Kevin Bennett, Ph.D., has been named interim director of the Research Center for Transforming Health (RCTH) at the University of South Carolina School of Medicine Columbia. Additionally, Bennett will continue his role as director of research & evaluation for the South Carolina Center for Rural and Primary Healthcare, which also is located within the School of Medicine.
The RTCH focuses on improving health and creating new knowledge through research. The center’s mission focuses around providing support for researchers along the continuum of idea and question generation to implement new programs and then to understand their impact.
“We want to be able to support those who come to us with ideas about improving health care delivery, clinical care, patient care, and outcomes and then guide them through the development of the program,” Bennett says.
Bennett became drawn to working in the area of rural health care after coming to South Carolina to earn his doctorate in public health administration.
“Growing up in a small town in Virginia, I have always felt an affinity toward small towns,” he says. “Small town life reflects a great deal of what we can do well in our country.”
Bennett hopes his background in policy, health systems delivery, and research will allow for projects in both the RCTH and the SC Center for Rural and Primary Healthcare to overlap and provide an even greater resource for students, potential project developers, and health care providers and organizations.
The Research Center for Transforming Health was established in August of 2017 to facilitate the engagement of clinicians in meaningful research. Christine Turley, M.D., served as the founding director before stepping down in December 2019. During its first two years, the center has grown research efforts through a number of initiatives, including the Emerging Physician Scientists (EPS) program and the Student Opportunities for Academic Achievement through Research (SOAR) program.