Rheumatology & Immunology 2023 Year In Review

Dr. Jim Oates
Jim Oates, M.D., Director of the Division of Rheumatology & Immunology at MUSC.

As the Director of the Division of Rheumatology and Immunology, I am proud of the unwavering commitment to patient care, education, and research exhibited by the division faculty members, fellows, and staff over the past year. This report highlights our most important breakthroughs and accomplishments of 2023 and the outcomes and innovations that make us a national leader in the treatment of rheumatic diseases, particularly systemic sclerosis, systemic lupus erythematosus, and vasculitis.

Highlights of the past year include:

  • Hiring of three new faculty members, Samantha Minkin, M.D., Jennifer Schmidt, M.D., and Ludivine Renaud, Ph.D., with diverse areas of focus both clinically and with regards to research. In 2024, current chief fellow Jessica English, M.D., will join the faculty after completing her MSCR.
  • In FY2023, division faculty made outstanding progress in obtaining external funding to grow our research mission. Specifically, 34 awards totaling $8.9 million were received by our faculty. Among them, Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) awards to study novel peptides for treating fibrosis.
  • In 2023, MUSC Health’s rheumatology program was once again ranked high-performing by U.S. News & World Report and has consistently placed in the top 20 annual rankings for the past 15 years.
  • Our mentoring and training mission was advanced through Dr. Carol Feghali-Bostwick’s K24 and the institutional STEM-Coaching and Resources for Entrepreneurial Women (CREW) award.
  • The T32 training grant in inflammatory and fibrosing diseases is in its 18th year of funding and provides support for training future faculty. Our P30 Core Core Center for Clinical Research which provides essential infrastructure for inflammation and fibrosis research, is in its 11th year.
  • The hybrid, live and remote patient education events in lupus and scleroderma were well attended this year and demonstrate our commitment to patient education and engagement.
  • The fellowship program matched the top 10% of applicants.

During my tenure as Chair of the Division Directors Committee to the American College of Rheumatology, I have seen on a national scale how the current, ever-evolving environment poses challenges to academic rheumatology. Nevertheless, we look forward to meeting those challenges with our new vasculitis center, patient outreach efforts, and programs to address health disparities. We are blessed by a talented and dedicated faculty and staff that make it all possible.

With profound gratitude,

Jim Oates, M.D.
Director, MUSC Division of Rheumatology & Immunology
Vice Chair for Research, Department of Medicine