July 2022 A President's Perspective

Dear MUSC family,

Happy Anniversary to our MUSC Health-Midlands Division! It’s amazing that Aug. 1 marks one year since we welcomed these awesome team members to the MUSC enterprise. It’s important that we take a moment to pause and recognize the incredible work of our providers, information technology teams, facilities and engineering teams, administrators, staff and so many more who have achieved major milestones in such a short time frame.

To give you an idea of what’s been accomplished since this time last year at all three MUSC Health medical centers –Columbia Medical Center Downtown, Columbia Medical Center Northeast and Kershaw Medical Center:

  • Successful closings of complex transactions in record time by our financial and legal teams – thank you!
  • Full integration with Epic, MUSC Health’s electronic medical record, which has increased efficiencies and enabled higher-quality, safer care in the right place and at the right time. Thank you to the many IT team members!
  • Full integration with MUSC Health’s high-reliability, quality and safety culture and establishment of Just Culture. Thank you to the MUSC Quality team!
  • Critical recruitment of nursing and health care staff to meet our patients’ needs.
  • Ongoing recruitment of specialty and primary care physicians to fill community gaps.Robust care coordination across all MUSC Health sites, and other health care sites in South Carolina, through MUSC’s transfer center and improved coordination of care for patients requiring connectivity or transfer to MUSC Health-Charleston Division’s quaternary services.
  • Clinical trial integration opportunity identification is underway.
  • Residency and clinical rotation planning are underway.
  • Investment in modern technology to improve local care through Siemens Roadmap integration and deployment of other key technology.

And while the following vary depending on the hospital facility, additional achievements include:

  • Affiliations with independent physicians through strategic co-management agreements in orthopedic and oncology services.
  • Telehealth provision of care for stroke, neurology, palliative care, tele-ICU and EEGs.
  • Insourced anesthesia and emergency services.
  • The deployment of four COVID testing pods across divisions and the addition of the Henderson Street Vaccine Clinic to the existing two vaccine clinics in the Providence medical office building in Columbia and Health Resource Center in Camden.
  • MUSC Health-Midlands announced a new partnership with COMET, Richland and Lexington county’s primary transit provider, allowing anyone with an MUSC badge to ride any COMET bus free of charge.

…and a couple of bragging points:

  • Multiple MUSC Health-Midlands Division programs were considered “high-performing” specialties, procedures or conditions in the 2022-2023 U.S. News & World Report rankings: chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), heart attack, heart failure, hip replacement and kidney failure.
  • Columbia Medical Center Northeast is the first hospital in the Midlands area with a robotic spine surgery program using the Mazor Robotic System, with Brett Gunter, M.D.
  • Columbia Medical Center Downtown is the first hospital in the South Atlantic region to utilize the new Watchman FXD Sheath.
  • MUSC Health Columbia Medical Center Downtown earned Healthgrades Cardiac Surgery Excellence Award for superior clinical outcomes in heart bypass and valve surgery

Our team at MUSC Health Fairfield Emergency and Imaging has also fully integrated with Epic and our Just Culture quality and safety framework. It is also participating in improved coordination of care for patients requiring connectivity or transfer to MUSC Health-Charleston Division’s quaternary services, and like the three medical centers in the Midlands Division, it is working to improve cost efficiencies by leveraging MUSC Health’s overall purchasing power. Its leadership is also looking very closely at how more telehealth connectivity might benefit their patient population.

Like all of our clinical divisions, the Midlands Division has its own revenue cycle, budgeting processes and relative autonomy, so I want to underscore my gratitude for the numerous ways in which they have collaborated with our health system administration and university leadership to align, improve and move forward as servant leaders responsible for the successes of their own divisions, and now, part of our overarching mission of education, research and patient care.

Finally, you may have heard, but in case you haven’t – our MUSC Health University Medical Center was once again named the best hospital in South Carolina by U.S. News & World Report, as part of its annual best hospital rankings program. This marks the 8th year in a row! Another great reminder that our collective expertise is valued and seen at the national and state levels.

Yours in service,

David J. Cole, M.D., FACS
MUSC President

Innovation in Action

“A tiny baby with a brain injury unable to breastfeed properly. A frustrated surgeon having to stop operating momentarily to unclog a suction device. A rare and largely mysterious bone cancer robbing a child of precious life.

These are just a few examples of health care challenges that now have solutions – either through research or technology – thanks to two entities at the Medical University of South Carolina: the Zucker Institute for Applied Neuroscience (ZIAN) and the Foundation for Research Development (FRD).

For years, they have operated separately, with ZIAN focused on neurological devices and technology and the FRD housing all of MUSC’s intellectual property, such as patents, copyrights and trade secrets. Though separate, the groups have collaborated closely over the years, to the point where it was often difficult, especially for MUSC inventors and external partners, to understand where one organization began and the other ended.

To MUSC executive leadership and the boards of both entities, this offered a powerful opportunity to improve efficiency, nimbleness and innovation by having FRD and ZIAN officially join forces.
The result is the newly formed Zucker Institute for Innovation Commercialization (ZI).”

- Bryce Donovan, MUSC Catalyst News author

Read more

Giving with Purpose

Our new transplant team in the Lancaster Division recently performed its first kidney transplant – this is a remarkable achievement for the Mid-Carolinas program, which launched in March with help from a $500,000 donation from Founders Federal Credit Union. Expanding our program to Lancaster allows us to deliver on our mission to serve all of South Carolina. More than 1,300 people in our state are waiting for a lifesaving kidney – and they don’t all live in Charleston.

This new center makes it possible for us to provide highly specialized care to communities throughout the state. Our center in Lancaster is also able to accept kidney donations from donor hospitals in nearby Charlotte, North Carolina, which could result in shorter wait times for our patients. We are grateful to Founders for joining us in increasing access to care and for its investment in this lifesaving program!

Values in Action

There are two months left in the seventh cycle of the MUSC President’s Office Values in Action Awards. The awards pay tribute to outstanding individuals who personify MUSC’s five values: compassion, innovation, integrity, collaboration and respect.

I hope you’ll take a moment to visit the website and submit a nomination for someone deserving of this recognition. The 2022 cycle of awards will salute employees who model the institution’s values for their significant contributions, integrated work and leadership. Nominations end on Sept. 30.

In addition to enterprisewide promotion of the award, recognition memento and certificate that all awardees receive, new this year to the awards program is a $1,000 bonus for all future Values in Action Award winners. So don’t wait – send in those submissions today!

From Kathy

Well, this time it’s not from Kathy, because ever since our granddaughter, Emily Miller, was born, I haven’t seen enough of her to ask her to contribute to this section. Emily’s arrival in June brought things to a whole new level – sort of like new Marvel Comics characters – Super Grandmother and her side kick Grandchild Support Guy (or GSG); I’m pretty sure she’s on a first-name basis with the Amazon delivery guy who keeps showing up with new smart-baby things (it’s only a matter of time until we get the first dedicated-to-one-house delivery drone). And, when the baby is around, it’s like, “Dave, who?” or “She’s fussing, hand her back to me,” or “Take out the trash, its full of diapers.” I’m kidding (sort of).

So, thanks for your patience as we continue to welcome our newest Cole family member, and when Kathy comes down from the rafters, I’m sure she’ll have some things that she wants to share in the days ahead.


Parechovirus Advisory: CDC health advisory about parechovirus in babies serves as reminder of how vulnerable the first few months of life can be.

Up Like a Rocket?: Scientist sees two possible scenarios for COVID in coming weeks based on BA.5 and previous patterns.

Next Generation: A dozen undergrads, mostly from historically Black colleges, are spending the summer concentrating on cancer research at MUSC Hollings Cancer Center.

Monkeypox Update: “Cases are certainly going up now, as we speak,” says infectious diseases expert, of monkeypox. How it spreads – and what to watch for.

Sarcoma Survivor: Charleston police chief Luther Reynolds believes in living with purpose – especially after losing a leg to cancer.

Student Rider: OT student leads LOWVELO bike team after successful thyroid cancer treatment at MUSC Hollings Cancer Center.

COVID Q&A 19: Vaccine guru Danielle Scheurer, M.D., make sense of boosters, random health care charges and other issues weighing on our minds as summer hits full stride.

MUSC Research Cores Day: When MUSC researchers collaborate and combine their expertise, technologies and passion, they tap into a special kind of energy.