MUSC announced the establishment of a cooperative agreement with the United States Department of Defense to develop educational and outreach programs and conduct community-based research on health disparities.
This three-year, $12.7 million award was made possible by a Congressional earmark secured by U.S. Rep. James E. Clyburn to address the high rates of disease occurrence, disability and mortality in rural, low-income or minority communities.
“In South Carolina, we have many communities that are struggling with very high rates of diseases such as hypertension, obesity and diabetes,” Clyburn said. “We think of these conditions as problems among older people, but the truth of the matter is that many of these illnesses
are present in young people of military age.”
Under this agreement, 14 MUSC investigators will undertake projects that raise public awareness, such as community leaders’ institutes, to develop services to meet health needs, and conduct research on the program’s effectiveness. Particular focus will be directed toward engaging young people in prevention programs.
MUSC Chief of Staff Sabra Slaughter, Ph.D., will lead MUSC’s efforts. “This award will allow us to address some of the most fundamental differences in health status within South Carolina and the Southeastern region,” stated Slaughter. “This has been a priority for the Medical University for many years, but we have lacked the resources to develop a comprehensive approach to the problem.”
MUSC President Ray Greenberg, M.D., Ph.D., said some of the areas of the state with the highest illness and death rates also have the lowest numbers of primary care and specialty physicians. “In stroke care, we already have demonstrated that we can reach out to these communities using telemedicine to allow specialists at the Medical University to consult with patients and their physicians in rural areas.”
MUSC neurologists led by Robert Adams, M.D., have demonstrated that stroke care can be delivered in some of the smallest towns using an Internet-based consultation system. “Telemedicine is particularly well suited for high risk populations resulting in interventions and treatments being administered more efficiently resulting in better health outcomes,” said Adams, MUSC Stroke Center director.