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Research Team Award

The Biological Research Team won the Mental Health American "Heroes in the Fight" Award on September 25, 2008. Here is the nomination essay:

"Heroes in the Fight"

Nomination category: Team Award

The Clinical Research Team in the Division of Biological Research at the University of South Carolina School of Medicine is a diverse team of professionals, possessing a unique blend of outstanding clinical and research skills to fulfill their mission of delivering innovative treatments in the fight against the formidable challenges of mental illness. The Research Team comprised of four psychiatrists, a nurse practitioner, psychologist, and social worker blend management skills with professional expertise to deliver compassionate care to their patients. This Team, not content with mediocrity, exceeds performance expectations in working with clients and families, helping them to access medical treatment, medications, and support to promote a higher quality of life.  “Patient first” is the ethic that builds a strong sense of teamwork, purpose, and maximum team effort.  Many patients express a desire to continue with the program or return to participate in other research projects. Dr. Meera Narasimhan, the director, excels in developing team momentum, enthusiasm and pride, appointing people with complementary skills to be able to make a difference in the lives of their patients.

These Heroes in the Fight not only sustain a high achievement level in research, but make a substantial contribution to the continued improvement of mental health as professors, in addition to their personal involvement in professional and mental health organizations.  The South Carolina Department of Mental Health relies on this team as consultants: Dr. Narasimhan is the Director of Research Initiatives and a consultant to South Carolina Department of Mental Health (SCDMH); Dr. Bruce with Connections, Columbia Area Mental Health treats the dually diagnosed; Dr. Srinivasan is a geropsychiatrist at Tucker Center; and Dr. Raynor serves at Bryan Psychiatric Hospital. There have been many an occasion when the other team members including Mr. Frank Ballard, Ms. Suzanne Hardeman and Ms Anna Gordon have gone above and beyond their call of duties to deliver quality care to their patients (attached patient testimonial in ‘Brainstorm” NAMI publication). In addition, the Team participates in NAMI meetings and walks, ALS support groups, Community Connections, and MIRCI groups.

The Division of Biological Research seeks to achieve maximum clinical benefits for their patients through research collaborations with other universities and private agencies such as Duke, Dartmouth, Vanderbilt, Medical College of Georgia and the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH). Furthermore, the Research Team excels in building success through its close work with the SCDMH in the study of improving service delivery across South Carolina, through projects funded by NIMH to establish a “State Policy Laboratory” designed to study and enact policies aimed at improving detection of mental illness, decreasing social stigma, facilitating and advancing quality of life through innovative treatments.

Medicine is an art and a science. This is epitomized by this Clinical Research Team, an exceptional interdisciplinary team whose performance displays industriousness, conscientiousness, diligence and compassionate care with cutting-edge treatments delivered at the door steps of our clients.