Centers of Economic Excellence

August 2010 Program Update

Agreement allows for worldwide distribution of MUSC-developed products

SimTunes, LLC, a start-up company of the Clinical Effectiveness and Patient Safety CoEE at MUSC, has entered into a contract with Laerdal Medical, a global medical products company, to sublicense intellectual property.

Charleston-based SimTunes develops simulation educational technology used to train physicians, nurses, and other health care professionals. The licensing agreement will allow SimTunes logic and software to be distributed worldwide by Norway-based Laerdal Medical. The agreement also provides for the subleasing of educational material from SimTunes through a partnership between Laerdal and HealthStream, Inc., a leading provider of learning and research solutions for the health care industry.

Medical simulation is a rapidly growing field that uses sophisticated human simulators controlled by software that simulate specific human conditions—childbirth, for example—to enable students to learn how to treat certain conditions. The students' performance is captured by the software, allowing the performance to be objectively evaluated; this will ultimately result in health care providers who are better trained.

The creation of start-up companies that develop innovative, marketable products such as SimTunes is one of the ways the CoEE Program is stimulating economic development in South Carolina.

Newest CoEE Endowed Chair will study link between birth defects, environment

Renowned toxicology expert Dr. Louis Guillette has been recruited to MUSC to fill the CoEE Endowed Chair in Marine Genomics.

Guillette’s work will focus on determining possible environmental causes of birth defects. He will lead the Marine Genomics CoEE, a partnership between MUSC, USC, and the College of Charleston. Guillette arrives from the University of Florida.

Guillette and his research team will study how various environmental factors can lead to birth defects in wildlife and humans. His work involving wildlife, especially alligators, is internationally recognized.

Guillette will also partner with researchers in MUSC’s Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology and Department of Pediatrics to perform pilot studies on the developmental health of babies.

Guillette’s research could help lead to the development of new testing procedures that prevent or treat health problems caused by environmental factors.


Funding complete for $10 million CoEE in Health Facilities Design and Testing

Health Sciences South Carolina has invested $5 million in the Health Facilities Design and Testing CoEE, which completes the CoEE’s funding. The $5 million matches $5 million in South Carolina Education Lottery Funds allocated to the center in fiscal year 2006–2007 through the CoEE Program.

The Health Facilities Design and Testing Center will conduct research, develop prototypes, and expand and disseminate knowledge on how health facility design affects health and health care delivery; its goal is to improve architectural settings for patients and staff. The center focuses on four areas: health outcomes and patient safety; patient, family and staff satisfaction; operational efficiency and effectiveness; and ability to accommodate change.

The center will support two endowed chairs, one at Clemson in health care architecture and one at MUSC in human factors and clinical practice.

Clemson's graduate program concentration in health care architecture is nationally recognized. The program integrates innovative design with academic scholarship and research in health care environments and has won numerous national awards for its work and the work of its students.

The work of the CoEE could result in an improved quality of life for patients, and also contribute to economic development in South Carolina, as the research leads to new technologies that could become the basis for start-up companies and job creation.

Who we are

The S.C. Centers of Economic Excellence Program was established by the South Carolina General Assembly in 2002 and is funded through South Carolina Education Lottery proceeds. The legislation authorizes the state's three public research institutions, Medical University of South Carolina, Clemson University, and the University of South Carolina, to use state funds to create Centers of Economic Excellence in research areas that will advance South Carolina's economy. Each Center of Economic Excellence is awarded from $2 million to $5 million in state funds, which must be matched on a dollar-for-dollar basis with non-state funds. The program also supports CoEE Endowed Chairs, world-renowned scientists who lead the Centers of Economic Excellence. By investing in talent and technology, the CoEE Program is designed to fuel the state's knowledge-based economy, resulting in high-paying jobs and an improved standard of living in South Carolina.