Clinical Outcomes Research

Our Clinical Researchers have an active portfolio - Here's a sampling: 

Thomas Curran, M.D., MPH colorectal surgeon and health services researcher

Thomas Curran, M.D., MPH research interests focus on mitigation of health disparities and optimization of care delivery in colon and rectal surgery, particularly colorectal cancer and inflammatory bowel disease (IBD).  This includes work evaluating the effectiveness of a patient centered medical home (PCMH) in the care of IBD at MUSC.  Through his work as a Hollings Cancer Center Clinical Scholar for 2022-2024, his project to evaluate an equity focused intervention to improve utilization in guideline concordant extended venous thromboembolism prophylaxis after major cancer surgery was recently funded by the National Cancer Institute as part of the Early-Stage Surgeon Scientist Program.

Clinical Scholar Link:

Pubmed Link:

Heather L. Evans M.D., MS  Medical Director of Telehealth and Co-Investigator on the Center for Telehealth’s HRSA grant

Heather L. Evans M.D., MS, completed pilot work in post-surgical remote wound monitoring, creating digital health care coordination protocols for other surgical services across MUSC regional health partners. She mentors students and residents in surgical infection clinical outcomes and quality improvement investigations. Dr. Evans also collaborated on a paper with Aaron P. Lesher, M.D., MSCR, who developed a novel smartphone application which improves at-home burn care delivery for patients and their families.

JSR Link:

Surgery and the Smartphone: Can Technology Improve Equitable Access to Surgical Care?

Pubmed Links: 

Patient and Provider Preferences for Monitoring Surgical Wounds Using an mHealth App: A Formative Qualitative AnalysisImproving Antibiotic Stewardship in Acute Appendicitis through Risk-Based Empiric Treatment Selection.

Kate Engelhardt, M.D. MS Cardiothoracic Surgeon 

Dr. Engelhardt's current research projects include:

  • Database analyses for lung transplant outcomes, using the UNOS database
  • Database analyses for lung cancer and esophageal cancer care delivery, using the National Cancer Database
  • 3 scoping reviews:
  • For patients considering surgery for a thoracic oncologic disease, do shared decision making interventions improve decision outcome (as measured by decisional regret, decision quality, etc.) as compared to standard care?
  • For patients making healthcare decisions, do shared decision interventions facilitate sharing patient-level information (care goals, tolerance of disease states, advanced directives, etc.) with the provider, as compared to standard care?
  • What evaluation tools are used to assess the outcome of a shared decision making intervention?
  • Implementation of a shared decision tool for patients with early stage lung cancer deciding between surgery and radiation
  • Development of a novel shared decision making tool to facilitate provider understanding of patient care goals and tolerance of disease states

Evert Eriksson, M.D. Trauma Medical Director & Director of the Chest Wall Reconstruction Program

As Director of the Chest Wall Injury and Reconstruction Center at MUSC, Evert Eriksson, M.D. and his research group published 11 peer-reviewed research articles, with six more under review. They also published an article on an innovative technique in surgical rib fixation. His research team had three podium presentations and six abstracts presented at the Chest Wall Injury Society annual meeting. In addition, he was awarded the CWIS President’s Award for excellence in patient care, research and mentoring. Dr. Laswi, surgical critical care fellow, was awarded the best research presentation at the CWIS.

Chest wall injury centers-how we did it - PubMed

Surgical stabilization of severe chest wall injury following cardiopulmonary resuscitation:

Yulia Gavrilova, Ph.D., Director, Burn Behavioral Health, South Carolina Burn Center

My research program focuses primarily on development, evaluation, and dissemination of culturally tailored, technology-enhanced behavioral health interventions and resources for vulnerable and clinically underserved populations in the context of trauma with a goal of increasing access to services and improving outcomes. This includes first responders, survivors of traumatic injuries and burns, and disaster survivors. I have developed and am currently directing the Burn Behavioral Health program housed within MUSC’s comprehensive Burn Center to support mental, physical, and social rehabilitation of burn patients to improve well-being and quality of life post-burn. Research opportunities include assisting with a randomized control trial of an mHealth application for burn patients and their families, quality improvement initiatives specific to evaluation and dissemination of stepped-care services for burn patients, optimizing inpatient and outpatient patient screening across multiple burn centers, and increasing patient satisfaction with care.

Ashley B. Hink, M.D., MPH Medical Director for the MUSC Turning the Tide Violence Intervention Program

Ashley B. Hink, M.D., MPH, examines risk factors for firearm injury, outcomes after violence, the influence of social determinants of health on injury and health outcomes, and implementing violence reduction and intervention strategies in healthcare. Dr. Hink is funded by the National Collaborative for Gun Violence Research (NCGVR) with a team of investigators from the American College of Surgeons Committee on Trauma (ACS COT).

Pubmed Links: and

Arman Kilic, M.D. Director of the Harvey and Marcia Schiller Surgical Innovation Center 

Implementation of a protocol to increase the academic productivity of cardiothoracic surgery resident physicians - PubMed

Heart Transplantation for Peripartum Cardiomyopathy: Outcomes Over 3 Decades: PubMed

The impact of changes in renal function during waitlist time on outcomes after heart transplantation: PubMed 

Arman Kilic, M.D. had a very successful year for clinical outcomes research in cardiothoracic surgery. Here are some highlights:

  • Built an outcomes research team of ~ 30 residents, students, biostatistician, data manager, and data science Masters / Ph.D.students
  • Published >100 peer-reviewed manuscripts
  • Our residents and students presented >10 abstract presentations at major cardiac surgery meetings
  • Jennie Kwon, M.D. PGY-Research, was a Philip Caves Award finalist at ISHLT and presented a plenary talk at AAST on DCD heart transplantation. Dr. Kilic served as mentor and first author for both papers.

Aaron P. Lesher, M.D., MSCR Pediatric Burn Surgeon

Aaron P. Lesher, M.D., MSCR main research efforts are focused on pediatric patients who are being treated for burn injury. His work has been supported by a K23 from the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development. His second avenue of research involves collaborative projects with neonatology on improving clinical outcomes in premature babies with necrotizing enterocolitis as well as a predictive model for improved identification of infants who require tube gastrostomy.

A quality improvement initiative to standardize time to initiation of enteral feeds after non-surgical necrotizing enterocolitis using a consensus-based guideline PubMed

Pubmed Link: Virtual Visits for Outpatient Burn Care During theCOVID-19 Pandemic. & Surgery and the Smartphone: Can Technology Improve Equitable Access to Surgical Care?

Dave Taber, PharmD, MS clinical transplant research scientist

Dave Taber, PharmD, MS focuses his research on developing and testing methods to optimize medication safety using technology and addressing racial disparities in access and outcomes in transplantation. Dr. Taber has several active research grants funding randomized clinical trials in transplantation.  He also has active and previous federal funding from VA HSR&D, NIH NIIDDK, and AHRQ.  He has an active clinical practice at the Ralph H Johnson VAMC.

Pubmed Link: and