The Division of Nephrology, Hypertension, and Transplantation at the Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC) in historic Charleston has been selected as a "top performing" kidney program by US News and World Report magazine. Our faculty have worked diligently to foster this reputation by providing excellent clinical care, building a nationally prominent research program, and creating a stimulating educational environment for future Nephrologists.
MUSC is the oldest medical school in the South (1824), and its Division of Nephrology is a nationally and internationally known academic program, with excellence in patient care, investigation, and training. Several of our faculty members have been recognized recently for individual achievements. Rachel L. Sturdivant, MD received the Leonard Tow Humanism Award by the Arnold P. Gold Foundation for outstanding contributions to caring and nurturing in medicine; Sang-Ho Kwon, PhD received the Carl Gottschalk Award from the American Society of Nephrology; and Deepak Nihalani PhD received a SmartState Chair and had his R01 renewed.
The physical environment of the Division consists of 3 hospitals (MUSC Hospital, which houses the Division offices; Ashley River Tower Hospital, which specializes in cardiovascular diseases, gastroenterology, and hematology-oncology; and the Ralph H. Johnson Veteran’s Administration Hospital) and a number of satellite dialysis units, which are managed in partnership between the Division and the non-profit dialysis provider Dialysis Clinic Incorporated (DCI), based in Nashville, Tennessee. MUSC nephrologists care for approximately 450 chronic dialysis patients in 7 DCI outpatient hemodialysis units, the DCI home dialysis program, and the Veteran’s Administration hospital. The 3 hospitals are located in a 4-block area of the MUSC campus, facilitating research collaboration, communication between faculty members, and in-depth fellowship training. Recently, chronic kidney disease clinics have expanded from the main MUSC campus to Mount Pleasant, West Ashley, and North Charleston.
A number of our faculty members provide additional expertise in specialized areas: renal anemia, chronic kidney disease, education (Ruth C. Campbell, MD, Rachel L. Sturdivant, MD); glomerular diseases, apheresis (Milos N. Budisavljevic, MD); international health (Zipporah Krishnasami MD); complex hypertension (Roberto Pisoni, MD); lipopheresis, peritoneal dialysis (Michael E. Ullian, MD); and polycystic kidney disease (Joshua H. Lipschutz, MD and Roberto Pisoni, MD). All of our faculty members, 16 MDs and 8 PhDs, are active in research activities. Active collaborations between clinicians and basic scientists are ongoing, and collaborations with faculty from other divisions and departments are common. The faculty have expertise in clinical trials, whole animal models of renal disease, human and animal genetics, signal transduction, confocal microscopy, renal physiology, proteomics, biomarkers of renal diseases, glomerular disease, renal cystic disease, and the role of the renin-angiotensin system in renal disease. The Division holds 5 endowed chairs, including the Arthur V. Williams Chair (Joshua H. Lipschutz, MD), the Nephrology Research Chair, and the DCI Chair in Nephrology. Through the South Carolina Center of Economic Excellence, 2 additional SmartState chairs (basic science and translational) have been established for the study of renal disease biomarkers, and searches for nationally recognized scientists to hold these chairs are underway. Dr. Deepak Nihalani holds the Brackett SmartState Chair, and the other is currently open and being actively recruited to.
Our fellowship training program, under the guidance of Ruth C. Campbell, MD, was recently reaccredited by the American College of Graduate Medical Education for 5 years with multiple commendations. The training program has 10 positions. Trainees have exposure to an extensive range of renal conditions and pathologies, including hypertension, fluid and electrolyte disorders, renal physiology, transplantation, acute renal failure, chronic kidney disease, hemodialysis, peritoneal dialysis, and continuous renal replacement therapy across multiple settings: inpatient consultation services, outpatient clinics, and didactic conferences. Over 300 kidney biopsies are performed and read yearly at MUSC. Sally Self, MD, is the dedicated renal pathologist that works with the Division.
The kidney transplant program at MUSC, the only kidney transplant program in South Carolina, continues to grow, such that more than 194 renal transplants were performed in 2014, placing it in the top 20 in volume nationally. This program now employs 5 full-time surgeons. The 5 transplant nephrology faculty members are fully integrated with their surgical colleagues to optimize clinical care and research. We have established an advanced training fellowship in renal transplantation, which can accommodate one trainee per year.