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School of Medicine

Hoppmann stepping down as director of Ultrasound Institute; Bell appointed as new director

Richard Hoppmann, M.D., the founding director of the University of South Carolina School of Medicine Columbia Ultrasound Institute, has stepped down from the role of institute director, effective July 1, 2020. Hoppmann will remain a faculty member within the institute. In the coming years, he will focus his work on the ongoing development of ultrasound educational curriculum and further enhancement of ultrasound equipment for use in medical education.

The Ultrasound Institute was founded in 2006 by Hoppmann, when the UofSC School of Medicine Columbia became the first school in the nation to include longitudinal ultrasound training into all four years of medical student curriculum. Hoppmann, who is a rheumatologist by training, was the associate dean of medical education at the time. He became convinced of the tremendous potential of portable ultrasound to enhance medical education, after meeting with colleagues in emergency medicine at what was then Palmetto Health, now Prisma Health, and learning about advances in ultrasound technology and point-of-care applications.

Over the past 15 years, ultrasound technology has continued to evolve, and Hoppmann and his team at the Ultrasound Institute have contributed greatly to these improvements. An inventor as well as an educator, Hoppmann now holds four patents related to ultrasound technology, with an additional four utility patents and two provisional patents pending. Under his leadership, the Ultrasound Institute has expanded its impact well beyond medical student education. The institute has used ultrasound to introduce health professions to teachers and students in schools throughout the state of South Carolina. Institute leaders also have collaborated with numerous international partners, leading the School of Medicine to host the first two World Congress of Ultrasound in Medical Education events.

Hoppmann joined the UofSC School of Medicine faculty in 1990 as a clinical professor of medicine. Over the past three decades, he has served the school in many leadership roles including director of the Division of Allergy, Immunology, and Rheumatology, chief of medical service of the Dorn Veteran’s Hospital, vice chair of the Department of Internal Medicine, associate dean for medical education and academic affairs, interim dean, and dean of the School of Medicine, a position he held from 2009 to 2013. He is the recipient of over 30 teaching awards, and is recognized internationally as one of the world’s premier educators on the use of bedside ultrasound in medical education.

Floyd “Tripp” Bell, M.D., has been named to succeed Hoppmann as the director of the UofSC School of Medicine Columbia Ultrasound Institute. Following graduation from the UofSC School of Medicine Columbia, Bell completed his radiology residency at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill. He has served as the chairman of the Department of Radiology at the School of Medicine since 2017. His excellence in teaching has been recognized by the receipt of more than ten teaching awards, including the O’Neill Barrett Teaching Excellence Award and the Leonard A. Tow Humanism in Medicine Award. He has actively contributed to the teaching mission of the School of Medicine Ultrasound Institute since 2012.

“I would like to thank both Dr. Hoppmann and Dr. Bell for their many contributions to date, and offer our congratulations to Dr. Bell on this new appointment. As they both continue their contributions to the Ultrasound Institute in the coming years, we know that the tradition of excellence they have established will endure,” says Dean Les Hall.


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