A President's Perspective – May 2023

Dear MUSC family,

I hope that you all can pause and observe Memorial Day on Monday, a day of remembrance for those who died while serving our country as members of the U.S. armed forces.

Honoring these service members is our acknowledgement that the rights and privileges we have today are because they gave all in the name of freedom. We should never forget the countless sacrifices that have allowed us this reality, and on behalf of the enterprise, I want to take a moment to recognize those individuals and their families on behalf of us all.

Yours in service,

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

Spotlight on MUSC Grads

Each year, our colleges select a graduate to highlight as part of our annual Commencement celebration. I hope you’ll take a few minutes to read a bit about these rising stars.

Research Stand-Out: This research stand-out possesses skills, drive for a career as a government scientist leader.

Pharmacy Graduate: Small-town grad hopes to make big splash in industrial pharmacy career.

Heart-Stopping Student: Grayce Owens’ time at MUSC taught her to stop and start hearts, took her to Kenya and gave her a professional path she loves.

Suit to Scrubs: On May 20, Zach Boden became a registered nurse. How he got there – his path, if you will – was anything but typical.

Dental Graduate: Julia Filler started dental school in 2016. She had no idea that she wouldn’t graduate till 2023 and become dangerously ill along the way.

Home Run Dermatologist: On May 20, McKenzie Dirr graduated from MUSC's College of Medicine, officially becoming M.D., M.D.

Giving with Purpose

You may recall in a previous newsletter, about a year or so ago (give or take), I mentioned the efforts of MUSC patient and Charleston-based teenager Sydney Severance to launch Operation Upright – a $1.2 million fundraiser to bring an upright MRI machine to MUSC in Charleston. Sydney has been steadfast that, even in the face of great pain and medical challenges throughout her turbulent journey to an accurate diagnosis, other patients like her shouldn’t have to travel so far to access this important technology. You see, traditional MRIs, which require a supine position, couldn’t diagnose Sydney’s condition (Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome/craniocervical instability) or that of many others; in fact, the average EDS patient will spend about 14 painful and debilitating years trying to obtain an accurate diagnosis before they get one.

On April 30, she met that goal, and in the coming months, MUSC will purchase and install its new upright MRI machine. Way to go, Sydney!

“I alone can’t change the world, but I can cast a stone across the waters to create many ripples. – Mother Teresa

From Kathy

The beginning of May is always one of my favorite times of year because we have the chance to pause and celebrate the incredible and selfless nurses all throughout MUSC!

It was my pleasure to address some of our nurses during Grand Rounds in Charleston this year, and I am always so humbled by the stories I hear about our nurses in Charleston and throughout our MUSC locations statewide.

And while Nurses Week 2023 may be past, I hope that you’ll take the spirit of that week and celebrate ALL that they do to ensure that MUSC can deliver on its education, research and patient care mission.

In case you missed it


Personalizing TMS: MUSC study identifies a second target for treating depression with transcranial magnetic stimulation.
Controlling Relapse: Return to use of opioids after stopping can heighten overdose risk. The McGinty Lab has found a way to reduce return to use in a preclinical model.
Better for Babies: New treatment approach for babies born dependent on opioids gets them healthy and home faster.
Innovation Week: Innovation Week showcases tradition changing ideas from faculty and students.
HIPEC Hope: A specialized chemotherapy treatment allowed a retired art teacher to continue with her love of painting, despite a rare cancer diagnosis.


Risk Biomarkers: A Hollings researcher wants to ID risk biomarkers to enable doctors to stop a serious side effect of stem cell transplant before it happens.
Vax Van: MUSC initiative aims to increase human papillomavirus vaccination rates in underserved communities.
Surprising Sounds: A little girl whose family refused to believe she'd never be able to hear finds a team that believed in her at MUSC Health – with awe-inspiring results.
Women Surgeons: MUSC surgeons share their passion and guidance with students through Association of Women Surgeons event.
Preventing Cancer's Return: An MUSC Hollings Cancer Center doctor is leading a national trial to test whether drugs used after large B-cell lymphoma returns could instead prevent relapse.


Telehealth Course: The Telehealth Service Implementation Model (TSIM), developed at MUSC, is set to launch a new online training course for telehealth leaders and teams.
Regulating Tobacco: How might allowing flavored e-cigarettes or banning menthol cigarettes affect people's tobacco use? The FDA wants a Hollings researcher to find out.
STAR Symposium: On May 11, Alex Spiotta, M.D., was joined by some of the best and brightest minds in the world of stroke and aneurysm treatment for the first STAR Symposium.
ACTS Award Winners: Carol Feghali-Bostwick, Ph.D., and ReJoyce Green, Ph.D., received prestigious awards at this year's Translational Science conference in Washington, D.C.
Commencement Speaker: Theresa Gonzales, D.M.D., an alumna of the MUSC College of Dental Medicine served as commencement speaker at the 193rd MUSC graduation event.