MUSC Psychiatry Chair Update | July 15, 2021
July 15, 2021
MUSC Psychiatry Chair Update
Thomas W. Uhde, M.D.
Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences
Institute of Psychiatry
Compassion Over Conflict Helps
Public Safety Officers Save Lives, Help People

Lt. Patrick Kelly, a former Bronx policeman now serving in what’s normally a much less stressful role as a public safety officer at the Medical University of South Carolina, got the call at home as he was settling in for the evening. 


“Chief Kerley said he was notified of a man that was barricaded on the roof of one of the garages threatening to kill himself. So I headed in. The chief called again and said, ‘He’s barricaded with a gun, and he’s set a deadline of midnight.’”


The man, Kelly learned, was terrified that a loved one in the hospital who needed an organ transplant wouldn’t get it in time and die. So the man decided to donate the organ himself – by taking his own life or getting police to shoot him.


The man was yelling about his loved one, Kelly said. “I tried to engage him in conversation, calm him down a little bit. And I got the story that he’d been researching what might happen to his family member if they didn’t get a transplant immediately, and what he saw online made him panic. He was afraid they would die without his help.”


“He said, ‘I can’t watch my loved one die.’ I said, ‘I understand that. I lost my wife to cancer. I lost a son.’ As I was saying it to him, I choked up, and then he started crying. I think that connection helped him – that somebody understood what his pain was.”


The man finally gave up his gun, and Kelly walked with him to the hospital to get mental health help. And the man’s family member did get an organ transplant – from someone else.


It was a relief and another success for a public safety team that made a choice a couple of years ago to shift its focus, said Chief Kevin Kerley. “We do fight crime, and we will put people in jail, and we do the regular police work. But we took a look at what we were doing and realized that we’re here to help people.”


MUSC, an academic medical center, has a lot of public spaces. Anyone can walk around the campus. It also has a lot of visitors who have friends or family in the hospital.


A few face mental health crises, like the distraught man in the parking garage. There are also homeless people and people with chronic psychological problems who need to be supported, not arrested, Kerley said.


Kelly is in charge of getting himself and his fellow officers the training they need to help them. So he’s brought in experts such as Shayna Epstein, a clinical operations manager at MUSC who specializes in helping people facing mental health crises. She held three training sessions to make sure she reached every officer.


“We discussed various mental health diagnoses and strategies that work to de-escalate and strategies to avoid. Law enforcement does not have required training specifically in mental health de-escalation, but it’s a skill that is utilized often in their career field,” Epstein said.


She also enrolled officers in Crisis Intervention Training, a week-long program put on by the National Institute of Mental Health specifically for law enforcement and security to learn about mental health and mental health treatment.


Normally, the officers use their training outside of the spotlight. But Kelly’s work in helping the man in the parking garage caught the attention of his colleagues, earning him the Life-Saving Award.

Congratulations to Eva Serber, Ph.D. who will be serving as a Clinical Representative for the College of Medicine's Faculty Council. This is an important group representing our faculty members and Dr. Serber's time and efforts are greatly appreciated!
Donte Bernard, Ph.D. was recently awarded an Early Career Scholars Grant from the Society of Research on Child Development that will investigate the mental health impact of adverse police interactions among Black youth.
Dr. Bernard is an Assistant Professor in the National Crime Victims Research & Treatment Center. His federally funded program of research seeks to elucidate culturally relevant risk and resilience factors that inform the association between racism-related stress and mental health outcomes among Black adolescents and emerging adults. Congratulations, Dr. Bernard!
In a recent episode of the Cancer Chat podcast, Wendy Balliet, Ph.D. speaks with Dawn Brazell, Director of Strategic Communications at Hollings Cancer Center, and cancer survivor, Liza Patterson, about mental health as it relates to various aspects of being diagnosed with cancer, but with a focus on survivorship.
The episode, I Will Survive, is part of the Hollings Cancer Center Cancer Chat podcast that launched in April 2021. 

Dr. Pat Cawley, CEO, MUSC Health, and Vice President for Health Affairs, University, announced last week that MUSC Health is now operating under  Normal Status across all divisions. In this announcement, he shared updated mask guidelines to be followed in all clinical areas:


Masks are strongly recommended but not required for the following groups in our hospitals and clinic spaces:

  • Fully vaccinated care team members, patients and visitors
  • Unvaccinated or partially vaccinated care team members, patients and visitors with a history of prior COVID-19 infection

Masks are still required for the following groups in our hospitals and clinic spaces:

  • Unvaccinated or partially vaccinated care team members, patients and visitors without a history of prior COVID-19 infection

It is strongly recommended that all care team members continue to wear masks in areas where patient care is actively being provided.


Note that depending on the status of the pandemic and the latest evidence of vaccine and natural immunities, these recommendations may change on short notice.


We are excited to announce the appointment of Dr. Karen Hartwell as Program Director of the Addiction Psychiatry Fellowship Program in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences. Dr. Tara Wright, our long-standing Director, has made the difficult decision to step down from the Director role, in light of expanded duties at the VAMC. Dr. Wright will continue teaching in the program and support Dr. Hartwell during the transition over the next year.



Dr. Hartwell joined the MUSC faculty after completing our Addiction Psychiatry Fellowship. This was an uncommon, mid-life career change, returning to academia after significant field experience in public psychiatry with a goal of improving treatment outcomes for patients with comorbid substance use and mental disorders. After a year as a NIDA T-32 fellow, Dr. Hartwell successfully competed for MUSC’s K12 Building Interdisciplinary Research Careers in Women’s Health (BIRCWH) career development award. She has been involved in clinical care in the Substance Treatment and Recovery Program (STAR) at the Ralph H. Johnson VAMC since her fellowship and served as Medical Director from 2014-2019.  


Dr. Hartwell was recruited over to the MUSC side two years ago by Dr. Kathleen Brady to work on several new initiatives addressing the opioid epidemic. In addition to her research scholarship, Dr. Hartwell has held significant educational roles in GME (graduate medical education) and CME (continuing medical education). Most recently, Dr. Hartwell has served as Director of Project ECHO* (Extension for Community Healthcare Outcomes) for Opioid Use Disorders and as Co-Director of Project ECHO for Peer Recovery Support Services. She has served as a prized clinical supervisor for psychiatry residents and addiction psychiatry fellows throughout her tenure at MUSC, winning several teaching awards. Sharing her research experience, Dr. Hartwell has been an enthusiastic mentor for our DART (Drug Abuse Research Training) program and voluntarily mentors independent resident research projects.  


*ECHO is a free educational telementoring model to increase access to evidence-based care. Links to our ECHO projects can be found at:


For anyone who is requesting promotion effective July 1, 2022, all promotion requests must be received in the Chair’s Office no later than August 12, 2021 in the form of complete packets accompanied by a letter of recommendation from your Division Director. Packets with checklists, requests for materials, and forms specific for regular and modified faculty have been developed to make the submission process more straightforward. Packets are available on the College of Medicine’s website. Follow this link:


Promotion to Associate Professor or Professor requires a minimum of four letters of recommendation, addressed to the Departmental Chair. Individuals selected to write the minimum four letters should be non-MUSC faculty in the candidate’s field at the academic rank of professor or its equivalent stature. At least two of these individuals should not be associated with the candidate by having been past mentors/teachers/students/trainees. We ask that you provide 4-6 names of individuals that we can contact to solicit letters of recommendation. 


The letter of recommendation from your Division Director must follow appendix 2 in the COM APT guidelines. Division Director letters should include the following paragraphs: introductory, education, research if applicable, scholarly publications, clinical practice if applicable, administration, and other activities and accomplishments.


If you have any questions, please contact Kristen Mulholland at

MUSC Executive Leadership has extended the Faculty Annual Leave cutback date to December 31, 2021. Based on the December 31 faculty cut back extension, all unused annual leave in excess of 360 hours, regardless of future leave approvals in the kronos system, will be cutback to 360 hours in January 2022.

We encourage you to review the annual leave balances for the faculty members in your areas and determine if you have individuals who stand to lose leave when the automatic reduction occurs, and if so, we ask that you share this information with them. We also ask that you update all leave records as necessary to ensure we have the correct leave balances on file before the automatic reduction occurs. Leave balances can be viewed directly using MyRecords, found on the Horseshoe under the Employee Corner,

Faculty members are eligible to donate annual leave to the catastrophic leave pool per the HRM Policy 48: Catastrophic Leave policy. Due to the extension, the Annual Leave Donation Form must be completed and sent to the HRM Leave Administrator ( or Fax 843-792-9533) by December 15, 2021.

If you have questions concerning annual leave cutbacks or accruals, please contact Monique Robinson at or 843-792-7225.

Supervisors are asked to distribute this information to the employees in the area in which they are responsible. Thank you.

MUSC Pre-Application Deadline: July 30, 2021

Fellowship Online Portal Open: Sep 01, 2021

Fellowship Nomination Deadline: Nov 30, 2021

Fellowship Application Deadline: Jan 10, 2022 (by invitation only)


The Klingenstein Third Generation Foundation awards research grants to post-doctoral investigators at esteemed American medical institutions. The Foundation makes up to five fellowship grants to medical institutions that have nominated research projects led by outstanding post-doctoral candidates. The Foundation considers proposals for research projects in the field of child and adolescent ADHD, child and adolescent depression and access to care.


Candidates must hold a Ph.D. and/or M.D. and have completed all clinical training. Candidates should be at the junior faculty level or on a trajectory for attaining faculty status.


Investigators who have K awards or have applied for K awards are eligible for nomination, as are investigators who have not applied for Ks and hope to use a KTGF fellowship as a stepping stone to a K award or other funding.


The Foundation accepts nominations only from the Chair of Departments of Psychiatry Each medical institution must select only one research project and investigator for nomination per fellowship.


Drs. Flanagan, Back, and Squeglia are pleased to announce that applications are currently being accepted for the inaugural cohort of the Enhancing Diversity in Alcohol Research (EDAR) training program! This two-year, fully virtual, NIAAA-sponsored training program is open to psychology doctoral trainees from underrepresented backgrounds (per NIH NOT-OD-20-031). No prior alcohol research experience is required! 

More details are available in our EDAR Program Brochure. Please also contact Dr. Julianne Flanagan (Director) or Ms. Jocelyn Rogers (Coordinator) with questions.


Applications are due July 31, 2021 and include a brief online survey, a 1-2 page statement of interest, and current CV: Click here to apply to EDAR 


***Attention Faculty: Please contact us if you are interested

in becoming a prospective EDAR mentor!***


Join the MUSC Psychiatry Team at the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention Out of the Darkness Charleston Area Walk! This year’s department goal is 25 participants and $5,000 (that’s $200 fundraising each!).


Date: 10/24/2021
Location: Riverfront Park 
Registration: 1:00 pm
Event Time: 2:00 pm - 3:00 pm


To register for fundraising and participation:

Questions? Email Meg Wallace at


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 Medical University of South Carolina's values are the heart of the institution and each day these values are exhibited by employees who help to fulfill MUSC's vision statement, leading Health Innovation for the Lives We Touch.
Each year, the President's Values in Action award recognizes five deserving employees who demonstrate MUSC's five values: compassion, respect, innovation, collaboration, and integrity.
Award Submission Process
  • Fill Out the Nomination Form
    • Nomination information must include:
      • Sponsor Name, Email, Department
      • Nominee Name, Email, Department
      • Value Demonstrated: Compassion / Respect / Innovation / Collaboration / Integrity
      • A letter of recommendation from the sponsor, addressed to President Cole, explaining why the nominee is worthy of the award.
  • The deadline for nominations is October 19, 2021.
  • Nominees will be notified upon receipt of nomination. Sponsors will be copied on this notification as well. All nominees receive a certificate of nomination; sponsors of the five individuals selected for awards will receive a separate notification and details about award presentations in early November 2021.
  • Winners will be chosen by President Cole based on the award criteria outlined below:
    • Nominations are submitted to recognize an individual who has demonstrated one of the five institutional values within the course of the current calendar year between February and September 2021. Only five winners will be chosen during this time; one winner per MUSC value.
    • Nominees can be submitted from any department across the MUSC enterprise, including the MUSC Regional Health Network.
    • Nominations for individuals will be accepted. Self-nominations and team nominations will not be accepted.
    • Diversity, equity and inclusion is a priority for the criteria of the Values in Action award, as the aim is to offer an award and recognition opportunity to all department and team members. This will provide an inclusive opportunity to recognize values that are demonstrated from a variety of backgrounds and skill sets.



For specific questions regarding the Values in Action award, please contact Heather Woolwine.


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.





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.


**Updated University Directives can be found here.** 



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.




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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