Presidential Update October 15

Dear MUSC family,

We remain COVID-19 vigilant, and I commend you for your commitment to moving forward as we coexist with this virus. We are all looking forward to the days of vaccine validation, approval and deployment. There’s promising news on that front, with at least five vaccines moving through phase 3 clinical trials as we speak. We’ve still got a long way to go. I’m counting on you as we move into colder weather and closer quarters to continue all of those best practices that prevent the spread of the virus (you know the drill) and would add one more – please get a flu shot and encourage others to do the same. The last thing we want to contend with is a “twindemic” that would set back the progress we’ve made in recent months to contain the virus and prevent overwhelming our hospital systems.

Our MUSC Board of Trustees met last week to hear updates on our COVID-19 work and to discuss a range of topics, and it struck me once again how much we have all accomplished together, pandemic or not. Across our mission, you’re innovating and adapting in ways that many didn’t think was possible only a short time ago. It is truly remarkable. This work can be hard, messy, imperfect and stressful; however, the outcomes we are achieving together are worth it.

Several examples of our collective power are indicated in a pre-pandemic study completed by University of South Carolina research economist Joey Von Nessen, Ph.D. Emphasizing the fact that MUSC plays a key role in educating future providers, drives cutting-edge innovation and research and supports the health care needs of the community through our clinical expansion and expertise, his statewide economic impact report found:

  • The total annual economic impact of MUSC on South Carolina is approximately $5.6 billion. This level of economic activity also supports more than 38,000 jobs each year. Few organizations have an economic impact of this magnitude on South Carolina’s economy.
  • The university, including its six colleges and associated research opportunities, contributes about 24% of this impact – or roughly $1.1 billion annually.
  • For every 10 jobs created by MUSC, another 11 jobs, on average, are created elsewhere in South Carolina.
  • A sizable share of MUSC’s employment base encompasses highly skilled and educated health professionals that are an integral part of the state’s knowledge economy. As a result, the average wage across all 38,168 jobs created directly and indirectly by MUSC is about 51% higher than that of the average job in South Carolina.
  • The net annual contribution that MUSC makes to the South Carolina gross state product is approximately $3.2 billion. This implies that MUSC generates economic activity, directly and indirectly, that brings in about $149.6 million in tax revenue annually for the state of South Carolina.

While this report was created prior to the onset of COVID-19, our relatively swift economic recovery over the summer renders this data timely and accurate. These are just a few highlights. I encourage you to read through the full report and to reflect on the important roles that our institution is playing not just in Charleston but across the state. The hope is that this information will be useful in helping our various constituent groups better understand the value and sizeable contributions we bring to our communities.

To me, this report underscores our increasingly impactful success. The foundation of this is the perseverance and resolve to serve the state as a trusted and essential academic health sciences center that leads health innovation for all of the lives we touch; it’s important to remember this impact as we continue our COVID-19 marathon. Please stay safe and well.

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