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The mission of the University of South Carolina School of Medicine is to improve the health of the people of the state of South Carolina through the development and implementation of programs for medical education, research, and the delivery of health care. School of Medicine programs will be developed in collaboration with affiliated institutions, and allocation of resources will be based upon the physician manpower and health care needs of South Carolina, the effectiveness and efficiency of specific programs, and the accreditation requirements of all appropriate organizations.

Education. Medical education and graduate education at all levels are conducted in a highly personal atmosphere which emphasizes a balance among scientific disciplines, humanistic concerns, and societal needs.

Research. Research in the basic biomedical sciences, in the clinical sciences, and in the delivery of health care is pursued for excellence in medical education, for development and application of new knowledge, and for nurturance of intellectual curiosity among faculty and trainees.

Service. Faculty service is developed in order to maintain superior clinical skills, to enhance educational programs, to make comprehensive outpatient and inpatient care available to patients, to secure resources necessary to support education and research, and to provide consultation to physicians, other health care professionals, and affiliated health care agencies and institutions.


To improve health care for the citizens of South Carolina, planning for the establishment of the University of South Carolina School of Medicine was begun in the late 1960s. In 1973, the South Carolina Commission on Higher Education and the State Legislature authorized the University to apply for a grant from the Veterans Administration to assist in the development of the medical school; the grant was approved the following year.

Faculty recruitment and curriculum planning began in 1975, and in 1976 the School of Medicine received provisional accreditation from the Liaison Committee on Medical Education of the American Medical Association and the Association of American Medical Colleges. In February 1977, the school was granted approval for admission of the first class of 24 medical students in the fall of 1977.

The charter class graduated in May 1981, at which time the School of Medicine was fully accredited by the Liaison Committee on Medical Education. Medical student class size has tripled since the entrance of the first class, and approximately 300 medical students are enrolled in the four-year program.

The School of Medicine’s educational programs were further augmented by the establishment of the Ph.D. Program in Biomedical Sciences in 1981, the M.S. Program in Genetic Counseling in 1985, and the M.S. Program in Biomedical Sciences with Specialization in Nurse Anesthesia in 1994. The University’s M.S. Program in Rehabilitation Counseling was transferred to the School of Medicine in 1994. The M.S. Program in Biomedical Sciences was initiated in 1998. Residency programs in emergency medicine, family practice, internal medicine, obstetrics and gynecology, ophthalmology, orthopaedic surgery, pediatrics, psychiatry, and surgery are cosponsored with the Palmetto Health Alliance and the Dorn Veterans Affairs Medical Center. A residency program in preventive medicine and fellowships in medical and psychiatric specialties are offered by individual School of Medicine departments.

The School of Medicine’s basic science campus consists of fully renovated historic buildings and is located four miles from the Columbia campus of the University of South Carolina. The complex provides teaching and research facilities which are unexcelled nationally. Most clinical departments are located on the Richland Medical Park campus in central Columbia. Affiliated hospitals are the Dorn Veterans Affairs Medical Center; Palmetto Health Richland; the William S. Hall Psychiatric Institute; the Greenville Hospital System; the James F. Byrnes Center for Geriatric Medicine, Education, and Research; and the seven teaching hospitals affiliated with the South Carolina Area Health Education Consortium.

In 1991, the School of Medicine’s affiliation with the Greenville Hospital System was enhanced to provide the opportunity for completion of core third- and fourth-year clerkships and rotations at that facility for students interested in completing their medical educations in upstate South Carolina.

The University of South Carolina School of Medicine has become a national leader in primary care medical education. The School of Medicine also collaborates closely with state agencies involved in health service delivery, sponsors research focused primarily on South Carolina health care needs, and provides a wide range of clinical care services to South Carolinians.

The School of Medicine

The School of Medicine Campus

The Offices of the Dean, Admissions and Enrollment Services, Student Services, and Curricular Affairs and Faculty Support, as well as basic science departmental offices and laboratories, the Medical Library, and the Health Science Store are located on the School of Medicine campus adjacent to the Dorn V.A. Medical Center. Clinical department offices are located primarily on the Richland Medical Park campus. (click here for maps).

Library Facilities

The School of Medicine Library provides information resources to meet the needs of the School’s faculty, staff, and students, the larger USC community, and area health care professionals and consumers. The library is highly service oriented and, through automation, it offers rapid, individualized information retrieval and delivery. A complete range of services is available, including reference and computerized bibliographic search services, interlibrary loans, tours and orientations, and classes in information retrieval. Most services and many resources can be accessed remotely through the library’s Web page.

The collection currently consists of more than 92,000 volumes. The library subscribes to 900 periodicals and has access to 400 electronic journals and more than 100 electronic textbooks. By participation in regional and national networks, the library assures its patrons rapid access to major collections of books and journals from throughout the United States and the world. The online union catalog, a cooperative venture with the Medical University of South Carolina Library, displays the holdings of health science books, journals, and media in South Carolina. Through the school’s local area network, faculty and students have access to numerous databases, including the complete MEDLINE file, electronic mail, the Internet, and a variety of software programs. The library building also has receiving and transmitting capabilities in the state’s Health Communications Network and features a closed-circuit television system, accessible to the university campus and area hospitals. Students, faculty, and staff can utilize teleconferencing equipment in the library to link to many other sites around the state.

School of Medicine students and employees also have access to the Thomas Cooper Library of the University of South Carolina. Located on the University’s main campus, the Thomas Cooper Library subscribes to more than 18,000 periodicals and has a collection of nearly 3 million bound volumes and 4.5 million microforms. Detailed information about the Cooper Library’s science journal holdings is available through the Southeastern Medical Periodicals Union List (SEMPUL) created and maintained by the School of Medicine Library. USCAN, the online catalog for the Thomas Cooper Library, can be searched from terminals in the public services area of the School of Medicine Library.

To further explore the library’s resources, check the Web page at:


Affiliated Hospitals

Palmetto Health Richland is a public, not-for-profit regional community teaching hospital with 649 inpatient beds devoted to medical, surgical, pediatric, cardiac, psychiatric, and obstetric and gynecologic care. The hospital also supports the Level One trauma center for the region, a neonatal intensive care unit, and special care and newborn nursery units, as well as Palmetto Health’s South Carolina Cancer Center. Outpatient services total more than 284,000 visits annually. The Family Practice Center sees approximately 40,000 patients each year; approximately 72,000 patients are treated annually in the Emergency Department. Palmetto Health Richland’s affiliations with the Dorn Veterans Affairs Medical Center and the William S. Hall Psychiatric Institute support diversified residency training programs in dental education, emergency medicine, family practice, internal medicine, general surgery, obstetrics and gynecology, ophthalmology, orthopaedic surgery, pediatrics, and general psychiatry, child/adolescent psychiatry and fellowship programs in endocrinology, forensic psychiatry, geriatrics, hyperbaric medicine and sports medicine.

In February 1998, Richland Memorial Hospital and Baptist Healthcare System combined their resources and facilities in Columbia to create one integrated health care system, Palmetto Health, the largest health care system in South Carolina. Medical students benefit from the expanded educational opportunities resulting from the alliance.

The Dorn Veterans Affairs Medical Center is a 297-bed medical complex which includes a medical/surgical facility, a psychiatric unit, and a nursing home care facility. There is an ambulatory care program with clinics in medicine, ophthalmology, surgery, and other specialties. Annual ambulatory care visits total approximately 375,000. The Dorn V.A. Medical Center is one of the most active Department of Veterans Affairs medical centers in the South Carolina-Georgia region. Dorn Veterans Affairs Medical Center operates a satellite clinic in Greenville, South Carolina and community-based outpatient clinics in Florence, Rock Hill, Orangeburg, Sumter, and Anderson, South Carolina.

Various clinical facilities of the South Carolina Department of Mental Health provide clinical experiences for medical students. The William S. Hall Psychiatric Institute is licensed as a 270-bed child-adolescent and forensic psychiatry hospital. Medical students rotate on inpatient and outpatient clinical units in the area of child-adolescent psychiatry

Additionally, students rotate through other South Carolina Department of Mental Health facilities, including the G. Werber Bryan Psychiatric Hospital, a 266-bed facility that specializes in the treatment of adults with acute psychiatric illnesses, and the Columbia and Lexington Area Mental Health Centers, where thousands of outpatient visits annually enable students to gain exposure to the treatment of patients with a variety of psychiatric conditions on an emergent basis.

The Greenville Hospital System is a multihospital system located in Greenville, approximately 100 miles from Columbia. The 1,040-bed system provides 292,803 total patient care days. It includes acute-care and complex-care facilities, psychiatric and pediatric hospitals, as well as a physical rehabilitation hospital. Outpatient visits total approximately 749,849 annually; approximately 151,899 patients are treated annually in the Emergency Room. The Greenville Hospital System has residency training programs in family practice, internal medicine, obstetrics and gynecology, orthopaedic surgery, pediatrics, and general surgery, medicine/pediatrics combined program, and vascular surgery fellowship.

The John A. Martin Primary Health Care Center in Winnsboro, S.C., the Kershaw Family Medicine Center in Kershaw, S.C., and the Bennettsvile Primary Care Health Care Education Center in Bennettsville, S.C. provide medical care to residents of these primarily rural counties and serve as teaching facilities for medical students during the third-year family medicine clerkship.

Graduate Programs

The School of Medicine offers the Doctor of Philosophy and Master’s of Biomedical Science degrees in biomedical science, the Master of Science degree in genetic counseling, the Master of Rehabilitation Counseling degree, and the Master’s of Nurse Anesthesia degree.

Doctor of Philosophy and Master’s Degrees in Biomedical Science

Biomedical science graduate programs in the School of Medicine are interdisciplinary in nature, with participation of the basic medical science Departments of Cell and Developmental Biology and Anatomy, Pathology and Microbiology, and Pharmacology, Physiology and Neuroscience. The goal of the Ph.D. program is to prepare graduates for professional positions as medical educators and productive research scientists with career potential in university and applied biomedical laboratory settings. The purpose of the master’s degree program is to provide broadly based interdisciplinary training in biomedical science to individuals who wish to expand or change their educational background and training in order to fulfill personal, preprofessional, or other career advancement goals.

The curriculum presents multiple training components designed to prepare students for their dissertation or thesis research: the broad orientation of a first year core curriculum emphasizing fundamental concepts in biomedical science and promoting later flexibility; multidisciplinary laboratory courses on research methods, facilities, and major equipment; and advanced course work specialized around research focus areas, including cancer, neuroscience, developmental biology/cardiology. Each of these research focus areas is composed of faculty members from several basic science departments, clinical departments, University departments, and affiliated hospitals to provide a rich training environment with significant opportunity for collaborative research projects applying basic science research techniques to clinically relevant problems.

Critical scientific reasoning skills and effective communication skills, both written and oral, are emphasized in the training program. Ongoing seminar programs expose students to presentations of current research progress by scientists in the program, other departments of the University, and from around the nation and world. The program also sponsors weekly student seminars and an annual student research symposium; student participation in regional and national professional scientific meetings is encouraged by support for student travel. The program’s size (approximately 40 students) is designed to provide extensive student-faculty interaction.

More detailed information about the biomedical science graduate programs may be found on the School of Medicine Web site: http://www.med.sc.edu:88/phdbs.htm and in the USC Graduate Studies Bulletin (available on the Web at: http://www.sc.edu/bulletin/grad/index.html). Inquiries concerning biomedical science graduate programs may be directed by mail to Biomedical Science Graduate Program, Office of Graduate Studies, School of Medicine, University of South Carolina, Columbia, SC 29208, by phone 803-733-3100, or by e-mail at biomed@med.sc.edu.

Master of Science in Genetic Counseling

Genetic counselors are specialized health professionals who facilitate the understanding and use of genetic knowledge in several ways. Genetic counselors provide complex genetic information to families from various sociocultural and educational backgrounds and address the issue of how heredity contributes to a specific disorder, the risk of the disorder’s recurrence, and reproductive options. Genetic counselors are members of the medical genetics team and communicate with physicians, geneticists, laboratory technologists, and other health care professionals. Genetic counselors also have a role in genetic research and in public education programs regarding human genetics and the availability of genetic services.

The Genetic Counseling Program in the School of Medicine’s Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology is served by an outstanding faculty. Developed in 1985 as a southeastern regional training program for genetic counselors, it is one of only 25 such programs in the nation. The curriculum includes course work, fieldwork, and a Master of Science thesis. Its goal is to graduate genetic counselors who will be eligible for certification by the American Board of Genetic Counseling (ABGC).

Students spend the majority of classroom study in classes designed specifically for the education and training of genetic counselors. The program is interdisciplinary in that students take one course with School of Medicine graduate students, one course with biology graduate students, and one course with educational psychology graduate students. Second-year internships include rotations at the University of South Carolina School of Medicine, the Medical University of South Carolina, the Greenwood Genetic Center, the William S. Hall Psychiatric Institute, the Medical College of Georgia, the Carolinas Medical Center, Duke University Medical Center, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and Savannah Perinatology. Detailed information about the Genetic Counseling Program may be found on the School of Medicine Web site: http://www.med.sc.edu/geneticcounseling. For additional information, contact the Genetic Counseling Program, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, School of Medicine, University of South Carolina, Two Richland Medical Park, Suite 301, Columbia, SC 29203, or call Janice G. Edwards, Co-Director, 803-779-4928.

Master of Nurse Anesthesia

Nurse anesthetists are highly trained medical care specialists who, under the supervision of physicians, are responsible for the anesthesia requirements of patients in all areas of surgery. Nurse anesthetists develop, implement, and evaluate anesthetic plans of care for individual patients and are a vital part of the health care team.

The Nurse Anesthesia Program at the University of South Carolina is a cooperative program between the School of Medicine and the Palmetto Health Richland School of Nurse Anesthesia. The Palmetto Health Richland School has been training nurse anesthetists since 1969, with involvement of the School of Medicine faculty since 1986. A program leading to a Master’s of Nurse Anesthesia degree was approved in 1993. The course of study includes both didactic course work and clinical instruction. Students who successfully complete the program are eligible to take the National Certification Examination given by the Council on Certification of Nurse Anesthetists. The program is accredited by the Council on Accreditation of Nurse Anesthesia Education Programs.

The curriculum consists of 58 credit hours of work over a 29-month course of study. These credits include didactic courses and clinical experiences. Courses include physiology, medical pharmacology, and principles of anesthesia. Students must also participate in a minimum of 800 hours of clinical practice. Students in the program will be involved in more than 1,000 cases in all surgical specialties and subspecialties.

Detailed information about the Nurse Anesthesia Program may be found on the School of Medicine Web site: http://www.med.sc.edu:88/mnuran.htm. For additional information, contact the Nurse Anesthesia Program, Office of Graduate Studies, School of Medicine, University of South Carolina, Columbia, SC 29208, or call 803-733-3100.

Master of Rehabilitation Counseling

Rehabilitation counselors are specialized professionals who assist persons with physical, mental, developmental, cognitive, and addictions-based disabilities, as well as other forms of disadvantagement. They help these individuals respond to personal, interpersonal, and societal problems, plan careers, and find and maintain appropriate employment. Rehabilitation counselors work with individuals, organizations, and advocacy groups that address environmental and social barriers that create obstacles for persons with disabilities. In effect, they build bridges between persons with disabilities and their families, communities, and work places. Rehabilitation counselors also function as members and leaders of interdisciplinary teams consisting of physicians, psychologists, therapists, and others involved in the rehabilitation process.

The Rehabilitation Counseling Program, which was initiated at the University in 1966, is based in the School of Medicine’s Department of Neuropsychiatry and Behavioral Science. The program is accredited by the Council on Rehabilitation Education (CORE). Program graduates are eligible to take state professional counselor licensure examinations and a national certification examination administered by the Commission on Rehabilitation Counselor Certification.

The curriculum consists of 48 credit hours of course work which includes classroom study, clinical skills development activities, and field experience. Major content areas include individual and group counseling theory and practice, medical and psychological aspects of disabilities, assessment techniques, vocational and career issues, case management, and cultural competency. Interdisciplinary team functioning is emphasized, as well as a holistic view of rehabilitants. Specialized course work in psychiatric rehabilitation is available. Counseling activities are learned within a social systems framework that considers individuals in the context of their family and communities.

The last semester of training consists of a full-time internship. Internships can be completed in a variety of state agencies, community programs, and private organizations. In some instances, out-of-state internships can be arranged.

Detailed information about the Rehabilitation Counseling Program may be found on the School of Medicine Web site: http://www.med.sc.edu:94/rehab.htm. For additional information, contact the Rehabilitation Counseling Program, Department of Neuropsychiatry and Behavioral Science, School of Medicine, University of South Carolina, 3555 Harden Street Extension, Suite B-20, Columbia, SC 29208, or call 803-434-4296.