College of Health Professions E-Newsletter

In Memory of our Beloved Colleague, Professor and Friend: Your Legacy Will Live in our Hearts

Jerry with class in 1983
Jerry at graduation
Jerry at SCOTA 2001
Jerry with student

Jerome Kevin Burik, MHS, OTR/L, of Mount Pleasant, South Carolina, passed away unexpectedly on Sunday, August 12, 2012. He was born on August 13, 1959 in McKees Rock, Pennsylvania, son of Claudia Lusko Burik and the late Jerome Stephen Burik. He attended West Virginia University, then transferred to the Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC) graduating in 1982 with a BS degree in Occupational Therapy and in 1991 with a Master of Health Science degree. As a licensed occupational therapist he has been an independent contractor, a consultant, an adjunct instructor and an entrepreneur. He co-founded the first private practice of Occupational Therapy in Charleston, SC (Therapy Resources) prior to joining the faculty at MUSC. In 1999, he was appointed Assistant Professor and the Academic Fieldwork Coordinator in the Division of Occupational Therapy, College of Health Professions at MUSC, where he served at the time of his death. He was an active member of AOTA and the South Carolina Occupational Therapy Association and served on a number of Advisory Boards. He was a great collaborator with his faculty colleagues which led to his participation in many funded grant activities and publications. He also held a leadership role in the MUSC Leadership Initiative, C-3, Creating Collaborative Care, which promotes inter-professional education strategies that builds teamwork for bridging the classroom to the clinic. In 2002, he was awarded the MUSC Health Science Foundation Teaching Excellence Award, in the Developing Teacher Category. When interviewed about this award, he said he loved his profession and wanted to educate his students, not only train them. Jerry was an inspiring and dedicated faculty member and an excellent Fieldwork Coordinator. Many phone calls occupied his nights and weekends as he advised and encouraged students on fieldwork. A gifted teacher, he spent his life passing his love of occupational therapy on to his colleagues, students, and his patients.

Following are a few of the many expressions of Jerry’s impact on others from the MUSC faculty.

Peter Bowman, OTD, OTR/L

"Jerry Burik has been a key member of the occupational therapy faculty with a unique skill set in evaluation and treatment of the elderly client, especially in cognition and perception. He was a gifted communicator both on paper and verbally. He was kind but pleasantly firm with students and over the last 13 years had counseled many students during clinical practice as an excellent mentor."

—Peter Bowman, OTD, OTR/L Assistant Professor and Director of Admissions, Divisions of Occupational Therapy and Physical Therapy

Hazel Breland, PhD, OTR/L

"As a member of the MUSC Occupational Therapy 'Royal Court,' 'Prince J' will be missed. Our dear, humble Prince was compassionate, dedicated, practical, sensitive, and the consummate professional – excellence was his standard. In a twist to royal protocol, it was an honor for me, Lady B, to serve as his technology 'lady-in-waiting,' as well as a fellow foodie."

—Hazel L. Breland, PhD, OTR/L, Division of Occupational Therapy

Nancy Carson, PhD, OTR/L

"Jerry was first and foremost a friend to all who had the pleasure of working with him. As the fieldwork coordinator he was the person students had contact with when they were out on clinical rotations. He would always be available to support them often talking to students in the evenings and on the weekends. He was a wonderful mentor to many students and a true friend and colleague to the College of Health Professions faculty. "

—Nancy E. Carson, PhD, OTR/L, Division of Occupational Therapy

Karen Wager, DBA

"This is a difficult time for us in the College of Health Professions as we grieve the loss of Jerry. He was an incredible teacher, colleague and friend. May our fond memories of Jerry, his compassion for others and incredible sense of humor, help carry us through the days and months ahead."

—Karen A. Wager, DBA, Professor and Associate Dean for Student Affairs

Michelle Woodbury, PhD, OTR/L

"Jerry's passion was to see 'his' occupational therapy students grow into competent, caring and compassionate clinicians who were prepared to meet the demands of today's health care environment. Jerry was kind, hospitable and had a keen sense of humor. He had the rare gift of making others feel special and was always able to make those around him laugh."

—Michelle L. Woodbury PhD, OTR/L, Assistant Professor, Division of Occupational Therapy and Center for Rehabilitation Research in Neurological Conditions

In Jerry’s memory contributions may be made online to the Occupational Therapy Support Program under the designation drop-down box: http://tinyurl.com/9tlfrfl. Gifts also may be made to the MUSC Foundation, 18 Bee St., MSC 450, Charleston, SC 29425 or call 792–2677. Designate "OT Support Fund in memory of Jerry Burik" on the memo line of your check.

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