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Institutions' Histories
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Institutional Histories

Medical University of South Carolina, Charleston, SC

MUSC is the oldest medical school in the southern United States.  Founded in 1824, the institution now comprises a tertiary/quaternary care referral center and teaching hospital and six colleges: Medicine, Pharmacy, Nursing, Graduate Studies, Health Professions, and Dental Medicine.  MUSC is fully accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) to award bachelor’s, master’s, doctoral and professional degrees, with further accreditation by the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations (JCAHO) and numerous national, professional and specialized accrediting bodies.  The university offers a broad range of programs in the biomedical and health sciences, awarding approximately 700 degrees each year.  The teaching staff on campus consists of 985 full-time and 296 part-time faculty members. About 2,400 students are enrolled at the university at any given time.  In addition, the university coordinates the training of more than 500 medical and surgical residents, 23 dental residents, and 23 pharmacy residents. 

MUSC encourages research by providing facilities, funds and administrative support. In FY2008 MUSC faculty received 1,097 extramural awards totaling $202.4 million. Federal funding constitutes about 80% of extramural support, with the National Institutes of Health (NIH) as the primary funding agency (~$101.1 million in total awards received in FY2008, an 8.28% increase of FY2007).  The most recent NIH data (FY2005) shows that MUSC’s College of Medicine ranks 52nd, with 7 departments in the top 25 nationally: Biostatistics, Bioinformatics & Epidemiology, 5th (2nd in South); Neurosciences, 9th (1st in South), Otolaryngology 10th (1st in South), Veterinary Sciences 12th (3rd in South),Psychiatry 20th (3rd in South), Biochemistry & Mol. Biology 22nd (7th in South), Family Medicine 24th (5th in South).  An analysis by The Chronicle of Higher Education (Feb. 6, 2004) ranked MUSC 10th among all institutions receiving NIH support in terms of rate of increase in NIH awards from 1998 to 2002. MUSC is the only institution in South Carolina listed by the National Science Foundation in the top 100 universities and colleges in the nation in terms of federal research and development expenditures. 

MUSC emphasizes research career development at all levels, from pre-baccalaureate to junior faculty. The institution ranks in the top quartile of domestic educational institutions in terms of number of NIH grants for research training. To support undergraduate students who come from other institutions for research training on the MUSC campus, MUSC has obtained competitive grants from several NIH institutes and centers (e.g., NIGMS, NHLBI, NCMHD) and other federal sponsors (e.g., NSF and NASA. Additional NIH grants from NIDDK, NHLBI and NIDCR support summer research opportunities for medical, dental, and other health professional students at MUSC. An NIH Roadmap Research Grant (T32 HD052274) offers health professional students the opportunity to pursue an MS or PhD degree in Clinical and Translational Research. Numerous other NIH institutional training awards (T32s) annually support approximately 40 predoctoral and 40 postdoctoral training slots in areas such as addictions and substance abuse, bioinformatics, biostatistics, cancer, cardiovascular disease, environmental stress signaling, health services research, kidney disease, inflammatory and fibrosing diseases, substance abuse, and aging. Support for graduate (PhD) students includes NIGMS awards for diversity (R25 GM072643) and dual degree (MD/PhD) pathways (T32 GM008716), an NIDCR grant for comprehensive research training in oral and craniofacial health (T32 DE017551), and two U.S. Department of Education Graduate Assistantship in Areas of National Need (GAANN) programs. MUSC offers clinically trained postgraduates a Master of Science in Clinical Research (initiated with a K30 Curriculum Award). FY2007 enrollment includes 171 PhD students, 50 MD/PhD students, 6 DMD/PhD students, 1 PharmD/PhD student, 26 Nursing PhD students, 16 MS students, and 36 junior faculty and advanced trainees in the Master of Science in Clinical Research (MSCR) curriculum. More than 225 postdoctoral research fellows are working in laboratories within basic science and clinical departments. These research trainees are supported by research grants and competitive fellowships (e.g., F and K awards from NIH) as well as the institutional training grants mentioned above. In addition, at least 9 NIH center grants at MUSC (P awards) include support for postdoctoral and/or junior faculty research training and career development components.

Claflin University, Orangeburg, SC

Founded in 1869 in Orangeburg, South Carolina (SC), Claflin University is the oldest Historically Black College or University (HBCU) in the state. Claflin is located 77 miles from MUSC.  During the 2005-2006 academic year, 1,728 students matriculated at Claflin University, pursuing Bachelor of Arts (BA) and Bachelor of Science (BS) degrees in 33 majors.  The University is a nationally-recognized, premier liberal arts institution. The 2006 edition of U.S. News & World Report’s Guidebook to America’s Best Colleges and Universities rated Claflin University Number One Best Value for the third consecutive year.  Claflin was also rated in the Top Tier for the eighth consecutive year (1999-2006) and in the Top Ten for the fifth consecutive year (2002-2006) among comprehensive colleges in the South for students working toward bachelor’s degrees.

In November of 2005, Claflin University was one among seven colleges and universities in South Carolina to share the IDeA Network of Biomedical Research Excellence (INBRE) grant from the National Institutes of Health, which is awarded to strengthen biomedical research in the state of South Carolina and expand educational opportunities for undergraduates.  Through this collaborative program, Claflin is strengthening its research efforts in three key areas:  human papillomavirus research, colon cancer research, and prostate cancer research.  The aims of the grant are to (1) build and strengthen biomedical research expertise for key faculty; (2) develop facilities and resources to support biomedical research and education; (3) provide research opportunities for undergraduate students, develope a pipeline for them to continue health-related research in South Carolina’s graduate programs; and (4) enhance the biomedical research expertise of the state’s workforce.  Collaborating participants include:  the University of South Carolina, lead institution; Medical University of South Carolina; Clemson University; Claflin University; College of Charleston; Furman University; and Winthrop University. 

To meet the demands of the biotechnology industry in South Carolina, Claflin University, Orangeburg-Calhoun Technical College (OC Tech) and members of the Orangeburg-Calhoun Area Biotechnology Consortium have formed an alliance to implement a program to train students in the cutting edge biotechnology field.  This is a two-year project, funded in part by the U.S. Department of Labor, the South Carolina Employment and Training Administration, Claflin University, and OC Tech.  Industry partners for this initiative include the Regional Medical Center of Orangeburg and Calhoun Counties, Zeus Corporation, SuperSod and the Albemarle Corporation. 

Enrollment trends at Claflin and within the School of Natural Sciences and Mathematics (SNSM) have been on the rise since 1998, when, under new leadership, the SNSM totally revamped and strengthened its curricula.  The SNSM is comprised of three departments (Biology, Chemistry and Mathematics & Computer Science) and offers the bachelor of science degree in 12 majors.  In 2000, the School established the South Carolina Center for Biotechnology and developed two new undergraduate majors, the B.S. in Biotechnology and an interdisciplinary B.S. in Bioinformatics.  The Bioinformatics major is the first of its kind at an HBCU in the entire nation and the SNSM seated the first students in a Master of Science degree in Biotechnology in the Fall semester of 2005.

Two of the University’s professors were named South Carolina Governor’s Professor of the Year (1996 & 2005).  The Initiatives on Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) awarded the National Millennium Award for Excellence in Teaching to two of Claflin’s professors (2002 & 2004).  In addition, Dr. Omar Bagasra, Director of the SC Center for Biotechnology, and Dr. Rebecca Bullard-Dillard, Chair of the Department of Biology, share the SC Governor’s Professor of the Year in Scientific Research Award (2006).

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