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Ehab Molokhia, M.D., will serve as interim family medicine chair, as Allen Perkins, M.D., M.P.H., shifts his focus to continued efforts on healthcare access in underserved areas.

Published Aug 3rd, 2023

By Michelle Ryan

Ehab Molokhia, M.D., was recently named interim chair of the USA Health Department of Family Medicine. The family medicine physician and professor at the Frederick P. Whiddon College of Medicine at the University of South Alabama will build upon multiple leadership roles and past successes in his new position. 

“USA Health is experiencing significant growth in nearly all aspects of care delivery and expanding its academic mission,” he said. “It’s exciting to be part of this momentum, and I look forward to contributing to this growth as we work to improve the health of our community.”

Molokhia replaces Allen Perkins, M.D., M.P.H., who stepped down as chairman of the department to continue to focus his efforts on reaching underserved communities through training primary care physicians and obtaining grants to support health equity in rural communities.

“We are grateful to Dr. Perkins for his many years of service and his continued dedication to improving healthcare access in our communities,” said John V. Marymont, M.D., M.B.A., vice president for medical affairs and dean of the Whiddon College of Medicine. “At the same time, we appreciate Dr. Molokhia for accepting this new role with family medicine to continue the important work of caring for patients and educating the next generation of providers.”      

Since joining the faculty in 2002, Molokhia has served as director of the family medicine clerkship, medical director of the family medicine clinic and director of the family medicine residency. 

“I recently completed the Leadership Education for Academic Development and Success (LEADS) fellowship sponsored by the Association of Departments of Family Medicine (ADFM). The fellowship is intended to help prepare the next generation of Family Medicine academic leaders,” he said. “In addition, I was fortunate to have benefited from outstanding academic mentors within our institution, as well outside.” 

Molokhia foresees that family medicine will increasingly take the lead in healthcare delivery because of its comprehensive scope and continuity of patient relationships. He said he is poised to continue building a strong primary care environment at USA Health, while also providing an innovative training environment for students.

“Dr. Molokhia has demonstrated through his commitment to patient care and physician education that he is prepared to take on this role,” said Owen Bailey, M.S.H.A., FACHE, USA Health chief executive officer and senior associate vice president for medical affairs. “Dr. Perkins has done an excellent job leading the family medicine department, and we support his continued efforts to expand the delivery of quality primary care for all residents in our area.”

Perkins, who served the department as chair for more than 17 years, has been a tireless champion of healthcare access in underserved areas and maternity care in rural communities throughout the state.

“When I began my career, it was not my intent to stay in Mobile. I have had many opportunities to move, but my work and my family were always here,” Perkins said. “When I look at the growth of the institution over the years, I am proud of the part that I played.”

He detailed multiple accomplishments he helped lead, including the move to the Strada Patient Care Center, the transitions to three different electronic health record systems, the establishment of a primary care sports medicine fellowship and a rural maternity fellowship, assisting Franklin Primary Health Care Centers in developing a primary care residency, and more.

“In my tenure as chair, the department has been funded continuously by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) to develop a workforce responsive to the needs of the underserved,” he said. “We were instrumental in creating a Primary Care Pathway for students in the COM. We provided significant funding for the simulation lab through extramural funding. In other words, we have been very busy.”

The Primary Care Pathway program, supported by a Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) grant totaling more than $19 million, prepares students through a broad-based four-year program in primary care to serve patients in rural and underserved areas.

Looking ahead, Perkins said he plans to continue to focus his efforts on primary care training and maternity health in rural areas. He is awaiting a decision on a $12 million grant that would draw more students from underserved communities, train them and encourage them to return as care providers.

“The institution is beginning to work on organizing care in such a way that we can deliver care in a more effective and organized fashion in the region. We are already doing this in Monroeville with some telehealth for high-risk obstetrical patients,” he said. “The federal government would like to see the efforts more tightly organized and are offering money to do that. I will be assisting with organizing this effort.”  

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