April 25, 2014
MEDICAL UNIVERSITY of SOUTH CAROLINA
Vol. 32, No. 36
David Cole: Man of vision and integrity set to lead MUSC BY MIKIE HAYES Public Relations A search of global proportions resulted in finding a star in our very own backyard. After nearly a year, not only is the uncertainty over, there is an unmistakable air of excitement on campus. David Cole, M.D., the A. McKoy Rose, Jr, M.D. Endowed Chair, chairman of the Department of Surgery and president of MUSC Physicians, will soon shoulder the highest mantle of leadership at MUSC and colleagues and staff alike speak enthusiastically about his vision and ability to relate personally to all with whom he comes into contact. Tom Stephenson, chairman of the MUSC Board of Trustees, expressed confidence in the board’s selection and noted that Cole’s experience and strategic vision will help the Medical University achieve the institutional goal of being one of the nation’s top 25 academic medical centers. Mark Sothmann, Ph.D., interim president, shares the board’s conviction. “In my conversations with David, I have been struck not just by his intelligence, thoughtfulness, and diplomacy, but by how much he cares about MUSC. David has been extraordinarily successful in whatever he has chosen to do and I am confident that this pattern will continue with his presidency of MUSC for many years to come. As he faces the many opportunities and challenges presented to a president, he has the advantages of an in–depth understanding of our institutional culture and the credibility coming from his years as an MUSC faculty member and administrator. I look forward to the opportunity to work with him to advance MUSC, and I anticipate many others at our university share that same feeling.”
Medical Student College of Medicine student receives prestigious HHMI honor.
Cole’s assistant of seven years could not agree more. “MUSC simply could not have chosen a better leader than David Cole,” said Dawn Hartsell, administrative coordinator and assistant to the chairman. “He is a leader with vision who genuinely cares about people.” Many of her colleagues feel the same way. Beloved, respected, honorable and kind were just a handful of the superlatives used to describe the president–elect by those who work with him in the Department of Surgery. In fact, while they can’t begin to imagine the department without him, according to Hartsell, faculty and staff were wildly excited when they received news that their chairman had been offered the position. Following the announcement of his selection April 17, Etta Pisano, M.D., dean of the College of Medicine, addressed the faculty and staff of the Department of Surgery at a meeting Friday morning. She spoke of Cole’s great character and integrity and said, “Of the 70 national and international candidates, David Cole was ultimately chosen because of his “patient–first” attitude which is the basis of this entire institution.” As a result of his work ethic and the reputation he has earned over the past 20 years, Cole is proud of the fact he has built institutional trust. “It was meaningful to me when Tom Stephenson described me as a person of integrity. I believe that‘s an important quality. I’ve had tough decisions to make as the chair of surgery, but I’ve always done so thoughtfully, with discussion, based on defining the right thing to do. Even when people disagree with you, they respect you and the reasons for your decisions. That is a touchstone for me.” He continued, “Integrity and trust are critical traits for a leader. You need to be able to inspire people,
See Leader on page 12
David J. Cole, M.D. Hometown Albuquerque, N.M. Family Wife, Kathy; daughter, Paige; and sons, Andy and Bryan Education M.D., Cornell University Medical College (1986) and B.S. in Biology, New Mexico State University (1982) Postdoctoral education/training NIH/NCI/Surgery Branch, Bethesda, MD (1991 to 1994) and General Surgery resident, Emory University Affiliated Hosptials (1986 to 1991) Administrative Positions President, MUSC Physicians; Chairman, and A. McKoy Rose Jr., M.D. Endowed Chair, Department of Surgery; Medical Director, Center for Cellular Therapy
Piece It Together
Sterile processing ops
Pilot program helps young adults with ASD.
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2 THE CATALYST, April 25, 2014
Physician named to hospitalist society Staff Report Danielle Scheurer, M.D., chief quality officer for the Medical University Hospital Authority and associate professor in the Department of Medicine, was recently named to the board of directors of the Society of Hospital Medicine. A member of the society since 2003, Scheurer will serve a three–year term. Scheurer "I realized very quickly that I was not going to be satisfied being a good doctor with individual patients because of the barriers to good care and became compelled to attack the issues at the system level," says Scheurer, who also serves as physician editor of the society’s publication, The Hospitalist.
SHM is the largest organization representing hospitalists and their patients promoting excellence in health care through quality improvement, education, advocacy and research. Scheurer has served as an active member of SHM for 11 years where she participated in the development of hospitalist education strategies to improve hospital system effectiveness. Scheurer earned her degree in medicine from the University of Tennessee–Knoxville and went on to complete dual residencies in internal medicine and pediatrics at Duke University Medical Center. She worked as a hospitalist at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston from 2005 before joining MUSC. Among her career accomplishments include helping to develop medical knowledge modules on quality and patient safety for the American Board of Internal Medicine’s Recognition in Focused Practice in Hospital Medicine maintenance of certification program.
Fellowships to enhance interprofessionalism Applications are being accepted for the Maralynne D. Mitcham Interprofessional Fellowship for faculty and professional staff. The fellowship prepares faculty and staff to successfully assume new roles in interprofessional education, research, practice or administration. The fellowship period will be from July 1 to June 30, 2015.
Editorial of fice MUSC Office of Public Relations 135 Cannon Street, Suite 403C, Charleston, SC 29425. 843-792-4107 Fax: 843-792-6723 Interim editor: Cindy Abole email@example.com Catalyst staff: Mikie Hayes, firstname.lastname@example.org
Two fellowships will be awarded per year, and each fellowship provides funding in the amount of $5,000. Applications should include a letter of intent, two letters of support and curriculum vitae, and must be received by May 9. For information on the fellowship, visit http://tinyurl.com/pyhzbwk or contact Heather Spaulding at The Catalyst is published once a week. Paid adver tisements, which do not represent an endorsement by MUSC or the State of South Carolina, are handled by Island Publications Inc., Moultrie News, 134 Columbus St., Charleston, S.C., 843-849-1778 or 843-958-7490. E-mail: email@example.com.
ART CAFETERIA REOPENING
Dave Neff, from left, Dr. Daniel Handel, Sharon DeGrace, Brian Sloan, Jim Vola, Darcy Kalles and Jeff Berdis were all on hand to participate in the March 26 ART Cafeteria grand reopening. Ashely River Tower Cafeteria’s March 26 grand reopening ceremony began with a ribbon cutting by MUHA Administrators and Sodexo representatives. The ART cafeteria renovation was initiated to upgrade current menu selections, improve customer flow and offer a new vendor, Subway. A world cuisine station also was added, which allows for live cooking demonstrations before cafeteria customers. Mindful recipes will be featured at this station. A salad bar was also added, which allows the customer to
create their own salads. Sodexo invested $525,000 to make the renovation project a reality. Entertainment for the event featured local guitarist and singer Bob Becker and customers were provided a special menu, which included samples of the cafeteria’s entrees. Some customers participated in a drawing for prizes that included a meal card valued at $975, a flat screen TV, two bicycles, two Fitbits, a laptop computer, plus more. For information about the ART cafeteria and daily menus, visit http:// www.muschealth.com/nutrition/ dining/menus/Weekataglanc.pdf.
THE CATALYST, April 25, 2014 3
Renaissance man, student wins prestigious fellowship BY AIMEE MURRAY Public Relations
collegiate cheerleader and rower and a licensed commercial vehicle operator, third-year medical student and now a Howard Hughes Medical Institute Medical Fellow, Chris Clark has taken a slightly untraditional route to success. Originally from Springville, Alabama, Clark, the older of two children, graduated from Auburn University in 2007 with a degree in molecular biology. After graduation, he found that job prospects were dim as he was considered overqualified for hourly positions but underqualified for jobs in the field of molecular biology. Although Clark knew he wanted to obtain a graduate degree, he also knew he needed a hiatus from school. As a result of some online research, Clark came across a job in Mammoth Lakes, California at the Mammoth Lakes Ski Resort. After a brief phone interview, Clark was hired as the newest bus driver at the resort. Recounting his experience, Clark said, “They hired me to drive a bus up and down a mountain at the resort. I’m from Alabama where it doesn’t snow and I had never skied or snowboarded, but I always wanted to learn, so I moved out to California.” After a year of driving at the resort, Clark found
“I feel good about it [Howard Hughes Medical Institute Medical Research Fellowship]. I’m a non-traditional medical student as it stands. I’m 28 and I’m not in a hurry to finish school.” Chris Clark himself in danger of being unemployed yet again. “The snow started to melt. They told me I was going to get laid off so I started calling all of my friends from college. I was asking ‘where do you live and what do you do,’” he said. One call panned out. A friend from Auburn who recently had bought a home in Mount Pleasant was in need of roommates. It didn’t take much mulling over to make the decision. Clark made the move. Clark said after settling in Mount Pleasant, he eventually secured a position with MUSC as a research assistant for Kyu–Ho Lee, M.D., Ph.D., in the Pediatric Cardiology Department. Relying on his training and
experience as a cheerleader at Auburn, he also picked up a part-time job teaching tumbling and gymnastics to young children. THE OPPORTUNITY Clark continued working under Lee after being accepted to the College of Medicine in 2011. The following summer, he began trying to find ways to continue the research he was conducting in Lee’s lab. He came upon the HHMI Medical Research Fellowship as a result of constantly checking the COM website for research opportunities. “I found the Howard Hughes Medical Institute Medical Research Fellowship and with it the opportunity to take a longer period of time to do research at some great places like Boston, San Francisco and Baltimore,” he said. Established in 1989, with more than 1,400 participants to date, the HHMI Medical Research Fellowship is open to medical, dental and veterinary students interested in an opportunity to advance basic, translational or biomedical research. The purpose of the program is to enhance and develop medical, dental and veterinary scientists by allowing them to choose a
See Award on page 9
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processing ops goes mobile BY AIMEE MURRAY Public Relations
surgical infection is the type of thing you may never in your life think about until it happens to
you. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, on any given day, about one in 25 hospital patients develop at least one health care–associated infection. In 2011, an estimated 157,500 people developed some type of infection from an inpatient surgery and about 75,000 hospital patients with health care–associated infections died during their hospitalizations. These are serious statistics that should capture the attention of hospital administrators. And at MUSC they certainly do. MUSC’s Sterile Processing Department, guardian against the spread of infection via medical equipment, is a 24/7 operation, responsible for cleaning, decontaminating, disinfecting, assembling and sterilizing surgical instruments and medical devices. The department supports operating rooms, procedural areas, clinics and research areas. Sally Potts, R.N., director of sterile processing, said the process is often misconstrued. “When people think of sterile processing, they sometimes think of the technicians as glorified dishwashers, but they are not. Not at all,” she said.
A technician sorts through instruments.
photos by Aimee Murray, Public Relations
Above photo: A sterile processing technician assembles surgical trays for use in the hospital’s operating rooms. Left photo: The mobile sterile processing unit will continue to be in operation until mid-July, which is when the hospital’s permanent, renovated facility is scheduled to reopen.
Cleaning and sterilizing various surgical instruments is time–consuming and staff must be meticulous. Potts said instrument trays are delivered to her department from operating rooms and clinics and all of the debris must be scrubbed off. Instruments then go through a wash cycle, which usually takes forty–five minutes. A drying cycle follows and assemblers reconstruct the set and inspect the instruments. It is only then that the set goes into the sterilizer. With the number of surgeries on campus dramatically increasing and only one processing site operating in Ashley River Tower, SPD leaders realized department capacity would also have to increase. Michael Sawin, manager of sterile processing, confirmed the surge in the volume of surgeries. “Last August (2013), when I took over the department, we were processing 6,100 trays every two weeks. Since Feb. 9, we have increased exponentially. In the last period we processed 8,900 trays in a two week period. On average, that’s an extra 1,400 trays a week we are processing,” he said. To solve the problem, SPD began renovating the
processing site in the basement of the Children’s Hospital, but the immediate problem still existed. To alleviate the number of surgical kits processed by the ART location, Potts and Sawin explored other options, including outsourcing and sending the equipment out of state. “Really that situation wasn’t optimal for running an operating room because we need our sets (of instruments) back in a timely manner. We also could have continued trying to process everything at ART, but we would have had to run double shifts at night. Even then, sets wouldn’t have been out in time for surgeries,” Potts said. The third and most convenient option was to bring one of three existing mobile sterile processing units to campus. The mobile unit, though generally smaller than stationary departments, provides a full capacity sterile processing operation, allowing staff to clean and sterilize equipment just as efficiently as the ART location. On Feb. 23, the unit, with two sterilizers, three washers and the capability to process up to 200 surgical instrument trays per day, arrived on campus after a cross–country trip. Once the unit arrived, SPD staff had to be trained how to use the new equipment. Potts explained the
See Mobile on page 8
THE CATALYST, April 25, 2014 5
Tim Kallgren College/Year College of Medicine, fourth year How you are changing what’s possible at MUSC Three of my classmates and I founded CHAMPS, a student group whose purpose is to encourage health care workers and students to develop healthy diet and exercise habits. If we as medical professionals intend to encourage our patients to adopt healthy lifestyles, we ought to be following our own recommendations first. What specialty of medicine did you match recently Emergency medicine at Carolinas Medical Center in Charlotte Pets and their names Lizzie is a Belgian shepherd mix. We also have a mutt puppy named Bear. Who in history would you most like to meet and why Nebuchadnezzar from the Bible. I can’t figure that guy out. The first thing you notice about a person Whether or not they’re wearing anything that aligns them to a college football team and if so, which team?
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Young adults on autism spectrum get lifeline BY AIMEE MURRAY Public Relations
As a mother of a 23–year–old son who falls on the autism spectrum, Katherine Taylor has no doubt that these young adults with autism often fall through the cracks in getting the help they need. While talking about programs for young adults with Autism Spectrum Disorder, Taylor said there is a true lack of resources. “There’s really nothing for high school aged kids and older. Once they’re out of high school, it’s like ‘good luck’ and there’s nothing,” she said. Approximately 32 percent of adolescents with autism are obese, the highest percentage of any category of developmental disabilities among adolescents. According to researchers at the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention and the Health Katherine Taylor Resources and Services Administration, adolescents with learning and behavioral disabilities are more likely to be obese than adolescents without developmental disabilities. Aware of these challenges, MUSC’s Wellness Center took its award-winning Healthy Charleston Challenge Program and adapted it to fit this population. Taylor’s son, Sam, was one of the participants in the Piece It Together pilot program last summer. The third session will start this summer. A free, informational meeting about the program will be held Saturday, April 26 from 10:30 to 11:30 a.m. at the Wellness Center on 45 Courtenay Drive. Piece It Together is an exercise and nutrition program, about six to 10 weeks, specifically designed for young adults with ASD. The program was created to help participants, ages 17 to 24 years, increase their physical activity, improve their body composition and make healthier food decisions, not to mention broaden their social skills, decrease self–stimulatory behavior and other stereotypical mannerisms associated with ASD. Janis Newton, interim director of the MUSC Wellness Center said an important mission of the center is to provide exercise and nutrition intervention to foster behavior change as it relates to different disease processes and conditions that affect special groups. “We’ve taken a look across the community to see
“Once they’re out of high school, it’s like ‘good luck’ and there’s nothing.”
Rock climbing was one of the activities participants in the pilot launch of the Piece it Together program did. An informational session on the program will be held April 26 at MUSC Wellness Center’s auditorium. Watch the video at www.musc.edu/pr/newscenter/2014/autism-program.html. what the needs are and obviously there’s a need for overweight and obesity intervention, but it reaches far beyond that. There are little pockets of special population groups that would be incredibly well served by a nutrition and exercise intervention program,” Newton said. Newton said they found that younger children with ASD have a lot of different resources to help them learn the importance of exercise and nutrition, but high– functioning adolescents and young adults didn’t have as many. To bridge that gap, the team at the Wellness Center created the Piece It Together program. “We consult all the experts and then make our formula for this lifestyle change fit into whatever participants’ needs are. Those with ASD have special needs we have to pay attention to and design the program around. It’s very different from our drug and alcohol recovery program or our overweight, obesity and chronic disease program,” Newton said. Taylor recognizes the need to taper the program to participants as proper nutrition, adequate exercise and social interaction can be challenging for those with ASD.
“Exercise is a huge component of treating autism, especially for kids this age because they tend to withdraw socially. When they withdraw socially, they become less physically active which affects their mood,” she said. Jenny Banks’ daughter Hope, who has Down syndrome, also participated in the program last summer. Banks said she especially liked that the program allowed participants the opportunity to get to know one another. “Some [participants] who were just really shy were laughing and opening up by the end and that was a neat transformation to see. I think the social component of the program was just as important to us, as parents, as it was to our young adults because it’s such a challenge at this age for our young adults to have the opportunities to socialize,” she said. Both mothers commended MUSC’s Wellness Center for offering the program. Taylor said, “Piece It Together is important and necessary because there’s nothing in the community
See Autism on page 8
THE CATALYST, April 25, 2014 7
Adventure Out gets fitness outdoors for May BY DAWN BRAZELL Public Relations
etting fitter can be as easy as stepping outside to your favorite park. At least that’s what the sponsors of the second annual Adventure Out program want participants to find out this May. The outdoor activity campaign, hosted by MUSC, the MUSC Wellness Center and the City of Charleston Recreation Department and City Parks, will feature more than 25 fitness events held in city of Charleston parks and the MUSC Wellness Center to get more people outside and moving. In its second year, the Adventure Out program offers a wide range of activities, including Latin dance, sunrise yoga, boot camp led by active–duty Marines and a special “Selfie Historic Scavenger” hunt featuring fun locations in downtown Charleston. The opening event will be held May 3 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Hampton Park and features a Zumba class and children’s fitness activities. Susan Johnson, Ph.D., director of MUSC’s Office of Health Promotion, said sticking to an exercise plan longterm is hard. “Most of us need periodic motivation to keep us on track. By offering a month-long fitness campaign annually, it allows us to get our community motivated to exercise and try new things.” Partnering with community organizations and tying into outside resources expands MUSC’s outreach into the community and supports its mission to help more people get outdoors during May to enjoy the area’s natural resources while improving their health, she said. The fitness events will be showcased in Charleston’s beautiful parks, with Adventure Out adding to the momentum of the city’s Lighten Up Charleston program. The program, launched as an initiative of Charleston Mayor Joseph Riley in 2012, provides an interactive website, www.lightenupcharleston. org, to promote community fitness and recreation programs and allow residents to track their wellness goals and learn
Zumba instructors Rob Powell and Katie Williams get the crowd excited at a Latin dance event at last year’s Adventure Out. To see a video and read the full story, visit MUSC’s News Center at www.musc.edu/pr/ newscenter/2014/adventure-out.html. ways to lose weight. their fitness levels, and it’s all organized “Mayor Riley is committed to for them.” promoting health and wellness through Best of all, the events are in beautiful, his Lighten Up Charleston program, green spaces. Green exercise is a new so this was a perfect fit from his fitness trend, probably here to stay, given perspective,” Johnson said. research showing its health benefits, Barbara Vaughn, director of media Newton said. “It has a calming effect relations for the city, agreed, adding and it can reduce stress. There’s a selfthat encouraging use of the parks’ open discovery and mindfulness aspect about spaces enhances the well-being of the green exercise.” community. A wide variety of events are planned “Developing opportunities through the based on feedback from last year’s city’s parks and recreation program and participants, many of whom discovered MUSC’s Adventure Out initiative gives new activities they had never tried before, us additional opportunities to do just Newton said. that — to be that spark that will ignite “The older we get, we have our an interest to want to do more to be comfort zones, and it’s harder to healthier. We look forward to watching get outside of the box. We’re less the steps taken toward individual adventuresome. We get more set in our accomplishments through this exciting ways. We have to find things that will initiative,” Vaughn said. spark people to move more.” Janis Newton, interim director of the Adventure Out is an opportunity to MUSC Wellness Center, said programs do activities with friends, which is always such as Adventure Out help create a more fun and helps with accountability, culture of wellness in a community, she said. facilitating healthy changes by making it A new event this year is a community easier to get outdoors and active, a goal day at MUSC Wellness Center May the center supports. Wellness center 21. Classes will include Body Bar, a fitness instructors will be volunteering circuit class, Taebo and Zumba. The day their time to lead the classes. at the wellness center also highlights “We’re dedicated to getting people conditioning equipment and programs moving who don’t normally move. With that people need to support their Adventure Out, we figure out safe, fun outdoor activities. ways to get more active. All they have to “You have to stay fit to paddleboard, do is show up. It’s going to be adapted to for example. Not every day is great to
exercise outdoors and people need to exercise consistently.” The idea is to encourage people to do a mix of indoor and outdoor fitness activities. Tyler Hunter, Adventure Out coordinator for the Wellness Center, said the goal is to show the community what the Wellness Center has to offer. “We want to encourage them to be healthy and active and show them all the ways they can succeed in this area.” Participants also can learn how to take some of their indoor workouts outside. “Outdoor exercise or green exercising is becoming more popular because it’s simple, fun, and for the large part, free,” Tyler said. “Plus, there is just something about being outside and in nature that is more appealing than inside a room with sometimes no windows and artificial lighting.” Tyler, a personal trainer, said Adventure Out offers great health benefits, especially when coupled with healthier eating habits. The benefits can include weight loss, improved mood, decreased depression and an increase in muscle. This can translate to many health benefits, such as preventing heart disease and Type 2 diabetes. One main benefit, though, is how participating in such events can add to the quality of life, he said. “It is never too late to start making a difference in your life. The more exposure to different exercises that you have, the better the chance of finding that one that you love. I have tried tons of different exercises, and I have learned that I can’t ‘Zumba,’ not that I don’t like it, I just couldn’t carry a tune in a bucket. I never thought yoga or Pilates was for me until my friend made me try it with her, and now I’m hooked. It’s all about finding that one thing that makes you excited to lace up your sneakers or take them off,” said Tyler. For information on Adventure Out and a listing of calendar events and where to purchase T–shirts, visit http:// www.musc.edu/adventureout or contact Johnson at 792-1245 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. The purchase of a $10 T–shirt provides admission to all activities.
8 THE CATALYST, April 25, 2014 MOBILE
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difficulties faced by SPD staff. “The staff had about a week to learn how to use the equipment in the processor. Steris Corporation came and provided all of the training. It’s pretty miraculous that the staff was able to pick it up that quickly. The staff is the success story here. They really learned quickly what they needed to do to make it work,” said Potts. A technician loads equipment in As renovation efforts continue, the the automated washer. mobile unit has proven to be more than just efficient, but also essential. Sawin explained that the processing location in ART had problems with its water supply one week. The problem prevented staff from using the washers for more than eight hours. “If we didn’t have the mobile unit, physicians and nurses scheduled to perform the next day’s surgeries and clinics would have been severely impacted in their ability to take care of patients,” he said. With a goal to provide an excellent patient experience, the SPD, physicians and operating room nurses work together to ensure quality care. “The staff and physicians are our customers,” Sawin said, “We’re dependent on them to give us information about what they need and the condition of instruments when they receive them, so we’ll know if repairs are necessary. They’re dependent on us to take that information and get the instruments turned over to ensure they have the proper equipment when they need it.” Potts added, “It’s very much a team effort. It has to be to run well.”
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right now for kids who are out of high school.” Banks echoed Taylor’s sentiments and went on to say, “So many times, people in the community dismiss our young adults as not being able to learn these skills or that the skills aren’t that important to teach to them, but it is critical for their independent living. The bottom line is, they can learn,” she said. With the completion of the pilot program last summer, Newton said reactions from participants and parents have been favorable. Banks said the program is truly invaluable and encouraged parents to register their young adult children. “It is so worth it. It’s such an investment in your young adult’s future in terms of health education and becoming a healthier person. As they become more independent, nutrition and fitness are life skills that are necessary and when you can learn and practice those in an environment with peers and coaches who are encouraging and boosting self-confidence, then it can be life changing for these young adults,”
she said. Newton and her team are looking forward to working with the next group of Piece It Together participants. Tyler Hunter, one of the program’s coordinators, said he loved working with this group.“My favorite part was getting to spend time with the amazing people who participate in the program. I love getting to know them and finding out about all the things that they find interesting.” As a personal trainer, he also enjoyed sharing ways that they could become healthier. “Everyone knows that we have an obesity problem. The groups that this program targets are at an even greater risk for obesity and chronic diseases than the average population.” They had a celebration at the end of the program, where he had a chance to get to know the participants outside of the gym. They played various games and had a treasure hunt. “It’s amazing how simple interventions can help,” he said of the positive reactions he received from participants. “It was nice to connect to young adults who may feel isolated and to expose them to ways that can help improve the quality of their lives.”
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AWARD Continued from Page Three mentor and work on a research project full–time for an entire year. A highly prestigious and competitive fellowship, this year the HHMI chose approximately 70 students for the opportunity. THE PROCESS Finding the opportunity was just the beginning. Clark had to locate a willing researcher to act as his mentor, develop a research plan and then apply to the program. Using the same sleuthing skills he employed to secure the position at the ski resort and a new hometown in the Charleston area, Clark got to work reviewing researchers and their specialties on the HHMI website. He wanted to find someone conducting research similar to what he was doing under Lee. “I cold called Ananth Karumanchi, M.D., a researcher located in Boston who was on the HHMI list. I just sent him an email out of the blue. He didn’t know who I was, I didn’t know who he was and I really had no connections to him,” Clark said. After speaking with a few ob-gyn professors on campus to find out more about Karumanchi, Clark found someone willing to facilitate a formal introduction. Clark and Karumanchi, an associate professor of medicine at Beth Israel Deacones Medical Center, kept in touch, and eventually, Clark asked Karumanchi if he’d be interested in serving as his mentor for the HHMI Medical Research Fellowship. Karumanchi was agreeable and from there, Clark, Lee and Karumanchi began to narrow down potential project ideas. According to the criteria, the project had to be completed in the year’s time allotted for the fellowship. THE PROJECT Clark’s research under Lee focused on Nkx-2.5 or the “tinman” gene. This gene mutation has the potential to cause heart malformations in humans. In fruit flies, the absence of the gene signals the complete absence of a heart. It was dubbed tinman for the Tin Man from the Wizard of Oz who had no heart. With his interest in Nkx-2.5 and Karumanchi conducting research on preeclampsia, an idea for a research
project started to take shape. Explaining preeclampsia, Clark said, “As it stands, the cause of preeclampsia is unknown and there’s not really a good test for it either. Dr. Karumanchi has discovered a gene called S-FLT 1 and his lab has shown that preeclampsia and its severity can be predicted when tests are conducted for this S-FLT gene.” Clark said through literature searches and conversations with Lee, Karumanchi and several people in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, he found there may be a link between the Nkx–2.5 gene and the S–FLT gene. “My project is going to focus on trying to elucidate the relationship between the two genes, if there’s an actual relationship and if so, which gene regulates which. The end goal is to have it lead to something beneficial so perhaps a better test for preeclampsia,” Clark said. Although he hails from a town so small it has no traffic light, Clark is looking forward to this new experience. With Karumanchi as his mentor and Lee as his co-mentor, Clark will start his fellowship in August at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston. Because the HHMI Medical Research Fellowship lasts one year, Clark will have to postpone his fourth year of medical school, but he doesn’t mind. “I feel good about it. I’m a nontraditional medical student. I’m 28, and I’m not in a hurry to finish school. I think the relationships that I can foster by doing this fellowship outweigh graduating with my class,” he said. Lee, who is Clark's mentor, said Clark being awarded a highly prestigious HHMI Medical Research Fellowship came as no surprise to him. During Clark’s work in his lab, Lee has come to know him as highly intelligent, hardworking, conscientious and extremely energetic. "Chris is very humble," Lee said. "On the way to his current trajectory to a prestigious professional career, there has been no job that was beneath him. He often had more than one job at a time growing up. A favorite game among the students in the lab was 'what job has Chris not held?' I think it reflects a bit of wanderlust in his soul, as he has always been willing to try different things and put his all into it."
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THE CATALYST, April 25, 2014 11
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Call for volunteers in Hoops for Hope Volunteers for the Department of Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciencesâ€™ fourth annual Hoops for Hope Tourney fundraiser on April 26 at the College of Charleston TD Arena. Volunteers get a free admission (including food and drink) and Tâ€“shirt. To register, call 7920175. https//www.musc. edu/psychiatry/volunteer. htm.
12 THE CATALYST, April 25, 2014
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especially in times of uncertainty. If you can get people to understand the other side and have respect for each other, and work towards a common good it’s a way to move things forward in a positive manner.” Prabhaka Baliga, M.D., professor and director of the Division of Transplant Surgery, sees a very bright future for MUSC under Cole’s leadership. He said, “Everybody would say Dave is a visionary leader. For me personally, working with him closely over the last several years as the chairman, his biggest strength is his ability to create career paths for his division chiefs and faculty. He is a man of tremendous integrity whose decisions are always fair and based on what is best for the institution and for the patient. While we are all very excited for him, the department as a whole feels a very deep loss.” Cole was selected from a large pool of highly competitive applicants, according to Sothmann. The board was confident that at a time when academic health centers face many challenges and transformative opportunities, Cole was the candidate who was uniquely qualified to chart the path and lead the institution into its next successful chapter. Cole feels one of his greatest strengths is his openness and ability to relate to everybody at an honest level. “I am genuinely interested in the individual. I connect well with people and I care about who they are. As a surgeon, my success, if you will, other than being technically capable, is I do my best to have an impact for the patient. I will translate those skills on a different level.
At the end of the day, medicine is about people and I believe being a successful President is about people — relating to them, understanding their needs, and ensuring things continue to progress.” Colleagues and friends are quick to mention that in addition to his devotion to patients, Cole is a passionate family man. He is an involved father and his interests are tied to his family’s activities. Most recently, lacrosse has been at the heart of their lives as son, Bryan, plays for the Wando varsity team that competed for a third state championship this week. Hartsell said it has been “lacrosse–a–rama at the office” as everyone rooted for Bryan’s team. Clemson University, too, plays a major role in the family’s lives. His daughter, Paige, graduates from the university in two weeks with a double major in English and education and a passion for teaching. Son, Andy, a sophomore biology major at Clemson has been a rabid Tiger fan since he was four years old. “His bathroom has been painted bright orange for years,” said Cole. Andy and his Sigma Nu fraternity brothers sat in the frat house awaiting news that the MUSC board had made its selection. When his parents called to give him the good news, he already knew as the guys had been checking the Web every two minutes, according to Kathy Cole, the university’s future first lady. The entire family is ecstatic about this opportunity, she said. “We’re all about family, and MUSC is family. We are all behind Dave. This is the perfect position for him. He knows the institution well and he cares about MUSC with all his heart. He is deeply committed to doing
President-elect Dr. David Cole chats with a colleague. the right things and developing the right paths for the future. His vision for the institution is great. He is proud of MUSC’s people and all they do.” “When I came here in 1994,” he said, “there was a sense that things were happening here. Jim Edwards was building the university and all the pieces were in place. I wanted to be part of
his vision and make an impact. It was an inclusive place and had a forward– thinking culture and at every step of my career, I can say wholeheartedly, that fact still remains true today. There is tremendous momentum here and as an academic medical center we are clearly a rising star nationally.” When asked about his leadership style he stated that “I work to enable individual leaders, develop consensus, and ultimately make the critical decisions needed. I appreciate my colleagues and care about this institution. I am proud of MUSC and the direction that we are moving. Even more reason for me to say let’s move forward. We have startlingly good metrics — for instance, in my time as a faculty member at MUSC, our NIH funding has quintupled. Who else can say that? This is a remarkable institution because good people are doing good things with purpose. It provides momentum.” The president–elect’s pride and positivity about MUSC’s future are palpable. “The reason why MUSC is such a special place — we do the unlikely.”