A President's Perspective – Oct. 2022

Dear MUSC family,

Disruption: No one seeks it out. Defined as “a disturbance or problems that interrupt an event, activity, or process,” disruption creates more work, and alters our plans, sometimes permanently. However, there are two types of disruption in the business world: One is good, where an innovative disruption to the “way we’ve always done it” moves things forward and creates efficiencies, time-savings, and flexibility, and sometimes, it is the path to progress. The other kind, like natural disasters, can create so much of a disturbance and so many problems that it can make it hard to deliver on an organization’s mission. In the past month, we’ve experienced both, and I want to thank all of you for the tenacity, problem-solving and commitment that you have demonstrated given both sets of unique challenges.

Let’s just call it out– going live with MUSC OurDay is an ongoing disruption. But, once we get past the immediate, it will be a good disruption. Bringing as many administrative, financial and other day-to-day processes into alignment under the MUSC OurDay comprehensive technology platform (and being able to throw our last abacus in the trash) is an overall win for the organization. Hundreds of MUSC family members across the university, health system and practice plan, have been going above and beyond for more than a year to get us to this point, and while the transition hasn’t been perfect, I want us to take a moment to pause and thank the individuals who are making these changes, learning new things and doing their best to implement more fully all of what the OurDay platform has to offer MUSC. Thank you, too, for your patience and understanding as we continue to move forward with something that’s never been done in our almost 200-year history. I’m hearing good things from many areas of the enterprise about the go live of this new system, and I’ve also heard about individual frustrations, problems and complex and unforeseen issues for some areas. I’ve been assured by our enterprise leadership that the OurDay team is moving as quickly as humanly possible to manage and mitigate every one of these issues.

And as if this transition wasn’t hard enough on its own merit, the go live happened to coincide with the threat of Hurricane Ian, leading to another layer of work for those intimately involved with the launch along with our emergency planning operations teams in Charleston and around the state.

These are the situations that test our resolve, our spirit and our expertise. In addition to recognizing the incredible amount of time and energy that has gone into the OurDay roll-out, I’m also very proud of how our MUSC teams worked together throughout the enterprise to prepare for and respond to the adverse weather generated by Hurricane Ian. Even though we were very fortunate to come through with no major damage to our Charleston campus or in any of our MUSC Health locations, preparing for, managing and recovering from Ian was a significant disruption. We were very blessed to have escaped the worst of the turmoil it inflicted on those in other parts of the country. Our thoughts for and outreach efforts in those areas will continue for some time.

As we move toward the season of gratitude, I hope you’ll join me in appreciating and thanking each other for weathering these recent metaphorical and literal storms.

Yours in service,

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

Innovation in Action

It was too hard to pick just one innovation to highlight this month, so I chose three because they represent our tripartite mission so well. In the spirit of brevity and knowing how busy everyone stays, I’ll offer some thoughts here and encourage you to dive into the stories to read more.

Opioid Overdose Network
Opioid deaths and access to behavioral health care, which affect every element of our society, are heading sharply in the wrong direction. What’s awesome about the work related to this new network is that while its mission is to make it easier to conduct opioid overdose trials by helping researchers to identify patients for their studies, some early findings demonstrated that when offered this tool, it positively affected the way ER physicians treat opioid overdose patients.

Designer. Maker. Dreamer.
First-year medical student Joshua Kim sounds like a force to be reckoned with, and as you’ll see, his curiosity, love of building things and passion for healing combined have positioned him well to become a life-long innovator.

Financial Literacy
As part of our OneMUSC strategy, we have a goal of finding innovative ways to reduce student debt. From sharing general best practices with personal budgets and cost-cutting to customized approaches for students from all backgrounds, I’m excited about our University team’s potential to have real and immediate impact with the establishment of the Office of Student Financial Literacy.

Inclusion to Innovation Summit

If you’re a leader, educator, student, health care practitioner or simply consider yourself a life-long learner, please consider registering for the sixth annual Inclusion to Innovation Summit on Nov. 7. This virtual event will feature nationally recognized speakers and authors, organizational diversity strategists and thought leaders for safe but challenging conversations designed to equip you to take inclusion innovatively to the next level in your domain. And, it’s a great way to satisfy your mandatory DEI training credits for this year.

Register for the event.

Giving with Purpose

Call us crazy… but meet Sassy Cole, the newest member of the Cole family! Sassy is an almost 3-month old cairn terrier (just like Toto from “The Wizard of Oz”). These pictures are from when we picked her up on a recent Sunday. She joins Lilly, our black Lab, and Ella, another carin terrier, who you might remember from some of Kathy and my pandemic-era video messages.

Petting a dog can relieve stress, lower blood pressure and pain levels, and relieve loneliness. These are just some of the health benefits that our 91 canine therapy teams bring to our patients and care teams. We recently celebrated our human and canine volunteers at the annual MUSC Blessing of the Therapy Dogs.

The event also featured the unveiling of the 2023 Canine Therapists and Clinicians Calendar with proceeds from the sale of each $20 calendar supporting the production of PAWsome Story Time!, a video library of children’s stories read by our therapy dog volunteers. Pick yours up in the Volunteer Services offices at University Hospital or at the Shawn Jenkins Children’s Hospital. And in case you didn’t know, our therapy animal program is only…wait for it… “paw”-ssible because of our volunteers and the generous donors who help to cover the costs of training and supplies.

Presidential Scholars

One of the highlights of the academic year for Kathy and me is having the opportunity to meet with and learn more about the students from across all six MUSC colleges who have been selected for the Presidential Scholars program.

This yearlong, interprofessional experience offers MUSC students who apply for the program the opportunity to explore complex social, political, and human issues related to health care. The process encourages dialogue, different perspectives, problem-solving and critical thinking, while providing interaction with MUSC faculty members that these individuals might not otherwise meet as they work on team projects.

The enthusiasm, intelligence and “can-do” attitude of these students never fails to remind me that the future of health care deserves our optimism with individuals such as these working to make a lifelong positive impact.

Cut to the Chase

Every new mother has needs during the postpartum period, but our culture in the U.S. does a pretty great job of making it hard to ask for, seek out or even find help for the myriad issues that can arise (and by new, that can mean first baby or fourth baby). In my latest post, I explore the need to do better by ALL moms and some efforts underway at MUSC that are making that possible.

Read the latest post


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