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Forward Momentum

2016 Year in Review

Patrick J. CawleyThe rapid transformation of the U.S. health care system has built a momentum that does not allow for return to the status quo. MUSC Health has likewise transformed itself, integrating its medical center, physician practice, and primary care clinics to ensure that it can provide coordinated, cost-effective care and thrive in this new health care environment. Confident in its ability to provide value-based care, MUSC Health applied to become an accountable care organization in 2016. As of January 2017, it will manage the health of 14,000 Medicare patients.

Thanks to clinical integration, MUSC Health can more easily partner with others in the state to deliver high-quality, patient-centered care. One particularly notable example is the Lowcountry Stroke Collaborative formed with Roper St. Francis, which is a rare example of two competing hospitals joining forces to improve acute stroke care.

In 2016, MUSC Health was again ranked by U.S. News & World Report as the number one hospital in South Carolina. Eleven of our programs were nationally ranked — six pediatric and five adult. Only 32 of the 6,239 hospitals in the American Hospital Association’s Annual Survey have 11 or more adult and/or pediatric specialties ranked, placing MUSC among the top 1% of all similar American hospitals.

To continue to build its forward momentum, MUSC Health seeks to engage patients of all backgrounds in their own care and in improving the care of others; to encourage continual innovation by its physicians and research scientists so as to develop tomorrow’s breakthrough therapies; to share these innovations so that patients throughout the state, nation, and indeed across the globe can benefit; and to educate the next generation of health care providers, giving them the tools and instilling in them the vision they will need to lead medicine forward.

Patrick J. Cawley, M.D., MHM, FACHE
CEO, MUSC Health
Vice President for Health Affairs
Medical University of South Carolina




MUSC Health seeks to engage patients of all backgrounds in their own care and in improving the care of others.

An Innovative Collaboration to Improve Stroke Care

Putting rivalry aside, MUSC Health and Roper St. Francis, competing hospitals located just across the street from one another, joined efforts in 2016 to improve stroke care for patients in coastal South Carolina by forming the Lowcountry Stroke Collaborative.

Partnering with Patients and Their Families to Improve Care

Viewing care through the eyes of patients and their families leads to changes that make care more comfortable, convenient, and compassionate. It can also improve outcomes and make hospitals safer.

Thinking Outside the Exam Room

MUSC Health took several critical steps in 2016 to ensure that it would be a leader in the new health care environment, in which health care institutions are asked to assume responsibility for improving the health of local populations.

Improving Communication Between Providers & Limited English-Proficient Patients

Joining in nationwide efforts to professionalize the field of medical interpretation and improve provider communication with diverse patients, MUSC Health is revamping its model of care for limited English-proficient patients.





MUSC Health encourages continual innovation by its physicians and research scientists so as to develop tomorrow’s breakthrough therapies.

The Zucker Institute for Applied Neurosciences

In 2016, the Zucker Institute for Applied Neurosciences saw FDA approval of its first licensed medical device, Sinu-Lok™ (Amendia, Marietta, GA), a rod implant used in minimally invasive spinal fusion surgery.

A Pioneering Mechanical Thrombectomy Technique 

The direct aspiration, first-pass technique, developed by MUSC Health neuroendovascular surgeons, aims to remove a large-vessel clot in its entirety with a large-diameter aspiration catheter.

Developing Individualized Aphasia Care

Currently, physicians cannot reliably predict which stroke patients with aphasia will recover their ability to speak, read, and write or which therapies will help them to do so. A new collaborative initiative by MUSC, the University of South Carolina, Johns Hopkins University, and the University of California Irvine is attempting to change that.

Stem Cell Therapy for Heart Failure

MUSC Health cardiologist Michael R. Zile, M.D., was awarded Department of Defense funding in 2016 for a phase 2 clinical trial of a new stem cell treatment in patients with heart failure with preserved ejection fraction.

MUSC Health Tests 25,000 People for Alpha-1

MUSC Health is known across the United States as a center for alpha-1. Since 2001, the ACT Study has tested over 25,000 extremely satisfied individuals.

A Startup Born of MUSC Collaboration Wins Prestigious Award

ToleRaM Nanotech, LLC, a startup company that specializes in merging bioengineering with medicine, was the recipient of a National TechConnect Innovation Award in 2016.

Treating Epilepsy with Vitamin K Analogs

Neuroene Therapeutics, a startup company born from unique research by two MUSC investigators, is using a phase 1 STTR grant to help further develop a novel class of compounds for treating epilepsy.

Groundbreaking Clinical Trials

MUSC Health offers novel therapies to patients through clinical trials. Profiled in this article are a stem cell therapy for lupus and novel approaches for cancer, including precision medicine, immunotherapy and a sphingosine kinase inhibitor. 




MUSC Health is committed to sharing its innovations in care so that patients throughout the state, nation, and indeed across the globe can benefit.

Collaborative Center to Improve Minority Men's Health

Chanita Hughes-Halbert, Ph.D., is the principal investigator for an $8 million grant from the National Institute of Minority Health and Health Disparities and the National Cancer Institute to develop the MUSC Transdisciplinary Collaborative Center in Precision Medicine and Minority Men’s Health.

If You Smoke, Expect a Call

MUSC Health has raised the alarm on smoking, one of the largest causes of preventable disease. The MUSC Health Tobacco Treatment Program provides evidence-based support to help our patients quit smoking.

Transdermal Patch Combats TBI in Veterans

The day-to-day lives of U.S. veterans coping with memory problems resulting from traumatic brain injury (TBI) could improve as a result of the findings of a just completed clinical trial. All it could take is a transdermal patch the size of a credit card.

Bettering Sickle Cell Care Through Implementation Science

In 2016, MUSC Health was one of eight clinical centers in the nation awarded funding by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute to test implementation strategies that could boost health outcomes for U.S. teens and adults with sickle cell disease.

Study in Tanzania Tests Way to Reduce Stigma of HIV Testing

In October, MUSC’s Center for Global Health received a $3.1 million grant from the National Institutes of Health to study an integrated approach to screening and treatment for HIV, diabetes and hypertension in Tanzania.





MUSC Health is educating the next generation of health care providers, giving them the tools and instilling in them the vision they will need to lead medicine forward.

Nurse Informatics Training

In December 2016, MUSC Health hosted a two-day nursing informatics boot camp. The workshop was led by Dr. Susan K. Newbold, a health care informatics consultant who helped establish nursing informatics as a separate professional discipline within the broader field of health informatics.

Educating Tomorrow's Primary Care Physicians

Two recent joint educational initiatives by MUSC and its affiliates aim to attract primary care physicians to rural South Carolina, offering them the prestige of an appointment at an academic medical center and the clinical opportunity of a community-based practice.

Faculty Development Program Aims to Improve Mentoring

The MUSC Department of Medicine continues to enhance an innovative Faculty Development Program that guides junior faculty step by step through a goal-setting and mentoring process, providing them with the resources that can help them move up the academic ladder.

Leadership in Academic Medicine Program

In September 2016, the Department of Medicine’s LEAD (Leadership in Academic Medicine) Program , a nine-month interactive course to build a stronger culture of leadership, began its third academic year. In January 2017, it will be adapted for about 30 strategic leaders across MUSC.