MUSC endowed chair to develop technology promoting healthy lifestyles

Charleston Regional Business Journal
October 18, 2010

Through the S.C. Centers of Economic Excellence program, the Medical University of South Carolina has recruited Dr. Frank Treiber to lead the Technology Center to Advance Healthful Lifestyles.

Treiber, formerly vice president for research and development at the Medical College of Georgia, will serve as endowed chair in technology applications to prevent and manage disease and reduce risk.

Frank Treiber – CoEE He and other researchers at the center will develop technology to help all South Carolinians — and especially rural and underserved populations — make more healthful lifestyle choices. The goal is to reduce health disparities.

The Technology Center to Enhance Healthful Lifestyles is a University of South Carolina Center of Economic Excellence in which MUSC is a partner. Additional support is provided by Health Sciences South Carolina, a statewide public-private partnership that includes universities and health systems.

“The Technology Center will enable us to develop and commercialize software and technology products to foster more effective health promotion, disease prevention and health care delivery for all South Carolinians,” Treiber said.

Software and information systems for mobile phones, personal digital assistants, iPod technologies and Web-based programs could emerge from the work, officials said. Such products could be personalized to help patients increase physical activity, alter diets, reduce stress, quit smoking and take medications on schedule.

In addition to the economic benefits of commercialization of those products, Treiber said the work could lead to the development or recruitment of new hardware or software companies to the state.

The center’s work could also benefit the state through improved work productivity, decreased absenteeism and lower health care costs.

Treiber said his ultimate goal is to turn the center into a national center of excellence.

“Personalized health care technology has tremendous potential to help people lead healthier lives and to benefit the entire South Carolina economy,” said Pamela P. Lackey, chairwoman of the Centers of Economic Excellence Review Board. “We look forward to the positive impact Dr. Treiber and his work will have in our state and beyond.”

The state Legislature created the S.C. Centers of Economic Excellence program in 2002. Funded by S.C. Education Lottery revenue, the program authorizes South Carolina’s three public research universities to create centers in research areas that will advance the state economy. Each center receives between $2 million and $5 million in state lottery funds, which must be matched dollar-for-dollar by private investment.

So far, 49 Centers of Economic Excellence have been created, and 35 endowed chairs have been appointed to lead the centers.

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