MUSC receives a $833,190 grant from the NIH HEAL Initiative

CHARLESTON, S.C. (September 26, 2019) — The Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC) has received an $833,190 grant from the Helping to End Addiction Long-term, or the NIH HEAL Initiative. The MUSC award is one of 375 grant awards across 41 states made by the National Institutes of Health in fiscal year 2019 to apply scientific solutions to reverse the national opioid crisis. The grant will run for a one-year period.

The NIH HEAL Initiative was launched in April 2018 to improve prevention and treatment strategies for opioid misuse and addiction and enhance pain management. The initiative aims to improve treatments for chronic pain, curb the rates of opioid use disorder and overdose and achieve long-term recovery from opioid addiction.

“Through this award, MUSC investigators will join a national network of researchers exploring innovative treatments for chronic pain,”said Kathleen Brady, M.D., Ph.D., MUSC vice president for Research. “Our goal is to make these state-of-the-art pain treatments available to benefit the citizens of South Carolina.”

“It’s clear that a multi-pronged scientific approach is needed to reduce the risks of opioids, accelerate development of effective non-opioid therapies for pain and provide more flexible and effective options for treating addiction to opioids,” said NIH Director Francis S. Collins, M.D., Ph.D., who launched the initiative in early 2018. “This unprecedented investment in the NIH HEAL Initiative demonstrates the commitment to reversing this devastating crisis.”

Pain conditions, both acute and chronic, are major sources of distress for millions of patients every day. Through the NIH HEAL award, MUSC will form multidisciplinary clinical trial teams with close connections to physicians who are both health care providers and research experts. Currently, MUSC provides care to patients with pain through clinicians and scientists in the fields of primary care, orthopedics, neurology, anesthesiology, rheumatology, surgery, pediatrics, obstetrics/gynecology, addiction sciences, pain psychology, pain rehabilitation and abdominal pain.

MUSC research teams will rapidly and flexibly engage a number of sites across the state in phase 2 clinical trials by leveraging existing research resources. With Charleston as the hub, MUSC can efficiently connect with a statewide network of sites that operate as spokes for the enrollment and in deployment of clinical trials. The plan is to recruit at least 100 qualified participants with specific pain conditions into concurrent phase 2 trials. MUSC team members will also contribute to the Early Phase Pain Investigation Clinical Network, which is part of the NIH HEAL Initiative, by serving on steering committees, proposing trials and providing expertise in clinical trial proposal development.

Year after year, MUSC remains the state’s leader in garnering extramural funding for biomedical research. In FY 2018, MUSC set a new high-water mark, bringing in more than $276.5 million. The previous MUSC record for annual biomedical research funding was more than $259 million, set in fiscal year 2016. No other publicly assisted academic institution in South Carolina consistently garners near $250 million in research funding.

MUSC research focuses on a wide variety of areas, including addiction, cancer, community health, drug discovery, health disparities, inflammation and fibrosis, neuroscience, oral health, and stroke and spinal cord injury. Learn more about research at MUSC  or view the MUSC Research fact sheet


About MUSC

Founded in 1824 in Charleston, MUSC is the oldest medical school in the South, as well as the state’s only integrated, academic health sciences center with a unique charge to serve the state through education, research and patient care. Each year, MUSC educates and trains more than 3,000 students and 700 residents in six colleges: Dental Medicine, Graduate Studies, Health Professions, Medicine, Nursing and Pharmacy. The state’s leader in obtaining biomedical research funds, in fiscal year 2018, MUSC set a new high, bringing in more than $276.5 million.For information on academic programs, visit

As the clinical health system of the Medical University of South Carolina, MUSC Health is dedicated to delivering the highest quality patient care available, while training generations of competent, compassionate health care providers to serve the people of South Carolina and beyond. Comprising some 1,600 beds, more than 100 outreach sites, the MUSC College of Medicine, the physicians’ practice plan, and nearly 275 telehealth locations, MUSC Health owns and operates eight hospitals situated in Charleston, Chester, Florence, Lancaster and Marion counties. In 2019, for the fifth consecutive year, U.S. News & World Report named MUSC Health the No. 1 hospital in South Carolina. To learn more about clinical patient services, visit

MUSC and its affiliates have collective annual budgets of $3 billion. The more than 17,000 MUSC team members include world-class faculty, physicians, specialty providers and scientists who deliver groundbreaking education, research, technology and patient care.