children were able to attend college. Dr. Jordan first expressed her desire to become a physician at the age of 5 and steadfastly worked toward that goal. Her childhood pediatrician, Dr. Joe Herod, was a source of inspiration and encouragement as she pursued her dream. She graduated valedictorian from Zion Chapel High School, her father’s alma mater, while being active in many school and community activities and working on her family farm. Dr. Jordan drew from these roots a firm work ethic, a love of sports and the outdoors, and a joy in caring for others.

Dr. Jordan graduated from the University of Alabama with a degree in Athletic Training. She was able to enjoy her dream school due to an academic scholarship and her work in the Athletic Department. Her love of medicine played a formative role in her development as a physician. She married her husband, Mickey, and they had their first child, Dustin, while she was in college. She was a member of Gamma Beta Phi National Honor Society, the University of Alabama Women’s Honors Program and the A Club.

The University of Alabama team physicians encouraged her to continue her studies and she went on to graduate in 2002 from The University of Alabama School of Medicine through the Rural Medical Scholars Program led by mentor, Dr. John Wheat. While there she was actively involved in the leadership of her class and of the Family Medicine Interest Group, which won the American Academy of Family Physicians Program of Excellence and Family Practice Advocacy Awards. She also served as the Student Board Member of the Alabama Academy of Family Physicians. While in medical school her family suffered the tragic loss of her 16-year-old cousin in a car accident. Because of this experience, Dr. Jordan developed a research project and toolkit to aid in training bystanders in basic trauma techniques. Upon graduation, she was honored with the Research Award for the Tuscaloosa campus of UASOM, the Rural Medicine Award, and the coveted William R. Willard Award.

Dr. Jordan completed her residency at the Tuscaloosa Family Practice Residency Program. During this time, she served as the Resident Member of the Board of Directors of the Alabama Academy of Family Physicians and President of the Resident Section. She spent countless volunteer hours on the sidelines of local high schools and The University of Alabama. She was honored to complete her Sports Medicine Fellowship under the instruction of Drs. James Andrews and Larry Lemak at the American Sports Medicine Institute in Birmingham. During this time the Jordan’s expanded their family with the addition of a daughter, Alison.

The Jordan family moved back home to Enterprise, AL where Dr. Jordan joined Professional Medical Associates as a physician partner in 2006. She is board certified in Family and Sports Medicine. She accepted Clinical Assistant Professorship status at UASOM in 2007 so she could continue to work with medical students and residents. She is active in local church and community groups and serves as the team physician for Enterprise High School. She served as President of the Medical Staff at Medical Center Enterprise and is currently serving on the Board of Directors.

Due to the influence of mentors, Drs. John Meigs, Jerry Harrison, Steve Furr, Jorge Alsip, and Buddy Smith; Dr. Jordan has continued to serve in leadership roles and participate in organized medicine. In 2009, she was elected President of the Alabama Academy of Family Physicians, and currently serves on their Board of Directors. She was elected Vice Speaker of the Medical Association of the State of Alabama in 2012 and went on to serve as Speaker of the House of Delegates and College of Counselors until 2016. She was elected to the Board of Censors of the Medical Association of the State of Alabama in 2016. She served on Alabama’s delegation to the American Medical Association from 2013-2018. She currently serves on the Alabama Joint Committee for Collaborative Practice, the ProAssurance Claims Underwriting Committee, and the Alabama State Committee of Public Health.

In 2014, she was honored with The University of Alabama School of Medicine Young Alumnus of the Year award and in 2015, she received the University of Alabama Jack Davis Professional Achievement Award. Dr. Jordan enjoys traveling and spending time with her family and counts herself blessed to be able to serve her patients and community

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Association Special Committee Looks at Solving Manpower Shortage

Association Special Committee Looks at Solving Manpower Shortage

MONTGOMERY – Earlier this week, the Association’s Manpower Shortage Task Force met in person for the first time to begin addressing a resolution adopted by the House of Delegates at the 2018 Annual Meeting in April. The resolution, submitted by the Pickens County Medical Society, directs the Association’s new task force to develop and restore adequate health care manpower in all geographic areas in order to provide quality local health care for all Alabama citizens.

Members of the task force discussed a number of issues but focused on the importance of fully funding the Board of Medical Scholarship Awards, scope of practice, physician pipeline programs, education and the possibility of GME expansion, recruitment and retention of physicians through meaningful tax credits and rural community support, and start-up business models.

Medicaid Commissioner Stephanie Azar and Dave White from the Governor’s Office joined the meeting to hear the concerns of the task force and take their report back to Gov. Kay Ivey.

“Because this was the first face-to-face meeting of the task force, we had a lot of ground to cover,” said Executive Director Mark Jackson. “Naturally there are a lot of concerns about health care shortages in rural areas, but our goal is a long-term solution. The members of the task force realize this isn’t an easy fix, which is why they were willing to express their concerns openly and honestly to the Governor’s staff.”

The task force and the resolution stand as a reminder that Alabama ranks in the last five of 50 states in health status categories, and while primary care medicine is effective in raising health status, supporting hospitals and improving the economic status of disadvantaged communities, the state’s aging population is causing an escalation in need for primary care physicians.

See also Association’s New Task Force to Address Health Care Manpower Shortage

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Six Association Members Inducted into Alabama Healthcare Hall of Fame for 2018

Six Association Members Inducted into Alabama Healthcare Hall of Fame for 2018

MONTGOMERY — This year the Alabama Healthcare Hall of Fame inducted 12 new members into the Class of 2018, six of which are currently or were previous members of the Medical Association. We are very proud of our physicians, and we would like to extend our best wishes to these medical pioneers for their amazing contributions to the field of medicine in Alabama. The Alabama Healthcare Hall of Fame was founded in 1997 with the purpose of recognizing those persons, living or deceased, who have made outstanding contributions to, or rendered exemplary service for health care in the State of Alabama.

Gerhard A. W. Boehm, M.D., FACS

Dr. Gerhard Boehm’s distinguished career spans more than 47 years as a general surgeon, including the performance of more than 7,000 breast surgeries primarily for cancer patients. His practice continues today. Through his vision and selflessness, he was instrumental in the development of a multidisciplinary Tumor Conference at Mobile Infirmary to advance cancer collaboration and treatment options. His work and leadership led to Mobile Infirmary’s achieving accreditation by the National Accreditation Program for Breast Centers. In addition to his private practice, Dr. Boehm served as an adjunct professor of surgery at the University of South Alabama School of Medicine. Active in many professional areas, he served as president of the Alabama Medical Alumni Association, and in 2017 he received its Distinguished Alumnus Award. Dr. Boehm also served as Alabama chapter president of the American College of Surgeons.

Boyde J. “Jerry” Harrison, M.D.

Dr. Jerry Harrison is a family physician from Haleyville, Ala., having served the community for more than 35 years. He received his medical degree from the University of Alabama School of Medicine. Continuing his interest in biochemical research, he has participated in more than 120 clinical research trials, including opioid dependence research. In 2008, Dr. Harrison helped develop a board-sponsored and approved prescribing course, which he has presented to more than 7,000 Alabama prescribers. The course was awarded the Administrators in Medicine National Award for Excellence in 2015. He has served as the president and chairman of three statewide medical associations: the Alabama Medical Directors Association, the Alabama Academy of Family Physicians, and the Medical Association of the State of Alabama. He has also served as chairman of the Alabama State Board of Medical Examiners. Dr. Harrison was the recipient of the Garber Galbraith Medical Political Award from the UAB Medical School Alumni Association. He is a private pilot, a talented musician, and a tireless advocate for rural physicians in Alabama.

William Lawrence Hawley, M.D.*

A native of Belle Ellen, Ala., Dr. Hawley grew up in Bessemer. He excelled as a student at the University of Alabama and graduated from Harvard Medical School. After Pearl Harbor he joined the U.S. Army Medical Corps and served in both the European and Pacific theaters, working in epidemiology and environmental medicine. For his service, Dr. Hawley was awarded the Order of the British Empire for meritorious military service by King George VI. Dr. Hawley was a kind, caring physician who was a pioneer in the clinical use of radioisotopes. He was the first to use radioisotopes for cancer treatment in Birmingham, Alabama. He established an isotope lab at the Birmingham Veterans Hospital and worked with skilled physicians providing radioisotope therapy to patients with breast cancer, ovarian cancer and thyroid disease. Dr. Hawley influenced and guided many young men and women and was widely known as a role model for fellow physicians.

Martin Lester, M.D.

Dr. F. Martin Lester is a pioneer in cardiovascular care and beloved by thousands of patients. Still practicing medicine full time, it is estimated that Dr. Lester has read more than 250,000 EKGs and seen almost 200,000 patients, many of which are fourth and even fifth generation. Considered Mobile’s “Dean of Internal Medicine” he became founder and clinical director of the Operation Bounce Back cardiac rehabilitation program, the first in Alabama and now one of the top 10 programs in the U.S. Dr. Lester advanced medical care while retaining the Hippocratic values and principles of his calling. An Auburn graduate, he studied at the Medical College of Alabama and completed his training under the tutelage of Dr. Tinsley Harrison. An avid sportsman, Dr. Lester is a member of the Auburn Football Letterman’s Club and one of the trustees that established Mobile Little League Football. He has served as team doctor for the Senior Bowl and the Alabama-Mississippi All Star Game.

Richard O. Russell Jr., M.D.*

For more than 55 years on local, state and national levels, Dr. Richard Russell was considered a preeminent leader in the field of cardiology. He received rigorous academic training at Vanderbilt University’s School of Medicine, then pursued post-doctoral training at Harvard University and the Medical College of Alabama. After service as an Army Captain, he returned in 1962 to the Medical College of Alabama (now UAB). Over the next 55 years he worked as UAB Professor of Medicine and as a physician at Cardiovascular Associates of North Alabama. At UAB Dr. Russell directed the first Myocardial Infarction Research Unit and co-authored the first comprehensive textbook on coronary artery disease. Dr. Russell was a nationally recognized leader of the Alabama and American Colleges of Cardiology. His other great legacy was with the Boy Scouts of America where he received the awards of Silver Beaver and Silver Antelope and was a Distinguished Eagle Scout.

William R. Willard, M.D.*

Born in Seattle, Wash., Dr. William Willard received his medical degree from Yale University in 1934. Dr. Willard built a distinguished record of service as founding dean of the College of Medicine at the University of Ky., where he established the first department of Behavioral Sciences and Community Medicine. In 1966, Dr. Willard chaired the American Medical Association’s committee on family practice. Their “Willard Report” is credited with recommending and establishing Family Medicine as the 20th medical specialty in the United States. In 1972, University of Alabama President David Mathews coaxed Dr. Willard out of his Kentucky retirement to move to Tuscaloosa and develop the University of Alabama College of Community Health Sciences. Today’s family medicine in Alabama is largely a product of the school Dr. Willard founded. One in eight family physicians in Alabama has trained at the Family Medicine residency program at CCHS. The program has provided more than 360 family practice physicians to the state with 50 percent remaining in Alabama.


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Remembering Ronnie Lewis, M.D.

Remembering Ronnie Lewis, M.D.

FT. PAYNE — Dr. Ronnie Lewis was the fifth of seven children. Growing up, according to his sisters Kathy Bell and Peggy Croft, they may not have had much, but they had each other and their faith. But on Tuesday, May 29, 2018, Dr. Lewis succumbed to throat cancer, which had metastasized to his lung. He left behind friends, family, colleagues and a lot of wonderful memories.

“Ronnie worked from the time he was 16. He carried out groceries, but he was such a good and honest person the store’s owner would let him close the store at night. That was a huge responsibility for a 16-year-old,” Kathy said.

That 16-year-old became the valedictorian of his class, and his motto was, “Why make a B when you can make an A.” He managed to put himself through medical school as one of 162 graduates of the University of Alabama School of Medicine. Dr. Lewis took his determination to Huntsville as he embarked on his internship…but first he needed a trailer to get there.

“When he graduated medical school and went to Huntsville, he was going to buy a trailer but the bank was going to make our father co-sign the loan with him. Ronnie didn’t like that and said no. He didn’t want our father tied up like that. We weren’t rich. We didn’t have much, and we worked very hard for what little we did have. Ronnie told that bank if they couldn’t let him have that loan then he wouldn’t get it. Then they went to another bank, and all Ronnie had to do was to sign the papers. It was taken care of,” Kathy said.

As soon as he could come home to Fyffe, he opened his first medical practice, but he had no intention of being the average physician. He loved people, and no matter what ailment brought his patients to his clinic they always got the best care…and a hug.

“There’s never a week that goes by when someone doesn’t tell us how Ronnie impacted their life,” Peggy said. “There are numerous people who have said he saved their lives, but Ronnie always said, ‘No, God did that. He just used me.’ He never took any credit and that’s why he was such a great doctor. If you came for a bad cold, you got a hug. If you came for a catastrophic disease, you got a hug. It didn’t matter what you came for, you got a hug. He had patients who would just come to the office just for those hugs. He didn’t make you feel just like another patient. He made you feel like family. He loved people, all people, and they loved him. It was like he never met a stranger.”

In fact, when he was elected Vice President of the Medical Association’s Board of Censors, he didn’t make a fuss over it, and he didn’t want anyone else to either. He wasn’t hiding his accomplishment, he just saw it as a way to better fight for his patients. It wasn’t about him, said his practice manager, Julia Acrey.

“That was just his way. It was never about him. When we found out, we had cake…and then he gave us that LOOK! It was all in good fun to celebrate him!” Julia said.

Faith was a large part of Dr. Lewis’ life. He would often pray for and with his patients He prayed for his patients and with his patients. Kathy remembered when her brother was on call at the hospital and met a patient named Maggie.

“When he walked in he said, ‘Miss Maggie, my name is Dr. Lewis, and I’m going to be your doctor.’ The first thing she said to him was, ‘Doctor, will you pray for me?’ He knelt beside her bed, held her hand and prayed for her. She never went anywhere else. Her daughter told us that some mornings she would get up and tell her that she needed to go see Dr. Lewis because she needed a hug. But that was Ronnie,” Kathy said.

Not only did Dr. Lewis have a gift for the medical arts but also a gift for the musical arts. Dr. Lewis was president of the Alabama School of Gospel Music. As much as he loved his patients, singing old-fashioned, convention-style gospel music and playing the piano gave his heart and soul immense joy.

“He loved ‘convention style’ gospel sings,” Peggy said. “ Ronnie would go to these sings every Friday night, stay all day Saturday and Sunday, and come back in the office on Monday and could hardly talk because he had sung his heart out over the weekend.”

According to Kathy, one of Dr. Lewis’ most prized possessions was his piano.

“When he went home at night, he would play for hours because it brought him so much joy,” Kathy said. “He’d played piano just about his entire life. God blessed him because he used his talent for Him, and he used every ounce of that talent for Him. That made him a great doctor, a great musician, and just a wonderful, special person.”

The Alabama School of Gospel Music held a special place in Dr. Lewis’ heart. ASGM hosts students for two weeks each June who are interested in pursuing a higher instruction in gospel music. The school is on the campus of Snead State Community College in Boaz and this year’s students traveled from seven states and Israel for the course.

It was Dr. Lewis’ final wish not for flowers but for donations to the Alabama School of Gospel Music to help pay the tuition for future students. So far since the end of May, the school has collected around $5,000 in his name. Donations can be mailed to the school at P.O. Box 199, Fyffe, AL 35971 or online at

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Bernard H. Eichold II, M.D. Receives 2018 Laureate Award

Bernard H. Eichold II, M.D. Receives 2018 Laureate Award

The Alabama Chapter of the American College of Physicians recently presented the 2018 Laureate Award to Bernard H. Eichold II, MD, DrPH, FACP of Mobile. He has been a supporter of the Col­lege and has represented its pro­fessional ideals throughout his career. He has also been a long­standing advocate for public health in the State of Alabama through his roles with the Mobile County Health Department.

Dr. Eichold received a Bachelor of Science degree from Tulane University in New Orleans, La., in 1975, and then obtained his medical degree from Tulane University School of Medicine in 1979. In addition, he also received Master of Public Health and Doctor of Public Health degrees from the School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine at Tulane University in 1978 and 1980, respectively. Dr. Eichold completed his residency in Internal Medicine at the University of South Alabama in 1983. He served as a clinical fellow in Diabetes and Endocrinology at the Joslin Clinic and as a research fellow in Endocrinology at Brigham & Women’s Hospital at Harvard Medical School from 1983 to 1984. He then entered private practice in 1984 by join­ing Mobile Medical Clinic and continued in private practice until 1990 when he became the Health Officer for the Mobile County Health Department.

During his time with the Mobile County Health Department, Dr. Eichold has made many contributions to both Mobile County and the State of Alabama. In addition to being the Mobile County Health Officer, he served as the Assistant State Health Officer for five years, and as the Area Health Officer since 1995. In these roles, he has been a staunch advocate of improving the health of his fellow Alabamians. Examples of his efforts during his career include improving vaccination rates, increasing mental health services, combating tobacco use, reducing teen pregnancies, and promoting of healthy activities.

Dr. Eichold has been active in academic medicine throughout his professional career as well. He served as an Adjunct Assistant Professor with the School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine at Tulane University from 1990 to 2005, and as a Clinical Assistant Professor from 1992 to 2005 in the University’s Community Medicine Program. He also served as Clinical Assis­tant Professor in the Department of Medicine at the University of South Alabama starting in 1984, rose to the rank of Clinical Professor in 1994, and continues to serve as an Adjunct Profes­sor today. During his tenure within the Department of Medicine at the University of South Alabama, he served as the Director of the Division of Epidemiology and Preventive Medicine from 1990 to 2011 and as the Public Health and Epidemiology course director for more than 20 years.

In addition to his roles in public health and academics, Dr. Eichold has provided service to the community and the country. He served in the U.S. Navy Reserve and currently is an Aviation Medical Examiner for the Federal Aviation Administration. He has been an active member in many societies and organiza­tions over his career, including the American College of Physi­cians, Aerospace Medical Association, Coastal Conservation Association, NASA DEVELOP program, and the United Way. Dr. Eichold has served on the governing boards of the Alabama School of Mathematics and Science Foundation, the Bay Area Food Bank, the Coalition for a Drug-Free Mobile County, the Mobile Association for Retarded Citizens Inc., and the Mobile Chapter of the Sickle Disease Association of America. He is also a past president of the Alabama Board of the American Diabetes Association.

Because of his long career of distinguished service to others, Dr. Eichold has received multiple honors and awards. In 2018, he was recognized as the Alumnus of the Year from the Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine. He received the William Henry Sanders Award from the Medical Association of the State of Alabama in 2002 in recognition of his many years of committed service to the public health needs of Alabama. In 2012, he received the Exceptional Public Achievement Medal from NASA and was also recognized as Mobilian of the Year.

Dr. Eichold is married to his beloved wife, Carolyn Maxwell Delchamps, and has three children. In his free time, he enjoys being with family at their farm and helping others.

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In Memoriam: Former Board Member Dr. Ronnie Lewis, 1957-2018

In Memoriam: Former Board Member Dr. Ronnie Lewis, 1957-2018

Former Medical Association Board Vice President Ronnie Lewis, M.D., of Fyffe, passed away on Tuesday, May 29, at Vanderbilt University Medical Center following a battle with cancer. Funeral services were held on Friday, June 1, 2018, at 2 p.m. at Rainsville Community Church. Burial followed in Green’s Chapel Cemetery with Rainsville Funeral Home, Inc. directing.

Dr. Lewis was a member of the Medical Association and the DeKalb County Medical Society since 1986.

Dr. Lewis is survived by his two brothers, Jackie Lewis of Fyffe, and Tony Lewis and wife Susan of Fyffe, AL; his two sisters, Peggy Croft and husband Bobby of Dawson, AL, and Kathy Bell of Fyffe, AL; his aunt, Elva Blackwell of Fyffe, AL; an honorary son, Bradley Bell and wife Dawn of Pisgah, AL; and three honorary grandchildren, McKenzie Bell, Rhylee Bell and Xander Bell all of Pisgah, AL.

Dr. Lewis was a member, the pianist and song director of Lee’s Chapel in Henagar, AL.

It was the sincere request of Dr. Lewis, that in lieu of flowers, donations be made to the Alabama School of Gospel Music at P.O. Box 199 Fyffe, AL 35971. If you would like more information, click here to go to the Rainsville Funeral Home website.

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AMASA Scholarships Help Students Achieve a Dream

AMASA Scholarships Help Students Achieve a Dream

Pictured from left in the photo are Michael Brisson, Masheika James, Stephanie Arana and James Coley.

The winners of the 2018 AMASA Medical Student Scholarships have been announced. The AMASA Medical Student Scholarship Fund was established in 2012 by the Alliance to the Medical Association of the State of Alabama in partnership with the Medical Foundation of Alabama to assist rising senior medical students with the financial responsibilities that inevitably accompany their senior year of medical school. Through fundraising events and memorial contributions, AMASA is able to present multiple awards ranging from $1,000 to $10,000 at the annual meeting of the Medical Foundation of Alabama in April of each year.

It is with great pride that we awarded the following four candidates the 2018 AMASA Medical Student Scholarships, and we wish them all the best with the hope this monetary award helps them accomplish their goals:

Stephanie Arana, Alabama College of Osteopathic Medicine

Stephanie, a native of Madison, is a child of first-generation immigrants. At a young age, her mother instilled in her the value of education, hard work, and striving for excellence, which led her on her path to the medical field. After completing her first year of medical school, Stephanie realized she was lacking in essential areas needed for the field of medicine: understanding others, empathetic nature, and passion. She used this realization to motivate her to serve the underserved population of Chicago to regain the concepts she was lacking. Participating in this opportunity helped Stephanie to learn how to balance her world of endless knowledge and her world of sacrifice, dedication and humility.

Stephanie is currently a student at the Alabama College of Osteopathic Medicine where she has served in many capacities, including ACOM Ambassador, National Medical Scholarships Peer Mentor, and ACOM Student D.O. of the Year. She plans to use the scholarship assistance to obtain audition rotations throughout the State of Alabama in hopes of solidifying a residency opportunity in state.

Michael Brisson, Edward Via College of Osteopathic Medicine

Michael, a native of Enterprise, sees the unique relationship that primary care medicine has with the United States military and the osteopathic field. He has had the opportunity to work closely with primary care physicians during his career as an Aeromedical Evacuation Officer in the Alabama Army National Guard. The level of expertise and compassion these physicians bring to the National Guard and the rural communities they serve inspired Michael to pursue a career in primary care medicine.

Michael is currently at the Edward Via College of Osteopathic Medicine in Auburn, and he resides in Enterprise with his wife and two children. Michael believes his medical school is preparing him to fill the critical need for physicians practicing in rural areas, and he plans to use his experiences as an active duty and National Guard medical officer, combat MEDEVAC pilot, and seasoned critical care paramedic to commit himself to the field of primary care in rural Alabama.

James Coley, Edward Via College of Osteopathic Medicine

James, a native of Montgomery, realized his dream of pursuing medicine in high school. His dream became a reality after observing, shadowing and learning from Oncologists and other team members at the Montgomery Cancer Center. During his time pursuing his undergraduate degree at the University of South Alabama, James participated in several leadership positions and programs focused on health and the medical field. Not only did his time at USA reinforce his desire to pursue a medical career, it also allowed him the opportunity to meet his wife.

James is currently a student at VCOM in Auburn. J. Danielle McCullough, Assistant Professor at VCOM, said of him, “While keenly invested in his own career development, James also continues to concentrate his efforts and prioritize the needs of others, especially those less fortunate that he…his altruistic efforts demonstrate his commitment to the VCOM mission of preparing community-focused physicians to meet the needs of underserved populations.”

Masheika James, University of South Alabama College of Medicine

Masheika, a native of Birmingham, defied the odds of her childhood by pursuing a second doctorate degree after graduating from a poverty-stricken high school in Birmingham with limited role models. After becoming a parent at the age of 18 and raising her daughter as a single mother, Masheika became even more motivated to prepare a better future for her daughter and become a professor in pediatrics.

A colleague from the University of Alabama at Birmingham said of Masheika, “She is very resilient and has overcome many challenges and adverse circumstances in her personal life and early educational background that would have crumbled the resolve of many other individuals.”

Masheika is currently at the University of South Alabama College of Medicine in Mobile. Throughout her college experiences, Masheika encountered very few minority professors, let alone women, in the sciences. This revelation urged her to pursue a career in higher education to serve as a role model for future minority high school students as well as minority college undergraduates.

Donations to the Scholarship Program can be sent to AMASA Treasurer Mary Beth Lloyd, 5949 Crestwood Circle, Birmingham, AL 35212. Donations may now be made directly to the AMASA Scholarship Fund from retirement accounts.

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Eat Your Veggies with Dr. and Mrs. Bryan Strickland

Eat Your Veggies with Dr. and Mrs. Bryan Strickland

MONTGOMERY – We’ve all heard the saying, “Eat your veggies,” but have you ever stopped to think exactly why we say it? It’s not just because our parents told us to. There’s scientific fact behind the benefits of loading up on those garden goodies. Montgomery physician Bryan Strickland and his wife, Carolyn, were not only impressed by the results of switching to a plant-forward lifestyle – they are passing their knowledge along to others hoping to reap the benefits of plant power.

For the Stricklands, it all began with The China Study, a study which examines the relationship between the consumption of animal products, including dairy, and chronic illnesses such as coronary heart disease, diabetes, breast cancer, prostate cancer and bowel cancer. The authors of the study concluded that people who eat a predominantly whole-food, plant-based diet, avoiding animal products as a main source of nutrition, including beef, pork, poultry, fish, eggs, cheese and milk, and reducing their intake of processed foods and refined carbohydrates, will escape, reduce or reverse the development of numerous diseases.

“About 10 years ago I read The China Study, which is the largest study on nutrition and health. It was an amazingly well-done study that looked at how nutrition impacted human health and health problems, most specifically cancer, over a 27-year period. When I read the study I was fascinated by it so I told my husband about it. Then we watched the movie Forks over Knives, which also looked at the impact of food on our health. That’s when Bryan and I really decided we needed to change our eating habits,” Carolyn said.

For Dr. Strickland, he felt this was a case of “physician health thyself.” The time had come for him to take the advice he was offering to his patients and put it into practice for himself.

“For me, it tipped the balance in that this was scientifically solid enough that we should act on what we saw and make changes in our lives first. There was enough evidence in this one study to prove to me that I didn’t need to look for nutritional supplements to keep me healthy. I could stop damaging my health by changing what I was eating and drinking every day,” Dr. Strickland said. “It was just that simple.”

Carolyn, who is also president of the River Region Medical Alliance, wanted to get more involved, so she became a certified Food for Life Instructor through the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine. The Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine is a nonprofit organization steered by medical professionals advocating education and research in an effort to change the way chronic diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, obesity and cancer are treated with a focus on plant-forward nutrition.

With Dr. Strickland’s already busy office filled with patients who could use what he and his wife were learning about a plant-forward diet, the next logical step was to find a partner willing to host cooking demonstrations. So, Carolyn contacted Jason Autry, Mission & Purpose Field Specialist with Whole Foods, and the Meatless Monday Supper Club was born.

“If a physician tries to go out into the community alone to do something, you don’t accomplish as much as you can if you enable a team who can work together,” Dr. Strickland said. “The key to getting the word out about Food for Life is definitely with teamwork.

The Stricklands work with Jason and Bari Levin, who is also a Food for Life instructor, to prepare plant-based meals with a purpose for each Meatless Monday dinner event. Most events have an educational theme, such as diabetes, in which Dr. Strickland offers a bit of medical advice and how the benefits of changing a person’s eating habits can bring positive health changes as well.

“The China Study really illustrated a whole food, plant-based diet can tip the odds back into a patient’s favor if that patient is pre-diabetic or has high cholesterol or other chronic health issues. But you can’t ever make promises about what a diet is going to do for any specific person. I have examples of cases where people have lost between 40 and 70 lbs. and got totally off their diabetes medication, but still, those are isolated cases. If you go all the way to a plant-based diet, you’ll earn a couple of milestones in your life. What’s happening is you’re breaking an addiction to fat, salt and meat that all work on those pleasure centers in the brain. What they all have in common is that if you stop what you’re addicted to, you’ll feel bad for a couple of weeks, but that goes away. After a couple of months, the cravings go away. But it’s what you’re giving yourself in the long run that’s so good. It’s those medical milestones that you’re looking for.”

For Carolyn, Jason and Bari, their mission is not only awareness of the health benefits of eating your veggies, but also to break down the misconceptions that eating a plant-based diet can’t be fulfilling or even tasty.

“The change is so much more than weight and what we look like on the outside. Internally, our health is a lot better, and we both have so much more energy,” Carolyn said. “Of course people are skeptical at first when I tell them about how we eat plant-based and never get tired of it, but that’s until they try it. And, that’s why we wanted to team up with Whole Foods. The cooking demonstrations show just how tasty vegetables truly are…and they are never boring!”

The Meatless Monday Supper Club at Whole Foods in Montgomery meets on the last Monday of each month at 6 p.m. and it’s free. Visit Whole Foods for details.

*Before beginning any new diet or exercise regime, please consult your physician.

Still not convinced? Here’s a recipe compliments of the Meatless Monday Supper Club you might want to try:


Rad Thai

Yield: 4 Servings

This dish has all the flavor of traditional Pad Thai and is low in fat.


  • 1/3 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon almond or peanut butter
  • 1/4 cup lime juice
  • 3 tablespoons tamari (or low sodium soy sauce)
  • 3 tablespoons ketchup
  • 3 tablespoons coconut nectar or pure maple syrup
  • 1 tablespoons peeled, roughly chopped ginger
  • 2 cloves garlic, sliced or chopped
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 8 ounces dry rice noodles, such as stick or vermicelli noodles
  • 1 cup thinly sliced red pepper
  • 1 cup matchstick-cut carrots
  • 1/2 cup sliced green onion
  • 1 cup mung bean sprouts
  • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro
  • 1 tablespoon chopped peanuts (optional)
  • 4 lime wedges
  • Baked tofu (optional)



In a blender, combine water, nut butter, lime juice tamari (or soy sauce), ketchup, coconut nectar or maple syrup, ginger, garlic, salt and red pepper flakes. Puree until smooth. Set aside.

Cook the noodles according to package directions. Once just tender (do not overcook or they will become mushy), drain. Add sauce to the cooking pot and place over low heat. Add the cooked noodles, red pepper, carrots and green onion. Mix until noodles are coated evenly. Once warmed through, add sprouts and cilantro. Top with peanuts (optional) and serve immediately with lime wedges. Add baked tofu if desired.

Nutritional Information

Per serving: Calories: 324; Protein: 7 g; Carbohydrates: 69 g; Sugar: 15 g; Total fat: 3 g; Calories from fat: 7%; Fiber: 4 g; Sodium; 1,059 mg

Source: Dr. Neal Barnard’s Cookbook for Reversing Diabetes by Neal D. Barnard, M.D.; recipes by Dreena Burton

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Meet Our New Board Members

Meet Our New Board Members

Dr. Hernando D. Carter of Birmingham was elected as At-Large Place No. 3. He is a board-certified internal medicine physician with experience in hospital medicine, primary care, long-term care and palliative care with a special interest in the care of the geriatric patient. He is a graduate of the University of Alabama School of Medicine and did his internship at Caraway Methodist Medical Center specializing in internal medicine. He completed his residency in internal medicine at Physicians Medical Center Carraway as Chief Internal Medicine Resident and at Baptist Health Systems.

Dr. Carter has served on the Pharmaceutical and Therapeutics Committee, Medical Executive Committee and Ethics Committee for St. Vincent’s East. He serves as a board member for Jefferson County Medical Society and the Jefferson County Board of Health. He is a member of the American College of Physicians, the Jefferson County Medical Society and the Medical Association of the State of Alabama.

Dr. Patrick J. O’Neill of Madison was elected as 5th District Censor. He is a board-certified in family medicine physician and medical director of Panacea O’Neill Medical Group in Madison, Ala. He is a graduate of University College in Galway, Ireland. He completed his internship at Regional Hospital in Galway, Ireland, and his residency in internal medicine at the University of Western Ontario, London Ontario, before his fellowship in family medicine at the Canadian College of Family Medicine.

Dr. O’Neill is a member of the American Academy of Family Practice, American College of Occupational and Environmental medicine, Ontario Medical Association, Canadian Medical Association, Canadian College of Family Physicians, Irish College of General Practitioner, Madison County Medical Society and the Medical Association of the State of Alabama.

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