A President's Perspective – August 2023

Dear MUSC family,

August… wow! From statewide hurricane and storm preparedness, response and recovery at the tail end of the month to the hustle and bustle required to launch a new academic year, it’s time to bid farewell to summer, even if that means our fall still consists of 90-degree days with 100% humidity and the possibility of more storms. Iced pumpkin spice lattes, anyone?

First, I want to thank each and every MUSC family member across the state for your incredible response to caring for patients, protecting our facilities and research labs and ensuring the safety of each other during Hurricane/Tropical Storm Idalia. MUSC shines in these situations because of YOU. I’m pleased to say that across the enterprise, MUSC facilities and operations faired very well overall. Thank you for your tenacity, your preparation and your commitment to pulling through the storm.

‌Second, the start of a new academic year is an opportunity to take a moment to recognize and applaud the “above and beyond” contributions of our University faculty and staff members and welcome our new and returning students.

‌We are very privileged to have every one of you as a part of the MUSC family. Your dedication to high achievement and the betterment of others is visible through your passion for teaching, your scientific pursuits, your pursuit of knowledge and skills, your compassionate care and in how you are finding innovative ways to integrate our research and education missions into our delivery of patient care statewide. MUSC is uniquely positioned at this time to have an unprecedented impact on overall health and wellness in South Carolina, and you, along with our care team members throughout the state, are at the center of that.

‌In closing, whether it’s navigating a storm or charting and pursuing the course for a brighter future, please know that you inspire me and those we serve, across the mission, every day.

‌Yours in service,

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

Values in Action

We’re approaching the end of the 2023 nomination cycle (Sept. 30), so please consider submitting someone in your area for the President’s Values in Action Awards. Winners will receive a $1,000 bonus, a brick with their names by the Values in Action monument in front of the Drug Discovery Building on the Charleston campus, a gift bag, a recognition memento and a certificate. This program honors the outstanding people who go above and beyond in personifying MUSC’s five values: Collaboration, Compassion, Innovation, Integrity, and Respect.

Make your submission by 9/30.

Giving with Purpose

On Monday, Aug. 28, we were privileged to have the opportunity to host the board of directors for The Duke Endowment (TDE) at MUSC. Board members spent almost an entire day on the Charleston campus to learn more about who we are, what we are poised to accomplish and how we are an ideal partner for their organization to have sustainable and innovative impact across South Carolina.

We were also able to demonstrate the impact of their grants to MUSC to date. Since 1994, The Duke Endowment has invested nearly $40 million in MUSC programs, which serves only the Carolinas with its philanthropy and grants. MUSC and TDE have a unique opportunity to collaborate in ways that improve the health and wellness of Carolinians for generations to come.

Most recently, MUSC was awarded nearly $4.3 million in grants from TDE to support seven different projects – the most projects the endowment has funded in a single grant cycle.

These grants will make it possible to:

  • Launch a Healthy People, Healthy Carolinas coalition to improve population health in Chester County.
  • Develop systems to support and retain our diverse health care workforce where they are most needed.
  • Develop resources and services to measure, address and prevent health care worker burnout in Florence, South Carolina.
  • ‌Expand the Boeing Center for Children’s Wellness program to include mental health prevention and treatment services beyond Charleston and Colleton counties.
  • ‌Improve access to dental care for children in North and South Carolina.
  • ‌Implement a virtual program to help children in rural South Carolina to manage asthma more effectively.
  • ‌Create a statewide telehealth network for rural primary care clinics.

From Kathy

He’s here! He’s here! Dave and I are over the moon to share the birth of our second grandchild, Henry David, proudly delivered at MUSC Shawn Jenkins Children’s Hospital. As always, the mother and baby team members were phenomenal, and we are so grateful for their incredible care of our daughter, son-in-law and, of course, baby Henry.

‌P.S. Do not feel sorry for Dave. I hear that he is telling everyone I “abandoned him” for the baby and new mom, who live in Greenville. I can assure you he is just fine and enjoying a quiet house, a full pantry and a reduced “to-do” list until my return.

P.S.S. (this is Dave) …and spending after-work quality time with the dogs on the front porch – dog biscuit, anyone?

In Case You Missed It


‌Hydrocephalus Device: How a chance meeting between a pediatric neurosurgeon and a medical device manufacturer led to a new way to treat a brain condition known as hydrocephalus. ‌

‌Interdisciplinary Innovation: Three Hollings members – an M.D., a D.D.S. and a Ph.D. – are pooling their expertise to develop a personalized vaccine to prevent oral cancer from returning.

‌Wegovy Trial: “It's just a really exciting time to be working in this area,” says researcher regarding trial finding weight loss drug cut risk of serious heart problems.

‌Anesthesia Research: MUSC studies effects of popular diabetes and weight loss drugs on surgical patients.

‌Novel Sepsis Biomarker: MUSC researchers discover a potential novel biomarker for sepsis, the leading cause of death in ICU patients.

‌Predementia Treatment: An accelerated course of transcranial magnetic stimulation could redefine how we treat patients at high risk for developing dementia.

‌E-cigarette Study: The role of e-cigarettes is hotly debated. A new study shows they could have a role in helping adult smokers to quit.


‌Postpartum Depression Pill: “We’re really excited about this medication,” says MUSC psychiatrist involved in clinical trial testing new postpartum depression pill.

‌To Catch a Cancer: Andy Abrams likes to say he’s the poster child for routine cancer screenings. In his case, one screening led to the diagnosis and treatment of two cancers.

‌Speech-Language Pathology: New program celebrates inaugural Speech-Language Pathology graduates, new practitioners.

‌Well-Being Collective: MUSC launches Well-Being Collective, a comprehensive resource for employees on everything from wellness to efficiency to resilience.

‌Reducing Delays: MUSC Hollings Cancer Center is leading a national trial to test an intervention to get more head-and-neck cancer patients to radiation therapy on time.

‌Trauma and Substance Use: MUSC team shows people with diverse childhood traumas are more likely to use cocaine and opioids. Trauma-focused interventions could help.

‌Heat Help: As people across country endure sizzling summer, MUSC experts help lead charge to find better ways to prevent heat-related health problems.


High School Researchers: Students from four Charleston County high schools spent their summer learning how to research in labs at MUSC Hollings Cancer Center.

‌Royal Fellow: Hollings director Raymond N. DuBois, M.D., Ph.D., has been honored as a fellow of the Royal College of Physicians.

‌Nursing Award: Teresa Kelechi, Ph.D., R.N., is inducted into the International Nurse Researcher Hall of Fame in recognition of the broad impact her research has had on patient care.

Global Palliative Care: Almost 25 years ago Pat Coyne visited Tanzania to help with a pain management problem. Four decades – and dozens of countries – later, he's still at it.

‌Vaping Misinformation: Benjamin Toll, Ph.D., director of the Tobacco Treatment Program, has been dismayed that so many misunderstand the continuum of risk for tobacco products.

‌Drowning Prevention: With the drowning deaths of three children in three weeks in Lowcountry, a mom with firsthand experience and two experts talk prevention.

‌Student Mental Health: Citywide health, well-being consortium gathers experts to improve student mental health.