DCRI head lands coveted positions, seeks collaborative future

Heather Woolwine

April 30, 2009

DCRI head lands coveted positions, seeks collaborative future

Dr. Bernie Maria to head pediatrics department, hospital & maintain ties to MUSC

CHARLESTON -- Bernard L. Maria, M.D., MBA, a founding director of the Charles P. Darby Children's Research Institute (DCRI) at MUSC, has been named chair of the Department of Pediatrics and Ellington Charles Hawes Chair in Pediatrics at the Medical College of Georgia (MCG) School of Medicine. Maria, an internationally-known physician-scientist, will join the MCG faculty July 1.

Maria also will serve as medical director of the MCGHealth Children's Medical Center, pending approval of the MCG Health, Inc. Board of Directors at its May meeting. It is at the helm of the MCG pediatrics department and the 154-bed pediatric hospital that he plans to wield innovation and collaboration in making translational research, or the move of new discoveries from the lab bench to the patientís beside, a larger priority in Georgia.

"The Medical College of Georgia has made a wise choice in selecting Dr. Maria to head their Pediatrics department," said MUSC President Ray Greenberg, M.D., Ph.D. "He will bring to them a wealth of experience and we hope to partner with him in developing regional strategies for meeting the healthcare needs of children in the Southeast."

Based on the wealth of knowledge and experience gained at the DCRI, and his breadth of clinical and research practice as a pediatric neurologist and neuro-oncologist, Maria plans to strengthen MCG with strategic new recruitments, by growing graduate educational programs, enhancing research productivity, and boosting pediatric services to the Georgia community.

"This is how I define a great institution: itís when you can leave the institution, without the institution leaving you. The values, collaborations and collegial spirit stay with you. MUSC is one such great institution," Maria said. "If what we accomplished with the founding and record growth of the DCRI hadnít been so meaningful, I wouldnít be in the position to take this amazing opportunity. I am thankful and grateful to all those at MUSC that played a part in showing me whatís possible."

As he looks to the future, Maria sees strong research collaborations between MCG and MUSC, as well as serving as a catalyst for stronger intercollegiate opportunities between the two schools. His calling, as he puts it, is to continue to elevate the point of view that children should be more than trickle-down recipients of research; that listening to the health-care needs of children at the bench and bedside holds the key to elevating the status of childrenís health in the Southeast and beyond.

"Dr. Maria has provided strong and insightful leadership in fostering interdisciplinary collaborations focused on childhood and adolescent diseases and developmental biology. Under his leadership, the DCRI built a model that encourages faculty, staff and students from many departments on campus to work together in common space, thus building synergism across disciplines," said MUSC Provost John Raymond, M.D. "By assuming the chairmanship of the Department of Pediatrics at the Medical College of Georgia, he will be in an ideal position to build bridges across the Georgia-South Carolina border, and to develop meaningful regional collaborations to address diseases of infancy, childhood and adolescence."

For more information regarding Mariaís credentials, educational background, or accomplishments, an executive summary is available upon request.

About MUSC

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 $1.6 billion. MUSC operates a 750-bed medical center, which includes a nationally recognized Children's Hospital and a leading Institute of Psychiatry. For more information on academic information or clinical services, visit www.musc.edu or www.muschealth.com.