Current Residents in the General Surgery Residency Program

PGY-5s

Deepa Cherla, M.D. Deepa Cherla, M.D.

Hometown: Basking Ridge, NJ
College: The College of New Jersey
Medical School: New Jersey Medical School (Accelerated 7-Year BS/MD Program)
Email: dcherla@health.southalabama.edu

Deepa Cherla is originally from Basking Ridge, New Jersey. As a high school student, she received a National Merit Scholarship and graduated as one of her class’s valedictorians. Dr. Cherla was accepted to an accelerated 7-year BS/MD program in high school and received a full merit-based academic scholarship to The College of New Jersey (TCNJ) in Ewing. During her 3 undergraduate years, she studied abroad at the University of Cape Town and helped engineer a science curriculum for middle school students in a nearby district. She eventually graduated with a Bachelor in Science in Biology from TCNJ and received Phi Beta Kappa recognition.

At New Jersey Medical School, she led multiple community service organizations, including the Student Health Advocacy for Resources and Education organization, and founded a medical clinic at a nearby homeless shelter. She also served on the Institutional Review Board and was class representative of the American Medical Women’s Association. Dr. Cherla was also a group leader and mentor in the Collaborative Approaches to Learning Medicine Group. She graduated with AOA recognition.

As a resident, she has approximately 40 publications and has received multiple grants and national and international research awards, including the Americas Hernia Society Best Manuscript/Presentation Award, the Surgical Infection Society Resident Poster Award, multiple oral presentation awards from the Abdominal Wall Reconstruction Conference, and the Society of Asian Academic Surgeons Resident/Fellow Development Scholarship. She has also received funding to and presented at a national conference on hospital efforts to “green” the OR. Dr. Cherla has received grants from the American Society of Colon and Rectal Surgeons. Outside of professional interests, she enjoys jogging.

In 2020, Dr. Cherla joined the General Surgery Residency program at the University of South Alabama as a PGY-4 categorical resident.

What does Dr. Cherla like most about being a resident at the University of South Alabama?

USA has a very positive and upbeat atmosphere and is committed to helping its residents reach their full potential. The faculty are friendly and genuinely want to teach. The residents are very supportive of each other and a pleasure to work with.  The hospital staff, including the nurses and operating room personnel, are great at what they do and always make themselves available to help.

 

Parker Mullen, M.D.Parker Mullen, M.D.

Hometown: Jasper, AL
College: University of Alabama
Medical school: University of South Alabama College of Medicine
Email: pmullen@health.southalabama.edu 

Dr. Parker Mullen graduated cum laude, with University Honors, from the University of Alabama with a Bachelor of Science degree in Biology with a concentration in health professions.  While at the University of Alabama, he was involved in humanitarian projects both domestic and internationally in Nicaragua and the Bahamas.  He also assisted with various research projects with the Department of Biology during his junior and senior years.  While in Medical school at the University of South Alabama College of Medicine, he worked on a translational research project with the Department of Surgery examining mitochondrial DNA in elective surgery patients. He also co-founded an annual case report symposium for medical students.  He then graduated from USA COM in 2017. 

In 2017, Dr. Mullen matched as a categorical resident into the General Surgery Residency at the University of South Alabama.  He and his wife, Camden, enjoy spending time on the Gulf Coast beaches with their two dogs. 

What does Dr. Mullen like most about being a resident at the University of South Alabama?

“Unquestionably the people here make this program set apart. USA is an incredibly well-rounded surgical program with attendings and staff who genuinely care about the residents and their development as training surgeons.  Along with them, the residents here truly are a family.  I’m honored to continue my training at South.”

 

Kenny Quang, M.D.Kenny Quang, M.D.

Hometown: Tulsa, Oklahoma
College: University of Oklahoma
Medical School: University of Oklahoma College of Medicine
Email: kquang@health.southalabma.edu 

Dr. Kenny Quang graduated from the University of Oklahoma with a Bachelor of Arts in Spanish Literature and a Bachelor of Science in Microbiology. While at university, he studied a year at the Univesidad de Alcala de Henares in Spain. While attending medical school, Dr. Quang helped start the Surgical Interest Group at the Tulsa branch campus and later became the president. During his fourth year, he helped teach the anatomy course for MS1s. He has been a part of several research projects ranging from human trafficking to basic science research throughout his medical education. In 2016, he won a regional competition for poster presentations for medical students. He graduated from the University of Oklahoma in 2017 and matched as a categorical resident into the general surgery residency at the University of South Alabama. 

What does Dr. Quang like most about being a resident at the University of South Alabama?

"I enjoy working with the people around me at USA and that it creates a challenging environment that provides unique learning opportunities and experiences."

 

William Ricks, M.D.William Ricks, M.D.

Hometown: Huntsville, Alabama
College: Samford University
Medical School: University of South Alabama College of Medicine
Email: wricks@health.southalabama.edu 

Dr. William Ricks attended Samford University as a Beeson Exceptional Scholar and graduated Summa Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Science degree in Biochemistry. During his time at Samford University, he served as a Samford Ambassador and was elected into Omicron Delta Kappa.

Dr. Ricks attended University of South Alabama College of Medicine on a Dean’s Scholarship. During medical school he served as the AAMC Organization of Student Representatives Southern Regional Chair and participated in the College of Medicine’s Curriculum Committee. Actively involved in the Christian Medical Ministry of South Alabama (CMMSA), he attended a medical mission trip to Tegucigalpa, Honduras and helped organize several yearly events hosted by CMMSA. As a junior medical student, he was inducted into Alpha Omega Alpha Honor Medical Society and received the ProAssurance Outstanding Patient Communication Award in his final year.

In 2017, Dr. Ricks matched as a categorical resident into the General Surgery Residency at the University of South Alabama. He is married and has one daughter. He enjoys spending time with his family, hunting, hiking and woodworking.

What does Dr. Ricks like most about being a resident at the University of South Alabama?

“After my freshman year of medical school, I did research with the Trauma Department at USA. It was during that time I realized the enthusiasm the attendings have for teaching and mentorship. As a surgical resident at University of South Alabama, we have the best leadership, learning environment to enable us to achieve our goals inside and outside the Hospital. I would not want to train anywhere else.”

 

Lindsay Williams, M.D.Lindsay Williams, M.D.

Hometown: Lexington, Kentucky
College: Western Kentucky University
Medical School: University of Kentucky College of Medicine
Email: williamsl@health.southalabama.edu  

Dr. Lindsay Williams attended Western Kentucky University on a combined academic/athletic full ride scholarship from 2008-2012. She graduated magna cum laude from the honors college with a degree in biology. During her time at WKU, she was a center midfielder for the Lady Hilltopper’s soccer team that competed in the Sun Belt Conference. In 2012 she received the award for “Female Scholar Athlete of the Year” from the athletic department. Additionally at WKU, she completed her honors thesis project entitled: “The Prevalence of Essential Hypertension in Kasigau, Kenya”.  

While attending medical school at the University of Kentucky, she worked extensively with the Trauma Acute Care Surgical Department, and presented her research, “The Influence of Pain Regimen on Pain Scores and Length of Stay on Blunt Thoracic Trauma Patients” at the Kentucky chapter meeting of ACS, with the manuscript published in the Society of University Surgeons journal. She also served as a member of a panel discussion at the ACS Clinical Congress in October of 2016 regarding millennials and surgical education entitled, “Mythbusters: Demystifying the Surgical Clerkship”. It was at this national meeting that Lindsay first met program director, Dr. Simmons.   

Dr. Williams volunteered extensively with her hometown church’s medical clinic that provides care to the underserved of Lexington. First opening in 2007, she is extremely proud to have volunteered with Refuge Medical Clinic for 10 years before moving to Mobile, a tenure that started with her as a high school student working the front desk. The time she spent at Refuge and the relationships she formed with many of the doctors, nurses, and patients were very formative in her pursuing a career in medicine.

Outside of the hospital, Dr. Williams enjoys playing soccer, exercising, riding horses, spending time outdoors, drawing, painting, and watching UK basketball.

What does Dr. Williams like most about being a resident at the University of South Alabama?

I love the down to earth people at USA and the warm, welcoming feel I got when I was on campus during the interview process. It has all the opportunities that a large academic center would provide, while maintaining the identity of a smaller, closer-knit community that really cares about everyone, and equips you to succeed. 

 

PGY-4s

Ibrahim Abou Saleh, M.D.Ibrahim Abou Saleh, M.D.

Hometown: Beirut, Lebanon
Medical School: Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland - Bahrain
Email: iabousalaeh@health.southalabama.edu

Dr. Ibrahim Abou Saleh graduated with honors from the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland – Bahrain with Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery and Bachelor of the Art of Obstetric. While at the Royal College of Surgeons, Ibrahim served on many community service projects and outreach events involving the homeless and underserved population. Following his graduation from medical school, He completed his post-doctoral research fellowship At Albert Einstein in New York. As the lead study coordinator, his research involved musculoskeletal rehabilitation in osteoarthritic patient and virtual reality analgesia in children. In 2018, Dr. Abou Saleh matched as a preliminary resident into the General Surgery Residency at the University of South Alabama. After completion of his second year at Loma Linda University Hospital, he returned as a categorical resident at the University of South Alabama in 2020.

He is married without children. Outside of residency, he enjoys the beach, exercising, and spending time with his family and friend

What does Dr. Abou Saleh like most about being a resident at the University of South Alabama?

The familial atmosphere of this residency program is a hallmark trait that sets this program apart. Everyone is very welcoming and warm. I am very grateful to be a part of the team here at South.

 

Colin Buckley, M.D.Colin Buckley, M.D.

Hometown: Tulsa, Oklahoma
College: University of La Verne, California
Medical School: University of Oklahoma College of Medicine
Email: cbuckley@health.southalabama.edu  

Dr. Colin Buckley grew up in Tulsa, OK, where he enlisted for the Army during high school to enter training and selection to serve as an Army Airborne Ranger in the 1st Ranger Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment – one of the country’s most prestigious special operations units. He participated in combat deployments to Iraq in 2007 and 2010, and Afghanistan in 2008, reaching the rank of Staff Sergeant while leading a squad-sized infantry unit.  His injuries received in Afghanistan awarded him the Purple Heart, and instilled in him a profound appreciation and interest in trauma care.

After separating from the Army in 2011, Dr. Buckley excelled in undergraduate studies, graduating summa cum laude in 3 years from the University of La Verne with a Bachelor of Science degree in Biology/Concentration in Pre-med/Health Sciences.  He returned to his home state to attend the University of Oklahoma College of Medicine.  During medical school, he assisted as an anatomy TA and was involved in several IRB proposals. He enjoyed being active with the campus Veteran’s and Military Alliance, the Leadership Health Science Center, and volunteering on weekends at a local free clinic.  Dr. Buckley matched as a categorical resident into the General Surgery Residency program at the University of South Alabama in 2018.  His career interests include trauma, critical care surgery, and emergency general surgery. He is happily married to his wife, Aly, and has two dogs, Kuma and Sid. In his free time, Dr. Buckley is an avid snowboarder, enjoys hiking, visits to the beach, shooting sports, and international travel with his wife.

What does Dr Buckley like most about being a resident at the University of South Alabama?

“The residents are a close group, and I appreciated how much they took interest in supporting not just myself, but my wife and her transition to Alabama, as well.  From the moment I attended the residency interview dinner, I have been welcomed as family.”

 

Alissa Doll, M.D.Alissa Doll, M.D.

Hometown: Louisville, KY
College: University of Kentucky
Medical School: University of Louisville
Email: adoll@health.southalabama.edu

Dr. Alissa Doll is a native of Louisville, Kentucky. She graduated from the University of Kentucky with a Bachelor of Arts in Music with an emphasis is flute in May 2013. While a student of the school of music, she served as the Drum Major (student leader of bands) throughout her senior year. During her time at the University of Louisville School of Medicine, she earned a Distinction of Medical Education, notable for research and teaching within the School of Medicine. She presented her educational research at local and regional conferences through the form of poster and podium presentations in 2016 and 2017. At the 2016 Research!Louisville conference, she earned first place for the Greenberg award in Education Research.  In March of 2018, she accepted a position at the University of South Alabama as a Categorical General Surgery Resident.

 

William Hardy, M.D.William Hardy, M.D.

Hometown: Auburn, Alabama
College: Auburn University
Medical School: University of South Alabama College of Medicine
Email: whardy@health.southalabama.edu 

Dr. Johnson Hardy attended Auburn University as a National Scholars Presidential Scholar and graduated Summa Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Science Degree (Biomedical Sciences). During his time at Auburn, Dr. Hardy received honorary scholarships from both the College of Science and Mathematics and the University Honors College, was consistently named to the College of Science and Mathematics Dean’s List, and was recognized as Phi Kappa Phi’s Outstanding Freshman Student before being elected to that society in his junior year. He also completed an Honors Thesis in anti-viral drug design, and in his final semester was honored with the Dean’s Award for Academic Excellence, having maintained an unbroken 4.0 GPA. As a medical student at the University of South Alabama, Dr. Hardy was an active member of the Wilderness Medicine Interest Group and the Christian Medical Ministry of South Alabama, serving in leadership roles with both organizations, becoming certified in Advanced Wilderness Life Support, and participating in medical missions trips to Peru and Rwanda.

In 2018, Dr. Hardy matched categorically into the General Surgery Residency Program at the University of South Alabama. When not in the hospital, he enjoys hunting and fishing, exploring the Mobile-Tensaw Delta, playing bluegrass guitar, reading old books, and driving rural backroads in his beloved southern Alabama.

What does Dr. Hardy like most about being a resident at the University of South Alabama?

“I believe the leadership in this program is unmatched at any other residency in the country. The unique culture at South, evident with even a casual association, is the direct product of their deliberate and purposeful efforts. While the training is truly exceptional, and almost tailor made for my interests, the unequaled commitment of the program to the success and development of its residents – both personally and professionally – was the deciding factor in my decision to rank South first. I wanted to help propagate the excellent training environment I saw, and I could not be more grateful for having been given the opportunity to train here.”

 

Wilson Huett, M.D.Wilson Huett, M.D.

Hometown: Springdale, Arkansas
College: University of Arkansas
Medical School: University of Arkansas COM
Email: whuett@health.southalabama.edu 

Dr. Wilson Huett graduated with honors from the University of Arkansas with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Biology. During medical school at UAMS, he returned to his high school alma mater to create and lead a medical professions interest group. He also worked with the Trauma and Emergency General Surgery Department and presented his research, “Gastrografin challenge protocol decreases length of hospital stay in patients with adhesive small bowel obstruction” at the 2018 Academic Surgical Conference.

In 2018, Dr. Huett matched as a categorical resident into the General Surgery Residency at the University of South Alabama. He is married to his high school sweetheart, and they are the proud parents of two French bulldogs. Outside of residency, he enjoys binge watching TV shows, eating good food, and watching college football (especially his beloved Arkansas Razorbacks).

 

Chelsea Olson, M.D.Chelsea Olson, M.D.

Hometown: Denver, Colorado
College: Virginia Commonwealth University
Medical School: Virginia Commonwealth University School of Medicine
Email: colson@health.southalabama.edu  

Dr. Chelsea Olson graduated summa cum laude from Virginia Commonwealth University with a Bachelor of Arts degree (Foreign Language: Spanish), University Honors, and completion of the Guaranteed Admission Program: Medicine (a competitive Honors College program guaranteeing high school seniors admission to VCU School of Medicine after completion of a four-year undergraduate degree). While attending Virginia Commonwealth University, she was named to the Dean’s List and received the Dean’s Scholarship four consecutive years, received the Honors College Weinberg Scholarship three consecutive years, and was inducted into the Phi Eta Sigma Honors Society, Golden Key, and the National Society of Collegiate Scholars. She conducted undergraduate research examining the synthesis, morphology, and application of zinc oxide nanoparticles, presented her research at symposiums and conferences, and was a coauthor on several publications including the book chapter, “Microwave Synthesis of Metal Oxide Nanoparticles,” in Metal Oxide Nanomaterials for Chemical Sensors. Dr. Olson continued to pursue her interest in volunteerism and international travel by serving a month long volunteer term at Nar-Sarah Clinic in Kabala, Sierra Leone, and studying abroad in Salamanca, Spain. After matriculation into VCU’s School of Medicine, she served as a student leader in the Christian Medical And Dental Association and received a Dean’s Commendation Letter during her third year. During her fourth year, Dr. Olson pursued her interest in surgery and missions by completing an international medical mission elective at Karanda Mission Hospital in Mashonaland Central, Zimbabwe.

In 2018, Dr. Olson matched as a categorical resident into the General Surgery Residency at the University of South Alabama. Outside of medicine, she enjoys playing soccer and volleyball, hiking, biking, playing piano, gardening, and quilting.

 

Richard Rieske, M.D.Richard Rieske, M.D.

Hometown: Greenwood, Arkansas
College: University of Arkansas
Medical School: University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences
Email: rrieske@health.southalabama.edu  

Dr. Richard Rieske graduated with honors from the University of Arkansas with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Biochemistry and a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Spanish. After completing freshman year, Richard served as a full-time missionary from 2006-2008 for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Days Saints in the Chile Santiago East Mission, becoming fluent in Spanish. After returning home his interests grew to include healthcare disparities in the Latino population and those with limited English proficiency. He completed an honors thesis in biochemistry in protein structure and function studies on the fibroblast growth factor receptor family (FGFR). During medical school at UAMS, he enjoyed volunteering in the community at free health clinics as an interpreter for Spanish speaking patients.

In 2017, Dr. Rieske matched as a categorical resident into the General Surgery Residency at the University of South Alabama. He is married without children. Outside of residency, he enjoys spending time at the beach, cooking out with his smoker, and fly-fishing.

What does Dr. Rieske like most about being a resident at the University of South Alabama?

“South set itself apart for me by its unity of purpose in striving for personal excellence by focusing of caring for others. From early on, I have seen that the program develops strong, competent surgeons without compromising the humanity of the individual behind the knife. The sense of camaraderie here is top down and genuine.  From interview day on, my wife and I have been met with the enthusiasm and support we need to be successful and to help continue a great tradition of hard work with good people.”

 

PGY-3s

Jonathan Bernard, M.D.Jonathan Bernard, M.D.

Hometown: Hutchinson, Kansas
College: Kansas State University
Medical School: University of Kansas School of Medicine
Email: jbernard@health.southalabama.edu 

Dr. Jonathan Bernard graduated from Kansas State University with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Biology and a Minor in Leadership Studies. While at Kansas State University, he was a member of The Edgerley-Franklin Urban Leadership Committee that did service projects in Memphis, Chicago, Boston and Kansas City’s underserved areas. He also, worked on research projects ranging from Colorectal cancer to studies of astronaut health in space with NASA. He was awarded The Johnson Center of Cancer research award in his last year and graduated cum laude in 2015. While in medical school at the University of Kansas School of Medicine, he excelled academically and clinically. He was selected as a Cadaver Dissection Team leader, Lecture Review Tutor, Jager Society Council member and inducted into The Gold Humanism Honor Society. He received high marks during his clinical clerkships as a 3rd medical student and scored well on the USMLE exams. He graduated from the University of Kansas School of Medicine in 2019.

In 2019, Dr. Bernard matched as a categorical resident into the General Surgery Residency at the University of South Alabama. Dr. Bernard is married with no children.

What does Dr. Bernard like most about being a resident at the University of South Alabama?

South’s strongest attribute is its community style of training, atmosphere and comradery. Mixed with its bold academic research, innovation and teaching style. It simply has the best of both worlds in a training program and was exactly what I was looking for. Not to mention the international experience in Rwanda, excellent board scores, fellowship/private practice placements and the overwhelming feeling of “Home”.

 

Charles Cox, M.D.Charles Cox, M.D.

Hometown: Birmingham, Alabama
College: Washington and Lee University
Medical School: University of South Alabama College of Medicine
Email: cccox@health.southalabama.edu 

Dr. Crawford Cox graduated from Washington and Lee University with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Biology. While at Washington and Lee University, he was a member of their inter-collegiate lacrosse team where he lettered as a freshman while also becoming an honor roll student. While in medical school at the University Of South Alabama College of medicine, he excelled academically and clinically. His research on “The Significant Impact of a Dedicated Team-Based Learning Curriculum on a Surgery Clerkship and Standardized National Examinations” was presented at the 38th Annual Meeting of the Association for Surgical Education in 2018.

What does Dr. Cox like most about being a resident at the University of South Alabama?

The best part about being a resident in the General surgery program at the University of South Alabama is the culture of the residents. It provides a learning environment that is unparalleled with the autonomy to make decisions but always knowing that you have help when you need it.

 

John Murfee, M.D.John Murfee, M.D.

Hometown: Nashville, TN
College: University of Virginia
Medical School: Quillen College of Medicine
Email: jmurfee@health.southalabama.edu 

Dr. John “Jack” Murfee graduated from the University of Virginia with a Bachelor of Arts degree in English. While at the University of Virginia, he was a member of the Division 1 Swim Team in which he swam backstroke events and medley relays. His accomplishments include multiple podium finishes in the 100 Backstroke at the ACC Championships, along with setting school records in the 100 Backstroke and 200 Medley Relay. He competed at the 2012 Olympic Trials and qualified for multiple NCAA Championship appearances. He earned “Lifter of the Year” and the Team Academic Award in 2013, and went on to serve as Team Captain his senior year. While at the Quillen College of Medicine, Jack served on many community service projects and outreach events involving the homeless and underserved populations of Johnson City. He was involved with the Tennessee Medical Association and was recognized with awards of membership recruiting and earned a LEAD Certificate for distinguished involvement with the TMA organization.

What does Dr. Murfee like most about being a resident at the University of South Alabama?

What immediately attracted me to the University of South Alabama was its hallmark familial atmosphere. The best impression I received of any program while on the interview trail was the resident and faculty dinner at Dr. Grimm’s house. Everyone was very welcoming and it was obvious that the camaraderie amongst the residents and faculty was authentic and genuine. I am beyond grateful to be a part of the team here at South, and I cannot wait to help this program maintain its excellent reputation!

 

Emily Smith, M.D.Emily Smith, M.D.

Hometown: Mobile, AL
College: University of Mississippi
Medical School: University of South Alabama College of Medicine
Email: emilysmith@health.southalabama.edu 

Dr. Emily Smith was born and raised in Mobile, AL before moving to Oxford, MS to attend the University of Mississippi on a full academic scholarship. While at Ole Miss, Emily was a member of the Sally McDonnell Barksdale Honors College and Kappa Delta sorority. She graduated summa cum laude in 2015 with a bachelor’s degree in Physics. She balanced her coursework with research in her final two years of college and successfully defended her Honors College senior thesis, which resulted in a publication in the Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres in 2018. As an undergraduate student, she was honored as a Taylor Medalist, the highest academic award presented by the University of Mississippi, recognizing no more than one percent of the student body each year.  She matriculated into medical school at the University of South Alabama College of Medicine in 2015, where she continued to excel academically. She was inducted into Alpha Omega Alpha Honor Society as a senior medical student. At graduation, she was presented with the Merk Award, which was awarded to 2 senior students who have demonstrated superior academic achievement. She also received a Glasgow-Rubin Achievement Citation, presented to those women students who graduate in the top ten percent of their class. During medical school, Emily volunteered and worked as an instructor in the Anatomy Outreach and DREAM programs, teaching and mentoring students that were interested in exploring medicine as a career choice. In 2019, Emily matched as a categorical resident into the General Surgery Residency at the University of South Alabama.

What does Dr. Smith like most about being a resident at the University of South Alabama?

The people here are definitely what drew me to stay at South Alabama for my surgical training. I knew that no matter what, the residents and attendings here would have my back and help me to achieve whatever goals I set for myself!

 

Mark Ward, M.D.Mark Ward, M.D.

Hometown: Biloxi, MS
College: Millsaps College, Jackson, MS
Medical School: University of Mississippi Medical Center
Email: maward@health.southalabama.edu 

Dr. Mark Ward graduated from Millsaps College with a Bachelor’s of Science in Biology, earning Excellence on his senior Comprehensive Exams. While attending Millsaps, he was selected as a Lilly Fellow of the Millsaps College Faith and Work Initiative, and was a member of the back-to-back conference championship football team. After graduation, he attended Mississippi College where he earned his Masters of Biomedical Sciences.  Dr. Ward then worked as a research assistant for Dr. Seshadri Raju, a vascular surgeon in Jackson, Mississippi. During this time he published multiple peer reviewed papers in the Journal of Vascular Surgery: Venous and Lymphatic Disorders, and the Annals of Vascular Surgery, and co-authored multiple presentations at the American Venous Forum. Dr. Ward then began medical school at the University of Mississippi Medical Center, where he assisted with multiple research projects and worked as a gross anatomy tutor. Outside of the hospital, Dr. Ward enjoys cooking, New Orleans Saints football, and spending time with his wife, Andie, and their dog Cohen. 

What does Dr. Ward like most about being a resident at South Alabama? 

The relationships with the other residents and attendings. We are able to receive great surgical training in a very supportive and family-like environment.

 

PGY-2s

Hayden Alford, M.D.Hayden Alford, M.D.

Hometown: Dyersburg, TN
College: Virginia Military Institute
Medical School: ETSU Quillen College of Medicine
Email: htalford@health.southalabama.edu 

Dr. Hayden Alford graduated from the Virginia Military Institute with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Chemistry. While at VMI, he was a full-scholarship member of the Division I FCS football team serving as both quarterback and punter for four years. Upon graduating from the Virginia Military Institute, he was awarded the Dave Hart Post-Graduate Scholarship from the Southern Conference. While at ETSU Quillen College of Medicine, Hayden served as the Public Relations Officer for the class of 2020 and as the Tennessee Medical Association Student Chapter President.

In 2020, Dr. Alford matched as a categorical resident into the General Surgery Residency at the University of South Alabama.

What does Dr. Alford like most about being a resident at South Alabama?

What most attracted me to South Alabama were the genuine relationships among the residents and faculty. This program stood out from all others I interviewed because of its well-balanced academic and clinical training combined with the true family-like atmosphere within the surgery department.

 

Victoria Bouillon, M.D.Victoria Bouillon, M.D.

Hometown: Pembroke Pines, Florida
College: Case Western Reserve University
Medical School: University of Florida College of Medicine
Email: vbouillon@health.southalabama.edu

Dr. Victoria Bouillon graduated from Case Western Reserve University (CWRU) with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Biochemistry, and minors in French and Buisness. While at CWRU, she was a member of Delta Gamma Fraternity and acted as the creative director and choreographer for the Annual Variety show. She was also channeled her love of dance as a member of the Spartan Dance Crew. While in medical school at University of Florida College of Medicine, she excelled academically and clinically. Given her passion for global health, she led several medical outreach trips to Fonds-Parisien, Haiti and was able to provide essential medical care to thousands of patients. Her research also delved into local health disparities and she played a large part in creating a self-sustaining farm at a local homeless shelter after conducting a nutritional needs assessment demonstrating the stark differences in health of the homeless that were closely linked to subpar nutrition.

In 2020, Dr. Bouillon matched as a categorical resident into the General Surgery Residency at the University of South Alabama.

What does Dr. Bouillon like most about being a resident at the University of South Alabama?

I remember returning home from my interview at South, and people asked me about it I would reply “it was like a giant hug”. The family atmosphere was palpable throughout my interview and I appreciated that the residents made it a priority to really get to know applicants. Although I knew that I was one of countless applicants, I felt like a priority during my one on one time, and felt like I got an accurate and complete representation of what South was all about during my short stay, and it was enough to make me want to stay for good.

 

Tyler Kaelin, M.D.Tyler Kaelin, M.D.

Hometown: Milton, Florida
College: Berry College
Medical School: University of South Alabama
Email: tkaelin@health.southalabama.edu

Dr. Tyler Kaelin grew up in the Florida panhandle before attending Berry College in Rome, GA. He graduated summa cum laude with a Bachelor of Science degree in Biochemistry and minor in Mathematics. He also graduated with honors following the completion of his honors thesis on the “Synthesis of a Fluorescent Universal DNA Nucleoside”. In 2016, he was awarded a Navy Health Professions Scholarship for medical school at the University of South Alabama. During his time in medical school, Dr. Kaelin helped pioneer the College of Medicine’s Wellness Program, serving for two years as the student-led initiative’s first president. As a third-year medical student, he was inducted into the Alpha Omega Alpha Honor Medical Society and Gold Humanism Honor Society. Dr. Kaelin was selected to serve on the LCME Accreditation Committee, as well as the Committee for Admissions as a student interviewer. He served as a student leader with the Christian Medical Ministry of South Alabama, participating in bible studies and medical mission trips to Costa Rica and Rwanda. At graduation, he was awarded -by vote of his classmates- the Medical Alumni Leadership Award “in recognition of outstanding leadership of [his] graduating class.” In his free time, he enjoys playing spike ball and volleyball, annual backpacking trips with his twin sister, making pottery, and kayaking the Mobile-Tensaw River Delta.

In 2020, Dr. Kaelin matched as a categorical resident into the General Surgery Residency at the University of South Alabama.

What does Dr. Kaelin like most about being a resident at the University of South Alabama?

The program is as committed to training excellent surgeons as it is cultivating an environment that fosters respect and builds community. Having completed medical school at South Alabama, I witnessed firsthand how the residents and faculty have empathy and compassion not only for their patients, but for their peers and department as well. It’s an honor to find myself among such hard-working and down to earth surgeons and surgeons-in-training.

 

Megan McCaul, M.D.Megan McCaul, M.D.

Hometown: Rolla, Missouri
College: Westminster College
Medical School: University of Missouri-Columbia School of Medicine
Email: mmccaul@health.southalabama.edu 

Dr. Megan McCaul graduated from Westminster College with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Biochemistry. While at Westminster College she was a member of the women’s basketball team. Her team received the honor of highest GPA amongst NCAA division 3 women’s basketball teams for the 2013-2014 season. She was also involved in other campus organizations throughout her undergraduate career. While in medical school at the University of Missouri, she was selected as a chair of the Student Ambassadors, who represent the medical school to the public and welcome incoming students. She graduated from the University of Missouri in May of 2020.

In 2020, Dr. McCaul matched as a categorical resident into the General Surgery Residency at University of South Alabama.

What does Dr. McCaul like most about being a resident at the University of South Alabama?

During the interview process it seemed that everyone was genuinely interested in the people they were recruiting to this program. My conversations with the people here were real conversations, which made me feel very welcome.

 

 

Loree Thornton, M.D.Loree Thornton, M.D.

Hometown: Colorado Springs, CO
College: Colorado State University
Medical School: University of Colorado School of Medicine
Email: lthornton@health.southalabama.edu

Dr. Loree Thornton originally graduated from Colorado State University with a B.A. in English and a license to teach secondary education. While at CSU, Loree competed on the Women’s Track and Field team receiving not only many academic honors, but multiple school and Mountain West Conference athletic records, and an NCAA DI championship title and collegiate record in the women’s hammer throw. Loree went on to compete professionally, winning many national and international competitions and represented the United States in the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing, China as well as served several years on the United State Track and Field Associated as women’s throw chair representative. Inspired, after retiring from the Olympics, Loree decided to pursue another long term dream of becoming a physician. Loree attended the University of Colorado Colorado Springs for her science prerequisites and matriculated into the University of Colorado School of Medicine in the Fall of 2016. While at CUSOM, Loree served in many leadership positions as well as involved in curriculum reform. She was nominated by her peers into Gold Humanism Honor Society for outstanding and compassionate patient care.

In 2020, Dr. Thornton reached her ultimate goal, which she refers to as her second once in a lifetime dream, and matched as a categorical resident into General Surgery Residency at the University of South Alabama.

What does Dr. Thornton like most about being a resident at the University of South Alabama?

When deciding on a program to train as a surgeon, I knew I wanted to train somewhere where I would receive exceptional training, have the ability to match into my desired fellowship, and have quality OR experiences. I wanted to make sure I was in a program that valued its residents and was invested in residents both inside and outside the hospital. I wanted a program where I could see myself working with the people every day for 5 to 7 years. I can safely say, at the interview dinner, I knew I this was my program. On the drive home from the actual interview, I already texted my husband I had found the one.

 

Katie Vines, M.D. (Prelim)Katie Vines, M.D.

Hometown: Hamilton, AL
College: Auburn University
Medical School: UAB School of Medicine
Email: kvines@health.southalabama.edu 

Dr. Katie Vines graduated from Auburn University with her Bachelor of Science Degree in Biomedical Sciences in 2013. While at Auburn University, she conducted research in the Department of Nutrition studying the molecular proteins and signaling pathways involved in the diabetic rat brain. This research interest led her to pursue a Master of Science in Nutrition Science after completing her undergraduate studies. She graduated summa cum laude for her graduate degree in 2016 and was later published for her research thesis titled “TrkA and Insulin Receptor in Streptozotin-Induced Diabetes Rat Brain”.

While in medical school at UAB, she shined during her clinical rotations, research, and in student leadership. She received excellent evaluations during her clinical rotations and was inducted into the Gold Humanism Honor Society through peer nomination and faculty voting. While conducting research with the Hepatobiliary Transplant Division in the Department of Surgery assessing tumor characteristics as prognostic indicators, she presented her findings at the Academic Surgical Congress in 2017. Her leadership roles included serving as an Orientation Leader, Clinical Skills Examination Evaluator, Introduction to Clinical Medicine Representative, Anatomy Teaching Assistant, and as President of the Surgery Interest Group. She graduated from UAB School of Medicine in 2020.

In 2020, Dr. Vines matched as a preliminary surgery resident into the General Surgery Residency Program at the University of South Alabama. She is interested in all aspects of surgery and is maintaining an open mind to all career paths made available by training in General Surgery.

What does Dr. Vines like most about being a resident at the University of South Alabama?

The people, definitely! Everyone is extremely welcoming, and the faculty are very invested in the education of all of the residents. Residents treat their co-residents as family and are very supportive of each other. All of the staff within the program go above and beyond to aid in the education of residents and make it an ideal environment for training. I have lived in Alabama all my life and knew I wanted to train in the Southeast for residency. The pre-interview dinner showcased the family-feel of the program and the investment of the faculty to residents. The close proximity to my family, excellent training and operative exposure, and (most importantly) collaborative support by faculty and residents were the factors that made South stand out.

 

PGY-1s

Shem Blackley, M.D.Shem Blackley, MD

Hometown: Shelby, NC
College: Appalachian State University 
Medical School: Wake Forest School of Medicine
Email: skblackley@health.southalabama.edu

Shem Blackley, M.D., graduated from Appalachian State University with a bachelor’s degree in cell/molecular biology. While at Appalachian State University, he was very involved in research, working in a freshwater ecology lab that focused on the ecological impacts of dam creation and removal on rivers in the Southeastern United States. He also had his own research project regarding the fungal pathogen Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis and its impact on amphibian population decline in the Southern Appalachians. While attending Wake Forest School of Medicine, Shem was a co-founding member of a school anatomy tutoring group and involved in colorectal research looking at the effect of patient demographics on surgical treatment outcomes of terminal ileitis in Crohn’s disease. During Shem’s final year of medical school, he was inducted into the Alpha Omega Alpha medical Honor Society. 

In 2021, Dr. Blackley matched as a categorical resident into the general surgery residency at the University of South Alabama College of Medicine. 

What does Dr. Blackley like most about being a resident at the University of South Alabama? 

“Everyone was very friendly and genuinely interested in getting to know me as a person during the interview season. There is a ubiquitous sense of respect amongst the residents and faculty members that fosters an ideal learning environment.”

 

Meghan Blythe, M.D.Meghan Blythe, MD

Hometown: White City, KS
College: Kansas State University
Medical School: University of Kansas School of Medicine
Email: mblythe@health.southalabama.edu

Meghan Blythe, M.D., graduated summa cum laude from Kansas State University with a bachelor’s degree in agricultural economics. She worked for four years in Colorado for a cattle feeding company before making a career change to pursue medicine. While in medical school at the University of Kansas School of Medicine, her extracurricular involvement reflected her interests in rural medicine and medical education. Most notably, she led a team of fellow students in the development of the Clinical Anatomy Mentorship Program, a pilot program incorporating gross anatomy peer teaching within the M3 surgery clerkship. She graduated from University of Kansas School of Medicine with honors for her academic and clinical performance as well as completion of a scholarly project.

In 2021, Dr. Blythe matched as a categorical resident into the general surgery residency at the University of South Alabama College of Medicine. Outside of medicine, Meghan enjoys live music and grilling. 

What does Dr. Blythe like most about being a resident at the University of South Alabama? 

“I interviewed at many places that would train me well as a future surgeon, but what made South stand out was the promise that the faculty, residents, and staff would support me both professionally and personally. These are the people whom I want to be surrounded by for the next five years.”

 

Elizabeth Krilich, M.D.

Elizabeth Krilich, M.D. 

Hometown: Dyer, IN
College: Franciscan University of Steubenville
Medical School: Indiana University School of Medicine
Email: emkrilich@health.southalabama.edu

Elizabeth “Kril” Krilich, M.D., graduated magna cum laude from Franciscan University of Steubenville with a bachelor’s degree in biology and a minor in chemistry. There, she played soccer at the NCAA Division III level for all four years, serving as a captain her senior year and receiving MVP that same year. Her research pursuits during this time were in bioinformatics, where she published her findings on sequence conservations between various enzyme families. In addition, she conducted research at Abbott Laboratories with the FISH program, which concentrates on studying neglected diseases that affect largely developing countries. She was able to publish results on the prevalence of hepatitis delta in Cameroon. In her undergraduate years, she participated in mission outreach to the people that lived in the nearby Appalachia, where she felt called to provide care. 

She matriculated that fall into medical school at Indiana University School of Medicine with her pre-clinical years in South Bend and her clinical rotations in Indianapolis. She volunteered often with several organizations helping women who suffer from domestic violence, served as president of the South Bend chapter of American Medical Women’s Association, and received the Gold Humanism Honor Award. Her research pursuits included working in the University of Notre Dame’s biomedical engineering department with gold nanoparticles tagging HER2+ cells, and later with the orthopedic department in Indianapolis on hip and knee replacement outcomes. She graduated from Indiana University in 2021, got married, and is now in her categorical intern year at the University of South Alabama College of Medicine. 

What does Dr. Krilich like most about being a resident at the University of South Alabama?

“I love the resident culture that the faculty take care to cultivate and carry on through the years. There is an environment of cooperation without malignant competition. I also enjoy the warm weather and southern hospitality.”

 

Elizabeth Lockett, M.D.Elizabeth Lockett, MD

Hometown: Marietta, GA
College: Berry College
Medical School: Medical College of Georgia
Email: ehlockett@health.southalabama.edu

Elizabeth “Lib” Lockett, M.D., graduated magna cum laude from Berry College with a bachelor’s degree in animal science. While at Berry, she was an honors program student and played both women’s soccer and women’s tennis at the varsity level, becoming captain of the soccer team her senior year. Throughout her college career, she earned all-conference honors in soccer and an All-Conference Sportsmanship Award for tennis, in addition to Berry’s Scholar-Athlete Award all four years of college. In addition to playing soccer and tennis, she worked several jobs at Berry, including research assistant and scholarship fundraiser. Upon graduating in 2013, she moved to northeastern China to teach English, eventually moving home to the U.S. in 2015 to pursue a career in medicine. She began medical school at the Medical College of Georgia in 2017, earning multiple scholarships and awards, including “Student of the Year” at MCG’s Northwest Campus in 2020 as well as the J. Paul Ferguson Award for Leadership in 2020. She was also inducted into the Gold Humanism Honors Society in 2020. Additionally, she participated in and led trips to Peru during medical school. Her research in medical school focused on the use of point-of-care ultrasound in clinical rotations for medical students (Ultrasound Curriculum Implementation into a State-Wide Family Medicine Clerkship, 2019).

In 2021, Dr. Lockett matched as a categorical resident into the general surgery residency at the University of South Alabama College of Medicine. Outside of medicine, she enjoys hiking, playing sports, and gardening. 

What does Dr. Lockett like most about being a resident at the University of South Alabama? 

“Without a doubt, it’s the people. When I interviewed at South, I was blown away by how friendly, welcoming, and genuine each resident and attending was, and how each person seemed full of purpose. I felt like I was joining a family of residents working toward a common goal of becoming technically excellent, patient-centered surgeons. This welcoming ‘family feel’ has only increased as I have moved to Mobile and prepared to begin my training. I am thrilled and honored to be a part of this program.”

 

Oreoluwa Oyetan, M.D.

Oreoluwa Oyetan, M.D.

Hometown: Lagos, Nigeria
College: Howard University
Medical School: Howard University College of Medicine
Email: ooyetan@health.southalabama.edu

Ore Oyetan, M.D., was accepted to Howard University Washington, DC on a full tuition scholarship. He graduated summa cum laude with a bachelor’s degree in biology and minor in chemistry. While at Howard, he received the sophomore Alain Locke Howard for maintaining a 4.0 throughout freshman year. In his senior year, he was inducted into Phi Beta Kappa, the oldest honorary scholastic society in the US, which counts among its members a number of US presidents, Supreme Court Justices and Senators. After matriculation into Howard University College of Medicine in 2017, he served as a Senator on the Executive Board Student Council. 

In 2021, Dr. Oyetan matched as a categorical resident into the general surgery residency at the University of South Alabama College of Medicine. Outside of medicine, he enjoys spending his time in the gym & watching basketball. 

What does Dr. Oyetan like most about being a resident at the University of South Alabama?

“While interviewing, I loved the camaraderie among residents and faculty. The rapport was authentic, and the family atmosphere is genuine.”

 

Morgan Roberts, M.D.

Morgan Roberts, M.D.

Hometown: Mobile, AL
College: Auburn University
Medical School: University of South Alabama College of Medicine
Email: morganeroberts@health.southalabama.edu

Morgan Roberts, M.D., graduated from Auburn University with a bachelor’s degree in biomedical sciences. While at Auburn, she participated in multiple research projects within the department of biology and was named to the College of Science and Mathematics Dean’s List all four years. Following college, Dr. Roberts was able to return to her hometown to attend medical school at the University of South Alabama College of Medicine. During her time in medical school, she was elected to serve on the LCME Accreditation Committee and served as a founding member and president of the Women in Surgery Interest Group.

In 2021, Dr. Roberts matched as a categorical resident into the general surgery residency at the University of South Alabama College of Medicine.

What does Dr. Roberts like most about being a resident at the University of South Alabama?

“As a medical student at South Alabama, I was given the opportunity to truly ‘see’ the department of surgery firsthand. I was impressed by how capable the residents were both in and out of the operating room and the opportunities provided by the program. But even more so, I was drawn to the people. The comradery amongst the residents and the enthusiasm of the attendings made it hard to imagine choosing anywhere else to complete my residency!”

 

Justin Grimes, M.D. (Prelim)Justin Grimes (Prelim)

Hometown: Murfreesboro, TN
College: Middle Tennessee State University
Medical School: East Tennessee State University Quillen College of Medicine
Email: jcgrimes@health.southalabama.edu

Justin Grimes, M.D., graduated with honors from Middle Tennessee State University with a bachelor’s degree in biology. While there, he was named on the College of Sciences Dean's List all four years. After completing his undergraduate education, he spent time working with veterans at the VA Hospital in his hometown. During his time at East Tennessee State University Quillen College of Medicine, he served as vice president of the Surgery Interest Group, served as a mentor for disadvantaged high school and college students, and volunteered at COVID-19 testing facilities. He graduated from ETSU Quillen College of Medicine in 2021. Outside of his professional life, Dr. Grimes enjoys running, watching sports, and spending time with his wife Courtney and cat, Truffles.

In 2021, Dr. Grimes was offered a preliminary resident in the general surgery residency at the University of South Alabama College of Medicine.

What does Dr. Grimes like most about being a resident at the University of South Alabama?

“What impressed me most about this program was the kindness, support, and camaraderie among the residents and faculty. This is a program that strives to see each one of its residents succeed. It provides training that is among the best in the nation, and I am excited to be part of it.”

 

Verlisa Kennedy-Franklin (Prelim)

Verlisa Kennedy-Franklin, M.D. (Prelim)

Hometown: Mobile, AL
College: Louisiana State University and University of South Alabama
Medical School: University of South Alabama College of Medicine
Email: vrkennedy@health.southalabama.edu  

Verlisa Kennedy-Franklin, M.D., graduated from Louisiana State University with a bachelor’s degree in biology and a minor in secondary education. During her junior year, she was accepted to a program called GEAUX Teach which allowed her to become a certified science teacher in Louisiana and surrounding areas. After moving back home after graduation, she pursued a career in teaching. After resigning from teaching in 2015, she pursued a second degree at the University of South Alabama. After completing two years of studies, she graduated in 2017 with degree in biomedical sciences and matriculated into medical school at the University of South Alabama College of Medicine. During her time in medical school, she became interested in the field of anesthesiology.  She has been married since 2018 to her husband, Elijah, and they have one son, Micah.

In 2021, Dr. Kennedy-Franklin matched as a preliminary resident into the general surgery residency at the University of South Alabama College of Medicine. 

What does Dr. Kennedy-Franklin like most about being a resident at the University of South Alabama?

“As a medical student here, I was able to get a taste of what USA’s surgery residency had to offer before I was a resident. I was blown away by how much of a family type vibe the residents gave off. Now as a resident, I get to experience this comradery firsthand. Inspired and encouraged by those above us, I have already started feeling as if I was gaining a new family as my co-interns and I began to enjoy each other’s company before the first day of orientation. My co interns are a delight and they love on my 6-month-old son almost as much as I do! When you are surrounded by people who are supportive and easy to get along with, it makes going to work each day a little bit better. The attendings are always encouraging us to reach out for help and if we have any questions. They are giving us the confidence to ask if we are unsure and this attitude of support and acceptance makes the environment less stressful and also helps with keeping a good work moral.”

 

Victoria Prete, M.D. (Prelim)Victoria Prete, MD

Hometown: Natick, MA
College: Fashion Institute of Technology
Medical School: University of Massachusetts Medical School
Email: viprete@health.southalabama.edu 

Victoria Prete, M.D., graduated from the Fashion Institute of Technology with a bachelor’s degree in fashion design. After deciding to pursue a career in medicine, she studied at the University of Massachusetts Boston receiving a bachelor’s degree in psychology. While working towards her second degree, she worked as a mental health counselor in an eating disorder residential program. She then went on to do research at Boston Children’s Hospital in orthopedics before starting at the University of Massachusetts Medical School. While in medical school, she cofounded a medical device company and was selected from a competitive pool of applicants for the 2020 Capital Networks Female Founder Fellowship. She is also an experienced researcher with multiple peer-reviewed publications, presentations, and funded grants.

In 2021, Dr. Prete matched as a preliminary resident into the general surgery residency at the University of South Alabama College of Medicine. 

What does Dr. Prete like most about being a resident at the University of South Alabama?

“I greatly value the supportive environment cultivated by the faculty and staff at the University of South Alabama. I also appreciate the sense of camaraderie amongst the residents. I am especially grateful for my PGY-1 cohort all of whom have been incredible and encouraging individuals from day one.”

 

Kyle Sheppard, M.D. (Prelim)Kyle Sheppard, M.D. (Prelim)

Hometown: Waco, TX
College: University of Arkansas
Medical School: McGovern Medical School
Email: ksheppard@health.southalabama.edu

Kyle Sheppard, M.D., graduated magna cum laude from the University of Arkansas in 2013 with a bachelor’s degree in biology. While at the University of Arkansas, he was accepted into the honors college and defended his senior thesis on the “Studies of Curcumin and Brartemicin Analogues in Breast Cancer Metastasis.” He also served as president of the Student Health Advisory Committee on campus for two years and participated in global health trips to Thailand, Cambodia, and Honduras. 

During his time at McGovern Medical School, he excelled academically in his preclinical and clinical coursework. He was awarded a Graham Award in Quality Improvement & Patient Safety for his research in pediatric handoffs from the OR to ICU with the department of pediatric surgery. He presented his findings at the Academic Surgical Congress national meeting in 2019. His leadership roles included Global Surgical Student Alliance Chapter president, McGovern Society peer mentor, and student ambassador tasked with interviewing and recruiting pre-medical students. Outside of his professional interests, Dr. Sheppard enjoys playing soccer, fishing, hiking, and cooking.

In 2021, Dr. Sheppard matched as a preliminary surgery resident into the general surgery residency at the University of South Alabama College of Medicine. 

What does Dr. Sheppard like most about being a resident at the University of South Alabama? 

“Everyone in the program have made me feel welcomed and cared for since the day I matched. I really enjoy the close-knit, family feel of the program. The senior residents and faculty are very supportive and love to teach.”