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2020 Alumni and Dean’s Distinguished Service Awards Recipients Named

Eighteen individuals were recognized for their contributions to the health care field and their service to the School of Medicine at the annual Alumni and Dean's Awards Ceremony on Oct. 8 (Thursday).

The ceremony was held virtually via YouTube Live.

Alumni Awards Recipients 

Each year, the School of Medicine presents a number of prestigious awards to our most dedicated alumni who have demonstrated outstanding achievement or service to the school. All graduates, faculty, staff and friends are invited to submit nominations. Awardees are chosen by a selection committee of alumni, faculty, staff, and students. 

There are seven alumni award recipients for 2020:

Lilly Filler

Distinguished Physician Alumni Award

Lilly S. Filler, MD, ‘88

Lilly S. Filler, MD, was already married and the mother to three children when she began her medical training at the University of South Carolina School of Medicine. After graduating in 1988, Filler completed residency at Palmetto Health Richland in 1992, then opened her private practice in obstetrics and gynecology, Women Physician Associates. The practice grew to be the largest all-female practice in Columbia at the time of her retirement in 2014.

Filler recognized that fundamental changes in patient care for women and insurance for oral contraceptives were only going to occur with medical political activism. She joined the medical executive board at Palmetto Richland, was selected chief of staff in 2002, and became president of the Columbia Medical Society in 2003. Filler has been a fierce advocate for her patients and their rights. She continues to address community organizations and college campuses about women’s issues, encouraging young women to consider a profession in medicine. 

LaNita Jefferson

Distinguished Young Alumni Award

LaNita M. Jefferson, MRC, LPC, ‘17

LaNita M. Jefferson, MRC, an adjunct professor in rehabilitation counseling, received her Masters of Arts degree in Counseling and Rehabilitation from the University of South Carolina School of Medicine Columbia in 2017, after completing her bachelor’s degree in sociology at Hollins University in Roanoke, Va. Jefferson is a licensed professional counselor and co-owner of Carolina Assessment Services, LLC in Columbia, S.C. She specializes in treating persons whose vocational levels of functioning have declined due to experiences of trauma, anxiety, and depression, and addressing those limitations to improve their quality of life.

Jefferson currently serves as president of the Midlands Chapter for the UofSC School of Medicine Alumni Board and as co-chair for Hollins University Black Alumni Chapter. Jefferson is working toward her doctorate in counselor education at the University of South Carolina, and hopes to research and adopt effective ways to treat trauma in minority populations.

Christopher Goodman

Distinguished Humanitarian Physician Alumni Award

Christopher W. Goodman, MD, ‘10

Christopher W. Goodman, MD, an assistant professor in the Department of Internal Medicine, received his medical degree from the University of South Carolina School of Medicine Columbia in 2010. He completed his internship and residency in internal medicine at Emory University in Atlanta.

Goodman currently serves as a medical director for Prisma Health Richland Hospital. His professional interests focus on quality improvement, social medicine, and interprofessional care. He is currently working with a team of faculty members focused on building the social determinants of health into medical education. Goodman works to establish partnerships to advance health for all people, from housing issues to access to life-saving medications for opioid disorders.

Goodman donates his time as co-medical director for the Good Samaritan Clinic, a local non-profit that provides no-cost medical care to primarily Spanish-speaking patients in underserved communities throughout South Carolina. He also co-leads the Quality Improvement Education and Systems (QUEST) collaborative, which pairs health students with mentors in clinical improvement teams.

Lawrence Lamb

Distinguished Doctorate Alumni Award

Lawrence S. Lamb, PhD, MS, ‘91

Lawrence S. Lamb, PhD, MS, is the scientific co-founder, executive vice president and chief scientific officer of Incysus Therapeutics, focusing his career on cancer research. After earning his doctorate in experimental pathology at the University of South Carolina School of Medicine Columbia in 1991, Lamb completed postdoctoral fellowships in transplant medicine at the South Carolina Cancer Center and in the study of molecular genetics at the University of South Carolina.

Lamb also earned a master’s degree in critical care nursing from UofSC, following his bachelor’s degree in nursing from the Medical College of Georgia. Lamb has 27 years of experience as a transplant immunologist whose work has been funded by the National Institutes of Health, the Elsa Pardee Foundation, the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, the Brendan Franco Foundation, and the Southeastern Brain Tumor Foundation.

Lamb was a recipient of the National Brain Tumor Society's Samuel Gerson Leadership Chair for Glioblastoma Research from 2008 to 2010. Lamb developed the scientific support for chemotherapy-resistant T cell-based immunotherapy for high-grade brain tumors.

Kate Wilson

Distinguished Genetic Counseling Alumni Award

Kate Wilson, MS, CGC, ‘07

Kate Wilson, MS, CGC, is a board-certified and licensed genetic counselor at Quest Diagnostics. Wilson earned her master’s degree in genetic counseling from the University of South Carolina School of Medicine Columbia in 2007. She received her bachelor’s degree in zoology and genetics from North Carolina State University.

Wilson is a product manager at Quest Diagnostics and specializes in oncology and consumer-initiated testing. She is involved with several genetic counseling training programs as a lecturer, supervisor, and thesis committee member. Wilson serves as a member of the Board of Directors for the American Board of Genetic Counseling. She also is active in the National Society of Genetic Counselors.

Previously, Wilson spent seven years at the University of Texas Health Science Center in Houston as a prenatal genetic counselor, assistant professor in the Genetic Counseling Training program, and as director of Cancer Genetic Services. While at UTHSC, she established and coordinated several cancer genetic counseling services in the greater Houston area.

Ashley Waddington

Distinguished Master’s Alumni Award

Ashley Waddington, MRC, LPC, CRC, ‘16

Ashley Waddington, MRC, LPC, CRC, an adjunct instructor in Rehabilitation Counseling and Counselor Education, is a 2016 graduate of the Masters of Rehabilitation Counseling program at the UofSC School of Medicine. Her work focuses on counseling and psychiatric disabilities. She earned her bachelor’s degree in psychology at Ohio University. Waddington is a licensed professional counselor and certified rehabilitation counselor and currently is in private practice. She is working toward her Doctorate in Counselor Education.

Waddington is an active member of the American Counseling Association where she has served as co-chair for the Graduate Student and New Professional committees for two years. Waddington has volunteered in activity therapy with Appalachian Behavior Healthcare, teaches Sunday School to children at the Epworth Children’s Home, and served as a rehabilitation volunteer at Firelands Regional Medical Center.

While attending the School of Medicine, Waddington received the Distinguished Rehabilitation Counseling Student Award for 2016-2017.

Ruth Riley

Alumni Association Honorary Life Membership Award

Ruth A. Riley, MS

Ruth A. Riley, MS, is assistant dean for executive affairs and director of library services at the University of South Carolina School of Medicine Columbia. Riley earned her master’s degree in library and information science from the University of Illinois and completed her bachelor’s degree in sociology at the University of Kansas.

Riley joined the University of South Carolina faculty in 2000. She has worked in three other academic health sciences libraries: the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences Library, the Alfred Taubman Medical Library at the University of Michigan, and the J. Otto Lottes Health Sciences Library at the University of Missouri.

Riley has served as president of the Association of Academic Health Sciences Libraries, as chair of the Southern Chapter of the Medical Library Association and chair of the Partnership Among South Carolina Academic Libraries.

Dean’s Distinguished Service Awards Recipients 

The Dean’s Distinguished Service Awards are annual honors established by the Office of the Dean to recognize individuals who demonstrate excellence in service, leadership, advocacy and professional accomplishment. Awardees are chosen by a selection committee overseen by the Dean’s leadership team. 

There are eleven service award recipients for 2020:

Alyssa Lee

Community Service Award

Alyssa Lee, MS

Alyssa Lee, MS, is an MD program candidate in the Class of 2022. She received her master’s degree at Boston University School of Medicine before returning to her home state of South Carolina to pursue a medical career. Lee helped establish the School of Medicine Community Service Group. As president, she encouraged student involvement with the Red Cross by organizing and planning blood drives on campus. She also established a new partnership blood drive with the Columbia VA Health Care System, which led to the VA being awarded a grant for future Go Red Blood Drive events. 

During the COVID-19 pandemic, Lee served as project lead for the Community Food Outreach Team for the COVID-19 Midlands Outreach initiative. She managed a team of 30 volunteers to help the Salvation Army serve meals at Transitions, a local homeless shelter, and FoodShare SC. The team served every meal for a month at Transitions, and 500 food boxes were assembled and delivered to families in need through FoodShare SC, which resulted in the Salvation Army awarding the School of Medicine a plaque to demonstrate their gratitude.

Christina Romano

Community Service Award

Christina Najjar Romano, BS

Christina Najjar Romano, BS, is an MD program candidate in the Class of 2022. She graduated from the University of Georgia with a bachelor's degree in biochemistry and molecular biology with research distinction. She and her husband, Ryan Romano, moved to South Carolina after graduation to start their respective doctoral trainings in medicine and law at the University of South Carolina.

When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, Romano spearheaded and organized, with the help of the School of Medicine Columbia and the United Way of the Midlands, an outreach initiative with the Salvation Army, The Friendship, Midlands Gives Fundraiser, Foodshare SC, Transitions, and Prisma Health. With roughly 80 volunteers divided into three teams, the UofSC School of Medicine COVID-19 Midlands Outreach group was able to pack and deliver 500 meal boxes, pack 800 hygiene kits, deliver groceries for seniors, serve a month of meals, deliver community thank you notes and PPE donations to health care workers, and aid in raising $12,000. The school now has permanent relationships with these organizations and is incorporating more volunteer opportunities into student activities. 

Bryan Holloman

Community Service Award

Bryan L. Holloman, MSc

Bryan L. Holloman, MSc, is a PhD candidate in immunology at the School of Medicine. He also is a decorated Army veteran, having completed a tour of duty (Global War on Terrorism), an entrepreneur, and an adjunct biology instructor at the University of Maryland Global Campus. He received his master's degree in biotechnology from Fort Valley State University and his bachelor's degree in biology from Columbus State University. Throughout his research career, Holloman's studies have been focused on medicinal plants. For his doctoral studies, Holloman is studying the relationship between plant-derived compounds and the adaptive immune system using both transplant rejection and acute lung injury murine models.

Holloman is an activist who fights social injustice and a leader who has organized community-based events to promote STEAM careers in low-income communities. Holloman was selected to participate in UofSC's 2020-21 Graduate Civic Scholars program, which provides opportunities for interdisciplinary research, involvement in social justice initiatives, and an enhanced understanding of the role of scholarship in addressing societal needs.

Teshia McSwain

Community Service Award

Teshia S. McSwain, MBA, MSOL

Teshia S. McSwain, MBA, MSOL, is a fiscal analyst in the Office of the Dean at the UofSC School of Medicine. She volunteers with two community organizations, Path2Redemption and Just Leadership USA (JLUSA). Path2Redemption provides services for those returning to society after incarceration. Their objective is to reduce recidivism rates by providing a support system and helping people understand their emotions, fears, and triggers that resurface during transition. They provide resources for expungements, job placement, tools for emotional intelligence, budgeting, ACA health care enrollment, work clothing, and voter registration information. Path2Redemption also feeds and provides masks, water and sanitizer to the homeless population in Columbia.

Because many issues surrounding crime are birthed from economic disparities, McSwain works with JLUSA to help people with convictions become gainfully employed. Last year she worked to get the Ban the Box ordinance passed in cities across South Carolina, which removes the question from a job application asking if a person has a criminal record. It doesn’t eliminate background checks, but affords a person the opportunity for an interview. During the interview, the applicant can explain to the employer the background check results and what they have done since the conviction to better themselves.

Helmut Albrecht

Dean’s Leadership Award

Helmut Albrecht, MD

Helmut Albrecht, MD, is the current Heyward Gibbes Distinguished Professor of Internal Medicine at the University of South Carolina School of Medicine Columbia. He is an infectious diseases physician with Prisma Health Medical Group, and is the former chair of the Department of Internal Medicine. He received his medical degree from the University of Hamburg, Germany, and completed residencies at the University of Hamburg and Emory University. 

During the COVID-19 pandemic, Albrecht has served as a regional and national leader. His team conducted clinical drug trials, developed a treatment registry, and created treatment algorithms. He was heavily involved with developing the convalescent plasma program at Prisma Health, which was the first in the state to recruit donors and the first to give convalescent plasma. Albrecht has educated others on COVID-19 through countless print and broadcast interviews with local and national outlets including ABC News. He has spoken on panels and provided evidence-based information to audiences both internal and external to the university. By serving as a spokesman, Albrecht has been an ambassador of the School of Medicine and helped highlight the level of expertise within the school.

Claudia Grillo

Diversity and Inclusion Leadership Award

Claudia A. Grillo, PhD

Claudia A. Grillo, PhD, is a research associate professor in the Department of Pharmacology, Physiology and Neuroscience. She earned her doctorate from Universidad de Buenos Aires, Argentina. When Grillo joined the School of Medicine in 2003, she was particularly interested in training students from under-represented groups.

In 2013, she joined Broadening the Representation of Academic Investigators in NeuroScience (BRAINS), a University of Washington-based, and NIH-funded program designed to improve the career advancement of neuroscience scholars from under-represented groups. Grillo initiated her own program, funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF), with the objective of providing research experience for college students from under-represented groups. Through this NSF grant, Grillo created a UofSC- College of Charleston Internship Program that provides a laboratory research experience with stipend support for college students from under-represented groups. Since the initiation of the program, she has successfully recruited six undergraduate students from diverse backgrounds. The success of these students is a direct reflection of Grillo’s passion for inclusion and diversity in the biomedical sciences.

Holly Lavoie

Sustained School of Medicine Service Award

Holly A. LaVoie, PhD

Holly A. LaVoie, PhD, is currently a professor in the Department of Cell Biology and Anatomy and the course director for Medical Microscopic Anatomy. She joined the University of South Carolina School of Medicine Columbia faculty in 1999, and has taught first-year medical students microanatomy every year since then. She also teaches graduate and undergraduate courses. LaVoie’s research focuses on female reproductive health including ovarian function, fertility, and the effects of pregnancy and lactation on the heart. 

LaVoie’s service has included the School of Medicine Strategic Planning Steering and Education Committees, and the University Committee on Tenure and Promotion. She currently serves as chair of the School of Medicine Basic Science Unit Tenure and Promotion Committee and is a member of the Curriculum Committee. She serves as a grant reviewer for USDA and NIH. She has served on the council and is currently treasurer-elect for the Society for Experimental Biology and Medicine. She was associate editor for Experimental Biology and Medicine, served on the editorial board for Biology of Reproduction, and is associate editor for the journal Reproduction. She is the incoming program coordinator for the SC-INBRE grant.

Everett Dargan

Friend of the School of Medicine Award

Everett L. Dargan, MD, FACS

Everett L. Dargan, MD, FACS, is a retired cardio-thoracic surgeon and educator. Born in Columbia, S.C., he earned a scholarship to Morehouse College at the age of 15. He later graduated from the University of Buffalo with a BA in biology and from Howard University College of Medicine with First Prize honors. Following his internship at Brooklyn’s Kings County Hospital, he was chief resident at Albert Einstein College of Medicine Bronx Municipal Hospital. Dargan served as US Air Force captain and commander of the 3910th Hospital in Mildenhall/Lakenheath during the Korean War. He completed cardiovascular and thoracic specialty training at Boston City Hospital, then returned to New York to teach at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine as an associate professor of surgery. He also served as chief of surgery at Sydenham Hospital, an executive committee member of the medical staff at the Hospital for Joint Diseases, and chief of surgery at Lincoln Hospital.

Dargan continued his deep commitments to providing quality medical care to military veterans and to minority and underserved communities when he returned to Columbia in 1978. He worked for decades at Dorn VA Medical Center, at Richland Memorial Hospital as chief of staff, and as clinical associate professor at the School of Medicine. He’s been recognized with the Order of the Palmetto, by Kappa Pi and Alpha Omega Alpha medical honor societies, as a Fellow of the American College of Surgeons, and received a Congressional tribute from Congressman James Clyburn in 2005.

In 2005, the School of Medicine established a scholarship to recruit underrepresented minority students to honor Dargan’s legacy as a teacher and physician. Understanding how important scholarships are to recruiting talented minority students, Dargan personally contributed a significant amount to seed the scholarship. The Dargan Scholarship supports three students per year and enables the School of Medicine to attract and retain top-ranked students. Dr. Dargan’s support of the School of Medicine’s educational mission significantly impacts the lives of medical students, future physicians, and patients in South Carolina.

John Yarborough

Friend of the School of Medicine Award

John W. Yarbrough, MD, FACS

John W. Yarbrough, MD, FACS, has served as an affiliate faculty member in the Department of Cell Biology and Anatomy at the School of Medicine since 2011. He received his MD degree from the Bowman Gray School of Medicine and completed a residency in general and thoracic surgery at Duke University. He joined a private practice of thoracic and cardiovascular surgery in Greensboro, North Carolina, and then joined the University of Nebraska Medical Center as an assistant professor of surgery. He moved to Columbia to join Thoracic and Cardiovascular Associates, where he practiced at Providence Hospital until 2007. Upon retirement from clinical practice he began volunteering, first in the School of Medicine Department of Radiology, and then in the Department of Cell Biology and Anatomy. 

For the past ten years, Yarbrough has tirelessly volunteered as a mentor and assistant in the School of Medicine gross anatomy courses. He interacts with all students - medical, physician assistant, graduate, and physical therapy students - and is present for lectures and labs. In the lab, Yarbrough circulates from table to table, helps the students become at ease and familiar with the art of dissection, quizzes the students, and challenges the students to think critically and clinically. Yarbrough’s service has significantly contributed to the advancement of the School of Medicine’s educational mission and helped prepare the next generation of South Carolina health care professionals.

Janice Edwards

Career Achievement Award

Janice G. Edwards, MS, CGC

Janice G. Edwards, MS, CGC, is a clinical professor in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology and director of the School of Medicine’s Genetic Counseling Program. She has practiced as a genetic counselor for nearly 40 years. As a clinician educator, she has trained and mentored over 250 genetic counselors.

Edwards was instrumental in developing the curriculum for the Genetic Counseling program, which accepted its first class in 1985. The program was the first in the Southeast and one of only ten programs nationally when it began. Edwards is founding president of the Transnational Alliance for Genetic Counseling, a network of genetic counselor education programs from more than 20 countries. She has served on the boards of the National Society of Genetic Counselors (NSGC), the American Board of Genetic Counseling, and the Association of Genetic Counseling Program Directors. The NSGC has honored her with their Regional Leadership and International Leader Awards. Edwards also has received the School of Medicine Teaching Advancement Award.

Edwards has been committed to supporting the integration of genetics and genomics into medicine. Her work with multiple national organizations has facilitated consensus statements on emerging issues in prenatal genetic testing. She served on the Committee for the Protection of Genetic Privacy, which developed South Carolina legislation preventing discrimination in health insurance. Edwards also has directed genetic education conferences regionally, nationally, and internationally.

James Stallworth

Career Achievement Award

James R. Stallworth, MD, FAAP

James R. Stallworth, MD, FAAP, is a professor, vice chairman for education and faculty development, and clerkship director in the Department of Pediatrics. He also is assistant dean of admissions/director of student recruitment for the School of Medicine. As a premier teacher, he’s been recognized more than 40 times through teaching awards including the O’Neill Barrett Teaching Award, Faculty Teacher of the Year, and Michael Mungo Graduate Teaching Award. Additionally, he's received the prestigious Alpha Omega Alpha Robert J. Glazer Distinguished Teacher Award from the Association of American Medical Colleges.

During his leadership as the pediatrics clerkship director since 1986, medical students have maintained scores on the NBME shelf test consistently above the national average, and the clerkship has been rated by students as the top clerkship 27 of the last 29 years. Stallworth also is the medical director for the Physician Assistant program and leads the successful Finding Your Future shadowing program for prospective medical students.

Stallworth has been a leader in the South Carolina chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics, chairing three committees, and receiving the President’s Award and the Special Achievement Award. Stallworth’s scholarly activities include more than 30 publications in peer-reviewed journals, seven book chapters, more than ten grants exceeding two million dollars and invited presentations at more than 110 state, regional, and national meetings.


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