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Etta D. Pisano, M.D.
Vice President for Medical Affairs
Dean, College of Medicine

Dear Colleagues:

COM Online Master’s Program

The College of Medicine is developing an interactive, online degree program - the Master of Science in Integrated Preclinical Medicine.  This is the first step in a comprehensive strategy to enhance our learning environment, reduce student debt, generate funds to support COM’s educational mission, elevate MUSC’s reputation through innovation, and add technology-enhanced pedagogy as an area of scholarship and expertise among our faculty.  This program is still early in its development process, and we invite you to help shape it by joining the conversation.  We have set up a forum for sharing news, background information, and a FAQ about the program – it can be found at  There is also an open discussion board where we, as an academic community, can grapple with the challenging new issues this initiative raises.  As an example, we are exploring ways to let students set their own paces through this MS program.  Visit the discussion board at to see others’ ideas about this concept and to post your own.  Finally, please watch this week’s “What’s the Buzz?” segment at for more information on this topic. (Back to top)

COM Faculty Excellence Award Ceremony

The COM Faculty Excellence Award Ceremony was held yesterday, to celebrate those faculty nominated by our students for their commitment and enthusiasm.  The winners were Dr. Jerry Squires and Dr. Michael Caplan (Preclinical Faculty) and Dr. Bassam Rimawi and Dr. Lee Lewis (Clinical Faculty).  The runners up for these awards were Drs. Nicholas Batalis, Joe Blumer, Valerian Fernandes, David Mills, Jerome Ondo, and Frank Spinale.  Please join me in congratulating these honorees for their exemplary service to MUSC and the College of Medicine. (Back to top)

Employee Commitment/Satisfaction Survey Results

Earlier this spring, the College of Medicine, MUSC Physicians, and Medical University Hospital Authority (MUHA), which comprise MUSC Health, engaged national survey research firm Morehead Associates/Press Ganey to conduct our employee commitment survey.  For the first time this year, all three entities used a single survey, with all employees (faculty and staff) responding to the same set of core questions.  The MUHA physician/clinician satisfaction survey, traditionally administered by MUHA on an annual basis as a separate survey for our physicians/clinicians, was incorporated into the employee commitment survey. (Back to top)

A representative from Morehead Associates/Press Ganey has been on campus this week meeting with high-level administrators across the College, MUSC Physicians, and MUHA to review survey results.  A copy of the College of Medicine Executive Overview presentation that was shared with leaders earlier this week can be found at  Unit-specific results have been made available to leaders and managers within the College; I encourage those leaders and managers to share the survey results for their respective units with their employees, and to use this as an opportunity to celebrate accomplishments and improvements over the past year and to implement changes where needed.

I’d like to take this opportunity to share some high-level results from the survey with respect to the College of Medicine.  We had a 70% participation rate; thanks to all of you who took the time to share your input.  Our “Organizational Workforce Commitment” score rose from 4.08 last year to 4.12 this year on a 5 point scale, and is even with the National Heathcare average and the National UHC average.  The items in which we were significantly “most improved” as compared to last year’s survey results include – “the environment at this organization makes employees in my work unit want to go above and beyond what’s expected of them”, “I am satisfied with my job security”, “in relation to the work I do, the quality of ‘interprofessional teamwork’ is good”, “I get the training I need to do a good job”, “I am involved in decisions that affect my work”, “physicians and staff work well together”, and “the person I report to gives me useful feedback”.  The items in which we experienced a significant “decline” as compared to last year’s survey results include – “information from this survey will be used to make improvements”, “this organization provides career development opportunities”, and “I receive effective mentorship/professional development”.  An overwhelming majority of employees responded that they prefer to receive important information primarily from their supervisor/manager (52%), through email (24%), and in staff meetings (12%).

Our faculty and staff are very important to us, and employee commitment and satisfaction are vital to our continued success.  Together, we can continue to improve for the benefit of all who work at MUSC and those we serve. (Back to top)

Congratulations to Lance Braye

Earlier this month, College of Medicine student Lance Braye was notified of his selection by the Association for Prevention Teaching and Research and the Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion for the 2014 Paul Ambrose Scholars Program.  The Paul Ambrose Scholars Program is designed to prepare clinical health professions students to address population health challenges at the national and community level, and provides mini-grants to implement a Healthy People 2020 Leading Health Indicators project within a student’s community or academic institution.  Please join me in congratulating Lance on his selection for this program. (Back to top)

MUSC Students Place Second at National CLARION Competition

Please join me in congratulating several of our students who participated in the National Clinician Administrator Relationship Improvement Organization (CLARION) competition at the University of Minnesota earlier this month.  A team consisting of Louisa Phillips and Tariq Rashid (College of Medicine), Jenny Harmon (MD/PhD student currently in enrolled in the College of Graduate Studies), and Joseph Harmon (College of Health Professions) placed second in this competition.  The team was coached by Dr. Cynthia Wright.  Please join me in congratulating these students on this wonderful accomplishment. (Back to top)

Congratulations to Caroline West

College of Medicine student Caroline West was recently notified of her selection for a 2014 Alpha Omega Alpha Carolyn L. Kuckein Student Research Fellowship.  This fellowship will provide support for Caroline’s project on developing a model of screening for diabetes in the resource poor setting of rural Tanzania.  Please join me in congratulating Caroline on her selection for this prestigious research fellowship. (Back to top)



ACGME, the accrediting agency for residency programs, will be visiting MUSC April 29-May 1 to conduct a Clinical Learning Environment Review (CLER) visit.  This visit will function much like a Joint Commission visit, including walk-arounds on various floors of our hospitals.  The reviewers may speak with residents, fellows, faculty, nurses, technicians, administrative coordinators, etc.  Their visit will focus on the following six areas – Patient Safety (including opportunities for residents to report errors, unsafe conditions, and near misses, and to participate in interprofessional teams to promote and enhance safe care); Quality Improvement (including how we engage residents in the use of data to improve systems of care, reduce health care disparities and improve patient outcomes); Transitions in Care (including how we demonstrate effective standardization and oversight of transitions of care); Supervision (including how we maintain and oversee policies of supervision concordant with ACGME requirements in an environment at both the institutional and program level that assures the absence of retribution); Duty Hours Oversight, Fatigue Management and Mitigation (including how we demonstrate effective and meaningful oversight of duty hours across all residency programs institution-wide, design systems and provide settings that facilitate fatigue management and mitigation, and provide effective education of faculty members and residents in sleep, fatigue recognition, and fatigue mitigation); and Professionalism (with regard to how we educate for professionalism, monitor behavior on the part of residents and faculty and respond to issues concerning accurate reporting of program information, integrity in fulfilling educational and professional responsibilities, and veracity in scholarly pursuits.  Please contact Dr. Ben Clyburn (792-5371) or Ann Ronayne (792-8681) with any questions. (Back to top)

COM Career Development and Mentoring Survey

The MUSC Center for Advancement, Recruitment and Retention of Women in Science (ARROWS) and the COM Associate Deans for Faculty Affairs and Faculty Development prepared a brief survey to gather data about our college’s career development and departmental faculty mentoring plans.  The survey was sent through REDCap to faculty on April 11, and all faculty are asked to complete this confidential survey by today, April 25.  Thank you for your cooperation.  If you have any questions, please contact Megan McDonough at (Back to top)

SCTR Research Lunch-N-Learn

SCTR will be hosting a Research Lunch-N-Learn on April 30 at 12:00 p.m. in Room 107 of the Education Library.  Dr. Jihad Obeid will be presenting on “Palmetto Profiles for Research Networking”.  Palmetto Profiles enables the discovery of research expertise at MUSC and provides a novel mechanism for users to identify potential collaborators, mentors, reviewers or teams for various research projects.  Questions should be directed to the SCTR SUCCESS Center at or 792.8300.

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Drug Discovery Symposium

The MUSC Center for Drug Discovery will be hosting a Drug Discovery Symposium on May 28.  The symposium will showcase up to 12 ideas, biological targets and/or potential drug discovery projects selected from ongoing research at MUSC.  Presenters will be selected from submitted abstracts that include the title, contributing authors, and 5-8 sentences summarizing the drug discovery idea.  Interested individuals should send their abstracts to Karen Lackey ( by May 2.  More information can be found at     (Back to top)

Annual Conflict of Interest Disclosures Due April 30

It is time for all employees to complete the mandatory annual Conflict of Interest Disclosure.  A secure program allowing you to confidentially transmit information is used for the online disclosure and can be found at The deadline for completion of this form is April 30.  Questions and comments regarding the COI disclosure should be sent to

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Discussion Forums

As a reminder, we have electronic discussion platforms focusing on education, research, clinical affairs, and general information from the Dean’s Office and the College of Medicine.  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:

As always....

Let's work together to meet our strategic planning goal - to be in the Top 25 among academic medical centers for reputation, quality, service, efficiency and financial performance by 2015 – and to continue excellence in our research and education missions.  I look forward to hearing from you - either in person or via email.