MUSC Psychiatry Chair Update | February 25, 2021
February 25, 2021
MUSC Psychiatry Chair Update
Thomas W. Uhde, M.D.
Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences
Institute of Psychiatry
Child and Teen Suicide in Charleston Has Reached an Unprecedented Level During Pandemic

The number of children and teenagers who are completing or attempting to commit suicide in Charleston has reached an unprecedented level during the pandemic, according to experts at the Medical University of South Carolina. 


There are not numbers yet available locally or on a national level to gauge how many children have completed or attempted suicide this past year, but Dr. Elizabeth Mack, chief of pediatric critical care at MUSC, said what they’re seeing inside the pediatric intensive care unit is much higher than normal. 


“We are certainly seeing a twin pandemic in many different ways,” Mack said, referring to both the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and the burgeoning pediatric mental health crisis. “The isolation is really amplifying the inequities that have been laid bare for us.”


There are a number of factors likely contributing to the rise — isolation, grief related to the loss of loved ones and financial insecurity, to name a few. Many children and teenagers have not yet returned to school, which could be stoking their anxiety and depression. Schools serve a number of different functions outside of education. They serve meals, for example, and offer children ways to socialize and access health care. Teachers do more than teach. They’re often called on to report suspected cases of child abuse. 


But sending every child back to school won’t be a cure-all for their emotional distress, said Dr. Ryan Byrne, a psychiatrist at MUSC. In some cases, the fear of contracting COVID-19 inside a school may contribute to a child’s anxiety. On top of that, many children aren’t using to learning in an environment where they’re separated from other students by Plexiglas and required to wear masks. These changes are distressing for many students. 

Dr. Patrick O'Neil served as an author on the recently published study, Effect of Subcutaneous Semaglutide vs Placebo as an Adjunct to Intensive Behavioral Therapy on Body Weight in Adults With Overweight or Obesity: The STEP 3 Randomized Clinical Trial. The study was published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) and is available here.
Kudos to Dr. O'Neil on his hard work and recent publication!

Friday, Feb. 26 | 12 - 1 p.m.

Dr. Dachelle Johnson was a top student while at MUSC and went on to complete two residencies at Johns Hopkins Hospital, where she was hired as a critical care clinical specialist. In 2015 she joined the NIH in the clinical center pharmacy department and in 2019 began working for AstraZeneca.
2020-2021 GRAND ROUNDS
Request for Pilot Project Proposals
Focused on Sex and Gender-Related Issues in Neuroscience
In September 2018, the National Institute on Drug Abuse and the Office of Research on Women’s Health renewed a 5-year award for Drs. Aimee McRae-Clark and Kathleen T. Brady, funding a research center focused on sex and gender-based multidisciplinary research at MUSC. One of the goals of the center is to catalyze women’s health-related research throughout the MUSC campus. This goal will be facilitated primarily by the support of pilot projects at MUSC.
The purpose of the Pilot Program is to provide short-term start-up funds to promising postdoctoral fellows and junior faculty (less than 5 years from post-doctoral training/terminal degree) to collect initial data for an R03, R21, or R01 submission. The project must focus on a neuroscience-related topic and explore either sex/gender differences or disorders/treatments as they uniquely relate to women. The project can be either clinical or basic science, and projects involving multidisciplinary teams and/or translational research efforts are especially encouraged.

Eligibility: Currently salaried postdoctoral fellows and junior faculty
Proposal Receipt Date: Monday, March 1, 2021, 5:00 PM
Award Notification: March 2021
Expected Funding Date: April 1, 2021
Funding Limit: $15,000 (direct costs only)
Funding Period: April 1, 2021 – March 31, 2022
To apply, please email the following documents to the SCORE Program Manager at between the dates of February 1, 2021 – March 1, 2021:
1. Submit a description (maximum of 5 pages, not including references) of your project using the following format:
     A.Statement of the Problem / Background
     B.Primary hypothesis to be tested
     C.Methods to be used
     D.Significance of the project and relationship to sex and gender research
     E.Clear description of how the pilot project will lead to extramural grant funding
2. Postdoctoral fellows must also submit a letter of support from the faculty mentor supervising the project.
3. Submit an NIH-type bio-sketch for the applicant. Postdoctoral fellows should also submit the mentor’s bio-sketch.
4. Submit a budget (using the PHS398 form) and a brief budget justification. Budgets can be no more than $15,000 andcannot provide funds for major equipment, travel, or salary support for the applicant or other faculty. Registration fee forone conference, at which the project PI will present SCOR Pilot project data, may be purchased.
5. Applicants are strongly encouraged to take advantage of assistance provided by the SCORE Biostatistical ResearchCore when preparing their application. Consults can be requested by contacting Dr. Viswanathan Ramakrishnan at or 843.876.1153.

Please address inquiries to:
Amanda Wagner, MA, LPC
Program Manager

Funding for the MUSC SCORE provided by:
NIDA/ORWH: U54 DA016511 in partnership with MUSC
Beginning February 1, 2021, the annual mandatory online lessons for all employees/care team members in MyQuest were assigned. MyQuest reminder emails and this notification are the only confirmations you will receive pertaining your mandatory assignments.
  • Starting in 2021, a new Diversity mandatory was added for all MUSC employees.
  • This is the second year employees/care team members/contractors can provide feedback via a REDcap survey at the end of each mandatory. MUSC subject experts review all feedback to improve each mandatory to ensure an optimal learning experience.
2021 MUSC General Mandatories (Enterprise-wide)
  • Crime Prevention and Jeanne Clery Act Training
  • Code of Conduct and HIPAA
  • Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA)
  • Prohibited Discrimination and Harassment
  • Information Security
  • Active Shooter
  • OSHA Review
  • Tuberculosis (Charleston only)
  • Conflict of Interest training (hourly employees only)
2021 MUSC Health Mandatory Training (Charleston, Florence, Lancaster Divisions)
  • MUSC Health General Compliance (+ Billing)
  • Culture of Safety
  • Emergency Management Campus Security
  • Infection Control for All Employees
  • Stroke and Heart Early Recognition
  • Meeting the Unique Needs of Patients
  • Workplace Violence
  • MR Safety for Healthcare Workers
  • Interest training (hourly employees only)
2021 Medical Staff Office - MSO Mandatories
  • Adult Inpatient Diabetes
  • Pediatric Inpatient Diabetes
  • Pediatric Inpatient Anticoagulation Safety
  • Health Information Services
  • Transfusion Medicine
  • Patient Safety Initiative
  • Sleep and Fatigue/Clinical
  • Adult Impatient Anticoagulation Safety
NEW Diversity Mandatory
  • As a part of MUSC's ongoing commitment to leading and learning in the domains of equity and inclusion, you will notice a new 4-hour Diversity Equity and Inclusion DEI mandatory for all MUSC employees. When we join in the learning about one another as we become OneMUSC. Three types of offerings include: virtual curriculum, face to face &/or “professional development option of choice” approved by your leader.
2021 Annual Clinical Education (MUSC Health Clinical Care Teams Only)
  • Varies depending on your clinical role
2021 Conflict of Interest Training (Hourly Care Team Members only)
  • Hourly employees are now excluded from the annual COI disclosure process. To ensure they continue to receive conflict of interest policy training, a COI module has been developed.
  • Salaried employees of the MUSC enterprise receive annual COI training every April, in combination with their annual COI disclosure form; training modules precede the mandatory disclosure.

All of the annual mandatory training modules must be completed no later than June 30, 2021. Employees who fail to complete annual mandatory training requirements will be subject to disciplinary actions. If you have any questions, please email the MyQuest Administrators at




The use of the powerful opiate drug, FENTANYL is on the rise, accounting for a large share of overdose deaths in SC, and the greater US.


Previously, urine drug testing at MUSC could not detect Fentanyl use. The Clinical Neurobiology Laboratory has recently completed an extensive validation of a qualitative (positive vs negative) urine test for the presence of Fentanyl which can be used to distinguish this drug from other commonly used/abused opiates such as oxycodone, buprenorphine and morphine. This test should aid clinicians in the evaluation of patients in multiple clinical settings, especially when illicit drug use is suspected.


Simply order: “Fentanyl, Urine, Qual (IOP LAB)” or “LAB9066”


The Heart Walk is a long-standing tradition at MUSC, and provides a great opportunity to honor lost loved ones, celebrate survivors and take steps (literally) to living a healthier life. You're encouraged to join the all-new Heart Walk Move More Challenge, a 30-day challenge designed to encourage Lowcountry residents to get active throughout the entire month of February! For more information on MUSC’s participation in the Move More Challenge, see the program flyer and sign up below.


The challenge will run on the free Heart Walk app and there is no registration fee to participate. Start or join a team at the link below. Once you are registered, login through the Heart Walk app and track your activity with your phone or wearable activity tracking device. We will celebrate our results on Celebration Saturday (February 27th) as we come together virtually to “walk where we are” and celebrate what we have accomplished as a community.


Nominations are now underway for all MUSC faculty to recognize their peers who have made outstanding contributions to the university through teaching or research initiatives. Nominations for the following awards are being sought:

  • Distinguished Faculty Service Award
  • Outstanding Clinician Award
  • Population Health Award
  • Developing Scholar Award (Research)
  • The Peggy Schachte Research Mentor Award

Any regular, full-time faculty member who holds an academic rank of instructor or higher in a college or department at MUSC and has not been the recipient of the award within the previous three years is eligible for nomination. The specific nomination procedures for each award are located on the Provost’s website.


The deadline for nominations is March 31. If you have any questions, Juli Wilt at or 843-792-0945.


Don’t miss this opportunity! Put your ideas into action and make a difference at MUSC!


The Office of Innovation is excited to announce the 4th annual Innovation Week Poster Session, scheduled for Tuesday, April 27, 2021, 8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. Participation is open to all members of the MUSC family.


This event is your chance to lead by identifying places for growth or change and propose your idea for improvement. The poster session will be held virtually and filled with exciting opportunities from you and your colleagues. In the past, ideas have included new apps, education methods, intake processes, diagnostic tests and much more- the sky's the limit! Teamwork is encouraged, so feel free to join forces and tackle something together! We look forward to working with you to make the 4th annual Innovation Week Poster Session a success!


To participate in this event, please take a moment to register by March 1, 2021 5pm, then complete the five steps listed below (Detailed instructions in Box link below): 

  • Identify a problem or opportunity
  • Innovate a solution
  • Evaluate the innovation, piloting when possible
  • Document lessons learned
  • Participate in the Innovation Week Poster Session (submitted poster pdf and video pitch required)   

Important Dates:

  • 3/01/2021: Poster Session Registration Deadline
  • 3/01/2021: Idea Canvas Due
  • 4/02/2021: Poster PDF & Video Pitch Due 
  • 4/27/2021: Virtual Online Poster Session 8am – 5pm 
  • 4/29/2021: Shark Tank Live Event 2pm – 4pm

You can find the instructions, templates, and tools in the following Box link; however, feel free to contact the team directly at if you have any questions.


Addiction Sciences Division


Assistant Professor/Psychologist (UNIV, Full-Time): This position is for a clinical psychologist who will be working as a faculty member at the Medical University of South Carolina in the Outpatient Clinic of the Addiction Sciences Division of the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, providing individual and group therapy to individuals with addiction-related and other psychiatric illnesses and their families. 


Open Rank/Assistant Professor (UNIV, Full-Time): The successful applicant for this position will have either an MD or a PhD degree and will be expected to have an established and independent research program that will interface with the multidisciplinary NIAAA P50 Charleston Alcohol Research Center at MUSC. 


Open Rank/Professor (UNIV, Full-Time): The successful applicant for this position will have either an MD or a PhD degree and will be expected to have an established and independent research program that will interface with the multidisciplinary NIAAA P50 Charleston Alcohol Research Center at MUSC.


Psychiatry Hospitalist Division


Open Rank - Psychiatry (UNIV, Full-Time): Candidate must be a psychiatrist with the ability to hold an unrestricted license to practice in South Carolina. The candidate must be board-eligible or board-certified if having completed residency training greater than five years ago. Candidate will be a member of the Psychiatry Hospitalist Division and provide inpatient care on a general adult psychiatry unit and provide coverage across other inpatient areas as needed. Candidate will provide care as a Consult Liaison, and have research coverage. *Note: This position is coded under an ECT identifier through Human Resources; however, it is not ECT for doctors. This position is for the Psychiatry Hospitalist Division.


The South Carolina Clinical and Translational Research (SCTR) Institute will host its annual Translational Research Day on March 19, 2021 from 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. in a virtual setting. The event is a forum for trainees, scholars and investigators to display their translational-based research to the MUSC community via poster presentations.

This year's featured speakers are Peter Kalivas, Ph.D., Distinguished University Professor, MUSC and Kevin Gray, M.D., Professor, MUSC. The title of their combined presentation is “From here to there and back again: The story of glutamate transporters in treating addiction”. Their research personifies the translation from a basic science discovery to clinical investigation to population health. Their combined experiences provide an exciting opportunity to see how outstanding discoveries are translated to improve human health.

The deadline to submit an abstract is February 26, 2021.

Because this is a virtual event, pre-registration is required to attend. Pre-registration will close on March 12, 2021.

Abstracts will follow a structured format and are limited to 300 words or less. Each abstract must include the following headings: title, authors, affiliation, introduction, methods, results, conclusion/discussion and sources of support. Submissions that do not adhere to the formatting requirements outlined above will not be considered for presentation. Monetary prizes of $500 are awarded to first place abstracts in four separate categories (pre-doctoral, post-doctoral, professors, and research staff)! For any questions, please contact Michael Watson, Special Projects Coordinator, SCTR.

Registration/Abstract Link


Michael Watson, MA
Special Projects Coordinator


Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Science's

Executive Committee for Research and Research Administration (ECRRA) Announcement:


Special Issue Call for Papers: Impact of COVID-19 on Mental Health


COVID-19 has had a dramatic impact on mental health across the world, both because of the direct effects of the virus on various facets of brain and immune function, as well as the effects of economic, social and life style disruption. Biological Psychiatry: Global Open Science (BP:GOS) plans a special issue devoted to understanding both the direct and indirect impacts of COVID-19 on mental health across the world, with a particular focus on prospective biological predictors and outcomes that may mediate or moderate the relationship of COVID-19’s influence on mental health, as well as studies of the mechanisms by which COVID-19 infection or associated impacts contribute to new onset mental health challenges or exacerbate pre-existing conditions. Treatment studies that link directly to COVID-19 are also welcome. The Journal is interested in empirical work or reviews focused on populations across the lifespan, as well as directly relevant animal work.


We invite submission for March 1, 2021, with a goal of publishing the special issue in August 2021. All submissions will be peer reviewed. Authors should indicate that the submission is intended for the special issue. For questions, contact the editorial office at


Program for Researchers Affected by Pandemic


COVID-19 Voucher Program

The College of Medicine, Hollings Cancer Center, and South Carolina Clinical & Translational Research Institute (SCTR) are pleased to offer a new funding opportunity open to all MUSC tenured and tenure track faculty members whose research has been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Funding of up to $2,000 is available to help investigators gather preliminary data for inclusion in a grant proposal by covering the cost of supplies and/or core and laboratory services; pay for publication costs; or develop a translational focus to their research. Vouchers cannot be used to fund computer purchases, PI or staff salary, or travel. These funds will be distributed through SCTR. A total of $200,000 is available to support these awards.


Who is eligible?

To be eligible to receive a voucher an individual must be a tenured or tenure-track faculty member and serve as PI on an active research grant. A faculty member can receive only one COVID voucher.



To apply for a voucher, select the COVID-19 Voucher Program in SPARCRequest. Awards will be made on a rolling basis until all funds are expended.

Individuals needing to contact the MUSC COVID Vaccine Call Center can utilize the information below:

The long-awaited COVID-19 vaccines have started arriving at  MUSC Health. The vaccine is not mandatory, but it is highly encouraged. The COVID-19 Vaccine Task Force will be posting updates on the COVID-19 Vaccine intranet site, including information about the vaccine safety and efficacy, so our care team members can make an informed decision.



The following resource provides MUSC Health lab and testing options pertaining to COVID-19. Included on this page is information regarding drive-thru and “pop-up” mobile COVID testing locations, antibody or serology tests, drive-in lab and nurse visits, and original/classic lab testing.


MUSC Health Lab & Testing Options



Due to the activity of COVID-19 within the hospital and community, all employees, residents, fellows and students within all MUSC entities are directed to begin daily self-monitoring for COVID-19 symptoms. This applies regardless of whether you have been working remotely on a full-time or intermittent basis. You need to continue daily self-monitoring, even if symptoms are not present.


As a reminder, the MUSC travel ban is still in effect. The policy on this ban can be found here. This ban is in effect until further notice and includes all MUSC-sponsored travel in all forms of transportation (planes, trains, automobiles, boats/ships, etc.). 

Given the COVID-19 pandemic and until further notice, all volunteers and observers are barred from participation in departmental and MH-ICCE based activities. If there are circumstances wherein this policy causes a significant and critical issue, it should be brought to my attention for consideration of a written waiver (on an individual basis) of this policy.


In addition to updates provided by MUSC Enterprise, the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences will also provide updates through our employee intranet, The Horseshoe. Updates will be provided regularly as new information becomes available. For your convenience, direct links are provided below.



Testing a Wearable Telemedicine-controllable

taVNS Device for NeuroCovid Recovery and Rehab


Researcher: Mark George, M.D.

PRO Number: pro00101270


The purpose of the research is to test out a new form of treatment where we stimulate a nerve in your ear. This is called transcutaneous (through the skin) auricular (ear) vagus nerve stimulation (taVNS) which means that you will receive stimulation through the ear. The taVNS device looks like an ear bud you would use with your smart phone or computer. We are investigating whether or not taVNS can treat neurologic symptoms of COVID-19 which are termed NEUROCOVID. Some symptoms you may experience are new onset anxiety, depression, vertigo, loss of smell, headaches, fatigue, irritability, etc. This study is entirely online and all assessments will be completed virtually.


Recruitment Contact

Sarah Huffman


Please see the calendar below for a list of diversity & inclusion offerings from the Office of Training and Intercultural Education.

If you would like to submit content to include in next week's Chair Update, please submit to Dr. Jamie Fisher by 12:00 pm on Monday. Thank you.
View this email in your browser
You are receiving this email because of your relationship with MUSC Psychiatry. Please reconfirm your interest in receiving emails from us. If you do not wish to receive any more emails, you can unsubscribe here.

MUSC Psychiatry | 67 President St., MSC 861, Charleston, SC 29425

Update Profile/Email Address | Forward Email | Report Abuse