The Department of Surgery at Greenville Health System (Prisma Health) , the hospital system’s multispecialty group practice, is involved in dozens of clinical trials and research projects. Most research is performed in conjunction with industry-sponsored studies, which typically are ongoing at locations across the U.S. These projects enable more effective products and devices to come to market. Prisma Health benefits by gaining access to these devices and treatments well in advance.

“This is an exciting place to be right now,” emphasized vascular surgeon David Cull, M.D., FACS. “We only test trial products we believe have a real potential for offering a substantially better solution.”

Bruce Gray, D.O., FSVM, FSCAI, directs the department’s clinical trials program, supported by a Research Manager, four Clinical Research Coordinators and two Research Analysts. Dr. Gray is a national research leader in endovascular technology. He works closely with Eugene Langan, M.D., FACS, who is nationally known for his work and basic research in stent-grafting techniques.

A Strong Foundation

The Prisma Health Department of Surgery has a long history of clinical research. For many years it has maintained a database of outcomes information. “It allows us to compare results on particular treatments with those of other centers across the country,” Dr. Cull said.

Dr. Cull credits previous department chair Spence Taylor, M.D., FACS, a vascular surgeon, for the group’s strong research focus. “During the past 15 years, Dr. Taylor has published multiple research studies. He’s always been the champion,” Dr. Cull said. “He identified people with the same burning desire. That has created a unique environment and rippled over to other areas of surgery.”


In the past eight years, the department’s faculty members have published approximately 150 research papers, including at least 50 seminal articles that have changed the practice of surgery or the understanding and treatment of diseases. Drs. Taylor, Cull and Gray have written multiple textbook chapters and contributed to improvements in vascular surgery nationally.

In surgical oncology, Steven Trocha, M.D., FACS, has participated in and led studies that explore outcomes of cancer surgery. Alfredo Carbonell, D.O., FACS, FACOS, and William Cobb, M.D., FACS, are involved in industry-based studies that compare different meshes for ventral hernias. Dr. Cobb also has presented two international talks on minimal access surgery. Additionally, almost every surgical resident and fellow has an ongoing research project.

Prisma Health research has had prominent exposure at leading surgical meetings. The Southeastern Surgical Congress, which selects only 50 abstracts from 400 submittals for presentation annually, chose seven presentations from Prisma Health to showcase at their annual meeting in 2010.

Likewise, Prisma Health had a strong presence at the annual meeting of the Southern Surgical Association, the nation’s most prominent regional surgical society. In 2010, only 25 abstracts were chosen for presentation, with a maximum of two per institution. Prisma Health, Vanderbilt and Emory were the only institutions to have two abstracts selected. Prisma Health also presented three of the 25 presentations at the most recent Society for Vascular Surgery annual meeting.

Dr. Cull credits Prisma Health as a community hospital as providing a unique approach to research: “We’re not just doing research for research’s sake or publishing for academic promotion and grants. We’re doing it for the love of research. Dr. Taylor always describes us as ‘blue-collar researchers.’ We ask a basic question: ‘How can this be done better?’ We chip away at uncertainty or the status quo. This directly benefits our patients.”

Clinical Trials

The Greenville Health System (Prisma Health) Department of Surgery actively participates in national trials. Its clinical research yields 15 to 25 peer-reviewed publications in internationally distributed journals yearly, assuring that evidence-based care is not only practiced here but also developed for others to use elsewhere.

To learn more about clinical trials at Prisma Health, please visit the Clinical Trials section of the primary Prisma Health website or learn more about the clinical trials of Institute for Translational Oncology Research (ITOR) of Greenville Health System (Prisma Health).