MUSC trustees hear mid-year updates, vote to approve vice president for institutional advancement

CHARLESTON, S.C. (Dec. 13, 2019)– During its regularly scheduled meeting, the Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC) and Medical University Hospital Authority (MUHA) Board of Trustees received mid-year updates on operations, philanthropy and major projects. In alignment with the state budget, MUSC and MUHA begin the fiscal year on July 1, thus both organizations are close to the half-year mark.

Board members heard updates on:

  • The MUSC Foundation, an independent, supporting organization with $625 million in assets that helps MUSC fulfill its missions through philanthropy and active, strategic investments.
  • An energy conservation concept called co-generation that is being explored for its potential to save money through more efficient energy management.
  • The MUSC graduate medical education (GME) program, which serves as a critical, required component to train medical residents and fellows as highly competent and compassionate physicians to serve the state, region and beyond.

In terms of where a physician ultimately decides to practice, Ben Clyburn, M.D., MUSC GME director, presented data showing that if a student attends medical school and completes residency training in South Carolina, there is a better than 75% chance that this professional will ultimately practice in the state. If a newly graduated M.D. comes to the Palmetto State only to complete his or her residency training, there is a 50% chance that this individual will practice in the state.

“When we talk about MUSC, we usually reference our 3,000 students, but we don’t often talk about our more than 780 residents,” said David J. Cole, M.D., FACS, MUSC president. “The impact of what we have in terms of providing critical educational pathways is significant, especially in light of the national physician shortage. There are not nearly enough GME slots across the nation,” he continued. “Current data would suggest that we would have to double our residency slots to be able to equal the conservatively predicted need for physicians by 2025. The message is that accountable health communities like ours that provide GME are not getting enough resources to properly train enough physicians to meet our nation’s needs.”

Because Federal GME funding has been capped since 1997, any subsequent growth in resident and fellowship training has been underwritten by the local institution as a part of the tripartite mission. This translates at MUSC each year to about $25 million to $35 million of training costs for GME /residents and fellows being supported by MUSC Health.

“GME is a critical mission, and we deliver significant training in this area. Most individuals do not understand that it’s not enough to merely get an M.D. degree; to be able to practice medicine you must complete some form of accredited residency training,” Cole added. “In my view, if the facts are that we are underserviced in critical areas of medical care in the state of South Carolina and GME is a critical pathway to help address those needs, then at some level GME should be viewed as a state resource and a state need.”

Linda Cox, interim vice president of Development and Alumni Affairs, reported that more than $148.3 million has been donated in support of the MUSC Shawn Jenkins Children’s Hospital and the Pearl Tourville Women’s Pavilion since the launch of the campaign. The technologically advanced facility will open in 2020. Cox was recognized and lauded for her service during more than 18 months as interim leader for the MUSC philanthropy office. 

Board members voted unanimously to confirm the appointment of Kate Azizi as the permanent vice president of Institutional Advancement, which will encompass all the staff and responsibilities for the renamed Development and Alumni Affairs office. In this role,Azizi will lead MUSC advancement initiatives for the university and health system in all markets -- local, regional, statewide and beyond.

Scheduled to begin her new role on Feb. 10, Azizi will lead the MUSC team of experienced philanthropy professionals. In collaboration with the president and key academic, clinical and administrative leaders, she will work to define and articulate a bold vision that builds upon existing momentum and excitement about MUSC, its accomplishments and its contributions to education, research and patient care. Azizi will report directly to President Cole and serve as a member of the president’s advisory council.

The MUSC/MUHA Board of Trustees serve as separate bodies to govern the university and hospital, holding two days of committee and board meetings six times a year.

About the Medical University of South Carolina

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 nearly 800 residents in six colleges: Dental Medicine, Graduate Studies, Health Professions, Medicine, Nursing and Pharmacy. The state’s leader in obtaining biomedical research funds, MUSC brought in more than $284 million in fiscal year 2019.

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. For information on academic programs, visit