MUSC Psychiatry Chair Update | July 29, 2021
July 29, 2021
MUSC Psychiatry Chair Update
Thomas W. Uhde, M.D.
Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences
Institute of Psychiatry
Artificial Intelligence Algorithm to Detect Suicide Risk Takes Next Steps Toward Clinic with Funding From NIH

Jihad Obeid, M.D., co-director of the  Biomedical Informatics Center at the Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC), has been awarded more than a half million dollars by the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) to refine an artificial intelligence (AI) algorithm that analyzes text in the electronic medical record to identify patients at risk of suicide.


Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the U.S., according to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, and claims an average of 47,000 lives each year. This is a problem that has been worsened by the COVID-19 pandemic. Effective treatments are available for those at risk, but clinicians do not have a reliable way of predicting which patients are likely to make a suicide attempt.


Most current models for predicting suicide risk are based on tabulated or coded data in the electronic health record (EHR). However, 80% to 90% of the information in the EHR is found in the clinical notes. Until recently, it has been difficult to analyze those notes using computers.


Neural networks are a type of artificial intelligence known as deep learning. They have come into their own with the simultaneous advent of huge datasets, such as those available via the EHR, and greatly enhanced computing capacity. Neural networks can now progressively use layers of artificial networks to extract nuanced information from raw input data.


In a 2020 article in the Journal of Medical Internet Research (JMIR) Medical Informatics, Obeid and his collaborators at the University of South Florida (USF) showed that these models, once trained, could identify patients at risk of intentional self-harm.


“If deep learning models can be used to predict which patients are at risk for suicide based on clinical notes, then clinicians can refer high-risk patients early for appropriate treatment,” said Obeid.


In the article, Obeid and his collaborators describe the performance of an algorithm after it was trained on clinical notes taken during visits at MUSC, in which patients had been assigned an International Classification of Diseases (ICD) code relevant to intentional self-harm. To do so, they relied on MUSC’s research data warehouse, which was created with support from the South Carolina Clinical & Translational Research Institute and provides MUSC researchers access to patient electronic health record data, once they have obtained appropriate permissions.


The question being asked was whether these trained models could “read” clinical notes on their own. Once trained, the models were indeed able to identify those charts automatically with an accuracy of around 98.5%.

Do you know an employee who has gone the extra mile recently? Nominate them for the Department of Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences' MVP Award! This award will be given quarterly to an employee nominated by their peers for going above and beyond in the workplace. For more information or to nominate an employee, please visit our Employee Recognition Page on the Horseshoe.
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.


Mental Health Disparities & Diversity


**NEW** Bilingual (Spanish/English) Clinician/Coordinator (UNIV, Full-Time): The Telehealth Outreach Program (TOP) is seeking a Bilingual (Spanish/English) master's level provider. Position will assist with coordination for Spanish-speaking patients seen through the TOP program, as well as provide Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy via telehealth to patients seen through the TOP program. This is a remote position, so applicants are not required to live in the Charleston area. BILINGUAL IN SPANISH/ENGLISH REQUIRED. Experience with TF-CBT or telehealth preferred, but not required. 





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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