MUSC Psychiatry Chair Update | July 22, 2021
July 22, 2021
MUSC Psychiatry Chair Update
Thomas W. Uhde, M.D.
Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences
Institute of Psychiatry

On July 20, 2021 the U.S. Senate passed H.R. 1652, the VOCA Fix to Sustain the Crime Victims Fund Act of 2021 (“VOCA Fix”), with an extraordinary vote of 100 to 0. The bill, which will secure billions in victim services funding and is one of the National Network to End Domestic Violence's (NNEDV) top legislative priorities, is now headed to President Biden for his signature.


VOCA is the largest source of federal funding for domestic and sexual assault services in the country and is not taxpayer funded. VOCA funds come from federal criminal fines and fees that are deposited in the Crime Victims Fund (CVF). NNEDV joins thousands of victim service providers across the country in celebrating this victory and commends the bipartisan leadership in both chambers for moving quickly to pass the VOCA Fix.


“The VOCA Fix, which will save and rebuild a vital federal funding source, will make a world of difference for more than 6,000 local domestic violence shelters, rape crisis centers, legal services programs, and child abuse treatment programs in every state and territory,” said Deborah J. Vagins, NNEDV President and CEO. “Millions of dollars that could have been used to help victims and their families were being deposited to the General Treasury rather than the Crime Victims Fund, putting the lifesaving services these organizations provide in jeopardy. Today’s action will stave off more drastic cuts by directing deposits to this fund and help local programs as they work to meet the growing demand for services.”


Additional resource:

National Crime Victims Research & Treatment Center


Dr. Sharlene Wedin and Dr. Rebecca Kilpatrick were both selected to serve on the Society of Behavioral Medicine’s Health Policy Council as Health Policy Ambassadors for the priority area of Pain Management and Opioid Misuse.


The ambassadorship is a 3-year term, 2021-2024. The purpose of the Health Policy Ambassadors is to help SBM—and our members’ evidence-based science—move from being a visitor in lawmakers’ offices to being an integral part of lawmakers’ decision-making through regular contact and relationship building.

Recent Publication:


"Effects of Gabapentin on Dorsal Anterior Cingulate Cortex GABA and Glutamate Levels and Their Associations With Abstinence in Alcohol Use Disorder:

A Randomized Clinical Trial," was recently published online in advance of print in the September issue of American Journal of Psychiatry


Authors of this study were: James J. Prisciandaro, Ph.D., Michaela Hoffman, Ph.D., Truman R. Brown, Ph.D., Konstantin Voronin, M.D., Sarah Book, M.D., Emily Bristol, B.A., & Raymond F. Anton, M.D.


Initial demonstration of gabapentin's efficacy in treating symptoms of Alcohol Use Disorder (AUD) began over 20 years ago, here at MUSC, by Dr. Raymond Anton and his team; this work has been continuously funded and developed to present day (Anton et al., 2020, JAMA Internal Medicine).
As a result of these efforts, gabapentin has become a critical tool in the medical clinician's toolbox for managing withdrawal symptoms and preventing relapse to alcohol abuse in individuals with AUD. The present study demonstrated for the first time the neurochemical mechanism of action of gabapentin for the treatment of AUD using proton magnetic resonance spectroscopy (i.e., an advanced MRI technique that allows for quantification of localized brain metabolite levels [e.g., GABA, glutamate] in living people). In addition to advancing insight into the mechanism of gabapentin's therapeutic action, the study provided evidence for a biomarker of efficacious treatment that may be used to evaluate other glutamatergic or GABAergic medications for AUD and related conditions.
MUSC Psychiatry - Doximity Residency Ratings 2021
We are ranked #6 in the south out of 88 programs and #37 nationally out of 288 programs!
Hello all,

To those of you who may not know me, I'm Dave Mills, and I'm the Program Director of our MUSC Pediatrics Residency Program. I wanted to take a moment to share some difficult news with all of you. Holly Burchett, one of our incredible 3rd year pediatrics residents, was recently diagnosed with cancer. She is actively undergoing treatment, and has handled this diagnosis as maturely as one possibly could. As you can imagine, this has been a very trying time for Holly (and her husband Hank, an MUSC Emergency Medicine resident) physically, emotionally, and financially.

There has been an overwhelming display of support from her residency classmates, faculty, and others within our department, with people asking how best they can help support Holly. As Holly and Hank are both residents (and former MUSC students), people outside of our pediatrics department have also reached out asking to help. As such, for anyone wanting to help, we feel that the best way to support Holly would be through a voluntary financial donation to help pay for her medical expenses. While there are many fundraising websites out there, they all take a percentage of the donation, and our goal is to have 100% of donations go directly to Holly and her family.

Along those lines, we've determined that a direct donation to my Venmo account (@David-Mills-16) would be the most appropriate mechanism to do this. If you'd like to send a personal message to Holly as part of your donation, please include it with the Venmo transaction (in the "What's it for?" box). If you'd like the amount of the donation to be anonymous, I will make sure that happens. And if you want your donation to be private on Venmo (so only I will see it...your Venmo friends and the public will not), the setting in the bottom right of the payment page allows you to change it to private. I will then ensure that 100% of the donations go directly to Holly as a lump sum (so she doesn't frequently get notified of every donation during this difficult time).

Holly and Hank have given me permission to share this news with all of you, and they appreciate everyone's love and support. It's important that we all respect her and her family's privacy during this difficult time, so please be mindful of that.

Again, if interested in supporting Holly, please click on the link below, click "continue" and then input your NetID and password. If you think anyone else would be interested in donating, please feel free to send this link to them. If you don't have Venmo or want to use another source to donate to Holly, please let me know and we'll work it out.

Thanks for helping to support an amazing person and members of our MUSC family. Our thoughts and prayers are with Holly, Hank, and their families.

Clinical Areas Masking Policy Update
Revised 7-12-21

MUSC Health updated the policy on masking in clinical areas. Based on CDC and OSHA guidelines, the MUSC Health mask policy effective July 12 is as follows:


For those who are COVID-19 immune (either fully vaccinated and/or documented personal history of COVID-19 infection):

  • Non-clinical settings: Masks are optional (based on CDC).
  • Clinical settings: Masks are required (based on OSHA). Clinical settings refer to areas/interactions within 6 feet of patient contact.

For those who are COVID-19 non-immune (neither fully vaccinated nor documented personal history of COVID-19 infection): 

  • All settings (non-clinical and clinical): Masks are required (based on CDC).


Masks still required on buses

Masks are still required on MUSC shuttle buses regardless of immunity status. This is a requirement by federal mandate and unaffected by any changes to hospital mask requirements. 




CDC masks

CDC vaccinated


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.


A primary goal of the College of Medicine is to support and strengthen research capabilities of its’ faculty. One mechanism utilized to facilitate this goal is the College of Medicine’s Bridge Funding program. The purpose of this program is to support investigators with established clinical or basic research programs during periods when a competitive renewal was not funded and help them reopen funding.


Program details and the application are posted on the College of Medicine’s website under Research.


Applications are accepted three times per year and the deadline for the current cycle is August 16, 2021. Please email your application to Mary McConnell.


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.

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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