CoEE Program brings leading stroke expert to South Carolina

South Carolina’s Centers of Economic Excellence (CoEE) Program has enabled the state to recruit one of the world’s top stroke experts. Dr. Souvik Sen has been appointed as a CoEE Endowed Chair in Stroke Neurology at the University of South Carolina (USC).

Sen is an expert in stroke treatment and research. Before arriving in South Carolina, he was the founding director of the nationally recognized University of North Carolina Stroke Center in Chapel Hill, N.C. His stroke research focuses on patients in order to understand risk factors and test new approaches for stroke treatment and prevention. Specifically, his interests include acute stroke treatment (treating strokes that have just occurred within hours of onset) and cardio-embolic strokes (strokes caused by blood clots that develop in the heart and travel to the brain).

As a CoEE Endowed Chair, Sen will help lead the Stroke Center of Economic Excellence (CoEE), which is dedicated to reducing the incidence of stroke in the state, as well as developing new stroke treatments such as drugs and biotechnology-based therapeutics. The Stroke CoEE is supported by Health Sciences South Carolina. Partners in the initiative include Greenville Hospital System University Medical Center, Palmetto Health, the Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC), and USC.

Sen is one of three stroke-related endowed chairs who have been recruited to lead the Stroke CoEE. The other two, Drs. Robert Adams and Marc Chimowitz, are based at MUSC. Adams has played a central role in the development of the REACH Stroke Network, a statewide telemedicine initiative. Chimowitz is the national principal investigator on a multicenter stroke prevention trial. Sen plans to collaborate with both endowed chairs to ensure stroke patients throughout the state have access to life-saving, top-tier stroke care.

As part of his role with the Stroke CoEE, Sen plans to work to establish a Joint Commission–certified stroke center in Columbia. The Joint Commission is a highly respected accrediting body whose certifications recognize the gold standard in stroke care providers.

This Joint Commission Primary Stroke Center would be the first for the Midlands.

“The stroke-focused center will make the latest stroke treatment and prevention strategies available to the population in the region and in the state,” says Sen. “We will also focus our efforts on improving the level of clinical care and providing access to advanced care through research—this will reduce mortality and disability from stroke.”

South Carolina has one of the highest rates of stroke death in the nation. According to the Centers for Disease Control, South Carolina’s rate of deaths from stroke was 138 (per 100,000 people), while the national rate was 98 (statistics from 2000 to 2006).

About the CoEE Program
The CoEE Program was created by the South Carolina legislature in 2002 and is funded through South Carolina Education Lottery proceeds. The legislation authorizes the state's three public research institutions, MUSC, Clemson and USC, to use lottery 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 lottery funds, which must be matched on a dollar-for-dollar basis with non-state investment. To date, 46 Centers of Economic Excellence have been created and 28 CoEE Endowed Chairs have been appointed to lead the centers. The CoEE Program has resulted in more than a quarter billion dollars of non-state investment in the South Carolina economy and is responsible for the creation of more than 3,200 jobs.

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