MUSC Psychiatry Chair Update | April 1, 2021
April 01, 2021
MUSC Psychiatry Chair Update
Thomas W. Uhde, M.D.
Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences
Institute of Psychiatry
April Fools' Day Origins
April Fools’ Day—celebrated on April 1 each year—has been celebrated for several centuries by different cultures, though its exact origins remain a mystery. April Fools’ Day traditions include playing hoaxes or practical jokes on others, often yelling “April Fools!” at the end to clue in the subject of the April Fools’ Day prank.

Some historians speculate that April Fools’ Day dates back to 1582, when France switched from the Julian calendar to the Gregorian calendar, as called for by the Council of Trent in 1563. In the Julian Calendar, as in the Hindu calendar, the new year began with the spring equinox around April 1. 


People who were slow to get the news or failed to recognize that the start of the new year had moved to January 1 and continued to celebrate it during the last week of March through April 1 became the butt of jokes and hoaxes and were called “April fools.” These pranks included having paper fish placed on their backs and being referred to as “poisson d’avril” (April fish), said to symbolize a young, easily caught fish and a gullible person.


Historians have also linked April Fools’ Day to festivals such as Hilaria (Latin for  joyful), which was celebrated in ancient Rome at the end of March by followers of the cult of Cybele. It involved people dressing up in disguises and mocking fellow citizens and even magistrates and was said to be inspired by the Egyptian legend of Isis, Osiris and Seth.


There’s also speculation that April Fools’ Day was tied to the vernal equinox, or first day of spring in the Northern Hemisphere, when Mother Nature fooled people with changing, unpredictable weather.



South Carolina Musicians Discuss Mental Health a Year Into COVID-19

When Catherine Hunsinger played her cello and sang on stage at a block party in March 2020, she never imagined it would be her last show for the indefinite future. 


Yet, looking back, the Columbia musician who fronts the band Rex Darling said that festival was her “goodbye for now.” Almost exactly a year later, on March 19, she played her first show since the COVID-19 pandemic derailed the entertainment industry across South Carolina and the world. 


The concert industry alone lost $30 billion in 2020 with the pandemic’s lasting effects still unclear for the coming years. But financial loss was just one of the devastating repercussions faced by those who work in the world of music. 


The mental journey while traversing the path from a fulfilled creative lifestyle to a sudden concert void and loss of purpose has not been easy for many. 


Many artists feed off the energy of the collective struggle, Charleston singer-songwriter Jenna Faline said.


“I’m very influenced by societal energy, and it’s been overwhelming,” Faline said. 


Mental health struggles during this time are certainly not limited to creatives, but representative of the entire population. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, some 40 percent of U.S. residents have reported struggling with mental or behavioral health issues associated with the pandemic, including anxiety, depression, increased substance use and suicidal thoughts.
According to Charleston area psychiatrists, there have been increased emergency room visits regarding problems associated with decreased social interaction, from depression to aggression. 

“You do see people in creative industries struggle more with mental illness,” said Dr. Alvin Lee Lewis, a psychiatrist at MUSC who was a professional actor with Charleston Stage before he went to medical school. “However, it’s not the creativity that causes mental illness but the circumstances of work required to do those jobs.”


Music, by nature, is highly competitive, intensely personal and marked by an uncertain, gig-to-gig lifestyle that can create high levels of stress and anxiety, Lewis said. In addition, the job doesn’t typically pay well; most musicians have side food-and-beverage jobs and are ringing in salaries putting them below the poverty level.


Without the addition of the pandemic, it’s already a setup for mental health struggles, Lewis said. COVID-19 has simply piled on more financial and psychological burdens to a mentally trying career choice. 


“The introspection that people can get who are creative from having to spend time alone — learning things like meditation, positive thinking and mindfulness — can be positive,” Lewis, at MUSC, said. 

2020-2021 GRAND ROUNDS

The CPCS office is currently taking referrals for youth and adults for outpatient therapy and/or medication management. The CPCS office is located at 26 Bee Street and is seeing patients either virtually or in the office. All patients are self-pay at the time of the appointment and will be provided with the necessary paperwork to submit for reimbursement from their insurance companies. All department of psychiatry faculty members are eligible to see private patients in CPCS.


To make a referral or schedule an appointment, call 843-792-9396.


For more information about making a referral or joining the practice, feel free to contact Hilary Bernstein, LISW, DHA at


Check out our website:

Like our Facebook page: Comprehensive Psychiatric Care Specialists


The MUSC College of Medicine Faculty Affairs and Faculty Development Team invites you to join in an upcoming Faculty Development Roundtable. Programming includes a variety of topics for educators, researchers, and clinicians.  


April 1 @ 12:00-1:00 | I am not judgmental I just have excellent evaluation skills: Learn the new MedHub System for Evaluations! with Michelle Friesinger, MA, CHES, Assistant Dean of Assessment, Evaluation, and Quality Improvement; Research Instructor, Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences


Learning Objectives:

  • Identify the challenges and priorities of an evaluation system
  • Understand basic concepts in creating impactful evaluation questions
  • Reflect on the characteristics of the new evaluation management system

Click here to join the meeting

Or call in (audio only)

+1 843-410-6177,686073396#   United States, Charleston

Phone Conference ID: 686 073 396#

Find a local number | Reset PIN

CME Activity Code ID: 2356468

Purpose of the Chair’s Research Development Fund Pilot Grant Program
The Chair’s Research Development Fund (CRDF) supports several goals related to maintaining high-quality research training programs. Primary goals are:
  • Increase the number of extramurally-funded junior investigators
  • Encourage integration of trainees into research projects
  • Enhance mentor-mentee collaborations within and across department divisions
  • Increase minority representation among funded junior investigators
The Executive Committee for Research and Research Administration (ECRRA) oversees the submission and review process. The ECRRA will accept applications from junior faculty members (i.e. assistant professors or below in rank) seeking funding for pilot research grants to collect preliminary data designed to enhance the viability and success of independent funding in the future.

The CRDF will support a number of awards each year to be determined by available financial resources. Most awards will be in the $5,000 - 10,000 range.
The PI must:
  • have a primary faculty appointment in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at the rank of Assistant Professor or below OR

  • be a trainee within the Department ofPsychiatry and Behavioral Sciences with a commitment from Division/Program of faculty appointment

Application Submission Dates

There are two submission dates each year:
  • May 1 (with funding to begin on August 1) and
  • November 1 (funding to begin on February 1)
Applications must be submitted by 5:00 PM on those dates to be eligible for review.
For more information, please review the attached PDF. Applications can be submitted using the button below.
Please contact Amanda Wagner ( if you would like to schedule a 1:1/small group meeting with Dr. Weerts after her 11 am talk.

MUSC ARROW (Advancement, Recruitment, and Retention of Women) will host a workshop, “What Lies Beneath: Recognizing & Responding to Identity Harassment in Academic Medicine,” Friday, April 16, 1:00 - 2:00 p.m. In this seminar, presenters and participants will consider the common “myth-understandings” about gender/sexual identity harassment—what it is, what it is not—and harassment’s relationship with workplace incivility.


Topics covered will include contemporary research on identity harassment and incivility, examples of these phenomena in academic medical settings, and strategies (individual and institutional) for addressing these workplace challenges. Attendees will learn to recognize some common forms of gender/sexual harassment that “lie beneath” the surface in workplace settings and possible strategies for responding when they happen.

Presented by: Stephanie A. Goodwin, Ph.D., President of Incluxion Works; Research Faculty, Department of Psychology Wright State University; Visiting Associate Professor, Psychology, Stevens Institute of Technology, Former Program Director for NSF multi-institutional ADVANCE program


The 45-minute virtual presentation will be followed by a Q&A session.


Note: This event is presented as a “Zoom Meeting” and not a webinar. Attendees are encouraged to share their cameras during Q&A.


Open to all men & women, trainees, faculty & staff


Full attendance in this workshop counts for 1 hour towards the required 4 hrs. of Diversity & Inclusion training for ALL MUSC employees by June 30, 2021.


Contact Rachel Simmons at with any questions.


Applications for the ARROW 2021 John R. Raymond Mentoring Fellowship are currently being accepted. The Fellowship is intended to provide financial support for a full-time female faculty member to initiate a relationship with a mentor who is an expert in her chosen field. The female faculty’s field of interest may be in research, clinical practice, or education/teaching.  The fellowship is administered by MUSC ARROW with support from the Office of the Provost.


Information and the application can be found here and are also available on the ARROW Awards website. Please submit all application materials by 5:00 PM, April 23, 2021to


If you have questions, please contact Dr. Gayenell Magwood (, Chair of the Award Advisory Committee or Rachel Simmons (, ARROW Program Coordinator.


The fellowship recipient will be announced no later than May 28, 2021. If possible, a reception for the recipient will be scheduled during June 2021. Specific date, time and location to be determined.

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

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

A form is now available within MyQuest to request credit for D&I credit that has been received outside of those listed within MyQuest (e.g., D&I training received through a national conference). Please note, credit for outside D&I training is not guaranteed, and requests for credit will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis.


The webpage for Training and Intercultural Education is updated and link to the Internal DEI Program/Training Credit Consideration form can be found on the webpage for the lecture mentioned below.


Addiction Sciences Division


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 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”


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 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


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.
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