MUSC receives grant that combines need for telehealth support and rural health care workforce pipeline network

CHARLESTON, S.C. (Sept. 22, 2022) –The MUSC Center for Telehealth has received a three-year $1.545 million grant from the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) that seeks to enhance local capacity to support telehealth while also fostering a workforce development pipeline to address rural health workforce disparities. The funding supports the establishment of a South Carolina Rural Telehealth Workforce Pipeline Network (RTWPN) and brings together statewide collaborations, including the MUSC Regional Health Network, which includes the new Black River Medical Center opening in 2023; Florence-Darlington Technical College (FDTC); The Continuum training and workforce center; Palmetto Care Connections; and the South Carolina Area Health Education Consortium (AHEC). This Network will work to expand public health capacity by supporting health care job development, training and placement in rural communities, particularly focusing on Williamsburg, Florence, Marion, Lancaster, Chester and Kershaw counties.

“This HRSA grant represents an important step in taking the expertise of the Center for Telehealth directly into the communities we serve, creating the robust connection to truly move the needle on access to care in rural communities while developing long-lasting local partnerships,” said grant principal investigator James McElligott, M.D., MUSC Center for Telehealth executive medical director. “The Center will grow its education capabilities at a time of great need as unprecedented telehealth volume is transforming health care delivery models.”

The RTWPN will develop opportunities for South Carolina high school and technical college students to gain exposure and in-depth experiences with telehealth in their local communities. Activities will include both broad educational opportunities (e.g., telehealth lectureships, integration of telehealth into health science curricula) to engage large swaths of students and more intensive internship opportunities for health information technology (HIT) students and telehealth clinical experiences for nursing students. The initial focus will be on pipeline programs in the Williamsburg and Florence areas, where MUSC is building the new Black River Medical Center and where The Continuum and FDTC already have a strong presence. Later, the RTWPN will expand successful components to other technical colleges in rural counties as well as statewide in partnership with the SC AHEC through its existing health careers program.

Highlighting South Carolina’s mission to improve access to care through telehealth, McElligott emphasized the collaborative nature of this network. “By partnering with local education institutions and directly hiring support personnel from the communities served, the center will develop robust connections and expertise that are essential to our rural-urban partnerships.”

As the lead health care organization in the RTWPN, MUSC is committed to increasing telehealth capacity across its Regional Health Network (RHN) rural hospital and primary care sites by recruiting HIT and associate-level nursing team members from the six rural counties as part of the Center for Telehealth’s centralized support team. Above enhancing local capacity, this network will allow MUSC to expand access to telehealth for patients in rural communities more effectively. In addition to intensive efforts to increase capacity though hiring, the RTWPN also will provide broader telehealth training to employees across all RHN sites.

Telehealth education project director Ragan DuBose-Morris, Ph.D., sees this network as a natural evolution of efforts to support telehealth education and workforce development over the past decade. “Telehealth education has matured to support a wide range of learners in a way that meets how we think about current and future workforce preparedness. This award reflects MUSC’s leadership and dedication to telehealth in South Carolina and beyond.”

To learn more about the innovation supported through the RTWPN, visit the MUSC Center for Telehealth website or contact DuBose-Morris directly.


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 3,000 students in six colleges – Dental Medicine, Graduate Studies, Health Professions, Medicine, Nursing and Pharmacy – and trains more than 850 residents and fellows in its health system. MUSC brought in more than $327.6 million in research funds in fiscal year 2021, leading the state overall in research funding. MUSC also leads the state in federal and National Institutes of Health funding, with more than $220 million. For information on academic programs, visit

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 14 hospitals with approximately 2,500 beds and five additional hospital locations in development, more than 350 telehealth sites and connectivity to patients’ homes, and nearly 750 care locations situated in all regions of South Carolina. In 2022, for the eighth 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 $5.1 billion. The nearly 25,000 MUSC team members include world-class faculty, physicians, specialty providers, scientists, students, affiliates and care team members who deliver groundbreaking education, research and patient care.