MUSC Psychiatry Chair Update | August 05, 2021
August 05, 2021
MUSC Psychiatry Chair Update
Thomas W. Uhde, M.D.
Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences
Institute of Psychiatry
Simone Biles Can Be Mental Health Role Model, Psychiatrist Says

While some critics have gone after Simone Biles for her decision to step back from competing in the Olympics, mental health experts are applauding her courage — and hoping her example will help regular people dealing with their own stress.


“I greatly respect what she did for herself, most important, but also for her teammates. There was a lot at stake. She could have pushed through, but she stepped aside and did the difficult thing. It took a lot of courage to know her limits,” said Chris Pelic, M.D. He’s a professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at the Medical University of South Carolina.


“If she continued to compete, it could have been to the detriment of her health. She also wanted to give her teammates the best chance to win, knowing she was not at her best.”


Along the way, Biles has given regular people a role model when it comes to mental health, Pelic said. “She's in a position where a lot of people know her and respect her. She can impact other people who might need help but aren’t in as visible a situation — maybe they’re struggling at work or in school and now are willing to seek care.”


“Each time someone succeeds at a high level, the expectations grow. Often elite athletes are seen as superhuman, almost like machines, whose sole purpose is to compete in sports,” Pelic said.


“Some people are already at a higher state of anxiety at baseline, and then they get put in a stressful situation, and it takes their anxiety to uncomfortable levels. Once your anxiety gets so high, performance drops off. It is almost like a computer that has too many windows open — it's on, and everything's spinning, and it looks like things are happening, but nothing productive is happening. They lock up or they leave the situation – or both,” Pelic said.

Dr. Lillian Christon's excellent MUSC Public Radio

interview on Helping Children Cope with Chronic Health Conditions will be broadcast statewide on some of SC Public Radio’s most popular shows.

The interview will be broadcast today at 4:44 pm during the All Things Considered show and is also available 24/7 as a podcast on the SC Public Radio website.
Additionally, Dr. Christon's recently published article, Consensus document for the selection of lung transplant candidates: An update from the International Society for Heart and Lung Transplantation, is now available in The Journal of Heart and Lung Transplantation. This is a top-tier medical journal in the field of transplant and brings international recognition to Dr. Christon's hard work as part of an international consensus conference. 
The Institute of Psychiatry was recently represented at the 2021 Lowcountry Mental Health Conference. This conference offers mental health professionals advanced and unique educational opportunities from some of the very best clinicians and thought leaders in the field today. Thank you to Shayna Epstein for her great work!
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.

Update: July 30, 2021


In light of the rising numbers of COVID infections due to the highly contagious Delta variant, to include breakthrough infections, we recommend and encourage wearing masks indoors for both vaccinated and unvaccinated individuals across the college. Of course, when you are in a private office or room with no other individuals a mask is not needed. We anticipate additional communication from University leadership this week, and will continue to provide updates going forward. Please continue to be safe and stay apprised of the MUSC University Directives.


Given the Centers for Disease Control’s latest recommendations on universal indoor masking in high risk areas, MUSC Health has updated its Mask Guidance to match these guidelines. MUSC Health care team members are once again required to wear masks in all indoor settings across facilities in both clinical and non-clinical spaces regardless of COVID-19 immunity status. University employees should also be mindful of this guidance when entering clinical buildings/settings.


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 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.

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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