September 19, 2023 | Erin Bluvas, email@example.com
The Arnold School of Public Health has reached a landmark record for the University of South Carolina, garnering an all-time high of $50.3 million in extramural funding in fiscal year 2023 (July 1, 2022 – June 30, 2023). This total includes $41.7 million for research, with $30.6 million awarded by the National Institutes of Health.
“We’ve reached this noteworthy achievement, which just a few short years ago seemed an unobtainable dream,” says Arnold School associate dean for research Alan Decho, who has identified several factors that have contributed to this milestone.
Hiring top faculty is first on Decho’s priority list as carefully selected new faculty arrive at the Arnold School ready to hit the ground running while aligning their research programs to major public health issues. In addition, these early-career investigators are matched with experienced senior mentors who help them learn how to optimize their time and resources.
Decho also points to the Propel program as a factor in the school’s success. This nine-month program – which was created in the Arnold School and now serves the entire university through the Office of the Vice President for Research – trains faculty to effectively develop grant proposals. In the Arnold School Office of Research, Decho’s team has created new policies to expedite pre- and post-award processing while training staff to excel at providing support across the school. Finally, he credits Thomas Chandler, who has proactively championed and supported the Arnold School’s research program during his 17-year tenure as Dean.
“Dean Chandler’s strategic support has created the climate of dedication, optimism and achievement that we see today in our faculty and students,” says Decho. “At the end of day, however, it’s the work ethic and synergy of our faculty that continues to amaze me. They truly are the shining stars of research accomplishment here.”
Over the years, the Arnold School has increased both the breadth and depth of its research activities, adopting a multifaceted and interdisciplinary approach that addresses public health challenges ranging from climate change to infectious diseases. As recognized experts in their fields, Arnold School faculty and staff are leading centers and institutes that address rural health, global health, health disparities, brain health, access to care, obesity, maternal and child health and many other issues while collaborating with colleagues from across the university.
“During the Covid pandemic, the Arnold School partnered with our College of Pharmacy to stand up saliva-based testing of the campus population, mathematically model infection rates and trends over time, and pre-emptively detect campus outbreaks by frequent monitoring of campus dormitory sewage outflows”, said Dean Chandler when asked about the collaborative spirit of the Arnold School. “Our faculty and students benefit greatly from the more than 50 joint research projects with the five other health science colleges at USC. No other university in South Carolina produces as many health graduates as USC or is able to offer as many students such a comprehensive breadth of disciplines and experiences to enhance their public health education and employment outlook.”
The Arnold School’s thriving research program is also reflected in the growing number of scholarly papers published in scientific journals. With steady increases every year, faculty, staff and students have increased from 519 scientific journal publications in 2018 to 765 in-print in 2022.
“We are a relatively small school of 95 tenure-track and 55 research/clinical faculty in the Arnold School. They, along with our students both graduate and undergraduate, are the proud foundation for these high publication numbers,” Decho says. “This stellar accomplishment is a tribute to them.”