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School of Medicine

Alumni holding their awards

Alumni Awards

Each year, the School of Medicine presents a number of prestigious awards to our most dedicated and qualified alumni who have demonstrated outstanding achievements or service to the school. We would like to invite all alumni and friends of the school to nominate individuals to be considered as recipients of these awards.

Nominate an Alumnus or Alumna 


2018 Event Photos

Photos from the 2018 event are available on the School of Medicine's SmugMug account.

2018 Alumni Award Recipients

Distinguished Physician Alumni Award - Richard Frierson, MD

Richard Frierson

Richard Frierson, MD – ‘88/Forensic Psychiatry

Richard Frierson, M.D., recently was elected president elect of the American Academy of Psychiatry and the Law (AAPL), the largest forensic psychiatry organization in the United States. He is the immediate past president of the Association of Directors of Forensic Psychiatry Fellowships. He has received three national awards from AAPL: the Most Outstanding Teacher in a Forensic Psychiatry Fellowship Award in 2006, the Red Apple Award for service to the organization in 2014 and the Seymour Pollack Award in 2016 for distinguished lifetime contributions to the teaching and educational functions of forensic psychiatry. 

Frierson also received another national teaching award, the Steven Von Reisling Lecturer of Merit Award, from the National College of District Attorneys. He has served on committees for Recertification in Psychiatry and Forensic Psychiatry for the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology. He also is a distinguished fellow of the American Psychiatric Association where he serves on the Council on Psychiatry and Law.

Distinguished Young Physician Alumni Award - John Baker, MD

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John Baker, MD – ‘07/Neurology

John Baker, M.D., graduated from the University of South Carolina (biology with Honors from the SC Honors College) in 2003. He also is a 2007 graduate of the University of South Carolina School of Medicine. He completed an internal medicine internship in 2008, as well as his residency training in general neurology in 2011, both at Duke University Medical Center. 

He joined Colonial Healthcare in 2011, where he has practiced in the Midlands of South Carolina. In 2013, he became Neurology Clinic Medical Director at the Midlands Center in Columbia, SC, under the South Carolina Department of Disabilities and Special Needs (SCDDSN). Since 2015, he has been the Medical Director of Palmetto Diagnostics, LLC, a mobile diagnostics company who serves the needs of referring physicians for in home patient testing. 

Baker is certified by the United Council of Neurologic Subspecialties (UCNS) in Headache Medicine (2014) and Neuroimaging (2015). He has served on the advisory boards for Amgen and Eisai Pharmaceuticals. He has been involved in several observational clinical trials involving neurological conditions. His neurological clinical interests involve migraine/headache, neuroimaging, multiple sclerosis, movement disorders, and epilepsy, as well as how technology can improve patient care for neurological conditions. As a native South Carolinian, husband to Jessica, father of a six-year old daughter Amelia, and a former disc jockey in college, his nonclinical interests involve sports, family, and music.

Humanitarian Physician Alumni Award - T. Jefferson Crane, MD, FACP

Jefferson Crane

T. Jefferson Crane, MD, FACP – ‘86/Internal Medicine

T. Jefferson (“Jeff”) Crane, M.D., F.A.C.P., class of 1986, completed his internal medicine residency in Richmond, Va. He then served honorably as a US Air Force Major from 1989 until 1993 (Gulf War veteran). Upon his discharge, he entered private practice in Florence, S.C., eventually associating with McLeod Regional Medical Center.  

In 2007, sensing God’s call to full-time missions, Crane and his wife, Donna (pediatric RN, USC class of 1983), moved their family to Kyiv, Ukraine. They serve orphans, refugees, medical professionals and military chaplains.  Serving as Medical Director of International Faith Initiatives, Inc., Crane has taught medical English to professionals for years. 

After much preparation, Crane received his Ukrainian medical certificate in 2016. He has helped create a multi-specialty clinic and an associated charity foundation where he volunteers and mentors young doctors from Ukraine and many eastern European and Asian nations, pointing them to international medical standards, patient-focused care and a genuine relationship with their creator.

Distinguished Doctorate Alumni Award - Courtney R. Pinard, PhD

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Courtney R. Pinard, PhD - '09

Courtney R. Pinard, Ph.D., is an educational and awards program specialist at The American Association of Immunologists (AAI). Pinard obtained her B.A. in Physics from UNC-Chapel Hill in 2003 and her doctorate in Biomedical Sciences from the USC School of Medicine in 2009. Her doctoral work with Dr. Alex McDonald focused on dopaminergic and cortical inputs to the amygdala, the results of which contributed to functional studies on the regulation of emotional learning and behavior. 

Pinard completed postdoctoral fellowships at Université Laval and at the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, NIH. During her time at the NIH, she served as an intern in the Office of Science Policy, Planning, and Communications, National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) where she wrote scientific reports for the public on NIMH-funded research. As part of her current role, Pinard manages the AAI outreach program and summer research program for teachers.

Distinguished Master's in Genetic Counseling Alumni Award - Debera Zvejnieks, MS, CGC

Debbie Zvejnieks

Debera Zvejnieks, MS, CGC - '92

Debera “Debbie” Harris Zvejnieks, M.S., C.G.C., class of 1992, is a native of Lancaster, S.C., and a board-certified genetic counselor. She worked at Palmetto Helath - USC Genetic Counseling and the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology for six years. She practices prenatal genetic counseling. 

Previously, Zvejnieks worked for Greenwood Genetic Center as a DDSN coordinator and held prenatal genetic counseling positions at Memorial Medical Center in Savannah, Ga., and at Memorial Hospital in Colorado Springs, Co. 

Debbie has been actively involved with the USC Genetic Counseling program Advisory Board for five years. She also currently works with genetic counseling students to promote awareness of the program and encourage community collaboration and volunteerism. 

She serves or has served on numerous community Boards including the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, Palmetto Health Children’s Hospital, Artists for Africa, the Columbia Museum of Art, the Columbia City Ballet, EdVenture Children’s Museum and the Junior League of Columbia. She also helps manage, along with her husband Peter, the Zvejnieks Foundation of South Carolina.

Distinguished Master's Alumni Award - Will Chapman, CRNA

Will Chapman

Will Chapman, CRNA - '12

Will Stanton Chapman, C.R.N.A, earned his Masters of Nurse Anesthesia from the USC School of Medicine in 2012. Chapman was part of the first cohort of nurse anesthesia students to graduate from the Greenville satellite campus. 

Upon graduation, Chapman started his career at McDowell Hospital in Marion, N.C., as the chief certified registered nurse anesthetist. Currently, he is the director of anesthesia at Digestive Health Partners in Asheville, N.C.

Chapman lives in Black Mountain, N.C, with his wife Michelle and two children Charlotte and Luke. He enjoys trail running in the mountains around his home and hiking with his family.

Alumni Association Honorary Life Membership Award - Debbie T. Truluck

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Debbie T. Truluck

Debbie Tokunaga Truluck joined the USC School of Medicine Development Office in 1996. Working with DyAnne Dunham, then Senior Director of Development, she spearheaded School of Medicine alumni relations efforts within the Development Office. 

In 1998, the Alumni Association and Alumni Office were established and Dean Larry R. Faulkner, M.D., appointed Debbie as the first director of alumni relations. She and the officers of the newly formed Alumni Association partnered with the Class of 2002 to launch the Annual Black Tie White Coat Gala. This premier School of Medicine fundraising event has grown each year in popularity and financial benefit to the Free Medical Clinic and Alumni Scholarship Program. 

In 2009 Debbie was named by Dean Faulkner as recipient of the Dean’s Distinguished Service Award and established the class reunion gift tradition. She also coordinated new and continuing school-wide alumni activities such as the dean’s state-wide alumni events, the Annual Football Tailgate and the Alumni Awards Program. 

Debbie’s passion for the School’s alumni and students inspired her to spearhead the “Help Our Students Travel” (HOST) program and the Shadowing Program in partnership with Student Services Office. A graduate of USC, Debbie retired in 2017. She currently resides in Chapin, S.C., with her husband, who is also a USC graduate. Their adult son is also an alum of South Carolina, and they pray that the grandkids will also become Gamecocks!  “Forever to Thee!”