Division of infectious disease

J. Robert Cantey, M.D.


Dr. Cantey grew up in Marion. SC.  He received a BS degree from Wofford College in 1963, graduating Magna Cum Laud.  He was also elected to Phi Beta Kappa as a result of his academic performance at Wofford.  He graduated from the Medical University of South Carolina in 1966, and was elected to Alpha Omega Alpha, during his junior year at Medical School. 

Dr. Cantey's three year internal medicine training and two year infectious diseases fellowship was completed at Emory University School of Medicine in Atlanta.  He completed the EIS (Epidemiologic Intelligence Service) epidemiology and statistics course at the CDC as part of his infectious diseases fellowship.  His five years of post-doctoral training was completed in 1973.

Dr. Cantey’s Post-Doctoral training was interrupted for two years in 1968 by a year in Vietnam and a year in Tacoma, WA courtesy of the US Army.  He left active duty with the rank of Major, but was active in the Army Reserves for a number of years, ending his public service as a Colonel in the Army Medical Core.  His Army Service included an appointment to the faculty of Uniformed Services University of Health Sciences in Washington, DC.  He taught tropical medicine to Army Reservists from 1988-1992 in that capacity.  He was also called up for a second stint of Active Duty in 1990, this time for Operation Desert Storm, attached to Walter Reed Army Hospital and Walter Reed Institute of Research.

Dr. Cantey joined the Medical University of SC faculty in 1973 rising to the rank of Professor in 1983.  He was named Director of Infectious Diseases in 1992 and remained in that position until July 2008.

Dr. Cantey is board certified in Internal Medicine and Infectious Diseases.  He is a fellow in the Infectious Diseases Society of America, and the American College of Physicians.  He has been named by his peers in SC to the Best Doctors in America database since the year 2000.

Beginning with his CDC EIS course he developed an interest in hospital epidemiology.  He served as VA Hospital epidemiologist from 1977-1988, and from 1990-1991.  He became the Medical University Hospital Epidemiologist in 2000, a position he now shares with Dr. Cassandra Salgado, also a member of the Infectious Diseases Division.  He became Hospital Epidemiologist at Kindred Hospital Charleston in 2003.

The advent of HIV/AIDS brought dramatic changes to the practice of infection diseases.  What had been a purely consult practice became a primary care practice for the care of HIV infected patients. 

Encouraged by Valerie Assey, BSN, he moved to establish a clinic in support of HIV infected patients at MUSC.  Valerie, supported by Dr. Cantey applied for a federally funded Ryan White grant to support the care of indigent HIV infected patients in the early 1990s.  The grant continues with an annual budget approximating one million dollars, that supports a full service clinic for the care of indigent HIV infected patients.

An Infectious Diseases inpatient service was also developed to provide caring and efficient care for the HIV infected patient.  Treatment of the complications of HIV infection during the early days of the epidemic required long term intravenous therapies.  No one wanted to provide support for placement of  central venous lines in the HIV population at that time.  The risk to the health care worker was not clearly understood.  To service this population Dr. Cantey began what to this day is a unique and innovative service, the placement of peripherally inserted central catheters (piccs). 

Today the ID PICC service places more than 800 PICCs a year in inpatients in the adult hospital, and in outpatients as well.  The catheters include lines designed for high pressure injection (Power PICCs), antibiotic impregnated tunneled piccs for TPN, tunneled axillary vein piccs for patients with difficult to access veins, such as those requiring frequent piccs, and in the morbidly obese patient.  The Bronchoscopy/PICC facility the Division has fluoroscopy, ultrasound and an OR table supporting patients up to 1000 pounds in weight.  The placement success rate exceeds 99%.

J. Robert Cantey, M.D.

J. Robert Cantey, M.D.

Dr. Cantey's Clinical Interests

Diarrheal diseases
Travel and tropical medicine
Orthopaedic infections

Request an Appointment with Dr. Cantey

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     at 1-800-922-5250

Selected Publications

View a partial list of Dr. Cantey's publications through the National Library of Medicine's PubMed online database.

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Ralph H. Johnson VA Medical Center
Charleston, S.C.

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Research in infectious diseases continues to be a driving force for Dr. Cantey.  His research was based at the VA Medical Center from 1973-2000.  His interest at that time was the immunology and molecular pathogenesis of bacterial (Escherichia coli) diarrhea.  His published observations of his studies resulted in his being named to membership in the prestigious American Society of Clinical Investigation in 1984.  He broadened the scope of his research by a sabbatical in molecular pathogenesis in the Department of Microbiology at the University of Washington in Seattle 1987-88.  His current interest is in the molecular epidemiology of bacterial diseases in human populations, with a focus on hospital infections, especially methicillin resistant Staphylococcus aureus infections and orthopedic hardware infections.

On the national level Dr. Cantey served on Study Sections for the review of research proposals for the Veterans Administration, and to a lesser extent, for the NIH.  He was on the Journal of Infectious Diseases Editorial Board in 1984-1985, and more recently the American Journal of Medical Sciences Editorial Board (2006-present).  He served as president of the SC Infectious Diseases Society in 1995, and president of the Musculoskeletal Infections Society in 2005.

Dr. Cantey has asked to step down as Division Director but expects to continue in the Division for as many years as seems wise, focusing on teaching medical and post-doctoral (MD) students, research and most importantly, patient care.

Dr. J. Robert Cantey's Curriculum Vitae (*PDF Format)

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