Last week Austal USA delivered the Expeditionary Fast Transport (EPF) ship USNS Newport (EPF 12) to the U.S. Navy at the company’s headquarters in Mobile. Newport is the 22nd surface ship Austal USA has delivered to the U.S. Navy in seven years, including three this year.
The Spearhead-class EPF, a 338-foot, high-speed catamaran, provides high-payload transport capability to U.S. combatant commanders around the world and adds versatility to the fleet. The ship’s large flight deck, open mission bay and habitability spaces provide an opportunity to conduct a wide range of missions from maritime security operations to humanitarian aid and disaster relief missions.
The ship’s flexibility also allows it to support future missions such as special operations, command, control and primary medical operations. With its ability to access small and degraded ports with minimal external support, the EPF provides specialized options to fleet and combatant commanders.
“We’re proud to be able to provide the Navy with this highly capable ship,” Austal USA President Craig Perciavalle said in a prepared statement. “These EPFs play an important role in supporting our nation’s defense as evidenced by the multitude of significant missions EPFs have fulfilled globally since the Navy took delivery of USNS Spearhead (T-EPF 1) in 2012.”
Upon delivery of USNS Newport, two more Spearhead-class EPFs remain under contract with Austal. Modules for Apalachicola (EPF 13) are being constructed in Austal USA’s module manufacturing facility. Construction will also begin on Cody (EPF 14) before the end of the year.
In addition to the EPF program, Austal is under contract to build Independence-variant Littoral Combat Ships (LCS) for the U.S. Navy. Twelve have been delivered, while an additional five are in various stages of construction.
NEW DIRECTOR ARRIVES AT BELLINGRATH
Dr. F. Todd Lasseigne, the former president and CEO of Tulsa Botanic Garden, has assumed the mantle as executive director for Bellingrath Gardens and Home effective this month, replacing Dr. Bill Barrick, who retired in July 2019 after holding the role since 1999.
Lasseigne hails from Thibodaux, La., and earned his B.S. from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette before attending the University of Georgia to pick up a Master of Science degree in horticulture and then N.C. State University in Raleigh to earn a Ph.D. in horticultural science.
In the midst of his studies, he also participated in a 10-month fellowship in the UK, having been awarded the Martin McLaren Horticultural Scholarship from the Garden Club of America.
“I studied gardens, horticultural history, plant conservation and put 13,000 miles on that car in one year, which is a big deal in England,” he said. “It really cemented for me a love for the garden side, because I thought I was going to be a college professor.”
In 2005 Lasseigne became founding executive director of the family-owned Paul J. Ciener Botanical Garden in Kernersville, N.C.
In 2011 he was initially hired as the executive director for the Tulsa Botanic Garden where he oversaw 70 acres of gardens, expanded fundraising and helped raise annual attendance from 2,000 to upwards of 35,000 during his tenure.
“Having not lived in the Gulf Coast region for 30 years, I look forward to this return to my original horticultural zone,” Lasseigne said.
PROVIDENCE ADOPTS CUTTING-EDGE STROKE PROCEDURE
Ascension Providence recently announced in a press release its first successful completion of a cutting-edge Transcarotid Artery Revascularization (TCAR) procedure for patients who suffer strokes due primarily to carotid artery disease.
The minimally invasive surgery uses a special device designed to reduce the risk of stroke during an operation to open blockages in the carotid arteries that occur due to a lack of blood supply to the brain.
One common statistic widely cited for the 15 million-plus people who are the victims of strokes annually, indicates carotid artery disease was found to be the source of the attack for over one-third of all cases nationwide.
In essence, the TCAR medical device allows the surgeon to directly access the common carotid artery in the neck and initiate a temporary reversal of blood flow.
The device works to filter and capture any loose fragments of plaque to protect the brain while surgeons are implanting a stent. After the stent is successfully placed, blood flow reversal is mitigated and circulation resumes its normal direction.
“Offering this new, minimally invasive treatment option for our patients with carotid artery blockage is advancing patient care by significantly reducing the risk of stroke and heart attack during and after carotid interventions,” Rick Metzer, vice president of operations and surgical services at Providence, said.
The local medical team that successfully implemented the high-level procedure was led by local vascular surgeon Dr. Melanie Rose.
MCHD ADDS CHAVERS TO PREVENTION WELLNESS TEAM
The Mobile County Health Department (MCHD) recently announced the addition of a new staff member joining their ranks: Mobile native Dr. L. Scott Chavers.
Chavers has more than 23 years of professional experience in epidemiologic research in academia and industry covering national and international research projects.
“Specific projects have included research on HIV transmission and treatment, multidrug-resistant tuberculosis, drug development for Crohn’s disease and psoriasis, and vaccine development for various cancers, Ebola, E. coli and influenza,” he said.
“We are elated to have Dr. L. Scott Chavers join our team,” Dr. Stephanie Woods-Crawford, executive director of prevention wellness at MCHD, said. “As a seasoned global epidemiologist, he brings a level of multidisciplinary knowledge that will assist with leading COVID team initiatives.”
Chavers completed his B.S. degree from the University of South Alabama in 1996 and earned a Master of Public Health degree and a Doctorate of Epidemiology degree from the University of Alabama at Birmingham in 2001.
Chavers has also authored more than 40 peer-reviewed articles, abstracts and book chapters and is a member of the International Society of Pharmacoepidemiology.
He has received the Standard in Leadership Award from Johnson & Johnson Pharmaceuticals; Outstanding Science Award from GlaxoSmithKline Pharmaceuticals; and the Best Paper Award from the Journal of Public Health Dentistry.
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