MUSC Psychiatry Chair Update | September 23, 2021
September 23, 2021
MUSC Psychiatry Chair Update
Thomas W. Uhde, M.D.
Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences
Institute of Psychiatry
New Study Examines Link Between
Alcohol Consumption and Cancer

Whether heavy alcohol consumption increases the risk of cancer is a growing concern for researchers and one that affects around 10% to 20% of Americans. According to a new population-based study published in The Lancet Oncology, researchers attributed over 700,000 new cases of cancer in 2020 to alcohol consumption. Researchers found that cancers of the esophagus, liver and breast contributed the most cases.


The results are of particular interest to MUSC Hollings Cancer Center researcher Matthew Carpenter, Ph.D., who co-leads Hollings’ Cancer Control Research Program.


“I think this an example of the importance of research on modifiable lifestyle behaviors that have known association with various cancers,” Carpenter said. “Just as with smoking cessation, diet and physical exercise and limiting sun exposure, it’s important to remember the burden of excessive alcohol use on cancer risk.”


Hollings is committed to educating the public about behavioral choices that could have negative impacts as part of the mission to reduce the burden of cancer in South Carolina. Ben Toll, Ph.D., director of MUSC’s Tobacco Treatment Program, said the link between smoking and alcohol consumption can’t be ignored.


“There is a big focus on reducing tobacco use in South Carolina, but I think it is better to quit both smoking and heavy alcohol consumption because the behaviors are linked,” Toll said. “It’s common for someone with a drinking problem to also smoke.”


Toll said there are a lot of misconceptions when it comes to alcohol use and the impact it could have on health. For one, there is no worldwide consensus on measurement of a standard drink. According to a National Cancer Institute article, some people measure a standard drink by how much they can fit in a single glass. However, the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism defines a standard drink as 12 ounces of regular beer, 5 ounces of wine and 1.5 ounces of distilled spirits.


“I think people are confused because it is a common perception that if you don’t drink heavily, it isn’t risky, but if you do drink heavily, it is risky,” Toll said. “The line is blurred. There should be more awareness of the impacts alcohol can have on your health.”


It’s a point that Raymond Anton, M.D., the Thurmond Wellness Endowed Chair and professor in MUSC’s Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, agrees with.


“There’s nothing that smoking does that is good for somebody’s health,” Anton said. “But with alcohol, there are social benefits, and studies that show that small amounts can have positive health effects.”


Anton is particularly interested in the role that alcohol can play on epigenetics, which refers to changes in the genetic structure that is caused by interaction with the environment and a person’s behaviors. Unlike genetics inherited from parents, Anton said epigenetics can change over the course of one’s life.


“If someone drinks frequently enough, cells in the body don’t have enough time to recover and more permanent damage can occur,” he said. “It really is a combination of how much and how frequently you are drinking.”


Carla Kmett Danielson,  Ph.D., Professor in the National Crime Victims Research & Treatment Center, will serve as the sole scientist representing South Carolina (along with three other advocates from other backgrounds/perspectives) on September 23 in the national Rally for Medical Research.


Dr. Danielson and the other three representatives will meet with the offices of Lindsey Graham, Tim Scott, James Clyburn, William Timmons, and Nancy Mace to advocate for the support of Congress for: a) base budget of 46.6 billion dollars (3.5 billion increase over FY 2021) in

fiscal year 22; b) the RISE Act that will support (at least) 10 million dollars in emergency supplemental funding for NIH to support medical research that has been stalled/lost due to the pandemic; and c) mental/behavioral health research and its crucial role in all forms of medical research.  
Dr. Danielson was also invited by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) to serve as a featured speaker at its national (virtual) meeting, Enhancing Prevention Research Related to Substance Use and Addiction: Identifying Research Gaps and Opportunities with ABCD Study, to be held on September 28.  
Emily Gottfried, Ph.D. was elected to serve on the Executive Board of the Association for the Treatment of Sexual Abusers (ATSA) as the Research Representative. She will serve a 3-year term that begins January 2022. Congratulations, Dr. Gottfried!
Congratulations to Drs. Danielle Lowe, Eric Dobson, Amanda Jewett, and Emily Whisler on their publication in the AJP Residents' "Green Journal!" Dr. Lowe completed her General Psychiatry training at MUSC, Drs. Dobson and Whisler are current fourth-year psychiatry residents, and at the time this article was accepted for publication, Dr. Jewett was a psychiatric pharmacy resident at MUSC. Their article can be accessed below.
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.

On July 29, 2021, FDA approved a modification to the Clozapine REMS. The modification to Clozapine REMS will go into effect on November 15, 2021. Important changes include:

  • All prescribers and pharmacies must be re-certified by November 15, 2021, or they will no longer be able to prescribe/dispense clozapine.
  • Prescribers must re-enroll their patients who will continue clozapine by November 15, 2021. Patients who are not re-enrolled by that day will no longer be able to receive clozapine. 
  • Re-certification and re-enrollment can begin on August 16, 2021.
  • Pharmacies will no longer be able to use the telecommunication verification (also known as the switch system) to verify safe use conditions. The authorization to dispense will be obtained either through the contact center or online via the REMS website.
  • A new Patient Status Form will document absolute neutrophil count (ANC) monitoring for all outpatients. This form must be submitted monthly. Patient monitoring must continue per the Prescribing Information.

To re-certify and re-enroll in the Clozapine REMS, please see the Important Program Update at More information about changes and Clozapine REMS requirements can be found here.


The Psychiatric Pharmacy group will be disseminating some additional information in the next few weeks you can or you can contact the group at if you have questions.


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.

A call for nominations is underway for the MUSC Advancement, Recruitment, and Retention of Women (ARROW) Award for Advancement of Women Faculty. The purpose of the award is to recognize the MUSC faculty member who best demonstrates excellence in his/her commitment to the advancement and promotion of women faculty at MUSC. 
The deadline for submissions is 5:00 pm, Friday, October 8, 2021. Note that nominations will require a mentoring table to be considered. Please contact the ARROW program coordinator, Rachel Simmons at if you have any questions.

Struggling with Depression?


We are currently seeking individuals between the ages of 21-70, diagnosed with Major Depressive Disorder (MDD) to participate in a research trial using repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS). Treatment and study related assessments will be provided at no charge.




Join the MUSC Psychiatry Team at the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention Out of the Darkness Charleston Area Walk!


So far, the team has 23 Team Members registered and

has raised $6,829.00 towards our team goal.



The MUSC Psychiatry Team is currently the

TOP fundraising team and has the top two

individual fundraisers for the event!



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


Updates related to COVID safety protocol: At this time, the event is still planning to be in-person; however, the planning committee is closely monitoring the trends and this may change to accommodate participant and staff safety. We are strongly encouraging masking during the event (and masks will be available at the site) and will follow city regulations on masking at the time of the event. We are also encouraging anyone who feels unwell to remain at home for the safety of others. AFSP National is working on a virtual ceremony option in November for those who are not comfortable attending in person or who are unwell on the date of the event. We will also be working on reduced contact with t-shirt pick up and have a shorter ceremony, as well as spacing out walking groups to reduce crowding. Team members are welcome to fundraise online, attend the event, or a combination of both - whatever feels most comfortable in these unusual times.


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 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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