A President's Perspective – April 2023

Dear MUSC family,

We’ve just wrapped up MUSC’s Innovation Week 2023, and I’m so excited that the MUSC family rose to the occasion once again with new ideas, processes and ways to solve challenges with forward-thinking approaches to what we do. Our momentum is palpable!

Speaking of momentum, we have more than 700 graduates ready to walk across the stage during Commencement on May 20. The future of health care and discovery, they’ve risen to every challenge, and have been forged during an incredible time of transition, integration and transformation. I have no doubt that this intelligent, compassionate and diverse group of individuals will add value to our world through their chosen disciplines, with the benefit of unprecedented capabilities, technologies, tools and collaborations at the ready to help them create positive impact.

And last but certainly not least, I wanted to share my enormous appreciation for every single individual of the MUSC family as we get ready to celebrate State Employee Appreciation Month, Hospital Week, and Nurses’ Week May 7 -13. You are what makes MUSC so special and I’m so proud of what you’ve been able to accomplish these past several years. I hope you enjoy the activities and offerings planned on the Charleston campus and throughout our MUSC Regional Health Network.

Yours in service,

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

Values in Action

Kathy and I had a wonderful time catching up with some of our Values in Action award winners and their nominators, sharing the new monument dedicated to past and future winners, and, as a surprise, revealing personalized bricks that commemorate these outstanding individuals. As future award winners are named, they, too, will also be recognized as part of this permanent tribute to the people who go above and beyond in personifying MUSC’s five values: Collaboration, Compassion, Innovation, Integrity, and Respect.

We’ve got plenty of room and lots of empty bricks, and my hope is that more people across the enterprise will take the time to recognize the incredible efforts of their peers, colleagues, mentors, mentees, faculty, staff… you get the idea. I look forward to reviewing your submissions this fall.

Innovation in Action

“The vast majority of women experiencing mental health or substance use problems or intimate partner violence suffer in silence, especially during pregnancy and postpartum. Texting and phone-based interventions have the potential to breakdown the many barriers that prevent women from reaching out and getting the help they need and deserve.” - Connie Guille, M.D., MUSC Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences

Some of you may recall a press release from this past fall announcing that MUSC Women’s Reproductive Behavioral Health Division, led by Principal Investigator Connie Guille, was approved for a $7 million research funding award by the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI) to study a new text/phone-based screening and referral program, called Listening to Women and Pregnant and Postpartum People (LTWP).

This innovative, patient-and-provider-informed, technology-enhanced intervention aims to improve screening, referral to treatment, communication and care coordination among patients, providers, and health systems throughout pregnancy and the postpartum year.

I’m pleased to share with you that Connie has been awarded a second, $7 million PCORI grant that builds on the first one and with a slightly different focus. The goal of the study is to expand LTWP technology (text/phone based screening and connection to a care coordinator for assessment and referral to appropriate care) to improve early detection of and timely care for complications during the first 6 weeks postpartum for women experiencing significant health disparities.

Giving with Purpose

This month, we welcomed donors, alumni and friends of the MUSC College of Pharmacy to come see the building they helped make possible. This move brings our pharmacy family from the perimeter to the heart of campus. Practically, it brings them closer to the practice pharmacy and the Drug Discovery building. By design, it puts the college within view of University Hospital, bringing us closer to our strategic goal of building a high performing, integrated academic health system.

I encourage you to stop by and visit; it’s bright, spacious and modern and no less than the state-of-the-art space our students, faculty and alumni deserve. I extend my gratitude to the more than a thousand donors, including hundreds of alumni, who invested in the future of pharmacy and made this facility a reality.

From Kathy

“The power of youth is the commonwealth for the entire world. The faces of young people are the faces of our past, our present and our future. No segment in the society can match with the power, idealism, enthusiasm and courage of the young people.” - Kailash Satyarthi, Nobel Peace Prize winner

It’s always such a joyful experience to host MUSC students in our home, and the annual Student Government Association (SGA) dinner this year was no different. As student leaders, these bright and dedicated people take on the roles of working to improve the student experience at MUSC and elevating important issues to university leadership, all in addition to their complex schedules, demanding curriculums, and in many cases, while interviewing for residencies. There’s a certain energy that only comes from engaging with our incredibly talented students, SGA and otherwise, and Dave and I feel so privileged when we get to spend this time together.

In case you missed it


Brain Fingerprints: Neuroscientists at MUSC use a novel brain imaging technique to visualize subtle brain changes in pre-symptomatic Alzheimer’s patients.
Complex Aortic Disease: MUSC Health first in South Carolina to implant novel device for patients with complex aortic disease.
Health & Wellness Institute: “I hated the way I felt,” said retired restaurateur Mickey Bakst. That changed through the MUSC Health & Wellness Institute.
Stress and Depression: Researchers have found a key gene that links long-term stress to a common depressive symptom, pointing to the need for more personalized depression treatments.
Sneaky Centrosomes: An MUSC Hollings Cancer Center team ID'd a protein that helps cancer cells to navigate the cell division process despite an abnormality that should doom them.
Multiple Myeloma: Dr. Hamza Hashmi hopes an immunotherapy drug in clinical trials will one day lead to a cancer cure. For now, it's enough to help one woman lead a normal life.


Autism Awareness: As new ways to diagnose and support people with autism emerge, MUSC gets creative – and gets great results.
Comprehensive Stroke Center: MUSC Health earns reaccreditation as as only Comprehensive Stroke Center in Lowcountry and just one of four statewide.
Head and Neck Expansion: An expanded clinic space will facilitate even more collaborative multidisciplinary care from the head and neck cancer team.
Robotic Lung Surgery: Debbie Grenier dreaded surgery. She still has major scars from a surgery 45 years ago. So she was astonished at her experience undergoing robotic lung surgery.
Kidney Transplant Equity: MUSC researchers showed higher numbers of African Americans beginning and completing kidney transplant evaluation after the process was streamlined.
Pairing Up: Trial at University of Houston and the Medical University of South Carolina will test treating alcohol use disorder and PTSD together.


Neurodevelopmental Research: MUSC to launch Center of Biomedical Research Excellence focusing on autism, other neurodevelopmental conditions, through $11.3 million NIH grant.
Doll-Wynder Award: Dr. Michael Cummings was honored for the groundbreaking advances he's made over a 40-year career in tobacco control research.
Big Plans: Q&A with the new leader of MUSC's Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Division.
Eye Drop Update: With no shortage of scary headlines about bad bacteria linked to eye drops, the head of the MUSC Health Storm Eye Institute puts the problem into focus.
Vaccine Hesitancy: MUSC researchers use a national survey to understand South Carolina’s COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy.
Alcohol Research: The Charleston Alcohol Research Center at MUSC was recently granted funding from the National Institutes of Health through 2025.