Photo of Darby Children's Research Institute building exterior

About the Darby Children's Research Institute

Remembering Dr. Charles P. Darby, Jr.
1933 - 2024

A special message from MUSC President Dr. David Cole

On February 7, 2024, we lost a great leader and friend: Dr. Charles P. Darby Jr. I am deeply saddened over the passing of Dr. Darby, a truly exceptional visionary who dedicated more than five decades of his life to providing outstanding pediatric care. His role as chairman of the Department of Pediatrics helped to establish a transformative Children’s Hospital and build a world-class research center here at MUSC. ‌‌

Dr. Darby’s immense contributions to the field of pediatric care had an enormous impact on the children and their families in South Carolina. His unwavering commitment to providing exceptional care has left a lasting impression on the lives of many individuals. His visionary leadership and tireless efforts have unequivocally transformed the landscape of children’s health care and research at MUSC and beyond. ‌‌

As founder of the Darby Children's Research Institute (DCRI), Dr. Darby recognized the need for better pediatric care in South Carolina. He envisioned the building of a research enterprise to serve as the research arm of the Children's Hospital. His passion for children’s research and his ability to inspire others have undoubtedly shaped the careers of countless physicians and scientists. ‌‌

Beyond his professional accomplishments, Dr. Darby was known for his genuine compassion, kindness and dedication to his pediatric patients. He could connect with people on a deeply personal level, offering medical expertise and a comforting presence during times of great vulnerability. His patients and their families found solace in his words and were reassured by his commitment to their well-being. ‌‌

This is a profound loss for our institution, and it is important to remember the incredible legacy that Dr. Darby leaves behind. His impact on the countless lives he touched will continue to be felt for generations. As we mourn his passing, let us honor his remarkable achievements by carrying forward his dedication to excellence, compassion and the pursuit of knowledge. ‌‌

We offer our most heartfelt sympathies and deepest condolences to the Darby family during this difficult time. And to our MUSC family, may your fond memories of Dr. Darby bring comfort and solace to your heart. ‌‌

Yours in service,‌ David J. Cole, M.D., FACS
MUSC President

Various images of Dr. Charles P. Darby, Jr.

The Darby Children’s Research Institute (DCRI) bears the name of its founder, Charles Darby, M.D. He became Chair of the Department of Pediatrics at MUSC in 1982 and recognized the need for better pediatric healthcare in South Carolina. Dr. Darby then began a campaign with MUSC leadership and state legislators to build a children’s hospital. His dream became a reality in 1987 after 15 years of planning and perseverance. Under his leadership as Chair and Pediatrician-in-Chief of MUSC, Darby increased the number of faculty from 12 to 80 during his tenure.

He was also pivotal in the creation of MUSC’s newest Shawn Jenkins Children’s Hospital and Pearl Tourville Women’s Pavilion that opened in 2020. Darby recognized that all top ranked children’s hospitals achieve their stature based not only on the outstanding clinical care to their patients, but also to the outstanding research that supports the next breakthrough discoveries to enhance that clinical care. With this recognition, he began envisioning the building of a research enterprise; created to serve as the research arm of the children’s hospital. He started another campaign with MUSC officials and state legislators to fund the construction of six floors of modern physical laboratory space that would house both basic scientists and physician scientists working to meet the research needs of the children in South Carolina. That vision was realized with the opening of the Darby Children's Research Institute in 2007.

“The Darby Children’s Research Institute provides excellent facilities to attract and retain scholarly scientists committed to advancing the health of children. Quality clinical care is essential for every children’s hospital, but it is the constant quest for new knowledge and better outcomes that set the better institutions apart from the rest.”  - Charles Darby, M.D.