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The Cardiovascular Perfusion Program at MUSC (formerly known as Extracorporeal Circulation Technology) was founded in 1979 by James P. Dearing.

Each year the James P. Dearing Memorial Scholarship is awarded in memory of a truly outstanding pioneer and achiever in the health care field. Rarely does one find a person so capable of molding the future while having a profound impact upon others. James P. Dearing was one of these people. He came upon the health care delivery scene at a time when open-heart surgery was in its infancy. Through both talent and dedicated hard work, he became one of the founding fathers of perfusion.

His lasting "tree of influence" is international in scope and can be seen today in both the clinical arena and the classroom setting. While at Ohio State University, he began the first academic based perfusion program in the country. Gradually he shifted his work emphasis towards education as a means of improving perfusion technology.

At the time of his entry into perfusion there were few academic credentials available. Professor Dearing worked to establish credentials acceptable to the academic world. After years of outstanding service at the Medical University of South Carolina, he achieved the rank of full professor. For his lifetime of work and professionalism, he was awarded the John H. Gibbon, M.D. award in 1987. He is only the second non-M.D. ever to be awarded such an honor.

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