The Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC) Foundation has received four grants totaling $4.59 million from The Duke Endowment. It is the largest amount the Endowment has awarded MUSC in a grant cycle. Since 1994, the Endowment has invested nearly $40 million in MUSC’s lifesaving mission.
“We are grateful to The Duke Endowment for its major investment in our mission and their ongoing partnership to help us lead health innovation for the lives we touch,” said David J. Cole, M.D., FACS, MUSC president. “These grants will make a significant difference as we seek to improve the well-being of children and their families, expand access to care and bolster mental health support.”
The grants will launch four initiatives, each with long-term sustainability plans that advance MUSC’s vision to lead health innovation for the lives we touch.
“The Duke Endowment is proud to partner with MUSC in developing and providing these innovative models of care,” said Lin Hollowell, director of the Endowment’s Health Care program area. “Our founder wanted his philanthropy to increase access to health care and improve well-being for all Carolinians, and that still drives our work today.”
- Virtual home visits for newborns and their families
Grant amount: $1,850,000
South Carolina’s infant mortality rate consistently ranks among the highest in the nation. Low birth weight, sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) and accidents are among the leading causes of death for babies in South Carolina.
With an Endowment grant of $1,850,000, MUSC will start a virtual home visit program that gives families the healthiest start possible. Before they leave the hospital, families will be asked if they’d like a registered nurse to follow up with them at home.
During a virtual home visit, the nurse will check on the health and safety of the whole family, also screening for signs of depression and domestic violence. If needed, the nurse will connect families with additional resources and support available through the nonprofit SC Thrive.
- Transform health care in rural Pee Dee region
Grant amount: $1,325,000
A $1,325,000 grant from The Duke Endowment will help MUSC to transform health care in South Carolina’s rural Pee Dee region.
With this grant, MUSC will develop an innovative care model for its new hospital under construction in northern Williamsburg County.
This innovative care model will address one of the biggest issues facing Williamsburg County: a lack of diverse health care providers. MUSC will create a pipeline program to recruit diverse Doctor of Nursing Practice and Master of Science in Physician Assistant Studies students from rural and low-income communities. Students who commit to working at the new hospital for at least two years after graduation will receive a scholarship to MUSC.
The hospital will also be fully integrated with the MUSC Health system, with shared medical records and robust telemedicine capabilities that will provide patients with access to services and specialists throughout the entire statewide system.
- Support mental health of pregnant women and new mothers
Grant amount: $895,229
An estimated one in seven pregnant women and new mothers become clinically depressed during pregnancy or in the year after birth. Most obstetricians and gynecologists do not have the training or resources to help these women. As a result, few are diagnosed or treated.
A $895,229 grant from The Duke Endowment will support a new MUSC program that provides pregnant women and new moms with immediate access to mental health care. The program will connect women to a care coordinator who can assess their risk and, if needed, get them access to a psychiatrist within 30 minutes of the call.
The program also includes real-time psychiatric consultations and training for providers who serve pregnant and postpartum women.
- Mental health support for sickle cell disease patients
Grant amount: $525,229
Sickle cell disease is a hereditary blood disorder that predominately affects the Black community. In South Carolina, as many as 4,500 people are living with the disease.
Sickle cell disease can cause extreme pain and other serious health issues that lead to frequent hospital stays. Symptoms of depression and anxiety are also common in these patients. Some patients also develop substance abuse issues, trying to manage the pain.
Currently, MUSC’s adult and pediatric sickle cell disease clinics are focused on pain management. With an Endowment grant of $525,229, MUSC will be able to dedicate a clinical psychologist and licensed professional counselor to embed mental health services in these clinics.