About Us

About MUSC Health

The Early Years

Despite great tragedy and numerous obstacles over the past 180 years, MUSC has grown and continued with its mission of creating highly trained and talented medical professionals while serving to better the health of the citizens of South Carolina.

Many men and women can be credited with the success of MUSC. A few deserve special mention.

The University traces its origins to visionaries such as David Ramsay, M.D., who must be credited for first introducing the idea of a medical school in South Carolina. Dr. Ramsay was an incredible man. He was from Pennsylvania and graduated from medical school at the University of Pennsylvania, studying primarily under Dr. Benjamin Rush, one of the founders of the first medical school in the United States.

David Ramsay

David Ramsay, M.D. (1749-1815)

The son of a Scottish-Irish Pennsylvania farmer, Ramsay started a very successful medical practice in Charlestown, South Carolina.

He was a fervent patriot during the American Revolution. As a result, he spent almost a year in a British prison in Saint Augustine during the American Revolution. He had a strong interest in the Constitution and was a South Carolina delegate to the Continental Congress. Dr. Ramsay was also known for his objections to the notion of slavery.

Dr. Ramsay is noted most for his contributions as a historian. He authored several respected books including, "The History of the American Revolution" (1789).

Unfortunately, Dr. Ramsey was killed by a crazed patient in 1815. Twenty years later, his dream and vision for a medical school in South Carolina was realized.

David Ramsay, probably delivered the first 4th of July oration ever given in America

The first faculty of the Medical College consisted predominantly of young men (only 2 were over the age of thirty). The following men formed the first faculty of the Medical College. Each has a unique story and all helped to create the Medical University of South Carolina:

First Faculty of the Medical College

Thomas Grimball Prioleau, MDThomas Grimball Prioleau, M.D.
Professor of Obstetrics and Diseases of Infants
Edmund Ravenel, M.D.Edmund Ravenel, M.D.
1791- 1871
Professor of the Chemistry

Samuel Henry Dickson, MDSamuel Henry Dickson, M.D.
1789- 1872
Professor of the Institutes and Practice of Physic

Stephen Elliot, MDStephen Elliot, LL.D.
1771- 1830
Professor of Botany and Natural History

Henry Frost, MDHenry Rutledge Frost, M.D.
1795- 1866
Professor of Materia Medica

John Edwards Holbrook, MDJohn E. Holbrook, M.D. 
1794- 1871
Professor of Anatomy

James Ramsay, MDJames Ramsay, M.D.
1798- 1832
Professor of Surgery
For more information about the history of MUSC, contact the Waring Historical Library.


© Medical University of South Carolina | 171 Ashley Avenue, Charleston, SC 29425