by Melissa Lacas
Through his leadership, vision and financial support to the Department
of Internal Medicine, John R. Feussner, M.D., Department of Medicine
chairman, was named the 2009 Earl B. Higgins Achievement in Diversity
Higgins, center, widow of Earl B. Higgins, presents the 2009 Earl B.
Higgins Achievement in Diversity awards to Dr. John R. Feussner and
Christanne Hoffman April 1. The awards were first presented in
1996 and are a tribute to the late Dr. Earl B. Higgins, former director
of affirmative action and minority affairs at MUSC. The presentations
are held annually on the first Wednesday in April.
Benjamin Clyburn, M.D., residency program director and vice chairman
for education, nominated Feussner for the award, which celebrates an
individual on campus who promotes equity and diversity in every aspect
of work, service and diverse learning.
“Dr. Feussner is a visionary leader who consistently champions
diversity,” Clyburn said. “His efforts have transformed the culture in
the largest clinical department on campus. Diversity is now an overt
priority in recruitment.”
Increasing the number of underrepresented physicians, faculty and staff
from 3.8 percent to 12 percent is an example of Feussner’s
accomplishments since his arrival at MUSC six years ago.
“Dr. Feussner has made significant contributions to cultural diversity
in medicine, is committed to increasing the number and success of
minority medical faculty and has participated and directed research
activities aimed at improving minority health,” said Leonard E. Egede,
M.D., director of MUSC Center for Health Disparities Research and
associate professor of medicine. “He is an outstanding scholar and is
deserving of the Earl B. Higgins Achievement in Diversity Award.”
Feussner is the 14th recipient of this award, which was established in
1995 in tribute to Earl B. Higgins, Ed.D., who was director of
affirmative action and minority affairs at MUSC. Higgins, a catalyst
for minority recruitment, retention and enrichment programs, died Aug.
30, 1992, while in service to MUSC.
Prior to becoming chairman of medicine at MUSC, Feussner was chief of
the division of general medicine at Duke University Medical Center from
1988 to 1996. He then served as chief research and development officer
for the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) from 1996 to 2002, where he
oversaw more than $400 million per year in appropriations and directed
the VA cooperative studies program. Feussner also served on President
Clinton’s Committee on Science in the Office of Science and Technology
Policy in Washington, D.C.
Feussner accepted the award on April 1 at the Wickliffe House. He
contributed his success to his supportive family and credited the
Student leader wins diversity award
Fourth year College of Medicine student Christanne Hoffman was awarded
the Earl B. Higgins 2009 Student Leadership in Diversity Award.
Serving the community as co-president of the Alliance for Hispanic
Health (AHH), Hoffman is a certified MUSC medical Spanish interpreter,
fourth-year representative for the Emergency Medicine Interest Group
and student teacher and interpreting volunteer at the CARES clinic.
“Christanne Hoffman is one of our brightest stars at MUSC and has
contributed significantly to diversity efforts both on campus and in
the greater Charleston community,” said nominator Laurine T. Charles,
associate professor and associate director of the Office of Student
In addition to being named a 2006 Presidential Scholar, Hoffman was an
inaugural scholar recipient of the 2008 MUSC Student Leadership
Society, and was elected by her peers to the Gold Humanism Honor
Learning more about Spanish culture while studying abroad in Costa Rica
and Sevilla, Spain, Hoffman has always reached out to minorities and
the Spanish community.
“Receiving this award is a great honor. I attribute my personal
development, along with the success of the Alliance for Hispanic Health
and other MUSC organizations to the amazing faculty, staff, and other
student leaders on campus,” said Hoffman.
Hoffman plans to maintain her practice of service and leadership by
completing a residency in Emergency Medicine at the University of
California San Diego, where she will be able to continue to reach out
to the Hispanic community.
“Christanne leaves behind a legacy of service and leadership and yet is
just beginning a lifetime of the same,” Charles said. “I believe that
Dr. Higgins would have been pleased to know her and work with her.”
Earl B. Higgins Scholarship
The Earl B. Higgins Scholarship is given annually to one student from
each college. The 2009 recipients are: Vandy T. Gaffney II, College of
Medicine; Jennifer Holliday, College of Health Professions; Aisha K.
Choudry, College of Nursing; James R. Marchall, College of Dental
Medicine; Crystal Gayle, S.C. College of Pharmacy; and Nortorious
Coleman, College of Graduate Studies.
The committee members are: Willette Burnham, Chair, Office of Student
Programs & Student Diversity, Gwendolyn Brown, Dental Medicine,
Steven Brown, Pharmacy, Ed Cousineau, Medicine, Wanda Gonsalves, Health
Professions, Mardi Long, Nursing, David Neff, Ambulatory Care Services,
Tom Smith, Center for Academic Excellence, William Spring, Hospital
Administration, Cynthia Wright, Graduate Studies, Liz Sheridan,
Immediate Past Recipient, Student Programs, Sheldon Bates, Dental
Medicine; and Rhonda Walters, Student Diversity.
Friday, April 10, 2009