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Town hall meeting highlights
MUSC President Ray Greenberg and John R. Raymond, vice president for
academic affairs and provost, March 20 gave members of the university’s
faculty a “sample” of significant happenings both on and off campus,
beginning with the opening of Ashley River Tower.
“Six weeks ago, 66 patients were transferred from the existing hospital
to Ashley River Tower. Many of them were intensive care patients, and
the transfer went remarkably well,” said Greenberg. ART has a capacity
of 156 beds, of which 105 have been opened. Although the demand to fill
more beds is high, he said that MUSC will have to hire more staff to
open the remaining beds.
“It’s been a real education for me, to see it in operation,” Greenberg
said. “To see the intensive care floors are unlike any intensive care
floor I’ve seen before. We probably all have the image of intensive
care involving staff running around, a lot of noise and monitors going
off. However, in this facility because of the way it’s laid out, it’s
quiet and almost calming in there.” He said he hopes that it will be a
model for improving patient care environments throughout MUSC. ART
embraces all of the MUSC missions with research, education and patient
care going on there, he said.
Meanwhile, ongoing renovations of the vacated floors in the main
hospital will bring the structure into compliance with present hospital
building standards and code, Greenberg said. He said it will take about
18 months to get the beds in the original hospital back on line.
With the complete gutting of the first floor of the College of Nursing,
progress is well under way to create a clinical simulation laboratory
to be used by all colleges of the university.
Greenberg said that from the Center for Economic Excellence effort in
Patient Safety and Clinical Effectiveness emerged clinical simulation
to enhance patient safety. Clinical simulation uses sophisticated
computerized mannequins to simulate a variety of clinical scenarios.
Health care professionals and students receive real-time feedback as
they respond to the various patient conditions presented in the
“Dr. (John) Schaefer, who occupies the endowed chair in clinical
simulation, is developing evaluation technology that will monitor how
people are performing and then learn from what people do well and not
do well to improve the educational process,” Greenberg said. He
predicts that this will transform the way clinical education is done
from the old model of “see one, do one, teach one” to actually “learn
one” without putting a patient at risk.
Simulation will allow the College of Nursing, for example, with a
strict faculty-to-student ratio in the clinical setting to teach many
more students by exposing them to procedures outside of the patients
care environment. “Under Dr. Schafer’s leadership, we have the
opportunity for South Carolina to become the state for leadership in
clinical simulation education, because his charge is to set up a
statewide network of these simulation centers,” Greenberg said, “all
inter-connected by high speed fiber-optics.”
With a total of six interconnected simulation centers distributed in
Greenville-Spartanburg, Columbia, Beaufort and Charleston, simulations
going on in Greenville can be transparently monitored in Charleston.
“This will make the education process more efficient and more
clinicians will be trained because of it,” he said.
An $8 million grant that the Federal Communications Commission awarded
to Health Sciences South Carolina will provide better broadband
connectivity to rural hospitals in the state. The system will be
developed by MUSC Chief Information Officer Frank Clark, Ph.D., who
wrote the grant with a goal to connect 56 rural hospitals by Internet.
Greenberg said that the linkage between the major urban areas will be
on a so-called “light rail,” a high speed dedicated fiber-optic
connection, which is about to be up and running shortly. It will
connect to the national network. “The power of it will be to have the
expertise in the various centers available to every health care
provider in the state,” he said.
This is particularly important in stroke cases where a three-hour
window is critical in minimizing brain damage. By having emergency
rooms statewide linked to a stroke specialty facility, people in rural
areas can receive needed specialized care in time. Currently in the
Lowcountry only 1 percent of stroke patients get clot-busting therapy
within that three-hour window. Once the system is up and running,
Greenberg said, it can be used not only to improve stroke care, but for
any number of clinical applications to provide better care in
communities in which there are few medical specialists available.
MUSC Excellence Program
Touching on universitywide initiatives that Raymond said are
particularly exciting, “First and foremost is the MUSC Excellence
Program, which is designed to help us be more effective and efficient
in what we do every day and ensure that we treat each other and our
constituents with respect.”
Progress in the program’s five pillars of people, service, quality,
growth and finance will be measured against predetermined benchmarks.
The program has been rolled out in the Medical University Hospital
Authority, the Vice President for Finance and Administration, the
College of Medicine and the Office of the Chief Information Officer.
“I’m pleased to announce that the program has begun to be rolled out in
the reporting lines of the other colleges, the library and the Office
of the Provost,” Raymond said.
Humanities Scholar in
The offices of the president and the provost have been working hard to
enrich the learning environment and focus on faculty development and
mentorship. One such program, Raymond said, is the Humanities Scholar
in Residence, intended to bring persons to the institution to broaden
the scope of the educational and learning environment.
The first to serve here under the program is J. Herman Blake, Ph.D.,
who arrived in November. As a former university provost and president,
Blake brings with him a broad-based scholarship with a focus to
eliminate barriers that prevent individuals from minority backgrounds
from pursuing higher education.
“The idea is to bring illustrious faculty members in for a limited
period of time—from six months to two years—in disciplines such as
history, law, ethics, the humanities,” Raymond said.
New CoEE endowed chairs
Since 2002, MUSC has added 13 centers, 26 approved chairs and
participates in a number of centers that are run by University of South
Carolina (USC) and Clemson University. “We filled 10 chairs at our
institution,” Raymond said. “I think that shows the strength of our
department chairs and deans here because they spearheaded all these
recruitment efforts. We’re bringing a lot of strength in a lot of
different areas to the state and to the institution.”
The Centers for Economic Excellence program in stroke has been enhanced
by the recent recruitment of Marc Ivor Chimowitz, M.D., associate
dean for faculty in the College of Medicine. Chimowitz is principal
investigator of a $25 million multi-center clinical grant to evaluate
the efficacy of adding intracranial stenting to the treatment of
patients with arterial stenosis already being treated with aggressive
pharmacological and life-style modifications.
Iain Sanderson, Ph.D., arrived in October from Duke University and is a
medical informatics expert. He will lead statewide and regional
academic informatics efforts to develop a regional electronic
institutional review board, regional clinical trials management
software, and regional tissue and data repositories which will require
addressing a number of interoperability issues.
College of Health
Mark Sothman, Ph.D., was recruited from Indiana University Purdue
University Indianapolis nearly a year ago to serve as dean of the
College of Health Professions. He is an exercise scientist and founding
faculty member of the Indiana University School of Informatics.
College of Nursing 125th
Raymond recognized the college for its 125 years of training nurses and
noted its sacrifice in giving up valuable space for MUSC to create its
Clinical Simulation Laboratory.
SC College of Pharmacy
Since the 2004 merger of pharmacy colleges at USC and MUSC,
faculty and students have made terrific progress, Raymond said.
Research funding and scholarship has increased, and research
productivity has more than doubled, with the combined college having
improved in National Institutes of Health (NIH) rankings from 31st to
As a combined college, they were able to recruit two centers for
economic excellence endowed chairs, something that Raymond said would
have been difficult to do without the critical mass of resources and
intellectual capital they now have. The chairs are filled by Chuck
Smith, Ph.D., and John Lemasters, M.D., Ph.D., who are spearheading new
efforts in drug discovery and high fidelity microscopy.
He reported that the curricula of the combined campuses are aligned,
two classes have been enrolled, the school is in candidate status for
accreditation, and there are plans to expand into the
People in the Department of Pharmacology have been squeezed into
temporary space while the third floor of the Basic Science Building is
renovated. Funded by the College of Medicine at $8 million, about half
the floor will be turned into “world-class laboratory and office
space.” Raymond said completion of the project is expected in August or
College of Dental Medicine
Rising out of the dust, the College of Dental Medicine’s new facility
can now boast of a skeletal steel structure beginning to give shape to
the building, which will yield 100,000 square feet of space at an
estimated cost of more than $60 million. The building, which will be
primarily a clinical teaching facility, is a first for the college in
terms of an identifiable structure to call its home, Raymond said.
Drug Discovery and
Expected within the next year are what Raymond called “partner
buildings” to house drug discovery and bioengineering through the S.C.
Life Sciences Act, also known as the Research Universities
Infrastructure Act. He said the state provides a dollar for dollar
match for MUSC for research facilities construction. It will include a
drug discovery building and an interdisciplinary building that will be
partnered with a bioengineering and life sciences building. And it will
contain a genomics effort as well, he said.
MUSC has earned a 10-year reaffirmation and accreditation from the
Southern Association of Colleges and Universities. Credit for primary
leadership in the effort goes to Tom Higerd, Ph.D., associate provost
for institutional research and assessment. Amy Blue, Ph.D., assistant
provost for education, provided primary leadership in a quality
enhancement plan on inter-professional education.
Health Sciences South
Created as a partnership among USC, MUSC, MUHA, Palmetto Health and
Greenville Hospital System in 2004, Health Sciences South Carolina
(HSSC) was joined in 2005 by Clemson University and Spartanburg
Regional Healthcare System. HSSC has grown through collaborations and
boasts emerging initiatives in information systems inter-operability,
single region Institutional Review Board (IRB), clinical trials network
with consent docents, common research consent form, shared IRB
software, shared clinical trials management platform (Velos), shared
faculty profiling/fingerprinting (Colexis), and distributed regional
HSSC’s new president, Jay Moskowitz, Ph.D., arrived in September,
following a 24-year career at NIH where he was the founding director of
the National Institute on Deafness and other Communication Disorders.
He was also the NIH deputy director for science policy and technology.
His career in academics includes senior associate dean at Wake Forest
School of Medicine and associate vice president for research,
Pennsylvania State University-Hershey.
Friday, March 28, 2008
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