Message from the Chair

Dr. Prabhakar Baliga, chairman of the Department of Surgery The Department of Surgery has continued to flourish this past year.In fact, in spite of the many challenges COVID-19 presented in academic medicine, we continued to provide surgical care using best-practices to protect the health of our patients and care teams.The clinical care team transitioned to telehealth visits when possible.

Our faculty members with extensive expertise in public and global health assisted leadership with disaster management, infectious disease policies, and operationalizing the many aspects of the new COVID-19 world in the operating rooms, ICU, and clinics.Despite the many challenges the past few months have presented, members of the department have never wavered in their resolution to provide the best, most innovative care.

  • Some particularly noteworthy departmental highlights from this past year include:•Clinical growth prior to COVID-19 was up significantly. Once elective surgeries resumed after being halted for one month, the department quickly rebounded to meet the needs of South Carolinians as you will see in the pages that follow.
  • The research division had one of our most impressive years with all of our basic science investigators receiving extramural funding. Our investigators are nationally recognized in studying the causes and consequences of healthcare disparities in vulnerable patient populations with the goal of reducing the impact of race and socioeconomic status on health outcomes.The clean cell facility experienced significant growth. It has established strong extramural funding from the NIH and VA. In addition to sustaining the Islet Cell Transplant program, it has now started supporting the Blood and Marrow Transplant Program.
  • We completed funding for five new endowed chairs - our philanthropic donors and colleagues coming together to invest in the recruitment and retention of the best surgical leaders in the nation.
  • Our match was extremely successful. For general surgery, we matched 5 of 6 candidates within our top 10. All the integrated programs performed equally as well, matching their top number 1 or 2 candidate.
  • A resident wellness program was established with significant improvement in addressing burnout.

During these unprecedented times, I am in awe of what we have achieved and extend my deepest appreciation to the dedicated faculty, fellows, residents, and staff who have contributed to our success.

Prabhakar Baliga, M.D. 

Professor and Chair
Department of Surgery
Medical University of South Carolina