A President's Perspective – June 2022

Dear MUSC family,

It’s hard to believe that it’s almost time to celebrate the anniversary of our nation’s independence. Beyond the fireworks and ice cream, it’s always appropriate to reflect on the founding fathers’ original aspirations, the cost and responsibility of freedom, what our nation has accomplished since its birth and how much we still have left to grow.
“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men (people) are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

If you think about our collective role in health care across all disciplines, in many ways, we are enablers of these rights – for without life, there is no liberty or pursuit of happiness. Without good quality of life, and good health arguably being the linchpin of that status, it’s harder to pursue and attain happiness. I hope that this thought instills a special sense of pride and gratitude for our mission and its connectivity to the greatest and most foundational aspects of life in the United States.

Thank you for all you are doing to help each other, our communities and our state as we continue to transform ourselves and our industry for the benefit of everyone we serve. I wish you a safe, happy and healthy time with your loved ones as we celebrate this July Fourth.

Yours in service,

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

Innovation in Action

“In May, an interdisciplinary MUSC research team won an inaugural Blue Sky Award, which provided $100,000 in funding for its project to restore vision in patients with age-related macular degeneration (AMD) by recharging the eye cells’ batteries. The Blue Sky Award was created to encourage high-risk, high-reward research that has the potential to make a profound impact on patient care but is unlikely to attract traditional funding due to the difficulties of the projects.

The team is led by Baerbel Rohrer, Ph.D., of the College of Medicine, and Andrew Jakymiw, Ph.D., of the College of Dental Medicine, and included their graduate students Kyrie Wilson and Charles Holjencin. Rohrer is the Endowed Chair of Gene and Pharmaceutical Treatment of Retinal Degenerative Disease. Jakymiw is an expert in developing cell-penetrating peptides for drug delivery.

Together, they intend to tackle a disease that affects more than 10 million Americans: AMD. The disease causes vision to worsen slowly and eventually leads to blindness. Current therapies are inadequate, as they can only lessen the symptoms and aim, at best, to postpone the loss of vision. Existing therapies also require patients to return again and again for treatment.”
– Kimberly McGhee, author

Read more about this award.

Values in Action

We are officially in the 7th 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.

Don’t wait – send in those submissions today!

Learn more about this award.

Cut to the Chase

Sometimes a chance encounter offers an opportunity to shine the light on others. I hope you’ll take a couple of minutes to read through my latest blog post about some of the unsung heroes we have at MUSC and the crucial support they provide to our institution.

If you are interested in suggesting a topic for possible inclusion in a future blog, please email me at president-com@musc.edu.

From Kathy

I hope by now that you’ve heard this awesome news, but just in case you haven’t…

The MUSC Shawn Jenkins Children’s Hospital was once again the only children’s hospital in South Carolina to be ranked in the annual U.S. News & World Report’s (USNWR) 2022-23 Best Children’s Hospitals survey! The highly recognized specialties for MUSC SJCH include the following national rankings: No. 4 for cardiology & heart surgery, No. 30 for nephrology, No. 31 for cancer and No. 41 for gastroenterology & GI surgery.

And when it comes to one of the most important metrics in the survey, outcomes, the MUSC Pediatric & Congenital Heart Center received the #1 spot! This means that the pediatric and congenital heart center’s expected outcomes are the best in the nation. What an incredible achievement that gets to the heart of what parents and families care about the most – the best outcomes for their children.
It’s wonderful to see this team’s incredible efforts over the last year, and I hope that as you run into the pediatric team members, you will take a moment to congratulate them for this remarkable recognition.

P.S. Our granddaughter was born recently at the Pearl Tourville Women’s Pavilion, and she is AMAZING. Dave and I are absolutely tickled to be first-time grandparents. A special shout out to the team for getting her here safely and for taking such great care of her mom!

Learn about this award


Little Shots: MUSC is now administering vaccinations to kids under the age of 5.

‘Like Science Fiction’:Patient Marty Perlmutter says the CAR-T cell therapy he received for cancer is like science fiction has become reality.

Diversity Achievement: Dr. Burnham-Williams is praised for advancing diversity, equity.

Clinical Trial Management: Integrated tool will allow clinical trial enrollment and cost effectiveness to be tracked across the health system.

Sabra Slaughter: Disparities advocate, adviser and humanitarian is celebrated for 37-plus years of service to MUSC.

BA.4 and BA.5: Scientists at the Medical University of South Carolina have detected coronavirus subvariants BA.4 and BA.5 in their latest sequencing run.

Positive Exposure: A chance meeting between Dr. Michelle Ziegler and photographer Rick Guidotti is changing the way people see MUSC’s dental clinic.

Neuroendovascular Achievement: MUSC Health adds second Icono neuroendovascular suite, one of just a handful of hospitals in U.S. to have such a combo.

Raising Awareness: Having survived testicular cancer, Michael Wiegand uses humor to raise awareness and money for research.

Uvalde response: MUSC-based mass violence center offers resources in aftermath of Uvalde shootings.

‘A Leap Forward’: MUSC begins widespread use of pocket-size, whole body ultrasound system.

AR Surgery: If Clearview Surgical and Dr. Marc Katz have their way, AR could be the future of surgery in the not-too-distant future.