July 1, 2010
CHARLESTON -- The Medical University of South Carolina announced the establishment of a cooperative agreement with the United States Department of Defense to develop educational and outreach programs and conduct community-based research on health disparities.
This three-year, $12.7 million award was made possible by a Congressional earmark secured by U.S. Rep. James E. Clyburn to address the high rates of disease occurrence, disability and mortality in rural, low-income or minority communities.
"In South Carolina, we have many communities that are struggling with very high rates of diseases such as hypertension, obesity and diabetes," Clyburn said. "We think of these conditions as problems among older people, but the truth of the matter is that many of these illnesses are present in young people of military age." Under this agreement, 14 MUSC investigators will undertake projects that raise public awareness, such as community leaders institutes, to develop services to meet health needs, and conduct research on the programís effectiveness. Particular focus will be directed towards engaging young people in prevention programs.
MUSC Chief of Staff Sabra Slaughter, Ph.D., will lead MUSCís efforts. "This award will allow us to address some of the most fundamental differences in health status within South Carolina and the southeastern region," stated Slaughter. "This has been a priority for the Medical University for many years, but we have lacked the resources to develop a comprehensive approach to the problem."
Some of the areas of our state with the highest illness and death rates also have the lowest numbers of primary care and specialty physicians, added MUSC President Ray Greenberg. "In stroke care, we already have demonstrated that we can reach out to these communities using telemedicine to allow specialists at the Medical University to consult with patients and their physicians in rural areas."
Using an Internet-based consultation system, MUSC neurologists led by Robert Adams, M.D., have demonstrated that stroke care can be delivered in partnership with doctors in some of the smallest towns. "Telemedicine is particularly well suited for high risk populations resulting in interventions and treatments being administered more efficiently resulting in better health outcomes," said Adams.
Founded in 1824 in Charleston, The Medical University of South Carolina is the oldest medical school in the South. Today, MUSC continues the tradition of excellence in education, research, and patient care. MUSC educates and trains more than 3,000 students and residents, and has nearly 11,000 employees, including 1,500 faculty members. As the largest non-federal employer in Charleston, the university and its affiliates have collective annual budgets in excess of $1.7 billion. MUSC operates a 750-bed medical center, which includes a nationally recognized Children's Hospital, the Ashley River Tower (cardiovascular, digestive disease, and surgical oncology), and a leading Institute of Psychiatry. For more information on academic information or clinical services, visit www.musc.edu or www.muschealth.com.