Originally named the Center for Studies on Aging, the Center was formed to meet the needs of a growing segment of the population in South Carolina and to reallocate existing and develop new resources in this field. In anticipation of rising costs and the growing number of elderly in the population, policies affecting future health and medical care of the elderly needed to be addressed.
It was formed in December 1987 after the South Carolina Commission on Higher Education approved the Center proposal. The Trustees of MUSC had previously approved the proposal in their meeting of August 14, 1987.
The Center was started with a one million dollar endowment from Dr. William McKnight to Dr. Edwin Boyle with instructions that the money should be used for aging-related positions. Over the years, the endowment grew to 3 million dollars and it was divided into three separate chairs in the Department of Internal Medicine. No additional funding was requested from the University in order to start the Center.
The Center was based in the College of Medicine and its original purpose was to “marshal University, community, state and federal resources that will contribute to distinctive education, research, public service, and patient care programs serving the elderly” (quoted from the original proposal). It was proposed that the Center would have two divisions:
The Center was proposed to relate to the various colleges of the University through the advisory University Gerontology Committee with the Chair in Gerontology being appointed as Center Medical Director. It was also proposed to be a non-degree granting entity. Programs of instruction emerging from the Center’s efforts would follow the taxonomy of the primary sponsoring college.
Original vision of the Center:
“The Center shall serve to insure and support an improved quality of life for the State’s rapidly expanding elderly population through programs of teaching, research, public service, and patient care”.
It was determined that the Center should become a campus-wide resource center by involving other colleges at MUSC. At that time, Dr. Jerry Kurent was acting director of the Center and the primary objectives for the Center in 1997-99 were focused on outreach, end of life care, and geriatrics education at MUSC.
A major accomplishment of the Center was that Dr. Lina Obeid was recruited from Duke University as a Boyle-McKnight Chair in Geriatrics in the Department of Medicine in 1997/98, hence strengthening both the basic science and the clinical component of Center activities significantly.