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May 25, 2016 - Two USA College of Medicine Faculty Members Honored With Teaching Awards

estrada_hundley-1.jpgThe University of South Alabama recently hosted its TeamUSA Quality Enhancement Plan (QEP) annual celebration of success. Dr. Benjamin Estrada, professor of pediatrics and assistant dean for medical education at the USA College of Medicine, and Dr. T.J. Hundley, associate professor of internal medicine at the USA College of Medicine, were honored with teaching awards.

The purpose of the event is to recognize the outstanding accomplishments of faculty participating in the TeamUSA QEP. “Dr. Hundley, Dr. Estrada and I participated in South’s initial launch of the TeamUSA Quality Enhancement plan in 2012,” said Dr. Julie Estis, director of QEP and associate professor of speech-language pathology at USA. “Since then, they have been unwavering beacons for the program within their departments, leading other faculty members to implement team-based learning.”

Team-based learning (TBL) is the pedagogical focus of the university-wide QEP, aiming to improve student learning outcomes, to achieve higher levels of critical thinking and problem-solving skills, to enhance collaboration and communication and to apply course content to real-world situations.

“These universally valuable skills are especially important for medical students,” Dr. Estis said. “Physicians use these skills to provide optimal treatment for patients - working together as a team.”

Dr. Estrada received the Professional Development Fellow Award and a Certificate of Pedagogy in team-based learning. To qualify for the TeamUSA QEP Certificate of Pedagogy, recipients must complete a minimum of five QEP professional development sessions, submit at least three application activities and submit a peer-reviewed manuscript, professional conference presentation or grant proposal. “Dr. Estrada exceeds the expectations of this award and is a valuable contributor to team-based learning at USA,” Dr. Estis said. Dr. Estrada also received recognition for being a faculty development presenter and a pedagogical scholar.

Dr. Hundley received the 2016 TeamUSA QEP Educator of Distinction Award. “His vision has resulted in significant education innovations not only in the internal medicine clerkship for which he is responsible, but also across multiple courses within the four years of our undergraduate medical education curriculum,” Dr. Estrada said.

The TeamUSA QEP Educator of Distinction Award is intended to distinguish those QEP faculty members who express a commendable enthusiasm for the implementation of TBL and the impact on the quality of education it provides. “Dr. Hundley has demonstrated a conviction for the success of students and the improvement of their learning through innovative educational techniques such as team-based learning,” Dr. Estis said. “He has transcended expectations of both his colleagues and students.”

Dr. Hundley also received a Certificate in Pedagogy in team-based learning and recognition for being a faculty development presenter, a pedagogical scholar and a Professional Development Fellow.

Each university accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools is required to develop and implement a QEP.

In the fall of 2012, the USA College of Medicine launched a curriculum structure designed to facilitate communication between teachers and students, enhance student engagement and collaboration, as well as incorporate appropriate teaching technology. This new structure resulted in the establishment of the Active Learning Center (ALC), which neighbors the Biomedical Library on USA’s main campus.  The space accommodates 11 teams of seven students so that every station faces a 42” touch screen monitor.

Additional ALCs have been developed at USA Medical Center and USA Children’s and Women’s Hospital to facilitate medical student education during their clerkships. This team-based learning approach allows the group members to work together by bringing their various expertise and using their collective knowledge to analyze data.

For more information on the quality enhancement plan at USA, visit

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