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Message from the Dean




Dear Colleagues:

Welcome Class of 2018

The Class of 2018 arrives next week, and they are an outstanding group of students.  Our education team is busy preparing to officially welcome these students to the College of Medicine with a number of orientation sessions that culminate in the White Coat Ceremony next Sunday, August 17, 12:00 p.m. at the North Charleston Performing Arts Center.  President David Cole has been selected to give the Humanism in Medicine lecture.  All faculty, students, and staff are invited to attend this event, which will be a wonderful and meaningful ceremony for our incoming students. MUSC has a rich tradition of educating physician leaders.  Our primary responsibility as faculty is to these students.  They are now an important part of the MUSC family, and we must prepare them to be outstanding doctors.  Please join me in welcoming the Class of 2018 to our campus.

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Hollings Cancer Center Leadership Update

I am pleased to inform you that Dr. Anthony Alberg has agreed to serve as Interim Director of the Hollings Cancer Center.  We are very appreciative of Tony’s willingness to serve in this critical position.  He will assume this role effective August 15, 2014, and will serve in this capacity until a permanent Director has been recruited.  Dr. Alberg came to MUSC from the Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health in 2006.  He is a Full Professor in our Department of Public Health Sciences, holds the Blatt Ness Endowed Chair in Oncology, and currently serves as the Associate Director of Population Sciences for the HCC.  David Cole, Mark Sothmann and I are confident that the HCC will continue to make great progress under Tony’s leadership, and that he will provide a smooth transition for a new permanent Director.

I would like to take this opportunity to express our appreciation to Drs. Mike Lilly and Ken Tew for their willingness to consider serving in the Interim Director position and participate in the internal search for this role.  Ken Tew recently decided to become a candidate for the permanent position, and so withdrew his name from consideration for the interim position.

We will soon begin the formal search for a permanent Director of the HCC.  Dr. Phil Howe has agreed to Chair the search committee, which will be formed within the next several weeks.  We remain committed to ensuring that appropriate resources are in place to provide the highest quality of care to our patients and to continue the innovative research, education and outreach activities that are the hallmark of the Hollings Cancer Center.

Please join me in welcoming Dr. Alberg to his new role as Interim Director of the HCC and in thanking him for his service in this important position.

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2014 Faculty Convocation

This year’s MUSC Faculty Convocation will be held on Tuesday, August 19, at 4:30 p.m. in the Drug Discovery Building Auditorium, with a reception to follow.  President David Cole will be giving this year’s keynote address.  I hope all members of the faculty will plan to attend this event, which is a celebration of the new academic year and an opportunity to recognize MUSC faculty who have been selected as recipients of prestigious awards presented and funded by the MUSC Foundation.

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Inauguration of President David Cole

Earlier this week, the MUSC Presidential Inauguration Committee announced that the inauguration of Dr. David Cole as MUSC’s seventh president will take place on Thursday, October 9.  The Installation Ceremony is scheduled for 2:00-3:00 p.m., with a university-wide reception following from 4:00-6:00 p.m.  Additional information will be forthcoming about these events.

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College of Medicine Enhancement of Team Science (COMETS) Program

Last week we announced the College of Medicine Enhancement of Team Science (COMETS) Program, which is being implemented with the goal of helping to restore federally funded research programs for active mid-career and senior investigators by supporting newly established research teams.  Teams consisting of two faculty members in the same or different departments may self-nominate or be nominated by their department chair(s).  Funding in the amount of $150,000/year for two years will be provided to up to two teams in this initial application cycle.  The expected outcome from each team is the submission of two competitive NIH R01 proposals (or equivalent), one from each PI, in two years.  More information on this program, including the request for applications which was sent to College of Medicine faculty earlier this week, can be found at  Nominations/letters of intent are due September 15, with selection of teams to submit full applications announced by October 1.  Please direct any questions about this new program to Dr. Craig Crosson (

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Search Update - Dean, College of Graduate Studies

The following individuals have accepted invitations to interview for the position of Dean, College of Graduate Studies- Dr. Dwayne Godwin, Professor and Dean, College of Graduate Studies, Wake Forest University; Dr. Jacqueline McGinty, Professor and Interim Dean, College of Graduate of Studies, MUSC; Dr. Rick Schnellmann, Professor and Chair, Drug Discovery & Biomedical Sciences, MUSC; Dr. Paula Traktman, Professor and Chair, Department of Microbiology and Molecular Genetics, Medical College of Wisconsin; and Dr. Jamboor Vishwanatha, Special Assistant to the Provost, Professor of Molecular and Medical Genetics, and Director of the Texas Center for Health Disparities, University of North Texas Health Science Center.  Each candidate will be presenting a seminar as a part of the interview process.  Dr. McGinty’s seminar was held earlier this week, and upcoming seminars are as follows- Dr. Godwin, August 15, 12:00-1:00 p.m., 100 Basic Science Building; Dr. Traktman, August 20, 12:00-1:00 p.m., 112 Bioengineering; Dr. Schnellmann, August 26, 12:00-1:00 p.m., 110 Bioengineering; and Dr. Vishwanatha, September 3, 112 Bioengineering.  All interested members of the college are encouraged to attend these seminars.

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COM Online Master's Program

Teams of three faculty members are forming to staff the development and teaching of blocks in our MS in Integrated Preclinical Medicine (MSIPM) program.  There are still openings in most blocks; specifics are available at  The online materials for this program will also be repurposed as part of a pilot three-year MD program, pending approval of the LCME.

The MSIPM is a component in an innovative strategy to reduce the cost of medical education for students, to enrich the learning and teaching experience for many in the College of Medicine, to generate funds to support the educational mission of the College, and to open new areas of research and scholarship to our faculty.  A forum for sharing news, background information, and a FAQ about the program can be found at  If you are interested in participating in the program, please contact Ben Curry (

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Faculty and Staff Breakfast Meetings

As I mentioned previously, we are resuming breakfast meetings open to all faculty and staff in the college who would like to meet with me about topics of interest.  This was a practice I instituted during my first year as dean and continued during the 2012-2013 academic year until the demand waned.  Since some time has passed, I’m hoping that there will be renewed interest in these meetings.  Faculty and staff who are interested in attending a breakfast meeting with me should contact Anita Harrell ( to get on the schedule.

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Faculty Bridge Funding Program

A primary goal of the College of Medicine is to support and strengthen research capabilities of our faculty.  One mechanism utilized to facilitate this goal is our Bridge Funding Program.  The purpose of this program is to support investigators with established clinical or basic research programs during periods when a competitive renewal was not funded.  Program details and the application format are available at  The application deadline for the current cycle is August 15.  Applications may be emailed to Mary McConnell at  Faculty with questions about this program should contact Senior Associate Dean for Research Craig Crosson.

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Physician Payment Sunshine Act - Online Payments System Registration

The MUSC Conflict of Interest Office has created a web page to guide physicians in the registration process related to the Physician Payment Sunshine Act.  That resource is available at  Physicians and teaching hospitals can now begin registering in the Open Payments system; although registration is voluntary, it becomes a mandatory process if physicians want the opportunity to review and dispute data submitted by manufacturers and group purchasing organizations prior to public posting on September 30, 2014.  In order to review or dispute data submitted by industry for the 2013 reporting period, physicians must be registered and have reviewed any data reported about them on or before August 27, 2014.  More information on this topic can be found at  For more information about Open Payments, please visit

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Town Hall Meetings

As a reminder, I will elaborate on our collective accomplishments over the past year and on our plans for the future in my annual State of the College address, which will be held on Monday, September 8, at 4:00 p.m., in 110 Drug Discovery Building.  As we continue to implement the university-wide funds flow process and as financial pressures continue to challenge our institution, I will also be presenting a Town Hall meeting focused on college financial issues – this will be held on Monday, September 15, at 4:00 p.m., in 110 Drug Discovery Building.  I hope all members of the college who are interested will plan to attend these meetings.  In addition, we will be holding quarterly Town Hall meetings going forward as an opportunity to discuss topics of interest – these will be open to all members of the college and dates will be announced through my weekly emails as they are confirmed.  As always, I look forward to hearing your input and feedback.

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MUSC Research Town Hall Meeting

An MUSC Research Town Hall Meeting has been scheduled for November 4, 12:00-1:00 p.m., in 110 Bioengineering Building.  All members of the MUSC community are invited to attend.

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Discussion Forums

As a reminder, we have electronic discussion platforms focusing on various aspects of our mission.  These forums are intended to serve several purposes.  First, they are another way for my office to share important information with faculty, staff, and students.  Second, they are meant to encourage discussion about issues within the college and to empower everyone within the college to voice their opinions.  These “discussion forums” are intended to be not only channels for messages to be sent out, but channels for YOUR ideas, comments and questions to be heard by college leadership.  Your voice matters and we are pleased there is a new way for it to be heard.  You can access these forums by using the following links and your net ID and password:



Etta D. Pisano, MD

Vice President for Medical Affairs

Dean, College of Medicine


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