MUSC Health: 5 Months of Pritikin ICR

Against a muted backdrop of fresh vegetables and dried legumes over a white background are three circular images, each of groups of MUSC Cardiac Rehab team members wearing scrubs. The first has four women with one holding a patient guidebook over the title "Northeast", next is a close up picture of  a man and woman over the title "Kershaw", lastly there is a photo of 4 women standing with their arms around eachother over the title "Downtown" below all three, is a title at the bottom of the entire image that reads "MUSC Health"
  • April 26, 2024

Life typically slows down a bit as the year comes to a close. This past November was anything but slow for the cardiac rehab team running MUSC Health Northeast, Kershaw, and Downtown! With some help from PritikinLIVE, they worked diligently as they transitioned their program from traditional cardiac rehab to the Pritikin Intensive Cardiac Rehab curriculum. With the group settled into their new rhythm, I recently caught up with Drew Hamer, Director of Outpatient Cardiopulmonary Services at MUSC to get his perspective.

Drew has a long history with both MUSC Health and cardiac rehab. While he was still pursuing his degree, he secured an internship at the medical center. Fourteen years later, he remains just as dedicated to the close-knit, patient-focused cardiac rehab team. He’s witnessed plenty of change over the years, so his perspective offers great insight!

The MUSC Cardiac Rehab Facilities and Schedule

The Northeast team from MUSCMUSC has 3 cardiac rehab facilities each with different layouts. Of the three, the Downtown location has the most space. Northeast and Kershaw have more moderate footprints. While the cardiac rehab facilities may look different, they all work closely together. One of the many similarities they share is related to the way they set up their schedule. Each is organized to offer an education session between two exercise sessions (you can guess why we might call this the “sandwich” scheduling model). Having the same schedule is especially helpful as the locations share the same staff.

Pictured to the right: Julie Rieger, Ginger Ginn, Christine Power, and Kelli Mancuso holding our Patient Guidebook 


Exercise Area

While Downtown, Northeast, and Kershaw all have unique layouts, they have similar exercise equipment: Nustep, treadmills, Schwinn Airdynes, Recumbent bikes, standing/seated arm ergometers, and an assortment of resistance training equipment.

Education Space

Stephen Miles and Andrea Baker at the Kershaw locationThe most notable variations between the sites relate to the layout of their education spaces. With more real estate, Downtown is able to dedicate a large room to Education and Cooking School Workshops. The area has chairs arranged to face the PritikinLIVE team livestreaming patient education into the classroom. Northeast has a similar but slightly smaller setup. The space limitations at Kershaw required a bit of creativity. They use part of their exercise floor for patient education by sectioning off an area with a patient curtain, tables, and chairs.

Pictured to the right: Stephen Miles and Andrea Baker at the Kershaw location


The Patient Experience

Tiffany Craft, Tequila Anderson, Becky Kiser, and Autumn Bryant at the Downtown locationAs each site follows the same structure and schedule, MUSC patients have similar introductions to the program, regardless of where they attend cardiac rehab. During their first visit, patients work with either an exercise physiologist, registered nurse, or respiratory therapist on staff to complete initial paperwork and learn about the program. Next, they meet with an exercise physiologist who will start working on an exercise prescription tailored to their needs. Whether their first class is an education session or an exercise session depends on when they schedule their first visit.

Pictured to the right: Tiffany Craft, Tequila Anderson, Becky Kiser, and Autumn Bryant at the Downtown location


Patient Feedback

The MUSC patient response to the Pritikin curriculum has been encouraging. This is due, in large part, to Drew and his team’s dedication. Working as an extension of the MUSC team, our PritikinLIVE RD’s engaging interactions with patients during Cooking School Workshops, Nutrition Workshops, and one-on-one sessions help them feel comfortable enough to share and actively participate. Once patients start interacting, and it all starts to “click”, the team is often surprised by shifts in patient attitudes. Drew shared, “The overall response has been very positive, people have been willing to try new ideas and concepts that we would have never guessed they would have even attempted.”

The Team

MUSC at Heart Walk 2024One person who deserves special recognition is Julie Rieger, Clinical Manager of Outpatient Cardiopulmonary Services. She is especially skilled at inspiring her teammates and keeping the group focused. That said, everyone at MUSC Cardiac Rehab is incredibly motivated and committed to patient success. As Drew expressed, “A program like this doesn’t work without full buy-in from everyone!” Something that sets this group apart is their collaboration. Not only do they work across all three locations but since the team has been cross-trained, they can back each other up. The same person can work the exercise floor, recruit on the phone, check insurance, and later, teach a class. Every single person on staff steps up to make the magic happen.

Pictured to the right: Tiffany Craft, Autumn Bryant, Ginger Ginn and Julie Rieger at a Heart Walk in 2024.

Drew Hamer and the cardiac rehab team at MUSC Health manage model ICR programs. Their teamwork and creativity is inspiring. We are honored to be a part of their continued improvement.


Keep up the great work, MUSC!


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