Common Purpose and Innovative Spirit

COVID-19: MUSC Presidential Update - August 25, 2020

Dear MUSC family,

It’s hard to believe that it’s the end of August, with Labor Day just around the corner. Time flies when you’re… living through a global pandemic. And while it’s highly unlikely that 2020 will go down in world history as the “#BestYearEver,” it can be said that we’ve moved forward with unprecedented common purpose, a sense of anticipation and an innovative spirit that will certainly make the MUSC history book.

Along with senior leaders across the enterprise, I am encouraged by the continued positive data trends our team continues to track in the MUSC COVID-19 Epidemiology Intelligence Project. We believe that the current good news we are seeing throughout the areas we serve is likely a result of better and more widespread cooperation with masking, social distancing, excellent hand hygiene and protecting vulnerable populations. We know your efforts to plan, prepare and respond to COVID-19 have also made a difference, evidenced by just a few of the examples I’ve shared with you in previous weeks and months.

Last week marked the official start to our academic year as we welcomed new and returning students and our talented faculty back to MUSC –both on campus and via virtual learning platforms. We also celebrated virtually some of our incredible faculty members at our annual faculty awards and recognition ceremony. I hope you’ll take a moment to watch this brief video from Kathy and me welcoming everyone “back to school.”

I won’t attempt to predict exactly how the fall season is going to play out for us and across the state and local communities, but I remain optimistic given recent data trends, observed positive changes in people’s behaviors and my trust in the MUSC family to continue monitoring and responding appropriately. If there is another COVID-19 outbreak during the course of the fall, I am equally confident that we are prepared to move forward through that challenge safely and successfully.

Ultimately, our ability as a community and nation to defeat this pandemic will depend on the successful development and deployment of effective vaccines for this virus. So, I am excited to report that MUSC is one of a handful of clinical sites across the nation currently enrolling volunteers in a phase 3 clinical trial, evaluating the AZD1222 COVID-19 VACCINE. Please take the time to evaluate this opportunity if you have an interest in participating.

I realize that in fulfilling our vision and mission while also dealing with COVID-19, many MUSC family members are facing added layers of stress, frustration and worry in the daily cadence of life. I have heard many stories of how individual MUSC team members are facing work, family and life balance decisions that seem impossible. To help in this regard, leaders across the enterprise have been empowered to connect individuals to resources that can help them regain some of that balance. We’re also improving remote work opportunities and evaluating possible new support structures as we adapt to the collective new normal. As changes and challenges continue to come our way, we understand that we need to think differently and implement news ways to get our work done well, maintain our mental health and take care of our loved ones.

So, as we approach Labor Day on Sept. 7, I hope you’ll take a moment that day to join me in reflecting on “the contributions workers have made to the strength, prosperity and well-being of our country.” I’ll certainly be thinking of your contributions that day and the honor and privilege it is to serve alongside you in meeting the health needs of our local, statewide and national communities. Thank you for all that you do and for taking all necessary COVID-19 precautions during the last summer holiday of 2020.

Yours in service,
David J. Cole, M.D., FACS
MUSC president