MUSC Psychiatry Chair Update | August 19, 2021
August 19, 2021
MUSC Psychiatry Chair Update
Thomas W. Uhde, M.D.
Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences
Institute of Psychiatry
New Study Expands Lifesaving Smoking Cessation
Efforts to Rural, Underserved Communities

MUSC Hollings Cancer Center researchers hope to save lives by expanding the Tobacco Treatment Program, first implemented at MUSC Health in 2014, to rural and underserved communities to improve overall patient health, save patients money and reduce the number of premature deaths.


Cigarette smoking causes about 18% of all deaths in the U.S. and is responsible for 33% of cancer deaths, according to a U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Report of the Surgeon General. Given the success of the Tobacco Treatment Program at MUSC Health, two Hollings researchers will be studying the impact of replicating it at the MUSC Institute of Psychiatry and MUSC Health’s regional hospitals in Florence, Marion, Lancaster and Chester.


The study, led by Michael Cummings, Ph.D., and Benjamin Toll, Ph.D., began enrolling patients in March. They will be using a randomized model in which 75% of patients will receive enhanced care consisting of in-person or telehealth consults while hospitalized, followed by post-discharge interactive voice calls made seven days after discharge to connect patients to the South Carolina Quitline. The basic care group, comprising 25% of the patients, will only receive the post-discharge call.


Since 2014, MUSC Health has used an opt-out model in its Tobacco Treatment Program in which hospitalized patients who smoke are identified and provided smoking cessation support and follow-up calls, if they agree. Since beginning the program, Cummings said that 85% of patients have accepted the service.


“I wasn’t surprised by this,” he said. “It is a teachable moment for patients who have a condition that has led them to be hospitalized. That makes a big difference in them accepting the service.” 


Toll said they have found that the enhanced care intervention improves smoking cessation efforts, and they will see the impact it has in the new study. The personal consult is an important part of the program.

Congratulations to Dr. Regan Stewart on the renewal of her Loan Repayment Program Award through the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities
Dr. Stewart also had two recent publications, one in collaboration with Dr. Rosaura Orengo-Aguayo and Dr. Michael de Arellano:
Ros-DeMarize, R., Chung, P., & Stewart, R.W. (2021). Pediatric behavioral telehealth in the age of COVID-19: Brief evidence review and practice considerations. Current Problems in Pediatric and Adolescent Health Care, 51(1). 
Stewart, R.W., Orengo-Aguayo, R., Villalobos, B.T., Nicasio, A.V., Dueweke, A., Alto, M., Cohen, J.A., Mannarino, A.P., & de Arellano, M.A. (2021). Implementation of an evidence-based psychotherapy for trauma-exposed children in a lower-middle income country: The use of Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy in El Salvador, Journal of Child & Adolescent Trauma, 14(3).
The Children's Day Treatment Program was recently featured in MUSC Health's Safely Speaking newsletter! Kudos to our CDT Program team and thanks for all that you do!

ICCE Report: Mental Health
One of MUSC’s most unique programs is the Children’s Day Treatment program in North Charleston. ‘CDT’ is open Monday thru Friday and works with children ages 6 to 17 struggling with behavioral problems. The multidisciplinary team provides a comprehensive treatment model in an outpatient setting to give children coping skills and therapeutic insight to live healthier and more productive lives. Components of the program include goal setting, individual therapy, family therapy, process groups, school assistance, behavioral guidance and medication management. The team is dedicated to providing a therapeutic environment that will foster healing. The treatment space even includes an outdoor recreation area with a full vegetable garden. A recent project included updating the fence in the outdoor space with a beautiful new mural that is not only nice to look at, but also provides therapeutic tools to enable the continuation of the treatment process during recreation time.
MUSC's strategic plan stands upon three pillars: Innovation, Impact, and Influence. During his recent presentation to the MUSC Board of Trustees, President David J. Cole, M.D., FACS recognized four faculty members from the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences for their contributions to meeting our strategic plan.
Dr. Mark George and Dr. Bashar Badran were recognized in the area of Innovation. BabySTRONG, a national feeding aid for premature and at-risk infants who present with feeding issues, received FDA Breakthrough Device Designation.
Dr. Kathleen Brady was recognized in the area of Influence for receiving the Julius Axelrod Mentorship Award from the American College of Neuropsychopharmacology for her outstanding contribution to neuropsychopharmacology by mentoring and developing young scientists into leaders in the field.
Dr. Dean Kilpatrick was also recognized in the area of Influence for receiving the "Visionary Voice" award from End Violence Against Women International.
Dr. Alyssa Rheingold was recently interviewed for an article in The State regarding stress among healthcare workers during the pandemic and how the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Science's COVID-19 Resiiency Clinic can help both groups and individuals. 
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: August 17, 2021


A recent ruling by the South Carolina Supreme Court confirmed that public institutions of higher learning are not prohibited from requiring all individuals to wear masks in campus facilities to protect against the spread of COVID-19.

As you know, masks have continued to be required in the hospital and in all MUSC Health facilities. With this recent ruling by the highest court in the state, the university is now able to be aligned with the mask requirements of MUSC Health and in agreement with recommendations from the CDC and DHEC.

For the safety of all of us at MUSC and for those we serve, we are implementing a mask mandate for all students, staff, faculty, and visitors on MUSC’s campus indoors in the presence of others (classrooms, conference rooms, other shared spaces) until further notice. This mandate is effective immediately.


A reminder that if you have any symptoms, even if mild, you must stay away from work/school and get tested for COVID. Common symptoms of the Delta variant are sore throat and runny nose, so don’t mistake this for the flu or a cold. You must get tested.


Please continue to be safe and stay apprised of the MUSC University Directives.


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

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.
The Master of Public Health (MPH) students and Department of Public Health Sciences are collecting donations of feminine hygiene products for The Homeless Period Project, a non-profit in our area that provides feminine products to women and girls in need. Donations are being collected through Friday, Aug. 20. Items can be dropped off in the DPHS office, 135 Cannon Street, Suite 302J, or purchased directly from their Amazon Wish List and shipped to the office.

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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