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Office of Health Promotion

Office of Health Promotion

In striving to become America's healthiest academic medical campus and consistent with the MUSC mission and Imagine 2020 Strategic Plan, the Office of Health Promotion (OHP) provides dynamic, visionary leadership for MUSC by establishing a framework of wellness for the entire MUSC enterprise. OHP seeks to reach across departments to lead an interdisciplinary effort and create a comprehensive wellness initiative and culture of wellness that will improve the health of the MUSC community and serve as a model for other organizations.

Mission Statement: Provide access to information, resources, and support to foster a movement toward a culture of wellness within the internal and external community.

Vision Statement: Create a culture of wellness to improve the health of the lives we touch.

As a designated Center of Excellence by the South Carolina Hospital Association Working Well Initiative, the MUSC Office of Health Promotion provides leadership in our community and across the state to create healthy workplace environments, positively impacting the health and wellness of a significant portion of our state’s population. MUSC has achieved and maintained Gold status in all four pillars of the Working Well program for the past three years. Our Working Well successes have also been recognized by Prevention Partners with the Hospital Prevention Excellence award in 2013 and Agent of Change recognition in 2014.

In addition to serving as a resource for healthy hospitals, we are impacting the health of Charleston area businesses through the development of the Charleston Healthy Business Challenge and statewide through Dr. Johnson’s service on the State Obesity Plan SCale Down's Worksite Advisory Board. At the national level, MUSC became a founding member of the National Consortium for Building Healthy Academic Communities, a transformational collaborative to advance higher education best practices and standards in health and well-being whose mission is to equip academic institutions with evidence-based strategies and resources to improve population health and well-being of faculty, staff, students, alumni, and the communities they serve. Dr. Johnson is currently serving on the BHAC advisory committee.

Located at 17 Ehrhardt Street, Suite 5, the Office of Health Promotion houses MUSC Employee Wellness, MUSC Urban Farm, and Sodexo Wellness Dietitian at MUSC and serves as an organization-wide resource for multi-disciplinary health promotion and wellness programs and initiatives. Full-time staff include Dr. Susan Johnson, Director of Health Promotion, Suzan Whelan, Wellness Coordinator, and Debbie Petitpain, RD, Wellness Dietitian.

About the Staff

Dr. Susan Johnson 
Susan L. Johnson, Ph.D.

Dr. Susan Johnson is the Director of Health Promotion and Assistant Professor of Graduate Studies in the College of Health Professions. In her role at MUSC, Dr. Johnson directs and manages system-wide initiatives related to organizational wellness and provides leadership in the development and implementation of a comprehensive and collaborative approach to promoting health to students, employees, visitors, and the external community. Dr. Johnson has conducted numerous presentations at the local, state, and national level, is active in community and professional activities, and serves as an elected and appointed leader in multiple community and state organizations and projects. She received her undergraduate degree from UNC Charlotte, master’s degree from The Citadel, and Ph.D. from the University of South Carolina. Dr. Johnson was recently named Smoke Free Advocate of the Year by the Smoke Free Lowcountry Coalition, winner in the Rising Star category of Influential Women in Business by the Charleston Regional Business Journal, Prevention Partners Agent of Change, and 2015 Health Influencer by the Charleston Post and Courier. Her work at MUSC has also been recognized through multiple prevention awards and publications, both locally and nationally.

Suzan Whelan 
Suzan Benenson Whelan

Suzan Benenson Whelan brings her twenty plus years of marketing/event promotion experience to improve the health and well-being of MUSC employees. In her role as Wellness Coordinator, she strives to integrate wellness into the MUSC culture - planning, organizing and implementing health promotion efforts across campus. Suzan is also the program coordinator for the MUSC Urban Farm with a focus on extending the reach of MUSC by working with area schools, businesses and visitors to build a healthier community. She serves as a guiding member of the Farm’s leadership committee ensuring its unique role of connecting diet with health. She received a bachelor of science in Advertising from Syracuse University and blends her academic training with her passion for promoting “real food” to create special events and opportunities to further the mission of the MUSC Office of Health Promotion.


Debbie Petitpain   
Debbie Petitpain, MS, RDN, LDN

Debbie Petitpain is a registered dietitian with Sodexo at the Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston. As the Wellness Dietitian in the Office of Health Promotion, she develops policies and programs to advance health on the MUSC campus and in the community. In her work as a dietitian over the last 11 years, she has provided direct patient care to those undergoing dramatic diet and lifestyle changes in an effort to lose weight, improve their medical problems, and get healthier. She graduated from the College of Charleston, received her Masters in Nutrition from Boston University, and completed her dietetic training in Honolulu, Hawaii. At home, she and her husband model to their two young daughters how food nourishes the body, gives us energy, helps us grow, and connects us to our community.She believes the healthiest foods are those that come from as close to the ground as possible – and require a fork to be eaten!  

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