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MUSC Annual Report 2011-2012

Letter from the Chairman of the Board

Medical technology, I suppose, is relative. What was "state of the art" health care centuries, even decades ago, is considered primitive today. But the way we took care of each other in the past served as the foundation for what we do today.

For example, in prehistoric times, people used the bark of willow trees to ease pain. Who would have made the connection that bark applied to pain brings relief? It turns out that willow bark contains salicylates, a bitter chemical compound found in analgesics. The Romans constructed the first freshwater system, which at its peak carried 300 million gallons a day. How essential is a clean water supply to our health? The smallpox vaccine, developed by English physician Edward Jenner, is nearly as old as this country. Another vaccine, for polio, was developed in the 1950s and significantly reduced the threat of this paralyzing virus. Dr. Albert Sabin, a member of the MUSC faculty from 1974 to1982, played a major role in pushing back this crippling disease.

Advancements in medicine are occurring at a dizzying pace, and I firmly believe that MUSC scientists and health care providers are making significant contributions to that progress. As explained in this publication, we are making good on our mission of serving all the citizens of South Carolina using modern technology to reach out across the state.

Thomas L. Stephenson, Esq., Chairman of the Board

Under Dr. Robert Adams, who holds the Endowed Chair in Stroke at MUSC, our telestroke clinic, known as REACH, has been a tremendous success for three years now. As director of MUSC’s Stroke Center and Telestroke Program, Dr. Adams oversees a statewide network of some 14 hospitals. Through a direct televised connection at any of our partner hospitals, an MUSC stroke expert can consult with a physician, the patient or the patient’s family if a stroke is suspected and make an immediate recommendation for treatment.

Other types of networks, like Dr. Eric Powers’ Heart Attack Network, dramatically reduce the time from the onset of a heart attack until blood flow to the heart has been restored. It’s a perfect storm of technology, training and equipment to combat heart attacks and minimize the damage they cause. Another network, called CREST, functioned much like the Telestroke Program and dealt with patients at smaller hospitals suffering from trauma or severe infections, also known as sepsis. It will likely lead to similar programs in the future.

Of course, we would be remiss if we didn’t mention those other networks -- the social networks, like Facebook and Twitter. Obviously, they are to REACH and CREST like day is to night. That does not mean, however, that they are without purpose. A staggering 845 million people use Facebook actively, while Twitter has 175 million. Those two networks, and others, have become a major means of communication in today’s world, and many MUSC faculty and staff have taken to social networks to spread the word about our programs and services. One of our most active social networking physicians, Dr. David Geier, is profiled in the following pages.

Technology, however, is only one area in which we strive to be leaders. In other fields, such as diversity, we are committed to providing a stimulating environment that fosters innovation, compassion and inquisitiveness from a variety of perspectives. Our student body, staff and faculty all reflect this diversity, coming from many different backgrounds and cultures. Just as importantly, however, is the fact that this same commitment to diversity is reflected in our administration. Half of our deans are women, and you would be hard pressed to find that ratio at any other institution of higher education in the nation. We are proud of that fact, and wanted to share that information with you; therefore, you will find a special section profiling them.

In conclusion, we have experienced another good year at MUSC, training the next generation of health care providers and medical scientists while providing compassionate care using the latest technology available, and seeking to solve the mysteries of biomedicine. As always, I am proud to be a part of this dynamic institution, as we continue our pledge to you to serve you to the best of our ability.  

Thomas L. Stephenson, Esq., Chairman of the Board

NOTE:  Additional examples of the ways in which technology is transforming how care is delivered are highlighted in this online version. See Highlights for complete listing. 


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