Two MUSC Researchers Earn Governor's Award

Contact: Heather Woolwine

May 25, 2017

CHARLESTON, SC – Dean G. Kilpatrick, Ph.D., and Michael G. Schmidt, Ph.D., were awarded the state’s highest honor, the Governor’s Award for Excellence in Science during a ceremony Wednesday in Columbia.

The governor recognized Dr. Dean Kilpatrick with the Award for Excellence in Scientific Research, affirming his career has resulted “in monumental impact domestically and abroad on research and clinical practice as it relates to victimization, traumatic stress, and mental health.”

Kilpatrick pioneered methods for measuring exposure to sexual assault and conducted the first NIMH-funded National Woman Study in 1989 to use scientifically valid methods to measure exposure to sexual assault in a national probability sample of U.S. adult women.

As a clinical scientist studying traumatic stress, Kilpatrick has made major contributions studying the mental health impact of exposure to large-scale natural disasters, urban riots, and terrorist attacks. Numerous large-scale events have been studied including Hurricane Hugo, the Loma Prieta Earthquake, the Los Angeles riots, the Pan Am Flight 103 terrorist bombing, and the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center.

Kilpatrick joined MUSC in 1970, is currently a distinguished university professor of clinical psychology and psychiatry, founding director of the National Crime Victims Research and Treatment Center, and vice-chair for research and research administration in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences.

Kathleen Brady, M.D., Ph.D., vice president for research, stated that “these two prestigious Governor’s Awards honor the remarkable work of MUSC’s outstanding researchers and their dedication to the health of South Carolina and the nation.”

Before receiving the 2017 Governor’s Award for Excellence in Scientific Research, Kilpatrick earned many honors and awards, including:

  • President’s Award for Outstanding Service on Behalf of Victims of Crime presented by President George H.W. Bush, 1990
  • U.S. Congressional Victim’s Rights Caucus Award for Promoting Crime Victims’ Rights and Services in the Mental Health Field, 2007
  • Outstanding Scientific Achievement Award presented by Trauma Division of the American Psychological Association, 2007
  • Lifetime Achievement Award for Outstanding and Fundamental Contributions to the Field of Traumatic Stress Studies presented by International Society of Traumatic Stress Studies, 2008
  • John Dussich Victimology Award for Significant Contributions to the Field of Victimology and Victim Services presented by American Society of Victimology, 2010.

Michael G. Schmidt, Ph.D., received the Governor’s Award for Excellence in Scientific Awareness. His nomination stated that, “he has been among the most visible advocate for science education, sharing knowledge gleaned from his research focused on the use of antimicrobial copper alloys for reducing hospital acquired infections.”

Even while engaging in his own research projects, Schmidt's achievements in science education and awareness have spanned his entire career. His early activities in sharing science with others came via his efforts with three fellow collaborators at MUSC by creating interactive CD-ROMs for students and offering them to school systems across the country. At the time, this cutting-edge technology was impressive enough for then-U.S. Secretary of Energy Hazel O'Leary to include in her demonstration during testimony to the U.S. Senate focusing on STEM education funding needs.

Schmidt continued to significantly impact science awareness in South Carolina through his efforts in the field of environmental sustainability and the development of environmental studies programs. Working collaboratively with colleagues from USC, Clemson, and the State Energy Office, they developed the Sustainable Universities Initiative resulting in major and important sustainability efforts at the three research universities and other institutions of higher education in the state.

The breadth and depth of his work has been validated by publication of more than 100 peer­ reviewed manuscripts, grants totaling over $88 million, participation on expert panels focused on various impending biological crises, quotes in lay press vehicles such as The Wall Street Journal and Glamour Magazine, design of interactive multimedia programs for middle school students, serving as a speaker and coach for the TEDx programs, and his work as the former editor for the NPR program, Microbeworld.

Schmidt serves as a professor and vice chairman microbiology and immunology in the MUSC’s College of Medicine and professor of stomatology of craniofacial biology for the College of Dental Medicine.

South Carolina Academy of Science

The South Carolina Academy of Science (SCAS) was organized in 1924, and in 1927 the Academy affiliated with the American Association for the Advancement of Science. Publication of the Bulletin of the Academy begin in 1935 and in 1973 the Newsletter was established as a vehicle for communication among members. Beginning in the 1960's, industry and business joined academic institutions in support of the Academy and have helped to set goals to aid and improve the development of science in South Carolina.

2017 Governor’s Award for Excellence in Science Recipients

Excellence in Scientific Research (ESR)

Dr. Dean G. Kilpatrick
Dept. of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences,
Medical University of South Carolina,MSC 861
100 Doughty Street,
Charleston SC 29425

Excellence in Scientific Awareness (ESA)

Dr. Michael G. Schmidt
Department of Microbiology and Immunology
Medical University of South Carolina
173 Ashley Avenue, MSC 0504
Charleston, SC 29425-0504

Young Scientist Aware for Excellence in Scientific Research (YESR)

Dr. Chen Li
Department of Mechanical Engineering
University of South Carolina
300 Mail Street
Columbia, SC 29208

Excellence in Scientific Research at a Predominantly Undergraduate Institution (PUI)

Dr. Timothy W. Hanks
Department of Chemistry
Furman University
3300 Poinsett Highway
Greenville, SC 29613

About MUSC

Founded in 1824 in Charleston, MUSC is the state's only comprehensive academic health system, with a unique mission to preserve and optimize human life in South Carolina through education, research and patient care. Each year, MUSC educates more than 3,200 students in six colleges – Dental Medicine, Graduate Studies, Health Professions, Medicine, Nursing, and Pharmacy – and trains more than 900 residents and fellows in its health system. MUSC brought in more than $300 million in research funds in fiscal year 2023, leading the state overall in research funding. MUSC also leads the state in federal and National Institutes of Health funding. Learn more about our academic programs.

As the health care system of the Medical University of South Carolina, MUSC Health is dedicated to delivering the highest-quality and safest patient care while educating and training generations of outstanding health care providers and leaders to serve the people of South Carolina and beyond. Patient care is provided at 16 hospitals (includes owned or governing interest), with approximately 2,700 beds and four additional hospital locations in development, more than 350 telehealth sites and nearly 750 care locations situated in all regions of South Carolina. In 2023, for the ninth consecutive year, U.S. News & World Report named MUSC Health University Medical Center in Charleston the Number 1 hospital in South Carolina. Learn more about our patient services.

MUSC has a total enterprise annual operating budget of $5.9 billion. The nearly 26,000 MUSC family members include world-class faculty, physicians, specialty providers, scientists, students, affiliates and care team members who deliver groundbreaking education, research, and patient care.