The Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC), Charleston, has established a $1 million endowed chair to support world-class autoimmune research and scholarship. The Silver chair is a tribute to the distinguished career and contributions of former Rheumatology & Immunology Division Director Richard M. Silver, MD, MACR, distinguished university professor and active division member.
The inaugural holder of the Silver chair is James (Jim) C. Oates, MD, who was honored during an online investiture ceremony in the virtual presence of more than 75 family members, friends, colleagues and donors on Thursday, Nov. 19, 2020.
Dr. Silver remarked on the symmetry of this honor, noting that Jim’s father, the late John Oates, MD, had been one of his attending physicians on his third-year medicine clerkship at the Vanderbilt School of Medicine, Nashville, Tenn.
“The acorn doesn’t fall far from the tree,” says Dr. Silver, “and Jim Oates epitomizes both the scholarship and the goodness personified by Dr. John Oates during his long and illustrious career. Jim is an outstanding clinician and researcher in the fields of systemic lupus erythematosus and lupus nephritis, and his work has been characterized by excellence and distinction as a physician, scientist and teacher.”
Interim Chair Ben Clyburn, MD, notes that Dr. Oates carries on work begun years ago by Dr. Silver. “He exemplifies Dr. Silver’s research attributes, his compassion for patients, and his unwavering dedication and commitment to training the next generation of physician-scientists,” says Dr. Clyburn. “Dr. Oates will further Dr. Silver’s work to unravel the complicated autoimmune diseases that affect our patients.”
“Holding the Silver chair is a great honor,” says Dr. Oates. “Dr. Silver is a Distinguished University Professor for a reason. He embodies what we call the triple threat, where he excels in all three of the academic missions in a way that we don’t see anymore. And he’s been an incredible role model in that way. He has created the culture in this division that has made my job easy as a new division director, a culture of dignity and respect that he has worked hard on.”
Dr. Oates is a graduate of the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, Baltimore. He completed an internal medicine residency and rheumatology fellowship at Duke University Medical Center, Durham, N.C., an additional year of research fellowship training at MUSC, and in 1997, he joined the MUSC rheumatology faculty, where he has had an illustrious career as a physician-scientist. Dr. Oates succeeded Dr. Silver as director of the Division of Rheumatology & Immunology in 2018, and he also serves as vice chair for research in MUSC’s Department of Medicine.