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MUSC researchers cited for excellence in science

Staff Report | | May 25, 2017

Dean Kilpatrick, Henry McMaster, Michael Schmidt
Photo Provided
South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster, center, honors Dr. Dean Kilpatrick, left, and Dr. Michael Schmidt for their excellent work in the field of science.

Dean G. Kilpatrick, Ph.D., and Michael G. Schmidt, Ph.D., were awarded the state’s highest honor, the Governor’s Award for Excellence in Science, during a ceremony Wednesday in Columbia.

The governor recognized Kilpatrick with the Award for Excellence in Scientific Research, affirming his career has resulted “in monumental impact domestically and abroad on research and clinical practice as it relates to victimization, traumatic stress, and mental health.”

Kilpatrick pioneered methods for measuring exposure to sexual assault and conducted the first NIMH-funded National Woman Study in 1989 to use scientifically valid methods to measure exposure to sexual assault in a national probability sample of U.S. adult women.

As a clinical scientist studying traumatic stress, Kilpatrick has made major contributions studying the mental health impact of exposure to large-scale natural disasters, urban riots, and terrorist attacks. Numerous large-scale events have been studied including Hurricane Hugo, the Loma Prieta Earthquake, the Los Angeles riots, the Pan Am Flight 103 terrorist bombing, and the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center.

Kilpatrick joined MUSC in 1970, is currently a distinguished university professor of clinical psychology and psychiatry, founding director of the National Crime Victims Research and Treatment Center, and vice chair for research and research administration in the Department of Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences.

Kathleen Brady, M.D., Ph.D., vice president for research, stated that “these two prestigious Governor’s Awards honor the remarkable work of MUSC’s outstanding researchers and their dedication to the health of South Carolina and the nation.”

Before receiving the 2017 Governor’s Award for Excellence in Scientific Research, Kilpatrick earned many honors and awards, including:

  • President’s Award for Outstanding Service on Behalf of Victims of Crime presented by President George H.W. Bush, 1990
  • U.S. Congressional Victim’s Rights Caucus Award for Promoting Crime Victims’ Rights and Services in the Mental Health Field, 2007
  • Outstanding Scientific Achievement Award presented by Trauma Division of the American Psychological Association, 2007
  • Lifetime Achievement Award for Outstanding and Fundamental Contributions to the Field of Traumatic Stress Studies presented by International Society of Traumatic Stress Studies, 2008
  • John Dussich Victimology Award for Significant Contributions to the Field of Victimology and Victim Services presented by American Society of Victimology, 2010.

Schmidt received the Governor’s Award for Excellence in Scientific Awareness.  His nomination stated that, “he has been among the most visible advocate for science education, sharing knowledge gleaned from his research focused on the use of antimicrobial copper alloys for reducing hospital acquired infections.”

Even while engaging in his own research projects, Schmidt's achievements in science education and awareness have spanned his entire career. His early activities in sharing science with others came via his efforts with three fellow collaborators at MUSC by creating interactive CD-ROMs for students and offering them to school systems across the country. At the time, this cutting-edge technology was impressive enough for then-U.S. Secretary of Energy Hazel O'Leary to include in her demonstration during testimony to the U.S. Senate focusing on STEM education funding needs.

Schmidt continued to significantly impact science awareness in South Carolina through his efforts in the field of environmental sustainability and the development of environmental studies programs. Working collaboratively with colleagues from USC, Clemson, and the State Energy Office, they developed the Sustainable Universities Initiative resulting in major and important sustainability efforts at the three research universities and other institutions of higher education in the state.

The breadth and depth of his work has been validated by publication of more than 100 peer­ reviewed manuscripts; grants totaling over $88 million; participation on expert panels focused on various impending biological crises; quotes in lay press vehicles such as The Wall Street Journal and Glamour Magazine; design of interactive multimedia programs for middle school students; serving as a speaker and coach for the TEDx programs; and his work as the former editor for the NPR program, Microbeworld.

Schmidt serves as a professor and vice chairman microbiology and immunology in the MUSC’s College of Medicine and professor of stomatology of craniofacial biology for the College of Dental Medicine.