A President's Perspective – June 2023

Dear MUSC family,

The July 4th holiday is just around the corner. Although there are the obvious -fireworks (and hopefully not catching something on fire or ending up in the ED), grilling out and wearing red, white and blue for the day, this day represents so much more. For one, I would say that it is a chance to reflect on who we are as a nation and be thankful for the many blessings that we enjoy. Despite our many imperfections, we should have a sense of pride for all that, together, our nation stands for and encourage each other to embrace the boldness and responsibility that comes with freedom.

I’d like to share two thoughts that I find particularly meaningful, especially at this time of year, from two important American leaders.

“May we think of freedom, not as the right to do as we please, but the opportunity to do what is right.” – Peter Marshall

“America was built on courage, imagination, and unbeatable determination.”
– Harry S. Truman

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 and your loved ones a safe, happy and healthy Independence Day.

Yours in service,

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

Values in Action

REMINDER … Please consider nominating someone in your area this calendar year 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, 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.

Cut to the Chase

In this blog, I discuss the very exciting, strategic and unique public-private partnership that was just announced for the Pee Dee area, specifically within the City of Florence, which will produce a first-of-its kind behavioral health hub for our state.

Innovation in Action

This article offers an excellent recap of what the Blue Sky Awards program is and how its encouraging a new level of translational interprofessional work at MUSC. In this round, the winners are seeking to understand and potentially treat an often misdiagnosed and stigmatized disease, hypermobile Ehlers-Danlos syndrome, using vagus nerve stimulation. Congratulations to Drs. Steven Kautz, Chip Norris, Heather Boger, Cortney Gensemer and Bashar Badran on this achievement!

Spotlight on Research – sickle cell disease

For more than 40 years, Sherron Jackson, M.D., an internationally and nationally recognized physician scientist in sickle cell treatment and research, led a dedicated team at MUSC to find better treatments and work to eliminate the stigma that comes with having sickle cell disease. Now under the direction of Temeia Martin, M.D., the Rena Grant Sickle Cell Center is poised to lead the way on curative therapies for this difficult and often debilitating condition, with increased National Institutes of Health funding.

Giving with Purpose

Congratulations to Martin Steed, D.D.S., the inaugural holder of the James B. Edwards Endowed Chair in Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, established with a generous gift from Ann Edwards, former first lady of MUSC. The College of Dental Medicine’s first endowed chair, it comes with a permanent source of funding to support the chairholder’s work. Endowed chairs are incredibly valuable tools for recruiting and retaining outstanding faculty members, like Steed, an oral and maxillofacial surgeon, who is internationally known for his expertise.

It’s fitting that Steed is the first to hold the chair honoring the legacy of “Jim” Edwards, D.D.S., oral maxillofacial surgeon and MUSC President Emeritus. During his 17-year-tenure, Dr. Edwards transformed MUSC, setting a pace for growth and progress that continues to build momentum to this day. Endowed chairs were an important part of his strategy for spurring this progress, and he made their creation a top priority during his presidency. We are eternally grateful to the Edwards for their generosity and endless dedication to MUSC.

From Kathy

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) 2023-2024 Best Children’s Hospitals survey. The highly recognized specialties for the MUSC SJCH include the following national rankings: No. 4 for cardiology & heart surgery, No. 26 for cancer, No. 36 for orthopedics, No. 44 for neonatology, No. 48 for nephrology and No. 50 for gastroenterology & GI surgery.

It’s wonderful to see our pediatric teams’ incredible efforts over the last year, and I hope that you’ll join me in congratulating them for this remarkable recognition.

In case you missed it


Heart-Saving Science: With SCTR pilot funding, a bioengineer and vascular surgeon collaborate on potentially heart-saving science.
Evidence for Remote Trials: Will remote trials overcome the barriers that make it difficult for underserved populations to participate in clinical trials? A Hollings researcher weighs in.
Innovator Award Winners: The MUSC Office of Innovation recognizes second quarter's recipients of the I am an MUSC Innovator Awards.
Cancer Biomarker: An MUSC team finds a new, more specific biomarker for a liver cancer type. Currently, no specific diagnostic tools of this type exist for this disease.


Vagus Nerve Stimulation: Neurosurgeon and therapists team up to perform the first vagus nerve implant for chronic stroke in the Carolinas.
Neurology Education Center: Neurology pays tribute to beloved educator, clinician with named education center.
Pedals Possible: The newly formed nonprofit has already donated 21 adaptive bicycles – ones specifically designed for riders with special needs – to state public schools.
Breast Cancer Drug Development: A Hollings researcher's startup got a Small Business Technology Transfer grant to develop triple negative breast cancer findings into a potential drug.


Cancer Moonshot: MUSC Hollings Cancer Center researcher Benjamin Toll, Ph.D., is excited and hopeful about the Cancer Moonshot's focus on smoking cessation.
World Lacrosse: Eugene Hong, M.D., is known for leadership at MUSC and love of sports medicine. Now he’s channeling both attributes as chief medical officer for World Lacrosse.
Clinical Excellence: Rana Pullatt, M.D., was honored with national recognition for clinical excellence.
Mass Violence: In a year with 27 school shootings so far, MUSC hosts a national town hall to look at how experts can prepare for and help in the aftermath of such violence.