University of South Carolina

University is committed to health research and education

Carolina's seven major academic initiatives will be celebrated during the week of each home football game this season. The third -- in the week leading up to the Carolina vs. S.C. State game Oct. 3 -- is the University's contributions to the health sciences.

"The greatest wealth is health."

The words of the Roman poet Virgil are as relevant in the 21st century as they were some 2,000 years ago. Today, ensuring the "wealth" of children and adults in the Palmetto State and beyond is a commitment that the University of South Carolina's health-sciences colleges take to heart.

Committed to educating future leaders in medicine, nursing, pharmacy, public health, and social work, faculty also are seeking answers to many of the most serious healthcare problems of our day, including obesity, cancer, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease.

The Arnold School of Public Health welcomes veteran researcher and professor Dr. Thomas Chandler as dean. Chandler, who joined the University's faculty in 1988 as a scientist at the Baruch Institute for Marine and Coastal Sciences, leads South Carolina's only school of public health. Established in 1975, the Arnold school has achieved national and international prominence for its research on the link between physical activity and health—a fact underscored by a No. 1 ranking for its exercise science Ph.D. program—and recognition in prestigious journals. These efforts, coupled with research on environmental health, HIV/AIDS, cancer, health disparities, communication disorders, stroke, nutrition, and rural health, led to more than $27 million in grants for fiscal year 2009.

With nearly 7,200 alumni and more than 1,400 undergraduate and graduate students, the Arnold school is fulfilling its commitment to educate public health professionals who will address the health and environmental issues impacting the state and nation.

The School of Medicine also has a new dean. Dr. Richard Hoppmann, who joined the faculty in 1990 as director of the Division of Allergy, Immunology, and Rheumatology, leads a school that is recognized as a national leader in the number of graduates who practice primary-care medicine. The School of Medicine's 1,472 practicing alumni are working in 36 of the state's 46 counties, and many of them are in small towns and rural areas, where they are needed most.

Patient care today and in the future is being shaped by a partnership between the School of Medicine and GE Healthcare to develop lightweight, portable ultrasound equipment that is easy to use by doctors and other healthcare professionals, particularly those in rural areas and foreign countries where medical diagnosis is made difficult by limited access to healthcare facilities. For the nation's aging Baby Boomers, SmartHOME® technology, which is being developed by School of Medicine researchers, will help senior citizens live independently longer. The SmartHOME® initiative falls under SeniorSMART®, a S.C. Center of Economic Excellence.

High-tech "patients" in the Clinical Simulation Lab (CSL) of the College of Nursing are helping nursing students develop patient-care skills before they begin their clinical training. The CSL manikins can be programmed to have myriad health problems, and student interaction with these lifelike "patients" helps students develop critical-thinking skills and hone their abilities to handle routine procedures such as giving shots, problem identification and intervention, and taking blood pressure.

The college's Center for Nursing Leadership provides programs for nurse leaders and addresses issues affecting nursing recruitment and retention. The college has more than 6,000 alumni, and enrollment in fall 2009 is 1,012 undergraduates and 171 graduate students. The college's goal is "Every Nurse a Leader."

In 2004, the South Carolina College of Pharmacy (SCCP) was created by joining the pharmacy programs at Carolina and the Medical University of South Carolina. The SCCP offers a statewide approach to pharmacy education by offering PharmD students the opportunity to pursue degrees on the Columbia or Charleston campus. Pharmacy education also is being expanded to the Upstate. The Columbia campus has more than 400 students in its pre-pharmacy program (years one and two), and about 440 students in the professional program comprising years three through six of pharmacy education. Of Carolina's more than 2,900 practicing alumni, 66 percent work in community pharmacies and 25 percent are employed in hospitals and other healthcare facilities.

Beyond the classroom, the SCCP in Columbia extends to virtually every corner of the state through the Palmetto Poison Center, which answers 36,000 calls on accidental poisonings from the public, doctors, and other healthcare professionals. SCCP research funding is about $5 million annually, which places the college in the nation's top 20 colleges of pharmacy.

Ranked among the top 20 percent of graduate schools in public universities by U.S. News and World Report, the College of Social Work is known for its national and international leadership in social work education. The college's Master of Social Work program is fully accredited, and it consistently ranks among the top graduate programs in the South. The college's MSW graduates are readily employed in social work practice and administration throughout the world. Many have become top leaders in the profession. The college's research-oriented Ph.D. program prepares doctoral students for successful careers in higher education, research, and scholarship.

The college began accepting students into a new undergraduate program during the 2009–2010 academic year.

The college also offers a variety of international experiences for students, practitioners, and research chiefly in Asia, Africa, and Latin America.


Posted: 09/28/09 @ 12:00 AM | Updated: 08/09/11 @ 9:12 AM | Permalink