Symptom Self Management Center (SSMC) 

The overall goal of the Symptom Self Management Center is to build a critical mass of research thematically focused on targeting symptoms of fatigue and pain through complementary, synergistic research activities. Toward this end, the National Institute on Nursing Research-funded (NINR-P20) Symptom Self Management Center (SSMC) at the College of Nursing, Medical University of South Carolina, provides the infrastructure and context for nurse scientists who will: 

IDENTIFY groups of patients, who are at risk for chronic disease symptom exacerbation in the areas of fatigue and pain through cutting edge biomedical informatics 

DEVELOP effective, scalable and sustainable technology enhanced self management interventions that are accessible to these patients through iterative, patient-centered design approaches; and 

EVALUATE these in real world community settings through established community partnerships interventions. 

In other words, the SSMC will deliver novel self management interventions where they are needed, to whom they are needed, when they are needed. 

Thus, the SSMC Specific Goals are:

  1. Strengthen the infrastructure within which emerging investigators in self management interventions can collaborate with biomedical informaticists to use predictive analytic strategies to identify patients suffering from symptoms of fatigue and pain, across a variety of disorders in the early stages of symptom development.

  2. Provide instrumental support for junior and experienced investigators to collaborate with ehealth, mhealth, and web health design experts from the MUSC Technology Applications for Health Lifestyles (TACHL) health-technology center to iteratively design patient centered, technology enhanced self and self/family management interventions.

  3. Build upon the existing community based infrastructure that facilitates enhanced access to and relationships with community partners to develop ecologically valid, natural community laboratories that would otherwise not be feasible to create in the short time frame of pilot projects.

The primary purpose of the Pilot Project Core (PPC) is to provide junior and/or experienced nurse scientists, new to the area of symptom self management, with funds to establish their programs of interdisciplinary research in fatigue and pain self management interventions. In addition to supporting junior researchers, the PPC will also support established researchers who wish to expand their current research focus to test new ideas related to symptom self-management science. The specific aims of the PPC are to: 

AIM 1. Mentor potential pilot investigators to develop research proposals that include priority patient centered, technology enhanced self or family management interventions, that are theoretically sound and interdisciplinary in approach to improve symptoms of pain and fatigue related to chronic diseases. 

Aim 2. Establish a rigorous review and approval process of proposals submitted for pilot funding. Proposal review will be conducted by the the Executive Committee (EC) (see ADMIN Core) composed of CON and MUSC interdisciplinary researchers and external ad hoc EC members retained for the purpose of pilot project review. 

AIM 3. Oversee and support pilot investigators' efforts to obtain regulatory approvals, including institutional review board approval of human subjects' research prior to awarding of pilot funds. 

AIM 4. Monitor progress of SSMC pilot investigators in meeting specific aims identified in pilot studies as well as in using pilot study findings to build future research studies and acquire major funding. 

Impact: The Symptom Self Management Center (SSMC) will provide infrastructure to: expand the number and quality of research projects aimed at improving self-management of fatigue and pain symptoms in persons of all ages with chronic disorders; enhance the self-management skills of families/caregivers for function-impairing symptoms (pain and fatigue) of their family members; and, expand the number and quality of research projects aimed at improving health and quality of life in chronically ill persons. 


The Medical University of South Carolina College of Nursing provides an inclusive and welcoming community for all faculty and students through active mentorship within a high caliber career development model. The priorities of this model include creating an enriched academic experience, maintaining regular contact, being a point-of-reference for resources, and providing a support network during academic, social and personal development. The Symptom Self Management Center supports this career development model with well aligned mentors who individualize a career development plan that promotes research rigor based in team science (bioinformatics, technology and/or community engagement). The goal is to promote a successful research trajectory to further develop or refine their skills to become well funded nurse scientists.